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Any tips for learning to free mount on upward slopes?

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  • Any tips for learning to free mount on upward slopes?

    I can successfully free mount most of the time on level or downward slopes but on upward slopes I almost never get on and ride away. Do you guys have any pointers or is it just practice till I figure it out?
    Nimbus Drak 29", Nimbus Street 19", Surly Conundrum 26"

  • #2
    What sort of mount are you using? If you're static mounting, then the easiest way I find is to hop the wheel back underneath yourself after mounting - this means you don't have to jump so far forwards when getting on. Of course this requires that you can mount and go straight into hopping (and that you can ride off from a hop), but those are useful skills to have anyway.

    Alternatively rolling mount - that's what I'd started to do on uphills before I worked out the technique of hopping the wheel back underneath. In a way I wish I'd not learnt to hop the wheel back so soon, as then I might be better at rolling mounts!
    Unicycling: great for your thighs.

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    • #3
      Honestly, I'm not sure what the mounting style I'm using is called. I've just been riding about a month and a half. I put the left pedal at about 4 or 5 o'clock, seat in my crotch, step on with my left foot, uni rolls back under me, and I catch the right pedal with my other foot. That's how I learned although I'm kind of jumping up into riding position now instead of having the unicycle roll under me. I've played with hopping but I definitely don't have that anywhere close to mastered.
      Nimbus Drak 29", Nimbus Street 19", Surly Conundrum 26"

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      • #4
        Got my muni 26" 5 weeks ago and got free mounting on level ground done 2 weeks ago. Been very happy with the fast improvement each week. Freemounting uphill is also a big problem for me. I mount just like arrover but with a pronounced lean forward with shoulders down, right arm reaching forward.I kind of ride the bike under me. This may not work for hills, but I am working on it everyday on a moderate slope... we will see.

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        • #5
          This may or may not be interesting to others in the learning process, but when I first started trying to freemount my ratio of fails to success was 20 to 1. When I did manage the freemount I would then ride as far I could untill I fell or had to step off. So my actual attempts at freemounting only came at the end of my riding ability/fall. So, since my goal is to ride trails anyway, I went to a park with flat single track. Every root or bump would shoot the bike out from under me. But that was good, it caused me to have to freemount 10 times more often since I could not ride as far and improved my riding ability at the same time.

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          • #6
            I am not strong enough to start on a steep uphill while facing uphill. I can ride up a steep hill, but if I have to mount while on the hill, I turn the unicycle perpendicular to the hill, start, then turn upward and keep going. This can be hard for me on some single tracks. On the 36" I grab the wheel while I jump up (perpendicular to the road or trail if facing uphill).
            Last edited by mbalmer; 2013-02-02, 03:21 AM.

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            • #7
              +1 on the static mount. Also u could mount diagonal (or even perpendicular) to the hill, then turn up the hill.

              OP - sounds like a roll back mount.

              Yeah forcing more frequent mounts helps. Eg ride your commute and do X mounts before u leave and at every corner. (See sig)
              Ride everywhere and never just ride anywhere. If you can ride where you are going within a hour, do it, and if you can do a trick 50-75% of the time do it along the way.- Bob Burnquist

              What's next?
              Learn2Ride&doTricks
              TrialsClasses&Building

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              • #8
                When freemounting uphill it helps me if I idle a time or two before riding away. If the hill is too steep for me to freemount on after a few tries I freemount down and then turn around quickly. If you can freemount on level ground you should be able to learn to do it uphill with a little practice.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Shmolagin View Post
                  When freemounting uphill it helps me if I idle a time or two before riding away. If the hill is too steep for me to freemount on after a few tries I freemount down and then turn around quickly. If you can freemount on level ground you should be able to learn to do it uphill with a little practice.
                  Idle... have not attempted it yet. Seems to me that it will be the hardest thing to learn??

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll keep after it. Gorgescrambler, it sounds like we started about the same time and are on the same learning schedule.
                    Nimbus Drak 29", Nimbus Street 19", Surly Conundrum 26"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gorgescrambler View Post
                      Idle... have not attempted it yet. Seems to me that it will be the hardest thing to learn??
                      I can only Idle back and forth about 5 times. But I can get 2 or 3 in every time.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by arrover View Post
                        Honestly, I'm not sure what the mounting style I'm using is called. I've just been riding about a month and a half. I put the left pedal at about 4 or 5 o'clock, seat in my crotch, step on with my left foot, uni rolls back under me, and I catch the right pedal with my other foot. That's how I learned although I'm kind of jumping up into riding position now instead of having the unicycle roll under me. I've played with hopping but I definitely don't have that anywhere close to mastered.
                        Try putting your left foot at 2 o'clock. This way as you jump up you will catch the right pedal at 10 o'clock. This should produce more power going forward on your right foot. Allowing you to ride away smoothly. From the description above you are catching the right pedal at 12 o'clock. This is the dead spot and hard to create forward momentum. Good luck!
                        Justin

                        Nimbus Oregon 26
                        Nimbus Oracle 36

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                        • #13
                          I usually just grab the wheel to lock it in place if I'm mounting on sketchy terrain; it's easier than trying to get that perfect balance of forces that make for a smooth static mount.

                          If the wheel's all muddy or I rolled through some dog poop or something not-grab-inducing, I'll mount at right angles to the slope and turn uphill with the first pedal stroke.

                          Rollback mounts on steep offroad usually get me headed downhill backwards too much to gracefully recover, and take too much trail space, but they work great on typical road hills.

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                          • #14
                            First of all, congratulations on your progress over a short month and a half! Hills were not on my menu that early in my unicycling experience. For laughs, I have a video (on VHS) of me trying to do an uphill mounting workshop at my first MUni Weekend (1996). Zero successful mounts! But it was a quickie workshop, and I'm sure I got it after Jock Young got bored and turned off the camera.

                            Rollback mounts are great on flat ground, and I recommend them as the best way to get comfortable with mounting. A Rollback is where you start with one pedal toward the rear. BTW, clock positions are only meaningful with a reference point; which side are we viewing from? Anyway, when you press down on that rear pedal, you let the wheel roll all the way past the bottom until that foot is out in front somewhere. At that point you put your foot on the rear pedal and go. Actually you can put your foot on the rear pedal anywhere past TDC (top dead center).

                            A Rollback mount is not where your pedals stop at the vertical and you ride away from there. That's what I call a 'dead spot' mount. You have no leverage there, so the mount is usually sketchy. That's probably what gorgescrambler was doing in his early days.

                            But the Rollback doesn't work well on dirt, especially uphill. It's harder to deal with both bumps and the slope. A static mount is better. That's where you keep the back pedal in the back, give a big jump up and over the balance point, and start pedaling (or hopping) when your other foot gets to the front pedal. For this mount to work, you need to not let the wheel roll back, which just takes practice, and also to get your center of mass ahead of the axle to be able to ride away.

                            If it's steep, I usually start with a hop or two, and often ride at an angle to the slope rather than tackling it straight up. But I did complete the Uphill course at Unicon XVI (riding up a section of a ski slope on grass). I had to stop several times for "oxygen breaks", but I think I just mounted straight ahead each time. It's doable.

                            Don't expect mounting uphill to ever get as easy as mounting on level ground or downhill. It's harder. But with practice, you can definitely learn to do successful mounts nearly every time. That is, the terrain can sometimes make it awfully hard!
                            John Foss
                            www.unicycling.com

                            "Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"

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                            • #15
                              johnfoss, thanks for your imfo. I spent an hour today riding single track and found static hopping up and over works best as you described rather than the roll back. I failed most of the time, but got it enough to understand what I need to do. I am pretty beat up, but had a blast.

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