static free mount starting to get it

Managed to get a free mount and ride away yesterday and four times today.

I still have a low success rate of riding off after the mount, about 1 out of every 5 attempts but I’m getting there.

One thing I noticed, when I free mount I wind up on the back of the seat and fall trying to adjust my position, I can ride but it is not comfortable.

I can hop (with a hand on the car) and get comfortable and ride off but I don’t want to hop and bend my wheel which I’m sure is single wall.

I’ve got to practice idling so I can do the cool roll back mount as it looks much smoother and won’t bother my poor knees or damage the uni.

Any tips on side to side balance when trying to idle? I’m struggling.

Thanks, Jim

I’ve been free mounting for over 2 years now but it never ceases to amaze me that we can even do it. The smaller wheels are not much of an issue; the 36er is always an adventure.

One of the strongest muni cyclists I know, NurseBen, has a philosophy that free mounting is over rated. He uses whatever he is close to to help him get his feet on the pedals. Once he takes off he is gone…

It’s easy to over think unicycling and the freemount is confining if you are thinking you will not be able to do it. On the other hand, it makes it possible for us to go wherever we want if we are confident we can get back on it if we udp (which we all do).

Watch the unigeezer videos on free mounting… he makes it look easy… then go do it. When you go to larger wheels, shorter cranks and a less widely agreed upon parameter, higher tire pressure, whatever configuration you are working with now will become that much easier.

Way to go!

Anything you ride out is a success. As low-speed balancing skills improve, the mounts don’t have to be as perfect.

I was out today and dismounted a few times to cross busy streets. I noticed after a while that I had nailed a bunch of static mounts in a row and I got cocky and started thinking, “I’ve really got it now.” The next time I had to stop, I missed three or four in a row. :angry:

But it came back to me after that.

Still working on that myself… My thought right now is to make big deliberate corrections, to turn the wheel sharply and roll it back underneath us. As with ordinary riding, I expect that the corrections will get smoother and more automatic with experience. But I’m also open to tips from folks who actually do it well.

With balancing while idling, think of it as a big picture. Being perfectly balanced isn’t the aim, just make sure that you can stay on. Also don’t be afraid to turn quite dramatically. I know someone whose idle resembled a waltz.

I can often be lazy with mounts. As much as I try to free mount my 29er all the time, I often ride tired or in inappropriate clothes/shoes (hazards of it being my main mode of transport). In those situations if a post is there I will use it.

If you can mount messily, ride to a wall to correct yourself. Eventually you will get comfy enough to shift about (or good enough to not need to). Riding off itself is currently a challenge. Adding a second challenge of adjusting yourself makes it much harder to do.

Learning to idle first would definitely make learning the rollback mount a lot easier, but trying to do things in that order would be like saying “A single step begins with a journey of a thousand miles.” Idling is much more difficult.

Song is right on that one. But to give further advice, it would help to know your wheelsize and what exactly you mean by static mount.

When I do a static mount my cranks are horizontal, (Like unigeezer’s tutorial)
I don’t think I’ve heard a perticular name for a pedal down sort of static mount, but thatg is a much more difficult freemount. It is also used a lot in teaching people to ride, which I think poses a bit of a barrier to your first freemounts

Bidped I’ve watched unigeezer’s video that’s one of the things that gave me the impetus to try.

Thanks LargeEddie, lol as soon as you start feeling confident that is when Murphy’s law kicks in.

Davejh atm I don’t seem to have a problem staying in a straight line when trying to idle but tip over left or right mostly right.

Song getting the rollback mount is a goal of mine, my knees are in bad shape, torn ACL and MCL that took a serious toll, the rollback would easier on my knees. I figured idling or practice idling would make the rollback a breeze.

Authoritimmy I have a cheap 24" and by static I mean pedals horizontal, I find I do better if I keep the rear pedal slightly higher than the front, then hop up and forward land the right foot on the pedal and ride away (sometimes).

Thanks, Jim

On a 20" with 110mm cranks, I can now do rollback mounts with either leg as well as side and reverse mounts, idling on either side, and one-footed idling, but I’ve only managed a static mount about three times in my whole life, and only while facing steeply downhill! Many people on these forums, though, seem to think that a static mount is the first one you should learn, right after learning to ride forward, or maybe even before that!

Oh well, whatever works for them! There are lots of different ways of learning to unicycle, and the differences get larger as you get more advanced. I guess that’s why there’s been so much controversy over the IUF skill levels.

The static mount is useful, as it takes up less space than the rollback, but I recommend the rollback for getting started. Learning to idle first would be extremely unusual, though not impossible, I guess. Let us know what happens.

The latter, for sure, definitely. :slight_smile:

Fwiw, it took me the longest to learn to static mount my 20" unicycles. I got it on the bigger wheels first. The a-ha moment was discovering just how hard I could actually step on the back pedal if I gave the seat a little push forward and didn’t keep my weight on the back pedal for very long. That doesn’t work on a 20" wheel since it rolls too easily. What looks like a static mount is closer to a jump mount there, for me at least. I can step up a lot harder with a bigger heavier wheel and less pedal leverage when I get the timing right.

That said, I endorse the NurseBen attitude related by Biped. Especially on a narrow trail where there isn’t much left-right room to jockey around in while getting underway, why waste energy trying to free mount several times when there’s a handy tree to use? You can tire yourself out before you even get rolling, as I’ve done when I was being stubborn about it.

I managed my first free mount and ride off (at least a few revolutions) today. I can mount in the pedal down position relatively easy, but then I’m stuck. So I watched Unigeezer’s tutorial to try the static mount and it helped. But the big discovery and aha moment for me came yesterday when I finally realized how to keep my weight off the back pedal:

I start with the left foot on the left pedal almost parallel to the frame and a bit higher than horizontal. And here is what I finally figured out: I then have to bend my right knee slightly. That makes it a lot easier to push off towards the front pedal without putting a lot of weight on rear pedal. When I get it right, it doesn’t even feel like I’m jumping. It feels more like taking a step forward.

I believe it’s now just more practice before I will get it consistently. Nice side effect: 20 free mounts are a great workout for me and have me sweating in no time at all :slight_smile:

A 24" should be a good wheel for rollback mounts. I find them extremely difficult as wheelsize increases. They are far from my preferred method of mount, but I do use them occasionally.

Learning to do a rollback mount is typically easier than idling, and the skills are cumulative. Don’t get so hung up on the backwards motion, you don’t even realize you’re doing it. If falls are a major concern, try getting the motion down while holding something, then just while near that thing in case you need a hand, then graduate to a full freemount.

It sounds like all you need to do is commit a bit more. It’s essentially just jumping into the forward pedal, with just a bit of weight on the back pedal to keep your wheel in that position. You should already be in a forward position (weight forward, able to start pedaling) when you hit the front pedal.

On the static mount as a first freemount, I agree with you that it isn’t really the one I would pick. I started with a rollback, which has the advantage of allowing you to get situated on the seat before taking off. Shortly after I was freemounting I started on bigger wheels which change which mount was easiest for me. I started using a rolling mount, and got that consistent enough to use all the time. When I finally got my 36er(as soon as I had the inseam), I hit my first freemount attempt with a rolling mount.

Way to go Markus congrats, be careful though I tried today and my foot slipped off the pedal and now my shin is bloody, bruised and swollen.

Another day or two of down time, healing. :frowning:


Ouch! I hope you’ll recover fast from this one and will be back on your unicycle soon.

I had the pedal kick me in the shins a few weeks back and while it is all healed up now, you can still see the spot. Healing is no longer as fast as it used to be. That’s probably one of the reasons why I’m a slower learner: I’m no longer willing to take crazy risks and plunge into things head first :wink:

And thanks for reminding me: I meant to dig out my hockey shin guards, but haven’t done so yet. I should really get to it before I practice any more free mounting.

Hey, the freemount was really tough for me at first. It took me many many many many many tries to get it. That was about a month ago. It really helps to learn to ride for a good while first, in my opinion. I really recommend watching Terry’s video about “not crushing the eggshell” technique. It is something that you need to practice in your mind, not just on the unicycle. Here is a slow motion video from the side of me free mounting with the cranks horizontal and with a slight forward roll. I now position the rear crank lower and just jump on it with the ground foot. I think the easiest way is to walk in to it as you have more momentum to start off with. Keep at it, man! It took me almost 30 days to learn to ride the unicycle and free mounting was weeks of shin shredding and falling over. It is worth it, though. It becomes second nature!

Thanks a lot for the video. Due to the slow motion I can see clearly now that you’re doing what I just found out: Bend the foot you have your weight on slightly which gives it sort of a “spring load” and makes hitting the front pedal so much easier.

Awesome video, especially the soundtrack! I never banged my shins while learning to free mount, but maybe that’s because I started with the rollback.

It’s a simple idea: 1) Jump up with the seat 2) roll the wheel under you. The secret of hardly putting any weight on your rear foot applies to the rollback as well as to the static mount.

The rollback does get harder with a larger wheel. I’ve done it on a 29, but only after many attempts. In a way the static mount is like a jump mount with the feet staggered. It’s time for me to follow authoritimmy’s pointers and learn it.

I’d throw in some tips that I learned and found out while trying to learn to free mount, hope it helps:

  1. That video with the static free mount with pedals parallel to the ground. I found that even when you hop on the unicycle and it is off balance, beginners would usually call it quits and step off and call it a fail. However, at that point, if you swerve quickly towards the direction you’re falling, you can catch yourself. So many times when you think it’s a failed mount, it doesn’t have to be, you just gotta quickly swerve towards that direction and catch yourself.

Also, you can gain more time by moving it to a 4 / 10 o clock position, dominate leg on the 10 position of course. I found that with this position, the pedals are even less likely to move even with a bit of weight.

  1. The roll back mount I got after getting my 36er and riding it for a week and switching back to my 26". I got it because the switch in wheel size made me realize that the 26er is not nearly as scary of a unicycle as I thought it was. Idling helps A LOT with the roll back mount because sometimes I tend to lose balance to the side and then I would idle back and forth to the side a bit to regain the balance. But sitting up straight and making the wheel move back in a straight line with everything balanced is a big key, especially without having to idle.

  2. Idling tip: Have LOTS of room. The videos you see on youtube where people often idle in position, some people might catch it on naturally but most likely when you start, you’ll be swerving around a lot and it’ll take a long time to stay completely in place. I’ve done it for months and many times I still move side to side a bit. In some cases you might even do full turn arounds when idling. I found I idle better when I concentrate on my wheel (with eyes on it) and try to stay in one position. I have to purposely make a mental note. It has a lot to do with swerving to catch you where you fall. I heard certain tires are also more easy to idle, for me, on my 26er I use the holy roller and I prefer it more than Hookworm, a big reason being the tire weight which makes shifting your weight and rolling back and forth easier to do. Like comparing idling between a heavy 36" tire and a 26er (which I have), not to mention nimbus nightrider on the 36" resists side movement. So use your hand a lot, swerve a lot, and take note as to how much your wheel moves from its original position.

  3. Pacing yourself, as with bunny hopping, basic riding forward, and idling, you have to make it a mental note that you don’t have to use so much energy and speed to stay up. Try to calm down and slow it down. Like when I started idling, I had to go back and forth pretty fast to stay up. But now I’ve calmed down and paced myself when idling. I can idle with much less wheel movement (in terms of moving back and forth to maintain balance). Basically with pacing yourself, you’re able to better utilize every movement that you make. Every movement should count, as oppose to making desperate energy wasting ones.

Ha ha! Here is the extended soundtrack version:

jump mount simulator

I posted this on the “Learning the 36” wheel" thread, but thought it would be relevant to post again here:

When I first received my Coker V2 36” unicycle, it was a fearsome beast. I had major problems mounting it and even injured a back muscle in the process. I watched all of the UniGeezer mounting tutorials and decided to focus on the “jump mount” which is noted for its efficiency (see minute 3:50 in his YouTube video “Unicycle Tutorial: Help with free mounting a 36" uni!”). Normally, I would prefer mastering the “wheel grab” mount for its simplicity. However, I now ride with a long handle for more comfort on longer distances so the “wheel grab” mount is not possible.

I first learned how to “jump mount” on my 20” unicycle by focusing on the foot/weight distribution emphasized in UniGeezer’s “How to Free Mount a Unicycle - Secrets Revealed!” video. I also used the technique of imagining that I was jumping up onto a completely flat and level platform as I jumped on the pedals - acknowledging the exact height required to reach the landing surface (pedals). This strategy can help ensure that your center of mass gets in the correct position.

In his “Unicycle tutorial (Help with free mounting a 36" uni!)” video, UniGeezer admits that the jump mount is “a little scary at first.” To reduce some of the “scary”, I made a jump mount simulator out of scrap wood, galvanized pipe, and an old unicycle seat. This would have the result of developing leg muscles while encouraging a muscle memory to form - both needed to successfully jump mount the 36” unicycle. It also facilitates the proper placement of my feet on the pedals without the potential hazards of actually balancing on the unicycle. Additionally, this method allows proper timing of foot placement on the pedals which is a quick 1-2 while paying attention to foot/weight distribution. This is further described by the UniGeezer “How to Free Mount a Unicycle - Secrets Revealed!” video. I practiced with the jump mount simulator several times per day for one week with increased confidence.

Finally, after watching the UniGeezer mounting tutorials numerous times, I noticed that he often changes hands once he is up on the unicycle (illustrating that the original hand releases the seat handle, the other hand then grabs seat handle while the original hand flails for balance). I tried this sequence also and it seems to help with gaining balance during the mount - it works for unknown reasons except that transferring hands aids in locating the sweet spot of balance.

My jump mounts are now at least 80% successful, I hope yours will be, too. Ride on!