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Old 2017-04-12, 07:47 PM   #31
MUCFreerider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engineer on a Unicycle View Post
Are people who prefer shorter cranks relying on a rolling mount technique? Or just better at consistently jumping up there? Or just better at balancing, and able to save the many times I'd get up, but not manage to get moving.
I experimented with all three as I rode more with short cranks... my experience was that, yes, I use all three mounts, but the more significant is that my success ratio stays about the same with all three mounts (ok, on 100s my jump mount is probably higher, but with all other crank lengths my success ratio is high >90% with 150s and middle, say 70% with 125s and lower, say 60% regardless of mount: static, rollback, jump or rolling)... It varied week by week, but on 114s/100s I think I was doing static most often, then jump, then rolling (and roll-back was mostly unintentional on a not-so-perfect static mount).

So, yes, I think the most significant thing is improving the ability to balance and ride away after mounting... jump mount itself it pretty easy once you practice a little, but riding off on a 36er with shorts cranks is not so easy.
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Old 2017-04-14, 05:02 AM   #32
Engineer on a Unicycle
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Back in from an evening ride cut short of plan, but apart from cheating at the start I did the first 11 miles or so using free mounts after traffic lights and mistakes.

I've only ever been able to jump from a standing position and land on the forward crank either moving forward, or with minimal roll back. So basically I'm doing on the 36 what I was doing on the 26, only necessarily more so.

For a while there I was getting it on average on the 3rd try, and while some were desperate attempts to get moving a few were calmly beautiful, arriving up top in perfect balance and pedal away at leisure. But as the evening wore on I just couldn't do it - between the jumps and riding into a stiff headwind with the flat side of barn aerodynamics of a 36er, I'm far more beat from this than my longer lamposts + curbs ride of last weekend. Shortly after realizing I had no more freemounts in me and turning around I dropped in a bad section of path, had a long walk before I found a lamp post, and even then couldn't ride away from it on the first attempts. Eventually got going again and returned south to midtown but ended up taking the subway across to home, rather than returning around the south end of the island as planned.

I've still not figured out how to use running momentum to mount - it's such poetry in motion when done well, but I can't figure out how to go from running to straddling the back of the saddle, and my attempt to get on the first pedal always spoils the leap to the critical second. Have half a mind to take the 26er back out to experiment.

I like riding those 125's... but learning to mount them consistently is indeed a challenge. Still, the present situation doesn't feel all that different from when I was learning this all for the first time on a 26.
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Old 2017-04-17, 11:28 PM   #33
MUCFreerider
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Sounds like a good and strenuous ride
Quote:
Originally Posted by Engineer on a Unicycle View Post
I've still not figured out how to use running momentum to mount - it's such poetry in motion when done well, but I can't figure out how to go from running to straddling the back of the saddle, and my attempt to get on the first pedal always spoils the leap to the critical second. Have half a mind to take the 26er back out to experiment.
Assuming you're talking about the rolling mount, the way I do it (and I'm not so good so maybe someone else something better):

I walk at a nomal speed pushing the uni in front of me and watching the pedals to time the start. As my mount pedal (my right) is furtherst away from me (so maybe about 120 degrees or about half-way between front and bottom), I kind of step up on the pedal as it comes towards me. Then your foot meets the moving pedal somewhere near the bottom or just past the bottom of the stroke and as the 36er wheel is moving it still has a lot of momentum so it then continues to circle and move up, then lifting my foot and me up and onto the uni.

I think it depends on the walking speed, the timing of the step-on, the crank length and probably the rider weight (but that doesn't vary), but when it all comes together it is really cool as you kind of float up over and onto the uni.

I remember a discussion some time ago concerning the rolling mount and I think it was John Foss who explained what I do is not technically a rolling mount as the wheel pretty much comes to a stop after I mount (i.e. the rolling is used to lift me up, then I balance and ride off). I think he termed mine a rolling-static mount or something. Apparently a true rolling mount is where the wheel does not stop but continues to roll. I've only kind of half done that before, but I think the main difference is simply a hgher walking speed and thus more momentum so the uni doesn't stop at the top but just keeps rolling foward. Of course the true rolling mount is even cooler but also more difficult due to the hgher speed which also makes the timing of the step-on more crucial.
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Old 2017-04-18, 04:17 AM   #34
johnfoss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engineer on a Unicycle View Post
There happened to be a 43" wheel present as well, and I figured, "in for a penny, in for a... farthing?" and with the aid of a lamp post... But hopped off fairly quickly, not from the height but from the odd behavior of the narrow solid tire.
Yes, hard-tire Big Wheels ride very differently from 36ers with their wide, air-filled tires. First time I rode a Coker it felt like it was glued to the pavement, making it really hard to steer. I kept trying to put more air in the tire to make it "ride right". It wasn't until a couple of years later, when I was able to borrow one for the 10k race (at the 2001 NAUCC), that I learned how great it is to cruise on one of those wheels. By the time the race was about half over I knew I had to have one.

I've had a 45" Big Wheel since 1982, and had ridden some various other ones since 1980. At that time, they all had solid rubber tires and were very "squirrelly" compared to today's 36" tires. But you get used to that pretty quick and can ride it in ways you can't ride a 36", such as doing easy spins and pirouettes on it. But with that hard tire you feel every nuance of the riding surface. So the 5-Boro Bike Tour, for example, was pretty grueling. Someday I would love to return to NYC and do it again on my geared 36!
Quote:
Originally Posted by UniDreamerFR View Post
The other lesson could be : there is no reason to put anything shorter than 150s on a 36er unless you have an experience of hundreds if not thousands of miles on a 36er AND you are 80% of the time above 14-15 mph.
But that's not a rule; more of an opinion. Some people really like long cranks and do well with them. AspenMike, who rides his 36" on Colorado's highest mountain passes, prefers something like 175mm cranks. I forget the exact size, but they are those old Kookas, between 175-185. Not only do those work fine for him, but I believe he can easily beat me both up, and down, the mountain regardless of what size cranks I use.

But on an ungeared 36 I definitely prefer shorter. 125 for "hilly", including a 100k ride with some really big hills (longer is too slow for me). But shorter, down to 114, for my local bike path which has hills, but none really steep. And I have a brake, which is an important factor for riding downhill.

I prefer 150s for geared 36" riding, and also for any "proper" muni with "proper" hills. I've seen it done on 125s, but I think Jess Riegel and Zack Baldwin earned extra points for having very young knees.
Quote:
Originally Posted by UniDreamerFR
With a too high seat height i'd see myself catapulted at each hole/bump.
Absolutely true! Got to leave a little extra space for those unanticipated bumps! This is especially true on a hard-tire Big Wheel, like my old one, on which I learned that rule. Even a tiny rock, that lines itself up with your narrow tire, is enough to make your bottom foot pop off the pedal and have you ending up in a heap on the ground. And then have the wheel run over you! Such things are less of a shock with a nice air tire.
Quote:
Originally Posted by UniDreamerFR
And of course I have a long handlebar on both my 36ers, it's definitely a "must have"
I'd say nice-to-have on an ungeared 36", but absolute necessity on a geared one. It makes a huge difference to have that extra stability to counter the motion of pushing the wheel in high gear. On an ungeared 36" it's still great to have if you like to do long distances, but it's easier to live without.
Quote:
Originally Posted by UniDreamerFR
So I guess most people are riding their 36er on clear and rather flat roads for very long rides or at higher speeds.
If not, I just don't really understand.
I think most people that like the shorter cranks like going faster, but it doesn't mean you can't also go slow. It's definitely a lot easier than going slow in high gear with 150s! Also you can climb with the shorter cranks, but if it gets real steep it stops being fun.
Quote:
Originally Posted by UniDreamerFR
I know the comparison is biased because bikes have speeds, but you'll never see bikes with 100mm cranks, right?
Bicycle crank length is based on an assumption of making efficient power output while pedaling at your most efficient cadence. Unicyclists don't get to control their cadence (2 speeds aren't enough to count), so the only tool we have is to mess around with crank lengths.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MUCFreerider View Post
I eventually settled on the 114s as the best compromise between speed/comfort and slow-speed maneuverablity.
That was also my preferred size, on my ungeared Coker, for my local bike path before the Schlumpf. That ride involved about 700' of climbing over 20 miles, but nothing over 7% grade. For steeper (or unknown) terrain, I'd use 125. Like for Ride The Lobster, where we really didn't know what we would get, other than plenty of hills, 125 worked well (for me) most of the time. I also was able to ride one of my teammates' geared 29ers some of the time as well (they each had one).
Quote:
Originally Posted by MUCFreerider
(I can almost idle on the 36 with 150s but I can hardly imagine it with 100s -- probably someone can do it though -- but it's **WAY** harder). Also hopping at a light is way harder. On the 36er with 150s I can hop for 30 seconds waiting for a light and then start up and go. With the 114s I could usually manage to hop, but fell probably half the time transitioning to riding when starting up (again, more practice and it is certainly doable).
Yup. Idling with 100s? Doable, but very slowly. And to me, what's the point? If I'm waiting for a traffic light, I'm off, and getting some crotch circulation. Drivers like watching you get back on anyway.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MUCFreerider View Post
I remember a discussion some time ago concerning the rolling mount and I think it was John Foss who explained what I do is not technically a rolling mount as the wheel pretty much comes to a stop after I mount (i.e. the rolling is used to lift me up, then I balance and ride off). I think he termed mine a rolling-static mount or something. Apparently a true rolling mount is where the wheel does not stop but continues to roll.
Your personal mount, that you described above, sounds more complicated than it probably is. I think it's more or less exactly what I do but I will try to explain it differently. I'll stick with the imperfect description of Rolling Static Mount because it's kind of in-between those two mounts, found in the IUF's Standard Skills List, but which are defined around much smaller wheels.

In a "technically correct" Rolling Mount, the wheel is supposed to continue rolling the whole time. This is actually a lot easier to do with a 20" or 24" wheel than with something bigger. On a bigger wheel, you have farther to go to get from the ground to a spot up and ahead of your axle, so the wheel has to, at least, slow down to let you catch up. If you're doing this at a comfortable speed, the wheel basically stops while you roll up onto it:

Walk forward, and do a small jump (small is relative to how tall you are), putting your mounting foot onto the rear pedal as it's coming up to level. Hold that pedal about there while your body catches up with the wheel. If your jump is successfully "centered", just wait until your body gets a little ahead of the axle and start pedaling. If you're off-center, you may need to make a little twist toward that side to establish your balance. With shorter cranks, sometimes it's easier to instead give a little side hop to even things out, and then ride away. These hops are usually only a few centimeters. One hop, and away

You get good at that by just doing it a ton of times. I do not have the experience of learning to mount big wheels on an air-filled 36" one, since I'd been doing it for over 17 years on bigger ones ranging up to 56". It's the exact same technique as on those wheels, excep easier, both because of the smaller wheel, and because 36" tires like to track straight and not zig-zag around as you get going.
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Last edited by johnfoss; 2017-04-18 at 04:27 AM.
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Old 2017-04-25, 12:10 AM   #35
Engineer on a Unicycle
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Grrrrr... just discovered the crushing truth that in fact the only way I've gotten on the 36er without a post so far has been to roll the wheel back a good quarter of a turn under me.

And here I thought I'd actually been doing it.
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