Should I roll or should I hop?

Ok keep in mind I’m a newbee. Also not a fan of learning things the hard way. Help give me an idea of how big of a drop or curb I should try to roll over vs hop over?
I’m guessing wheel size plays a part so I’m going to be riding either 26" or 27.5".

Yeah, a larger diameter wheel generally rolls over things more easily, though not in this video.

It doesn’t depend only on the size of drop, the position of your cranks when you arrive at the drop is more important. I take drops so that I’ll land with level cranks, sometimes that means hopping so I don’t have to do almost half a revolution mid air, and sometimes that means rolling of is easier.

The easy way would be to just hop down everything, and accept that you sometimes have to do multiple awkward prehops until you are at the drop. That’s the save way, hopping is always the save option, unless you have a gap to clear or you are in very steep terrain.


Roll or hop.

Experience will quickly show which method is good in a given situation. Generally rolling is good, unless you aren’t good at getting your pedals lined up. This gets easy to do with practice, as you learn to “pace” your revolutions to where your feet will be where you want them when you land. Usually involves a curve or two as you approach the drop. What you want to avoid is landing with one foot at the bottom, which will tend to bounce you off the seat.

Same advice goes for getting up things, except that rolling has its limits based on wheel diameter.

Do you mean the fall on your ass hard way, or the takes a lot of practice hard way?

I suggest before you attempt riding down a curb, that you are comfortable riding short distances standing on the pedals with one hand holding onto the seat handle for stabilization. I made the mistake of keeping my weight in the seat, the first time I rode down a curb. I got bounced off the seat. Currently, I bring the seat out in front when riding off curbs, primarily because my seat is already very high. If your seat is a somewhat lower, you will have the clearance to drop off, seat in.

Dropping off the curb without a hand on the seat handle may cause problems. At the very moment you drop off, the unicycle will fall (and be pushed downward by your legs) faster that the rest of your body is falling, causing a momentary loss of connection between you and the seat, which results in a loss of stability, followed by a potentially ugly dismount. Having a hand on the seat will give you back stability.

If you feel a curb is too high to roll, I suggest finding a somewhat smaller curb, then rolling off that one. Then, later, work your way up to a larger curb. With practice, I have learned how to slowly drop off curbs (rolling) in any pedal position. However, as the curbs approach 1ft in height (like some of the storm sewers in my neighborhood), I sometimes hop when I sense I’m going to land in the 6/12 o’clock position.

Short answer: I think you should roll down curbs. Don’t stop practicing hopping, however.

You should have enough clearance to hop down a curb on any unicycle that you can ride (without your hip having to move side to side while riding). You don’t really need much, just make sure that your pedals are level when landing, which with some practice is easy to do in the classic switching from a sidewalk to the road situation. You can make sure that your cranks are level while doing either hopping or rolling off btw. If you go to SIF, you might as well dismount and remount.