Navigating terrain changes; might be rolling hop territory

Having tons of fun, making nice progress. Here is where I’m at for context of my question:

:ballot_box_with_check: freemounting, riding forward, turning, dismounting
:ballot_box_with_check: riding backwards
:-1: no rolling hops yet

I practice near a series of abandoned buildings. It’s a perfect unicycle park. I want to start transitioning between terrain. I’ve done a bit of these when they are more smooth, but check out these two examples:

Picture 1: transition from parking lot to overgrown, bumpy earth. The yellow lines are to show where the curb is (it’s very small), and also to show the exact path I’ve tried to take to just roll into this.

Picture 2: another very similar curb that is probably the same kind as in Picture 1. It’s just at the other side of the same lot.

I’ve tried the following (not serious serious practice yet, but a few solid runs):

  • rolling fast at it sitting down, holding seat (I just bounce right off the seat, kinda dangerous)
  • going slowly, trying to step-up onto it (I mostly lose steam, and sorta bail slowly)
  • standing up, holding seat; this seems the best in my head, but no luck yet (sorta bail slowly as in the above text)

I’m on a 24" with 150mm cranks. My question is how should I be approaching small transitions like these?

As always, thanks so much in advance for any insight!
-Ryan

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Absolutely hold on to the seat, you need to stay attached to the unicycle.

Rolling hop will of course work, but those should definitely be rideable:

  • If you are going fast(-ish), you need to get the wheel in front of you in preparation of the bump, since hitting that will push your wheel back. Similar to what you need to do when slowing down quickly, bringing the hips back and the wheel forward. This will work, but it’s not great for curbs. I’d use this technique on slightly smaller bumps on a downhill, not on flatter terrain.

  • What I’d recommend is approaching slow (at least while learning) and “cranking” yourself up. This is similar to going up a steep hill, pulling on the seat, pushing hard on the front pedal. You can create a bit of forward/upward momentum with your upper body. This won’t work great at really high speeds (I’d recommend rolling hops there, since they are easier to time), but at slow and medium pace it’s good.

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This makes a lot of sense. Thanks for taking the time to write details. I’m gonna go out later today and start putting this into practice.

You can also try to roll parallel to the curb, and do a small lateral jump. It seems that you don’t know how to do that, so first you should kearn to jump when stopped, then to jump on the side, and then to jump on the side while rolling slowly. Finally you should be able to jump up a curb. However, this is definitely not my specialty.

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Yeah, ultimately being able to hop up would be nice. It’s on the agenda to learn, and learn soon.

The only thing I think I am learning about hopping is that it takes a ton of energy, so, I think it probably should be a last resort. Thoughts?

Making a lot of hops is exhausting, but for a curb like this one, you should just have to do one, and it would be the most effective and less dangerous way of going. It is not really hard to learn, and it should save your from a few falls (for example if you don’t mean perfectly). And it is really useful when you have to get past pedestrians, because it allows you to jump on the road, get past them and jump back up the curb.

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Yep, that is a good point.

Another variable to tweak is the tire pressure. There is no right or wrong but when transitioning from asphalt or riding bumpy/unpredictable terrain you might try lowering the pressure slightly.

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Good point. Yeah I have my tire pressure on the high side right now, which explains the excessive ‘bouncing off’.

So if you can learn to roll up those, (practice with your pedals just right, whichever is your strong foot should be at about 2 o’clock when you hit the curb), then the best use for a rolling hop will be to set up that correct foot position. On my own 24” I find that if I hop to approximately 3’, (1m), of the obstacle with my pedals parallel that my feet will be in the correct position to roll over the obstacle when I contact it.

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While sitting, approach with medium speed and one hand on the saddle.
About a foot and a half away shoot the tire ahead of you while standing up.
As you fall out of balance backwards you will hit the curb and the unicycle will stop/or slow down (while riding up on the obstacle) and your body will continue to travel forward to the proper balance point.
You might even ride away seated because of the body going forward and the uni going up.

I wouldn’t worry about perfect pedal placement as you don’t need it.
You can throw the uni forward from any pedal position.

Hope that makes sense.

Start working on hopping and rolling hops.
I would approach this at any speed and with a super quick push down to compress the tire, I would do a small hop up and keep rolling.

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This is a perfect description and exactly the method without hopping. I was trying to think of how to describe what I do and this is it.

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This sounds perfect. I am gonna report back tomorrow after I spend some time doing this.

Well, hopping can open up a whole new world of obstacles you can get over. It’s also much more controllable to hop over something than to ride over it. Of course, hopping over every little pebble on a trail would be exhausting, but being able to hop up stuff like this is great - it’s so much smoother than riding it.

Every rider has their own style and chooses different methods to get over obstacles in different situations, it’s good to try out all of them and figure out what you like to use when.

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I think hopping over obstacles is a more advanced skill than riding over them though.

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Shift your weight onto the pedals for rougher stuff and get used to shifting your weight in anticipation of the bumps. I find I need to lean back slightly as the bump pushes you forward.

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Oh I had a good day. No, a great day. Check this out. With everyones help (special shout out to @Canoeheadted ), I not only crawled up over the curb, but proceeded to successfully acid drop off the other side. First time and with the advice in this thread. Thank you everyone!!!

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@RyanDorkoski I love seeing your progress and update posts as you become addicted to one wheel as well. Hope the progress keeps coming! Remember your protective gear when needed as gravity is very humbling.

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