Tried muni riding for the first time today

I started unicycling in January with the plan of hopefully riding muni come summer time. I went all in and bought a KH26 in early February.
Today I went to a local state park that has what I would call fairly easy mountain bike trails. As soon as I got on the trail it started to rain. The trail I took was about a mile or so and then I took the paved road back to the parking lot. I learned a few things and have a couple of questions. I learned:

  1. it’s a lot harder to freemount on the trails. Not necessarily harder to get on but hard to get stable to be able to pedal away.
  2. I think I need to lower my tire pressure. I have about 27psi and it seemed a little bouncy.
  3. I also learned that for me, a muni ride involves a lot of muni walking.
  4. Painted speed bumps in the rain can be slippery like ice (ouch)

Some background on my skill level. On pavement. I can free mount with about a 80-90% success. When I ride I don’t have too many UPDs, my legs usually give out first. I still need a lot of work on learning to keep weight on the saddle so my legs don’t burst into flames. I can turn both ways , can’t idle or go backwards with much success yet.

I had a lot of fun but that short trail involved a lot of walking.

  1. Should I stick to riding on the trail to get better or go back to practicing on pavement until that is pretty much mastered?
  2. Is my tire pressure high for muni (27psi)?

For you guys who always rode pavement then tried muni.
1 Did you feel like it was starting over or did you adapt right away?

Someone else can better speak to the tire pressure issue, as I ride 99% on pavement but have done a little bit of offroading. However, I’ve also found the same thing - that it’s a similar but very different feeling experience. When you’re learning to do anything, the best practice experiences are the ones that most closely recreate the same conditions you’ll eventually be in. I say keep practicing at trail riding if you want to get better at trail riding.

it takes a couple of rides to really start to relax. Eventually your body will just naturally cope with the bumps more. I would definitely kick the pressure down a little. I like my tire pretty spongy depending on how bumpy the terrain is. Keeping in mind a spongy tire is a little harder for road riding.

I went to the skills area with large smooth whoops to really get the feel for quickly changing terrain. It helps you learn where to throw your weight around, then hit the light rock garden section or plates/roots, and really just keep hammering those sections over and over until you can start to overcome each section. I made it a habit to make sure I tackle each obstacle I come across on the trail, even if it takes me 10 tries.

Pick your lines carefully at first, and use a lot of your core. Ride within your limits, but push them. Music helps me get a little more motivated.

I also keep my saddle a little lower than riding road. The lower it is, the easier mounting and overcoming obstacles will be, the higher it is, the easier it will be to climb and relax on the saddle.

I found that jumping into muni made my road riding more confident when hopping curbs and riding quickly over bumps/cracks/whatever. I say hit the trails, but don’t stop road riding either. :slight_smile:

Yes, way lower on the tire pressure. It should be unpleasant to ride it on pavement if have to cross any on your way from parking to the head of the trail.

And yes also, you’ll walk a lot. It isn’t like mountain biking, which I don’t do but apparently the point is to get from one end of the trail to the other without ever touching a foot to the ground. Take your time, enjoy the visit with nature, see if you can walk a little less and ride a little more next time.

Good job getting out there!

Air pressure is a factor of tire width/volume, terrain, rider weight and other variables. The “correct” amount of pressure is also a matter of taste, but I always offer is that the minimum should be enough to keep your rim off the ground when you hit the bumps.

That said, if it’s a KH26, 27 is definitely more than you need.

Ride on dirt, ride on grass, it’s the non-smoothness of the terrain that will build your muni skills. Rollback mounts are good on pavement, but a static mount is generally a lot more useful on rough terrain.

I made a commitment to ride my muni this year. For me what is working out best is to find a challenging but unintimidating section of the trail and just session back and forth on it until I have it down. I will try different lines and play around on it. Once I feel I have that down I will find a different place and session there. It is working well for me so far.

I’m going to go again tomorrow and try that. Thanks for all the replies .

in my experience free mounting in narrow hollow roads can indeed be quite tricky. Also the position of the saddle is quite important. For climbing or muddy roads a lot of power is required. I like to be able to pull on the saddle while applying power. On the other hand the few times i went face down in the mud were when i applied power and the wheel simply slipped.

Anyway you will learn quickly.

Yes, starting muni feels like starting over! However, the progression is faster (seemed for me at least).

Every little rock or root or dip or whatever makes you UPD and your free mounting goes 5 steps back. Like most things with unicycling you learn realy fast and it gets easier: you learn how to react to the sudden pressure from a small rock or whatever and keep on riding. I actually did quite a bit of muni, including moderate steep downhill stuff, before I could free-mount on the trail, as it was so much harder than free mounting on flat road, so I was always walking to a tree or post in order to mount.

But yes, some walking is definitely involved. If you’re walking a lot then the trail is too hard (for now).

I have a pretty reliable static mount but I still never pass up a chance for an assisted mount. Especially if I am working on a new skill. Being able to get myself set and in position, feet just right on the pedals allows me to focus on whatever I am trying work on.

Thanks for the replies.
I lowered my tire pressure to about 20 and went again yesterday. I did a little better but not much. I have some trails in my yard that I’m going to start riding as soon as the weather is better and the mud dries up a little. I can spend a lot of time in one area without being in anyone else’s way(hikers/bikers).

I haven’t used anything to help freemount but maybe I should. I’m not sure if it’s just me but if my feet aren’t in the exact spot I want it messes up my concentration and I have an UPD. When I’m on pavement I can usually make the adjustments to my feet without an UPD.

I’m just starting off road, too, on tractor roads. On a 20". Patience and practice is working for me.

may want to try static mounting into a hop. You can get adjusted before you take off. It’s especially helpful if you’re on very rooty/rocky terrain.

Sounds like good advice that I will try as soon as I learn to hop. I’m going to practice mounting using a hop on flat ground and hopefully I will be able to transfer that to muni riding.

Hi
Its been a while since i went offroad on a unicycle but maybe I can offer some advice. Here’s a few things that helped me and its stuff you can work on off the trail.

learning to hop with confidence and accuracy.
Very often you’ll find that hopping is the best way to position yourself on the trail. If you’re confident with hopping its also sometimes better to hop around a short section than to ride it since you can move with more control. This means more time in the saddle and less time walking :slight_smile: Just bunny hopping on the spot and doing as many as you can is probably a good place to start.

Idling with minimal movement.
If you can get to the point where you can idle with very small movements of the cranks you’ll find it easier to mount on rough ground where your movement is restricted by roots or rocks and it’ll also save you getting off when you need to stop with restricted space where you might not be able to get back on.

I’m not sure what static mount is but I found mounting by swinging your leg over the seat was useful in some situations.

best of luck with it and don’t get disheartened. There is no pleasure in this world like berating mountain bikers for needing stabilisers :smiley:

Thanks I am going to keep working on my hops (not going too good yet) I can usually get 1 hop and sometimes two before I lose my balance.
I won’t get disheartened since my wife and 6 year old daughter gave me a lot of inspiration when I first bought a unicycle in January. My daughter said, “Dad you’re going to get hurt.” and my wife said, " You’ll never be able to ride that!"

I’m now trying to encourage my wife to learn explaining that its a lot of fun and great exercise. And we’d be able to ride with my daughter on her bike. It would be a nice family thing and might get my daughter to try it too.

Concrete stairways, if available, are excellent for hopping practice. Riding down them is also good. I still don’t really have the guts to roll down sets of more than 3 steps, and have had some nasty wipeouts that way, but hopping up the stairs is seemingly quite safe. I have never felt the need for safety gear for this activity, and often climb more than 50 steps, just pausing to idle on the landings while I catch my breath.

The trick to getting up the stairs is to do as few hops as possible, ideally only one hop per step. If you have to stop and endlessly pogo stick at each step to regain your balance, you will not get very far before you run out of steam.

I went back to the trail I first tried muni on. The first time it was probably 90% walking and 10% riding. Today it was about 20% walking and 80% riding. I have been riding just pavement since last time due to weather. I think all the extra seat time paid off. The areas I had the most trouble were up hills and a few small stream crossings. Other than the up hills I rode the entire trail. If I was tired or had a UPD I would keep trying the particular section until I cleaned it before moving on. I think I need to practice holding the handlebar for the up hills. I also didn’t have the freemount issues I had the first time out. The trail isn’t that long maybe a mile and I rode it back and forth 3 times. It isn’t too technical and wouldn’t be much of a challenge for a lot of you guys, but I felt like I did pretty good today and can’t wait to go again.

Just wanted to give my encouragement as well. Looks like you’re doing great! I’ve been riding unicycles for a very long time, but I only just started riding a muni a couple of weeks ago, and I didn’t make it out to any “real” trails until this past Friday. It was really tough, but it was a lot of fun! I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t quite understand how intimidating it could be until I tried it. Anyone that’s relatively new at riding a unicycle that’s also trying to tackle going off-road has my respect! It’s doubly difficult just learning basic skills AND going off-road, but you’ll probably improve a lot faster at everything that way. Keep up the good work and enjoy!

I went back to the trail I first tried muni on. The first time it was probably 90% walking and 10% riding. Today it was about 20% walking and 80% riding. I have been riding just pavement since last time due to weather. I think all the extra seat time paid off. The areas I had the most trouble were up hills and a few small stream crossings. Other than the up hills I rode the entire trail. If I was tired or had a UPD I would keep trying the particular section until I cleaned it before moving on. I think I need to practice holding the handlebar for the up hills. I also didn’t have the freemount issues I had the first time out. The trail isn’t that long maybe a mile and I rode it back and forth 3 times. It isn’t too technical and wouldn’t be much of a challenge for a lot of you guys, but I felt like I did pretty good today and can’t wait to go again.