I started riding muni a little over 5 months ago. I’ve watched videos but never seen anyone else ride muni “in person”. I’m curious what others’ experiences are like.
I try to get out to a local trail about about 3 times a week. Rides to date last anything from 35 minutes to an hour and 20 minutes. Most of the trails are relatively short loops ranging from 1 to 2 miles per circuit. I’ll typically do a lap, probably averaging 5-6 mph, then stop for a drink and to catch my breath before heading out for 1-3 more laps.
The terrain here is flat with lots of very short (3-6 feet of elevation change) steep climbs/descents. All this up and down punctuated by lots of roots keeps me breathing pretty hard for most of the lap. On the smoother sections I try to roll at high cadence.
The videos I see give the impression of extended high energy rides. What I’m doing is more like a cross between a session sport and medium duration ride.
I do see as my balance improves that I’m wasting less energy pushing hard on both pedals to stabilize myself. On a good night smoother stretches feel like efficient spinning on a road b*ke. Then an unseen root intervenes and it ends badly, though to be honest most often with me laughing out loud as I dust myself off and proclaim to passing mountain bikers “No worries, it happens every day”.
I’d really like to hear others experiences. Feel free to throw in any “Aha” moments that occurred and improved your riding or endurance.
I have a couple of spots that are more cross country than muni but there are a few downhills and a few uphills. The downs are always reallly fun and the uphill are getting easier when I keep returning to them.
The uphills with roots and rocks are tricky but I find that if you carry some speed it’s a bit easier.
With regards to the legs and energy efficiency I find that if you lean forward really far then you just need to pedal a bit to stay over the wheel.
It is good when you get a bit if speed up too. But to help on the motivation I look just far enough in front to dodge the roughest bits.
My Muni is a 24. I borrowed a 26 for a few weeks and there are some things I like better about it, but I don’t think my skills have progressed enough to really take advantage of a bigger wheel.
Although Muni is a great workout, I feel I don’t work the areas needed enough just by riding to be able to ride at my best. I have a rowing machine that works my Muni legs better than just about anything I’ve tried so I do that a bunch of core exercises for 30 min each at least once a week.
Both exercises are also a good guide to tell me if I’m in decent enough shape to go Muni if I haven’t been in a while and alowed myself to get out of shape. My measure is the level 6 resistance on my rower @ 35 + rpm and single leg lifts w/ 10 lb/pair ankle weights (30 reps left, 30 R, 30 L, etc. w/o rest). The lower abs stuff is overkill but I do that so when I’m too tired to ride well I can still UPD on my feet easily.
I can usually only get to the trails on the weekends, so I do that stuff during the week. If I’m in the level of fitness I want, I spend a lot of time doing other core exercises, yoga balance poses, balance board, and Muni related uni skills that don’t take a lot of energy. I try to get close to 20 hrs a week total w/ only 4-8 on the weekend, so I try to do at least a couple of hours a day during the week of stuff (including my “urban Muni” commute).
Around here (Vancouver Canada) the typical muni outing seems to be pretty hardcore. Really steep downhill, rough rocky trails, narrow structures, etc.
When I have been able to get together with others for a group ride, we tend to do it 100m (or 1 obstacle) at a time - and then watch everyone else try. This way you end up resting alot, and a 5km ride can take a couple hours. And walk many sections.
When I ride on my own I usually choose easier mountain bike trails, don’t take as many breaks, finish in 1 to 2 hours, and end up alot more tired. I go back over sections I can’t do, until I can.
Most hills I ride on are too difficult (even for mountain bikers) to ride up, so I end up walking up, and riding down.
My wife and I went to MTB today (I know I know, we just don’t have the money to buy a muni yet…some day though) and encountered a dude who just finished his ride on his chrome muni. I was so stoked to see another unicyclist around. In case you were wondering, this was at Marshall Mesa in Boulder, CO. It’s a VERY beautiful ride…I highly recommend it! There is also at least one other dude in Golden, CO that rides his muni up Chimney Gulch trail which is pretty freak’n hard to pull off on a bike; lets just say he turns heads.
I started riding on dirt in 1981, so a lot of my early/core learning events are in the dim past; hard to relate now. Plus in those days it wasn’t MUni. That term didn’t exist (neither did mountain biking), and the cycles didn’t either. It was 24" regular unicycles with 1.75" tires and (necessarily) high pressure. And it was still a blast.
These days my ride of choice is a 24" with 3" tire and 145mm cranks. For me to do a proper MUni ride involves a minimum of half an hour in the car to get there, so I almost always do a substantial ride that leaves me tired and dirty. Usually 5-10 miles on the 24", though sometimes I also ride a 29" or 36". Different trails for different wheel sizes. While the 29" can go pretty much anywhere the 24" can, it’s not as fun on the really technical stuff. And the 36" is at its best on swoopy singletrack.
I carry a Camelbak with water and a Clif bar and/or Shot Blocks or similar, also a small collection of tools and a camera. And this season, the Tecnu should always be in the car, since our high amount of rains have led to a bumper crop of poison oak!
My Muni is a 24 with 145mm cranks and 3" gazza.
very near my home (suburb of Paris) there are woods with semi-technical trails.
So I often goes there during the week-end (often alone alas :o ) and then ride for about 5-8 miles (specially when the weather is not sunny!) I can say I am on a first name basis with every squirrel in the woods
I just enjoy riding, pause, ride at a leisurely pace … and enjoy the woods (specially in winter!)
MUni rides beat my arse every time I do an extended one. Those long slight uphills that just go on and on are the hardest for me…lungs and legs working to capacity. Sometimes I have to get off and lean over and pant like a dog on a hot summer day for a half a minute to be able to go on.
That is part of why I am out there. I curse every Al Capone cigar I smoke)))
There are days I soar and there are days I bonk. It is what keeps MUni interesting for me.
Damn dude, how much did all those uni’s cost you together? Considering how new my mtb is and the few upgrades I put in it, it’ll be a while before I give it up. I would have considered getting a muni had i knew they existed BEFORE I bought my new mtb. Eventually though.
I ride a nimbus 26er with a 3" tire and 165 cranks. The trails up Michigan Tech are very fast with lots of downhill and equally as much uphill. The 165s shine while climbing. There are so really technical parts too. Nasty roots, rocks, skinnys, and ladders. Its really fun. We generally ride about 5 miles every outing. We cruze through the fast bits of trail but when we get to a cooler/harder parts we hangout and repeat it for fun.
I will be picking up a 29er this summer. I’m pretty excited!
I ride 3-4x a week, usually 45-60min during the week, longer rides on weekends are 2+ hours.
We were camping in NC this past weekend, we did a longer ride on Saturday, three hours or so, maybe ten miles, mixed easy to moderate single track, my wife was on a mtb. I ride faster than her, so I and end up waiting or doubling back. This morning I went back out for another hour while she slept
The difficulty aspect of riding muni makes a big difference in how much mileage i can complete and how far I can go without resting. My weekend long rides include a lot of climbing, min 500’, max 2-3000’, all of which is single track, rocky and tooth. I find the riding in places like the Rockies much easier because the trails are better grade and smoother vs the appalachians which are very up/down and rough.
I spend most of my time on a 29er when the weather is fair, 26er for mud and snow season.
You need to get out of florida
You should find someone to ride with, it’s really fun!
Thanks for all the great replies so far. It sounds like my experience is fairly typical. I hated to think I was the only guy out there who frequently found riding muni to feel like doing an insanely fun windsprint.
I’m 48yo and run about 20 miles a week. I do realize that long steady running is not the ultimate training for a more burst intensive sport like muni but it does allow me to eat a lot of barbecue.
I do enjoy the fact that things that seemed very difficult a month or so ago can now be done with confidence. It’s also very cool that other skills that take less energy to practice (idling, stalling etc) translate so well to muni. I read a post recently that mentioned that one foot drills were helping another rider. Add another thing to the list of skills to work on.
I’d love to find another muni rider here. I’ve tried recruiting a few locals but no success so far.
Running up hills, stairs 2 or 3 at a time, squats and walking lunges work the approximate muscles. I like my rower better than any of the above and most machines.
For Muni it’s good to master on both sides: one foot riding, idling, one foot riding, WW, one foot WW, riding SIF, and SIF hopping. Also still stands, gliding, coasting, seat drag/push, rolling up curbs, skinnis (for the newbie painted lines on street, edges of curbs, bumps separating traffic where it’s really light).
I like to practice that stuff on my commute (not that I can do all of that, but I practice whatever I can 50% the time on my commute). When a “skinny” gets too do one of the above on it. Stop lights are a great opportunity to practice the more stationary skills.
While put riding this afternoon a couple questions occurred to me.
Do you tend to sit upright or lean your torso forward from the waist while riding muni? I find the upright torso more relaxing but I’m more prone to UPD. Leaning slightly forward seems to give me a little more room for error. I’d love to able to ride more of the terrain I do sitting upright but hopefully the percentage of time I spend that way will increase as my skills progress.
Do you ever take your hand off the saddle handle? I’m doing so leess and less but I still find it beneficial in certain conditions to be able to flail with both arms. :o
Isn’t it great to be high enough on the uni to catch every spider web on the trail with your face?
I made a vid a little while ago of my local muni ride. It contains snippets of a 2hr 25-30km ride (depending on when i have to work next). A good mix of fire trail, flowy singletrack,and steep rocky DH. I ride it on my 24x3 Geared Muni on 125mm cranks. You can see it here