Working on the rolling hop [solved]

I’m working on hopping on my 24". I’m about a week or two into learning.

EDIT: Thank you to everyone for the helpful advice. I’ve made and continue to make progress.

I would say tire compression doesn’t matter until you want to get over a foot or so. I learned on a 50 year old dry rotted tire at 60 or so psi, basically a piece of wood on a rim. I would say static hop first before rolling, that way you are hopping for balance and really get a feel for it. As for more height, you mentioned throwing your hand up, that definitely helps. Also perhaps lower your seat, maybe even all the way, just to see the extremes of how that would help, then maybe dial in your seat height for a compromise of hopping and riding. Other than that, just get out there and hop around for a while, you’ll quickly see why small unis are called pogo sticks on these forums sometimes.

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Ha! Pogo sticks. Thats kinda funny.

Thanks so much for taking the time. This sounds like great advice. In my head, and you are confirming, I know almost everything with this kind of learning is just get out there and do the thing. You’ve solidified it in my head that I’ll work on static hopping first, and not sweat the rolling hop quite yet. I like the idea of experimenting with seat height; I didn’t really look at it like that before. Test the edges of high and low with the seat and see how it changes.

Thank you :slight_smile:

At this point, just hop, hop, hop. Do both static and rolling hops and try it with both your strong and weak foot forward. So long as you keep doing it you will get better and more comfortable. Try hopping cracks in the pavement to get a feeling for doing it on demand. As you get better start to hop over small sticks and pinecones.

When it comes time to hop over larger objects like logs or curbs, my own advise would be to just approach it over and over again and go ahead and do wimpy or bad hops that you bail right out of just letting the unicycle fall to the ground while you land on your feet. When you do that you’re building confidence that you can approach a curb, hop and not do a faceplant in the process. That was my fear anyway. I was visualizing riding right up to a curb or log, hopping hard into it and then slamming hard into the ground when I failed to clear it. By the time I actually did commit and really try and hop it I had probably done 50 or more wimpy little attempts that had no chance of clearing it, but they did teach me that I could do it without the faceplant.

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This resonates alot with me too. So, the last two days I’ve spent time trying to hop a very small curb (same one I shared a pic of in another thread). I also look at it as building confidence. I managed to pop up on it once, but failed many many times before and after that.

I also want to start working on hopping with my other foot in the dominant position. I have started to notice very quickly that that ability would double my chances of timing hops well.

I’ll start by focusing less on the curb, and more on incorporating small hops into my regular rides. As you say, hop sticks and cracks, etc.

Thank you.

I’ve been working myself at trying to hop curbs from any pedal orientation, but I still don’t yet have it down. I can hop them about 60% of the time from a random pedal orientation, but when I’m approaching with that 6/12 position lining up I just can’t manage to either hop it from the awkward position or get enough distance to clear it from a 3/9 position. I keep getting better though. I mostly ride a 24" with a 3" tire and I find that if my pedals are in a 3/9 position 4.5’ from the obstacle then I’m in a 3/9 position when it comes time to hop. So if I pre-hop to that position then that works too. That’s kind of tricky too though.

One other thing is that if you can tell your pedals are totally wrong for a hop then they are usually about right to roll over it. The problem comes in recognizing the situation and choosing the correct method to use in that 1/2 a second or so that you have to decide.


You know, it is probably worth me measuring that one time to get an estimate in my mind. Again, confidence building :smiley:

Thats super interesting, and useful. I like it.

So, to roll over you mean the pedals are closer to 12 and 6, right?

Also, I found hopping up sideways to be easier to learn. Pogo stick until you’re in an ideal position and then stop and let yourself lean towards the curb and launch yourself when it seems like the right time.


So, I thought it would be easier to go left or right (sideways) but its not clicking for me. Hmm. I’m not sure why. As usual I just need to keep doing it.

So when you’re hopping a curb you want your pedals to be at 6/12 maybe a foot away from where the tire makes contact. When I’m rolling it, I like to have one of my pedals between 1:30 and 3 o’clock. That allows you to stand up and pedal down as you make contact. If you’re in that 6/12 position when it’s time to hop then if you keep rolling you’ll be in a more ideal position to roll it.


Yep, okay I follow. I’m on the same page.

Both hopping and rolling obstacles sucks if your feet are in that 6/12 position at the moment of impact or launch. I’m sure plenty of people here can do it effortlessly or can jump far enough that clearing a curb is easy from any approach, but I’m not there yet.


I’d say for now, just hop more, in all kinds, rolling, static up something, down something, left, right, forward backwards. I think a lot of height will come just from doing the motion in all variations.
Yes, taking some extra speed, using your arm/whole body to create momentum, changing around setup are all something that may help, but I think it’s probably more of a distraction for now.

Clearing a curb should be possible with any seat height, tire pressure and unicycle, the main trick to getting more height with rolling hops is pulling the wheel up and forward. Particularly on higher hops (30 cm+), this becomes very important. (But that is still somewhat far in the future of becoming something to conciously work on for you).

There are 2 components to jumping up obstacles without lining up the cranks:

  1. Knowing what your pedal position will be, and influencing it. Even on narrower trails, if you recognize it early enough, you can change the pedal position you will arrive at a point by adding some extra distance. Riding a curve, approaching in a diagonal, it’s possible to line up the pedals how you want it.

  2. Being able to hop up with less than ideal pedal position. Feels very different, but by using mostly the upper body to create momentum you can get at least up a curb without “really hopping”.

However, the “secret” is that being able to hop far and high makes both of this a lot easier. I don’t need a precise pedal position, since I can usually just hop from a bit further away without much issue.

I recommend measuring the run-up for your first rolling hops up something, (just mark where to start with a stone on the ground and adjust if necessary), one less variable to think about.


One other thing that makes a big difference rolling obstacles is your tire/wheel size. The smaller and the skinnier the tire the more important it is to have a perfect approach. Bigger wheels have more momentum to carry you over and a better angle of attack and really fat tires can just kind of squish their way over an obstacle.


Thanks for all the detail - it is very useful and welcome. I’m gonna do this in particular tomorrow.

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Yeah I have a 27.5" MUni, but I do all of my practicing on the 24" at this point. But yeah, this makes sense.

I’m a believer in doing what you already can do and let the things that you can’t do come to you later at a higher skill level.

Practicing stuff you don’t know how to do with bad learning habits can be detrimental in the long run.
Learning a new skill is so much easier when you have a good foundation of skills to build on.

Learn how to ride well first.
Learn to ride slow, mild slalom for control practice, standstills, small intentional hops, and then build these skills up symmetrically with time in the saddle.
Once you have a good hold on these basics then take them to the next skill building step and I guarantee that learning anything new will be easier.

Just what works for me.


“Learn how to ride well first”. I find that offensive. If someone is trying to learn and asking questions and putting themselves out there, I’ll help. I can ride just fine, thanks.

I can freemount basically 100% of the time. I can slow ride. I can ride fast. I can ride trails with rocks and gravel and slopes. I can do figure eights going forward, but not backwards yet. Can do about 50 yards going backwards, but that still needs work. I can hop in place indefinitely, but I’m not satisfied 100% with that yet. Same for idling. But then again, you just saw a three second video clip at the end of a 60 minute practice in incredible heat.

I’m ready to continue learning to hop.

Letting things that you can’t do ‘come to you’ is how you end up with folks four years in and can’t ride backwards. All of these skills you just need to put the hard work into. All of them.

Learning anything on the unicycle is not easy. Its just time and effort. Some skills help others come a tad faster, but only a tad.


You did see that last line right?
Do what you want with my advice.


I’ll take a bit of a middle position on that. I tend to follow a philosophy of needing to do both, building a good “base” and pushing to learn new stuff.
I don’t believe in “it will come to you naturally”, because a lot of things will not in my experience. Sometimes you have to put in some hard, dedicated practicing to get to a new level.
But I’ve also seen over and over how having good “general unicycle handling skills” can make learning something new much easier, since the margin of error is much higher. There is something to having a foundation and sometimes, you have to build that.

Most of us are our own “trainer”, so it’s up to everyone to decide themselves what they need right now. I’ve been building the base up again for almost half a year, I think I’m about ready to get back into pushing mode a bit more often now.