25k Tt

Once again I am going out this weekend and attempting a sub 1-hour 25K (15 mile), out and back time trial. Once this mark is finally met, hopefully others will be interested in attempting to do the same. I will post my time, good or bad.

In the event some of the readers were not around when we were talking about this event several months ago, I will briefly explain the premise:

The consensus amongst the group is that a sub 1-hour 25K, or approximately 15 mile out and back time trial is achievable for most people. Some will do it rather easily, but most will need to train very hard in order to accomplish it. This distance is short enough so that a near maximum effort can be sustained for the duration, and long enough to require a good amount of endurance just the same. For the most part, the 25K is the optimal skill and fitness measuring stick for the speed and distance unicyclists.

I will start a spreadsheet as soon as someone posts his or her time. As we have discussed, this is a good first step towards defining, and keeping track of our own records. The bicycling and running community did not wait around for Guiness to establish speed and distances, and either should we. We need to establish distances that are significant to us, and forget about what Guinness requires. They can print from our records if they so choose!

I would encourage those that participated in the Rag Bri tour to go out and test themselves at this distance. It would be interesting to see if they have the speed required to do a sub 1 hour. Obviously they wont have any problem with the endurance part of it.

BTW-No one to my knowledge has yet to post a sub 1 hour out and back 25K TT.


I love that gettin stuff done yourself attitude and it sounds like your getting ready for a cool ride.

Here’s my (maybe) ignorant question. Will you set a standard size wheel for this TT? Clearly a 24" would be vastly different from a Coker. I’ve never come close to approaching this distance on either, so I don’t think I could estimate what wheel one would use on a 15 mile TT.

The 25K or 15 mile TT is a distance determined to be very challenging for 36 inch Cokers to travel in 1 hour. When faster geared hubs become more available, a separate “open category” at a longer distance will need to be established so that completing the course in 1-hour continues to be a challenge. But for now, due to the limited owners of geared hubs, and 20, and 24-inch wheels already having their own categories, the focus will be 36 inch Cokers.

With the advent of the Coker and geared unicycles, we need to agree on some distances that characterize several different riding styles. Next years national unicycling championships should include a 3-stage race designed for speed and distance enthusiasts. In addition to the 25K TT, there needs to be a much longer race, perhaps 60 miles, set up in a road race fashion. There should also be a hill climb stage, consisting of 10 to 20 miles, depending on location and elevation gain. This would provide an opportunity for different types of riders to showcase their speed. The best all around rider will have the least accumulative time in all 3 events.

The 25K TT is designed to promote speed and distance unicycling without having to wait for UNICON or the gathering of everyone to a common location. It can be preformed at almost any geographic location, and because it’s ridden in an out and back fashion, advantages from one course to another are going to be minimal. Moreover, short of the winner of the stage race, the 25K TT should be the premier event. Fashioned after amateur cycling’s coveted “flat out and back” 40K TT, it tests speed, power, and endurance in a single event.

These are just my 2 cents worth. Comments are welcome!


Maybe an “open category” would include a 27-speed bicycle with the forks cut off. After reading your post, I decided to check the time on my cateye at the 15 mile point of today’s 40 mile ride. I’m pretty close to the 1 hour point. Of course I seem to be in a category by myself. Maybe I’ll fit in somewhere. :frowning:

The fact that you are actually riding this bike/uni is way cool! It must work pretty well too because 15MPH for an hour on any unicycle is fast! Next time you feel the urge for speed, do 7.5 miles out, turn around and trace your way back. Post your time, and I will start a spreadsheet for the “open category”. Unicycles similar to yours are gaining in popularity.

Which reminds me of a nice story. I heard that some really smart guy spent countless hours in his garage designing and building an epliyclic hub. It was said that the hub not only worked incredibly well, but also looked good too!

He supposedly used it in the making of a unicycle, and even gave his creation some sort of scientific name. In fact, I think the maker was some sort of scientist who worked at some big university that liked to unicycle in his spare time. He may have built it in some sort of laboratory in his house. If true, this creation would also qualify to be ridden in the “open category”

Anyway, soon after he was finished building it, a real fast unicyclist, who lived way on the other side of the country convinced the scientist to ship his unicycle to not only him, but also a bunch of other unicycle enthusiasts scattered about the country for trials. It was said that there was like 10 or 15 stops throughout the course of the journey, and a bunch of people got to ride it before its return back to the scientist months later.

Supposedly, when the unicycle showed up at the scientists house after its journey, it had brand new upgraded parts fitted by some of the people that got to ride it! I think the upgrade included a seat, tire, rim, pedals, and even a frame!

At this point the story starts to turn into a unicycle fairy tale. I guess the scientist brought his eplicyclic hub fitted to this newly upgraded unicycle, along with a camera to some big world unicycle convention. He took a bunch of pictures of people riding it. Then, somewhere towards the end of this big convention HE AUCTIONED IT OFF! But, guess what? After all his time and effort, he didn’t even keep the money for himself! HE DONATED THE PROCEEDS to some sort of unicycle news group who desperately needed the money. For all I know it could have been this one.

I know it’s just a fairy tale but it’s a good one, worthy of sharing. Short of the scientist, I could actually see something similar happening amongst a bunch of unicyclists. You all seem to be real nice people. However a smart, generous scientist, who rides a unicycle in his spare time is a little bit far fetched.


I don’t buy it. It would never work.

Re: 25k Tt

“nbrazzi” <nbrazzi.94fmb@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message
> I don’t buy it. It would never work.
If that’s uni-biking you’re talking about, I don’t see why, if you’ve got
the handle bars still on your uni-bike, it should be pretty straightforward.
Any good trials biker / bmxer would be able to ride it.

Obviously I don’t know whether unibiker is taking the piss or not, but it
isn’t impossible.


Re: Re: 25k Tt

No, I was referring to dan’s story about the santa claus-like unicycle scientist. Sound a little far-fetched to me :wink:

Re: Re: Re: 25k Tt

Yeah, it’s definitely a fairy tale. Does anyone know where I can find the original copy of this fairy tale? I’m sure my version did it no justice. I did some research in the children’s section of several libraries and had no successes.

The original version would be a great addition to my unicycle collection. So far I have a really cool bronze statue of a big-wheel unicyclist. I have several unicycle poems, one of which was written and posted by a member of this newsgroup. This may be the only fairy tale ever written having any association with unicycles.

Any help in locating this tale would be appreciated!


7.5 miles out sounds like the biggest part of the problem. It’s pretty hilly around here. But I’ll look around for an ‘out and back loop’ without traffic, stop lights, or dog leashes stretched across the path. Would a short loop work as well? You have just as many uphills as downhills. I usually prefer a one-way ride at slower speeds, but at 15MPH my pea brain is too busy to look around at the scenery anyway.

Another point. Is the standard distance going to be 25k(approx 15.5miles) or 15miles? At 15MPH, I think we have about a 2-minute difference. This might create some confusion in your records later on.

Another question that may pop up on down the line. I should have thought of this before, but I’m a little drained from today’s ride. 20 miles (which was an unsuccessful new seat test ride; where’s that new Velo?) was too much after Thursday’s 40, but I didn’t realize it until I was 10 miles from the van. (Whimpy old man)

Should the 25k time be started from a standstill, or while already up to speed? This may also cause confusion in the records once you start receiving results, since it takes a while to get up to speed, whether starting with a huge wheel; using a high gear ratio - (ie; Harper’s ingenious toy which I never got to try, dammit); or shifting your way up to the necessary gear. My 15MPH ratio is about 2.27 (34 top/15 bottom), but I start at 1.21 (34/28) and work my way up slowly, probably costing a minute or so.

But finding a 7.5 mile one way ride is still the biggest problem. Searching. Searching.

surely this will be from a standing start
or, taking a leaf from the cycling book, seated on the uni and being held upright by a coach/trainer/friend
dan, if u keep this up, u r going to force me to close my eyes and have a coker imported
at 1:15 exchange rate u can understand why i’m kicking against the urge
for now…


For about the last year, several people including myself have been speculating optimal wheel size/crank size/cadence combinations for efficient riding on mostly flat terrain. Coker riders, limited to a 36 inch wheel, are forced to settle for less than optimal crank size/ cadence combinations in order to net fast speeds. For example, in order to average 15MPH with a 36-inch wheel, very short cranks are selected in order to minimize energy expended in the act of ones legs turning at a very fast cadence. We are in a sense working the process backwards. It is much more effective to find your optimal crank length, then your optimal cadence, and lastly select your wheel size or gear inch to complete the equation. You with you unibike, unlike Coker riders, can complete the equation by shifting gears, i.e. finding the optimal gear inch or wheel size based on your optimal crank size/cadence combination.

You revealed that a 34 x 15 front chain ring/ rear cog combination is optimal for a speed of 15MPH. I assume that since this vehicle started in the form of a mountain bike, you are using a 26-inch wheel. If my math is correct, you have selected about a 58-inch gear as optimal for a speed of 15MPH. I am not good at math but I’m guessing your cadence falls into the 75 to 95 range considered to be optimal for most riders. I find this rather telling. This is the reason I am looking forward to geared unicycles!

In response to your questions, lets go with 15 miles rather than 25K. I suspect that for most of us making the attempt, the mile measurement will be easier. The only reason a kilometer measurement is referenced is because according to John Foss, it will be a requirement at UNICON. But for now lets use MILES!

I use a rolling start simply because I have no one to hold me up. Technically someone when starting should hold us up, but again for now a rolling start is fine. 1 hour is long enough so that your method of starting will not play a significant factor in the final result. It will have much more to do with your level of fitness and pain threshold.

Finding a good course can be difficult. My advice is not to look for a course that is straight. Turns are not going to hinder you speed very much. My course consists of many turns. Again, the only requirement is that you trace your way back upon reaching the half way point. Good Luck!

I’m not making much headway with my search in finding the Unicycling Scientist fairy tale. Most people that I have spoke with having knowledge in fairy tales claim that the scientist will most likely have some unusual physical characteristic in addition to his unusual unicycling pastime. The enormous deed displayed by the scientist meets the criteria for a fairy tale, however the limited information I have with regard to his physical attributes impedes its discovery

I remember hearing a reference to this scientist having unusually long hair and something peculiar about his knees. Any clarification would be appreciated and undoubtedly speed up my quest in locating the orginal tale.


RE: 25k Tt

> In response to your questions, lets go with 15 miles rather
> than 25K. I suspect that for most of us making the attempt,
> the mile measurement will be easier.

I highly recommend you use the metric system. Even if this starts out only
with American riders, most of the world’s fastest unicyclists live in Asia
and may become interested someday. Even if they don’t, the whole world
basically uses metric, except us. Miles are yesterday.

But if it’s easier to find measured courses in miles, maybe people should
track times for both 15 miles and 25k. At the rate the US is “converting” to
metric, you may be able to keep your miles designations forever, at least to
compare to other American riders. The ones from the rest of the world,
however, will most likely use kilometers.

Ever wonder why a marathon running race is 26 miles and 385 (or however
many) yards? That’s because it equals the 42 kilometers the rest of the
world calls it.

> The only reason a kilometer measurement is referenced
> is because according to John Foss, it will be a requirement
> at UNICON.

That’s because UNICON, like most Olympic sports, uses kilometers. Don’t know
if a 25k will ever be a regular event, but you can always petition hosts to
add it. So far we’ve never raced over 10k at a UNICON, though in Japan they
have done much longer races. USA has done 9.5 miles (end-to-end on a
rail-trail in Iowa).

Stay on top,
John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone
www.unicycling.com <http://www.unicycling.com>

“This unicycle is made all from lightweight materials. But it uses a lot of
them.” – Cliff Cordy, describing the very heavy new prototype unicycle he
brought on the Downieville Downhill

Re: RE: 25k Tt

All the time trial cyclists in the UK still use miles. The standard distances being 10, 25, 50 and 100miles.

History lesson …
When the modern Olympic games were inaugurated in 1896 in Greece, the legend of Pheidippides was revived by a 24.85 mile (40,000 meters) run from Marathon Bridge to Olympic stadium in Athens.

At the 1908 Olympic Games in London, the marathon distance was changed to 26 miles to cover the ground from Windsor Castle to White City stadium, with 385 yards added on so the race could finish in front of royal family’s viewing box. This added two miles to the course, and is the origin of the Marathon tradition of shouting “God save the Queen!” (or other words relating to the Queen) as mile post 24 is passed. After 16 years of extremely heated discussion, this 26.2 mile distance was established at the 1924 Olympics in Paris as the official marathon distance.

So it started from a sensible round metric distance (40K) changed momentarily to a roundish imperial distance (26m) to an arbitrary imperial distance (26m 385y).

Leo White

RE: 25k Tt

> All the time trial cyclists in the UK still use miles. The standard
> distances being 10, 25, 50 and 100miles.

Okay, so the US and UK. But since unicycling is not an archaic sport with
100+ years of racing history, I still recommend kilometers.

Thanks for the history lesson on marathons. That was fascinating!



I’m not sure what my optimal cadence is, but the cat-eye has a cadence option. If this will help anyone with their experimentation, let me know and I’ll check it. However, it may not be a good indicator for young guys with strong legs. One of mine cost a fortune (thanks to a drunken idiot behind the wheel), but doesn’t perform like it. I also don’t know what my optimal crank length is. I do know that while you’re weighing the optimal speed combination, you need to leave yourself with enough power to correct for an unexpected tilt forward (unless you can run 15 or 20MPH). For this reason, I have stuck with the extra leverage of longer cranks. With a fork and front wheel in place for safety, I have run much higher gears, but due to the resulting loss of power associated with higher gear ratios, I am less able to correct for a bump or dip, and sometimes find myself very glad to have a front wheel to land on at 25+. You’re right about the 26” wheel; my next modification. The damned quick release axle, which came with the Bontrager disc wheel, keeps slipping when I drop off of things, causing an immediate UPD. I’m switching back to an old-fashioned axle that I can tighten. The 58” gear? You’d better ask Harper about that one.
There are obviously different trains of thought on the measurement issue. Maybe I’ll do 25k and calculate the 15mile time. No, I can’t be fiddlin’ with the mode button at 15 or 16MPH so I can read both times. I wonder if there is a speedo that will show time, distance, and speed in the same display??
And the turns are not my worry; rather the traffic, stop signs, and peds. The only un-impeded place I’ve found is a 0.8 mile loop (10 laps one way, 10 the other? How boring.)
But I’m still looking.
What are your times looking like anyway?

RE: 25k Tt

> I’m not sure what my optimal cadence is, but the cat-eye
> has a cadence option. If this will help anyone with their
> experimentation, let me know and I’ll check it.

I’ve installed a few computers on unicycles, but I never bothered with the
cadence thingie. On a unicycle, your speed equals your cadence equals your
speed. It’s different when you have gears. You can use a cadence measurement
to relate your cadence to your desired speed, so you might find that useful.
But you can’t use the cadence measurement as something to try to maintain,
like on a bike. You simply have to pedal at the speed required to acheive
your goal.

> fiddlin’ with the mode button at 15 or 16MPH so I can read
> both times. I wonder if there is a speedo that will show
> time, distance, and speed in the same display??

I think I have seen at least one like this. I can’t remember the brand
though, but start with Specialized. They had one at my local bike shop with
a really big display, that probably shows everything at once. The thing was
about 4" wide!

Stay on top,

Thanks John,
Specialized IS a good place to start since this contraption was a Rockhopper before I mutilated it. When I obtained the cat-eye, it was the only one available that had wires long enough to run off of the rear wheel. And it has served me well. It helps the motivation when you can see how far you’ve gone. You can see when you have reached your goal, and the natural next step is setting a new goal ‘in flight’, providing motivation to keep going, and going. Kinda like the Energizer bunny (and you’re getting good exercise in the process). A speedo/odometer should be standard equipment on all unicycles (although I don’t know where it would be mounted), because when you get bored pedaling, you need a goal to strive for.


You have already made reference to your optimal cadence. You prefer a 34-inch chain ring in conjunction with a 15-tooth cog. Since we know that your wheel size is 26, we can figure out your gear inch, or the size of wheel you are in effect turning. My math tells me it is slightly over 58 inches.

Knowing your gear inch is slightly over 58, we can figure out what your average cadence must be in order to achieve 15 MPH. You already indicated that the above gear configuration is optimal for a desired speed of 15MPH. Hopefully, there are some math whizzes reading this thread willing to help us… I used to have some reference information regarding this, but I can’t find them.

For now stick with 15MPH. We can change it later if need be.

With regard to optimal crank length: if you are using 165MM-185MM, short of a possible slight adjustment, you are using the right ones. Years of reserch and practice have shown that 165MM-180MM is optimal size for most people in most riding situations. Coker riders use shorter cranks because of the limited wheel size. Fortunately you do not have to settle for short cranks like the rest of us.

Keep looking for a course and you will eventually find one. Once you do, riding the course as fast as you can will become addicting.

I did go out last week-end and make an attempt at a fast time. I did great for 20 minutes before totally blowing up. I think I went out too fast. However, I have no excuses and will try again this weekend. Let me know how your riding is going.