Muni 101

I rode down a quite steep rocky line yesterday and thought that was easy, and thought back at how imposing or even impossible hills like that used to be to me. I wondered what happened in me to go from near impossible to easy.
I thought I’d share one simple technique that drastically changed my Muni abilities. I’m certainly no expert. I think of myself as an enthusiastic intermediate. I remember attempting steep rocky decents and bouncing along, my feet bouncing off the pedals and most of the time ending up on the ground. Of course many of you on this forum know this, but this is for those who are learning and can’t figure out how it’s so easy for some to ride down nearly anything.
The secret is simply pulling firmly on the seat handle (I prefer the Reeder) and keeping your feet solidly engaged on the pedals. If your pulling hard enough, taking most of your weight off the seat so that no matter how rough the terrain your feet will not bounce off the pedals, you will be able to navigate most steep rocky decents. Your feet disengauging from the pedals is your enemy.
Well just a tip that I hope helps someone. I ride mostly alone and have to learn most stuff the the hard way.

I’m sure it’ll help me.
I too ride alone, and though still a bit of a novice, I’m desperate to get into muni. I’ve only just found a set of stairs that will be suitable for me to learn to ride down multiple drops (and they’ll be getting my full attention tomorrow morning). I’m okay with curbs, but haven’t wanted to get into rough terrain descents until I can manage steps and stuff. I can’t say I’d really thought about hanging on to the saddle so please keep posting good tips like that. I’m just guessing here but it sounds like the same principle will apply.
Sometimes the more experienced riders think we know this stuff instinctively.

Great explanation and great tip.
I had been trying to figure out the best way to ride over roots and rocky terrain. Should I ride standing up on the pedals or sitting down on the saddle. Sitting down I had more control, my legs didn’t get as tired, but it also hurt more. Standing up, solved the hurt problem, this would absorb the bumps better, but my legs got tired a lot quicker and balance was a little tougher.

I finally learned a technique where I am kind of hovering above the seat. Just high enough that I’m not getting wacked by the saddle, but low enough that my balance was better and my legs didn’t get as tired.
I am able to sit when the trail is smooth and unweight just enough when it gets bumpy. This has worked really well for me.

Great tips. I’ll have to give that a try. I’m a REALLY slow learner. Almost 3 years now and I still mostly suck. I’ve really gotten to love trail riding but it’s still gotta be a pretty smooth gravel path or I end up UPDing every few feet. It usually is because my feet come off the pedals. The other thing I’m not any good at is doing an accurate forward hop from rock to rock. My side hops are getting better but the forward hop needs a lot of work. Anyway, I’ll try the more wieght on the pedals thing the next time I go out.

I couldn’t muni at all

Until I read a tire pressure thread, and lowered my tires to < 20 psi.

Just get clipless pedals. Problem solved.

I learned this one a while ago from instinct just like you. It also helps for controlling speed as you descent, as it is easier to apply back pressure, of course that really only applies to those of us who are without magura’s.

if you watch into the thunder dragon, in the special bit, kris holm explains it pretty well. look ahed for your line, and hopp the rest. i forget what he called it, rollign hopp?? :thinking:

Or you just use clipless pedals like I am now. And your feet never come off, until you fall. And as soon as you fall, they unclip just like they were never clipped in at all…

They really are the best change I’ve done to my unicycling, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never go back.


Pulling up hard on the seat does help a lot. Here are two things that gave me breakthouhgs in my riding.

  1. Riding Backwards. Learning to ride backwards was so much harder than frontwards. It took me over two month to master. As I got better riding backwards I developed new improved balance and have since been falling much less. Riding backwards has also led to Idling.

  2. Riding One Footed. I am still working on this one. I am close to mastering one footed pedaling. Sometimes I get a couple of revolutions in before needing to put my foot back on. Now when I am going over rough terrain or drops and one of my feet falls off the pedal or moves to off center I just cooly replace it to the corect position. this can usually be accomplished in less than half a crank revolution. One time my foot fell completely off the pedal when I was coming off an exposed boulder. I started to fall with my right foot extended outwards in order to catch myself. However I was still pedaling with my left foot and just didn’t fall! After two or three revolutions I bent my right leg and got it back on the pedal! One of my fellow riders who was on a mountain bike behind me shouted “I saw that!” It was awesome!


these things helped me alot too!..especially riding backwards!

That’s it! I’ve been trying to learn backwards riding for a long time now…although I’ll admit that I’ve really been giving it a half-assed attempt…but now I’m really going to work at it. I wish I had a 20" for this kind of stuff, but my 26er will have to do. Anything to improve my skill at muni!

Improving MUni Skills

I did not work as hard on riding backwards as I did riding forwards. I would skipp days of practice. Same thing with riding one footed. Both have opened whole new worlds to me while riding as you can se in my above post. They are well worth the effort.


I agree. To get over the bumps, you have to lift yourself off the seat a bit just before you hit the bump. Lift yourself higher for bigger bumps.

Lift off the seat?

I have never lifted myself off my seat in order to go over bumps. I pull up on the seat and move my hips back a bit. I stand up when doing drops and jumps. There is no reasonn to stand up or jump when rolling over bumps. Now if you want to completely jump over a bump that is a different story. however just rolling over bumps that are even up to a foot high is much more energy conserving than jumping over them. I started a whole thread about a week ago about riding up curbs. it has a lot of usefull information on curbs or bumps, same thing. Bumps are actually easier because they are usually sloped where as a curb is a 90 degree rise.


If you stand slightly, you lose less speed over bumps and drops. Don’t stand up too much of the time as generally it’s less efficient, but over bumps and drops etc., it becomes more efficient, cos only the unicycle has to roll over the bump, your legs absorb the bump, and you don’t need to power your body over it.

As for pulling up on the seat, I hold onto the seat 100% of the time, but generally not too tight. If you have a hold on it, when the uni starts dropping, you keep hold, then you are pulling harder. If you pull too hard, you can give yourself achey wrists/arms.

I know of one rider, Tue, from Cornwall, UK, who hardly uses the seat handle, yet is one of the best technical riders out there, goes down rocky descents, arms out to the sides. I still haven’t figured out how he does it.


Holding on to the saddle handle

I am always juggling between holding onto the saddle handle and having arms out to the side. It is harder to balance when you are holding on to the saddle handle. This is illustrated by all the riders who have their hand way out to the sides when riding skinnies and railings. However when going over very technical stuff you need to hold the unicycle in close to you. Unless the bumps and drops are more than 6 inches I usually don’t hold onto the saddle handle any more. When going up steep hills I will always pull up hard on the saddle in order to get more muscle into my pedaling. I weigh about 62kg and if I pull up on the saddle I gan definitely get more force than that into my pedaling. Also a good skill builder is to try and ride with both of your hands holding onto the saddle cup. It teaches you balance with your torso rather than your arms.


Well, that’s why you don’t have to lift your weight off the seat, you’re a featherweight. :slight_smile: Gain 30 kilos, then come back and talk to us. :slight_smile: