A visit to "The Uncycle Factory"

I am not trying to be judgmental here–just curious.

1)Is Tom Miller male or female?

  1. Does he/she have some really strange fingernails?


Yes, they are very long, a “form of protest” for him. It looks as though it’d be impossible to do any kind of machining, but he gets along quite well.


Is he protesting Darren Bedford leaving a unicycle in his yard for 21 years?

No, that unicycle is not alone. Stuff in the yard is there because there’s no room anywhere else. When I visited in early ‘83, he had his old 24’ on the side of the garage. I believe it was still there, unmoved, in the more recent photos.

I grew up in Kokomo and never knew about Tom. I did find a picture that I took of him in the early 80s riding a 24" uni in a parade. (I wasn’t a unicyclist at the time) I finally met him at a juggling convention in Fort Wayne a couple of years ago. I thought he was a woman carrying around plastic rings. I wasn’t a unicyclist until a couple of years ago. I like to ride my Coker on country roads. I think we are roughly the same age. Tom lives on the north end of town and has a pyramid of bowling balls in his front yard. He has a machine shop in his garage and knows alot about making custom unicycles, properties of metals, welding, etc. He also likes visitors and likes to talk. He spends a lot of his time recording TV programs looking for snippets of unicycles. He has several video recorders and thousands of video tapes.

He’s told me about being in the Peru Indiana circus when we was younger. This is an amature circuis held yearly in the town where circuses spend the winter in days gone by. He used to ride a giraffe uni on a high wire, amoung other things.

I recently cut my finger on a table saw and lost my fingernail. I called Tom to ask if there is a way to make nails grow faster. He said that there wasn’t, just like my Doctor, but I’m taking suppliments anyway. I have no idea how or why he keeps them so long.

He has about 10 less now. He made me take them at the last NAUCC. Refused any kind of money, and when I tricked him into taking some, he chased me a good hundred yards to try and give it back. Later he caught me and gave me 2-3 blue 24" tires that would likely fit a Schwinn. I can’t use them, and told him as much…Made me take them anyway. Anyone need blue tires?:smiley:

Another funny thing about Tom was he has been the Employee of the Year for his company every year, and has framed photos to that effect as well.:smiley:

he sorta creeps me out a bit

10less what? Unicycles? Video’s? Fingernails?

Yea, Videos. I could see how that might have been confusing.

wait, were did videos come from?

some of those seat look dangerous

You know I thought he would creep me out too. I heard about him from several people before I met him and it really scared me, but he’s a really nice guy. Extremely odd, but nice. He has a sign in his workshop that says

“If I were normal, you wouldn’t be here”

i want that giraffe w/ the tiny wheel

Tom’s super-long nails are fake ones, not the real thing. No problem growing them back…

Now THAT is my kind of lunatic. :smiley: If I ever have the guts to leave Big Corp America and hang out my own shingle, I’m totally stealing that idea.

I hope that there is enough growth in people taking up the sport to over-compensate for the growth in mass-produced unis. It would be nice if the sport can keep such a great craftsman busy into his retirement years.

Are you sure? Never knew you could buy super long fake nails…

I’ve looked at his fingernails and they are continuous. Also they are different lengths, one is much shorter than the others. If they were fake, I don’t think that would be the case. I’ll ask him the next time I see him. I promised to give him the book “One Wheel Many Spokes” when I’m done.

I don’t know how he lives. He lost a lot of business to the internet. (He has no interest in the internet or computers or accepting credit card payments)

the wheelbarrow one must be great for people trying to learn to juggle on their unicycle :smiley:

I have to reply to this now even though I didn’t the first time it went around. I just can’t take it anymore, I’m sorry. Tommi Miller actually makes unicycles, he doesn’t unmake cycles as the title of the thread might suggest.

Good catch. Good thing you don’t have to have good typing skills to learn how to unicycle.