Freemounting a giraffe

I actually tried your method at one time, and I was having a lot of trouble with it. I might go back to that. When I learned to ride my 24", I basically made my self comfortable with riding it before I tried to freemount, but this giraffe might be a bit different.

I too have been learning to freemount my giraffe. I was told the tire step method was the easiest to learn. Also told to practice in grass, softer the better, until I could get up on the seat consistantly. Once able to get to the seat then move to harder surfaces. I’m now about 50% to the seat.
Falling without getting hurt allows me to concentrate on the mount, not the pain I would surely encounter if I was on blacktop:D

I cant seem to get myself on the seat once I get up on the tire. It just doesnt feel natural.

I can freemount my giraffe approximately 1/4 tries. It took me about 20 minutes of solid practice. I didn’t get any freemounts at all until I finally decided to look at it as a jump with the foot on the tire. Once I began jumping with my tire foot, I was able to freemount in the next few tries.

So I’m basically gonna have to grow some stones and go for it huh?

If putting food on the wheel isn’t working, how about attaching a stick to the front of the seat, and hanging a carrot from that? :smiley:

Yes and no. While obviously the mount is more complicated, it still helps a lot to be very comfortable riding it first. The more solid you are on the cycle, the easier it is to ride away from a sketchy mount. For best results, learn to idle and go backwards on it. Freemounting is like riding away from idling, so if you can idle you will be much more comfortable with the idea.

No it doesn’t. Also, it’s a lot more awkward trying to mount while holding onto something with one hand, like a post, because it makes you and the uni rotate around. Getting yourself up onto the seat is a lot harder than doing it in the open with no support.

Sometimes the old threads have the best write-ups. Why write it all again if it’s already been posted? Try those methods. I will add my own tip for the successful mount, which is the order:

[LIST=1]

  • Tire
  • Pedal
  • Leg over the seat
  • Other pedal [/LIST] Most learners miss #3. Then they get stuck riding awkwardly around while they try to jam the seat into their crotch. When you stand up on the first pedal, stand up tall, raise or other leg and bring yourself over the seat. As you sit down, slap that top pedal 1/4 revolution to the rear, and you'll be positioned to ride away forward.
  • This guy makes it look so easy.
    Maybe it really is.

    It is for him. But notice he explains the process he went through when learning. A rolling/walking mount requires that you commit for it to work. You need momentum and to not wimp out, and once you get used to the idea it’s actually pretty easy on a short giraffe like his. The higher the pedals are, the more momentum and power it takes to make it work.

    His video is very nice and clear. I tried looking up marksvideotips.com, but it looks like it’s no longer a site. :frowning:

    One thing you can skip from his instructions is the positioning of the cranks before you start rolling. Doesn’t matter where they are, though putting the pedal the way you will want it is useful. The jump up to that first pedal is the main hard part. Also, notice he is using idling as part of the skillset for that mount to be easy and controlled.

    Over my life I have always been pretty good at learning physical skills I am over sixty and, I fear, not so fast on the learning anymore. I took three weeks (THREE WEEKS!) of constant and committed practice on my own before I managed to ride my first few metres in control. Yet I managed to The Stationary mount is supposed to be easier to learn and less likely to crack the stationary free-mount four days after I first got on my giraffe and entirely from you tube.

    From that I would infer strongly that it is not really as difficult as you may believe. And certainly one day with zero progress is pretty much what I felt too.

    Some observations on the excellent video above:

    First note that he is first doing a walking mount (described in various other ways) and that he has a 24" wheel which is relatively uncommon. If you are doing the same on a 20" then it may be a little easier or harder or different.

    Secondly IMO a walking mount is harder and can be painful (speaking from a POV where I have tried a bit but not succeeded) than a stationary mount.

    However I was making progress. Unfortunately however I had to stop as the uni was not up to the torque from it so the wheel would start slipping.

    When I was learning how to free mount this tall beast i had a hard time comitting pad up and youll get it

    These are all great tips but I wanted to throw in my two cents. I’ve been mounting a giraffe for almost three years but have been trying to free mount my double wheel recently so the process I used has been in my mind. My advice is geared for the lowest common denominator, that is, people like me who are clumsy, uncoordinated, and not particularly daring. I think the most basic mount and the first one to get in your arsenal is the stationary mount from behind. Before even trying it I would recommend practicing mounting your regular unicycle from behind with the pedals at the six and twelve o’clock position and the frame straight up. You don’t have to be able to do this perfectly but it’s good practice since it’s probably not how you mount now.

    You can either start on the pedal directly (if you’re at least average height and using a 5 footer) or step on the tire first. The first method is physically more strenuous but takes less balance. If you take the second method practice standing up on the tire first until that feels somewhat comfortable. For either method practice standing up on the pedal without trying to get your foot over and just balancing there. When you feel comfortable go ahead and swing your foot over. If your balance isn’t perfect it helps to do a back pedal. If you already practiced with your regular unicycle you’ve done this already. Jeans don’t have this problem but if you’re wearing baggy shorts make sure they’re pulled way up on your waist. The worst thing is making a good mount and getting caught on your clothes. Be consistent about where you’re pointing the unicycle, too. I like to point mine slightly forward and to the left because I pull it back a little when I get on. I’d also recommend wearing cushioned footwear like basketball sneakers or something similar. 2-3 feet is not a lot but it can wear on you. I also find that it takes me 5-10 minutes to warm up so I don’t even “count” mounts before that time (unless they’re successful). A helmet can’t hurt, either, especially until you get used to how you might fall. A agree with Colin about rolling mounts. They take less physical effort but put more stress on the unicycle and can cause the unicycle to skid, especially in wet or sandy conditions. The important thing to remember is to jump up and land on the pedal instead of jumping to the pedal. Timing is everything. I know I can get flustered in an unusual environment or when lots of people are watching so it’s good to have a mount that’s more basic like the stationary mount in your repertoire.

    Presumably it helps a lot to have a very solid rolling mount on a normal uni before trying one on a giraffe? I also note it was mentioned that the chap in the video has a 24" wheel - IME on a normal uni, a rolling mount is one skill which is actually harder on a smaller wheel, I find it fairly straightforward on a 26", but tricky on a 20", though like all stuff it’s got a lot easier recently as I’ve spent time practicing.

    I’ll defer to your experience, but I’ve probably got more recent experience of learning stuff. I certainly position my cranks before doing a rolling mount as it means the pedal comes round in the right position to get on when I expect it, rather than me having to adjust to where the pedals are. I’m sure after doing it a lot you do adjust naturally without thinking, but when you’re learning it’s one less thing to have to do.

    This video was very helpfull to me, there are some points like getting the seat between your legs before the actual mount that I have been missing. We have a rider on our team that jumps to-seat in-front, then to seat-in very smoothly. It’s nice to know there is another way to do it that seems less complicated.

    If you feel a 5 foot giraffe is way too tall try riding a 7 footer or a 3-stack for a while. It makes the 5 footer feel wimpy. :stuck_out_tongue:

    I was making progress on a rolling mont recently and only gave up as the uni was not up to it - the jumping onto the pedals as I mount kept causing one of the chain wheels to start slipping and there is only so tight that you can get it. One day with a different unicyle…

    Anyway, excuses aside, one really important thing that I realised after a couple of days was how to get the timing of my stepping and the pedal position of the wheel matched up.

    I mount with the right foot going to the lower pedal. Which means that the left foot is the one that I launch from. I would set the pedals in about the right position and then focus on matching my right foot to the rotation of the pedals. But all the time my jumping was inconsistent and never felt “normal”. It felt wrong much like like rubbing circles on my stomach while patting my head.

    Then it dawned. When you jump you normally focus on the foot you launch from - like a long jumper would. I needed to focus on my LEFT foot, the one that I actually jumped off.

    As soon as I did that it felt “normal” and the jumps were fine.

    Thanks so much for all of the awesome info everyone! I havent had a chance to try mounting again due to work, and now rain. Hopefully this weekend sometime I’ll try to put some of this into practice. Keep the tips coming!

    Seems like you’ve got some great info. Like all things on uni, practice is key.

    I can static mount my giraffe, but my success rate isn’t much above 50 or 60%. Once I learned to running mount, it really boosted my success rate. Running mount is a bit more ballsy to learn, and can destroy your giraffe if you’re not careful (I broke my sprocket off and had to get it rewelded). But it looks great, and for me personally, it’s easier.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Like I said, already got a ton of good info here. :slight_smile:

    Ouch! Yes, I learned this stuff 30 years ago, but I promise you gravity hasn’t changed much since then. :slight_smile: Also your point is well taken that if you establish a starting pedal position, and are consistent in your “walk up” it can definitely help. If your pedals are “spinny” though, positioning the pedal angle may not be helpful.

    That’s a dangerous condition, and I highly recommend you take steps to remedy it. If you haven’t attempted it before, take the sprocket off, thoroughly clean the threads, and re-assemble it with red Locktite (or equivalent, permanent threadlock product). Use the proper tool, or something with plenty of leverage to tighten that lock ring and hopefully your riding will be a lot safer from now on.

    Having said that, I think it’s probably not a good idea to do running/rolling mounts on giraffes with lock ring-style setups. A bolted-on (or welded on, or otherwise non-screwable) hub design isn’t designed for that kind of use. I don’t know how much replacement giraffe wheels cost, but if you get one from UDC I’m pretty sure it will not be a lock ring type. Also, one nice thing about giraffe wheels is that you don’t have to worry about bearing size. :slight_smile:

    I’m pretty consistent at it now (though I still get a few butterflies as I address the uni at the start). And I still often get onto the seat perched a little to far forward or behind from where it is awkward to recover from.

    So, a tip - I have been experimenting lately with a slight forward piking of the body as I get over the back of the seat. It seems to allow me to recover from that less-than-perfect position. Less bail outs as a result.

    I find that I am also more able to hold still for a few seconds instead of heading straight off into forward movement. I am booked to be riding amongst and with a lot of kids tomorrow. Being able to hold-up for a short time is extremely useful.

    +1 to Johnfoss comment. Besides, the positioning can be different even for the same person on different giraffes - wheel size being a signficant determinant. The earlier rolling mount video is with a 24" when most people will be on a 20". And also obviously whichever foot you prefer to start the walk with will affect it too.

    But after a dozen starts you will have hopefully worked it out anyway.

    Indeed - again I’ve no experience of doing this on giraffes, but my starting crank position is different on a 26er to a 19er. I’ve actually been practicing this a lot on my 19er recently and getting a lot better, which is nice as I think it looks a lot better than a static mount, and also much quicker to get on if you’re hopping on and off (as I tend to do when riding with kids).