Haven't talked about freemounting for awhile

Before you say it, I KNOW I KNOW, practice. But I don’t have many people who will listen to me talk about unicycling for more than 2 minutes so indulge me.

When I was on the Torker 20" last year, I had freemounting down to, I don’t know, 80 - 90% ? Good enough that I was comfortable riding down my rural road with nothing to hold onto (trees are too far off the road to do any good.) Now I have my 29er and the weather’s nice, so if I don’t want to ride around in circles in the firestation parking lot all day, I’m going to have to learn how to get up on this thing.

I’d been trying to freemount for a grand total of maybe 2 or 3 hours and realized that I had to cut the seatpost down an inch because I was having absolutely no luck. Once that was done, and now 2 or 3 additional hours later, I’m at about 10%. And, this is ONLY if I am precisely positioned. This is what I mean by that: left pedal back, left foot on pedal, pedal exactly in the 8:00 position. 7:00 or 9:00 is abort abort abort. Right foot on pavement, in a “batter’s box” sweet spot but much smaller - not too far behind the wheel or I can’t get up. My body must be bent over the seat, I’m looking at my right pedal. Again, if I’m not bent over, I can’t get up, or if I do, I can’t pedal away. Left hand on handle, hop up and ride away.

I know I’ll get this, and once I do, I won’t have to think about it so much. But just wanted some feedback.

you do the 8:00? when i freemount, i have on pedal in 6:00 pos. and one in 12:00. works for me :wink: actually, i can do a 3:00 and 9:00, but it’s a 50-50 chance.

Going from a 20 to a 29 is a BIG difference in mounting technique! I recently bought a 26er. I was riding a 24. I had trouble mounting it for a few days. You just have to relearn it with a different size uni.

Are you doing a static mount (wheel does not roll back) or a rollback mount?

A different crank length can mess you up too!

I agree… wheels larger than 24-26" can be difficult to static mount. Leaning over when you mount isn’t always a good idea 'cause when you finish the mount you’ll end up leaning over the front of the unicycle… either you have to start pedaling quickly or you’ll fall off! Your goal should be to mount into a quasi-stillstand… it will give you the most control over how and when, and in what direction you start riding.

I don’t have much experience with a 29er but I’ve been learning to Coker lately and I’m far from static mounting it… I’ve only had success with a forward rolling mount. If I try a rollback mount, the uni gains too much rearward momentum and I can only rollback mount into riding backwards… this is not my goal! My attempts at static mounting cause the wheel to roll backwards (I need to step on the pedal to get up into the seat), since I put the back pedal in the 7:00 - 8:00 position. Again, too much rearward momentum.

Having gained success with the forward rolling mount, I’m now working on slowing down the forward roll. I’m to the point now where I just take a couple slow steps, pushing the uni in front of me (one hand on the back of the seat, one hand on the handle), then step on the back pedal just as it swings into the 7 - 8:00 position, and hop onto the seat. While rolling, the wheel has just enough inertia such that my stepping onto the pedal doesn’t completely stop the wheel. I mount and still have a slight bit of forward momentum, just enough for me to keep my balance.

Remember that the taller you are, the easier it is for you to keep your balance. This is why you should stand straight up when mounting, and sit up tall when you finally make it into the saddle.

Give us some more details about your next attempts at freemounting so we can perform some diagnostics on your technique… do you put a lot of weight on the back pedal when mounting, or do you step on it lightly and hop into the saddle? When you’re mounted, are you putting more weight on the pedals or are you sitting heavily on the saddle? Do you pull on the handle a lot when mounting? How does the wheel react when you mount, does it roll forwards or backwards? Quickly or slowly?

Good luck!

Sometimes on a big wheel it is easier to sort of jump into the mount; instead of putting one foot on a pedal and trying to get the other foot up, I’ll position the seat, roll forward just a little and jump with both feet, hitting with the back foot first and then the front foot. This is not an official “jump mount” in terms of qualifying for IUF level testing, but it definitely helps get over the top when mounting a big wheel, as it starts your momentum heading in the right direction. Big wheels are all about keeping your momentum going forward.

I learned 6 and 12 at first too, but I never do it anymore. Any freemount can be a good starting place if it works for you.

With smaller wheels, I learned to static mount by imagining that I was stepping up onto a stair. With my 29er, I imagined that I was jumping up onto a ledge.

I free mount my Coker now with 80% success.

Seat between my legs, I put a pedal (I do either L or R) at 8:30, place a foot on the pedal, and JUMP! The wheel rolls backwards slightly and I pop onto the seat. Then I pedal forwards and go!

The biggest factor in failure for me is height. If I jump high enough I land it even if I am off in placement. If I don’t get up there, there’s no way.

My suggestion is just concentrate on height. The rest will follow.

Good luck!

Sorry to but in, digigal1, I only have a 20" wheel - still only getting a 50-50% freemounting rate with that, but recently I bought my boyfriend a 24" and I find I can nail freemounting much better on that. I though I’d be worse mounting on due to the bigger wheel. Is there some sort of leg length/body size to wheel ratio? :thinking:

I’ve had so many freemounting woes on big wheels that I feel I could write a complete saga!
two different problems:
-how to get there (the wheel is big) with a proper position
-how to start rolling (big inertia -specially if you’ve got a Coker and/or short cranks)

let’s start with the last one: if you just manage to sit correctly (by grabing a street post for example), it is still hard to start rolling : you need to be in a position where you can push hard.
this you can obtain through 2 different ways: start by “standing” slightly in front of your seat so part of your weight is on the pedal (just for a second! your weight should be back on seat very quickly), or grab your seat handle and pull -I use solution number one because I am not sure of my balance-

how to get there (if I have to “stand” I should be further than the usual position on the seat)… I’ll have to try not to push on my rear pedal as I try to get in place (if the uni rolls back even slightly it is hard on my tendons -I do not perform roll-back mounts on big wheels-)
this I obtained thru three different ways:

  • grabbing the tire with my forward hand : thus I am able to step on my rear pedal as I like
  • quick forward walk and then jump lightly on pedals (coordination needed: you’ve got to think and rehearse the trick)
  • “normal” direct mount: but here again the pedal position and your body momentum should be more precisely coordinated.

for me things are getting better and better now I just have to overcome fear of freemounting on my Coker (29" is ok).

I share your pain. I’ve just got a Nimbus 26" with a bloomin’ great tyre, and the difference between it and the 20" I learned on is huge. I previously had a play on a 24" with a Hookworm tyre; I had no problem at all with that. I expected the 26" to be a bit harder, but it’s a whole 'nother ball game.

I can mount with either foot, and sometimes it seems easier with one than the other. I do the 8 o’clock thing too, with a slight roll-back, and I’m really fighting the inertia of the wheel. Other times (often) I end in a perfect still-stand over the uni, with my brain screaming at my ‘back’ leg to push the pedal down so I can set off, but for some reason I just sit there till I fall off.

I’m too chicken to try the rolling mount - perhaps if I saw someone do it, I might summon the courage. I do wonder how the hell I’d ever re-mount ‘off-road’!

Someone once said something about success in freemounting coming once you’ve paid the karma price, so to speak. I think the exchange rate goes up with the size of the wheel…


I went from a 20 to a 29 and it was a big adjustment for me too. I can now mount the 29 about 95% of the time unless I’m really exhausted, but that certainly took some practice.

Another consideration is your crank size. The shorter the cranks, the less immediate torque you’ll have on the wheel and that can be a bit difficult at first. However, if you do have shorter cranks, when it does finally click, you’ll be much better suited as you’ve accomplished a more difficult task.

When I mount my 20 the wheel stays practically motionless. When I mount the 29, there’s a lot more rocking involved since both have 125 cranks and it’s easier to “get things going” with a bit of motion involved. Things are still a bit shakey when I mount on a decent incline though.

I went from a 24 to a 29 and it took me a frustratingly long time to get my freemounts down on the 29. I could nail it 95%+ on the 24. I can now do the same on the 29. I do a true static mount to a momentary still stand before I start pedalling just because this method is comfortable for me. I hold the uni still with back pressure on the pedal and launch myself up onto the seat. The problem I had to overcome was launching myself up hard enough. I’d always JUST underdo it and then I couldn’t start pedalling. The other problem I had was I’d lean just a little to the left as I’d swing up into the seated position and then I’d fall off the left side. I finally learned to push up hard enough and to push up centered over the tire. It took me several months but I can do it all the time now quite naturally. Ah, the true beauty of unicycling; the frustration can be daunting but the success is ALWAYS SOOOO SWEET.:smiley:

Freemount practice sessions

I just got my 29er last month after learning on a 24 for 8 months. On the 24, I was doing the rolling mount with the left foot starting at about 7 o’clock. The 29er is impossible for me with the same technique; I had to learn the static mount. The only way it works for me is to put the left foot on the pedal at the 3 o’clock position. Very light pressure on the pedal and I leap up and step with the right foot to the opposite pedal without rolling back. I’m very happy now but I went through days of disappointingly slow progress.

I found this to help: set aside some time and just practice the jump up and placement of both feet onto the pedals. If you make it, get off and do it again (don’t ride). It helps to keep a tally of successes and failures on a sheet of paper for some reason (humiliation factor). For the first 3 days that I had the 29er, I logged in almost 800 tries this way. Once you are able to plant both feet on the pedals, do the same routine again but this time try to ride one wheel revolution forward (no farther). Once you log in a few hundred of these, you’ll be on your way. It worked for me.

So far I haven’t felt the urge to go back to the 24 again.

Good luck.

I do the rolling forward mount, except I only do a small step forward then mount when the pedal is coming up at about 6-7 o’clock.
BUT it has taken me months. I was on about 30% for a long time and now I’m on about 65% on my 29er with the slick tyre and 80% on my knobbly 29er with 140" cranks.
Just have faith. Believe that you can do it and you will (eventually).


I definitely static mount. The back pedal goes down a little bit, but I am pretty successful in the “stepping over your brother’s stomach” routine (keeping just enough pressure on the back pedal so as to avoid movement.)

The forward rolling mount is a mystery to me. I wish I could see it being done in person. So you’re just walking behind the uni, holding it in front of you, and you step on the back pedal once it gets to the correct position, but the hopping onto the seat thing sounds like it would be very hard to coordinate. That I’d still have the problems I’m already having but the additional issue of getting my backside onto a seat that’s not already placed in the correct position.

When I’ve mounted, I put more weight on the saddle, it seems. I have some trouble getting the wheel rolling. And I do seem to pull quite a bit on the handle while mounting.

It’s a rainy day today so I’m not going to practice, but I’ll give you an update next time I do. thanks

I think the rolling forward mount is almost identical to the static mount, except you step forward onto it and push the unicycle with you, thus helping the getting going problem cos you’re already moving.



I never heard the step on your brother’s stomach analagoy. that made me laugh. I could completely tell what you meant.

I never did bother with updating you because I’m sorely lacking in practice time lately, and when I did practice it got no better. I counted 100 attempts several times recently with a grand total of zero to two successes each time (not counting the half revs before hopping off, unbalanced.)

So yesterday, I’m sweating my face off trying to static mount in my driveway yet again. I’m really tired by now (my girlfriend says, it wasn’t a waste of money, honey, at least it’s good exercise!) and about to quit, frustrated to the nth degree, when I remember something Cathwood said about a rolling mount. How silly. Not possible for me, spaz that I am. I don’t think it’s really possible for anyone, y’all are just making it up. But then I thought, if you don’t really walk the uni in front of you like some people have said, but you just take one simple stride resulting in the back pedal in the 7:00 or 8:00 position, I wonder how that would be? I hold the seat in front of me with both hands, put the pedals in about the reverse of my normal pedal position, so one small stride later the back pedal is at just about 7:00, not knowing what my butt would be doing as I lift my left foot onto the back pedal, figuring I would tip off or fall or just forget about it in mid-mount, I somehow

(the heavens erupt into song - credit, barry manilow)


How the HELL did THAT happen? I easily get my butt up from somewhere behind the seat, my right foot onto the front pedal, forward momentum perfectly in line with the universal laws of physics, and pedal away. And do it again, second try. After laughing out loud for a couple of minutes like a total looney, I screw it up several times, but do it again two more times.

I’m going out again tomorrow, hoping it wasn’t just an LSD flashback.


i had no idea mounting a big wheel was so difficult, i want to try now.

I have only tried this on a 24" but can you uni-can mount it? or is the wheel to big
cause thats how I mount my bigger wheel