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How to improve at muni?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Canoeheadted View Post
    I'm a fan of continuous riding. If I don't make a section I will just re-mount and continue and hopefully I can sweep it next time I ride that section/trail. I find this keeps my heart rate up, builds my stamina, and gives me a kick in the ass to do better next time.
    Some trails have taken me years to be able to ride the whole trail without dismounting.
    This is one of many approaches you can take. Sometimes I do it that way, not stopping to try a section again. But normally I like to re-ride sections where I fall off.

    My greatest "continuous riding" achievement so far is the complete Clementine Loop trail in Auburn, CA (as ridden at the Muni Weekends there). It's about 7 miles with 1000' of climbing, and lots of technical spots but nothing one can't learn to roll. It took me several tries, but I finally did it in one shot. I'll never do it again, because it's possibly the least-fun way to ride a trail. The farther you get, the more stressed you get. And you aim to take the easiest line through everything...
    Originally posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
    Practice for more than one hour every day. Spend time at the beginning of your session working on mounts, especially mounting on your weak side. You'll be too tired to practice mounting safely toward the end of your workout. Work toward getting one hand, then the other, then both...on the grab handle / bar ends. Practice riding on as many different surfaces as possible: thick grass, gravel, sand, rutted trails, highly cambered surfaces. Experiment with changing your seat height, tire pressure and crank length. Don't pass judgment on a new setup until you've put at least a few miles on it. Most changes in setup involve compromise. Find hills you can't make it up. Keep trying, and your technique will adapt toward climbing those hills. Get a 20". Practice new techniques on the 20". Later on, you'll be able to do the same stuff on your muni. If you have a strenuous muni ride one day, practice skills on your 20" the next day. Don't rely too much on hopping as a fix-all for uneven terrain. Once you learn to apply leverage on the muni, you'll be able to roll over a lot of stuff. Learning SIF (seat in front) riding on my 20" helped tremendously with hands-on muni. If you're consistently riding a section clean, pick a harder line.
    Well, I guess he doesn't have much to offer on this topic. Lots of good advice in there.
    Originally posted by Setonix View Post
    The biggest problem for me and muni is that I chicken out too quickly and riding those single trails where the sides are curved up, I find very difficult.
    I'm also a chicken, and usually ride below my abilities. This keeps me away from injuries, but kind of kills my level of improvement. Some days I'm more chicken than others. On a good day, I try lots of stuff. With success, my confidence grows, which I think makes me safer when attempting stuff. If you ride into something with fear, you are more likely to bail early and possibly have more problems.

    To ride banks, it's a balance of speed, and choosing the right line. The steeper it is, the less time you can spend up on the steep part. I often ride up high, but then curve back down to keep control and find a lower line to finish the curve. Practice going faster to build your confidence.
    Originally posted by Setonix
    Also mounting on such trails I find extremely difficult. Riding shouldn't be so hard, since I only have 1 wheel - just steer it in the middle ^_^
    Right? It's singletrack. It was made for US! Freemounting on trails, especially facing uphill, is a tough skill to learn. When it's steep, it's usually easier to mount at 90-degrees to the slope. From there you can hop a bit, if there's no room, or ride across the slope and then turn uphill. If it's really steep, mount facing downhill and then see if you can get turned around. If you haven't learned how to mount without rolling the wheel back, work on that first. You want to be able to get up on the uni without turning the wheel much, then be balanced enough to choose your line. Or do a hop or two to get "situated" and ride away from that.
    Originally posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
    I think Terry (Unigeezer) learned to ride as a kid, then picked it up again later in life.
    Yes. He learned to ride in the 1960s! Beat that, youngsters!
    Originally posted by Setonix View Post
    I see, that is cheating
    If you mean taking 40 years off, I suppose you could say "sort of". But those were different times; unicycles were different, and what people did with them was different. Terry has turned back the clock for himself, and many people that he inspires (like me).

    More advice:
    Ride with the Unicycle Bastards. Do you still have Unicycle Bastards in Portland? They used to be a thing. Or maybe since then they've picked up kilts and bagpipes and ride on pavement -- I'm not sure.

    Try riding the trails with a "regular" 24" uni with 1.75" tire and 60 lbs of pressure in it. That's how we did it back in the day. It's a great way to make an "easy" trail hard. BTW, the reason for the 60 lbs is to keep your rim off the ground. The skinnier the tire, the more pressure you need to prevent pinch flats!

    I've been riding on dirt as "a thing" since 1981. I guess that's 38 years now! The vast majority of my Muni (as we now call it) was on a 24" Miyata, right up until the first Muni Weekend in 1996. Soon after that, I got a Roger Davies carbon Muni with a slightly wider tire.

    The way we usually approached the trails in those days was to work on a section until we could ride through it, or got tired of it and move on to the next one. Like a roving session ride. It's not the only way to approach Muni, but in those days we liked the process, and "conquering" the difficult sections. Later it got more interesting to try to string them together, and later than that, to go for time. As we got better unicycles (basically wider tires), it would change the paradigm and take a lot of the challenge out of some trails. So then we had to try harder stuff.

    I still prefer trying to roll through anything. This has made be good at rolling through stuff, but stunted my growth in hopping (not to mention Trials). So I'm not good at getting over the stuff you can't roll through. I should practice that more, but it tends to wear me out pretty fast! I do like, though how sustained riding on trails gets my heart going faster than most any other sustained activity.

    Lastly, as someone said above, make sure you're having fun. We don't Muni for speed; it's always going to be slow compared to a bike. So we must want to get a better connection to the trail. That's how I feel about it. I can ride trails fairly fast, and today's top uni athletes can ride scary terrain incredibly fast. that's fun too, if it's what you're into. Do it the way that makes you happy.
    Last edited by johnfoss; 2019-02-21, 06:47 AM.
    John Foss

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


    • #17
      The "cheating" shouldn't be taken very seriously, if he only did a some riding when he was 11. Unigeezer prolly learned nearly all of it from scratch again after 40 years. He clearly doesn't know about the chickens that haunt me. I have a big respect for what he can do and I've learn a thing or 2 by watching Terry's vidz.


      • #18
        There's no shame in walking sections, but I would say it's a good habit to at least attempt everything once (if not more) if it seems safe. A tree falls over the trail. Try to hop or roll it instead of riding around. If there's a 0.5-1m drop (and you would feel safe hopping down on your feet), just ride off of it. Even if some of the obstacles seem ridiculous. You'll be surprised at some of the things you make.

        I felt like I plateaued since I was just hitting the same trails over again, but when I started making obstacles out of the boulders and logs off to side, I felt improvement again. Don't always take the easy route.

        Riding with others will really help boost the confidence as well. It's great to stop and play on a section until everyone can make it through one way or another.

        Also if you find yourself rolling over everything and getting bored, start trying rolling hop on everything possible. I find myself getting over higher barriers all the time. It's fantastic.

        Lastly changing equipment can be fun. Moving to really short cranks for awhile and then back to longer cranks, you'll be amazed.