Tip for new 36" riders

If you are new to riding a 36’r (as I am), you have probably found freemounting to be one of the more challenging aspects of riding these. I have been working diligently on this skill, and I’m up to about 75 - 80% success rate. However, this rate goes down substantially if I’m out in traffic. If I am out in traffic and have to stop, it’s usually at a stoplight. There are cars, pedestrians, and general stuff going on, and my anxiety level goes up while my confidence goes down. Typically, rather than try to mount and ride across the street when the light changes, I just walk it across, then look for a handy assist to get going again – bus stop, mail box, or whatever. If I’m near an open space like a parking lot, I’ll go ahead and freemount there, and be on my way. (If this doesn’t happen to you, then you can ignore the rest of this post.)
Tonight while practicing out next to my house (a very low-traffic street, thankfully), I was taking a breather while standing next to the curb. Looking down, I was surprised to see that the curbside pedal, at the 6:00 position, was a couple of inches above the curb. Now, in times past, when riding smaller-wheeled unis, I automatically steered well clear of curbs to avoid pedal strikes. When I started riding the 36", I instinctively did the same thing. But it suddenly occurred to me that this could be used to my benefit. When coming to a stop in traffic, I could stop next to the curb, and then re-mount from the curb to ride away. When you’re standing on the curb, you are almost on the thing already (depending on how high the curb is). Anyway, I tried it a couple times. Rode up to the corner, came to a stop next to the curb (using the brake helped make this a controlled movement), put my foot down on the curb, then rode off again, without actually getting off. It was like when you come up to a corner on a bike. You just stop, put your foot down, and go when the light turns again.
OK, this was pretty long-winded, sorry about that. If everyone already knows this, sorry about that, too. But it was new to me, and seemed helpful.

Curb mount. well, modified curb mount I guess. How do you get out of the gutter? This has generally been a challenge for me.

i heavily relied on curbs with my 24er until i started freemounting. Unfortunately some pedestrian crosswalks lack a good enough curb to mount which makes you go outside the ped crossing zone to find a place to mount. technically to use a ped crossing zone you have to exit your vehicle and walk it across anyways.

Crank length?

Maybe use a longer length until you build up confidence.

Can you do a rolling mount on a 29? I rode a 29 a lot, road and muni before getting my 36. I used the 29 for 6 months or so before getting the 36, then had no problem on 150s. I shortly changed to 127s and make it probably 90-95% of the time on the shorter cranks.

Yes. I do a rolling mount on my 29r. I’m riding my 29r with 75mm cranks which makes a static mount very difficult. But I only roll a half revolution on the 29r before mounting, compared to a rolling a full revolution on my 36r.

I’m just curious: when you are attempting a free mount and you are under pressure (i.e, traffic is watching while at a stoplight), what are you doing with your hands? This needs a bit of explanation. I find myself, when mounting with an audience, holding onto my seat handle (security blanket) too long; which in turn causes an unsuccessful mount. However, when I release my hand from the handle right after my foot hits the pedal, I nail it every time. I hope this helps.

I’m still new to freemounting the 36", because of an injury i was waiting nearly a month to finally try it, but after 3 or 4 failed attempts i managed to mount 5 times yesterday evening. I grab the handle i mounted on the T-bar with my right hand for this and i am sure that releasing that grip earlier (as soon as the foot hits the pedal) will improve my mounting success.
With the 26" i realized that i tend the hold onto the seat handle too long when feeling unsecure which in turn increaes the chance of an unsuccessful mount.



P.S.: Since i only rode about 5 km on the 36" so far i am still using 163 cranks.

I’m I Nuts?

I bought a unicycle a few years ago and re-learned how to ride it with the ultimate goal to be able to ride a 36" machine. I had ridden many years ago and it didn’t take long for me to ride again (like 30 minutes of practice!)
I was getting there but injured my knee 2 years ago which sidelined me for 6 months.
I now want to get a 36" unicycle but I have not ridden much at all. What do you recommend? Do I need to get extremely proficient on my smaller one first?
Like Lance I’m 60 but still a kid at heart!

If you want to ride a 36" wheel, just get the big wheel and go! I learned on a 20" wheel in high school, then didn’t ride for 20 years. When I got the itch to ride a 36" wheel after the long break, I was intimidated. I bought a 28" wheel as an intermediate step. I only rode it for about 6 weeks before my 36" lust consumed me, and I bought the big wheel. Maybe the few weeks on a 28" wheel helped me prepare for the 36" wheel, but I bet you can make the big jump without blowing the cash for an intermediate size. It’s a challenge, but as Tholub says, it’s totally doable. There are lots of helpful threads about choosing a 36" wheel. saskatchewanian’s list is my favorite: http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/showthread.php?t=108019
Usual caveat: there’s nothing wrong with a 28" or 29" wheel. If that’s what you like, ride it and love it. There’s also nothing wrong with a 36" wheel. Or a 16" wheel. Get what you want! Go ride!

If you feel like you want to ride a 36", just get one and ride it.
I went from a 20" to a 26" and it was hard at first, then got easy. Then I went from the 26" to the 36", and it was hard at first, then got easier (OK, it’s not exactly easy yet, but it’s getting better.) The thing is, any new thing is hard at first. There’s always a learning curve. I don’t think it would have been much harder at first going right from the 20 to the 36. So there’s no real point in going to an intermediate size if what you really want to ride is the 36". Just do it.
(And yeah, who says the kids should get all the fun? I still play in a rock 'n roll band, too.) (“Better to burn out than to fade away.” – Neil Young)

Thanks for the encouragement.
So you’re saying just go and learn to ride the 36? I have a 20 that I could use first so there’s no investment for an intermediate unicycle.
I’m planning to buy a somewhat used KH36 from Joe Lind at Compulsive- he’s about 12 minutes from my house adn I bought my first one from him 3 years ago.


What I’m suggesting is that if you can already ride the 20", go ahead and make the jump to the 36". Yes, it will be hard at first, but no harder than learning on the 20" was, and most likely a lot easier. I’m suggesting that the intermediate step won’t gain you anything, because it will be a learning curve no matter what.

My transition from 24 incher to 36 was pretty smooth. I had ridden the smaller wheel for a year. A month later freemounting is bit sketchy but manageable, especially uphill. With the 24 incher I just mount perpendicular to the hill and idle to gain my balance.


Well I got one! A slightly used/demo unit KH from Compulsion.
Joe said he has sold more 29r’s with the KH36 because most perspective buyers were so intimated by the 36r that they quickly opted for a smaller wheel. I guess I wasn’t that intimated by it.
On the way home I stopped at a new soccer field with artificial turf and tried riding it a few times and got up to 5 revs- not bad I guess. Only had time for a few more practice sessions on my own this week which I’m finding hard to do. A local softball field is where I go and I use the outfield fence to hold onto and roll on the warning track which is hard enough and a bit more forgiving when I fall.
Any other suggestions?
I’m actually concerned about injuring myself when stepping off- I’ve taken a few good rolling falls already.

the 36 is only a stable riding platform from ~7mph up. After that it goes from hell to ride to the unstoppable wheel. The key to riding a 36 ive found is that you need to be going pretty quick in order to be safe.

UPDs on a 36 are therefore easy, you dont always feel yourself getting ejected but you will have a split second where you realise you are in mid air. At this point you decide whether to run or roll. If you are going slower than you can flat out sprint, run. If not, roll.

Plan in advance, the wheel runs on momentum. Braking can take a considerable distance comparative to a 29, same with acceleration. Many UPDs are caused by a momentary loss of concentration accompanied by thoughts of speed up/slow down.

For stepping off try to learn the rear dismount holding a post or fence to get the foot feel of the manoeuvre. Once you are happy with that try it in the open.

My son learned on a 24, made an almost immediate transition to a 29 which is his favourite, and has ridden (but not freemounted) the 36 with ease at the first time of trying.

Years ago I made the step up from 26 to 36 in a matter of minutes. Freemounting takes a little longer to learn, but anyone who can ride a unicycle can ride a 36.