How long did it take you to learn to freemount?

Yeah, I never understood why some people learn that one first. I learned the static mount right away, but only after a year of riding. For a long time, it was all rollback mounts for me. Actually, 95% of the time it still is.

The jump mount is indeed much easier than it seems, though I was only able to learn it after acquiring some seat-in-front riding skills. Somebody a bit less cautious than I could learn it much sooner, though. Bank5 says he used a stack of 2x4s to help with freemounting; well I braced my pedals on blocks of wood to overcome my fear of the jump mount. Once I got it, I felt ridiculous for having been so frightened of the jump mount previously, but after landing about 100 or so of them, I did screw one up and got a nasty pedal bite that took a couple of weeks to heal.

I never wear my shinguards, but I’m starting to see that there is a realm that requires them. The jump mount is the entry level of that realm. It has also occurred to me that it might be nice to have some softer, spike-free pedals (such as Electra Barefoot) for working on this set of skills.

I just spent another 20 minutes practicing free mounting. I’m amazed (and psyched) at how quickly I’m learning it. I used the small 2x4 for a couple times, then switched to a big crescent wrench, then did a couple with just a crack in the road. The great thing is that the technique compared to a stair /curb and using nothing is the same so once I got the hang of one, it’s been easy to transfer down to something smaller.

Maybe I’m just at the right time to learn it (I’m just getting the hang of turning and going up and down small hills) but for anyone who wants to learn, I definitely recommend the curb/stair trick (on a 20") and then working your way down to smaller objects.

As a beginner I bought a small book. I think it was called “A ‘Crash’ Course in Unicycling”. Anyway, the author subscribed to your method. Seems like the best way to work incrementally toward a static mount. Sounds like your practicing is paying off, bank5!

That is the way I learned to ride so I was learning free-mounting at the same time. That is also the way I have taught people to ride over the years. I never had any success with them using a wall or fence.

To me the static mount works best. It was the first thing I learned after 3 weeks of just learning to ride more than 100 metres. I’ve also tried using the brake to mount, but that just doesn’t cut it. The wheel needs to roll back just a few centimetres, to get my bearing. Occasionally I try a rolling mount, which I can do, but not as often as a static mount. Then again I tried static mounting a Schlumpf gear on 29" KH and that just doesn’t work. Still need to put in more time in getting used to that. I even prefer static mount to holding a tree or lampost.

I agree, and if you can hop this is the only mount you’ll need to know. For Muni it can be done in small places where there are no room for rollback. When I need to mount a 36’er up hill, I do a static mount down hill (or perpendicular to the hill) and hop around. I think the tyre grab works equally good if you’re used to it.

I made a tutorial a couple of years ago (Tutorial on how to fremount a 24" and a 36" unicycle), and one of my tips for mounting a 36’er was that when you kick off you should get up on your toes. This method works even better for me now than before. I have done it so many times that my ancle feels stronger and more stable. My 36’er static mount must be close to a 100% now.

That’s the most helpful video I’ve seen on freemounting. Thanks

Same for me! The muniaddict/unigeezer video on the previous page is also very well done and a lot of people really like that one. I’ve been trying for a while to figure out if they’re doing it two different ways, or just thinking and talking about the same thing differently. I’m still not sure but I have a hunch that Terry’s might be better for people with lots of fast-twitch fibers and UniMyra’s better for the slow-twitch crowd.

Answering the initial question, I had a sort of modified rollback mount going after a few weeks–without much backward rolling, using commitment and momentum to go straight into forward riding. That one was never super dependable but I put it to good use it for a while, and I did lots of curb mounting too. The static mount came pretty easily a couple of months later, once I was well clear of the burning quads stage. That has a lot to do with learning to control my weight on the saddle, a big deal both for taking stress off the legs while riding and for counterbalancing pedal torque when mounting.

Static mounting is a rare skill that I didn’t learn first on a 20" unicycle. Keeping the wheel steady while boosting myself up using the rear pedal came more easily at first with a 24" wheel. It wasn’t as touchy as the 20", where the wheel has very little inertia and the pedal has more leverage and just about any load turns it.

I went onto shorter cranks to try and reduce the roll back pressure on the pedal during mounting.
It didn’t remove the problem - but it helped a little.

Yes, if the word “useful” can ever be applied to a unicycle skill, the static mount would be that skill! it is probably the quickest mount, and the one requiring the least space. It is thus good for muni, for riding in crowds and for sports such as hockey, basketball and [American] football. It is also the best one for mounting larger wheels. That fact that I am far more comfortable with the rollback mount becomes a real problem when I try to ride anyone’s 36. Though I can always make it work eventually, there was one 36 that shot out behind me at least 4 or 5 meters!

Right from the beginning I started with a curb mount. (I still start my usual ride from outside my house that way.)

Then I tried the roll back which seemed to require the unlikely ability to ride backwards, even briefly. Then the gravity defying step up which seemed implausible. I decided both techniques were being explained by riders who had forgotten the difficulty of learning and started working on my own technique from first principles.

I came up with something less refined but essentially similar to UniMyra’s classic video linked earlier in this thread. As I posted on UniMyra’s video thread, the only improvement I could suggest was that he had posted it a couple of months earlier. Anyway the video really helped me advance.

I began by holding a fence as I tried to balance the forces on the pedal and saddle. I would grip a post and run my forearm along the top rail, providing resistance to both rolling and twist. As I got control of the twist I graduated to just holding signposts, relying less and less on them until I didn’t need the support any more.

Consequently, for me, a static mount was a somewhat inevitable starting point. I continued to experiment with the saddle versus pedal pressure, especially as I upsized unis, realising that the roll back and rolling mounts were really just variations of the same mount with unbalanced pressures.

At the time I was normally a “handsfree” rider so I held the fence with my dominant right and the seat with my left hand. Consequently I still free mount holding with the left and then swap to my right hand on the seat once I get going. I should make some effort to change this I guess but it isn’t really a problem where I ride.

How long did it take? I started riding in January 2014. UniMyra’s video was that July. In the 10 km race at the Australian championships in October, it took me several attempts over half a minute to successfully mount my 24 at the starting line as everyone else rode off.

Free mounting is very useful but I advise that new riders don’t fret too much over it. It will come more easily as other skills develop, particularly the momentary still stand.

One suggestion is to try mounting a bigger uni. Everything happens so slowly on a bigger uni so the technique is easier to understand, although the effort increases because you must jump higher. Mounting a smaller uni is a breeze afterwards.

Also note that will smaller unis, the mount is more or less a single action. On my 29 I find that I need to actively adjust for side balance during the mount because it takes a relatively long time.

The irony is that free mounting becomes more plausible as one’s riding skills improve and the need to mount so often declines.

I ditto that. I don’t UPD that often, so I don’t really get the chance to practice it. Especially with the 36", it is too tiring to practice free-mounting anyways, so I get on as quickly as possible (which is maybe 5 out of 10 tries)and then ride until the end of the trip.

A few more advanced mounting skills worth mentioning here - kind of hybrid mounts. I agree that the static mount is the most useful, but I have some slight variations on it, which make it even more useful I think:

  1. I can do a pure static mount if I have to, but my stock mount involves a very slight forward roll of the wheel before I “jump” up - kind of a combi static/rolling mount. Means you can put a little bit of pressure on the back pedal and makes getting onto a bigger wheel easier.
  2. Static mount to hop rather than to riding off - not only so you can mount in a different direction and hop around, but when mounting straight uphill it means you don’t have to get so far over the wheel, you can mount so your balance point is still behind the wheel and hop the wheel back under you.
  3. If you can rollback mount (or ride backwards), another variation for when you don’t quite get your weight in front of the wheel so you can ride off is to static mount and then roll the wheel slightly backwards to bring it behind you.

edit: ah, have watched your video now and see you also recommend version 1 for a bigger wheel (and also seem to use version 2 quite a bit). Though I tend to start with the pedal I have my foot on first (in my case the right pedal) slightly below horizontal so that the pedals are horizontal when I’ve done my little roll forwards.

Another thing that makes it easier to free-mount is to ride with shorter cranks for a while. Then at first it will be a bit harder, but when turning back to longer cranks, it will have become very easy.

I actually learned to freemount in about a day. I was trying to learn how to ride a unicycle and ran out of space where I was practicing and had no choice but to go out to the street for more space. Like you, I started with the curb and then I moved on from there. No one taught me a thing about it. I was totally on my own, and I really think that was the best. That was 30 years ago. If I were to try to learn today, it would take a lot longer. I don’t learn as fast as I did back then, I’m not anywhere near the shape I was in then, and I’m a lot more worried about injury. Everybody’s different. I ran into a guy last Sunday that told me it took him 7 months to learn to ride. There’s only one thing that matters, and that’s to keep practicing. How long it takes is really a matter or how fast you learn to do things and how much time you put into it. Aside from casual conversation and mild curiosity, I wouldn’t worry too much about how long it takes to learn x,y, or z. If you can learn to freemount at all, even some of the time, just go ride. When you stop or UPD, just try to freemount until you get back up. Over time, it will come, and I think that’s more fun that just practicing freemounts all day. If you have more fun, you’ll be more likely to keep going.

I make up games.

100% agree! That’s what it is all about, having fun. I make up games like “Two mount new mount”. Each time I DM I have to have to try a new mount I am working on twice before I can go to one of my old reliable mounts.

If I am on my 19" and I am about 75% of the time I never just ride. I play around or as someone on here called it “Larking” (I love that term), doing the skills I have down well like idling and hopping, and mix in skills I am working on like SIF riding & hopping, backwards riding and rolling hops. For me that is more enjoyable then just hammering it out on 1 skill. Just having fun.

Another game to play is "Ride a skinny on the crack or ya break your Momma’s back. Hop over the stick or you break your Poppa’s back.

Question for DaUniGuy:

I’m going to be at Table Rock Lake in a couple weeks. You mentioned gravel bar riding. What size wheel do you think is best for this cutting-edge form of unicycling? I’m leaning towards my 19" trials, because it’s easier to travel with. Also, I assume there are ‘trialsy’ features to riding along the shoreline, such as fallen trees. Then again, my 26" mUni rolls over things better. Your thoughts?

Back problems run in my family, and it is apparently my fault. I (and my old lady) am safe, though, as I have not bred.

Actually either one would work. But if it was me, and I could only bring one it would be my 19” equinox (my personal favorite).

Most of the gravel bars on flat creek where I go are only a couple hundred yard long so you won’t be getting any long distance riding. I was down over Memorial Day and we have had some pretty good flooding down there. The gravel was really soft and made for some tough riding. Now that we are in a drought it should be a little firmer. It is very much a trials/muni riding, or” trimuni”. It is more about doing sessions on different lines. You may find some good places close to where you are staying along the shore line on the Corp take buy the lake.

Another fun ride is the Table Rock Lakeshore Trail. It is paved and runs along the lake past the Branson Bell, and by the access point the Ducks use to get on Table Rock lake. It is very pretty and runs along the lake and is a nice place to show off for the tourist.LOL.

I am going to try to be down over the 4th of July. I will have my 19” and could bring my 24” oracle muni you could try. I will PM you as the date gets closer.

Here is a link to some of the trails available in the ares.