Re: seat in front hopping
The short answer is: holding the seat on the side is easier; it takes less work. Here comes the scientifc explanation, along with experiments you can do yourself to prove my point!
The cycle’s center of gravity is located between the hub and the seat, somewhere along the frame. The easiest way to lift most any object is to grab it at the center of mass and lift up (opposite the pull of gravity).
Give it a try with a broom… Lift a broom, laying flat on the ground, by holding it at one end. Then put it down and lift it in the middle. That should be easier. Note that if you stand the broom straight up, it is much easier to lift it off the ground, no matter where you grab it. This is because it isn’t torquing your hand as much.
Grabbing your unicycle by the side of the seat is like grabbing the upright broom. You’re holding the mass (broom or uni) directly above its center of gravity, hence the lack of torque on your hand (or torque on the object, however you look at it).
Grabbing by the handle is more like grabbing the broom at one end and lifting it off the ground. Pick up your unicycle by the handle and notice how it will tilt such that the center of mass will fall directly under your hand. Try again, pick up your unicycle by the side of the seat and notice that it won’t tilt.
When you take the seat out front, you’re going to be extending your arm quite a bit, such that you’ll end up pulling back on the seat. Unless you’re a pro at ultimate wheel you’ll be pulling even harder on the seat to make the riding easier.
Where you pull on the seat makes a difference, because the frame makes a pull in one direction easy (pulling straight “up,” in line with the frame) and another direction difficult (perpendicular to the frame, pulling the seat forwards or backwards if you will). Pulling on the handle, you’ll be pulling the seat back in towards yourself… but you want to ride seat out, right? Stop pulling back in, then, and just pull up. That’s all the pulling you need to do, the rest is just extra work!