Free mounting for the age challenged

First post in ages! This thread is not for the 15 yr olds who free mount every 10 seconds or so, I envy you guys, so you are welcome to read the thread and find out what it will be like in about 40 years.
On a good day I can mount most size unicycles with different mounts but I have always found the 36 a problem. Sometimes when I have been riding in the bush I have had problems getting back on facing uphill or, downhill, or flat hill or whatever particularly when I am tired, “buggered in Aussy slang”. I have resorted to finding sticks in the bush as an aid. Once I get going no problems and I throw the stick away. Sometimes I have used the sticks to help me get uphill in the bush like XC skiing. I wondered for a few months if I could use my adjustable walking poles and today I gave one pole a go just messing about.
I found it was good fun, I could idle, mount different ways using the pole and that I could adjust it to a short length once riding and carrying it was not a problem. It has given me more confidence in riding the 36, as it avoids the occasional long walk to the nearest post. It will be also helpful in fending off snakes, dogs or unfriendly people. I will still try to free mount as much as possible which you can still so with the walking pole. Jeez a big comment:)
I would like to know the thoughts of other non purists freemounters

I use my uni-hockey stick as a pole. It gets more used as the hockey hour progresses and I get more tired! Fortunately, no dogs, snakes or unfriendly people encountered yet, but, at least, I am prepared.


How do you use the walking stick to help free mount? Would you post a video? I do not know what you do with it.

I find mounting uphill a challenge on a 36", and when I am tired everything feels like it is uphill.


I find mounting any size unicycle difficult facing uphill. I always face perpendicular to the trail to get a start. This can be a problem on single track. I’ll have to try the stick idea. I have an adjustable walking stick somewhere.

Mount on hills side ways and just hop to face up hill

Also if you are having grief mounting just do a tyre grab assisted mount.

Remember unicycling is all about a can do attitude, irrespective of age if you can hop up a step on your feet you can mount a uni. I struggled to learn freemounts so I really put the time in and I can mount anything on any surface and can do the majority of mounting styles now.

I refuse to use assistance when I freemount. It gets harder when I get tired and hills are definetly a challenge, but I usually get it after a couple of tries. I have mounted toward the decline of the hill and found a way to turn around more than once.

You could try this training technique. Many have told me that it has worked very effectively for them. Although you’re not making an omelet, you still may have to break a few eggs, lol! :smiley:

Or mount to hop facing up the hill, but don’t worry about getting over the wheel, just hop it back underneath you. Admittedly I’m almost 20 years younger than some on this thread, but I’ve yet to find a hill I can start riding from hopping that I can’t manage to mount facing up the hill using that technique.

Is mounting sideways and hopping around actually any easier? I realised that method was one way to get on, but sorted hopping the wheel back under me facing up the hill before I could reliably start rolling from hopping on a climb, so haven’t ever really tried it.

The alternative which I was doing before I learnt to start by hopping is the rolling mount - should really do a bit more practice at that as I’ve pretty much stopped using it, and I’m sure in some situations it would work better.


As a “non purists” I agree with you and have also had many a “buggered” day. I have also been with purist who could no longer freemount but insisted they must only freemount. Usually I never freemount when it’s not nesessary. Not that I can not freemount but what’s the point? This frustrates others as much as they frustrate me when they insist on being “buggered purist”.

‘Ride The Lobster’ was an exercise in “buggered purist”. I don’t think I freemounted once during the actual race. Only practice mounts before and after.

I did many of my century rides without a single freemount even though I can sometimes clipless freemount my 36 a couple dozen times in a row without missing a mount.

Non-freemounts are only “cheating” to the “buggered purist”.


Interesting. My static mount is definitely non-purist - I tend to have a slight roll forwards in the wheel before I jump up, which means I can put a little bit of weight on the back pedal. At least that’s the case on the 19er with 125s and the 26er with 150s which are what I do most of my riding on - on the 29er with 125s I find I have to make a conscious effort to put some weight on the back pedal to stop the uni shooting off in front of me. I’ve also just bought a Schlumpf 29er with 150s - had my first go on that today, and found I had to put a lot of weight on the back pedal to get up in high gear - after a couple of tries I found it was actually really easy to get on, as my slight forward roll of the wheel meant I could pretty much just step up on the back pedal. At least getting on was OK - still trying to get my head round riding off in high gear!

I can usually do a rolling mount uphill but if it’s too steep I try across the track and if that fails I just walk till I find a spot where I can get on again.
So Mal, are you planning to ride the 36’er in the movember ride? I was thinking of taking my 29 so I can get up Skeleton Hill.

bunjeejoe, you seem to like our slang, I think the word might not be used the same way in different countries. I rode with a guy on a trip; he rode really well over the 500k and did not do one freemount, Thanks guys for the comments, I guess the next form of assistance would be a bike…but not going there for a while.
Gabe, I will be riding a 29 at Chiltern for the same reason. I have never made it up Skeleton Hill on anything but a 29 is good for the tracks. Is there any one else coming up? maybe a new thread.

Mal, I reckon the walking poles are a great idea and will give them a go as well. After watching many youtubes on the 36 I found I can just stand on the rear pedal and easily push up onto the seat. At my weight 76kgs or so the size of uni seems to resist moving either forward or backwards. I like others do find it hard to get started uphill the more tired I get. I did find learning to free mount was much easier if I practiced on a gentle down slope. Geoff

When i read about the idea about mounting (and riding) with the aid of a walking stick i immediately remembered this poster.



Oh great. I even have a couple of parrots, though I’ve never ridden with them on my shoulder. I guess that will be coming soon.

I am a hoping master :stuck_out_tongue: so a side mount and 90 degree hop is mega easy

I can front static mount up most hills but when I am knacked at the end of a 20 mile’r I might side mount, or do a jump mount as I find them pretty easy as well (or a suicide mount if I am feeling flash :p)

I have yet to do a kick up mount like I do on my trials on the 29er

I’m a tree hugger, literally, if there is a tree and I come to stop, I hold onto it without dismounting, and if there is a tree when I’m mounting I will grab the tree for an assist.

I spent the past week in the land of rock and sand, few trees for this tree hugging guy, so I had to free mount a bunch and it sucked, or should I say I sucked :roll_eyes:

I find that the bigger the wheel, the more kick back I need to mount. Mounting when tired is harder, the bigger wheels are harder, so try giving yourself a little extra kick back for starts.

Also consider going into a hop if your mount gets “stuck” in the up position without enough torque to move forward.

Worst case scenario, start practicing free mounts, maybe even learn a different style of mounting.

I was amazed how many riders used a tree like Ben to mount up on the New Mexico trails this past weekend. No shame in that, I was just not used to it. These same people cleared sections I didn’t even try. :slight_smile:

I learned free mounting by starting off with curb mounting. (using a sidewalk curb to block the wheel from going backwards as you jump on.) I will still use a curb on the 36er if one is close by.

I’m an old guy too and learned the rolling mount recently to get on the 36er. I still have trouble on an uphill, but I learned to use that seat handle to pull the seat in to me as I concentrate all power to the first pedal off (in my case my right leg)

But, as has been mentioned before, just practice, and practice more, and it WILL come.

Are you using folding or telescopic poles? Seems like they would be to short to mount a 36er. I’ve never tried a stick mount. Very creative! I’m a non-purist. I’ll lean on a mailbox (the brick ones are my favorite) riding my 36er around town. When there is nothing to lean on, I can freemount (rolling mount on a slight downhill) though it has gotten tougher since I switched to shorter cranks. My 29er and 26er both have long cranks so I can static mount them without incident. But, when I’m on them, I’m in the woods where there plenty of trees to hug.

When I do freemount it is often just to get me to an assisted mount spot unless I can maneuver my feet squarely on the pedals which is not easy with 5.10 Stealth rubber and pinned SpeedPlay Drilliums. Perhaps that’s why I like those huge platforms. I need only get my foot in the general vicinity of that left pedal to be able to limp to the next mounting spot.

You do a side mount on your muni on the trails? :astonished: What’s the advantage of a side mount over a static mount in that situation - or do you just mean a static mount facing sideways? I also presume that if you do mean a side mount you actually mean a leg-around mount (I think that’s the correct term?) if you’re going straight into hop, as starting to hop from cranks at 12 and 6 as you get with a classic side mount seems kind of tricky! I have to admit I don’t have any problem at all with doing a 90 degree hop, just that it’s something I’ve never really tried given I worked out my other technique before the point I could reliably use that.

When you say you front static mount up most hills, but not when tired, are you using the same technique as me? So far I’ve never failed to get on, and never felt that I was struggling for energy to do so. Rather than try to get over the wheel to ride, or even on top of the wheel, I simply get far enough up to be able to put in a hop, and hop the wheel backwards underneath me.

Oh, and apologies for this little sidetrack - I have to admit I quite like the idea of carrying a pole to help with riding - I can see it coming in handy in situations other than mounting. Having had a go at uni-hockey I was amazed at how much help it was possible to get using the hockey stick as a support.