I had a few minutes this morning and the weather was clear so I gave my new 36" a try. Largest I had riden before was a 24". I went about 50 feet then over the front I went. It wasn’t pretty, I am fine , but I sure wish I had a video of it. What surprised me was how much time I had before I hit the ground. Man that thing is tall. I tried again and had another UPD over the front.
UPD’s off the back I can handle.
How can I get better at UPD’s over the front so I don’t land hands first?
My best advice as far as having an UPD off the front of a 36er (or any unicycle for that matter), is to let the unicycle take the fall, and when you are going fast, just try to run it out as best you can.
Sounds like the problem is you thinking that by staying on the unicycle you are saving it. When you UPD you are going down, not planned. If you can grab the unicycle (much easier done to the rear on a 36") do it but otherwise let it fall between your legs and sail forwards running. I’ve come off at 20-25km/h a lot of times, always landing on my feet apart from a couple of trouser-lace tangles.
If you are worried about an expensive handle being broken, leave the bar ends slightly loose- firm enough to hold onto but they will move in a crash. My KH T-bar handle snapped but only after a couple of years of riding and crashing and letting people use my unicycle. I tell non-riders not to hold the handle when attempting to mount my 36" but they usually don’t listen and yank on it.
Start doing some intentional dismounts off the front so that when it happens unexpectedly your reflexes will hopefully kick in and you will land safely. Being the captain of a sinking ship (unicycle) and going down with it is worse than an UPD it is a crash! UPD is where you land on your feet- un-planned-dismount.
I know where you are coming from. I hurt my wrist really bad teaching myself to mount mine.
Are you using the handle bars? I would say not too until you need them.
Knowing that you’re going to dismount helps so you can get off sooner instead of waiting till the last second. Like you said, it can seem like a long time, espessially if you are going slow.
I also think trying not to dismount too slowly is good or you could tip to the side, which is much worse than front or back when you get tangled.
Getting off right away means not holding onto the handle till it is already underneath you. This means you have to trust your $1000 investment was worth it and that at worst you will only scratch the pedals and seat bumpers a bit. Holding onto the hadle bars is much worse than the seat, so again just leave them off till you need them.
I just started riding a 36in. uni. Keeping your butt/hips firmly on the seat will really help not going over the front. I visualize this. I might lean my upper body forward but I make sure my hips/butt is right over the wheel and is not tilted forward. My two cents worth.
I would highly suggest forearm/elbow and also wrist guards. Also make sure your saddle isn’t too high, which can make it more difficult to fall clear of the uni, and not get the saddle caught between your legs!
I was praticing mounting and dismounting (without pedaling) and notice that it appears my shoes seem to stick to the pedals to much. My previous uni had pedals that were just rubber on both side. This uni has the studs that stick up and seem to hold my shoes longer. I think if I can get my feet off the pedals a few nano seconds faster my UPD’s would be a little better. Anyone else feel that?
So I looked at the Impulse on UDC, and it comes with the standard nimbus pedals. If you feel these are too grippy, the steel pins are removable, so you can adjust how much they stick to your shoes. If this does not do the trick for you, I would reccomend some Animal Hamilton PC Pedals. I use them on my 36er and they work great, give good grip, but also fairly easy to move your feet. Also, they come in cool colors.
Drop the seat, remove the bars, put on some pads, don’t worry about the uni hitting the ground, and learn how to get off the uni:
Falling backwards is baaaad, you have less balance backwards and you are more likely to hurt your back, neck, and head. Falling forwards is better because you can run out of your fall and or roll.
Getting off a uni is easy, just jump! You can use the pedals and seat as a means to propel yourself off the uni, this “platform” lets you stabalize yourself as you UPD, but you need to let go of the uni and let it crash. It won’t hurt the uni, you can replace the bumper and pedals if they get scratched.
The handle is not necessary for learning to ride a 36er, just use the seat grab until you become more stable. Drop the seat so you don’t feel so far off the ground.
+1 my Impulse has Speedway Drilliums and it feels like being clipped in to my 125/110’s when I wear my 5.10 Impacts. I had the same doubts as OP thinking I needed to get my feet off the pedals in a hurry and I did take the occasional face plant in the beginning but I would have to say “too much grip” has gotten me out of a lot of trouble with the cracks in the sidewalk. Crashes happen when your feet slip. Keep the pins in! The Wellgo clear polycarbonate with blue anodized steel pins on my KH36 allow a little bit of movement to adjust feet for shifting.
Ok, leave the handlebar on, but you probably do not want to use it until you are already comfortable riding. If the handlebar is intimidating you could remove it and the disk brake hardware for a while. Trust me, you will not be hitting the brake anytime soon.
Have fun with it. The 36" unicycles are a blast to ride, but they take a bit of getting used to.