Dismounting/Breaking bad habits

Hi guys,

In need of some advice. I have been riding for about 2 years i think, and from the get-go i got into a bad habit with my dismounts. I always come off from the front, rather than the correct, and more controlled in appearance, rear dismount.
I have been trying to practice rear dismount and i can occassionally do it but only from stationary and even then it involves a lot of consentration.
Does anyone know of any ‘trick’ i can use whilst trying to re-train myself in to learning the correct method.
(havent worried up until now, because i never wanted to put a handle bar on the front, but now i do)

Any help would be greatly appreciated

If you can’t dismount by gracefully stepping off the back of your unicycle, you should not dismount at all.

Dismounting off the back is easier than mounting the darn thing. When on a bigger wheel (36) I take 10 metres within I want to dismount. It always takes a few slow rotations to feel I can get off the back, but occasionally I don’t get the feel and hop off the front dragging the uni behind me. With middle size wheels, I need fewer distance and maybe 1-2 rotations to step off. When mounting I have my right foot on the pedal first and when dismounting, I have my right foot on the pedal last as well, hence why I need an extra rotation often.
What my help is try to make a stand still, like when you learn to hop. When you can come to a stand still of just a few moments, then you can also gracefully glide off the back.

Hi nick I was in the same position with having picked up bad habits after years of riding.

i found that if you try and ride,stop to dismount then you will go off the front, I found when riding stop fully whilst leaning backwards,make sure weight is fully on your bottom pedal and step off the back with other foot.

i spent time just mounting with a short ride then dismount off the back. I also tell myself backwards when I stop, it takes time to get out of bad habits but good luck.

You can “only” dismount from the front. So, you don’t have control or ability to dismount from the back? This is very curious. Can you write more about your riding abilities? The only way I can conceive how you do this is that you must be “freezing” your legs. So, then this causes everything to “rocks forward”. Then you dismount. Is that the case? How about just letting the unicycle go and simply jumping off of it from the rear? That would be my starting point of “forcing control” to be able to do a rear dismount. Keep on.


Try riding up to a sign post slowly, grab the post with either hand, and now step off the back while continuing to pedal forward. Grab the seat with your free hand.
Try this with both hands, both feet, and then take the post out of the equation.

Once you get the motion, you can start slowing things down for a more controlled dismount.


Dismounting off the back does look better with more control but do not worry about dismounting off the front just because you have a handle bar. Unless you have a really wide (and unsafe) handlebar, dismounting off the front is not any more of a problem then without a handle bar. The uni and handle bar just rotates down in front and does not cause a problem. The same its true if doing a planned dismount or a UPD off the front, not a problem. Just do not to a dismount off the front like this.

The reason i think i cant seem to dismount from the back is because i believe, when trying to lean back and get off, my body stops myself because it thinks its gonna fall so leans forward, even though my head is telling it to lean back.
I ride mostly MUNI and started riding distance (or trying to) in the country side and country lanes and so have very little to hold on to. So sign posts trees etc… arent able to help me much, just stinging nettles and curb side grass
I can bunny hop but not idle or ride backwards yet.

Great photo Jim! hahaha

As far as actual tips to do it… your front foot is the one that comes off the pedal, and goes to the ground. And the back foot stays on the pedal. You can “stand” on that back pedal a little because the downward force from your foot is balanced out by your forward momentum, and your weight on the seat as you lean back.

So here’s a couple of ideas you can try to get the feel of it:

  • try it on a downhill. You’ll naturally have your weight on the back pedal to counter the slope, and it will be easier to take the front foot off.

  • if you have a brake, and since you can hop, you can try locking your brake between hops, and then just stand on the back pedal as you take your front foot off and step back.

  • it’s a whole lot like a static mount, only backwards. If your mount is solid (so you can do it in slow motion), you can try starting the mount, not quite putting your front foot on the pedal, and then putting the foot back on the ground where you started. You’ll need to keep weight on the seat, either by pushing on the handle, or sitting. It’ll be easier on a small wheel.

Breaking bad habits is hard. I was taught that you need to do a movement 10x more often correctly then you did it incorrectly to relearn it the correct way. I’m not sure if that is correct (my experience says no), and if it applies here. Either way, doing it correctly a lot of times is pretty much the only way forward.

If you can hop, you easily have the necessary control to step of the back. Trouble is, it seems to have gotten into your head that you can’t. You’ll have to shut that part of, forget those doubts, and do it.

Thank you! As always, repetition is key… was thinking at the time, since my body wouldn’t lean forward if I lifted the back foot off and pushed it behind me that would lever me into coming off the back, but this only worked occasionally, and certainly wasn’t graceful.

You just need to learn how to stop without being scared. This sounds like it’s what’s happening now. The best way to approach this is to learn to idle. Idling is useful in many situations, though bumpy trails are usually not one. Idling teaches you the transition from forward to backward, from forward to stopped, from backward to stopped, etc. Basically gets you to understand how to move the uni under you for a much better range of control. THAT can be very useful on technical trail riding.

What happens in a rear dismount is you ride to a stop. As you will learn, any good stop ends with your feet more or less level, rather than one up/one down. That’s because, from that position it’s hard to get going again. To step off the rear, your back foot is the one that stays on. So, rather than coming to a perfectly balanced stop, you need to stop with the wheel a little in front of you (the scary part). Once you figure out that the rear foot has the power in stopping, all you have to do is stop with that foot, and then step off with the other. :slight_smile:

Dismounting off the back feels instinctive, so it’s hard to analyse. I remember a time when it wasn’t, but I can’t remember what it felt like then!

I sometimes do this thing where I stamp down hard on the forward (*) pedal as it comes up, to stop the rotation. When I do that, my body goes backward and a rear dismount is the only possible outcome. I’m not quite sure which foot hits the ground first in this situation, but I think I take my rear foot off the other pedal and bring it back to meet the ground.

  • Now that I think about it, it must be the rear pedal, but when I visualise the action I think it’s the forward one. I’ll have to do it tomorrow and try to pay attention to what I’m doing.
  • Now that I think about it, it must be the rear pedal, but when I visualise the action I think it’s the forward one. I’ll have to do it tomorrow and try to pay attention to what I’m doing.

Loving those suggestions John and Richard!!! Also great ways of looking at the problem, I never thought about having my feet flat when getting off the unicycle, always had the ‘backfoot’ at 6’oclock and the front foot at 12’oclock. By keeping them level this should also help me learn the rolling hop as well (at a later date), as from what i can see, this foot position is key for that as well. I briefly tried to learn to idle but only managed a couple of hours without much success, will have to put some more time aside for that as well.
I liked the back foot slap on the peddle, seems a good trick and might give that a go along with Johns point about the level feet (mentioned earlier)

As suggested before, if you have a brake it’s pretty easy to teach yourself this dismount. And then it translates well into doing it without the brake.

Edit Unimyra you’re doing it with the brake on this video of yours, correct?

I remember what it felt like - it’s what John mentioned “the scary part” - the leaning back position. I remember it as having to lean back much more than I felt comfortable with before putting one foot to the ground. Maybe you have the same feeling?
Best regards, Sanne