My first Muni ride!

Yesterday was the first day around here that the trails would be dry enough to go for my first Muni ride. My wife and I did about 4 miles on MTBs and then I brought out the Nimbus 26" and we went to some of the flatter sections.
It was a super nice day with lots of hikers and bikers out. All of the company made me nervous. Once I started riding though a few things became instantly obvious:

  1. Unlike riding a unicycle on the street, riding a big knobby tired Muni on a single track trail commanded instant respect.
  2. My Nimbus can ride much better than me, once I started calming down I was extremely impressed with its ability to overcome small obstacles such as roots and protruding rocks.
  3. I work well under pressure.
  4. Most people have never seen a unicyclist in the woods.
  5. Freemounting while on any kind of incline is really tough.

We had a great day and I could not have asked for a better first time out.

I have seen a lot of posts about people asking if there MTB, BMX, or whatever other skills transfer to Muni. In my little experience I agree that other being able to read terrain, it is not going to give you a big head start, however I do believe that Muni skills to transfer well to MTBing. Ive only been riding unis for 6 weeks but the strength in my legs that I have developed struggling on a unicycle made me fly up climbs on my bike that would usually have me way out of breath.
Cant wait to get out to the trails again.


I forgot to mention the best part of my ride:
My wife and I were making our way back to the parking lot on a narrow singletrack trail that made a really short but steep descent before it opened to the trail head and met the street. I did not have any intentions of trying to ride down it, but there was an entire family and group of guys on bikes preparing to enter the trail head in my direction. There was no way that I could just get off and start walking to the car. Finish strong. So I started to negotiate the downhill and the comments started coming: " That is most hardcore thing Ive ever seen", " WOW", " I cant go up it on two wheels". Feeling the pressure and not being able to acknowledge them because every ounce of my existence was focused on staying up on my one wheel, I persisted to control the descent and cross the street to my car like I have been doing this all of my life. It was the most satisfying experience that I have had in a long time. My wife was amazed that I pull it off and gave me props when we got to the car.
So Stoked!


Nice Mark! Your excitement is contagious. Fun read.

  • 1

Now I wish even more that my uni wasn’t at the bike shop.:frowning:

Except for a few details, we had almost the exact same experience. I’ve been riding a unicycle for about 2 weeks now, and I went out on a trail for the first time yesterday with my 26" Nimbus MUni. I also had a huge problem free-mounting while going uphill, but eventually I got through about 1 1/2 miles of what would be considered too easy if I were on my mountain bike. Had so much fun, I’m headed back out right now.


Love the new nimbus red :). thats like my muni when i baught it and it will never let you down

Congrats! It really is fun, isn’t it.

I find it similar to skiiing for some reason.

MUni Madness

I agree with you folks. It is so exciting and pleasing to ride even a short distance offroad. Muni is a tremendous challenge, and I just switched back from a 29" wheel to 26 in order to handle more technical climbs.

Please check out my video from the middle of March 2013:


You rocked those switchbacks. Can’t wait until I’m that good.

I practiced out in the yard this evening. Worked on freemounting on an incline and climbing a shallow grade. When ever I stand up climbing I tend to go into slowmotion and have a hard time calming down when the terrain levels out again. I really feel like I’m fighting myself a lot. Anybody have any advice on chilling out after you go into survival/tense mode?



I thought I was the only one who forgets to breath while climbing! Turn your wheel 45 degrees downhill when attempting to mount and then snap your hips uphill with the first step. Muni requires more concentration and a zen-like approach or you will exhaust yourself. Lower your seat one to two inches. Stand up slightly and pull on the saddle horn for better drive up hills.

Hope this helps!


2 weeks and your already in the woods? Dang I better speed up my learning process. I’m on day 3 and in 30 minutes I only managed 1 full revolution 2 times.

It took me about 5 days (about one hour per day) of concentrated practice on a 20" unicycle to get comfortable enough to buy the 26" MUni. I’m comfortable enough mounting and riding to get through some uneven, muddy paths, but don’t let me fool you…I still can’t do basic stuff like idle and hop. I’m not really close to doing the type of single-track trails/turns Foundwood is shows in his video.

As for mounting uphill, when I was back on the trail yesterday I found that starting with my “dominant” pedal above the horizontal position helped by buying my other foot time to get planted before its pedal had moved up too far. I probably didn’t explain that right, but it helped me keep forward momentum. Didn’t work all the time, but I had a higher percentage of successful uphill mounts that way compared to keeping the pedals horizontal as I would on flat terrain.

I find, for uphill mounts, that if I ‘rock’ the Uni forwards just before I hop over it I get a better mount, probably doing the same thing - making the rear pedal higher with less weight upon it.

I still fail 2 out of 3 uphill mounts :smiley:

If I need to mount uphill, I’ll turn the uni perpendicular (90 degrees) to the hill, so I’m facing sideways. Then mount, and hop/twist up the hill so I’m facing the direction I want to go and start pedalling immediately. Prolly sounds strange but it works. I remember reading somewhere that if you’re having trouble getting going on an incline, hopping uphill is a great way to get your momentum going.

For MUni, most people walk most of the uphill. If they come off on an uphill, they walk to where it’s flat and mount there. Don’t stress over uphill mounting; it’s quite difficult.

And yes, most people who bother to try, do it by mounting across the hill and turning/hopping. Standing on a rock or a high spot on the side of the trail can also help.

I just had my first ride on my new MUni - totally addicted. That was one of the MOST amazing feelings I’ve had in my life!

Can’t wait to get out on it again. :smiley:

I’ll drop a couple of pics into the Latest Ride thread, and I’ve updated my blog about it so I don’t bore people who don’t want all the details… :wink:

One of my favorite things to do is take people out on their first MUni rides. It’s a beautiful thing to share!

Tom, I know I’m preachin’ to the choir, but this is for the muni newbies…

In cross country muni, you typically finish where you started. You’re gonna have to ascend the same amount of elevation as you descend. For many, the goal is to “clean” a trail… that is, to ride it with no dismounts, in which case climbing will be required.

Of course trails vary. Most trails have a mix of steep and gradual descents and ascents. Sure it’s possible to have short steep descents and long gradual ascents, requiring little climbing ability, but I find this atypical. Besides, can you ride it the other direction?

In some parks, if I walked the climbs that “hurt” I’d be walking close to 50% of the trail. I’m not out for a hike. And anytime someone sees me off my muni I bet they’re thinking, “Why would you think you could ride that here… moron.”

The best feeling I get from muni comes from successfully climbing a hill that I couldn’t in the past. It can take a long time to do… months, years, and for some, probably never. When I get to the top of a hill, winded and dizzy, I can’t help but personify it and feel like I just beat the jerk that’s been taunting me all this time. It’s a great feeling.

So I encourage any cross country muni rider to think of climbing as a necessary and exciting part of the sport. Work at it and enjoy the ride… not the walk.

Maiden Muni Ride

My Nimbus 26-inch muni arrived Saturday, so I immediately set off on my maiden muni ride. Now what I SHOULD have done was practice a bit at home to get a feel for the new muni before venturing out into the real world. But no, I was too eager to get on a trail.

I should note that I hadn’t ridden a unicycle in years until last May when I bought a Coker. So after 10 months of freemounting a 36er with 125 cranks, I’d pretty much forgotten the relative simplicity of freemounting a smaller wheel with larger cranks. On my first mounting attempt, I attacked the Nimbus with the same vigor as the Coker, and ended up hoisting myself up and over the wheel – which wouldn’t have been all that horrible except for mountain biker in the parking lot watching me amusedly. I felt embarrassed at appearing inept, and I wanted to scream, “This is a new size unicycle! I’m actually slightly better at this than I look!” After a couple more attempts, I got on, was briefly befuddled by the feel on the 165 cranks, but after a few minutes got into the groove.

As I pedaled on the paved road to the top of Soapstone Mountain, a carful of kids pulled up alongside me, quite impressed, and asked me if I’d be able to make it to the top without stopping. Told them I didn’t know. They wished me luck and drove ahead. (Only one UPD on the way.)

A few observations:

First, I was amazed at how easy it is to climb with a 26-inch wheel and the 165 cranks. I used to struggle up the very same hill with the 36er. The smaller wheel is also much more responsive, and I felt much more in control.
With the 36er, I can’t freemount at all on an incline, but freemounting uphill on the smaller muni was a breeze. I felt like Superman coming to Earth – suddenly I had these super powers I didn’t possess on my home planet of Krypton.

When I ran across hikers, they tend to be too intrigued encountering a unicycle in the woods to make the “where’s your other wheel?” remarks.

I totally agree with MuniOrBust that climbing is “a necessary and exciting part of the sport.” That said, I’m still relatively out of shape as far as climbing goes. I’m finding there’s a huge difference between distance riding on a 36er and tackling hills on a muni. I’ve also realized how out of shape I am when it comes to climbing, so I’m determined to work on my stamina and ascent skills. But muni trail riding definitely adds a whole new exciting dimension to unicycling. Fun times!

Beating that hill that throws you off everytime is sooooo rewarding! Looking back down from the top and just knowing all the hard work has paid off! PRICELESS