Hey! I’m not super active here anymore, but in case anyone is interested in following along, I’ll be riding across Canada this summer, from May to August or so.
My route is going to be from west to east, to take advantage of the prevailing winds, and I’m bringing some film gear with me to document the journey. I’ll be posting longer updates to my website at unicycledave.com, and daily or so updates on instagram @unicycle_dave.
Right now I’m just in the last stages of prep, making a few more bags and pouches and double checking all my gear before taking everything apart to hop on the plane.
I’ll be riding a schlumpf 36" with off-the shelf racks mounted, 125/110 dual hole cranks and a disc brake, and a KH T-bar handle. Normally I tour on a geared 29, but having the wider tire for bad road conditions and weather etc. seemed like a good idea.
If you’re somewhere near the southern Canadian border and think you might be on my route (there are only so many ways to ride across this country) - feel free to drop me a line!
Dave, That sounds like a great adventure. It will be interesting to follow along.
I wounder how your modern technology like a pneumatic tire, modern saddle, gears, brakes, handlebar, adjustable crank length, and different gear packing methods will compare with Wally Watts 1973 trip across Canada. Wally rode a homemade hard rubber tired 42" unicycle 4550 miles across Canada in 93 days. He reported that he made it up every hill and never took a zero day on the trip (50 miles per day average). Details here.
Ah! that’s so cool! I knew about wally watts, but have never seen the writeup with that much detail!
I’m going to be pushing much less hard than him - while in the past I’ve done up to 125km/day on average, it’s not really much fun, and I’m definitely far more on the side of ‘slow down and enjoy it’ for this tour.
I suspect it’s a lot more comfortable with modern ultralight gear - though I’m weighing myself down with silly things like a drone and a mirrorless camera, so perhaps it comes out even in the end - sounds like he didn’t even have rain gear at the start, and he had to build his own unicycle. He didn’t ride all the way to st. john’s though - I’m from there so I’ll be making sure to get allll the way out to the east coast before calling it over.
As the owner of a 45" uni with a similar tire to what Wally rode, I would absolutely pick the smaller 36" tire WITH AIR IN IT every time. The 45" is great for parades and showing off. I rode it in several NYC 5-Boro Bike Tours in the 80s and 90s, but that was enough. One section of that ride, in Brooklyn, was on brick streets!
For a long tour, probably more important than the tire is the saddle. Not sure what Wally was using, but it would be pretty crude by today’s standards. For his round-the-world ride (1976-78?) his seat looked like a loaf of bread (large and soft), and someone built him a spring-loaded seatpost somewhere along the way for him.
After that, having a brake surely will make a big difference for all those downhills in the Rockies and elsewhere.
I think he rode with nothing but a small backpack. Definitely no luggage on the uni!
Oh, and I just spotted that video clip of Wally in another thread. NO HANDLE! Even on the old Schwinns you could put the heel of your hand(s) on the front of the seat for a little support. Not on those foam blobs he had. That would be pretty bad.