Free mounting hardships

I do hope somebody with a lot of free mount experience could shed a little clarity on the problem I am having.
I have never been a very good free mounter on a 20" many years back, or more recently on another 20" then a 24". I have raised and lowered the seat a fair bit as an experimental journey into comfortable riding positions, and so on. I now feel in some way happier on the 24" now, but since my first experience way back in early 1990’s, I have lost the use of my left eye (2010). I have overcome the tendency to lurch off to the right on take off, in fact I may even have over compensated for it and now tend to zoom off to the left, but that tendency is not a big problem. No, my problem is that my stronger leg seems to be the left one, although I am right handed…?? I am not sure that makes any difference… no, it is when I try to lift the foot onto the pedal on mounting, which tends to result in often missing the aim by varying amounts. This is purely down to eye deficiency. My question, is… after a long time carrying out free mounting, does the aiming of the foot go into the brain like muscle memory i.e. without looking at where your feet are…??? I am not getting it right at all and it is getting me down as I seem to walk just as far as I ride, in order to remount…!! :thinking: :o :astonished:

Well, first, it’s not unusual at all to be right-handed, but be left-foot-dominant. That’s how it is with me, and also a number of other riders I have seen/known.
Second, getting your secondary foot into the correct place is a matter of doing it enough times that it becomes muscle memory. As for myself, I don’t know how many thousands of times I’ve mounted (on any size wheel), and I still frequently get bad foot placement. It just happens. Most of the time you can just move the foot slightly until it’s in the correct spot, but occasionally (like if it’s right in the middle of a sketchy single-track section) I just stop and re-mount. Easier.
So, basically, it’s like everything else unicycle-related: just do it a million times and you got it!
(Sorry to hear about the eye thing, but glad to hear it isn’t holding you back!) (One of my very good unicycling friends is legally blind in one eye, but she’s still a very good uni rider!)

Slight sidetrack, but I’m curious how people define “dominant foot”. I think of myself as left foot dominant, and I prefer my left foot forward when I’m hopping, and mount with my left foot on the pedal first.

And on the bike I’m left foot forward, ditto for snowboard.

But in KH’s book he defines the dominant foot as the one he keeps BACK when he’s hopping. Is that the norm?

[and for the original poster - you’ll figure it out, soon enough. I sometimes have trouble briefly when I switch from a wheel with 125mm cranks to 150mm, and trouble clicking in on the bike (175 mm and a different foot position) when I switch to that, but I get the feel for the new one in a few minutes.]

If it helps, I am positively right footed. I kick with the right foot and naturally jump (not on the uni) off my left. Mounting the uni is easier with the right foot first and jumping the uni is easier with right foot back. I think that is the norm, but I also know a fair number of people who are goofy footed. For snowboarding, I believe leading with the left foot is normal as opposed to goofy.

Hopefully I didn’t give any misinformation.

edit: You sound like a righty who just learned to mount lefty. If you were standing and were to jump in the air and spin, which direction would you spin?

Regina, muscle memory a large part of it. I would just spend a little time specifically practicing free mounting. Practice with both feet too. One side may feel unnatural, but its usually not too bad to overcome. It may even end up being easier as you won’t need to retrain any old habits (which may or may not be playing a part).

Quote : edit: You sound like a righty who just learned to mount lefty. If you were standing and were to jump in the air and spin, which direction would you spin…

Interesting question there, well I just tried it and I can go both ways, it makes no difference to me. A weird thing about losing binocular vision means the brain takes about three months, to sort of acclimatise itself to monocular vision. Hence the shifting off at an angle when I start off. I can correct that easily. but this free mounting is a nightmare. But as LanceB says, muscle memory is the key, and that answers my question really, although my memory is not what it once was. I must simply keep trying until I crack it one supposes.
Thanks for the replies though, it helps to know I 'aint losing my marbles with frustration… !!

I mount with the left pedal back, my left foot on the pedal. Unless it’s a rolling mount, but even then I time it so the left pedal is back, and I hit it with my left foot first. I hop with my left foot back, just like a mount. I can do both of these things with my right foot back, but it’s not the “natural” position (for me), and I have to work at it.

Tomorrow I fully intend to have a serious go at this as it is holding me back. I recall a friend trying to learn the same thing about twenty years back and sending the uni right through his conservatory window backwards… I didn’t laugh much though… :roll_eyes:

I’ve been riding conistently for two years and still hesitate when I mount my 29er. Rode my 20" the other day in an effort to learn hopping and had no problems free mounting.

At this point I have several great routes around town that I frequently ride and know where I should stop to either do an assisted mount or make free mounting easier. I’ve also learned the timing of several intersection lights and will slow down or speed up accordingly. Same for busy intersections without lights.

So keep at it. You’ll probably get better or find ways to cope.

Overcompensating is often a good way to zero in on a problem when you realize you’re doing the same thing over and over.

Yes. Even if you have more than one unicycle, as long as you ride them regularly. So how to get to that place? Focus on it. Spend some time just doing mounting drills. Ride a set distance, do a controlled dismount and go again. If you only mount so you can continue riding, it will take a lot longer to refine that mount. It needs attention as well.

Try doing it with the opposite foot. This will give you a fresh perspective of what your body is doing, and can be applied back to the original side. Learn to idle. This will probably also help a lot, especially if you are doing a rollback-type mount. If you aren’t doing rollbacks, you should learn that method as well, as it’s good practice. A rollback mount is where your starting foot pushes the pedal down and past the bottom, putting the empty pedal in front. You can either pull the top pedal back with that second foot, or wait until the empty pedal presents itself in front. So it’s kind of like a partial idle before you take off.

My dominant foot is the one in back when I’m hopping. I don’t think this is necessary, but I think of the rear foot as the control one when hopping. This may be different for big (Trials) or forward hopping. I am chronically a righty. Right-handed and right-footed. I mount with my right foot, one-foot with my right foot and hop with right foot back. If that doesn’t fit with Kris Holm’s approach, I’m sure he knows what he’s talking about. But I’ve been riding longer than him. :slight_smile:

You know what they say about unicyclists who live in glass houses… :sunglasses:

When I was learning to freemount I would rotate through 4 slightly different mounts.
1-right hand saddle/left foot first
2-left hand saddle/right foot first
3-left hand saddle/left foot first
4-right hand saddle/right foot first
Keep rotating through these and you will develop ambidextrously.
Then you can pick up you uni with any hand from any angle and just jump on and go.
I think bad habits can develop if you only use one side.

Which is a lot of where this “dominant foot” thing comes from. I’m not convinced that for most people it is that strong an inbuilt bias, simply due to learning. It’s certainly quite possible to also learn to do things the other way - and as mentioned quite handy for a unicyclist to be ambidextrous.

I have to admit that I can still only mount one way (for my normal static mount, can just about manage a rollback mount with both feet), but I can hop either way round or hold the handle with either hand (for hopping or mounting). I actually mainly use my left hand on the handle and a lot more comfortable with that despite being right handed - I even started off using my right hand on the handle, but as I’ve got a chronic wrist injury I realised that might be a problem long term so taught myself the other way. So if you work on it I’m sure it’s possible to overcome foot or hand dominance. At least I don’t think I’m that unusual in being able to do that - we’re talking about fairly coarse control here rather than fine movements.

Sorry for going all OT, but we do seem to have veered off into discussing foot dominance!

A hard fought battle with every limb I possess yesterday, my inner thighs are a tad sore as a result. To be honest, I tried every which way, and none have proved any better than any other, but I did secure a half decent free mount and off riding quite nicely, so it does prove that practice makes perfect I trust. Which foot/arm, leg is dominant is anybody’s guess now, but I shall strive to better myself. I seem to have gone back to veering off to the right again though… ??? I have to say this entire learning curve is a whole lot of selfish fun isn’t it…??

You should also practice different mounts, I found it helped me when I was learning. I would practice the Roll Back mount for a while until I would just be completely over it. Then I would practice the Static Mount. Or vice-versa.

And one day my brain clicked on the Roll Back and understood the whole “choreography” of it - when to apply pressure on your pedal, when to transfer weight to the saddle, and most importantly, when to look ahead of you and not at your foot. That last point being much more important than it sounds, you want to look ahead as soon as your second foot hits the pedal.

Thanks for the advice, as I said, I am trying everything short of jumping off the roof onto the uni, but I am seriously striving now to put all this help into practice, and for that I thank all you guys for answering my cry for help… !!