I got myself one about 6 weeks ago. I found learning to ride it fairly easy, including idling and backwards. I then proceeded to commit serious time learning to freemount it. After 6 or so weeks of trying 4,5 times a week, I finally had a breakthrough. Honestly, this has been the most challenging aspect of riding unicycles that I’ve experienced.
6 weeks?..maybe I’m just slow or something…how about you?
I’ve never tried to ride a giraffe, but here’s a tutorial.
There are two way’s I think people first learn to mount. The mount he demonstrates, or where you place one foot on the top of the tire like he sort of shows, climb up and step w/ the other foot on the downward pedal, stand up on that, and about the same time put your but on the seat and the other foot on the upward pedal. Pedal back w/ that second foot 1/4 rev, then ride away.
Another type of mount. Looks like a semi static mount.
I didn’t make any notes about how long it took me - but I’d say it was a couple sessions in the cul-de-sac before I got it. The bigger question is consistency.
How often can you nail the mount. After learning how to do it I was at about a 10% success rate. A year later I’m about 60%. I’d really like to improve that but I don’t reach for the giraffe that often.
Part of my bigger problem is that I never learned to idle. Often when mounting, I get in the seat but miss some part of the backpedal and come right back down. This year idling is my top priority. First on my 26", then on the giraffe.
All those videos are with little toy 5-footers. Those are probably best to learn on, but all I had in my early days was the Schwinn Giraffe (6’). I don’t know how many tries it took my friend and I to finally hit a mount, but it was at least in the hundreds. Then it took a long time after that to get the second one! But it became easier, until eventually I could do 100+ in a row without a miss. Those were the days…
For learning, if you master idling first, it will be a major help. If you can only ride forward, you will have a lot less control/options as you get up there. Plus, any giraffe rider should be able to idle and ride backwards for their own safety in any case.
For a 6-footer, the sequence is as follows:
Dominant foot on tire
Non-dominant foot to bottom pedal
Crotch to seat
Dominant foot to top pedal
Pull top pedal back to get pedals level
You are now off balance to the front; ride away
The key difference in the above sequence is getting your butt onto the seat before trying to get the second foot onto the pedal. Do it the other way around, and you can get stuck with the seat jammed up against your crotch while you spaz around up there.
Due to the design of the Schwinn Giraffe, Bradley Bradley and I learned to mount from an angle. If you put your foot straight on the tire from behind, it would tend to jam in between the frame there. So stand a bit to the left, and put part of your foot against the right fork leg (chain’s on that side). The rest is the same.
Repeat ad nauseum, and eventually you’ll be doing it!
Funny this should come up. One of the guys here learnt the rolling mount yesterday in less than an hour. It seems easier than the dorminant foot on tire mount which I don’t think he can do (until the next session of course).
Depending on the type of unicycle and how the sprocket is fixed to your hub,it may be a quick way to loosen or remove the sprocket altogether. Mine had a nasty habit of slipping (doesn’t help mounting either!) so I had my brother-in-law weld it in place. I figure by the time the wheel need a new hub or a round of spokes, I can spring for a new giraffe.
How long do you practice in a single session? I practiced with my 5ft for about a week for a couple hours a day and then was able to do a static and rolling mount in a parade. It takes me longer to learn most new tricks than most people but I’ve seen a lot of variation in learning giraffe mounting. I also find that I sometimes need to warm up for 10-15 minutes before I can get consistent on mounting, especially if I’m a little nervous (like riding in a parade in front of a crowd).
My most challenging trick to learn was one footed backwards riding. It took me a year and a half! A lot of that was bad technique, however, and my other foot is coming along much quicker now that I devised a better learning technique. I find that with tricks you will always learn it if you spend enough time. Your body figures it out even if you don’t figure it out mentally. At the same time there can be better ways to learn which will get you there faster and sometimes better. With giraffe mounting as with most tricks it’s important to be consistent, be conscious of the details, and try to do the same thing every time once you figure out your technique. For instance, be aware of where you’re “pointing” it. I put my a little forward and slightly to the left. As I step up I pull it back to center.
Because of this thread, I tried freemounting the giraffe today.
After like 10 minutes I was able to static mount every 7th or 8th time,
but it felt wrong to me somehow.
So I tried the rolling-jump-mount, which I got pretty consistant after an hour =D
and I find that much easier.
I’m just walking behind the uni, jump, land on the left pedal with the seat still held in front, get my other foot on the front pedal, sit, (sometimes jump a few times to get my balance) and roll away.
Absolutely love it, thanks to this thread I’m now able to freemount a giraffe, yay ^^
I’ve spent about 15-30 minutes a day for the last week trying to do a non-rolling mount on my little toy 5-footer. I’ve still got a long way to go, but at least I can get a solid foot on the first pedal about 50% of the time, but I’ve only successfully got my butt on the seat and my foot solidly on the second pedal about twice. I wish I could learn it in an hour like Idyl – lucky!
I’ve been practicing on grass for safety so I’ll have a softer landing if I fall. 18 months ago when I first got my giraffe, I fell on cement trying to free mount and hurt my hand. So I’m a little gunshy, which is also probably making my jumps more tentative.
I’m tempted to try practicing the rolling mount, since it sounds like it takes less time to learn.
Once you learn it, the rolling mount (or pole vault) is the way to go. I spent a couple days learning to static mount, doing the whole ‘climb the ladder’ thing, and can do it, but not consistently. Pole vault took me a bit more time to learn (maybe I’m an anomaly) but now that I know it, it’s much easier and takes a lot less effort. But beware: it will mess with your frame a bit. If I miss a few in a row, I have to bend my frame back, and I actually broke the sproket off of my bottom bracket and had to get it welded.
Killian, when doing the rolling mount, do you put your weight on the first pedal or do you lock you knee without putting much weight on the pedal and instead put most of the weight in the seat? I’ve watched several tutorials and it’s hard for me to tell for sure what to do.
I found that tutorial where they recommend practicing off of two steps first before trying it out on the flat. But I’m afraid to make that first jump for fear I’m going to do it wrong.
It takes a few times of just walking through the mount to get the guts to do it.
When I do it, I take two steps: right then left. The second step is more of a big jump ‘up’ to get your momentum going in the right direction. It takes time to figure out the correct pedal orientation, cause you’ll be taking bigger steps then just walking the 'raffie backwards. (if that makes sense )
Once I jump ‘up’, the right pedal should be in position for my right foot to come down on it hard. It’s hard to explain, but you’re pushing down on that pedal while you try to keep your momentum going up. Then I get my left foot on the left pedal, which I also use to pull the wheel backwards under me. It’s tough to explain, but once you get it, I think you’ll kinda know what I’m saying.
I gotta stomp that pedal to get the wheel moving under me though.