More wheels than skills

Hey Setonix!

I do currently only have road unis. For now I am mainly interested in commuting and longer distance road riding. I would love to do an organized bike ride on my uni someday. I also enjoy riding some of the bike/park trails in my area. I like not having to worry about traffic. I broke my collar bone after being hit by a car while bike riding back in 2014.

When I first learned there was such a thing as muni I was really intrigued. My wife saw me watching a video and said “I hope you’re not thinking of doing that!” No, of course not… :roll_eyes:

Munis absolutely look awesome and I hope to have one someday. I especially like the look of the hatchet with that 4.8" tire!! Maybe like a 26 or 27.5 would fit in nicely with my other wheels.

Tinkerbeau, I sure wish Texas was closer to Glasgow :smiley: I would take you up on your offer to try out your giraffe and Hatchet! None of my local bike shops carry unis for me to try out or even look at.

I would love to try a giraffe someday without having to buy one. I kinda like the look of the 3 wheeled one that’s on UDC. I’ve heard it said they’re easier to ride. I saw a video of a guy freemounting a 6’ one. THAT looks like it would be quite the challenge!! :astonished:

I have a Hatchet 26". I mostly looks cool, but I think it is too heavy to ride.

It does have the coolness factor working for it, but I never considered the weight of it. Is there a particular one you have ridden or would recommend? Just in case I am able to add one to my collection someday :smiley:

That got me thinking about my own progression. I went from a 16" (hard plastic tire) to a Schwinn Giraffe (6’ tall, 20"), to a regular 20", to a 24". 24" was the “do everything” size for the local unicyclists at that time; you could race it, cruise around on it and do tricks on it. After four years of competing in (what we now call) Freestyle, I switched to 20". It was pretty frustrating at first, but the lighter, quicker wheel makes learning easier and quicker, once you get used to how it reacts. 24" is also fine for learning basic moves, like sharp turns, idling, etc.

That looks like maybe a 16" wheel? But not just a kids’ toy, that one, it looks pretty sturdy. That will be more “fiddly” or “twitchy” than a 20", but otherwise can be used for learning the basics as well. You’ll know you’re getting good at the turns when your pedals start hitting the floor.

N+1: If you can afford it and have the space, why not? I have too many unicycles. The more collectors there are, the more of a chance our “collectibles” will be thought of as valuable! :slight_smile:

Off topic: Have you ever heard of a restaurant there that features unicycling waiters that catch roasted chickens on a tray while riding unicycles? I’d love to know if it still exists!
<does what his wife does now while we’re driving; just Googles it>Looks like it’s called Ka-Tron (Flying Unicycle Chicken) Restaurant, and is in Bangkok! you should check it out if you’re near there. :smiley:

You don’t need 5 years to get ready to ride a giraffe, especially a little one. That looks like an old DM Ringmaster, double chain. Handmade! Very nice! Ditch the seat, but save it if it’s in good condition. Some of us collectors might be interested…

For giraffe riding, I recommend learning how to idle and ride slow first. Then practice dismounting from it in various directions, including to the sides. Once you feel comfortable doing that, you’ll be much more comfortable riding it. …And BTW it’s a 20", and good for learning many of those basic riding moves, even though it’s a little taller. For some skills, the giraffe makes it easier, including idling.

My 2 go-to unis are the KH26 Muni and the Nimbus 29" Muni. I think they are a good size for making some distance and they are easy to mount and if halfway I get the idea to ride offroad, I can just take a sandy offroad trail. I usually ride in a forest where there are both hardened bicycle roads and mostly sandy roads and some single track mountainbike trails. I find those very hard to ride.

But even though I have 10 unicycles, I ride them all pretty regularly. This Saturday there is a Uni Festival in a gym and they only allow 20 and 24" with plastic pedals, so I took out my 20 freestyle to get the feel for it again. Rode 3km on it yesterday. Im a bit careful with it, because last time the week locked up when I was riding slowly and came to a bump on the pavement, which ended up in a faceplant. The freestyle is probably not one to take outside, but I don’t have space enough in the house for it :slight_smile:

@John: thanks for the tip, as my wife’s family lives in Bangkok, Im sure we can visit the restaurant.

Setonix - Thanks for the feedback!

:wink: Long seatpost => it is a 19" trials.

All I need now is to buy a garage like yours where unis can be stored high under the roof.

Thanks for the advice, John. I’ll practice those skills on the small uni and then dare the long dismounts. Plenty time also to read up on the mounting. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, that’s what I think it is. Was apparently made around 20 years ago and feels rock solid.
About the saddle: what do folk do to replace one like this with 3 holes in the base? Just drill two more holes? The seatpost is great quality and I guess custom made for the uni so I’d rather keep it if I can.

If anybody is interested in the seat, let me know. I think it had a mice attack, though. Up for grabs for postage cost. :slight_smile:

As for the name of this thread “More wheels than skills”, I became very much aware of that at the unicycle festival. I have 10 something unis, but all I do is just ride my distances up to 20km on hardened and off-road. At the festival I couldn’t do the street or trials workshops and for the circus tricks, I was happy to be able to ride linked by the arms with 2 other unicyclist. That was actually easier than I had perceived. But other things like riding while someone else stands on the frame behind me, I didn’t dare. Also for things like hockey and basketball, one really needs to stand still / idle (maybe) and ride backwards.

There were mostly youngsters at the festival and it was fun to watch them, but personally I have a lot to learn to be able to part-take in the fun.

If there is one thing my short group freestyle career has taught me, is that tricks holding hands/shoulders shouldn’t count. I’d say with 30 minutes of practice, a mediocre freestyle rider can do any wheelwalk variation in a row of 3+ people doing the same trick…

Did you try hockey? I think it’s really the ideal uni discipline for beginners. I mean you are literally always carrying a stick to support yourself with, when you loose balance, with you. Of course it’s easier if you start with a group of people that is roughly at the same level as you though, but there are really few things that are as fun as playing unicycle hockey, for someone that can only freemount and ride. Unicycle basketball really is hard however, since you need to be both good on a unicycle and decent with a ball.

I’m probably in the “more skills than wheels” group of people. And unicycle festivals like Sentonix mentioned are the reason why. Combined with a lack of budget, I have to decide between getting unicycles or even parts for my unicycle, and going to events. I highly recommend going to unicycle events near you, if there are any. Can’t beat the energy and inspiration you get there, and that’s for any skill level. It’s always great if you meet someone slightly better than you, because it motivates without discouraging you, and they are often the best help because they remember what they specifically struggled with.

different wheel sizes and crank lengths!

I’m a little late posting and most of the replies seem pretty on, but I thought I’d share my thoughts too.

Riding different wheel sizes (and crank lengths) and styles really helps your overall unicycling skills, plus it’s fun!

While like many things, you become the best at something by practicing exactly that (i.e. if you want to be fast on a 20" then only riding a 20" is really going to maximize that), but riding different wheel sizes really helps boost your overall skills. On the small size, riding a 20" trails or freestyle uni allows you to practice skills where you might have more fear of crashing on a bigger wheel (like backwards, idling, etc.) and are just easier to learn on a small wheel (hopping). Riding a bigger wheel and different cranks also increases your range.

I started with a 24" muni and rode almost exclusively muni for a long time (didn’t know much else or have much contact). Then got a 26" muni, a 20" trails, a 36" which was quite a challenge at first as I couldn’t free-mount it, then 29" muni and 20" freestyle and now Schlumpf in 29".

Learning to ride the 36" really increased my skills, especially riding the 36 off-road (I remember about 5 years ago not being able to handle like a 5% grade downhill with 165mm cranks as the wheel felt like it had a life of it’s own). Then the freestyle uni really boosted my skills with one-footed and slow-speed, plus helped me get more used to short cranks (89mm). And the Schlumpf since last summer again requiring more skills.

For example, I am now totally comfortable riding the 36" in the city with 100mm cranks! which I considered was near impossible a few years ago when I was almost out of control at slow speeds with 150mm cranks (and thus scared to ride around pedestrians). And now after practicing with the 29" Schlumpf (I still find it so tiring and so much harder than the 36"), the 36" feels so easy and like I have precision control (in comparison I do). My last 2 XC rides I have done with the 36" with 100mm cranks and that is also a blast!! Absolutely unimaginable even just a year ago! Without frequently switching wheel sizes and crank lengths I don’t know if I would have ever reached that ability! and I hope I can one day say the same about the Schlumpf, both off-road and road…

And for developing skills like rolling hop I need to spend more time on my Trails uni…

@Finnspin: I’d gladly trade one of my wheels for some of your trials and flatland skills, but I don’t think it works that way (and totally stoked that with my time of 13:31 i the DH-finale I was only 37 seconds and 2 places behind you in the German ODM Downhill!).

Glad to hear it. My go-to uni right now is a KH24 with 3" tyres, but I like to swap. Takes a couple of minutes to get ‘used’ to them every time and that in itself is sort of fun. :slight_smile:

BTW: I am getting better with the rolling mount on larger size wheels (Hatchet upwards) but it is very much hit & miss with scary situations on smaller wheels (29er but especially 24"). Any advice out there? Less rotational inertia, I know, but do folk rolling/walking mount smaller wheels or is static the ‘normal’ way?

Hmm… never really thought about it. In general, I think the rolling/walking mount is more useful with a larger wheel size and thus less interesting/necessary with a smaller wheel size, i.e. when mounting a 36 it makes it easier to get up and over the uni, which is totally unnecessary on a 24/20. Just thinking about it I would also guess that one advantage of the rolling mount for the big wheel being that you kind of slow down the mount process by using your body weight to counter the wheel momentum doesn’t work out as well with the smaller wheel where there is less momentum and time (10 degrees of revolution on a 36 is way further than on a 24), such that the body weight can more easily “overpower” the small 24" wheel and then “throw” you violently off.

I guess the short of it would be: it’s probably totally learnable and I’m sure good Freestylers and Flatlanders can probably do it well, but the rolling/walking mount is really not so needed for a smaller wheel, as the static mount is just so easy and works (there’s no problem getting your body weight over the uni). And then if there’s much need for a different mount, then more the jump mount which accomplishes the same thing of getting your body weight up, but doesn’t rely on balancing out momentum, or mounts for other reasons like aesthetics like a side mount or whatever, where the rolling mount is also generally less interesting (on a 36" the rolling mount maybe looks cool, but on a 24" not so). Also the speeds are slower: on my 36 or 29 I sometimes want to get back on and up to speed again and the rolling mount advances this. With the smaller wheel I rarely care about actually getting somewhere fast and coming to a full stop is not an issue.

On my 36" and 29" I probably do close to 50/50 static/rollback vs rolling/walking mount with a few jump mounts (in the past I couldn’t do the static mount with shorter cranks but now I can). On my 20" freestyle and trials I probably do static mount all the time unless I am specifically trying to do something else (side mount, jump mount, etc.).

So, I would say practice the rolling mount on the 29 as there it has use, but on the smaller wheel, probably not necessary, but it is simply more relevant for the larger wheel.

I’m sure it is doable on a 29" So far I have only been using a rolling mount on the 36", just because I am always fighting to get on. Most of the time I don’t bother and use a static mount anyways. Thought there was this clip on youtube of a guy who just ran with his muni in the forest and jumped on and rode off. It would be cool to do that, so by focusing on only doing rolling mounts, I am sure it should be possible to make it into some automatic pilot action of mounting the uni.
Lately whenever I static mount, I have to like mentally prepare to hop on. Not sure where that came from. On the other hand when I quickly want to mount without too much thought I either hop on too fast or misstep with my second foot.
PS: I wouldn’t ever bother rolling mounting the 24 or 20. Just don’t see the point. just like MUCFreerider says.

It’s so nice. I went through a lot of lower, darker, smaller garages to get to this one. I counted them up and it’s an even ten, starting with my parents house in Livonia, Michigan. :slight_smile:

Mice?? You need to feed your local mice some better garbage or something! Though mice are notoriously non-choosey. In my Carmichael house (#9 of the 10), mice ate the millet seed in some old homemade beanbags I had that were at least 20 years old. And that didn’t kill them so maybe a DM Ringmaster seat just tastes good to them!

As for the post, probably not any easy way to modify it to the Schwinn/KH bolt pattern because it’s so small up front. Easiest would be to keep the post and seat together, and replace both.

They count, but not as much. For Pairs and Groups, anything performed with support from the other rider(s) is factored in.

Yes, hockey is ideal to improve basic riding ability. A support stick, and the game itself to take your mind off the riding and help your body learn the movements sub-consciously.

Once your riding skills are a bit better, basketball is also a great distraction and riding power builder.

Photos: First is of Turn Lane house in Levittown (my garage #5), which was high on one side only. Second is of Polaris house in Levittown (#6); unfinished and very crowded up there!



Thanks both.
I should have explained that my current favourite ‘playground’ is about 1 km away uphill all the way. I don’t make this in one piece, and still have trouble static mounting up hill. So, somewhat unexpectedly (to me), I can get there better on a bigger wheel, because I can walk-mount uphill, than on the smaller wheel. I guess it is a case of practice, practice, practice. :o

That sounds like very good advice … only that unfortunately the closest unicyclist that I know of is 20 miles away, the next one 25 in the opposite direction, and then it’s DrD in the Highlands, a couple of hours drive away. Might be hard to get a team together. :frowning:

It wisnae me. Came like this and I hope it doesn’t attract rubber-munching mice to my garage. :astonished:

This is a common problem. I live in a metropolitan area that, including the suburbs, has a population of 20 million, but unicycle hockey and basketball are only played once a year here, and that’s only when lots of people come in from out of town for Unifest, which is not scheduled to ever happen again.

rolling mount for uphill

So I tried to pay attention on my ride last weekend on my 36 on my local XC trails: Yes, the rolling mount is most helpful on an uphill grade.

When mounting downhill I always do static mount.
When it is flat and I’m starting from a stop I tend to mostly do static mounts.
When it is uphill then the rolling mount is nice.

For a challenge I was again riding my 36" with 100mm cranks and even a really slight uphill is very difficult with a static mount, so I was using the rolling mount a lot.

The situation where I most use the rolling/walking/running mount is riding along at a fast speed and approaching a big obstacle that I cannot ride over like a big fallen tree. I dismount into a jog and hop over the log and then while still running mount the uni and ride on. Mentally it feels like the cyclocross mount, lift bike, carry over obstacle and side mount the bicycle from my bicycle cyclecross days.

Also, with the 36 on a larger uphill grade I can sometimes successfully mount using the rolling mount when I cannot mount statically (with the static mount you use all your energy getting up onto the uni and then there’s not enough strength left to start the big wheel moving forward).

As a side note, I grabbed my dusty 24" out of the garage and rode around (which was fun as I hadn’t ridden it in forever) and I can do the rolling/walking mount quite well on the 24" too. That was with 140mm cranks.

The rolling mount is mostly timing. For me at walking speed I “jump” when the mounting pedal is at the bottom of the stroke and coming towards me. When running I wait a little longer as my jump is then executed more quickly. For me this timing works on the 36", 29", 26" and 24", so it would seem to be universal.