How to hop up on curbs or obstacles?

Hello, i’ve been unicycling for almost 3 months now. I ride a 19" trials and 27.5" muni.
So far i can hop both of these unicycles in place no problem.
I usually do hopping sets where I’ll hop in place and do 2 circles, then ride about 30 meters, then hop for 2 circles. I normally do 10 of these hops in a set.
Now recently I’m trying to hop up curbs. But I can’t seem to get the height and control to get that big hop.
Any advice on how to progress from where i am now?
Thank you.

I’m not sure what exactly you mean by “hop for 2 circles”, so you might be doing some of this already:

Step 1: is learning to control the direction of your hops. Left, right, forward, backward, spinning clockwise, counterclockwise, try them all. Also try hopping, “standstill” while leaning towards one side, then hop towards there.
Step 2: is introducing a very small obstacle. Maybe even just a line on the ground, or a jumping rope lying on the ground. Ride towards it, hop in place next to it to position yourself, jump over it. Sideways towards the hand that is not on the seat is easiest (and what you wan’t to do for most trials riding), but at this stage doing a bit of everything is good to learn control. You want to find the perfect position and balance, stop hopping, lean towards the obstacle, then do a bigger hop onto/over it.
Step 3: Make the obstacle bigger. Wooden boards, pallets, pavement slabs, low curbs, whatever you can find. Really just tiny increments, it might feel silly going from 1 inch to 1.5 inch to 2 inch etc. , but you’ll learn a lot more from that than setting too big of a goal and failing constantly.

1 Like

Ok the way how you broke it down. I’m doing Step 1 a lot now. I can hop in one place (as long as i want until i get tired…about a minute), i can hop doing circles, i can hop towards the direction i want to go. I can hop up on 2-3" heights.
But when it comes to 5" plus heights…that I can’t do.
Doing mini hops is no problem…it’s the big hop that I can’t seem to get. Especially on demand like i see in videos.
I guess it’s just more and more practice doing small 2-3 inchers and slowly working up.
It’s just amazing seeing guys doing 4’ and above jumps upwards.
I will practice Steps 2 and 3 as i get more time under my legs.

It takes a while to get the stability you need to really jump hard. Keep hopping onto and over things. It’ll start to feel natural and you’ll make progress.

The big jump should feel like you’re compressing the tire into the ground to get some bounce.

You know Unicycling is teaching me so many things! It’s teaching me hard work pays off and nothing comes fast and easy.
I’ve been progressing slowly but surely with a lot of hard work and sweating like never before.
When you think you got something…you only are just starting.
I will continue to just hop around and work on the lower 2-3 " heights. And i will build up over time.

In that case, I would guess that it’s the standing and compressing the tire part that you should focus on the most. “The big hop” shouldn’t just feel like one of the hops, at this point stopping leaning over and compressing the tire is the sequence you should try to do. The hops before that are just to get you into position and in balance.

Ok i will try that on very small stuff. You are right i have to get that tire to compress. I’m running about 27-28 psi in my tires. Is this pressure good for doing this?

It may be hard to say without a video of your efforts but it should be said that the higher you want to hop, the lower then saddle needs to be. And of course for really high jumps you need to take off with the seat in front (SIF).

The number one thing you can do is just keep practicing. Practice hopping forward, side to side, in circles, etc… Change which foot you lead with and which hand you hold the saddle with. Try hopping over lines in the sidewalk or cracks in the pavement. Then try riding forward and do the same thing. Then try hopping small obstacles like sticks. Try 90 degree turns with a ride out. Try 180s. Basically, just hop, hop, hop and your skill will improve and soon curbs won’t be a problem.

I will start to switch my hand and my foot. I’ve done it bit i definitely favor one side.
I’ll keep practicing every time i ride till it feels natural and just slowly build up.
Thanks for all the advice guys.

One other thing you can try is hopping up a slope sideways. This will get you used to going upward as you hop.

The sideways slope as Duff mentioned is kind of how I learned to hop up curbs. I started on one of those slanted curbs so if you don’t make it all the way you can just ride it at an angle without falling off if that makes any sense. Once you can make it to the top of those then you can start on a “real” curb. There’s probably names for the types of curbs but I’m not that well versed in road construction.

Haven’t tried hopping up a slant yet…i will start practicing this.
Makes sense the way you guys describe how to do it. Great progression exercise…thanks guys!

It would depend on your weight, but it sounds like it’s in the range. Perfect tire pressure is hard to state exactly, but for hopping I would generally describe it as “as low as possible without being too low”. Too low would either be the tire feeling spongy, or you hitting your rim (and make sure you leave some safety margin for hitting the edge of an obstacle).

I wouldn’t really agree with that. There is a definite point where a lower seat stops being helpful, even if you hop seat in. Instead of pulling the wheel straight up under you, you’ll pull it forward. An example here: AIDAN TELEKI - BIG HOPS - YouTube
If you lower your seat too far, at some point you have to “lean down” from your hips/back to reach your handle while your legs are fully extended. Limits your range of motion and is generally uncomfortable.

This one is a good one too:

Shame it was done before smartphones could do amazing slow motion! :upside_down_face:


Not only for this but for many things that people are trying to learn; on youtube you can slow the video down to 1/4 speed of even stop it and advance or reverse a single frame at a time. Sometime that helps to really see what is happening.

On a PC to stop and start hit the space bar.
To back up 5 seconds press the left arrow.
To advance 5 seconds press the right arrow.
When stopped to back up a frame at a time, press “,” (comma).
When stopped to advance a frame at a time, press “.” (period).
To speed up of slow down when running, press “<” or “>”.


Happy New Year. Lots of good advice from @finnspin and others.

Suggestion: Try to measure the tempo of your hops, then slow it down. My guess is, a slight slowing of the period between hops will increase the height. The more time you spend in a momentary still stand, between hops, the more vertically balanced you will be when you hop.

Another suggestion: Ride into a still stand. See how long you can hold the still stand before being forced to dismount. Then, repeat the exercise, but instead of dismounting, make a corrective hop at the last moment. I am guessing this corrective hop is going to be larger than the little hops you are currently practicing.

I think what you’re experiencing is normal. Things should improve with practice. In my experience, the key to unlocking certain techniques is found though practicing other techniques. For example, still stands helped me with hopping.

Keep practicing!

Happy New Year to you too!
Thanks for your advice.
Yes i have been practicing a lot. Slowing things down, doing 170s now(almost 180s), hopping over marked lines to be more precise in where i want to hop to.
So things are slowly getting there. Sometimes i can hang in one spot for 2 to 3 seconds then hop…only sometimes though. Need more practice!
Having lots of fun with though. Got a lot of great advice here. Started to do idling this week. Got up to over 40 idles in so far. I’m starting these from the wall. So next week I’ll be practicing riding to stop…then go right into idling. Tried it bunch of times but only got it once so far.
Thanks guys

Sounds like a lot of stuff is clicking for you right now! It makes me happy when beginners, once they are past the initial stages of learning, want to keep acquiring new skills. An enthusiastic novice rider always perks up the forum!

I have taken a few months’ break after having some groin and hip issues on my right side. I need to start mixing unicycling with other forms of exercise, particularly yoga. My core was strong, but I was becoming tight at the same time.

Right now, my daughter’s boyfriend wants to learn. Helping him is going to be my contribution to unicycling for the time being.

Hope that you get better soon from your injury.
Yes things are kind of clicking now. Finally learned to ride into my pendulums last night. Will practice a lot more to get more consistent.
Still can’t get the height to jump up on curbs yet. I’ll keep hopping up on lower heights in the meantime.