sequence in exercises

Hi, I have been unicycling for a month now and since last week I have been practicing mostly on a muni KH26, to which I want to stick for now.
I can cycle roughly 250 metres, mostly only turn left in a very big turn (when trying to turn right, I often fall off my uni). I am struggling a lot with freemounting, but when warmed up, it works most of the time. In any case I refuse to use my car to get on. The problem with freemounting I have is that when I stand with the uni between my legs, I have full control, but during the actual jump, naturally I have no control and can only hope to land correctly onto the pedals. Just this uncertainty, whether or not it works out most of the time, makes me doubt and not hang forward enough.
I understand I just need to keep practicing and hopefully one day it will come naturally.

Because I don’t want to dawdle with things I already know I am figuring out what to do next. Whenever I unmount I always jump off forwards, because backwards is scary, so I reckoned I should focus on the backwards motion. But what should I focus on first? Actually riding backwards or idling in which you basically also have some backwards motion.

Another thing I have a big problem with is hopping halfway riding. I can use my uni as a pogo stick just fine after climbing on while holding the wall or what not and then hopping without support, but slowing down for a stop always results in an unmount (forwards). How can I stop and stay on and actually stand up to do the hopping? Is a 26 inch perhaps not the best size to learn this with? I also have a 20 inch, but the tires aren’t very hoppable.
The biggest problem with everything in unicycling is some kind of fear. It would be nice to just turn that off. :slight_smile:

Everybody learns a little differently, but personally I would recommend mastering riding forward until you can go for as long as you want, indefinitely. If you’re still falling off while turning, I’d keep at that until you work that out of your system; otherwise, learning to go backwards might be even more difficult because you still haven’t mastered the side-to-side balance going straight. When you learn to go backwards, it’s almost like learning to go forward again from scratch.

Personally, I didn’t start practicing anything but simply riding until I took my 20" for a five mile ride and didn’t fall off, but that might be a little much. To each their own.

As for freemounting - what technique are you using? There are as many mounts as stars in the sky, and when I read this it sounds like you’re doing a suicide/jump mount. If that’s the case, more power to you, but there are many simpler mounts to master first. If I misunderstood that, let me know.

Good luck!

I can relate to your free mount problems. I’ve been free mounting for a year now and still have times when I don’t quite get the frame to tilt forward enough to take off. I have to remind myself to lean forward.

To get over the fear of not hitting the pedals I practiced mount attempts with my foot going over the pedal. Doing this helped me learn how to bail out of a free mount safely. Of course, I didn’t want to train myself to always miss the pedal so I did it until I was confident that I wouldn’t hurt myself. Also most of my initial attempts to learn free mounts were on a rubber running track at a school. I felt like I’d be less likely to hurt myself on a softer surface. Plus I wore knee pads.

Good Luck! Keep up the practice.

Yeah, I find that hard too. I often fall off sideway before I manage to get going. Sometimes pulling out the wooden tire chock for a few tries helps re-establish perspective. Fortunately, I’m beginning to tentatively trust my ability to find the second crank in reference to the foot on the first one, so I have a newfound willingness to do this while looking “far” rather than at my feet.

I’m actually having more luck lately attempting to freemount on the larger 26" wheel than the 20" - it’s not as prone to backspinning on me. But I keep debating between two strategies - one is to try to launch myself up onto that second pedal with enough momentum to establish a forward poise for travel. And the other is to try to mount, catch myself cranks level, hop a few times, and then ride off.

So far I got the momentum to forward travel freemount to work out once on the 26er, with a number of almosts. But while I’ve managed to freemount to stable hops, I’ve only managed the hopping to forward pedaling transition on the 20", and that only from a pillar-assisted mount (though ironically, I did it while explaining to a co-worker that it was a transition I could not yet do!)

I have seen this mentioned a few times and I still don’t understand it. Practicing missing the pedal would seem unhelpful.

I have always looked at the pedal I am aiming for and have never missed it yet. Usually I get close to the position I want then correct if necessary.

Turning: if you’re having trouble turning in a certain direction, just remember that we tend to turn in the direction we are looking. Don’t over-think your right-turns; just try to look in that direction.

Free-mounting: It is common to perform a new-ish technique poorly at the beginning of a practice session. If you’re doing a jump mount, then that is awesome, but you should also find another, reliable mount which gives you more precise foot placement on the pedals. As a beginner, I used the tire grab mount very successfully. It allows mounting to be done slowly, it helps you start pedaling in a strong position, and it’s pretty safe.

Forward vs. Rear-ward dismounting: There are some good threads about this topic. On the one hand, it is safer to UPD forward than backward; on the other hand, a controlled dismount behind the unicycle is considered a basic skill. Not sure how to reconcile those two points. Nevertheless, when you learn some more technique, rear-dismounting will be easy and natural. Being able to slow to a stand-still is a good prerequisite to rear-dismounting.

Riding backwards: I recommend going back to your cheap 20" to practice this. I learned how to ride backwards shortly after learning to idle. The real breakthrough was learning how to ride forward, doing a quick half-rotation backward, then continuing to ride forward. It is good to have goals, but you may need to break those goals into incremental steps. This involves experimentation, not all of which helps you achieve a particular goal, but most of which helps improve your balance, which is good, in general, for unicycling.

Hopping: I remember, similarly, being able to hop, but only from an assisted mount position. Later I could hop at any time. I think your problem is related to the fear of falling backwards. To be safe, you’re erring on the side of leaning forward, which works when you’re riding forward, but which throws you off the front when you stop. Figuring out this issue should not only help you learn to transition from riding to hopping, it should also help you learn to idle and decelerate into a still-stand. You have to practice stopping with the unicycle and your lower-body out in front of your upper-body. When you practice this, at first, your momentum may still cast your upper-body over the unicycle, causing you to UPD forward. Later, you’ll be able to balance things correctly, and stop, quickly, into a still-stand. And, when your feet are even more in front of you, during the stop, you will have to pedal backwards to keep from falling backward. Pedaling backwards, BTW, feels pretty strange, at first. Don’t expect to get it the first 100 times. But, when you get it the first time, an important door will be unlocked.

Fear: As a a beginner, most of your dismounts are unplanned. That can be rather unnerving. We cannot intellectualize UPDs; our body just reacts. We know that UPDs are going to happen, but we don’t know when, and we don’t know exactly the details. I used to run on the same trails on which I now unicycle. I had a fair number of encounters with snakes, none of which I could see until I was close to them. I reacted, instinctively, every time. However, when I started wondering if there was a snake around the next bend, then every stick started looking like a snake, and I had to remind myself that, even were I to be bitten by a rattlesnake, my odds of survival were very high. Otherwise I was psyched out.

Back to the UPDs: as a beginner, bailing from the seat/pedals can be pretty ugly on occasion. Later on, however, your body starts to know the details of a UPD and how to deal with it. Whereas beginners fall off the pedals, more experienced riders learn to jump off the pedals, during a UPD. It just takes practice, practice, practice. In the meantime, I hope you’ve invested in some pads.

Good luck!

Hi FoxxyD, I am doing a normal static mount by having my right foot (dominant foot) on the pedal at say 10 o’clock if you look at the uni from the right side. Then I look 5 metres or so ahead and mainly jump up keeping my weight on the saddle, so the uni doesn’t fly away. All I need to do is place my left foot on the left peddle and hang forward enough to take off.
I tried jump mounts for fun, but I have to jump quite high for the KH26. Because of my long legs, the saddle needs to be high enough, which makes it more difficult to jump on. I will pursue that again in a few months.

Practice the fancy stuff all you like but there is no substitute for “ride and ride and ride”. As you get better you take on more difficult manoeuvres that translate into every aspect of riding.


Take your time and don’t rush it. Simple things like riding forward, turning, small hops etc… do take time to master properly and that is what you should focus on.

Just remember don’t try to run before you can walk! There are plenty of tricks to learn out there and loads of them require quite a bit of riding experience. They look easy when you watch someone doing them in YouTube, but believe me they are not!

Good luck, you are already doing better than when I started. I think I was a slow learner! :slight_smile:

Interesting - I’m doing the opposite, pre-placing my non-dominant foot so it is my dominant one that is launching me and aiming for the 2nd pedal. The downside is that I realized it works better to have the arm of the stepping foot free, which means as a result that I’m holding the seat with my non-dominant hand. But I’m getting used to that.

Something I realized only in hindsight is that some experience with hopping is probably key to attempting free mounting. The reason is that before I could hop, I was aiming to land in the saddle, and a bit hesitant due to the potential for discomfort. But after a little bit of experimental hopping, I got used to the way that standing on the pedals and holding the seat can be a stable position, and so aim the mount more for that, leaving time to settle onto the saddle with care. The downside is that riding out of that standing position is still a challenge. But I’d rather repeatedly attempt to freemount onto the pedals and fail by tipping over sideways before I can get going, than land painfully on the saddle in riding position.

I’m not sure how the wheelspeed of the 26" is - I’m currently only experienced with a 20", 24", and 36", but if it’s anything like the relatively fast rolling on a 20" and 24", this is what I usually do. It’s actually a mount from top-down position and not in power position, but learning to rotate from the dead zone had been extremely helpful in everything else I’ve learned.


  • Let's assume I'm right foot dominant. Rotate the tire until the right pedal is almost at the 6:00 position, but just slightly in front of you.
  • Place the seat in your crotch. Step down on the right pedal.
  • As you raise up on your right foot, the left pedal will swing just slightly toward you. Catch it with your left foot and give it some forward momentum. You may have to stand slightly; that's ok.
  • Plop down in the seat and go. [/LIST]

    Of course, this is reliant on you being able to stand on the down (right) pedal for a few moments and basically allow your left leg to dangle. Can you do that with your 26", or is the size/wheelspeed an issue? If it is, I recommend trying a tire grab mount instead, which is what I usually do on my 36".

  • I’ve been trying the wheel grab thing, but I never succeeded in taking off that way. I’m not really sure where to put my weight and the wheel rotates when trying to get on. It also seems difficult to know when to sit up straight, being hunched over like that. But I will sure give it another try.

    I’m totally with Vertigo. I learned to free mount that way - there were a couple of videos on Youtube demonstrating that. It sort of makes sense because it allows you to train your brain at aiming at the pedals, yet be able to bail out in case it goes wrong. Also, it helps with getting the right pressure on the saddle/pedal as you start the movement.

    I’m in with Vertigo and Pierrox too. I did exactly that a few months ago when I got my first 36" unicycle and had to start free mounting it. It’s a good trick for a lot of skill learning. You know you’re going to miss the first N attempts anyway (where N is often large, at least for anyone who’s as much of a klutz as I am.) Miss on purpose in a big way a few times where there’s less risk of getting tangled in the pedals or whatever, just to find out what it’s like up there and make sure you know a safe way out when you try for real and only barely miss.

    I guess we all come to unicycling with a variety of strengths so different techniques work better for different people. It is really great to get such a range of ideas as we see on this site.