How long did it take you to learn to freemount?

How long did it take you and how good of a unicyclist were you at that point?

I was capable of riding comfortably after about a week and a half, 10 days or so. I learned by building a 10 foot long balance bar with a few pallets and a steel pipe. I’d mount by holding onto the pipe, ride the length of it, using the pipe as a balance beam, let go at the end, and ride as far as I could. After about 10 days, I was able to mount while holding onto something, anything, then let go and ride comfortably. After that 10 days or so, I was able to ride from wherever I started for pretty much as far as I wanted to go. At that point I started working on freemounting. Getting comfortable at freemounting took me another week or so. My biggest recommendation is to learn how to static mount, not roll back mount. The static mount is the best way to freemount for so many types of riding. First step to learning was finding a curb. I’d put the wheel on the road, up against the curb, and start by standing on the curb. I’d make sure that the pedals were nearly horizontal, with the one I was starting with just a touch closer to the ground. That way, when I put weight on that pedal, the one in the back and slightly closer to the ground, the wheel up against the curb would prevent the unicycle from rolling backwards. From there, I’d mount and try my best to begin riding. Within a week or so, I was comfortably able to static freemount and ride away.

Hi Bank5,

I started unicycling in 2004 on a 24-inch wheel at the age of 43. I’m embarrassed to say that it was 3 months before I was even able to ride the thing for any respectable distance or controllably. But what I’ve learned with unicycling, is that every skill is a constant evolution. I was able to occasionally free mount about 6 weeks after that, but when I changed the cranks out to a smaller length, it was like starting all over.

In 2005, I got a 29er and I found myself at the beginning of the learning curve again. I had such a difficult time learning how to free mount that one, but again I made slow progress and was able to free mount the 29er consistently on level or slightly downhill inclines within a few months. Funny thing is that after working with the 29er, the 24-inch uni was easy to free mount. I thoroughly enjoyed the 29er, though, and within 6 months I was able to free mount it at least 50% of my first tries. It’s interesting that even after a couple years, I couldn’t free mount the 29er any better than about 75% of my first tries. The 24-inch wheel, by this time was practically a certainty for me to free mount on every try.

In 2011, I finally got myself a 36er. It was initially intimidating, but I was able to free mount that one pretty quickly (especially on a slightly down hill grade); I remember the day that I got it, I free mounted it on the 6th try. Consistently successful free mounts, however, became a bigger challenge with the 36er. I’d be out on the road and dismount for whatever reason and then be stuck trying to get back on - sometimes more than 20 tries. But through this experience, free mounting the 29er suddenly became easy. I think I can claim almost a 100% success rate on the 29er now. I’m at about 66% success with first tries on the 36er, even after 5 years.

I ride only on the street. I like the uni for moderate distances and typically do about 15 - 20 miles per week. I’m thinking that if I had taken this pastime in a MUNI direction, maybe my skill level would have improved more quickly. Or maybe it just takes me a while to develop the coordination. Doesn’t really matter - the skill can be learned and each increment of improvement is wildly rewarding, no matter how long it takes.

Good luck!

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i learned to unicycle while free mounting on a 24". It took me three weeks spending sessions of an hour a day on average. On my 36" i am still struggling especially with short cranks. I can’t free mount my giraffe at all.

I may not be that talented

But I could be the laziest, most laid back rider here.

It took me a long time to free mount the small wheels, I just always used a handhold to get me started.

When I teach uni riding to friends, I just skip the free mount and start them with their hand on a wall.

I still can’t freemount my 36, been years now. It was always easier to just walk to a hand hold. I learned to freemount a 24 muni after getting stuck on a long flat trail with no other help. And really , free mounting a 24 isn’t that hard, I just didn’t care until I had to walk that far.

It took me about 2 years to get it consistent on a 26 muni. I am a VERY slow learner!

At that stage I could ride cross country, but not hop. That might take another 2 years! :slight_smile:

I learnt free-mounting the same day I managed to actually ride the uni - I’d spent a couple of weeks at this point trying (and failing) to get enough distance to make it off my garden. When it finally clicked and I was able to ride down my street, up the next street… legs suddenly cave in I texted my friend and said I’m riding to his house - he met he halfway, was amazed I was riding the unicycle! He then said (he was skating alongside me as I rode around town) that he was sick of me having to grab a lamp post every time I stopped.

So I found a quiet road, and started trying to free-mount with the tyre backed up against a curb. A while later, I nailed it, and so did a mixture of the curb-mount and a normal static (ish) free-mount for the rest of the night, and have been doing it since :smiley:

…please wait…snarky answer loading…

…somewhere between levels 0 and 1.

Be patient and you will learn. It took me a long time. I used a handful of different hack mounts before actually learning the static mount. Don’t worry about good technique. Beginners want to know the “right” way to do things. Avoid premature optimization. Whatever gets the job done. My first mount was the tire grab.

Cool, I appreciate the replies. I hadn’t heard of the curb technique but that makes sense. I’ve picked up riding pretty well so am hoping to get free mounting down to cut down on have to walk / find something to hold onto.

My first unicycle cost $30 and had a seat so uncomfortable it actually drew blood. The seatpost was also too short, and spun around in its socket. As soon as I replaced those parts, I managed my first freemount within minutes. By then I had been riding for several weeks.

I may be the minority here, but I learned to freemount while learning to ride. I used a wall for a little bit, but most of my first practices were at IJA in the middle of the gym with an occasional hand when I got frustrated and couldn’t get on top of the wheel after a few dozen tries. : P I’m a hard-head apparently.

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Nope - the laziest will be me.
My practice alley is 10-yards / 30 foot long, and I only take the unicycle away from the house while on vacation.
I am normally too busy (or too shy) at other times to go out in public.

So after a year I can free mount with a backstop, or a gentle uphill incline.
And I can manage 50-metre runs before tiring and falling off.

To be fair, ill health and a wet/windy UK winter has delayed my progress.
I wish the summer weather would arrive soon.

It took me about 7000 tries. I was able to ride maybe 100 m, when I begun learning the rollback freemount with no support on the floor in a sportshall. I counted 100 tries at a time. In the beginning I was able to ride out on 2 times of 100, 5 times if it was a lucky series. So I just continued 100 after 100 after 100. Slowly the successfull mounts passed 50 or 60 out of 100 tries, and I think that I stopped counting after that point. :stuck_out_tongue:

Best regards from the slow learner,

I did too. I did what it said in the Schwinn manual I got with the uni. I put a piece of 2"x2" behind the tire and did static mounts then pedaled like crazy. When I got to where I was going a few houses down the street I put one at each end.

Next it was small rocks behind the tire or cracks in the street until I could free mount.

For me, I hated the notion of using the wall or fence for every mount and would’ve hated unicycling if I couldn’t get the darn freemounting down. So even if it took me a thousand tries. Luckily I succeeded at nine hundred ninety-ninth, and discovered the beauty of fails, UPDs, and learning go hand in hand.

I tell my son, even if you have to repeat it a thousand times…
and what do ya know…he does it on his 25th try

…i dont think he’ll ever appreciate failing as much as I do :smiley:

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bad habit

Hi all… my 1st post…

I`m 48 and have been riding unis since I was 14… BUT very occasionally…

My family now have a 16" 2X20" 24" 26" 36" and a KH29" in the post… Point of my post is… dont be lazy as I have obviously been and learn the correct way to freemount…

Since my first unicycle I have freemounted by holding onto the tyre and I still do… I really struggle to mount without using the top of the tyre :o Yes it works for me 99% of the time but 100% of the times I get dirty hands lol… My 3 kids 12 16 and 19 can all freemount properly and enjoy doing it just to frustrate me… lol… Dont give up…

That’s a really useful mount for shorter riders of the 36" wheel. It’s not a wrong mount : P but it would be funny to see on a small wheel.

I learnt to freemount using the tyre grab method mentioned above a week or two after I learned to ride (it took me about 2 weeks solid to learn to ride). Yep, that was on a 20" wheel, so involved a lot of bending over, but it worked.

I used that method mainly for a month or two - by which point I’d learnt to do a proper static mount, though I carried on using the tyre grab for a while after I’d learnt that as I succeeded at it more consistently. IIRC I went back to the tyre grab for a little bit after I got my first bigger wheel - a 26er. FWIW I was 41yo when I learned that.

HeathyCopie - you just need to give it a proper try. I found that moving on to a normal static mount was mainly a question of mental attitude once I’d got the tyre grab, though Unigeezer has a video which helped me a lot:

Hi HeathyCopie!

One, two, three, …, seven unicycles for the family. That’s barely average for some of us in single-unicyclist households. :slight_smile: It’s very cool that you’re all riding. That has to be a lot of fun.

Nope, that’s the main thing! Hope to see you around the forum some more and hear more about your riding adventures.

I learnt to unicycle from my 60th birthday. I bought a 24" to learn. I made videos of my learning curve. Here is the one relevant to the topic of this thread. I was 61 years old when I made the video. Two years this after I rode my first 100 miles in a day on a unicycle.