I have been riding my Luxus 20" unicycle for about 5 months.
I am able to ride pretty well including in off-road (jeep trails) on it and do some tricks like riding backwards, hopping, sit-out, all sorts of free mounts, etc.
It is clear that I am a beginner and have a lot to learn, but still I have a problem with hopping up stairs (one at a time). The thing is that it seems I cannot jump high enough - or easily enough to get it done.
I have checked my PSI based on some threads in this forum (20 up to 40), but still it doesn’t seem to help.
Either my technique is wrong or maybe - I thought just maybe it has to do with the type of wheel I am using, as my uni is obviously not for trials and very basic.
Yeah… a Luxus really hasn’t got the right tyre for the job. Ignoring that little bit though, are you sure you’re not jumping high enough?
Most recently I’ve started to learn jumping 50+ cm. Before that I’d only ever risk jumping up a curb. For me the biggest thing stopping me was not thinking I had the clearance to make the jump. It wasn’t until I got a friend to check how high I jumped that I realised I had easily enough room to make the jump and did it in a few tries (though the initial commitment was still a major thing)
So unless you are actually trying to jump on to the steps and the wheel catches I’d say get a friend to check you can jump high enough vertically.
Also, a few last points to consider. It’s easier to jump higher seat out, but on the same token, it’s easier to jump higher seat in with a lower saddle height.
Thanks for the tip regarding the saddle height - though I did played with it while doing some tricks with riding with seat in and seat out, I seemed to completely forgot about in relation to the jumps.
I’ll try it.
I bet it has more to do with technique than your tire. It takes some practice to get everything in sync. When I first started working on hopping, I would pull on the seat too early, right as my legs were pushing down, and I got almost no height at all. You might try experimenting with your timing.
The other thing that helped me is to remember that the power must come from your legs. You’ve got to compress the tire hard and quickly to get height.
Practice with a curb, or a similar object that there is only one of. Get comfortable making the height of that one obstacle. Then maybe try one that’s a little higher than a stair riser and get used to that.
Stairs are harder because once you’re on them you don’t have as much room to move around. Build confidence in the height and you’ll be able to tackle bunches of steps more easily.
This from a guy who has hopped up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum (as seen in the movie Rocky), back before Trials unicycles and fat tires. It was 1.75" tires and 60 lbs of tire pressure in those days!
Or instead of a friend you can set up a high-jump with a pole which will knock off if you hit it, so there is no penalty for failure. This helped me a lot with having the confidence to know I could jump high enough to get up stuff - also good if you can vary the height so you can progressively work on getting higher. My setup can be seen in this vid:
I just wanted to update you that I practiced today on jumping above a pole (same as aracer suggest - thanks BTW) and I managed to do clear jumps up to 15 cm.
When I tried to do 18 cm - which is about the height of single stair, I completely failed to succeed.
I will post you a video once I get a chance, in order to understand what it is that I’m doing wrong.
Just keep practicing. When I first learned how to ride, I thought the hard work was over. I was wrong. Every time you learn to do something on your uni, it’s going to take a lot of practice time, time when you wonder if you really are improving. Just stick with it, because your body and mind are training themselves no matter how minutely.
Give it some time, and 'fore you know it you’ll be hopping more than just stairs.
To get over the highest pole in that vid of mine I had to work on my technique - the main thing which got me jumping higher was working on preloading the tyre and using that to jump the uni up rather than all the jump coming from my legs. Still a work in progress for me (I can jump up steps, but not very high ones or very many at a time - did a flight of 5 a couple of days ago, but they were only little steps). Good luck - like pretty much everything on a uni it’s just a matter of practice.
Trying to build up my jump height seems to be my primary focus here of late. I’ve really only got comfortable with the height of one stair and I’ve essentially hit a wall. I haven’t made any progress in a while now.
Here’s a few things that helped me get to the point where I can hop the height of one stair:
I’ve got a really awesome practice area at a local college campus - there are no shortage of stairs and the nice thing about that is that some stairs are only 3.5" tall, others are 8" tall and you have every height in between. I started on the baby stairs until I got enough confidence and started moving up gradually.
Another good thing is that some stairs had a nice 2’ wide landing patch from stair to stair so it was also decent practice for landing one stair and prepping for the next without the worry of falling off.
Those curbs are good practice. They have the height and more importantly they don’t include the pressure of sticking a landing on a small landing patch. You can take what you get once you’re up.
I haven’t practiced SIF hopping at all, so I do the lower seat method. One thing that I do, and I don’t know if this is correct, is I bend my knee and raise the unicycle to get a bit more height. So I probably only jump 4" or so and make up the difference via a knee bend.
I had a problem in the beginning (and it still gets me from time to time) where I’d hop up a stair and immediately have to hop back down to maintain balance. It took a while to learn the mechanics of hopping to overcome the tendency for momentum to do its ‘equal and opposite’ thing.
Another struggle I continue to have is that I feel like I need several courage building hops before I’m ready to go up to the next stair. So what ends up happening is I’ll take a good 8 hops before I work up the nerve to try the next stair in line, which translates to wearing myself out.
I’ve seen people hop one stair at a time with no balance adjusting/courage building hops in between. It’s quite impressive, and that’s the goal. If I hop 8 times between stairs I figure I could get up 8 times as many stairs.
I had some people show me what I call a “dead hop” where the tire is on the ground, they compress a bit and they just lift up. My approach has always been what I’ll call the jackhammer approach. Hop, hop, hop, hop, hop, HOP, then pound the ground extra hard and try to make the next landing on top of a stair. I’m still working toward those “dead hops” but I find myself surprised that you can get any height out of them. It’s almost like I’m conditioned to thing that I need an off the ground pre-hop to try for max height.
Improving height is where I feel I need the most help. In fact I was thinking about creating a thread last night. I’ve seen people hop up obstacles that are a good 2’ off the ground and they make it look absolutely effortless. I’ve also heard that if you can jump up to an obstacle without a uni then you can do it on a uni… you just have to learn the technique. My problem is that I can’t jump up a two foot obstacle off a uni. I can hop 4" on a uni because I can hop 4" off a uni.
If I hop up that 2’ obstacle sans uni it’s always with one foot on the ground and the other raised to near the level of the obstacle and I get a small hop to get the first foot to catch, then raise the rest of my body up via that one leg. I don’t know how that would translate over to a uni.
Sorry for the text wall and thread jack. It’s just something I’ve been working on for a while and I’d like to get better - maybe not jump up to a 2’ tall rock better but I’d love to jump up to a 1’ rock.
I had imagined making an ugly MS paint picture for the knee bend illustration… I’ll see what I can do.
Here you go. The promised lame, unnecessary, belaboring ms paint:
So if you look at the positions of the heads in the two figures to the right as they both jumped to the same vertical height but the figure on the far right was able to get more height via bending the knees and raising the unicycle up.
At least this is my guess as to how some uni riders I know have become mountain goats.
When I bend at the knees and raise the uni up I have a BIG problem with slamming the wheel immediately back to the ground as opposed to it being more of a fluid motion.