Teaching kids how to freemount

My daughters (8 and 11) have been struggling with the freemount. Any good tips for kids for learning the freemount?


Starting with a curb behind the wheel is easy. Reducing that to a really short 2x4 is kind of the next step but you have to return to it or somehow carry it with you. How did you learn to freemount? Have you tried searching? It’s come up a lot of times before.

Quite a few of my students have been having success at freemounting lately.

I teach freemounting by demonstrating a static mount, or getting other skilful students to demonstrate. Put your foot on the lower pedal, and push off really hard so that you go up and on top of the wheel, with the pedals level and the free pedal in front ready to step on immediately and ride forwards. Moving away relatively quickly is important, because if you stay still you are more likely to fall.

If the student struggles to hold the wheel steady with the rear foot and it flings backwards, I suggest they try a rollback mount, grabbing the top pedal with your foot as it comes backwards, into half an idle and then ride off.

The tip that seemed to help the most lately was to push off harder and jump up a bit higher. Some students kept getting their foot on the pedal but were falling back down instead of staying on top. Encouragement and reminding them how hard riding was at first and how easy it is now can help with the stuck in the rut people who say freemounting is too hard.

While using a gutter would help, so would putting your wheel against a wall which is not freemounting, so I would avoid props if possible to ensure proper freemounting technique is learned. It may be useful for gaining confidence at foot placement but will hinder the foot pressure muscle memory.

Slight downhill is much easier for freemounting than slight uphill, so either practise on the flat or down a slope. I often still freemount downhill and turn around to ride up it.

who needs to freemount? it took me 7 years to learn… What’s wrong with lamp posts! :slight_smile:

Yes, one of my daughters struggles with jumping high enough (she is able to get the 2nd foot on the free pedal but is slightly tilted backwards when she lands the 2nd foot, and thus isnt able to move forward). I have tried to encourage her to jump higher, but she is still struggling. Didnt know if anybody had any other suggestions.


Back hand them if they fail?

haha just kidding… doesn’t help… I keep my weight over the wheel, with the seat firmly in location, and my arm forward, once i initiate the free mount my hips move forward and my arm pulls back, meeting all my weight in the middle over the wheel and pedal away =D

Perhaps try standing in front of her with your hands extended, so that she knows her balance will be safe from tipping too far forwards. Stand too far away for her to grab your hands without first being up on top of the uni. If she fails to get on top she will step back down like usual.

Remind her that with a relatively small amount of practise she can be free to mount and ride anywhere, and that she might spend seven years of walking to lamp-posts if she is hesitatant like Roger. Or you could offer some kind of incentive like a new custom valve cap for completing the challenge.

Or plan B- get daughter age 11 to show daughter age 8 how it is done- delegate the responsibility.

I can’t really tell you. My daughter learned to freemount when she was eight. I tried to teach her, but she pretty much ignored all my advice and learned it her own way.

She still can’t remember which way her preferred stance is. She just tries it one way and if she misses, then she switches to mounting with the other foot.

Pretty much the same with me, I teach a lot of kids, try to teach them one way (foot on the back pedal, jumping to the front pedal without putting weight on the back, I tell them its basically like you have a bad leg and you have to walk up a step by limping) but they usually get sick of that and revert back to the awkward style of having the pedals perpendicular to the ground and starting on the lower pedal. Free mounting like that is OK… but then once you start pedaling it can be a bit awkward

I couldn’t get free mounting until I thought of it not as a stepping up onto the other pedal, but having one foot on the pedal and jumping onto the other.

And normally I tell people I’m teaching, “Getting on it is the hardest part. That’s pretty much where I’ve earned all my scars”

Heh, I always try to drum into beginners not to do that. Getting bashed in the shins by the front pedal when they fail to levitate after stepping onto the back pedal (laws of physics and all that) generally doesn’t encourage people to keep going…

Awkward? There’s a reason it’s known as the standard mount, which is that it’s the easiest to learn and the easiest to do.

So while you are so busy drumming what not to do, what is it that you tell them to do? Getting bashed in the shins might happen if you don’t concentrate on getting your foot on, but most people get their foot on eventually, and if they get the bash they can revert to the rollback technique. There is no need to levitate if you get your foot on and get moving immediately after getting up.

You seem to be misunderstanding what Christian is saying. In a static mount you do not start with the pedals perpendicular to the ground and end falling off with the pedals still perpendicular to the ground, stuck in the dead (or weak) position. This is a common mistake for people learning freemounts. It is possible to get on this way but it is a long way from being the easiest mount.

Starting with the foot on the bottom pedal is good when you launch yourself with commitment- up and forwards and on top of the wheel, ending with your foot connecting with the front pedal parallel to the ground and riding off. This can help with those who are falling back down- the forwards motion can help you get moving immediately, similar to a rolling mount.

I quite like the way Christian mentioned too, just keeping it still and getting on.

For anyone stuck in the dead zone (cranks vertical) I highly recommend they try to move either immediately forwards or backwards, til the cranks are level, and from there much more balance and control can be felt.

The most important thing is always, always to fall off forwards and land on your feet. Don’t even think about trying to ride until you are confident falling off forwards.

As for mounting, start with the cranks vertical, put a foot on the lowest pedal, then hop up onto the top pedal. Push the top pedal backwards to get away from the dead spot, then start pedalling forwards.

It’s the way I learnt, it’s the way other people I know who learnt around the same time learnt (at least those who learnt reasonably quickly), and IME it’s the easiest and most effective way to learn.

Try this.

Position them with the foot on at the seat in. Have them get used to pushing on the seat with their body and resisting the roll with the foot and viceversa.

Then push of and bring the foot around in front of the unicycle like mention before.

I’ve not learned to freemount yet, but I am going to soon when I get some chance to practice. I’ve had a good read around and the best I have found so far is this tutorial:

I found I had to add a step, when trying the first part of the mount the unicycle flew off behind me uncontrollably, so I added the brick behind the wheel and practiced the first step on the video with the brick there, then I took the brick away and did the first step of the video without and the unicycle stayed put.

My nephew has been doing the rollback mount, which looked good at first as I rollback mount when assisted by a wall, but its clear he often struggles to get going after the mount with his pedal stuck at 6 o’clock, he showed me it but when I saw the static mount I could see the advantage, its just getting over the first step, but IMO easier in the long run.

Ive yet to finish learning, Ive only spent a few minutes trying so far but I can really see how that video is effective. But yeah different people find different learning techniques easier, and different mounting styles. So my advice is to find the mount that suits you. If you learn in steps as per the video, and add the brick behind the wheel if needed, no need to leave the brick there for all the steps just to practice getting the motion in the first place.

I learned to freemount with the pedals level, my left foot on the back pedal and then kicked off with my right foot. When I kick off, I support my weight with my arm on the seat. I sort of lean on my left arm, wich gives me a little more time to place my right foot on the front pedal.