I’m older than you Andy, but I think the principles are the same for all ages and body types. A small light wheel with relatively long cranks is harder to do a static mount on because you have to be super careful not to put too much weight on the back pedal. A medium wheel is easy for a static mount. A downhill mounting situation makes a static mount very easy for most wheels. A large heavy wheel with short cranks makes it much harder (because of inertia) to do the corrective manoeuvres inevitably needed at the start of any mount, and makes it nearly impossible to do the rollback mount which is so easy on a small wheel. So the big wheel really needs some sort of “rolling mount”.
These rolling type of mounts take a bit of practice and probably everyone learns a slight idiosyncratic variation of the mount (different pedal positioning, stepping/jumping, seat holding/pushing, hopping after mount etc). My own method involves starting with the first pedal to be stepped on in the horizontal forward position or thereabouts, then pushing the seat and taking a step on to the pedal when it reaches a horizontal rear position or thereabouts (about half a revolution) followed immediately by a very quick step onto the other (forward) pedal, hopefully into a fairly balanced, slightly forward position enabling me to start riding straight away. You need to find out the best initial stance so your feet are in the right position (after a single stride) when the wheel comes around. When it works, it seems smooth and effortless (but rarely, every now and then, you might get the timing wrong, and step off).
I have come across other riders, including one with a Nimbus Hatchet, who had trouble with ordinary mounts, but use a brake assist mount which seems to involve a running push forward, then braking to allow momentum to carry you onto the saddle. It looks good and reliable, but personally I would prefer not to have to depend on the brake.
I reckon watching videos is the best way to get an idea of any mount (using the slow speed setting as needed), and then the good old “practice, practice, practice” to develop your own variation. Verbal descriptions of mounting technique seem full of ambiguities.
I tried asking chat GPT to describe a rolling mount, but it never seemed to get it right - guess it learned from ambiguous stuff in forums ;-).
But the I asked chat GPT a more general question and got the following response (I disagree about what it calls a “static mount”, by the way) :
Sure, I’d be happy to provide some advice on freemounting techniques for different unicycle sizes!
First, it’s important to note that freemounting can be a challenging skill to learn and it may take some time and practice to become proficient. However, with patience and persistence, most riders can master the technique.
When it comes to freemounting, the technique can be similar for different unicycle sizes, but there are a few key differences that are important to keep in mind.
For a 20-inch unicycle, which is often used for learning, the most common freemounting technique is the static mount. This involves placing one pedal in the down position and then hopping onto the unicycle while using the other foot to help stabilize the wheel.
For a larger unicycle such as a 29-inch muni or a 36-inch road unicycle, the rolling mount is often used. This involves running alongside the unicycle while stepping onto the pedals and then continuing to pedal forward. With a larger wheel, it can be more challenging to balance while hopping onto the unicycle, so the rolling mount allows for a smoother transition onto the wheel.
In general, the key to successful freemounting is to remain calm and focused, and to use a technique that works best for your particular unicycle and skill level. Some riders may prefer a different freemounting technique than the ones mentioned above, so it’s important to experiment and find what works best for you.
It’s also worth noting that freemounting can be a physically demanding technique, so it’s important to warm up properly before attempting it, and to take breaks as needed to avoid injury.
Overall, with patience, practice, and proper technique, riders can become proficient at freemounting their unicycles of different sizes and enjoy the freedom of being able to ride without the assistance of a wall or other support.