Tame THE BEAST! (in honor of Cathwood)

It’s been over a year since I started a thread.
It’s been over a year since I got my Coker.
It’s been NEVERRRRRRR since I was able to mount the beast unassisted.

When I couldn’t do it right away I took comfort in Cathwood’s advice that it might take time. It might even take a couple of years. So now, into another year, I’m wondering if my learning curve will be longer.

Yup… this is a rant. This is a rant thread for anyone who has a coker and cannot mount it unassisted. This is a rant for all the cokerer’s who are reduced to riding where mounts exist or are forced to ask someone to lend them their shoulder. It’s inconvenient. Nay, its “degrading”!!! :smiley: Did you hear that? “DE-GRAD-ING”!

My coker doesn’t even have a name. I refuse to name her until she has been tamed. Others have tamed her. I’ve seen them. She just lets them climb on board with no trouble at all. Whish and they are up.

So torch in hand, I’m honoring Cathwood. Who stuck it out… kept trying … and eventually was able to tame the beast. She is my hero. I will post her avatar above this computer. Nay I will attach her avatar to my coker so I can gather strength from it each time I attempt to mount the ungrateful beast. Dare I get Cathwood’s avatar tattood on my arm? What would it look like when I’m 70 if I do?

But more importantly, when when when will I feel the freedom of riding totally unassisted. How long will I be tethered to a pole!!!

Yep. I heard it somewhere else, too, but I can’t recall where. . .:smiley:

Maybe she’s like Forest Gump’s boat and she won’t perform for you until you name her Jenny?

For me, mounting the big wheel is tough because of the height of the hop up. I find it uncomfortable to get enough leverage to get all the way up on a normal static freemount, which is why I prefer the jump mount onto it. Can you get up and just not follow through? Or is it actually getting up on top that’s the hiccup?

Until you say the safe word. Ooops! Wrong forum.:o

Because of paralysis in my lower legs, hips and glutes, my learning curve ha been extemely long. Probably the most anoying part is not being able to freemount after over 3 yrs:( I did get a mount once on someones trials uni. I’ve thought of getting one to master free-mounting (I bet it would take me a long time, like everything else - riding, driveway ramps, riding down curbs, riding backwards, SIF, SIB- all 2+ months each)

Asside from my commute and fooling around w/ new skills, I mainly just ride the trails on my 24" DX (a 26" LX is on the way). I try to get out to the trails as much as possible and since there are no cars or telephone poles for mounts I make do w/ trees and boulders w/ a couple of feet of smooth ground in front.

A week ago I went for a Muni “ride” in a new spot and walked all but maybee 100 ft, since nearly all the trees were way too far from the trail :frowning:

Mounting a coker is something that is more difficult as you are older or heavier. In my case I am 225 lbs and 52 years old.

I will try to help a little with a mounting technique that worked for me and others I have taught to mount a coker.

First I think the most important step in mounting a coker is to make sure that you step in front of the seat as you jump onto the dominant pedal. If you don’t then the pedal will go down and the wheel will tend to move towards the pedal and thus totally screw up your mount. How do you do this? Here are the steps:

  1. Position the unicycle with the dominant pedal facing 4 oclock, i.e. the pedal should be pointing away from you and facing a bit towards the ground.
  2. Grab the handle with your dominant hand the right hand in my case and hold that handle snuggly and let the unicycle hang with your hand straight. Your feet should be parallel to each other.
  3. Push the unicycle forward as you take a step with your non-dominant leg. This will bring the pedal to the 8 oclock position on your dominant foot. At this point grab that pedal and try to push your weight forward and up and grab the pedal on the non-dominant foot and start pedaling.

Note: It takes a whole lot of practice and then suddlenly you will hit a mount and from then on it will get easier and easier. This method helps you to mount because it’s more difficult to miss the pedal versus the rolling mount method which requires quite a bit of coordination and guts to perform when you are new at mounting a big wheel. Expect a lot of frustration and at times you will feel you will never get there. If that happens shut yourself off and just do the motion of mounting and forget everything just keep trying and trying. Stress and fear are our worst enemies…

Also remember that the better you ride the easier it is to mount. I don’t think it’s mentioned anywhere here on the forum but I have a theory to improve your riding which is one that I learned by trial and error and which has proven to be very helpful to new unicyclist. The theory is the following:
You will not advance in riding even if you ride for a year or longer if you don’t force yourself to ride with both hands on the handle. So if you have not done this and ride without holding the handle start holding the handle with one hand and then the other. Once you get good at riding with a single hand on the handle try holding the handle with both hands. I can guarantee you that if you can ride with both hands on the handle you will be able to mount because you will be able to save a slightly bad mount.

Good Luck and I know you will mount and tame that beast!!!

well I have had a Coker since … (was it 2004 or 2003 … I can’t recall) … and I still can’t mount it properly.
every ride starts with a dozen tries at freemounting: I miss, I miss, I miss. afterwards I feel warmer and I even succeed at first try.
I have tried different techniques and for now it is rather a running mount.
I am still unable to freemount if the slope goes (slightly) upwards, and still unable to climb when the climb is too long.
curiously I am unable to start the thing if I climb on it while holding a post: it is freemount or die! :roll_eyes:

edit: Hector thanks for yours advices!!! very helpful

Unibugg,

Here is the mount that I learned for a Coker. I find it easier than the alternatives and it feels more controlled:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy9UjzvCtNQ

I am learning a rolling mount, but I am not consistent with it at all. It needs work.

Good luck.

remark about this mount (and others): if I catch the pedal when it is horizontal (with my non-dominant foot) I am pretty sure not to get rolling! I perform a quarter-rotation, go sideways and crash because I am unable to apply sufficient force to get the wheel rolling (and my dominant foot -at the back- can’t get over the 12 o’Clock position). I can only start when I get this front pedal at 2 O’clock (and I am pretty sure to miss if it is 3 O’clock) … any advice?
(I suspect this: since the wheel is damn heavy I thrust all my weight forward and then I am too forward to push my backward -dominant- foot …)

Wobbling Bear,

I am not sure which mount you are discussing. One thing I notice is that I sometimes have to “pause” in the middle of a mount to let my weight travel over the top of the wheel. That pause gives my body time to start falling forward. Only after I am leaning forward over the wheel do I start to pedal. If I pedal too early the wheel just rolls away from me and I end up dismounting behind the wheel.

I mount the same way as Scott has described here and shown in the video. It happens slower than a running mount and a couple of things get extra time to find comfortable places to hang out. A long time ago someone had also suggested that along with the hand on tire (HOT) mount to give the wheel a shove forward as you lean over it to get the mass of the wheel going. I don’t know if I really do that but I’ll try to pay attention next time.

Can someone explain chocolate foot for me again?

Peripatet, I had to read your last comment three times before I got what you were talking about. I guess I’m either slow, naive, or very innocent. :wink: And you almost have me calling her Jenny. Hey, She could scream, “Pedal, Unibugg, Pedal~!”

The closest I’ve ever gotten to freemounting was a few months back. Gina from Tennessee was visiting and as we were practicing in a parking lot, my hand reached out and grabbed the wheel as I went up. I didn’t intend to do that but was quickly amazed that it felt like that was the answer. Later on some vid I saw a couple of cokerer’s mount in the middle of a long ride. They looked exhuasted but were still able to get up holding the wheel. Scott Ttocs makes it look so easy. It’s nice to see it over and over again. Perhaps my problem is that I’m trying to hard and am all tense.

Skilewis74, I’m absolutley with you on the more walking than riding experiences especially on the trails. I prefer to ride double track as I like the freedom of space and the view, but on the coker I can find more trees to mount while riding single track. The beach is absolutely out unless someone else is with me. One of the things I like best about unicycling is that it is hard and takes patience. One of the things I hate the most about unicycling is that it is hard and takes patience.

Hectorqlucero’s idea that it is harder to do when you are heavier or older makes sense. I don’t know about the hand on the seat theory related to mounting, but I want to try tomorrow to see. I’m fairly sure that I can ride for long periods with both hands on the seat as I can ride with them behind my back, folded over my chest, or on top of my head for quite a bit. I’ve printed out all of your advice, Hectorqlucero, and will give it a try first thing in the morning.

Wobbling Bear, I absolutely do not understand how you can freemount (even if it takes several tries), but are not able to use a pole. I had a bit of a time learning to get up on the beast even by holding something last year, but now, I fly up practically without thinking as long as there is something nearby. Sometimes it is merely a tiny branch overhead and though it moves, I can still mount holding it.

“Freemount or die.” Perhaps I should discipline myself not to ride the Coker until I’ve really struggled with mounting. In desperation would I make it? Tomorrow… no riding unless I hit the freemount on the Coker.

Done.

Discipline sucks. :stuck_out_tongue:

Have you tried longer cranks? Currently my (estimated) success rates with crank arm lengths are:

>150mm - 98%
145mm - 85%
125mm - 50%
<110mm - 15%

Just to give you an idea of how much of a difference the crank length can make. Shorter crank arms make it much harder to start the rolling motion of the wheel once you’re up.

Note: Concerning the 2 O’clock or 3 O’clock crank position it is not something that has to be exact. It depends on the step that you are going take and the speed of that step. You have to kind of practice without mounting to see where that pedal ends after you take the step. The idea is to get that dominant pedal at the 8 or 9 0’clock position. You go sideways for two reasons the main one being that you jump behind the seat and when you apply weight on that dominant pedal your body is behind that unicycle and all the pressure does is move that wheel sideways and your mount is totally screwed up. If you jump over the seat the unicycle will move under you as opposed to sideways. Try it, have someone look at you, take a video and you will see what I mean.

A running mount as you describe is a good mount and once you have it perfected it works OK. The problem with us heavier and older guys is the fear factor. We are afraid of missing that pedal and breaking something. As a matter of fact I can perform the rolling mount but prefer this other mount I mentioned due to that fear factor. Mounting the way I suggest you still get the momentum of the wheel as you step forward but since it is measured by just taking one step with your non-dominant foot, the pedal will be precisely on the 8 or 9 o’clock position to perform a proper mount. This gives you confidence because missing the pedal is very hard to do.

You can experiment with this and determine what the position of the crank should be either 2 o’clock or 3 o’clock depending on that step that your are going to take. The idea here is to be holding the unicycle with your dominant hand and have the crank in a position that when you take a step forward with your non-dominant foot as you push the unicycle it will end up with the crank at around 8 or 9 o’clock which is a position you would use to do a static mount. I also mentioned that you should try to step over the seat by this I mean hold the unicycle by the handle with your arm extended so you can physically step over that seat. This is important because if you step behind the seat all that will happen is that the unicycle wheel will move towards the pedal i.e. sideways and you will miss the mount. Another very common mistake is to jump sideways as opposed to straight up and forward. When you catch the dominant pedal after stepping over with your non-dominant foot and provided you jump straight not sideways you will push the dominant pedal down and the unicycle will go under you provided you jumped over that seat. Now the trick here is to catch the other pedal before it hits 11 o’clock so that with the momentum you have going over the seat it will allow you to push the pedal and get that unicycle rolling.

Basically all we are doing here is a static mount but assisting us heavier guys with one step with the non-dominant foot to get some momentum from that wheel and to eliminate that fear factor by having the pedal at the correct 8 or 9 0’clock position and thus eliminating the chances of missing that pedal and getting hurt as sometimes happens with a running mount.

I can sometimes mount with a static mount, but I have to be fully rested. My 12 year old sun can mount without missing any mount rested or tired. This is where I feel the age and weight factor make a difference. To compensate for that we use a bit of momentum from that wheel to assist us but in a way which is totally safe and we don’t risk breaking a toe or getting hurt pretty bad.

I hope this helps and answers any questions you may have.

Note: Concerning the 2 O’clock or 3 O’clock crank position it is not something that has to be exact. It depends on the step that you are going take and the speed of that step. You have to kind of practice without mounting to see where that pedal ends after you take the step. The idea is to get that dominant pedal at the 8 or 9 0’clock position. You go sideways for two reasons the main one being that you jump behind the seat and when you apply weight on that dominant pedal your body is behind that unicycle and all the pressure does is move that wheel sideways and your mount is totally screwed up. If you jump over the seat the unicycle will move under you as opposed to sideways. Try it, have someone look at you, take a video and you will see what I mean.

A running mount as you describe is a good mount and once you have it perfected it works OK. The problem with us heavier and older guys is the fear factor. We are afraid of missing that pedal and breaking something. As a matter of fact I can perform the rolling mount but prefer this other mount I mentioned due to that fear factor. Mounting the way I suggest you still get the momentum of the wheel as you step forward but since it is measured by just taking one step with your non-dominant foot, the pedal will be precisely on the 8 or 9 o’clock position to perform a proper mount. This gives you confidence because missing the pedal is very hard to do.

You can experiment with this and determine what the position of the crank should be either 2 o’clock or 3 o’clock depending on that step that your are going to take. The idea here is to be holding the unicycle with your dominant hand and have the crank in a position that when you take a step forward with your non-dominant foot as you push the unicycle it will end up with the crank at around 8 or 9 o’clock which is a position you would use to do a static mount. I also mentioned that you should try to step over the seat by this I mean hold the unicycle by the handle with your arm extended so you can physically step over that seat. This is important because if you step behind the seat all that will happen is that the unicycle wheel will move towards the pedal i.e. sideways and you will miss the mount. Another very common mistake is to jump sideways as opposed to straight up and forward. When you catch the dominant pedal after stepping over with your non-dominant foot and provided you jump straight not sideways you will push the dominant pedal down and the unicycle will go under you provided you jumped over that seat. Now the trick here is to catch the other pedal before it hits 11 o’clock so that with the momentum you have going over the seat it will allow you to push the pedal and get that unicycle rolling.

Basically all we are doing here is a static mount but assisting us heavier guys with one step with the non-dominant foot to get some momentum from that wheel and to eliminate that fear factor by having the pedal at the correct 8 or 9 0’clock position and thus eliminating the chances of missing that pedal and getting hurt as sometimes happens with a running mount.

I can sometimes mount with a static mount, but I have to be fully rested. My 12 year old sun can mount without missing any mount rested or tired. This is where I feel the age and weight factor make a difference. To compensate for that we use a bit of momentum from that wheel to assist us but in a way which is totally safe and we don’t risk breaking a toe or getting hurt pretty bad.

I hope this helps and answers any questions you may have.

Hello Unibug,
Sounds like your having a great time ridng your Coker. Don’t ya just love that big wheel? Your going beat mounting the beast, we’re all rooting for ya!

Unibugg … I am new to having a KH 36er and do find the mount a challenge but Having practiced it I am 4 outta 5 on the rolling mount. (I like that one!)
and my static mount is about 60/40 … 60 on and 40 miss.
If I remember to not try and mount it like a 20" or 24" (using the pedal to bring the uni under me) and concentrate on just stepping up and grabbing the front of my seat or handle and letting the 36er just come up with me … and then bearing down on the pedals to take off.
Just stay at it and it will come. Have fun and enjoy.
Tell yourself that you can do it and you WILL!!!
Shug

tryin to explain:
Hector I know what you mean by the fear factor: I broke my achille’s tendon while freemounting my Coker and so I have some psychological limitations…
My problem is that to start rolling I have to push hard on the front foot but thus I get too much in front of my saddle and miss the push down with my second foot when crank is in vertical position … (coker goes sideways and I bail out). If I try to stay on the saddle then I can’t “push” enough on my front foot. So there is something I do not do properly and there is nobody around to tell me what’s wrong (or to catch a video)…
I gave up 125mm cranks (due to freemounting problems), but stick to 140mm

Well, it’s very nice to have a thread named after me and I feel very honoured. But it is also under false pretenses. Because I haven’t tamed the beast.

I am not consistent with my freemounting of the 36er. I have tried and tried and it has never (in the 3 years or so I have had my 36er) become significantly easier. (At least not with my 125 cranks on). I have (for the moment) given up on it (freemounting that is, not riding).

So I don’t deserve any honour :o

If the unicycle goes sideways the problem is that you are jumping at the dominant pedal from behind the seat and you are probably vending over to the left if your dominant foot is the right foot. You mention that if you stay on the saddle you can’t push with your non-dominant foot to get the unicycle going. To fix this you have to catch the dominant pedal a little bit higher to give you more time to catch the non-dominant pedal i.e. catch the dominant pedal let’s say at 9 0’clock vs 8 0’clock.

Suggestions:

  1. Play around with the starting crank position, try maybe 4 5 or 6 0’clock.
  2. Make sure your step is always the same i.e. not further or faster; Develop a constant step. If you are going over the unicycle slow down your step if you are not reaching speed it up a bit.
  3. Make sure your hand holding the handle on the seat is below your crotch and you are making contact with that seat always. If you loose seat contact you will probably not nail the mount.
  4. When jumping on the dominant pedal make sure you are looking forward and make sure to not flex your body to the side, because if you do you will miss the mount. This is where you have to beat the fear factor. The fear of getting hurt automatically haves you vending over to make it safer, the opposite is the truth.

Note: What works for me may not work for you so you have to find what you are comfortable with. I have taught several friends now to mount the big wheel and each one of them will perform the same mount but with a bit of variation as mentioned above. One important thing to remember here is that since it is a new mount for you it’s like starting over again. It is hard to break bad habits so you have to start training yourself from the start again. It’s going to be difficult at first, but I can guarantee you that with one or two weeks trying this and perfecting it you will start mounting with more consistency. I have to mention to you that I used to do the running mount and would go from very successful mounting to very terrible mounting. All it took was to miss that pedal once and my mounting just degraded to zero. Now that I use this mount I continue to improve and now it is second nature, because I have eliminated the greatest fear “Not catching that pedal”.

Hope this helps but if you still have any questions I am more than willing to lend a helping hand. I know how frustrating it is not to mount that big wheel and how rewarding it is when you can mount it consistently.

Kathy you deserve all the honor. I was about to leave the big wheel if it wasn’t for your advice. From your advice I was able to come up with enough information to improve my riding and mounting. I almost gave up and you were there to get me over that big hill.

Thanks Kathy!

I put ~10 miles on my 125’s yesterday and I was pretty impressed with how much faster and smoother I could ride.

I was also pretty surprised by how different mounting and slow speed control were.

Try 150’s.