A bit of a long post, but please stick with it…
Being almost entirely a self-taught rider, I learned some bad habits. As I started to ride by mounting against a wall, I got in the habit of weighting the bottom pedal and climbing onto the uni with the wheel as near to static as possible. Moving on to learn freemounting, I developed this technique in the obvious way, and used a ‘static’ mount for years, starting with the pedals at the 6 o’clock position.
I’m now coaching/teaching a mate, who is struggling with his freemounts. I now have several different mounts (nothin’ fancy, but they work) and therefore I find it hard to judge which methods are easy or difficult for a beginner - all the ones I can do are easy for me!
The 6 o’clock static mount presents difficulties because the rider mounts and finds himself / herself with the power pedal at top dead centre. This makes freemounting a 3 stage process: get on, find balance, start rolling. This is unnecessarily difficult.
I’ve never got on well with the roll back mount. I can do somethig approximating it, but not with the insouciance of an artiste. As a beginner’s mount it seems difficult because that top pedal can pass under your top foot and you can end up stepping over the unicycle completely. If you do minimal roll back, you just end up stalled at top dead centre, as per the 6 o’clock mount. Also, rollback can be a problem off road or mounting on a hill.
For general use, and especially off road, I now use a sort of rolling mount much of the time, with a very short shove of the uni to give it enough ‘back pressure’ to stop it rolling back when I mount with the cranks at about the quarter to three position. This gets me on with the cranks more or less in the right position to idle, balance or ride off so it reduces the three stages more or less to one smooth and elegant continuum.
So where is this going? Well, tonight I experimented with a new mount which I think MIGHT be handy for beginners, and I thought I’d circulate it and see whether (a) it’s already widely used, and (b) whether real beginners find it useful.
So, try this and see what happens and, if you feel inclined, give me some feedback.
First, put the back pedal above horizontal. On my 26, I find it works to put the crank exactly parallel with the fork, allowing for the fact that before the mount, the fork is leaning backwards. On my 20, I found it best to put the back crank at about the 10 o’clock position, or even a little higher. It needs to be about as high as you can get it without the unicycle moving away from you when you push against the pedal with your foot.
Now, put your foot onto the nearer pedal - that’s the one that’s above horizontal. It seems counterintuitive, but stick with me…
I find it helps to hold the front of the seat with one hand. Now, step onto the unicycle, placing your other foot on the front (lower) pedal.
Now, as you step onto the unciycle, you get the following effects:
(1) Because the nearer crank is above horizontal, and the uni starts off leaning slightly backwards, all the forces conspire to reduce roll back to a minimum. It’s more controlled. You don’t sail over the uni as it swoops beneath you.
(2) Because the front pedal is so low (the crank is lower than horizontal) you don’t have to make a big movement of your foot to get onto it. No big leap, just a smallish step.
(3) If there is any rollback, the front pedal is moving almost vertically upwards, rather than over the top and backwards. This makes it easy to ‘intercept’ with your foot, which is stepping down onto it.
(4) Regardless of whether there is a small amount of rollback, you find yourself mounted with the cranks more or less horizontal which means you can go straight into riding forwards with a powerstroke.
It worked for me tonight, right footed and left footed. What do you lot make of it? Thanks.