UNi in a cyclocross bike race

There’s a series of Cyclocross event in my area this winter and I’m keen to give it a go. The organizers have given me the nod that its OK to enter on my uni.

Now I have a question: what tyre/crank set up should I use? Obviously this is not like the technical muni I normally do out at the MTB park so would a high roller with 150’s be overkill on my 26"? At the moment I have a kenda block8 tyre with 137’s on my wheel and really like this setup for the tame offroad I’m doing at the moment (grass/gravel/hardpack/hills) but would it do for cyclocross?

I did a cyclocross race on the weekend with a stock KH29, 40psi WTB stout, 150mm crank. I’m a noob, but it was mostly flat and there was minimal water on the track, bits of grass and some woodchips/mulch.

What you’re asking really depends on the terrain. Cyclocross courses will vary greatly in difficulty. If you can, get out to the course and have a look so you can make a better educated guess. I you can’t, ask the organisers about the looseness of the surface and gradients involved.

As stated, the terrain varies wildly.

I’ve done several on the uni. The 36er is the most fun, but also is dependent on it not being too muddy. When it gets to that stage I grab the 29er. 150s so far on both.

The big thing to keep in mind is to stay out of the way of the bikes.

Cyclocross races typically mix road bicyclists and mountain bikers. Road cyclists can sometimes be a bit more uptight. Rightfully so when they’ve got a wheel that costs more than your wheel with a seat and cranks.

What sort of mount would be best…I know that cyclo cross racers jump mount their bikes…is there a unicycling equivalent whereby you jump onto a moving unicycle? I don’t mean a straight fwd jump mount…in my experience it takes a few moments to balance before riding off, so I’m looking for a dynamic mount.

Thanks for the video - I was more meaning something whereby you mount onto the uni while you are running along side it…


You can see it a few times in the vid…a slowish attempt at about 20seconds…

That kind of mount makes sense for bikes since you run along side a bike because it’s more difficult to push and/or lift a bike from behind and to mount a bike from behind.

For transitions from riding to running over obstacles to riding I would imagine that something like this would work:

  • dismount to the rear and run a few steps with the uni in front of you
  • come along side the uni to lift it up over the obstacle as you run/jump over it
  • after clearing the obstacle(s), put the wheel on the ground and begin running along side the uni
  • push the uni forward while running and get it positioned directly in front of you
  • make a rolling mount without stopping

Of course this is all makes sense in my head. There might be some things I’m overlooking.

I was thinking about skilewis74’s link last night and also thought perhaps it could be done while running. I also had another idea…unicycles could probably just hop over the obstacles?? I suppose it would depend on how closely they are spaced.

Ill practice running rolling mounts today and report back.

…and how high you can hop. Those barriers in your vid are pretty high.

Since it’s prob expected for you to run over them, I’d do that if you want to get a relatively fast time. It’d be faster, more consistent and take less energy.

If you have good hopping skills and aren’t concerned about your finishing time, I’d try to ride everything. If you don’t have the skills yet I think it would be good to practice, or to just improve consistency and speed (ie no extra hops or long pauses). I think it would really increase the rideable terrain in really tech XC races.

I’m honestly not sure how high the barriers will be - I was guessing that some of them will be low enough to hop over - hey if roadies can do it…

Anyways as you say I am entering to improve my technique/skills for XC rather than CX (he he;)) so I want to try and hop what I can.

Hopping barriers in a cyclcross race will most likely be tough at best. They’re typically positioned so that dismounting and running would be faster on a bike. I believe regulation (USA) height is around 18in.

From experience, the best bet is to dismount off the back (with the uni in front) in a full run. I like to lift the uni over the barriers by the seat- one hand on the front, one on the back. I typically carry it directly in front of me at an angle away from my body. Try to keep it high enough to clear the barriers, but not too high so as to waste energy.

Once past the barriers I set the wheel down while still in a run and I go for a rolling mount at speed. From my experience if you practice it with shorter cranks, when you switch to longer cranks it becomes easier. Like the bicyclists I try to catch the pedals at the right time. It’s just that I’m running behind the uni instead of beside it.

With practice, I’ve been able to pull the whole thing off without missing a beat. Barriers are a critical skill to practice. Your freemounts shouldn’t have any hesitation. If you end up in that section with the bikes you don’t want to be nervous (or get run over). I’ve been able to keep pace with the bikers through the barriers, but others in our group have sometimes struggled.

Hopefully this helps. I hope to shoot a video at some point in the not too distant future to make it visual.

Thanks unigoat for the great info! Sounds like you have had plenty of experience with cyclocross - what uni setup do you use? I’ve got a 26", for muni I normally ride with a high roller (2.7) or tioga white tiger (2.5) and 150mm cranks, but in the off season LSD rides I use a kenda K-rad and 137’s which suits me fine on ‘tamer’ off road. This is what I plan to use for the CX races…opinion?

I reckon the unicycle equivalent mount is the rolling jump mount from the side. Not as practical as the standard rolling jump mount, though. :slight_smile:

I need something that will be practical considering there will be other bikers eager to mow me down (I’m feeling freakishly unwanted by bicyclists at the moment:( ) I’ve practiced the rolling jump mount from the back today on my small wheel and will go big tomorrow when I can go practice in a car park. I am however keen to learn more about this mount…any tips or visuals? Do you simply fling yourself onto the unicycle from the side?

I’m a little suprised that anyone would want to ride in a cyclocross race. These are essentially roadies on skinny treaded tires who are all about speed; they will mow you over and smile while doing it.

In my mind’s eye I have this vision of you on your unicycle, looking a lot like a moped on the freeway, have fun :roll_eyes:

Have you watched a cyclocross race?



I ride around bikes a lot and I have been in some bike races…for uni I find that starting behind the bikers and having lots of space between me and them is the best way to keep the good vibes flowing; and to keep from getting run over. That’s why endurance races are a good choice.

Endurance races with longer loops are really great because the bikers are a little more spread out and somewhat tired when they catch you on the first lapping, all of which only gets looser and easier going as they thin out further and get more tired. Also, endurance racers are easier going, like beer and pizza, so they have “time” to let us be when passing.

I usued to use the rolling/running jump mount all the time with my 36er. it was great in almost every situation when you want to keep the flow going.

I found it a lot harder to do with a smaller wheel because the cranks spun much faster and it was hard to time the jump.

For a running speed dismount I usually go off the front, especially in rough stuff catching the unicycle behind me with my left hand (I hold the handle with my right). After I catch the unicycle I swing it infront of me, this might not be appropriate with bikes zooming by.

Well nurse Ben…as usual I can count on your enthusiasm and support for my latest race :wink:
Actually I know what cyclocross is and have seen races before. AND I do know just how horrible roadies are (I used to be one briefly), in fact that was 1 of the reasons I started unicycling. But hey perhaps I should just forget about riding what I love and go back to bicycling hey? I mean…it IS all about being on the podium.

If you already know so much, then why ask us, obviously we/I don’t know anything :roll_eyes:

You are sooooo easy to raz :smiley:

If I was race director for a cyclocross race, there is no earthly way I’d let a unicycle enter, it is ridiculous and pure folly.

I can see you now, right in the middle of a muddy banked corner, sprawled out with multiple cyclists screaming at you to move, classic!

I wonder why…

Have fun, be sure to get some video with close ups of the tire tracks on the back of your jersey :wink:

While I have seen Nurse Ben fall short in his comments and advice to you in the past and I am the last one to worry about being on the podium; I must say I fail to see the point of “competing” in a race with equipment so ill suited for the job. We all seem to agree that roadies are far from laid back and these races are all about speed, so why would you want to get in the way of their race?

Honest question. I am not trying to pick a fight or be mean.

Nurse ben can’t you read my comments with a pinch of salt - I mean I had my tongue in my cheek while writing it…tone is what can’t be conveyed in posts, hence the winky face. :wink: I’m not raz-ed at all. :sunglasses:

I did actually ask the organizers if I can enter on my unicycle and they encouraged me to attend. We are talking about a small town in NZ here - there probably won’t be 100’s of entries.I’d be surprised if it reaches 80. This is a local race, a National Single Speed event held locally recently only had a 100 entries…this isn’t a national event, so I’m guessing the numbers will be a lot less.

mtnjeffe perhaps competing is the wrong word to use…entering a race…an event if you are into linguistic gymnastics. What is the point of unicycling if you have to be ashamed to ride it? I’m sick of having to ride my unicycle ‘secretly’ and then entering events on a bike. It seems hypocritical. I don’t want to ride bikes, I want to ride my unicycle and I like to train for and enter events.
What would you do if you were in a situation where there’s no unicycle events to enter? (except for ‘street’, that’s not what I’m into) Get a bike? But then I’d have to train on a bike…then I’d be spending a lot less time on my unicycle…so there would be no point… I’m no longer doing what I love.