I saw a post from 2001 asking about a Sears unicycle. Some opined that it would be hard to learn to ride on one of those. Well, I learned to ride on a Sears unicycle in 1971 and it was a snap and a joy. Used the long, narrow dormitory halls at Okla. U (which were built as army barracks around the time of the Spanish-American War) to train and would keep going when I reached the large central recreation room, getting a bit further each time until I felt comfortable taking it out of doors. I rode that thing all over town, even commuting to my job frycooking. I think it looked a lot like this one that’s for sale on Ebay:
I had a nice scooped out seat that provided good support in back.
Just picking up unicycling again after a 30 year hiatus with a new Torker DX. I remembered it was easy but am finding it’s not quite like climbing back on a bicycle. Got about 25 yards yesterday after several false starts. The pin-pedals seems to hinder more than help at this point but I know I’ll appreciate them when I’m out trail riding.
thats really cool. That’s what my Dad did a few months ago. He got us riding and we decided to turn around and buy him a 24" NImbus, and upgrade from a thirty year old Schwinn that he taught so many people to ride on.
That is identical to the sears Uni I learned on in 1975
I pretty much destroyed it trying off road and going off bmx bike jumps back then and a couple years later I p.u. a Schwin 20" and still have it but ride the better ones I have so it just collects dust.
It would be kinda neat to have one like what I learned on
Hey Cap’n, I went to OU from 70 to 73, was in the Theater School with Larry Drake (LA Law) and Ed Harris. When I played John in Lion in Winter (70), Larry ran lights on the show. Was supposed to have graduated in 74 but left for LA to become a perspiring young actor (Dave Hasselhoff and I were Equity apprentices in the first stage show either of us did in LA–As You Like It, 73). Eventually graduated from Cal State LA in 80. While in Norman, I frycooked at both the Sooner Restaurant (AKA Sweaty Betty’s) out on West Lindsay, and Ernie Wilson’s (RIP) famous & beloved Town Tavern (RIP) at the corner of West Boyd and Asp across from campus. Your parents will remember Town Tavern. The happiest year of my life was grilling steaks there on the evening shift and serving thousands of Sooner fans on game days (72-73), then leaving work at 9 to down red beers (beer & tomato juice, y’all) at the Library Bar. Warm regards, TJ
Rob, I never attempted to ride it on anything but paved streets or it might have had a similar fate. In fact, it occurred to me today that one of the problems I’m having getting up to speed is that I’ve been trying to ride on a bumpy, uneven asphalt path along the beach here in Alameda. It is also narrow and I’ve had to worry about turning the uni to keep it on the path. It’s hard to get a feel for “what’s normal” when the surface is constantly changing.
So, tomorrow I’m going to use the smooth asphalt behind a closed Safeway to get the feel of my DX. It has a length of wall to get started, plus it’s spacious and I won’t have to worry about steering too much–just staying up and finding my balance and a feel for the peddles.
As for the Schwinn, that was almost the end of my comeback as a unicyclist. I bought one about three years back and was so discouraged trying to ride it, I put it under the back porch and forgot about it. It had a slick-ish, shallow seat and the hole for the pin that secured the seat post had been mis-drilled just enough to throw the seat out of alignment 1/2 inch–enough that my right knee was brushing the seat as I pedaled. Very frustrating for a retread novice. I see they’ve improved the seat now and hope they’re drilling the pin holes in the right place as well. TJ
> Welcome back to unicycling, and the 30 year hiatus club! There are a lot of us.
Thank you, Ken. I was one of the few, the proud unicycling around Norman in the day. Enjoyed it so much, can’t say why it didn’t occur to get back to it sooner. But the present level of interest is JAW-DROPPING! To see the hundreds that turn out for rides and competitions is really bracing. And THE SKILLS!! I’m like da-yum, this has become an X-Games level pursuit. TJ
> That’s what my Dad did a few months ago. He got us riding and we decided to turn around and buy
> him a 24" NImbus, and upgrade from a thirty year old Schwinn that he taught so many people to ride on.
That’s really cool, man. Your dad sounds like a great guy. It’s also good to see so many guys online here representing for JC. Warm regards, TJ
Hmm. Don’t know if I ever mentioned Sears. The unicycle pictured above is a Stelber. Their claim to fame is hosting the unicycle convention that the Unicycling Society of America counts as “1”. Central Park, Oct. 1971. Bill Jenack helped them find riders to attend, in exchange for them not associating his name with the Stelber brand. Anyone who has an old copy of the original Unicycle Book (1973, Jack Wiley) will see pictures from that event with kids wearing Stelber T-shirts.
Though that Stelber has a real wheel (air tire & such), it still has a tricycle crankset (like mine but with longer cranks) and a seat very similar to my Troxel, which was actually decent compared to some others of its era. If you didn’t weigh much.
I hope that’s enough for Harper. Does that old Sears uni say Stelber anywhere on it? Or Sears? I’m identifying it as Stelber because I have one in my garage that looks just like it, with the Stelber sticker still intact. This probably means mine wasn’t bought at Sears. My Troxel may have been from Monkey (Montgomery) Ward.
> Does that old Sears uni say Stelber anywhere on it? Or Sears? I’m identifying
> it as Stelber because I have one in my garage that looks just like it, with the
> Stelber sticker still intact.
Hi John. You know, I haven’t seen the uni in 30 years and can’t recall if it was branded in any way. The one above bears a resemblance, with the exception of the frame style. I bought it just before Christmas, 71, from the Sears catalogue for about $50. I’m pretty sure the frame was a unified style with the seat post branching in an inverted Y-fashion into the forks (rather than the squared, welded type). It had an inflatable tire, the seat was scooped somewhat, well-padded and higher in back, and it had a lot of spokes, probably 40 or pretty close. I also vaguely recall a painted (blue?) frame and the peddles were pretty plain. Regards, TJ
Your frame description matches my old Troxel. It had a Schwinn-type frame, only the legs were made of tubing that was squished at the top to fit around the seat post. Mine had a 16" solid plastic tire. To my knowledge, only the Troxels had the Y-shaped frames among the “tricycle technology” unicycles. Stelbers and Hedstroms were more alike, similar to the one in the photo.
There used to be pictures of my old Troxel in a section called Unicycle Models at unicycling.org but it looks like Gilby may have “retired” much of the old content from that site with a recent update to the homepage.
Thanks John. I’ll see if I can find some Troxel pictures. However, I’m reasonably certain the tire on my was inflatable. Solid tires have some fairly noticeable differences in properties, don’t they? TJ