I just scored a 6 foot giraffe, and mounting the thing using a wall is very difficult and scary for me. I am using the technique I have seen on this forum and around on the web, I have serious trouble getting my second foot up and on without making the seat really low. I was wondering if you all had any tips. Also how long did it take those of you who free mount them to learn that?
I think riding the thing is an absolute blast. I have this uneasy and exhilerating feeling that reminds me of learning to ride a bicycle for the first time as a kid. I don’t know why so many people don’t like these things. I have plans to make some new gears on our waterjet cutter that make it act like a 24,26, and dare I say 36 inch unicycle so that it would be more feasible to ride to class.
I think more people don’t like these things because they aren’t the easiest unicycle in the world to freemount. It also means you have to ride in a limited area if you DON’T learn to freemount.
You mentioned using a wall in your first sentence. Try using a chain link fence, it’s much, much easier.
When freemounting, try putting the seat about an inch lower than you would for normal riding. Wear pants that are tight (like sweats or bicycling shorts) that don’t sag in the crotch. Loose pants tend to snag the back of the seat. Tuck your shirt in for the same reason. If it is a rubber Semcycle seat, put an athletic sock over the back of it to reduce the friction while sliding over the back.
I mount weak (left) footed because the chain is on the strong (right) side. I will describe the way I mount it (omitting the several falls and focussing on the successes) and you may interchange left and right. Stand behind the giraffe and hold the seat post with your right hand and the front of the seat with your left hand. Lean the giraffe slightly forward with the left pedal almost completely down but rotated so that when you stand on it it tends to move the giraffe forward. Place your right foot on top of the tire and wedged against the back of the frame. Sway…feel the point at which everything is positioned just right. Step up on the tire with your right foot. Step on the down pedal with your left foot. Release your grip on the seatpost and swing your right leg over the seat and shove it under you from the front while stepping on the right pedal. SIT DOWN ON THE SEAT. Go forward, idle, or go backward depending on how you ended up on top. In short, do anything necessary to stay up. Repeat lots of times while optimizing the initial angle of the giraffe with respect to the ground and the position of the down pedal with respect to vertical. Alter the position at which you start to compensate for the direction you fall. This includes how far you stand behind it, how the pedals are rotated, the leaning angle (forward), the sway angle (side to side), and whether you lunge slightly forward when you start the first step (like I do) or step straight up.
I fell off 30 times before I landed one. I have had three one hour practice sessions and I’m nailing over half of my mounts now. Sometimes I get three in a row. I practice in a 1.5 meter square so I have made it intentionally VERY difficult to succeed. One side goes down a VERY STEEP driveway into my garage, one side goes down the other side of the driveway into the street. The front and back are on the sidewalk but the backside takes me into low tree branches. It is much easier to learn in a wide open, flat, smooth area which will allow you to go any direction you want without running into a barrier. That does not force you to learn to go straight however.
Good luck. I hope this helps. I can now run errands on my giraffe and take 3 mile rides on it. Someone with considerably more experience than me will undoubtedly refine the description I just presented to you. I advise you to listen to them.
And PLEASE tuck those sholaces in. Your chain wants to eat them and send you to the ground on the gravity express. Don’t play that game.
Thanks! It sounds like free mounting is at least reasonable from your discription. I hope I catch on even half as fast as you did. I had planned for a practice session this weekend. I hadn’t thought of the shoelaces thing, so I’ve been lucky so far. I won’t rely on luck any more. I can’t wait to start riding this thing around!
Harper had a good explanation of freemounting. The most important thing I can add is this: don’t dilly-dally! Once you leave the ground, get to the top and sit down ASAP. And like Harper said don’t wear pants that are baggy in the crotch or loose in the cuffs because the chain has a nasty habit of grabbing that cuff (or shoelace) and causing unexpected and violent dismounts.
I ride a 5-foot Landis giraffe that I learned to freemount with a 80% success rate after a few months.
I aslo ride a homebuilt 9-footer which I freemount with a 100% success rate. (If anybody believes that one, I have a wonderful piece of real-estate I’d like to sell them, right in the middle of a swamp) Actually, I mount the 9-footer using a ladder and have never even attempted to freemount it. (I didn’t even weld steps onto the frame when I built it)
I love riding my 5-footer and find I get more comments riding it than on my other uni’s.
I will tell you WHAT. Riding the 5 ft isn’t hard if you already have the concept of riding a unicycle down. BUT MOUNTING this is another thing. I have been pulling myself up on this uncycle using something else. I am trying to learn to free mount it the way you are saying and it is HARD
I still can’t do it. BUT Ijust started also. IT IS HARD FOR SURE
I will quote UniBrier’s sig file:
“If something’s hard to do, then it’s not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we’ll go inside and watch TV.” - Homer
Not the blind, Greek, epic poet Homer, the TV cartoon Homer.
I haven’t seen a video of anyone doing this mount but I believe it is the most common freemount technique for a giraffe. You should be able to stand there looking at the uni and picture how it can be done. Then you start climbing and failing over and over again making small adjustments each time. Then you get it.
The 1-2-3, rolling, and climb-the-uni mounts are seen on One Wheel No Limit. Also, one-foot-seat-in-front riding and the like!
Until you can freemount
Try using a telephone pole. They’re readily available and it’s easy to lean your giraffe (sideways) just slightly to get a stable hold. When I was a teen I used this method to mount with a big gulp in my hand. I used to ride 3 miles each way to 7-11, sometimes in the dark, on a 6 ft Schwinn. Watch out for splinters and get REALLY comfortable before you try riding backwards. I’ve fallen flat on my back on more than one occasion, at a fairly high rate of speed no less.
Re: Freemounting Giraffes
But, don’t rush it. My success rate went way up when I slowed down just a little bit. Apparently I was mounting so quickly that I was actually throwing my balance off. So, if you are consistently getting to the top of the uni, but having a hard time catching your balance once there, consider mounting a bit more slowly/smoothly.
Another option for your technique:
I might add,
(And only if you are skilled at hopping gently,)
I have learned to prefer to mount with pedals at 12 & 6 oclock, and then immediately after getting over the seat, I hop and spin pedals to 9 and 3 position.
This becomes super effective if you choose to gear up your uni.
Beware that you only hop gently though… most girrafes arent built like muni’s.
I ride a numbus performer , whell geared to effective 24" or 36" depending on my preference.
This is still my favorite giraffe free mount tutorial video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zslq264z1g
It’s old, but not as old as this thread!
That’s a nice tutorial for a rolling/running/catapult mount, which is relatively easy to do up to about a 5’ giraffe. If you’re learning at the 6’ level, I don’t recommend that as a learning method, because it puts a lot more strain on the giraffe’s frame, as well as yourself. Better to be comfortable with a more static freemount first, as it takes a big commitment to power into a running mount on a taller giraffe.
I have a 5ft and can rolling mount any of my lower unis (20"-29") so having seen that video before I thought that might be the way to learn to freemount mine. Is it as easy to learn as the static method described above?
Though I probably need to sort out riding backwards first (still working on that on a normal uni!)
Get comfortable with idling before working on the running mount. Hint: it’s easier to learn on a giraffe!
Thanks for revitalizing this thread. I tried out my giraffe for the first time in a few months since having a minor wrist injury, and successfully static freemounted 5 times today! Pretty pumped up about it given my utter failures on my previous practice session. Looking forward to riding the giraffe around my neighborhood soon!