Dismounting with "Grace"

Sometimes my planned dismounts feel a little unco… And on occasions it kinda just happens smoothly.
Wondering are there any tricks to the trade to almost guaranteeing the graceful “planned” dismount … which looks and feels just so much mor cooler than the awkward ones… I ride a 36 thus a little more keen to hear from other 36 riders on this… Cheers…

In my humble opinion, the way to consistently dismount a big wheel “with grace” is to use the brake to do it. When you come up to the stop, lean back, clamp the brake, and step off (the back). Works perfectly every time.

I was about to comment with some amazing wisdom until I saw the 36er part. I ride a 36er, and I still seem to have some rough dismounts. Frankly, even after a few months, I’m still a little intimidated by it. I’m short at 5’ 7", and I feel like I’m too far up there, it goes way too fast, and it’s a long way to the ground. A lot of times I feel like I’m hitting the ground too hard when I rear dismount, and it hurts my legs a little. In those cases, my feet just seem to slap the ground. Sometimes I’m too tired to care and just seem to jump off backwards and whatever happens happens, but when I think of it and still have any leg strength left, I slow down almost to a crawl, then come to a stop and try to fall backwards as slowly as possible until my feet need to come off the pedals and land on the ground. If my legs are really tired, I plan way in advance and just start gradually slowing down until I can make a very controlled rear dismount, but it take a lot focus.

It just takes a lot of practice. It may not be fun to practice mounts and dismounts on the 36er, but it’s the best way to get good at it. I think it’s also important to gauge how much leg strength you have left and don’t wait until you’re legs are totally dead to try to dismount. When I first started riding the 36re there were times when my legs were so dead I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do much more than just fall or jump off the unicycle.

Another great reason I need to get a brake for my 36er! :slight_smile:

I don’t have a 36er.

On my 29 I find I’m harnessing the speed by stepping up on my brake leg while the wheel has some momentum left. As I step on it the energy released while back pedalling allows me to step up on my brake foot while lifting the other foot off the pedal and putting it on the ground behind the uni with a gentle touch.

So now maybe on your big wheel you could approach slowly where you want to dismount then give a power pedal with your right leg and then be ready to brake and step up on your left foot while taking your right foot off to step off behind.

The wheel will have a little momentum (but not too much) and start braking closer to 5 o’clock so your brake foot ends near 7 o’clock when your other foot touches the ground.

Hope that came out right.

I’m predominantly a 36er rider these days and don’t use a brake.

I’ve found the most graceful dismount is just to simply stop on the spot, lean back and take your front foot off. Basically a static free mount in reverse :smiley: Once you learn to control it well enough to do it slowly and intentionally rather than looking like you’re nearly falling over it’ll be nice and graceful!

Slightly less graceful but more cool looking is to slow down to an almost stop then bail off the back while holding onto the handlebars/saddle grip - land on both feet simultaneously like you planned to do it and you’ll look like a pro :sunglasses:

Any dismount from a unicycle that doesn’t involve bloodshed can be considered graceful.

JC was a master of elegance

I always enjoyed the elegance of style JC has on a big wheel. He freemounted my 43" Semcycle on his first try and these pictures are of his first couple minutes riding it. Also I’ve never caught JC dropping the unicycle or letting the seat hit.

Why would you ever want to dismount? Once you get up on it why not just keep riding forever?

The only time I regularly used my brake was to dismount in high gear on the 36. So I finally just decided the brake wasn’t worth maintaining and removed it. Made my life considerably simpler now.


1 Like

JC usually dismounts with disgrace.

In that first picture above, I’m pretty sure he’s doing a back jump mount.

The phrase “dismount gracefully with unicycle in front” comes from the IUF (10) Skill Levels. Those were written based on the assumption the person was riding a 20" or 24" wheel, which are sizes appropriate for all those other skills. Same as on the bigger wheels, you come to a stop with your pedals mostly level, but with the wheel a little bit in front of you. Take off the front foot and step intentionally to the ground. The idea of the graceful dismount is to demonstrate that you were stopping on purpose, and not falling off.

Never had a brake on any unicycle. My normal dismount is slow down, as my left foot starts to rise, I stop, leaning back slightly. Hold the front of the saddle, step down off the back onto my right foot. Works on any size including the 36. It’s all about low speed control and planning, working with the unicycle instead of against it.

Brake. Definitely the brake.

In 29 years’ riding I have owned around 13 unicycles in sizes from 20 to 36, and never had a brake. Brakes may well have their uses, but they are not necessary, or even important, to the simple act of getting off the unicycle elegantly.

Like others posting, I don’t have a 36, but I do have a couple of 29ers and don’t think I’ve ever used the brake for dismounting - as mentioned above, the smoothest method is effectively a reverse static mount (the actual sequence is to accelerate the wheel slightly so that you’re leaning back, then simply stop the wheel with your weight on the back pedal and step down). One of my 29ers is a guni and that method even works fine in high gear, with an effective 44" wheel size.

Over the years I’ve accumulated over 40 unicycles, and only as of this summer do I have a second one with a brake. Brakes are for riding downhill and are not needed for dismounting. All you need for dismounting is gravity.

I guess you need gravity to ride the unicycle also…

Practicing “super idles” didn’t do a whole lot for my ability to idle but it did help my dismounts. Having a good idea of when to start putting back pressure on the wheel, and how much it takes to stop with the pedals roughly level, seems to be a big key.

What is “super idle”?

I also dismount without using brakes, just by slowing down the wheel until it doesn’t spin anymore then I just do a reverse free mount, but I’d like to be able to use the brake as a tool to perform an emergency (and elegant) braking/dismount like Martin Charrier, Corbin Dunn, Simon Jan and others can do.
I guess I will try to learn it since I ride my g29 at speeds that are about the same as the ones I used to ride my foldable bike and the last time I had to stop quickly in high gear I just “performed” an emergency dismount by the rear at speed (leading to my only UPD fall on this g29 so far).