is it bad...?

I’ve been riding uni for probably about 4 plus months (where I can ride and go as long as I want). I’ve more recently tried to start free-mounting, yesterday I was able to start doing it off a curb even smaller lips as long as they keep the tire from rolling back. I was wondering if I should stop doing this? as it will give me a new handicap. I’m having a hard time learning I tired the method that Terry shows hopping on at 3 and 9. But usually unsuccessful and even lots of time end up racking my goods on the seat. Which consequently makes me unproductive. Should I try the bricks like Terry shows to get used to the fill of not putting on pressure? As well as lowering the seat?

Thank you for your time

I don’t know if it’s bad using a curb, but did you see this video. It is a pretty decent demonstration and practice to allow you to freemount.

Also here is the link to the thread where this video came from…

Hope it helps.

I started with a 2x4, then moved down to a stick, then a pinecone, and just went with a smaller and smaller piece of something behind my tire, after a day I didn’t need anything anymore.

Your fine as long as you try and rely on it less and less. Try and find some smaller things to stick behind yoru wheel and before you know it, you wont need anything. It’s mostly in your mind anyway.

I never heard about this method of putting something behind the tire to help freemounting until now.

Anyway, I learned to freemount last month.
I pretty much do this:

  • Position the cranks about level, or that far crank arm up a bit past level.
  • Have the seat in my crotch, adjust for comfort.
  • Put my foot on the closest pedal but don’t push down.
  • Spring up with my other foot and put it on the far pedal.
  • Go

The key for me was the “spring up” part. Once I concentrated on putting as little weight on the closer pedal, I started to make huge progress.
I had to spring up good and hard to do this.

A technique I sometimes use is to put the back pedal quite high - about 2:00 on the clock face, maybe even higher. That way you can put quite a lot of pressure on the pedal without the wheel rolling backwards.

One day you’ll just stop thinking about it and step on.

That’s the way i’m mounting my unicycle (and the only way i’m able to :P).

I learned that with using curbs. First i was standing on the sidewalk and later i put my feet in front of the curb and the unicycle in front of me. If i missed to step on the second pedal, the curb stopped the wheel from rolling backwards.

I tried to learn that way of freemounting first without curbs. I fell pretty bad, when i missed the other pedal and the unicycle slipped away. It was a full and painful body landing. Now i’m able to recognize bad starts and be able to catch the unicycle while it tries to slip away.

But like always, there are many ways that leads to rome ;).

Good luck :).

Freemounting Practice Technique

Here’s something that helped me; especially when I tried to learn freemounting all over again after getting my 29er (previously used a 24" wheel):

  1. Position pedals at roughly 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions
  2. Get into position as if you are going to free mount
  3. Practice just the motion of picking up your ground foot

This is done with nothing behind the wheel. The purpose here is to develop the sense of the pressure needed for your pedal foot to keep the wheel steady while lifting the ground foot up. The goal is stability. I found I could do 50 or so repetitions within a convenient amount of time (5 minutes or less). If you do lots of these, you’ll find you can eventually lift your ground foot to the pedal and then step back again in an easy and graceful motion. At that point, you are just one step away (literally) from free mounting.

Advantages: easy to practice, requires minimal space, short amount of time, lower likelihood of injury or falling down, reinforces a success-based experiential learning approach

Disadvantages: looks really weird to any onlookers, difficult to explain to family members and friends

I think if you alternate this approach with the one you are already using, you will be up in no time. By the way, I still find this to be a good form of occasional practice even though I am happy with my current free mounting skills level.

Good luck


When doing this should I start by hanging on to a hand rail or pole? I’m really bad with wheel control. I was trying the steps in the video above and, couldn’t just get on smoothly uni would just shoot out from under me. I think I’m mashing the peddle hard to get used to jumping off your weak leg. On the plus side I only racked my goods a few times so I was able to keep cussing to a minimum. Seems very slow going I’m getting a little disappointed with my lack of progress. The bad thing is this whole time I’ve been mounting by grabbing something and having my left foot in the 6 o’clock (which is my weak foot). Because of this I think that’s why my wheel control is bad.

Thanks for your time guys

stop making it harder for yourself.

if you can’t do the mount how one person does it… don’t dwell on it. find the way YOU can do it. I’m on a 20" and i basically do a 5/11 o’clock pedal position. put all my weight on the bottom pedal and get on up. this is opposite of how most people seem to say which is - pedals at 3 and 9 and put no pressure on the pedals and float onto the seat. the way i do it seems to be the ‘old school’ way, but it’s what works for me.

just start out with the pedals vertical. put all your weight on the bottom pedal and try to ‘lean’ yourself up onto the uni. if you try a few times and you don’t seem to be able to, or feel comfortable, pushing off the ground enough to get vertical then adjust the pedal positions slightly so that the bottom wheel is now a little closer and more at 5 o’clock. this will make the wheel roll back a little and help get it under you. keep playing with it until you get a comfy combo of enough rollback + enough pushing-off the ground with your grounded foot.

don’t even worry about putting the second foot on the other pedal. for a little bit just try to keep getting up over the uni and then let yourself ‘fall’ back to the ground. the idea being that you are trying to get a feel for REALLY being balanced above the uni and getting that part spot-on. it’s a lot like trying to balance on a pin-head, and the smallest error will stuff it all up and have you falling over instead of balancing on top.

BUT, it might pay to have some music or something in the background to slightly distract you. the more you focus on nailing your balance PERFECTLY the more likely you will fail, because unicycle reality is that you will never ever be perfectly balanced and every moment on a uni is a moment of ‘damage control’ in trying to keep the uni under you while gravity keeps trying to knock you off it. once you get SOME kind of balance then that’s all you need to get going.

!!! you AIM for perfect balance, but you ACCEPT what you get !!!

once that’s covered and you have a good feel for being fairly balanced after leaving the ground you can then start getting used to putting your other foot on the other pedal. after that you just then need to get used to sitting FULLY in the seat. after that you just need to rock the pedals a little in a mini-idle to get yourself leaning forward and away you go.

do this away from everything. no aids. no walls / cars / friends hands. if you have an area you can ride in then keep trying to mount to then ride. if you can’t mount you don’t ride. at some point you will start nailing the mount more often and can then ride for a bit until you dismount.

if you get this far you have won. you have proved that you can mount and then ride unaided, and are more well-rounded than some people who have been riding for years who still can’t mount unaided.

and if none of this suits you then don’t bother with it and try something else that does work for you.

yeah just don’t. try what i said above. if you are trying to sit on the uni while grabbing something else then the uni will at some point probably twist and squirm away from under you if you are slightly off from vertical. the more you try to grab the aid and stop from falling the worse it seems to squirm. it’s just how it is. if you hold something at arms-length and the uni starts to squirm away from you then there’s no way you can push away from your support any further to try to compensate so the wheel just keeps squirming further and further away until dismount.

I mount it at 12 and 6 n.n’ I’m still experimenting with new mounts. I don’t see how people to the flat pedal mount, but I’ll have to learn it soon, getting a coker.

for the 12 and 6 o’clock mount you can just use the grip on the pedals to swing into a little idle, and you’re off.

It does seem like you’re putting an awful lot of stress on the down pedal though.

but then consider how much hell everything takes when you see people doing insane drops etc. i doubt mounting this way will hurt the uni.

re : the coker. i think it’s probably totally different. never tried one, but when you think about it the wheel has to travel further per crank movement, plus the starting seat angle is closer to horizontal. my guess is that these factors make mounting a coker the 3/9 o’clock way a little easier as the forces are completely different to that of of small 20". i’m sure you still wouldn’t want to put too much weight on the back pedal though, but i think it’ll be a bit more forgiving. especially if you put some weight on the seat which will slow the whole wheel movement dramatically, possibly making the back pedal feel a lot like a fixed step, or one of those stepper machines.

Well about a month has gone by I was practicing with a 2x4 that was actually one and a half inches deep. I would practice with both feet in the dominate position and got to where I could do it probably 30 plus times in an hour. I then went out and got a smaller board now only 3/4 of an inch and had zero luck, almost fell on my face as well. So I kinda gave that up was attempting a jump mount… didn’t happen :(. Good news is well riding today I found a piece of cinder block that is one inch deep will try that tomorrow. Just supper frustrating not getting any where with this. If you guys have any ideas or tips or think I should try a different mount all together please let me know.

Thank you for your time

When I learned to mount I tried the brick, but it didnt seem to help me at all. I was also discouraged when I kept racking myself! I went out and invested in a pair of bicycle shorts (which really help!) and a nice gel seat, and just practiced mounting in the middle of a basketball court, where it is nice and flat. I don’t use 3 and nine, becuase that seems to catapult me right over the uni when I put too much weight on the foot I was mounting on. I start with my left foot on the pedal, and I keep that pedal at about 7 or 8 oclock. Learning on a smaller uni, like a 20in is easier in my opinion, and keeping the seat just a little lower than you normally ride helped me out.

Good luck!

I recently had to re-learn how to free-mount after a long hospital stay and one thing I picked up this time around is don’t look down at the pedals/wheel. It’s hard not to do, but it really does help your body find it’s balance if you have visual reference. Want proof? balance on one foot and close your eyes. Anyway that is what helped me going from many tries to freemounting in 1-2 tries every time.

Are you ridng on varied terrain or just flat places? Riding over bumps and through dips and on odd angle riding surfaces improves your balance.

To help with this practice keeping your gaze forward while you ride. Just check the ground in front of you from time to time for cracks and bumps.

My GF struggeled for a long time with freemounting because she seems to want to find this perfect balance point atop the uni before starting to pedal. Standstills are very hard to do, so don’t do them. Swing forward right thru the standstill balance point and start pedaling. When you ride thing about how it feels while riding, you are slightly falling forward and pedaling to catch up. This is how your mount should feel.

I think this ‘perfect balance point’ might be why you are having such bad falls. That top of the ‘ball’ fall is a sucky place to fall from.

Good luck

There seems to be a whole lotta rackin’ goin’ on. If you’ve got weight on the seat from the very start of the process, it should be nigh-impossible to rack yourself even when you miss the mount. Additionally, more weight on the seat is less weight on the pedal making the unicycle shoot off in crazy directions.

I did just get some bike shorts which have helped greatly racking isn’t so much a problem any more. I try to mount on nice level side walks and ride over all kinds of stuff ups and downs off rolling curbs. I’ll try the stuff you guys said today I did find that having the seat too low hurt my right knee. Thank you for the help I’ll let you know what happens. Oh and the looking forward is great advice I do know it works just kinda haven’t thought about it thanks for pointing that out.

If you ever want to try something very strange and frustrating (expert riders probably would not have a problem), try freemounting where it is really dark, especially roll-back mounts. The first couple of tries feel like trying to tie shoes with gloves on or something since you have no visual reference. But it’s probably good practice to solid up free mounting.