Bunny hopping

I’m learning my first little hops, but side hopping seems far more easy than a little front or back hop. How to control feet before landing? Does it require front or back pedalling to keep balance when landing or could I learn to hop in front and hop in back without moving pedals?
Thank you

Re: Bunny hopping

Congratulations on your progress!

Check out this video from 2012 on proper bunny hopping:

keep it fluffy!

From my own experience I initially found that side hopping was far easier to learn than rolling hops. It took me quite a while to get the hang of rolling hops (which I am still trying to improve height and length wise). You can hop forward and backwards without rolling/pedaling but I think you might need to be quite confident with your hopping on the spot first before you can achieve those.

The way I learnt it was: hopping on the spot first, side hopping afterwards and then rolling hops.

Not sure about what others might say but I have always found rolling hops quite challenging to learn properly (as involves riding and hoping without stopping).

I am much better at rolling hops nowadays but it is taking me years of practicing! and they are not any closer to the sort of impressive rolling hops you see in you tube.

Unfortunately everything in uni cycling takes a long time to master. Practice, practice, enjoy and don’t get frustrated…it just takes time.

There are some great video tutorials on rolling hops out there… just remember that some of the riders doing these tutorials are already seriously good at it so they make everything look far easier than what it is for beginners.

Ride slowly to a stop with pedals level.
Hop once and ride away.
Ride slowly to a stop with pedals level and hop twice and then ride away.

I would also learn to hop to a standstill and then hop when you start losing your balance.
So hop, balance, hop again, balance, hop again balance… etc.

Remember you’re riding a unicycle, not a pogo stick.

That’s funny, I usually explain it the opposite way. Pretend it’s like a pogo stick. Of course the major difference is that the pedals can move, so you have to factor that in. But if the person is familiar with pogo sticks, this can be helpful.

Hopping on a unicycle is at least one order of magnitude easier than riding one. This was easily demonstrated by a bunch of middle-schoolers at a large school that bought a fleet of basic 20" unicycles around 1988. It was either 20 or 40 of them! One or two kids figured out hopping, and all of a sudden it exploded because people figured out how much easier it was than actually riding the things. Next thing you know, half the unis had bent cranks, and we had to impose a “No Hopping” rule. Yup, you youngsters these days have no idea what we had to deal with in the pre-UDC era…

Many of the bent unicycles were fixed by some careful reverse hopping, done by me. None of the cranks or hubs broke, but I didn’t get them all perfect…

That’s what I’m doing, but I can hop sideway to keep balance (my best is 20 left and rigth little hops), but as soon as I try to hop in front I feel pedals rotating when landing and cannot go on without riding away. I installed again the brake to help with avoiding pedal rotation during front hops, but if I reach the brake on the handlebar my hand is too far from the saddle preventing me to lift uni in control or hop higher (I’m using a 29" with a handle similar to KH muni one). Do I just need to keep practicing roll hop to understand standstill front hop?
My aim is to hop in front on a curb, to hop up or down a rock and to hop at stoplight without risking to hit my son or my wife beside me (with side hop I can stand 10 seconds, but using too much space on a curb)

Pogo stick was easy when I was 10. Not uni at 40! Could be avoided using brake that major difference? Is it a good idea or not?

If you look, most riders will turn sideways to hop something.
Hopping any distance forward or back requires some crank handling.

I’m not a fan of rushing skills so I let them develop slowly but positively.

The ride up to a stop requires a braking crank and then a balanced crank.
(start braking at 8 and 2 and then stillstand at 9 and 3)
Learn this skill with different approach speeds.

Hold this stillstand for as long as possible. Once you start losing your balance then ride away.

Next time you’re in a stillstand instead of riding away from it, hop to regain your balance (whatever direction) and try and hold your stillstand again.

Keep upping the number of hops to match your control.

So what I’m saying is to hold your stillstand to give you a better launch in whatever direction.
Landing is just getting to a stillstand (or riding away-but this is sloppier).

Hope that made sense.

It makes sense. Thank you

Learning to hop in place was pretty easy, perhaps because I already knew how to use a pogo stick. I experimented a lot with crank length and found hopping easier on longer cranks. I had the wheels of both my 19" and 26" unis rebuilt after many spokes started breaking. I attribute this to side hopping, the lower quality of stock spokes, my 200+ lb weight and my lack of understanding about tightening spokes. My side hopping practice is currently mostly limited to hopping up sets of stairs. Anything the size of a curb I can now front hop. For hops the size of a curb, forward hopping is desirable, as it doesn’t interfere with the flow of your riding.

IMHO, hopping as a way to deal with traffic intersections is BAD. You need to get off the uni, walk it across the intersection, then re-mount. Maybe I’m the only one living in a neighborhood where people look at their phones while driving. The only person more distracted than those drivers is me on my unicycle. If hopping is a way to avoid having to re-mount, then you need to devote some serious practice time to mounting. Sorry to be so disagreeable; you’ll thank me when you don’t die.

Not in my experience. All of my hopping has been done without using a brake. Actually, aside from my Coker, my first “small wheel” unicycle with a brake came in 2016! While a brake might be helpful in some situations, you definitely don’t need one for hopping skills.

What?? People actually do that??? :stuck_out_tongue:

I guess you should put down your phone too. Those drivers set a bad example for unicyclists! :astonished:

And yes, I agree with El Pueblo; there’s no point in hopping at intersections. Use it as an opportunity to take a short break. Plus, the people in cars (the ones not looking at their phones) like seeing how we get on.

Yesterday I rode 12km in the forest, partly on bicycle paths and partly off-road. Since I had read this thread, I decided to see if I could still ride, stop, hop and continue, which I don’t do very often. I reckon once you’ve learned it you won’t forget, but I still think rolling hops are tricky. I can only do it, while focusing very much on my crank rotations and then choosing the right moment to hop. This naturally won’t work when there is some root I have to hop over. So far, I’ve been able to clear roots by just standing on the pedals and use my legs as shock absorbers. Riding up a kerb is impossible for me.

Apart from learning to hop when riding, you can also just static mount into hopping. Just make sure your balance is at the centre and not forward, which you’d need when riding off. Then try to stand still as long as possible and only hop to regain balance. I’ve been able to do this with my 26" on the sand, but unfortunately it fails as soon as I start thinking I will fall.

Also hopping with the brake removes balance. It is nice if the wheel can turn a little bit I think otherwise it becomes too stiff.

I liked what you said John about people liking to see when you get on the uni. Everybody always looks and in the middle of town I always feel slightly stressed, that I might not be able to mount the first time, even when I can freemount at 100% when I’m alone. :slight_smile:

At a red light I get in line with the cars, and stillstand+hop until the light changes. No car is going to hit somebody in line at a red light. On a bike I do the same thing (trackstanding), and it’s served me well for 20+ years of urban bike commuting.

What I DON’T want is cars passing me while I’m at a standstill, or while I’m trying to mount, or merging back into traffic. That’s when I might get hit. Taking the lane, and staying on the uni, avoids that situation.

The only time I’d use a brake when hopping is on very steep trails, where I already have the brake applied.

The general path of progress I’d recommend for hopping is:

1: Hopping in place, starting stationary on a wall.
2: riding, stopping, then hopping in place, and return to riding
3: deliberately hopping sideways, and twisting while hopping.
4: hopping over and onto things. Start with a line on the ground, work your way up from there.

Those are the things I’d recommend for any unicyclist to be able to do. The following is for people who really want to get into Muni (the rolling hop bit) or trials.

5: Rolling hops and prehops. Rolling hops convert the horizontal speed you have into height, and a pre hop before a sidehop will do something similar.
6. Seat in front sidehops. Once you are able to jump ~50cm, you will probably hit a plateau. SIF enables you to tuck the wheel up to your body higher, and thereby jump higher.

A lot of flatland tricks will also require hopping SIF, for the simple reason that they start or end seat out.

I’ve been hit there, by a driver looking at a map on their phone.

So right! Happens all the time, and generally when you’re tired and less likely to nail your mount on the 32" first time!

When you do your rolling hop, you basically have to stop pedalling and quickly lift off the ground. When you do that, do you then hang backwards? I’m very much a beginner with that and because of the momentum often tumble off from the front when I try that.

Alternately I hang back when I want to stop and hop. Then at least when I make the first hop and land I feel comfy again, but only if all forward momentum has disappeared.

I’m not sure what you are saying. I’m guessing you are thinking to much anyway.

This is an old video, but I think it shows the technique well, and will probably answer your question.

oh, that’s an awesome video!

the only thing missing still, is a video on the actual bunny hopping. see: