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Old 2016-05-22, 06:54 PM   #1
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How long did it take you to learn to freemount?

How long did it take you and how good of a unicyclist were you at that point?
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Old 2016-05-22, 08:20 PM   #2
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I was capable of riding comfortably after about a week and a half, 10 days or so. I learned by building a 10 foot long balance bar with a few pallets and a steel pipe. I'd mount by holding onto the pipe, ride the length of it, using the pipe as a balance beam, let go at the end, and ride as far as I could. After about 10 days, I was able to mount while holding onto something, anything, then let go and ride comfortably. After that 10 days or so, I was able to ride from wherever I started for pretty much as far as I wanted to go. At that point I started working on freemounting. Getting comfortable at freemounting took me another week or so. My biggest recommendation is to learn how to static mount, not roll back mount. The static mount is the best way to freemount for so many types of riding. First step to learning was finding a curb. I'd put the wheel on the road, up against the curb, and start by standing on the curb. I'd make sure that the pedals were nearly horizontal, with the one I was starting with just a touch closer to the ground. That way, when I put weight on that pedal, the one in the back and slightly closer to the ground, the wheel up against the curb would prevent the unicycle from rolling backwards. From there, I'd mount and try my best to begin riding. Within a week or so, I was comfortably able to static freemount and ride away.
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Old 2016-05-22, 08:33 PM   #3
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Hi Bank5,

I started unicycling in 2004 on a 24-inch wheel at the age of 43. I'm embarrassed to say that it was 3 months before I was even able to ride the thing for any respectable distance or controllably. But what I've learned with unicycling, is that every skill is a constant evolution. I was able to occasionally free mount about 6 weeks after that, but when I changed the cranks out to a smaller length, it was like starting all over.

In 2005, I got a 29er and I found myself at the beginning of the learning curve again. I had such a difficult time learning how to free mount that one, but again I made slow progress and was able to free mount the 29er consistently on level or slightly downhill inclines within a few months. Funny thing is that after working with the 29er, the 24-inch uni was easy to free mount. I thoroughly enjoyed the 29er, though, and within 6 months I was able to free mount it at least 50% of my first tries. It's interesting that even after a couple years, I couldn't free mount the 29er any better than about 75% of my first tries. The 24-inch wheel, by this time was practically a certainty for me to free mount on every try.

In 2011, I finally got myself a 36er. It was initially intimidating, but I was able to free mount that one pretty quickly (especially on a slightly down hill grade); I remember the day that I got it, I free mounted it on the 6th try. Consistently successful free mounts, however, became a bigger challenge with the 36er. I'd be out on the road and dismount for whatever reason and then be stuck trying to get back on - sometimes more than 20 tries. But through this experience, free mounting the 29er suddenly became easy. I think I can claim almost a 100% success rate on the 29er now. I'm at about 66% success with first tries on the 36er, even after 5 years.

I ride only on the street. I like the uni for moderate distances and typically do about 15 - 20 miles per week. I'm thinking that if I had taken this pastime in a MUNI direction, maybe my skill level would have improved more quickly. Or maybe it just takes me a while to develop the coordination. Doesn't really matter - the skill can be learned and each increment of improvement is wildly rewarding, no matter how long it takes.

Good luck!
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Old 2016-05-22, 09:55 PM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2014
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i learned to unicycle while free mounting on a 24". It took me three weeks spending sessions of an hour a day on average. On my 36" i am still struggling especially with short cranks. I can't free mount my giraffe at all.
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Old 2016-05-23, 12:21 AM   #5
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I may not be that talented

But I could be the laziest, most laid back rider here.

It took me a long time to free mount the small wheels, I just always used a handhold to get me started.

When I teach uni riding to friends, I just skip the free mount and start them with their hand on a wall.

I still can't freemount my 36, been years now. It was always easier to just walk to a hand hold. I learned to freemount a 24 muni after getting stuck on a long flat trail with no other help. And really , free mounting a 24 isn't that hard, I just didn't care until I had to walk that far.
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Old 2016-05-23, 12:31 AM   #6
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It took me about 2 years to get it consistent on a 26 muni. I am a VERY slow learner!

At that stage I could ride cross country, but not hop. That might take another 2 years!
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Old 2016-05-23, 01:50 AM   #7
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I learnt free-mounting the same day I managed to actually ride the uni - I'd spent a couple of weeks at this point trying (and failing) to get enough distance to make it off my garden. When it finally *clicked* and I was able to ride down my street, up the next street... *legs suddenly cave in* I texted my friend and said I'm riding to his house - he met he halfway, was amazed I was riding the unicycle! He then said (he was skating alongside me as I rode around town) that he was sick of me having to grab a lamp post every time I stopped.

So I found a quiet road, and started trying to free-mount with the tyre backed up against a curb. A while later, I nailed it, and so did a mixture of the curb-mount and a normal static (ish) free-mount for the rest of the night, and have been doing it since
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Old 2016-05-23, 03:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
how good of a unicyclist were you at that point?
...please wait...snarky answer loading...

...somewhere between levels 0 and 1.

Be patient and you will learn. It took me a long time. I used a handful of different hack mounts before actually learning the static mount. Don't worry about good technique. Beginners want to know the "right" way to do things. Avoid premature optimization. Whatever gets the job done. My first mount was the tire grab.
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Old 2016-05-23, 03:55 AM   #9
Join Date: May 2016
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Cool, I appreciate the replies. I hadn't heard of the curb technique but that makes sense. I've picked up riding pretty well so am hoping to get free mounting down to cut down on have to walk / find something to hold onto.
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Old 2016-05-23, 04:00 AM   #10
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My first unicycle cost $30 and had a seat so uncomfortable it actually drew blood. The seatpost was also too short, and spun around in its socket. As soon as I replaced those parts, I managed my first freemount within minutes. By then I had been riding for several weeks.
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Old 2016-05-23, 04:32 AM   #11
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I may be the minority here, but I learned to freemount while learning to ride. I used a wall for a little bit, but most of my first practices were at IJA in the middle of the gym with an occasional hand when I got frustrated and couldn't get on top of the wheel after a few dozen tries. : P I'm a hard-head apparently.
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Old 2016-05-23, 09:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by feel the light View Post
But I could be the laziest, most laid back rider here.
Nope - the laziest will be me.
My practice alley is 10-yards / 30 foot long, and I only take the unicycle away from the house while on vacation.
I am normally too busy (or too shy) at other times to go out in public.

So after a year I can free mount with a backstop, or a gentle uphill incline.
And I can manage 50-metre runs before tiring and falling off.

To be fair, ill health and a wet/windy UK winter has delayed my progress.
I wish the summer weather would arrive soon.
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Old 2016-05-23, 02:58 PM   #13
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It took me about 7000 tries. I was able to ride maybe 100 m, when I begun learning the rollback freemount with no support on the floor in a sportshall. I counted 100 tries at a time. In the beginning I was able to ride out on 2 times of 100, 5 times if it was a lucky series. So I just continued 100 after 100 after 100. Slowly the successfull mounts passed 50 or 60 out of 100 tries, and I think that I stopped counting after that point.

Best regards from the slow learner,
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Old 2016-05-23, 03:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by juggleaddict View Post
I may be the minority here, but I learned to freemount while learning to ride.
I did too. I did what it said in the Schwinn manual I got with the uni. I put a piece of 2"x2" behind the tire and did static mounts then pedaled like crazy. When I got to where I was going a few houses down the street I put one at each end.

Next it was small rocks behind the tire or cracks in the street until I could free mount.
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Old 2016-05-23, 03:54 PM   #15
fail better.
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For me, I hated the notion of using the wall or fence for every mount and would've hated unicycling if I couldn't get the darn freemounting down. So even if it took me a thousand tries. Luckily I succeeded at nine hundred ninety-ninth, and discovered the beauty of fails, UPDs, and learning go hand in hand.

I tell my son, even if you have to repeat it a thousand times...
and what do ya know....he does it on his 25th try

....i dont think he'll ever appreciate failing as much as I do
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freemount, learn, long

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