My 36er problem(s)

So I am very new to 36 unicycles.
My first arrived from UDC (UK) about a month ago now.

I absolutely love it, The feeling of being up so high is amazing, going further and faster than before (actually not much faster, according to my GPS- but it feels faster.

Ive had a couple of pretty good UPDs which involved leaving the skin from both my knees spread all over the pavement, this was with protection, my pads nicely slipped out of the way on first impact.
all this was expected and no big problem

The problem I have is with mounting.

but its just like I look at the height and just convince myself i cant jump that high. after this… well i cant do it

Ive come closest with an attempt at a rolling mount, in fact i was up, and almost got going, each session i go out on it, I try for 5-10 minutes, and havnt propperly mounted once.

now when spare time comes around, I want to be flying, zooming along in high gear.
not failing, again and again and again to even get on the damn thing

so the last couple of times out, ive been bad, tried 1-2 times, and thought sod this, found a lamppost, hauled myself up and whent riding

just didnt feel like beating myself up with jumping again and again and again.

I have done searches and watched the tutorials, probably not all, but i feel I have a mental block I know ‘I cant do it’ and because of this i really cant do it

I think I know the real answer…
practice practice practice

but just getting a bit frustrated

Try practicing something different. Find a wall or a planter box about 18" high and jump up onto it. Try to land with your feet in riding position. Try it with one foot already balanced on top of the wall, using your back foot to jump up.

Once you see that the jump itself is actually really easy, you’ll get over the mental block of having a unicycle to get up onto.

I have only been riding on a 36 for about 6 months now and the biggest thing that i found that stopped me from being able to free mount it was not enough speed.

Let me see if i can explain that.

I have found that for me trying to just do a static mount is very hard and requires a huge jump up and i am not able to do it most of the time. (Stuck in an intersection with cars getting grumpy has made it impossible)

So the way that i have been doing 99.9% of all my mounts is a rolling mount. Walk at a reasonable speed then as the leading pedal (The one you want to mount on) is at about 7pm then step up. With the extra speed that you have from walking the Uni keeps moving forward and allows you to get up on it.

If i don’t have enough speed or the pedal is not in the best place then i normally just end up not making it on the seat.

Also it is practice and the advice about the hopping up on to stairs / planters helps lots.


When I got my 36’er it had 125 cranks. I’d already tried out another friend’s before with the same length. Haven’t really tried learning how to rolling mount yet so the only other alternative for me was also to jump mount. Now, this may however be considerably easier for me as I am over 2m tall, but getting rolling without leaning too far forward and UPD’ing off the front caused some issues.

After riding mine for not long I realised that for me 125’s were too short. They didn’t feel versatile enough for inclined terrain. I’ve now moved on to 150’s and rather than jump mounting it all the time I just free mount it now, like I do with all my other unicycles (dominant foot pedal closest to the ground).

The problem you’re having is not unusual, the bigger the wheel, the harder it is to mount.

So here’s my suggestions:

Stop worrying about free mounting. Find a post, a tree, a shoulder, and go ride. Riding is what matters.

Set aside fifteen minutes each week to practice a skill, in this case freemounting, but don’t practice before you go for a ride, you’ll get frustrated and tired.

Try dropping your seat so it’s not so tall, this will make it easier to mount and ride by increasing your mobility.

Getting comfortable riding a 36er will reduce your anxiety over mounting. If you’re still having UPD’s that lead to ground falls, then you are still solidly in the learning curve, so more riding practice until you stop having ground fall UPD’s.

Learn how to get off your 36er during a UPD. I ride a 36er off road and I rarely, rarely have ground falls, though I have plenty of UPD’s. One of the things that seems to cause more serious UPD’s is the rider trying to save the uni as they fall and/or trying to recover from the fall without having a UPD.

=> When you start to fall, let the uni go, jump free of the uni. The uni will not be hurt, unis are designed for falls, we on the other hand are not designed for falls.

This is all great advice. I’m short and use a rolling mount on my big wheel. It seemed natural since I could already do a rolling mount on a giraffe but even now that I can static mount the big wheel (at least with 150mm cranks) it’s much less effort to do a rolling mount and lets me mount uphill easier as well. Timing is the most difficult thing to get right with the rolling mount so I always line up the pedals a certain way (mostly horizontal), take 3 steps of the same length, and then jump. If you want to try this you can experiment with the starting angle of the pedals and the length and number of your steps.

I’m a rollback mounter, though I’m thinking of working on a jump mount as I can see the advantages.

I’ll gladly admit that I’m spoilt, most of the time I grab a tree for starting and resting, so I don’t free mount all that often. I can free mount and there are days when I make myself freemount for practice, but with so many trees and so little time, I just don’t see the point.

I’d be more concerned with the OP’s ground fall UPD’s, esp on asphalt, there has been a rash of 36er injuries as of late; it’s a long ways to the ground from a 36er. Personally, I like UPD’s from a 36er better than from a smaller wheel because I feel like there’s more time/distance to spot a landing. I did bruise a tendon with a particularly hard landing, othewise I generally have good UPDs on the 36er.

My technique:

I put the left pedal quite low - the crank is below horizontal, but is not vertical. Say 4:00 on a clock face.

I tilt the uni very slightly to the right.

I put my left foot ont he pedal, and the seat in my crotch.

In one movement, I push the uni slightly forward and as the pedal starts to rise, I use it as a step.

I dn’t have to jump very high. I sort of step up

The hub of a 36 is 18 inches off the ground. The hub of a 20 is 10 inches off the ground. Therefore, the 36 hub is only 8 inches higher than that of a 20.

As your 36 will probably have longer cranks than a 20, the seat is probably only about 7 inches further up than on a 20 - assuming that the seat to pedal distance is the same… The difference is mainly psychological.

For me, free mounting is definitely the most challenging thing about riding a 36er. Although I managed to get 10 of them the first evening (I stayed outside until after dark, and forced myself to keep going until I got 10), I’d say it took me over a year to get to the point where I was reasonably comptetent and consistent with free mounts. However, it’s not the height that makes it difficult (at least not for me, I’m 6’4" and had to buy a longer seatpost when I got my Coker). Rather, the extra weight of the wheel just makes it hard to get it going, and those few moments of static balance while you’re trying to get the wheel moving can end up in a failed mount/UPD pretty easily. The more I’ve ridden it, the easier it’s gotten to free mount, which I think comes from getting used to the weight and feel of the big wheel just as much as practicing the mounts. So if you’re having a bad day with mounts, just focus on riding, and know that getting better riding will ultimately also help your mounts.

FWIW, my mounting style is kindof in between a static and full rolling mount. Getting the wheel moving a little before hopping on is helpful.

Thanks for the help all

I will get this as the reward is a big one. It’s really a different feeling being up so high. Really loving riding this thing

I will work on jumping up on anything I can find approximately 18 inches tall

Try all variants of mounting

But most importantly enjoy it

I was getting a bit annoyed with myself. And after a bit of thought reminded myself why I do this. Fun

So that’s what I’ll be doing
Enjoying my 36
Riding it far and fast. I’ll work on the mounts. But not too much

Thanks guys

I’m 57, and often I’d just rather use a sign post, or in the woods a tree branch, to assist in mounting. I do about 6 miles off road daily on my 36".

Dang Billy, I figured you for a teenager :roll_eyes:

Fer sure, ain’t no shame in grabbing hold to boost ya up or ease ya down, we’re talking unicycles here, so anything goes!

Just keep spreading the 36er luv :stuck_out_tongue:

Friday morning I’m off to North Carolina with Mrs Nurse Ben for some big wheel muni, gonna get some miles done while we still have warm dry weather.