Hopping advice?

Does anyone have any advice to learn simple hopping? I have watched all the videos which basically say to keep the pedals horizontal, grab the handle and just start hopping around but it’s not coming easy to me, much like when I tried the pogo stick as a kid which never worked out. My goal is really just to do simple hops in place to get settled and save those mounts that don’t feel quite right. At this point I’m not trying to hop up and down curbs.
I am able to get in the position to hop: on the unicycle, still, pedals horizontal, holding the handle, etc. The problem is I feel like I’m stuck and can’t move in that position. When I am able to move a bit, I immediately end up jumping off the front. My best guess is that I’m pushing down on the pedals at the same time as pulling up on the handle and leaning too far forward. It sounds like I just answered my own question but I’m having trouble correcting this. It looks easy but I’m missing something.
Any advice on how to break down the hopping into smaller steps to get past being frozen in place and then being propelled off the front?
Thanks in advance for any insight.

Can you skip with a skipping rope? It is very similar but with one foot forward. The spring comes from the calves not the legs. I started against a wall. Pedals at 3and 9oclock. Get your legs as straight as possible. Holding onto a lamp post or tree branch might be a bit easier. I use the hop after I first mount now to ensure the wheel is under me for take off. Good luck. Stew

I’m not sure how to break hopping down more other than holding onto a wall or post with your free hand, but here’s some pointers that might help:

  1. You don’t pull up on the seat with your arm, your hand should just keep the unicycle moving with you.

  2. Aim for a height of about 1-2cm, this will make it harder for the tire to rotate in the air.

  3. A lower tire pressure on a freestyle unicycle seems to be better for learning to hop than a trials unicycle. That way the tire doesn’t compress too much. Trials unicycles use the larger volume tire to get more compression for large hops, but it makes it harder to keep the hops small and controlled.

Good luck! I hope this helps.

What AJ KJ said, but you do “sort of” pull up on the seat. But think of it as keeping the pedals pressed against the bottoms of your feet rather than pulling up. Your legs do all the work of making the hops.

Try to hop just enough to get off the ground, and try to move the wheel a little with each hop. That means landing in a slightly different spot than where you took off. You realize this is necessary because otherwise it’s like trying to do a stillstand while jumping up and down, which would be pretty hard. Moving around is how you stay balanced.

Ever walk on stilts? The kind you hold onto, rather than the stap-on kind. Two things in common:

  • Like when hopping the uni, you have to keep the stilts in contact with the bottoms of your feet
  • You have to keep taking steps to keep your balance. These can be tiny steps, but you can't just stand still. This is because that kind of stilts doesn't have any ankles. [/LIST] So hop around; don't try to stay on one spot. If you tendency is to go too far forward, concentrate on trying to hop slightly backwards. But that's only after you get your "hopping equilbrium".

    And remember this: Hopping on a unicycle is a lot easier than learning to ride one! If you don’t beleive that, I can introduce you to hundreds of elementary school kids who have proved it over and over (while bending the cranks on the cheap unicycles we had in the 80s). :slight_smile:

  • Thank you all for the great advice. :slight_smile:
    You have all brought up points that I hadn’t even considered before. Since I learned to ride using the “launching off into space” method and never used a wall, I had never even considered holding onto something while trying to learn to hop. I think that will make it a lot easier to get the feel of hopping and I can’t wait to try it out. I also never considered that it would be difficult to hop in the exact same spot over and over again.
    These are exactly the types of tips I was looking for. I will try them out and report back with my progress!

    A nicely cushioned tire helps marginal knees

    I have not had much luck trying to bunny hop until 3 days ago when I lowered the pressure down to 16psi on my 26" Nimbus with dominator 2 rim and a fairly new 26"*2.5" Maxxis Minion DHF Front MTB Tire - EXO. Minions come with different casings so I choose one with a thick casing so it would be more stable at lower pressures.

    Anyway, hitherto a couple of learners bunny hops would hurt my knees. Now I can do quite a few hops. I have a chance to learn something. 7 hops in a row yesterday, 10 today.

    I don’t have particularly bad knees. They are probably par for the course for my age. I expect there to be less stress on my knees as I learn how to hop with finesse but at least now I can learn to hop.

    P.S. the Minion is not very wide. Chain Reaction didn’t have the nominally 2.7" wide ones. The Duro WildLife 3" seems to be really 2.7" wide, but still much wider then the Minion. I expect the Minion to suffer mixed use, including pavement wear a lot better.

    I also learned to ride that way, but since discovered that learning most things is made easier by learning the motions first by holding onto something without having to worry about balance (I’ve also used it to help with idling and backwards riding).

    2 ways I have tought people how to hop: Either holding onto a wall, or doing a “rolling hop” (in quotation marks because it’s really just a static hop they ride into).

    The holding onto a wall method, you’ll figure out yourself, just make sure your seat isn’t too high. Most people learn hopping easier using this method, since slowing down on a unicycle is surprisingly hard, many beginners fall of before they even get close to starting a hop if they ride in.

    The “rolling hop” well, like the name implies, you ride, you slow down, you push down on the pedals, pull up on the seat, voila. I tell people to just start with one hop, and then challenge them to add more later. I recommend this for people that are already pretty good at unicycling, but those usually learn hopping in about 10 minutes.

    If you continue to be stuck, I highly recommend you film an attempt, it’s the best way to analize what is going wrong.

    My issue with hopping isn’t the stop or the hop itself, its the riding away once I’m done hopping :angry: Any advice for this stage? :smiley:

    Hop until you reach home. :smiley:

    I had similar issues. It is just practice. Try to hop with low frequency. When start hoping, people hop typically with high repeating speed. it is actually not necessary. Just hop, wait, hop,… Then it get´s more controlled and starting get´s easier as well.

    Both of you guys should try rolling up, stopping, and then riding away without dismounting. Get this down pat.
    Now try throwing in one hop after stopping, then ride away.

    After that try to get away from the pogo stick hop and learn to hop just to regain balance. It’s much more efficient and it leads to stillstanding.

    This is advice from someone who comes from the rolling side of unicycling.

    I finally got back out there and tried to get the feel of hopping while holding onto the deck. That experiment was a success. I was able to hop while holding on and actually move and get off of the ground. It took a lot more effort than I was expecting so I’m sure I’m not doing it in the most efficient way, but that suggestion definitely worked. Next time I’ll try without the support. :slight_smile:

    Second attempt: trying to do a static mount into hopping is still leaving me in that “what do I do now?” position and isn’t happening. The plan for next time is to start hopping with the support and then hop away from it. I can tell I’m close to getting it.

    Actually, for the kind of hopping we’re talking about on this thread, there should not be any stress on your knees at all! If you feel any pain, it should all be in your calf muscles. Your ankles will be flexing slightly with each hop, but your knees should pretty much be locked.