I haven’t yet had success with the freemount (static & roll-back) except 2-3 times out of hundreds of tries. I cannot ride from them but fall into a UPD. I know there are many freemounts besides the static and roll-back. Could I have more success if I try one of those alternatives? Which would you recommend?
Does success at a given freemount depend on individual factors (strengths, style, preferences, etc) or one whether on is beginner or advanced?
If you are very brave, a few people (mainly crazy kids) find a jump mount easier. Similarly, some brave people like rolling mounts, because you don’t have to do that first push.
I’m sure I met a trials rider who mounted straight into hopping, because they were able to hop then stop and ride off, but couldn’t really ride off straight away for some reason.
Otherwise, if you’re not a crazy kid or a trialser, just keep practicing the two easiest mounts (rollback and static). Watch the videos, read the tips on here, and just keep at it. Freemounting is probably almost as hard as learning to first ride the unicycle, so expect it to take some time. All the fancy mounts I know of are harder to do, and mostly end up with you in the same position as when you do a static mount, meaning you need to master that beforehand.
Roll your tire up to a curb to use as a stop-block to prevent the rollback when mounting. After doing curb mounts awhile you’ll find the static/rollback mounts to be effortless.
The advice to start with kerb mounts is good. Once you can do it fairly reliably you can take a few stones in your pocket to place behind the wheel to help you mount where no other artificial aids can be found.
I found that the rollback mount was actually easier as I’m of a timid nature (eek!) and it feels less risky, but only if you’re on a good, smooth surface and riding a small wheel. The static, or static with a small roll forward, can be used anywhere and can be aided with kerbs, sticks or stones.
Whichever, stick at one until you’re able to hit it 50% of the time. The alternative will then come to you very easily.
Static mount is pretty easy, you just have to practice, a lot. When you first start you may get it only 3 times out of a hundred, but just keep trying because someday you will get it. I found it helps to practice mounting while lightly holding on to something (post, wall, etc.) to keep your sideways balance.
Once you can freemout it really unlocks all kinds of places to ride.
My advice is: Any mount where you don’t have your foot stuck at the bottom. This is where most beginning mounters get stuck, trying to ride away from the “dead spot” before idling/balancing skills have been developed.
A properly-done static mount doesn’t allow the first pedal to go down, keeping you in a position where it’s easy to pedal away if you can manage to get on while keeping the wheel static.
A rollback mount works because you draw the top pedal back, also bringing you into a pedals-relatively-level position so you can ride away.
Another freemount option is the crank/hub static mount. Place the cranks and pedals as recommended for the standard mount. Have the closest crank slightly lower than horizontal. If that’s the left crank, place your left foot on the crank such that the ball of your foot is on the hub. Place the seat in your crotch, then freemount by stepping on the left crank/hub while you hop up and place your right foot on the right pedal. As you pedal away, you carefully move your left foot into proper position on the pedal.
The down side is of course having to move your foot after freemounting. Also, it is never spoken of as a desirable mount to add to your resume of unicycling skills.
On the plus side, it bypasses a key challenge of the classic static mount. That would be the un-intuitive step of NOT placing weight on the pedal you put your first foot onto. Anyone who has climbed stairs their whole life will find this step to be very odd since you naturally want to step ONTO that first pedal like you are climbing stairs.
Personally I found this mount to be much easier than the standard static mount. After racking up a few hundred of these mounts, I revisited the standard static mount and found it to be easier. Probably because I had aquired experience with all the other elements of doing a freemount. Therefore I consider this to be something to consider as a freemount progression technique.
I learned on a 26" unicycle against a curb, and then used what I guess is a roll-back. That was 40+ years ago, and I’d never seen anyone ride a unicycle other than my Dad when I learned, so I taught myself. I’d never seen the static mount until just recently on the videos linked to this site.
Now that I’ve started riding again, the rollback isn’t quite as easy as it once was, and I occasionally need to reach down and grab the tire to steady myself as I mount. Give that a try.
I only roll-back mount so I can’t compare the two. The roll-back mount is what I learned because that is how I mounted when holding on to something. I had no one to imitate so that is how learned. Just kept trying and I learned it. How solid is your riding? Can you go up and down ramps and over small bumps and cracks, etc? All those things improve your balance besides just sitting there pedaling on the flat and thats what you need for free-mounting to be comfortable with leaning forward and back on the uni.
Another drill for roll-back mounts is to hold on to something and just rock back and forth, with one pedal up and one pedal down. Let your wheel go back and forth and keep your head fairly still. That leaning forward position is the position that a roll-back mount put you in to ride away. Do it with both feet and as a bonus you will be practicing to Idle at the same time.
Tell us what happens when you try to mount using both methods. Do you get stuck in the dead spot? The unicycle shoot out behind you? You fall off the back?
One thing to watch out for is looking down at the pedals, keep your head up. Your feet know where the pedal is, or it will soon enough with more practice.
I recently had to relearn to ride after a long hospital stay and I was making very little progress on relearning the roll-back mount until I figured out that I was looking at my wheel/pedals. It took a couple of trys to break the habit, but at least from there I started making steady progress and now I roll-back mount with confidence again.
Tomorrow I start working on the static mount. Someone here once gave the advice of getting something about 12-18" high (I think they mentioned a cinder block) and without the uni just float your foot a couple of inches above the block and jump up to the one foot on the block using your foot on the ground to jump. Seemed to me to be a really good drill to help get the feeling of hopping up and not putting weight on the foot on the pedal.
Just keep trying… it will come. We all went through the same thing.
I think you should give a few different ways a try, with both feet. Even if you don’t find one that’s particularly comfortable for you, the act of trying it with both feet, and trying different ways will make you better all around.
I like to roll mount the 36 and static or rollback the 20.
Maybe, don’t learn to free mount
I had a strong prejudice to just ride. There was hand holds everywhere, I preferred to use them and do a lot of riding.
The “ride a lot” school has it’s advantages. Everything gets easier after you have more saddle time. Just riding around, and learning to ride a 36 (never tried to free mount mine) , stuff just comes fun and easy.
I learned to idle the 20 and the 24 muni sorta. When I got stuck 100’s of yards from a hand hold on the muni, so I did an “idle” mount. Maybe this is a rollback mount? Anyway, it worked, and it was sorta easy because I had already done a lot of riding. Having fun putting down the miles makes learning stuff much easier IMHO.
I now use the static mount on the 19 and 24, with 90ish % success, but I am still waiting for cooler weather (to wear more protection) to try it with the 29 or 36. The static mount looks like the way to go for big wheels, according to the vids.
Anyway, I want to say just riding seems to have helped my riding ability a lot. If free mounting isn’t fun for you, why bother ? Just ride. Not everyone is a natural free mounter. Make it fun to ride and then ride. The other skills will be easier to acquire with more saddle time. Free mounting is an unnecessary skill in most of the places I ride. Focus on putting in fun saddle time, new riders shouldn’t feel like they need to hop on it like the cool riders in the vids. Just learn to have fun riding around. Put in the fun riding time, and the skills will fall into place in their time.
I agree that mounting gets easier with more saddle time. Ride a lot. Ride in circles and figure eights. Practice idling while holding onto something. As your skill improves with riding, go back a try mounting. It will still take some effort, but it will be easier.