Cross Country Unicyclist

I did a search and saw no reference to this fellow, Patrick Thomas. He is riding cross country from San Francisco to New York. I posted the story in the articles thread, but thought someone riding 3,000 miles alone deserved their own thread.

[edit]Apologies to the other 5,700,000,000 or so people on the planet. I meant, of course, US cross country unicyclist.[/edit]

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Cory Farley - Opinion

Cory Farley
489 words
25 June 2004
Reno Gazette-Journal
© Copyright 2004, Reno Gazette-Journal. All Rights Reserved.

Could you pick a worse ride?

This Space never meant to become the Reno Gazette-Journal’s Weird-Vehicle-Across-The-Country Reporter. Yet whenever anybody comes through town bound for Boston in a birchbark canoe, I wind up with the story.

Take Patrick Thomas, who stopped this week en route from San Francisco to New York. Thomas is traveling not on two wings, nor on four wheels, nor two.

He’s on a unicycle. One wheel, and it’s even less suited to the task than you’re thinking:

o There are no brakes.

o There are no gears. One turn of the pedals equals one revolution of the wheel.

o There’s no coasting. The foot bone’s connected to the pedal bone, the pedal bone’s connected to the wheel. If the unicycle is moving, so are Thomas’ feet.

o The only luggage space is a backpack. Where would you attach a rack? He set out with four changes of clothing, but has mailed three home to save weight.

o Whatever water Thomas needs for the desert has to go in the backpack, too.

o It’s slooooow. A reasonably fit bicyclist might average 15 miles per hour. Thomas can maintain “eight or nine” on a short ride, but on longer trips he shoots for six.

“It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do,” the San Francisco elementary school teacher said. “A unicycle is my main mode of transportation around the city.”

You can’t have an adventure without a cause these days, and Thomas has two: America’s Second Harvest, a Chicago-based organization that feeds the needy, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, in honor of his mother, who has survived two bouts with cancer and “is on her third life.”

He isn’t accepting donations personally. He intends to make it on his own, about 3,000 miles in 65 days. His Web site describes how to contribute to the two organizations.

It also explains his route and tracks his progress, which so far has been disappointing to him, though impressive to the unicycle-challenged. As of Monday, he was four days, about 175 miles, behind. But he said he has no doubt he’ll finish.

From Reno, Thomas was scheduled to head for Fallon, then spend the next six or seven days crossing Nevada. Salt Lake City should come two days later; he’ll continue through Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, reaching New York in late August.

Along the way, he’ll hit up the media for stories. His goal is to average $1 in donations from everyone who hears about his trip, feed some hungry children and ease the lives of some people with cancer. Learn more at

Cory Farley can be reached at (775) 788-6340 or

I wonder what size wheel he’s using.

Looks like a 20" or a 24". Someone ought to lend him a more suitable ride…

From the pictures on his site, I think I’m seeing an old style 24" Schwinn. With the old (1983 or earler) seat! Ouch! In one of the pictures, his unicycle appears to have lolipop bearings. But I think he just has the one.

My guess would be that he is not connected to (many) other unicyclists, and he may not have much knowledge about who has done similar rides before, or even his equipment and comfort options.

Making the ride unsupported is really tough, especially on a 24". He won’t be the first to do it, but many of the cross country riders have either had faster cycles, or support vehicles.

Let’s all wish him luck. And if you want to “be a part” of his ride, be sure to make a donation to one or both of his charities.

Go Cory! You might not know about us, but now we know about you!

The fellow is actually Patrick Thomas. Cory is the condescending columnist.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

What a challenge! It would be cool if some experienced (or unexperienced!) unicyclistsin the US could give him a helping hand, maybe doing short sections of his ride with him. Then maybe some local fundraising could happen and raise the total by a lot!

Or if anyone has a more suitable unicycle, wheel or even saddle they are willing to lend or even donate (charity people!) that would be really nice.

If I sit on my Miyata saddle after riding a KH or air seat and my God it hurts! I can’t imagine riding several miles on anything less than a KH and wouldn’t think of going thousands on less than a 12"deep air/gel/bean bag seat.

Make the guy feel part of the unicycling community!

I hope to hook up with Patrick over Rabbit Ears Pass, Steamboat Springs area. His pre-trip schedule has him in that area during NAUCC, so I’m not sure if it will work. Does anyone know how to get in touch with him besides his email? I will bring a KH saddle and post with me.

Too bad he didn’t know about this site before embarking upon this journey. Knowing this group he could have been able to get a considerable amount of support. I am sure now that those of you in his path know about this you will be offering it up.

I sent him an email with a link to the Reno Gazette article as well as this site. I suggested that if he kept his blog up-to-date and/or posted here he might find many friendly faces to ride with along the way. I hope he does.

Hopefully he gets to check his email, at least on his rest days.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Patrick has updated his blog. He is on a 24".

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Good grief. 24"? I find my 24" to be painfully slow even for rides around the park which is about 2 miles depending on where I ride. There must be an old 700c rim and old uni hub kicking around that could be donated!

… He’s going to be a couple days ahead of RAGBRAI through Iowa. I’ll be on it, but afterwards… Any other Iowans want to see him out of the state? I thought I might meet up with him on his last day in Iowa. Has he got a comfy seat yet?


On the third day of his ride he passed within a few miles of my house, right along the American River Bike Path, where I ride to work! I wish I’d known about it sooner. Hopefully before he goes too far he’ll have the chance to switch to at least a 26" wheel, if not something bigger. And shorter cranks! Judging by that old Schwinn I saw, he’s probably using 140s.

Patrick has updated his blog. As of August 22 he was in Chicago.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Patrick’s itinerary for his final days of riding are now up on his Blog.

It looks like he is going to try to ride from Montclair, NJ to the George Washington Bridge early on the morning of Friday, Sept 17th crossing the bridge into NYC starting at 9:00 AM.

I am going to attempt to meet up with him and he has invited any and all cyclists (any number of wheels) to join him. The logistics of all this are vague, but if you’re interested let me know and I’ll keep you informed of how this all will (might) work. Email at:

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

This is a bump.

Patricks plan is to go from the GW bridge (Hudson Terr, Fort Lee, NJ, 8:30) to Times Square and then to Sloan-Kettering. He has an appointment with Inside Edition downtown at 11:30.

I’d like to meet with him, possibly at the GW bridge but don’t want to get up at 4:30-5:30 and do the NYC morning rush hour, can anybody near Fort Lee put up me up for the night?

Dude, where’s my Coker? :thinking:

Way AWESOME, Patrick. Self-supported w/backpack on a 24 inch wheel…now that’s tough!

You da man, Patrick.

Hope I get to meet you some day.

Looks like he went through Kokomo Indiana in August. I wish I would have known.

I am definetly going to try and catch him!
Where and when, I’m not sure (manhattan can be tricky when it comes to things like this…)

So did he make it? ANyone go? Brian did you make it? News, Updates etc…