More begginer problems!

Hi guys, firstly let me apologize for questions here that are discussed elsewhere. I have read everything I could find with the search function and I’m still struggling!
First is free mounting. I have tried the tyre grab mount and can’t do it, I feel too “hunched over”. The roll back feels closer to working, but when I step up as the uni rolls back the pedals come vertical and I can’t get moving again.
My first uni was a novelty Christmas present, not much real use. However after a few weeks I realized I was actually going to be able to ride and upgraded to a Nimbus muni 24, which I swapped the tyre on from the standard 3" Leopard to a 2.5" maxxis hookworm. I think the maxxis is better for learning on smooth tarmac! I also just bought an impact athmos trials, as I would like to ride trials and muni. I see a 29er at some point in the future too!
Should learning to free mount be easier on the 19" or the 24"? Should I focus on one uni or alternate between the two?
And road crown, how do you deal with it? The best path close to my house has a high middle sloping down to drains on both sides. It’s really hard to ride on!! My best ride so far was around 4kms total with the longest single ride (without upd!) being 1300m, but that was along the promenade in town (10kms away). On the local path my best was 650m.
Thanks in advance for any advice/hints/tips!

UniGeezer has a great video on how to mounting a uni. He uses an egg, a cement block, and some comedy all mixed in. :smiley: Do a search…I think I remember it on Youtube.

That was the best tutorial I came across - - it was posted in the Tutorial section of this forum (can’t find the original thread right now):

Hi OorWullie

Road camber is a nightmare you have to live with. Where I live the only place in town without road camber is the promenade/quayside (sea level). The rest of the town is built on the slopes of the hills. To top it up the camber on the roads are really bad (not to mention the pot holes and bumps). Basically I have to deal with two main problems when riding along the road: the road itself is on an angle following the angle of the slope and second the road camber itself (the roads over here are not flat by any means). It is not something I ever thought until I started unicycling. The only thing you can do is to let your body automatically compensate it as you ride. You will get used to it. When riding the 36’ some particular bad roads can be a bit of a challenge!

Don’t worry about the freemount etc… everything in unicycling takes time, you will get the hang of it sooner or later :slight_smile:

Hi Oorwullie, when did you learn to ride unicycle? 650m seems like a long way already. I’ve just been riding for 2.5 weeks and yesterday I managed 30m, which was double what I did on Monday. Anyways for freemounting, I set the ball of my foot on the crank close to the middle of the wheel, so the unicycle doesn’t roll away when I put my weight on it. This actually gives me a lot of time to put my non-dominant foot on the other pedal, so I can take off. Mostly I’m practicing on keeping my balance with alternating speeds, but I need a lot of practice still. I also live in a town with everything on hills, but there is one parking lot that is flat with nearly no vehicles and perfect to train on. I’m learning on a 20 inch uni (Only-One) , but soon (next week) I will buy a 26 inch muni (, as that is what I want to focus on.

If you’re trying to do a tire grab mount with the smaller unicycle, it may be difficult. I can’t do it on anything smaller than a 24. I would limit this mount to the muni (and/or the 29er when you buy it). The trick, for me, is not letting go of the tire until after my center of gravity has COMPLETELY moved in front of the unicycle. This can be a little intimidating in a “hunched over” position, but it works once you figure out the balance.

This is tricky, and I think it depends on the mount. As far as learning is concerned, I found my larger wheels to be easier; however, now that I understand what I’m attempting to do with my body, I can more consistently mount my smaller wheels. I first learned the tire grab mount and then the static mount. If I had focused on the rollback mount, I may have preferred a smaller wheel.

Depending on your weight, you may be able to put a little weight on the rear peddle of the muni if you want to try the static mount; however, you probably can’t do this with your smaller wheel. I didn’t figure out the static mount until I bought my 29er. At my weight (~280-290lbs), it took awhile to become comfortable putting enough pressure on the seat to effectively mount my muni, but I was able to use the back pedal as a step when mounting the 29er until I figured out what I was supposed to be doing.

In terms of easiness (for me), I’d use the 19 if I wanted to continue trying the rollback mount. For the tire grab or static mount, I’d use the muni. Once you get consistent with one, try the mount on the other unicycle to solidify the skillset.

Good luck!

Thanks for trying the tire-grab mount, OorWullie. Most people don’t care for it, but it works really well for some people. I don’t use it any more, but it served its purpose when I needed it.

Having followed the progress of several beginners on the forum in this last year, and from my own experience learning, I’ve noticed: At some point, the novelty of riding forward fades and riders have a choice to either get bored/quit or start focusing on some of the finer points of riding, such as mounts. It feels like a step backwards, but it is worth it!

Regarding the problems with camber, my advice can be summed up in two words: handle bars!

Bradahj, I’ll look that up tonight when I’m in town with decent internet speed! And Pierrox, I’ll watch the video you’ve posted then too. Thanks.
Moslki, where in the isle of man are you? I’ve always thought the roads there were well kept, but that could be just the tt course?! I’ve only been once about 20 years ago. We stayed at a campsite near Douglas. I keep meaning to come over again but time hasn’t allowed me to yet!
Setonix, I got my first uni last Christmas, practiced around 30mins most nights through January indoors and was managing 10-15m rides. Through Feb and March I rode outside and got up to consistently doing 100-150m rides, and set a personal best of 300m . Then life, work family and so on got in the way and I rode maybe twice between April and last week. When I got back on I thought it would be like starting all over again, so I was very happy with 650m. The 1300m ride was in town along the seafront and I was amazed at how much easier it was without the camber on the path! I’m also coming to the conclusion that learning new skills isn’t necessarily harder to do as one get older, it’s just harder to find the time to dedicate to practice!
Anotherjohn, I am also on the big side, I’m 6’2", and weigh around 250lbs.
Elpueblounido, the tyre grab was a good suggestion, I just can’t see it working for me just now, taking wheel size, my own size and my lack of skill into account. However, if I do end up getting a bigger wheel I will certainly give it another go!
Thanks everyone.

Another question - I went for a ride tonight along the promenade since I was coming in to work anyway. I managed another pb for distance, 1700m, which I was very happy with. However, by the end my right thigh was burning. My left was ok, tiring obviously but tolerable. The right was actually painful! This is something I’ve noticed before too, it’s not the first time, and it’s always the right leg. Does anyone else find one leg tires quicker than the other? What seems od’d to me is when I ride mtb this doesn’t happen, I regularly do 20+mile rides no problem, and both legs feel ok squatting in the gym. Is it normal, or am I doing something weird?

I wasn’t here 20 years ago but things must have changed quite a bit since. You would think the roads would be in better shape because of the TT. Some roads, particulary the main arteries, are good but other ones are patched up to death. Somehow the patches become bumps very quickly. I’m sure is the same everywhere else. I live in Douglas and I bet the weather over here is still as rubbish as it was 20 years ago when you were over :). I think the TT has grown a lot since, loads of people coming over!

You’re doing well with the unicycling. I have been doing it for 2/3 years and I’m still trying to master ‘standard’ tricks like wheel walk. Never ending! Not sure how long it took me to master the freemount but I’m sure I use to lean on things to get on the unicycle for a long time (and still do on the 36’ when I’m tired and don’t want to waste energy). When learning to unicycle my legs, knees and back did hurt for months until I built up the muscles etc… Take your time! I fell badly on my back a week ago for trying something beyond my skills and I’m still recovering…

No it’s not normal, you’re riding a unicycle!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist…

Just to clarify, are you talking about a saddle sore or a muscular issue? The good news is, you’ve completed the first step: identify the problem. It is probably an issue of excess tension, which should subside as you become more relaxed while riding. Good luck!

It’s the muscle, just lactic acid build up. It’s just strange how it affects one leg more than the other though. As I say, on the bike, doing turbo trainer intervals or squatting doesn’t have this effect. With those things both legs tire evenly.
I definitely am tense still, I can feel the strain in my shoulders, arms, back and abs when I manage the longer rides, but I’m not too concerned about that as I’m sure it’ll ease as I improve.

Your one sore leg might be a part of still having weight on the pedals rather of the seat, something most of us go through. There’s no reason to think you wouldn’t have more weight on one foot than the other. First-year riders sometimes complain about not being able to keep from turning to one side or the other, and I believe weighting one pedal more than the other can have that effect.

It could also be coming from your crowned road. Weighting one pedal is one way to keep going straight on a tilted road. If so, good for you that you’re making that accommodation. And yes, it’s tiring. Camber sucks. The way I usually deal with it is by finding a better road to ride on. :slight_smile:

Something you might try for free mounting: Get your weight too far forward, so that you step over the unicycle and right off the front. Then you’ll have a bracket around the right amount of forward lean. You’ll also feel more secure about being able to stay on your feet if you overcommit to an attempt and have to bail out.

I never could do the tire grab either. I tried it on my 20" but it seemed like I was too tall and not limber enough and the wheel was too far away to get down there. But thinking about grabbing it, getting my head over it as though I was going to try, really did help me to get my weight forward.

Best of luck and keep up the good work. It’s mostly about sticking with it.

Tyre grab mount seemed absurd with my height. I tried the “don’t crush the egg method” but it was hard to judge the forces precisely and the uni was more or less just sitting there so easily disturbed. I experimented with ways to balance the forward and back forces so that the uni was more or less locked in position.

Eventually came up with static freemount like UniMyra’s video which came out about a month later and really helped me to understand the dynamics much better.

The way I learnt naturally resulted in a static mount. I used UniMyra’s mount while bracing my arm on a fence. This helps control the direction of the take off and allow focus on the forward and back balance. Over time the reliance on the fence reduces enough to use traffic sign poles and eventually let go completely.

Some of the skills to freemount will come along with more experience just riding. Don’t worry about it. Keep trying it but don’t obsess and it will eventually come. BTW I always avoid continuing to attempt after three failures because it seems like practising failure to keep going.

I mastered freemounting on my 26 but I think it was really just a matter to accumulated time and experience when I happened to be riding it. Things do move more slowly on a larger uni and this can help freemounting. Best to use all your unis because the comparison between them will teach you a lot.

One way to reduce the propensity of the uni to follow the camber is to lean the upper body forwards. This causes the wheel to come forward under you, moving the tyre contact patch relative to the uni axis such that it increases the steering geometry’s effective trail, stabilising the wheel track somewhat and working against the camber forces.

It is important though to only lean the upper body or you will be destabilised very easily by small irregularities.

The extra extension of the body also provides a more effective counter weight against the camber and tilt the uni with the camber to reduce the thrust.

The Hookworm is well known to have a strong camber effect but I suspect it is also related to the width of the tyre. For road I mainly ride a 26 x 2.15 Maxxis DTH on a 48 mm rim. It has plenty of roll over ability and much less camber problems than the Hookworm. It weighs quite a bit less than the Hookworm too.

My “Standard Unicycle” has a 24 x 1.75 Maxxis DTH on a 32 mm rim. This is a very light tyre making the uni extremely nimble. It has very little susceptibility to camber.

The uneven tiring of my legs seemed less pronounced tonight, I’m not sure if it’s just a symptom of improving or if swapping cranks made the difference. I was using dual hole 165/137 moments in the 165 position. Today I swapped back to the standard 150s. I thought about going to the 137 hole but didn’t feel as confident with the extra seat height required. Seems silly saying it, but 10-15mm feels like a lot more when I’m perched on top of a single wheel! I probably will end up going back to the moments when I get good enough to venture off road though. Or I might end up buying another uni for that…
I saw somewhere that the formula for the optimal number of bikes is the number in your shed + 1. Seems like the optimal number of unicycles is the number you own + at least another 2!

Last night I managed to free mount & ride out of it! I used my 19" Impact Athmos, and once I got it the first time I was successful maybe 8 of 10 tries. My success rate did start to tail off as I tired later on, but that’s probably to be expected!
I was finding it harder to ride the 19" than the 24 though. Does anyone else find this? I’m putting it down to the smaller wheel being more affected by the less than perfect path surface, bumps seem to affect balance more. Also, it’s taking a bit to get used to shorter cranks, I’m used to 175mm on my mtb, and had 165mm on my 24" Nimbus at first, though I’ve now swapped back to 150 on the 24" and have the standard 140mm that came on the 19".
This progress thing is quite addictive. I want to be riding now instead of being stuck at work!

Great news!

You’re right, 19" trials are a bit cumbersome to ride (they’re just meant to hop around, really), as their very long cranks make for a very twitchy ride, and the smaller wheel gets caught in any road crack.

Once your brain has picked on what made for a successful mount, it’s there. It should only improve from now on, unless you tried too hard to understand what you did instinctively.