Coining of the term UPD

For an “article” I was writing for my blog today, I decided to look into my supposed coining of the acronym UPD for the term unplanned dismount.

What I discovered is that while I did in fact come up with UPD (at least as we know it – not some of the earlier, unrelated versions), I did not invent “unplanned dismount” – which didn’t surprise me, since that term always seemed fairly self-explanatory anyway.

I did popularize the term, esp’ly when I came up with the acronym.

Klaas Bil once wrote about the anniversary of the term’s usage, and he cited the date of Nov. 7, 2001, when I wrote a post about Cokering. Actually, I found my own usage of “UPD” from July and August of that year. Remember that in 2001, there were relatively few forum readers; it’s not a surprise that it took a few months for the acronym to catch on.

If you give two sh$ts about this and would like to know more (ha!), you can follow this link to my blog, where the hot UPD issue is the top post:

Nice blog. And it had me in it, almost.


David, thanks for that. This was some time ago…

I think I based all of the statistics on a search for UPD on Google Groups. That would only find occurrences of the “word” UPD, i.e. a string UPD where the character before and the character after the string are a <space> or some punctuation mark including parentheses. “UPDs” as you wrote in July 2001 would have been missed for that reason.

I did at the time include searches for inflicted forms occurring during the first year after the first clean UPD, but not before that. I would agree that this is not very satisfying. Maybe I’ll redo that page later, especially if I can find out how to do some form of wildcard search like UPD on an online Usenet Archive. For now, I have just placed a warning sticker.

when did start??

I’m not entirely sure. It looks to me (from my searches) that the earliest posts are from the summer of 1999. There are a handful of posts from the mid-90s (the earliest that comes up on a search using the word ‘unicycle’ is from 4/15/93), but I am fairly certain that they weren’t made on the forum as we know it know.

Perhaps Gilby can verify some details about this.

The thing that I wonder about is what it actually means (no one reply ‘un-planned dismount’, that would be neither big nor clever).

I’d always thought that UPD was the kind of incident where you’re riding along, maybe on a nice smooth path, maybe over rough ground, and just lose your balance a bit and end up stepping off the unicycle.

That obviously isn’t universal though - we get posts along the lines of “I had a UPD where I was flying down a mountain, and on the 3rd of a series of 12 foot drops to rocky landings I got the angle a bit wrong and hit a tree head on and rolled 30 feet from my unicycle and landed on my head on a rock”. I generally don’t call that a UPD, but I use an old and lesser used word of ‘crash’.

The slight exception to this is high speed UPDs, which despite often having the results of the second category, are more like the first category. They just happen at speed so are a bit more interesting.

Is this a view I share with others, or am I just behind the times?


Ya know, I never thought about breaking it down into levels of UPD before but I tend to agree with you that sometimes it needs to be classified as a ‘crash.’

Steady now, I never suggested levels of UPD, I’m not that organised. I’m just curious about wether people just consider UPD to be unicyclist speak for crash, or a way of seperating the many insignificant falls that are inherent to unicycling from the more serious crashes.


If you look at David’s blog, I believe he discusses this very issue.


Cathy is exactly right. A few years ago I wrote a jokey post called “S-Levels for UPDs.” Here is the link: S-levels for UPDs

I’ve also reprinted that post in my blog (plug plug), at

My point was that there is still some confusion when we use the term UPD: Do we mean a crash, a slip-off, or something in-between? Using the system for rating tornadoes, I made a pretend system for rating UPDs. Like the tornado version, it went from level 0 to level 6, ranging from getting off on purpose (not a UPD at all) to “toe clips” (death). I mentioned some really bad crashes that my brother, friends, and I have had, tho most of us never reach level 5 (thankfully), where either the rider or the unicycle is incapacitated. I’ve never done so, tho my brother has on several occasions, as has Dustin Kelm (who broke a leg) and plenty of muni’ists who have broken their equipment.

My 2p worth
If you land on your feet its a dismount, if you land on someother part of the body its a fall/chrash/faceplant/wipeout etc.
So upd is un planned ejection from saddle that results in rider landing (somehow) on their feet.

Just to kind of ‘but in’ and add to the UPD Verses Crash discussion.
Should we / Can we distinguish between “I’m Tired, Want A Timeout”
stop and the get off it’s the end of the ride “Planed Dismount” in the
car park or at your front door.

Also i would like to TIMESTAMP the birth of the Acyromn of ITWAT which
would be a subsection of the PD area.


6th Jan 2006 13:50 GMT - Andy Parry

Sarah is “right” (as far as I’m concerned). That was really my intention years ago – to describe a non-splat-event. But the term go coapted to mean a “fall” or “crash” in some of its uses. Ah well.

As for the ITWAT acronym – haha. I love that. Maybe we can come up with an ICLAUDIUS acronym, too, to when you accidentally kill all of your relatives for power.

Gee Andy you like orating ride dismounts almost as much as you like causing them. :roll_eyes: But if you want to take credit for ITWAT I’ll not object.

Oh and if you’re trying to get sponsored by Cadbury’s I don’t think you’re going about it the right way :wink:

This is how I have always understood the term in the time that I have seen it’s use.