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Old 2011-12-10, 10:44 PM   #1
MadFurai
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tips for learning the "balance" mount?

I need some tips trying to get the "balance" mount. I've been riding for almost 10 months and I can do "idle" mounts all day long with either foot and rarely ever fail. However, I simply cannot get the balance mount down. I ALWAYS end up moving the wheel backwards underneath me no matter how much weight I try to put against the seat. I have gotten better, so that the wheel moves slowly underneath me (instead of one quick motion), but for some reason I am finding this skill very difficult. I have learned other things like hopping while rotating on both a 20" inch trainer and a 24" inch MUNI, I can idle a little bit, and ride off curbs. However, it just seems like I am missing something on the technique of a "balance" mount with the cranks parallel to the ground. I don't have anyone in my area that rides, so I've come to you guys for help. Do you guys have any tips?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 2011-12-10, 11:14 PM   #2
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put something behind the wheel like a stone so the wheel can't move, then as you learn to do it with something holding the wheel in place, keep using smaller stones until you don't need them.
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Old 2011-12-11, 12:54 AM   #3
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I've never learnt to mount using a kerb to help (probably still can't do that, despite having my static/balance mount up over 90% since a recent breakthrough) - not saying it's not something useful to learn, just that there are different ways.

I first learnt to freemount using the "beginners" mount / hand on wheel mount (see any of the Megan Rouch videos for a demo) within a day or two of learning to ride. I managed to get on that way within first 10 attempts despite still being a real novice. I reckon that helped a lot with moving on to the static mount, as a lot of the movements are similar, but it's a LOT easier. If you've not yet tried that, I'd suggest having a go first (it's still my fallback option when I'm tired, want to make sure of getting on, or going uphill).

Then moving on to a static mount without touching the wheel, there are a couple of things I do. Firstly, rather than concentrating on not putting weight on the back foot (which I found meant I put no pressure on at all, and the uni scooted off in front of me), I concentrate on keeping my leg fixed - ie the muscles locked in place so the foot doesn't move relative to my hip - that effectively stops you from pushing down on the pedal. I also do a slight "rolling mount" thing - getting the uni moving forwards before I jump off my foot. This helps get a forwards motion to roll up onto the saddle and also allows you to put a little more weight on the back pedal. What I originally did was push down on the back pedal to push the saddle into my crotch, then push back with my crotch to get the uni moving forwards. I'm guessing this might be seen as a bad habit, but it works for me, and now I've got lots of practice at the motions I'm gradually reducing how much I do (and doing a better job of locking the back foot out to stop the roll, which helps to get over the front of the uni with a forwards lean).

I should point out I've only been riding just over 2 months, so not a lot of experience, but learning this is still very fresh in the mind for me! Hope that helps.

It is interesting how people learn things in a different order - I can't idle at all, and only managed my first (and only) "idle" mount a couple of days ago. Yet I was riding off curbs within a few days of learning, am now learning to ride up kerbs and freemounting to hop (I guess you need to have a static/balance mount sorted to do that).

Last edited by aracer; 2011-12-11 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 2011-12-11, 02:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadFurai View Post
I need some tips trying to get the "static" mount. I've been riding for almost 10 months and I can do "roll back" mounts all day long...
Fixed

+1 on the curb, when it gets easy, move to smaller objects eg. brick, twig.

Practice steping over something of similar size, but deformable like a traffic cone. Push off hard w/ your back foot, onto and over the cone but don't let your weight deform it at all.
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Old 2011-12-11, 07:29 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the tips.

So it sounds like it is more of a jumping motion with your back foot? Sounds like I need to propel my body up and over the UNI more and make an effort to just keep my front leg "locked" in position with only enough force to keep the pedals from rotating forward. I'll give it a try. I'm somewhat short (5'7"), so I'm guessing it's also better to practice this on my 20" inch rather than the 24".
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Old 2011-12-11, 07:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadFurai View Post
Thanks for all the tips.

So it sounds like it is more of a jumping motion with your back foot? Sounds like I need to propel my body up and over the UNI more and make an effort to just keep my front leg "locked" in position with only enough force to keep the pedals from rotating forward. I'll give it a try. I'm somewhat short (5'7"), so I'm guessing it's also better to practice this on my 20" inch rather than the 24".
That is exactly correct. Imagine pushing yourself on an arc up and over to the front of the Uni. Imagine not using the leg that is on the pedal to help propel yourself up, it's all on the other leg. It may even help to lower your saddle a bit, or do it on a sleight down hill.

Your on the right track.
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Old 2011-12-11, 07:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MadFurai View Post
So it sounds like it is more of a jumping motion with your back foot? Sounds like I need to propel my body up and over the UNI more and make an effort to just keep my front leg "locked" in position with only enough force to keep the pedals from rotating forward.
Yep - all of that. Definitely learn on the 20" - smaller is easier as you need less of a jump.
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Old 2011-12-13, 09:02 PM   #8
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Sounds like I need to propel my body up and over the UNI more and make an effort to just keep my front leg "locked" in position with only enough force to keep the pedals from rotating forward.
Precisely. Thinking of it as a "balance" thing may take you in the wrong direction as what you really learn to do is just not bend or unbend your knee.
  1. Put dominant foot on the (rear) pedal
  2. Swing your arms forward as you step/leap forward; this will help your momentum
  3. Dominant foot stays where it is; no change in knee angle
  4. Hit the front pedal with non-dominant foot
  5. WAIT (if necessary) for your center of mass to move in front of the axle (that's the part most often missed)
  6. Unfreeze your dominant leg and ride away
You can practice the leg-locking thing by just putting your foot on the rear pedal and jumping partially up onto the cycle, but not enough to balance up there. Just practice the jump-up without the foot moving.
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Old 2011-12-13, 10:56 PM   #9
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Thanks, I still haven't gotten this, but your tips definitely got me moving in the right direction. I can actually get my jumping foot onto the pedal before the cranks move, but I still haven't gotten enough forward momentum to prevent a roll-back. I haven't tried the "arm-swing" technique you just mentioned, so maybe that will be the kicker.
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Old 2011-12-14, 02:14 AM   #10
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BTW: I believe what you refer to as the "balance mount" is generally thought of as the "standard mount", it's the first one most people learn. When I initially spotted this thread I thought there was a new mount I must have missed!
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Old 2011-12-14, 05:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueharmony View Post
BTW: I believe what you refer to as the "balance mount" is generally thought of as the "standard mount"
I can see why one would call it "balance mount" as, when done wrong, you end up trying to ride away from a perfect balance (usually with your pedals in the dead spot). So it's actually neither. A Standard Mount is (supposed to be) when you do a half-revolution backward, then put your second foot on the now-rear pedal. But most people have trouble learning that, and end with the one pedal stuck at the bottom.

The goal here is to do a good Static Mount, where the wheel doesn't roll back at all; instead, the rider moves forward and gets the second foot onto the front pedal, then rides away from there. This is the most useful mount for a quick takeoff, and what you'll usually see people use in basketball and hockey games, or whenever they're in a hurry.
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I can actually get my jumping foot onto the pedal before the cranks move, but I still haven't gotten enough forward momentum to prevent a roll-back. I haven't tried the "arm-swing" technique you just mentioned, so maybe that will be the kicker.
Sounds like you may be rushing it, along with not enough "committment" in your lunge forward. The arms act like a pendulum, giving some extra oomph to help you get forward. Remember, the spot you're aiming for is not on top of the wheel, but a little in front of it.
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Old 2011-12-14, 08:29 AM   #12
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I learned to freemount (static mount) with the pedals level, my left foot on the back pedal and then kicked off with my right foot without putting any weight on my left foot.

When I kick off, I support my weight with my arm on the seat. I sort of lean on my left arm, wich gives me a little more time to place my right foot on the front pedal.
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Old 2011-12-14, 01:33 PM   #13
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This is the most useful mount for a quick takeoff, and what you'll usually see people use in basketball and hockey games, or whenever they're in a hurry.
True, and this is also requires minimum space - I find it very useful when dropping from small ground surfaces.
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Old 2011-12-14, 07:15 PM   #14
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The terms balance mount and idle mount came from the English translation of a book I bought "Unicycling: First steps and First Tricks." However, I agree that the term static mount and roll back mount are more accurate. The book I own was written by Germans, and possibly translated to English inaccurately. I'm not sure. Sorry for any confusion this caused.
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Old 2011-12-14, 07:24 PM   #15
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I was going to ask what a "balance" mount was. Now I'm assuming it's just your typical mount where the pedals are in the horizontal, you put one foot on, then hop up? I guess I always called that a "free" mount.
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