unicyling on mountainbike trails

This weekend I decided to try out a real mountain-bike trail. There are several around here and I reckoned that that is what my muni is for anyways.
The problem I run into is that when free-mounting I always swerve at first to get my balance, but the mtb trails are too narrow for that and the edges usually go up because of grass on either side.
How can I mount while keeping the wheel in the same spot. Apart from that it feels more difficult to balance on a narrow trail, which I’m sure is just in my head. I can ride in a straight line on a wide dirt-road where it all looks the same.

You can use a tree or a post to get on the muni and then start from there. It would reduce your starting time and remove all the swerving due to the free-mounting.

After that, you’re right, it is only a question of getting used to it and improving your free-mount but it will come eventually :wink:

It’s always difficult to free mount when there’s little room. You should learn to bunny hop. Then you can mount straigt into bunny hopping and get your balance. That’s what I do.

Yes you’re right, unfortunately I was thinking of that after I drove home. On the other hand bunny hopping with a 26" or 29" is quite heavy. Naturally the idea is to hop as little as possible and soon get your forward balance, so you can drive off. Today I tried hopping with my non-dominant foot back, but that felt very strange. :slight_smile:

I find a rolling mount is helpful in some tricky areas. Practice it at home for a while, then try it on a trail.

I often have the same problem … unless there is a steep enough decline … and then woosh! I freemount right ahead.

Yes it would be nice to carry a steep decline with me.
On mountainbike trails though, those declines very quickly turn into sharp turns and steep rises again. I will try them again after a year of riding and not make a fool of myself, like I did on Saturday. At least when I UPD’d and knew that all those mountainbikers were looking at me from the parking lot, I bowed down and made them laugh :slight_smile:

IMHO unicycling through narrow, steep, rooty trials is quite difficult when still developing your skills. As you well say that difficult terrain doesn’t give you enough space/time to regain balance if you are still mastering free mounting etc…

My experience: I started unicycling on a freestyle uni about two/three years ago and bought my 26’ muni two years ago. I initially used it as my main ‘distance’ uni around town and along dirt paths/cross country/fire roads. Back then I did try those steep/narrow, rooty mountain bike trails through the forest and also found them too much for my level of riding. Therefore I stayed away from them for the time being. Since then I bought a 36’ and a Trials uni and alongside the 26’ I have been improving my confidence with the riding/skills etc… It wasn’t until this year that I upgraded my 26’ muni with a brake and tried to use it in the terrain already mentioned (mountain bike trails). As you can imagine after two years developing my skills (riding, mounting, tricks etc…) the experience was completely different. Now I am really addicted to it and the technical issues I had back then are not longer there (now I have other challenges instead!). So yes, I think everyone struggles with that kind of terrain in the beginning but sooner or later you will back there riding it with no problems. I still have tons to learn myself (I think I might be a slow learner). But as many say that is probably the main attraction with unicycling (the huge learning curve!)

+1 I bunny hop lots on my 29er, it’s a pretty useful skill in general for muni, but learning to freemount to hop was a real revelation - makes a huge difference when mounting uphill as you don’t have to get your weight over the balance point, just get generally on top of the uni and hop the wheel back underneath you

It’s mostly about picking the right trail/difficulty for your skill level. I remember shortly after I learned to unicycle on paved surfaces I tired a mountain bike trail (as I have many years of freeride experience), and it seemed so impossible. Every root or undulation on the trail sent me off balance and flying. I don’t remember having much problem with the narrowness of the trail, although I do think I could not free mount at all when I started trails. So yeah, that means starting hanging on to a tree or something (and maybe walking 200m to find something to start). Actually, as 2 unicycling acquaintances invited me along, I did entered an XC mountain bike race (Salzkammergut, which has been allowing unis for a while) with very little off-road experience. As I was going to the event I realized I had never ridden a long uphill and I had only ridden trails where I know I have tree from which I can mount… it worked out ok and at one point I have to walk about half a kilometer to find a tree close enough to the dirt road to mount.

As someone said above: it seems impossible at first, but with just a little work you advance so quickly and then it seems so easy (of course, the next new challenge is easy to find). I now ride more technical stuff on my 26" muni than your average mountain biker (although mostly a lot slower), although some things like down and ups where you can use momentum on a bike are just way harder. The 36 gives you more momentum but introduces new difficulties: 36 offroad is not until the 26/29 seems too easy and slow offroad, which should be a while :wink:

Try to find some place where you can mount and ride a few minutes without UPDing. You have to find the right balance so you don’t get frustrated. But in general just accept that you’re going to fall off a lot and there’s no shame in walking to the next tree to mount.

Yeah, and hopping is a good thing, but also not the easiest to learn on uneven ground like a trial.

And each person has to deal with it in his own way (almost everyone stares at the unicyclist), but mountain bikers are usually positive. And as most can’t even ride a unicycle, there’s no reason to feel stupid if you crash or whatever. You’re still doing more than they probably can!

A lot of truth in what you’re saying MUCFreerider. I have been riding many kilometres of dirtroads, both uphill and downhill. Those work out very well, but mostly they are just straight roads and an occasional turn. I think the focus on slow riding with the 26 and 29 will be really good. There is one track in the forest I often ride, about 4km and it has a section with lots of annoying roots. The 29er can “easily” clear them when my balance is correct and also when the pedals are in the right position, but mostly I just clear 2 or 3 roots and then UPD. It would be nice to just be able to ride up to a root or kerb for that matter and however the pedals are I should be able to just hop op to clear it, just as with a b#ke. It will take a while, before I’m there.