When I got my Coker, I thought it was brilliant (Cokörhead - Overthrill), then I got used to flying about the place at high speed and falling off (Cokörhead - It’s a Bomber), then I put the 125s on it, and did some silly speeds (Speed Freak) and then I got a bit tired of it. It was too big for road use on narrow lanes (I’m big on road safety - I see Coroner’s Reports at work) and too heavy for Muni. And it languished a bit, with the light and fast 28 taking over the road work, the 24 taking over the being silly, and the 26 concentrating on serious off roading.
But recently, I’ve got back onto it, and done some serious miles, sometimes at speed, and sometimes on rough ground… occasionally both. I did over 20 miles on Saturday, 12.5 on Sunday, 7.5 on Monday and about 8 tonight, and suddenly a new style of riding is taking over.
When you first get a Coker, you feel like you’re riding by kind consent of the unicycle. All your starts, stops and turns are the result of lengthy negotiation and compromise. Then you get the hang of it, and it is unintimidatiing, but you realise it can’t compete with a proper MUni for technical stuff, a 24 for manoeuvreability, or a 28 for safe road use. And you decide it’s like a Harley Davidson - it looks good, it has plenty of chrome, but it steers and stop like a pig, and has no acceleration. (Yes, I have ridden a Harley, and it was great fun, but…)
And now I’ve discovered that if you ride a Coker with commitment, keeping the speed up, choosing the route carefully, finding the best route along a difficult trail, and rushing the small obstacles instead of picking your way through them, it’s great.
Then there’s the Coker paradox - whilst it’s moving fast, it’s better balanced than any other unicycle, and will blast through stuff which would stop something smaller; but if it slows down too far, suddenly there’s a lot of it to balance. And it’s a long way down…
And sometimes you find yourself in the Cokerzone… that point in the ride when you should be slowing down, but you realise you’re going faster, because you’re going more smoothly, and reading the trail better, and you won’t stop for anything - until suddenly, after 3 or 4 miles of going for it, you notice you left the Coker behind about 5 yards ago, and it’s time to find a safe place to land. The Coker pentathlon: ride, fly, run, slide, writhe. (I hate the writhing.)
And after riding it hard for 40 minutes, it’s just so easy to ride it steadily - it does it all by itself - and you can warm down on your way to the car, watching the full moon rising pinkly over the river, a heron flapping low over the water, perfectly reflected in every detail, and water voles scurrying across the bank, then freezing motionless, hoping you’ve not seen them.
You know you want one. Cokörhead - it’s Ace in Spades.