Q on the subtleties of freemounting

Very nice! It’s really not a hard skill once you are willing to put in some effort. :slight_smile:

Idling might take a little more time but it’s totally achievable.

The static mount only came to me after learning several other mounts. What did it, which I never saw on this forum, was putting the near pedal in a position significantly above horizontal- call it 10:00. That way, when I jump and my other foot comes down on the other pedal at 4:00, I start rolling forward automatically. I can only do this on a 20, though, and only on one side. On anything larger, I am unfortunately stuck with a roll-back mount, which gets difficult if I borrow a 36.

As a beginner, I saw people mounting this way on videos. It made no sense to me, and it seemed dangerous. Later on, however, I started doing it. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend to beginners that they try mounting this way. One has to be more in control of the isometric forces of static mounting…in order to pull it off. Mounting in this way, as you said, seems to more effectively launch you into forward riding.

Partly as a result of the discussion on this thread, today I managed 2 static mounts for the first time ever on a large (29") uni.

It can be surprisingly helpful to go back and discuss the basics now and then. Now I’ll have to see if I can manage the SIF mount that you mention, or that crazy one-footed stillstand. I have been able to idle on either foot for about 18 months, and learned to ride on one foot about a year ago, but going from the former to the latter, according to John Foss, is a much more advanced skill. Maybe it’s time to give it a shot…

Let me understand, going from one-footed idling to one-footed riding is supposed to be harder? Just to clarify, when I one-foot idle, it is with the other foot on the crown. Having a foot out in the air seems impossibly difficult to me. And when I transition from one-footed idling to riding forward one-footed, my foot stays on the crown. That is much easier, to my way of thinking, than riding one-footed with the other foot dangling in the air. Also, I consider it easier to start with no foot on a pedal, rather than removing it from the pedal. I guess that, for all of us, the easiest way is the way we learned.

Let me describe the technique I’ve been using: I grab the seat handle with one hand. I place the opposite foot on the pedal at the 3:00/9:00 position. I try to align my sit bones with the very back of the seat; I find it helpful to be further back on the seat for this. I mount, placing my second foot on the crown. I find it helpful to stand on the one pedal and the crown closer to the toes; that, along with sitting on the back of the seat, helps keep my mass further back, so it can be shifted forward during the dead parts of the pedaling cycle. The hand which is on the same side as the pedaling foot flails in the air to keep balance. The opposite hand, holding the seat, and its corresponding foot, between the two of them, act as a rigid column, along which small changes in the pitch of the unicycle are created. There is also a relationship between the hand on the handle and the sit bones on the back of the seat. The sit bones are pulling the seat back, and the hand on the handle is pulling the seat forward. Between the sit bones, the hand on the seat and the foot on the crown, there’s a lot of stability, and the ability to make adjustments to the pitch of the unicycle. Anyway, I idle one-footed until my idle has straightened itself out, and until I feel all the points of connection with the unicycle are sharing my weight, then I ride forward out of the foot-idle. Describing what happens exactly at this point, is tricky, and I am not consistent enough to be able to describe the specifics. Sometimes I ride a few revolutions, other times I ride a single revolution, transitioning back into the one-footed idle and starting the process over again. More times than not, the unicycle ends up on the ground. I practice this on some hard-packed dirt, and on a slight downhill.

Sorry for the long-winded explanation. I consider this “easier” because I have more points of control than someone with a foot flopping out in air. This process has been pretty tedious, involving practicing it hundreds of times. My progress is slow but steady. It feels a little bit like starting over, except that I think I’ve got way more concept, now.

In closing, anybody who can idle but doesn’t know how to one-foot idle…needs to know that one-footed idling is 5 times easier to learn than regular idling, particularly if you do it the quasi-cheater way which I described above, with the foot on the crown. Maybe one day I’ll learn to one foot idle, foot out; it currently seems impossible.

The method I described also seems more suitable for a middle-aged guy who doesn’t feel like learning by falling on his rear.

Falling on the ground has actually never been a problem in my one-footed “work.” 99% of it so far has involved always pressing my non-pedaling foot firmly against the fork, and 99% of my one-footed rides end in a UPD, but never a fall.

One strange thing about one-footed riding has been the ease with which I lose ground. In December, I once rode 25 revolutions on one foot, and had many other rides that approached that number, but nowadays I’m lucky to get 10 revs. With other tricks, it seems that once I learn them, they are more or less here to stay, but not this one.

I’m continuing to successfully use my newly acquired Static Mount; the “Tire Grab” is dead. I’m giving the wheel a slight roll forward as I mount, as I indicated above, to counteract any ideas the tire might get about rolling back on me. I’ve also been mounting QUICKLY, before the pedals/wheel have a chance to do this, but I’ve noticed on several of my recent mounts that the pedals/wheel aren’t moving at all… so I’m probably getting better at the mount and it’s become truly “static.” Maybe I can calm down and mount more slowly; there appears to be plenty of time.

I want to find some time to work on idling in a concerted way. I’ve been watching videos of people idling and noticed what elpueblo said above – that you allow the wheel to come forward of your body (in a way you’re “leaning back”!) before you rock the pedals/wheel backwards. That should be alarming to my senses – I don’t want to fall backwards off the unicycle! But I’m learning anything and everything is possible with practice, so I’ll get there.

To learn idling, just interrupt your forward rides by stopping your pedals at 3:00 and 9:00, then, little by little, try to turn these stops into backpedaling- first just 1/8th of a revolution, then more and more.

Some people learn to rear dismount when they first start riding. I didn’t, but once I started trying to idle, it worked out immediately.

I was dismounting to the rear (out of preference) way, way before I learned to idle. Meanwhile I’ve now been capable of idling for ages (~2 years?) and can also idle a big wheel - though not very well, and should probably practice more - but only just learning to ride backwards. Have only recently managed to get my head around the sustained leaning back - have also been able to “super-idle” (1.5 revs back, then forwards again) for ages, but doing that you only momentarily lean back.

Hopefully you guys will get these things quicker by the simple method of practicing more than me!

I learned to ride backwards almost immediately after I learned to idle. As I got more comfortable idling, I idled 1/2 rotation, from the 3/9 to the 9/3 position. Once the pedals are horizontal, it only takes a bit more impulse to continue riding backwards a full revolution. So, my advice to anyone who idles but doesn’t ride backwards is: just focus on opening up your idle to where it approaches a horizontal still stand at either end. At that point you’ll be primed for riding backwards. The first idling and backward riding I did was on a 26" muni. That was rough, and falling backwards was pretty intense. Luckily, I have baseball diamonds in my neighborhood; falling and sliding a bit is much preferable to falling on the street. After struggling on idling and riding backwards with the 26", I bought a cheap 20" and those techniques got way easier.

Just learned to mount SIF thanks to this thread! It wasn’t hard to do because I SIF hop all the time, but sometimes what you can learn quickly and easily will help get you ready for more difficult tricks, so suggestions can sometimes be very helpful.

Mounting SIF helped me learn how to forward-jump SIF. Using the 6:00/12:00 starting positions, I was able to start out in a crouched down position or with my abdomen on the seat. I would then start riding in the direction of a curb, still crouched down. As I approached the curb, I started rising up in anticipation of the forward-moving jump. This exercise allowed me to slow down the act of springing up for a jump. I learned a while back that I suck at jumping, and to remedy this, I decided that I would have to self consciously crouch down before jumping. I’m not doing a great job increasing the height of my forward SIF jumps, but I’m finding that the same jumps take much less effort than they once did.

Yeah, forward jumps are strange. They sometimes happen unintentionally when I’m approaching a set of stairs that I want to hop up. It would be nice to do them more consciously.

I’m wondering if any of you have more insights after a few years. I started riding 6 months ago, and now I can static mount 90% of the time on a 24" and 29", but I’m looking to perfect my static mounts.

In the discussion above, there are two types of static mounts: fast and slow. Feel free to correct me as I’m still figuring this all out myself.

Fast Static Mount
@UniGeezer’s method of using paper plates promotes zero pressure on the non-jumping foot. So in practice, there’s only a split second you can mount. (I won’t be surprised that UniGeezer can transition between the two types, but if you follow his advice–as I did–you’ll get the fast static mount, not the slow one.)

Slow Static Mount
@UniMyra 's video focuses on a balancing pressure between saddle and non-jumping foot. In practice, if you can one-foot still-stand, you can take a few seconds (or a few minutes) to put the other foot down.

I can only do the fast static mount with no hands, but because of the split second reaction you need, it requires a lot of mental energy and preparation. Moreover, foot placement is all over the place; I can adjust my foot position afterwards, but that’s not always possible on rough terrain.

Tomorrow I’ll start practicing a one-foot still-stand to get to the slow static mount. I’m not sure stillstand is the right thing to do at my level (practicing hops and idle), so I’m keen to hear your thoughts on perfecting the static mount.

I’ve been perfecting it by just riding a lot. For my unis from 26" and up I ride with a 150mm crank length. So whether I mount the 32" or 26" the step will be the same after I’ve stepped on the back pedal. I do also ride 24" and 19" where the step is a bit smaller and when changing wheel sizes between rides, often the first mount fails. Also when I’m tired after 10kms, mounting requires a bit more effort.
With the 36" I try to memorise what position of the pedal worked best. Sometimes it is too high and other times too low and you need to jump a bit more with the big beast.

You say hops are not the right thing to do at your level, but they really aren’t that hard. You can just hold on to something to make some practice hops. The difference btw mounting into a hop and into a static mount to ride off is that with the hop your balance needs to stay in the center, so you can move up in the air. I think that if you always mount into a hop, then all you need to do is hang forward a little bit to start rolling. Everything takes practice of course, but Im sure that will get your closer to 100%. Personally I’m too lazy to hop first. Only do that at single track trails where there isn’t space enough for the swerve I make when static mounting. .

The is An outstanding video and should really help you to learn. Nothing against the other advise givin but I feel it’s hard to learn techniques by reading, watching someone execute the mount correctly while stopping to discribe each step I feel will get you mounting In no time.

The hint of balancing your weight on saddle and planted foot is key! At least I had to learn without knowing that, I always wondered why the uni was not rolling on instruction videos when that was not mentioned. Or was I simply not listening?
Apart from that, what helped me the most is breaking it down to little exercises like in the video from @UniQuest: Beginner Unicycling - UNIQUEST - Level 2 - YouTube
(Free mount starts at 4:34)
Today I am mounting slow style with both feet but had to learn it from youtube the hard way. If you can, get tips in real life.

I find it’s easiest to static mount on a downhill slope, as you can apply pressure to the rear pedal without rolling back. In fact it’s about the only mount that works well in that situation.