Tutorial on how to fremount a 24" and a 36" unicycle

Thanks for all the good advice. It is interesting to see how different people concentrate on different aspects of the static mount–whatever it takes so they can accomplish the mount. I was trying out the different mantras and hints the other day, and I thought I was getting kind of close, so I tried a FM without holding on to anything or putting a rock behind the wheel–smackdown! Ouch, that hurt. Next time I try that I will put on the elbow pads.

Hang in there cavernap:). I’m finding it a very difficult skill to learn indeed. Protection helps, at least for confidence. I purchased skate knee pads after a bad fall while trying to free mount the first time many weeks ago. Keeping the first foot still seems nearly impossible. Practicing getting comfortable with placing the feet correctly without following all the way through has helped me gain more confidence in my ability to bail if need be. I’m hoping I don’t get too stuck on that though. I go back and forth between aided and free mounts. I only hit about 5 - 10%. I did two in class yesterday! The class uni is harder because it has 137mm cranks while mine are 150mm. Both wheels are 24". I have to adjust my technique between the two.

foot (at least partially) on crank?

A blogger steered me towards yet another YouTube clip of someone doing a static mount, with the blogger saying the “miracle” moment – the spot where the blogger went “a ha!” – came at the 2:15 mark. I watched the clip a few times, paying close attention at 2:15. And then I saw it…

The unicyclist in the clip places his first foot/back foot AT LEAST PARTIALLY ON THE CRANK, close to the hub, and the rest on the pedal. This keeps the wheel from moving while he lands his second foot/front foot on its pedal. Once he’s on with both feet, he does a few hops while re-positioning the back foot, off the crank and more onto the pedal where it belongs. Then he takes off.

Anyone else mount this way, with your first foot on the crank?

EDIT: actually, watching it again, I see that he’s also not positioning the seat in his crotch before beginning the mount, which makes for something akin to those “hop on all at once” mounting tricks.

Watch at 2:15…

I tried the mount this afternoon on my KH trials uni. It has big tubular steel cranks with plenty of room to stand. It certainly makes it easy to get up. Now I just have to learn to hop well enough to get my foot back on the pedal. :thinking:

I have previously stood on the crank with my forward foot while I adjust the other foot position. This is easy because you just move your heel onto the crank. I had wondered how it might be useful in a free mount but never pursued it.

It is certainly an interesting addition to the armory of tools we need to get on the thing under different circumstances.

I found this one of the most interesting aspects of that mount. The seat isn’t much involved so it is good for mounting if the seat is lowered for jumping.

I think this has potential for mounts where you are really tight to and fro. But it requires good stationary balance and hopping ability.

BTW I initially found success with the mount in the original video was inversely proportional to seat height because it really depended on that downward force.

However after a bit of experimenting I found I could put enough downwards force on the seat through my arms. I guess you could say the technique went very slightly down the path of “vaulting” onto the uni.

Remember that my mounting tips is especially for Muni. This mount requires re-positioning of one or maybe both feet, which is diffcult to do on rough terrain and with spikes in the pedals. Especially when the pedal is beneath your heel - it’s easier to move your foot forwards than backwards.

If you’re looking for alternative mounting techniques, here are two very different ones:

Cranks vertical: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5ZEsAokx3k
Wheel grab: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm3ajEskNus

I came to that realization late, after watching your video and a similar YouTube video several times. It really works best when you can DRIVE the wheel into soft ground with the pressure of your weight. Trying to drive the wheel into the pavement, not so much.

I’m in love with “wheel grab” all over again! Shortly after my above post, I went out for another practice session and repeatedly tried a few different mounting techniques – rollback, tire grab, and the one in the link I shared, with the first foot on the crank. I suddenly became very adept at the tire grab method (“Megan’s Mount”), thanks to two little tweaks: giving the tire a slight roll forward with the hand which holds it during the mount, and more importantly, using the OTHER hand for balance. (Holding that hand in the air above the front pedal works for me in terms of balancing and for putting everything together into one smooth action.)

I’m stoked. I’m regularly free-mounting! I’m using Megan’s Mount with as much or more success as using my preferred “cheat” method (putting a 2X4 behind the wheel). Plus, I’m no longer beholden to the 2X4; I’m free, and can easily mount anywhere! How liberating!

I think i works good on any surface when you get used to it.

I had never done the “wheel grab” before, because I wasn’t comfortable with the forward leaning.

So in the middle of writing this I had to go out and give it a go. After a few tries I nailed it maybe 2 out of 3 times, and I have to say that this is a very good mount. Because the “wheel hand” (reference point) is so close to the front pedal, I felt I could place my foot (almost) correctly most of the times. I realized that there are some similarities between the mount I did in the video and the “wheel grab”. In both cases you put weight on the seat when the foot leaves the ground, and sort of “pole vault” on to the uni. Even though I held the wheel, I didn’t put any more weight on the back pedal than I did before.

I don’t see this as a cheat, but as a usefull skill for Muni. Once in a while I need to mount when my wheel is locked between rocks and roots, and mounting when the wheel doesn’t move feels quite different.

My favourite mount is the tree mount. I have a 100% success rate with that one. :slight_smile:

Works for me on concrete. black top or rubber track. I haven’t tried dirt.

For me the key is raising my first foot up a bit as I mount and remembering to lean forward so I don’t UPD. Doing it on a slight downward slope helped with the learning process. Made it easier to get the hang of it.

I’m getting better with practice!

Tire Grab Method

The Tire Grab Method is working just awesome for me. Sometimes I get a false start, but usually that’s due to psychologically trying to “play it safe” and not fully committing to the mount. When I truly go for it, it works every time.

I mis-spoke earlier about how I use my other hand (the one NOT holding the tire). I said I hold it in space above the pedal I need to land on, but this isn’t correct. I actually thrust this other hand out in front of the tire, or move my head out in front of the tire, or both. It’s scary if you think about what’s actually happening – you’re essentially diving headfirst over the tire! – but I don’t think about it, I only concern myself with getting some weight out in front of the tire and landing on that second pedal, and I’ve never fallen on my head or otherwise hurt myself while doing the mount. Your center of gravity is still behind you, so you won’t fall over frontwards. It’s safe; go for it.

I had an epiphany over the weekend, while watching a toddler stand up and walk away. It occurred to me that this mount has similar movements: you fold yourself in half at the waist, with your feet and head down and your ass/seat in the air, make sure both your feet are properly planted, and then you straighten-up your body before traveling. And since this mount is mostly used by beginners, it really could be seen as a “baby steps” mount!

Put a unicycle in this kid’s crotch, and he’d look like he was doing a Tire Grab Mount.

Hello UM. I notice in the video when you’re mounting the 36er that your left pedal is very high as you step up. Just be careful that you don’t tear your calf muscle. I would recommend having the left pedal much lower i.e., at four o clock as you step on . The higher the step the more pressure is put on the calf muscle.

I hurt my calf muscle two weeks ago while doing an assisted mount! My first foot must have been too high? I had been riding for an hour in class then went to the local meet up. Just as I mounted I felt a really sharp pain in my calf. I barely made it back to my car and couldn’t walk the next day without severe pain. Took just over a week to walk without a limp. Tennis players call it Tennis calf and runners call it a calf heart attack.

Do you mean my right calf? The one i kick off on. I don’t think there is very much pressure on my left calf.

The higher my left pedal is, the more force I can put on that and less on my right calf.

I’ve never had any problems with this and I have done this type of mount a lot over the last 3-4 years.

But of course, when you mount a 36’er anything can happen including hitting a fence or a curious boy who is standing too close (the boy is fine).

Hello Vertigo, I hope your calf heals up ok. When stepping up, I would suggest that you place the centre of your foot on the pedal and not the ball of your foot. Pressing down on the ball of your foot puts more pressure on the calf muscle. You would have noticed this as you tried to walk after hurting your calf.

In the video UniMyra’s foot position looks to be very well positioned which means that his calf muscle is more relaxed and not so tight as he mounts.

It’s just the height of the left pedal as he mounts the 36er, is very high.

I’ve had my 36er for a couple of years now and after watching the video I decided to give that technique a try. Up until now I would mount the uni in a somewhat similar fashion, except that my “starting” pedal would be in a much lower position than what you see in the video. I also never thought of putting pressure on the pedal and seat the way that is described there.

After trying that out, I must confess that it is definitely superior to what I was doing, which resulted in more successful and easier mounts for me.

Thank you for posting.

Hello UniMmyra, firstly let me say that I really enjoyed the video, it’s very well made. Yes it was the left calf I was concerned about, but after watching your video a few more times I noticed that your left calf muscle looks quite relaxed.

Your left foot position on the pedal looks to be very accurate so that that there isn’t too much pull on your calf. I think your height [about 186.69cm?] helps. It means that you can more easily get your whole foot over the pedal.

With the 36er pedal so high a smaller person might only be able to get the ball part of their foot onto the pedal causing the calf muscle to pull as the they step up. Also because the step up is higher for a smaller person they will find it more difficult to get the required trust from the right leg adding pressure to the left calf as the left leg tries to compensate for the lack of thrust generated by the right leg.

Having said all that, I know that you cant always cover every possible scenario that may arise when doing a tutorial. Ultimately it’s up to each individual to decide what works best for themselves.

The roll into the fence added a nice bit of humour. lol!

Thanks unibokk and gathan. I see your point about height unibokk. I have to admit that I didn’t think about that.

Great freemount tutorial!

This is a great tutorial and a great freemount. It really works. I’ve been freemounting for a while, but have never been able to keep the wheel/pedals static. But I tried this and I can now. It really does work! The bit I found most helpful was “think of a pole vault jumper”. Thanks, UniMyra!

Free mounting problems

I’ve been having trouble free mounting for the last month.

I’ve watched the videos in this thread and most of Terry the Unigezzers tutorials.

I am on the short side at 5ft6’’ or (1650mm) and have only had the 36 " Nimbus Impulse for around 2 months. I have had previous experience of riding a 20" for several years, but free mounting and even getting some distance on the 36 is proving quite a test,
Upon reading through this post and having tried several of the techniques, I think I’ve cracked it then at the next practise I seem to have gone even further back having more difficulties
Currently my best attempts come from starting in a set position of cranks at horizontal, with the left crank nearest to the left leg…I then push the uni forward and start off on the right foot, counting 1,2,3. So the one is the right foot, the two is the left foot, the three is the right foot…then while watching the left crank just start to make it’s journey from dead bottom, I launch my left foot to the left crank, push down on the seat with the left hand, and try and hit the seat with momentum, also I swing the right hand forward. So many things to get in unison and in perfect balance.

I think it is essential to have the uni in perfect balance (left hand on the seat hold) as I push it forward, in windy conditions its better either to go with the wind or straight into it.
What is the perfect height for the saddle and how is this set up for the person?

I seem to have trouble steering and staying on for more than 200yards, could this be because the seat is too high?
If I stand on the pedals (which are 150mm cranks) with them horizontal I have about 100mm clearance to the middle of the seat

When riding the 20" it’s very easy just to swing the hips and retain balance, but on the 36 uni i I find its mostly arms, and if I get a little of balance, it’s a struggle to get back on track.

Any help guys…I do have the kneepads and the wrist protector gloves, inspite of these I came off a couple of weeks ago landing on my tail bone getting an electric sort of shock in both hips and have been careful (as much as one can on a Uni) since then.

Cheers from New Zealand

The general advice is that when you meassure seat height, you should have the knee almost straight with your heel on the bottom pedal. I adjust my seat a bit lower, so that I can comfortably stand on the pedals out of the seat for uphill riding.

When you practice free mounting, it is easier to have the seat lower than you normally would. There are several threads on this topic you can read.