New personal best for hopping height.

Tonight I decided to work on my hopping. I still am a seat in hopper since I haven’t gotten enough control with seat out yet. My best was 13" and my goal was to get onto three pallets which came to 15". I warmed up on the single and double stacked pallets. After I got sweaty, I decided to go for the triple stack. Boy that stack looked high, even though it was only 2" above my best hop!

On the first attempt I landed on the tire, but fell backwards. This boosted by hopes and helped grow my positive attitude. Following attempts would often land on the tire (about 60-70% of the time), but I was either falling backwards or had not committed my body enough to stay on the pallet and fell back towards the spot where I started my jump.

I worked on it with and without a prehop, both worked and failed about the same. I worked on concentrating on compressing my body before the hop and extending my free hand/arm fully into the air before pulling the set up.

I finally made it onto the pallets and managed a few hops before I fell off. The the magic moment… using a pre hop, I landed on top of that towering stack of pallets, stayed in control, hopped a few times to celebrate and then hopped back to the ground. The only bummer of the whole thing was that I no one with me to celebrate my success. I still gave a holler to celebrate, I have no idea who was supposed to hear it. Ah… the lonely life of a uni rider. :frowning:

As I think about the hopping technique I was wondering if anyone has worked on just body extension during a hop. I was thinking it might be useful to work on jumping onto an easily attainable height, but do it by extending upwards only. Really concentrating on achieving a full body extension. Doing the hop without recoiling the body (to help pull up the uni for more height).

My theory here is that with better extension, you will get more height. By separating the moves, you can work on better extension, and thus get more height. You don’t get much time to compress, extend, and recoil during a hop! I’m sure I wasn’t geting the best compression, extension or recoil on my jumps.

Well thanks for listening to my celebration post… or is it a mini brag fest? Either way, it feels good to be moving up. (moan…pun intended)

Thanks to all the hopping posts and videos that have helped me to learn some techniques.



im about where you are as far as hopping goes. i am also just seat in (at the moment), and i get about the same height. tell me when you get to 4 pallets :slight_smile:

btw, im thinking of switching my signature to your quote: “ah… the lonely life of a uni rider” hehe



I only started hopping about a month ago, and after a few weeks down at the Venice boardwalk, I could only go up and down stairs (8 inches) and lacked the experience and courage to tackle the bigger stuff. So last Friday I got some pallates and started practicing. I mention this to indicate that technique wise, I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about . . .

Anyhow, your question about going higher.

I found, for me, a lot of it is psychological–that the pallates look high because it’s all new. So at the beginning I just jumped up on them without the uni and realized three, even four pallates is not really so high as far as vertical jumping heigth goes.

To the point, I found that snapping off the ground and staying relaxed in the “extension” phase of the jump was crucial. At first I was yanking up too hard on the seat which retarded my initial spring. Once I started relaxing and snapping off the ground, extending and then snapping the uni up at my apex, three pallates became very doable. Today I started working on the “coiling” phase, sucking my body up after the hop, and got up on four pallates (20") ten straight times.

I’m jumping from a dead still position because I don’t have the experience yet to prehop or even prebounce off the tire. I’ll start fiddling with a prehop and all that jazz tomorrow, and I suspect and hope these might increase my heigth.

Like many other things with the uni, what seemed impossible one minute becomes almost routine a day later. But I’m a beginner (4 months) and I suspect the learning curve will start to flatten out soon. My hunch is that you can add inches every day for the first few weeks, but after that it gets very tough to improve.

But I don’t know . . .

Anyhow, good luck on going sky high.


High jumper!

Hey billham, I think you’re doing pretty great for your age!

I’m 40 and guess we’re really close in ability, which means you’re really better than me, once corrected for age:D

I jump about the same height seat out or in, but would encourage you to not be afraid of the seat out jump. The first day I tried it, it seemed totally awkward, but just a few days practice later, I’m pretty stable. I think with two or three weeks of consistent seat out practice, I would be going higher with it than seat in. Throwing in sideways jumps (gapping) is where the seat out gets wierd, feeling like I’ll roll an ankle or something.

Anyway, great job and keep it up!

Re: High jumper!


I am trying not to read your line as “Pretty good for an old man.” :wink: I was wondering if anyone would remember my age. I’m turning 48 next month. The way I figure it, you get old quicker when you don’t keep on trying and doing things. When it comes to the body, it’s USE IT OR LOSE IT.

Thanks for the encouraging words for seat out hopping. I keep the seat fairly high on my KH24. I want to keep the seat at an all around height, both for riding and for trials. Due to the seat height, I think seat in will limit me pretty quickly. After I learn seat out hopping, I’ll go for the 4 pallets!

The neat thing about uni riding is the sense of accomplishment you get when you do what was once not possible. I enjoy (as do most uni riders) taking on a challenge and working it out until completion.

It doesn’t matter if you are hopping onto a 2" platform or onto a 36" platform, the joy of doing it the first time is always a rush!

A little older and a little better

Hey, Billham:

I’m 50, so count it a fact you’ll be soaring over 4 pallates in a week or less.

You’re enthusiasm is fantastic and good luck on going up to 5 pallates, which I think is pretty much the limit for seat-in hopping for us seniors. But get the seat out and six or seven is doable I reckon.

Keep us informed on your progress. It’s inspiring.


Congratulations Bill. That is some hopping. Now I’ll really get behind on the trail. --chirokid–

PS: I like your signature line :smiley:

I’m a “spry” young 15 year-old, and I’ve come to the conclusion that just about anyone can, with the right equipment and enough practice, jump just as high on a unicycle as they can on their feet. After about 6-8 months of serious trials developement, my record sidehop is about 4" short of my sidehop on my feet. My record pedalgrab is actually higher than my record sidehop onto something with a 1-foot landing. Just shows that despite the weight, the tire really helps when jumping.

As for extension, it’s something that’ll come naturaly. One needn’t practice specific parts of jumping except for mabey the prehop. I automatically lift the uni as high as it goes. On some hops I’ve actually scrubbed the rear part of my KH seat on the side of my right shoulder. I don’t consciously think about tucking the uni up, it just happens. As for extension, I just think about that when doing really high jumps without a prehop. Then, I try to squat a bit lower than usual, and then immediately kick down, extend, and lift.

Go for seat out, it’s awkward at first, but eventually it’ll be better. Especially for pedalgrabs.


Somehow 5 pallets with seat in seems like a bit much. But 4 I’m going to work on. Definitely time to work on seat out to get up to 5 or more pallets.

Thanks for the encouraging words from all of you.


Well, billham, today I went out and bought some 2 x 4’s and some plywood. I’m going to build a 2’ square deck for me to hop up on to. When I can do that height well, I’ll add a 1/2" layer of plywood, and repeat that process until I get it up to an impressive height!

You and vivalargo must be pretty athletic, There are a lot of 50 yr. olds who can’t jump 6" even without a unicycle. Americans are just getting so FAT these days. I guess the economy really is improving.

Hey, Gerblefranklin:

15 years old? Either that’s an outright lie, or you have had wonderful teachers and spend a lot of time with your nose in a book. Your phrasing, diction and word choice indicate a writer, now, or in the near future. And thanks for the input per high hopping.

And thanks for the kind words, Elmer.


I second

I thought gerblefranklin had to be a college student until I met him at Moab. He’s a kid, albeit a rather focused and intelligent one.(Not to mention an excellent rider.)

gerble is right, I know one guy, who can jump onto anything with a unicycle under him, that he can with just his feet. he actually proved this to me. he won’t try jumping onto something waist high untill he tries it from his feet. even if he just barely makes it, he knows he will be able to do it with a unicycle.

I however, find that a tire hinders my hopping ability. think about when you push off. What happens? the tire will take some of your pushing force, as it squishes under your weight. a tire dosen’t act like a trampoline, more like a shock absorber.

the reason well seasoned riders can jump as high with a unicycle as they can on their feet, is because of the way your feet are posisioned during the hop. Also because no momentum is lost in a rolling hop, while you stop for a moment during a jump from your feet.

For a visual watch Dan Heaton’s big jump in U2.



Go for it and enjoy your platform. May I suggest you not use the superman cape when you are working on your hopping? :smiley:

About being athletic… yes, God has blessed me with a body that has tried to stay young. I don’t bounce as well as I used to, get sore quicker and heal slower. But I’m not going to sit back and just grow old.

My father is 82 and has been a significant role model for me. He started to water ski and snow ski when he was 40. Started riding a quad with my youngest brother when he was in his early 50’s. He tried rock climbing when he was 60. His friends thought he was crazy and asked him why he did it. He said, “My son asked me to go try it, so I did.” He didn’t it enjoy it much, but he gave it a try. My father is always willing to try. That’s been a great role model for me.

He still plays lots of golf and stays very active. Last year in August he slipped and fell on a railroad tie (while golfing) and tore his quad from his knee. He had surgery to repair it and was off his leg for 6 weeks. Then he worked hard at rehab and was getting back to golf in December. A quick recovery because he worked at getting it back into shape. He’s not one to sit around.

So I’ve got a stay active life that has been given to me genetically and by example. It’s been a great blessing that God has given me.

Quite a few people think I’m a little crazy for doing the things I do at my age. But I am in better condition and health than a lot of those people. Partially because I am doing these physical activites. I often enjoy the attention I get doing these things as an “old” man. Right now, unicycling is giving me a good sport to keep me exercising and having fun. My daughter is riding a uni now and I hope uni riding will provide a good activity for the two of us to do together.

So… back to the hopping. Tomorrow I work on getting more consistent on hopping onto the 3 pallets. And I think I need to work on seat out hopping onto a single pallet. Time to bust into the seat out action!

Up, up and away!


Thanks for the complement, but my teachers suck. I rarely read more than 3-5hours per week. It’s just I come from a family of copy editors, and they’ve seemed to rub off on me.

As for foot position, I think the tire helps more. The fact that both feet push at the same point helps focus my hopping, and also the snap of the tire seems to take some power away in the initial kick, but double it 1/100 of a second later…

Watch the pros in slow motion and you’ll see how they compress the tire and hesitate until it rebounds and pushes back up. It does act like a trampoline, but a very quick one. Timing is very important here. Just a slight pause to keep the tire from acting like a shock and to allow it to give a push upwards.

Pump up your tire with lots of air and try hopping. Then lower the pressure for a bouncy tire and try hopping again. I think that’ll help you see how the tire can help you. a softer tire is easier for a less experienced rider to hop and take advantage of the compression.

I went out again today and did some trials. Only missed my 13" hopp a couple times. it seemed pretty easy after working on a higher hop yesterday. I had on all my protective gear and got more aggressive on gaps. I had one that was from a 17" high platforn onto a 13" platform. I figured the height would give me more incentive to commit more to the gap. You know, higher risk, better make it! Gap was about 30" and I was trying to do it jumping forward, not to the side. I tried twice, almost made it twice. Almost doesn’t work very well, especially when jumping forward. Tire rolls done the side of pallets very quickly. Wrist protectors were great to have on since I slapped both hands on the pallet on both falls. My back is getting a little tight now, probably from those falls. Overall everything seems okay. Nothing a little stretching a few Motrin can’t fix.

Didn’t work on any extra height, but did do some other hopping that felt pretty solid. Tried a seat out hop…total failure and very awkward. Gonna take some work. This thread had encouraged me to be more aggressive on my trials effots today. Thanks to all.

By the way, if I get hurt being more aggressive, I won’t blame you! :stuck_out_tongue:



Bill, you said you wanted to keep that seat up high. I did too. I kept it up to benefit the knee. I have recently figured out, lowering my seat 3/4" made a big difference in how I hopped and landed my drops. For trials, I run it this low.

In the real world of MUni, I end up riding at the higher height and if I hit a spot in the trail, I want to work on, I lower the seat. I think most people would think this cumbersome and inefficient, but it works for me. I hop with seat in all the time, but started working on seat out, until I pulled too hard with bad timing and screwed up my back for a while. It’s getting better though.

Got a connect on some pallets at my school. Will pick up 6 next week to start this stuff in the back yard. Hope to follow suit.

Keep up the good work gentlemen!


I don’t have a quick release on my MUni so the change on the trail won’t work with my present set up. I wish the seat was higher for overall trail riding, so I feel I’ve got a seat height to stick with for a compromise. Just for the fun of it, I may drop the seat a little sometime and try it.

My lower back tends to tighten up and bother me. I sit at a desk a lot at work and that makes it even worse. I have found the uni riding very helpful in strengthening the back and keeping it stretched out. That is of course until I over do it or injure it riding. Only had one time that I hurt my back enough that it required some time away from riding to recover. Uni has been good to my back.

Back to your back, glad to hear you are getting better.

As soon as I get access to gallery on my account, I’ll post some pictures of my trials set up. It’s growing into a fair amount of stuff.



I actually don’t use a quick release. I just keep an alan wrench in my short’s pocket. A quick grab in, pull it out, twirl it around like a gunfighter and then loosen and tighten. Then back into the pocket. Constant loosening and tightening may may eventually wear down the threads in the seatpost collar. So, I keep them greased and carry a spare in my hydration bag, should it cease to grip the seatpost.