Dispirited and misanthropic

I used to be a member of the MZ Riders Club - a motorcycle club associated with old East German 2 stroke motorcycles made by MZ and Simson. When I sold my MZ, I kept in touch with the club, and kept threatening to ride to a meeting on my unicycle. In MZ circles, there is a thing called “Zed cred” which is the kudos you get from achieving the maximum with the minimum. 500 miles on a 250cc 2 stroke is big Zed cred; 40 miles on a Honda Pan European is nil Zed cred. Arriving at the club with only one wheel and no engine at all just has to score maximum points! :sunglasses:

So which uni? The Coker hasn’t been out much recently, and I decide for a variety of reasons that it would be the best one - not least because if I’m going to impress my mates, the Coker has to be the most impressive. (Yes, in the context of the rest of this post, this is hypocritical. It’s a human failing.)

And for pedants: the club’s name has no apostrophe in it. I think it ought to have one too.

The ride starts on a low note when I have to stand like a lemon for ages, waiting for 3 little girls and a horse to plod up the path towards me and get out of the way. As they approach, the little girl says in that superior way that “proper little madams” have, “Oh, I had a go on one of those once. I could only ride it 5 metres though.”

Across the field, along the river bank, and there are too many people about - it’s Sunday morning, and they are entitled to be out, of course, but do they have to be in my way? And every single one of them catches my eye, makes an unsolicited comment, demands a response, and I’ve been talking to strangers all week for a living, and I don’t want to do it in my own time. Why does riding a unicycle make me public property?

Then I get to the suspension bridge, and I approach slowly, and wide, keeping a good lookout for cyclists. A young woman on a bike comes down off the ramp from the bridge. She isn’t concentrating, and she weaves towards me totally unpredictably, and not looking where she’s going. As I am forced to dismount to avoid a collision, she still displays no evidence that she understands that she is responsible for her actions, or that her actions have consequences.

A small crowd seems to accumulate, and I’m feeling grumpy. I fluff my first attempt at a mount, succeed clumsily the second time, and ride over the bridge.

More tarmac path by the river, more comments. More pedestrians who ignore my polite, “Excuse me, please,” or who sidestep into my path for no apparent reason. Then I reach the section of path that’s closed and have to ride on the road. Big black ‘n’ chrome 4x4s abound, and every driver has an insight to share with me.

I have a fairly joyless ride to Beeston Marina, finding that the Coker offers less challenge than the 700c on the riverside track, but is unwieldy in the tight manoeuvring I need to get over the canal footbridge. I used to do about 60 miles a week on this thing, but it’s amazing how quickly I’ve lost the intuitive feel for how it steers.

At last, at the marina, a coffee and an egg bap. Thee seems to be a local bread shortage, and they’ve improvised with cardboard.

Then it’s the nature reserve. Foolishly, I have chosen to ride a unicycle along a bridle path (open to pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders) at a time when every dog owner in Nottinghamshire has taken his dog out and let it off the lead. Progress through the nature reserve is slow and irritating, holding back, waiting for people to retrieve and restrain their dogs, waiting for people to realise that they are sharing a path with bicycles and at least one unicycle. People seem to go about in their own little bubble sometimes.

Then the piece de resistance: the person in a car, driving along the track, and expecting all the pedestrians, cyclists, children and the unicyclist to get out of his way because his vehicle is motorized. This is a bridle path, remember?

Out onto the road, where I am nearly knocked off by a sudden unpredictable spurt of acceleration from a woman driving a 4x4 truck as I ride across a road island. Then I cruise along a pavement (giving way to pedestrians, because this is definitely their territory) and I finally make it to the pub where I meet a few members of the MZ Riders Club and spend a happy hour or so talking about old times and mutual friends.

Time to leave, and I see that several blokes are in the front window of the pub watching me get ready. I suffer the indignity of a chorus of the circus tune (dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da!) and as I mount, a rousing ironic cheer.

Out onto the pavement and a car drives past. A young male moron hangs out of the passenger window of a passing car, almost as far as his waist, and shakes his fist and shouts, “Are you f***ing real or what?” I’m sure that shouting unprovoked abuse at strangers in the street is an indicator of insanity.

Back to the nature reserve, which is still crowded. A tall fat ugly man in a football shirt approaches with a dog that is not on a lead. The dog snaps at my feet as I ride past. I swear at the dog. The man glares at me. I suggest he should keep the dog under control. He says I shouldn’t be cycling there. (So it’s OK for his dog to attack me?) I explain that it’s a bridle path, cycles are allowed, and if he can’t control his dog he should keep it on a lead. We part on terms of mutual hostility.

Through the marina, which is a pedestrian only area, and I always push the uni. Two people with whom I have not made eye contact feel free to demand that I let them see me ride it. I ignore them.

Back onto the canal bank, with some shouted comments from the occasional fisherman, and from one passing boatman. It’s usually a pleasant ride along this canal bank, but it’s too crowded today. I pass a young wino who is busy abusing passers by and swigging cheap cider probably paid for from my taxes. He laughs uproariously as I ride past, and is still laughing as I go round the next corner 500 metres further on.

Around the next corner, a hill that I always treat as a bit of a challenge. I’ve never made it up yet. Well, I won’t today, either, because anglers have spread their kit out all over the path, meaning I have to dismount and carry the unicycle. “What, can’t you ride it up that little hill?” says one of them. He is desperately close to getting a free swimming lesson.

Then more canal path, until I am again forced to stop by the angler who has spread his carbon fibre pole right across my path. At least he has the good manners to apologise after he has forced me to dismount.

Out onto the pavement and across Trent Bridge, where someone in a car feels it is necessary to sound his horn repeatedly as he passes me. Then I’m back down onto the river bank and, frankly, glad to be nearly back at the car.

I reckon that I’ve had more abuse and gratuitous comments in one ride than I’ve had for months. Is it the Coker that provokes it, because it is so big? I can’t quantify it, but I do feel that the 700c gets the least hostile response of all my unicycles. Maybe it’s simply the wheel size - it looks like a one wheeled bicycle, rather than a novelty item?

And I can’t say there have been many moments when I’ve enjoyed riding the Coker. My mounting and precision steering have got rusty over the last few months. On a rough track, the Coker just irons out the bumps and offers no challenge, compared to the 700c.

I may sell it.

How much (if you do)

you probably need to increase the attenuation to the exitation circuit of your Heisenberg compensator.


Mikefule, your frustration oozes out of the story. Definately some days there are more comments than others. I don’t know what the difference is. Sometimes everyone comments, sometimes no-one.

The moral of the story seems to be: it’s ok for people to shout abuse at unicyclists but not for unicyclists to shout abuse at dogs. Hmmm.


And in the end the old Coker gets all the blame. Double Hmmm.

Sorry, my life is way too full to even think about organising the posting a hundred weight of steel and rubber from a provincial English town to somewhere in Colorado. I was thinking more like dealing face to face with someone in Notts/Leics/Derbys/Lincs or, at a stretch, Devon.

My house is tiny, and full of clutter. The Coker takes up more space than the other unis, and is not earning its keep at the moment.

One possible plan is to sell the Coker and the Pashley Muni and use the money as part funding for a good 24 inch Muni, and to rely on the 700c for road/easy trails and distance. That leaves the 20 for Morris dancing and hockey.

Being a mild depressive living in a city recognised as the second worst place to live in Britain (according to a recent TV show) gets the blame. But it is noticeable, to me, that I get more aggro on the Coker than on the 28.

It seems a while since I had the time and energy to use the Coker for what it does best.

Still got a telly? I thought you were a sensible person.

You should give old Coker another chance. Apparently this was not the best day or route for a reunion between the two of you. Sitting atop a 36" wheel pedalling among crowds of people is mentally challenging. It doesn’t matter if you are the most normal person on the planet - up there you will feel like a freak unless you are surrounded by ten other Coker riders (my guess). Communicating with people from that position is very difficult. For other people to communicate with someone sitting on this contraption is probably also difficult in many cases. But Coker riding is worth this agony. You know it. Now go to Coker and say I’m sorry, I won’t sell you.

what the talking, gold-plated chicken said. apologize to that there coker.

Maybe the full moon caused this and all the luna®tics are out.

I’m trying to decide what to say…you obviously had a bad day, but you didn’t spend enough time in the post writing about the fun you had with your mates…seems like they got the short shrift along with your coker. They all need to hear you say nice things about them! :smiley:

Now…if you were to sell your coker you’d be better off selling to someone over here because the minute you turn it over to a neighbor, they’ll be running you down on the bridle path at the nature reserve, smiling the whole while because cokering is FUN!

I think that depression is sneaky and makes us think that other things make us that way, but really we just get that way sometimes…it’ll pass. Keep the coker around until it does.

I’ve not had a TV since 1985 and I have no intention of getting one. However, it’s impossible to avoid knowing what’s on TV. Yesterday’s TV counts as today’s news in so many of the papers, and on the wireless.

Keep away from them papers they will depress you, no question about that.

Maybe a different route is in order, regardless of what sensational TV programmes claim there are still good people in this here county (world?). Or maybe a ride with some of us other Coker riders in the area, become the majority in the situation, how the dynamics of people can soon change then. I know people used to openly mock the single MZ (maybe they still do, I don’t know, but I haven’t seen one for years) though a gang of them would be a different matter (I’m now getting visions of a gang of Coker riders dressed in leathers with full face helmets etc. :D)

I remember someone saying , a long long time ago, that english society was like vinaigrette sauce : oil and vinegar are the components but they don’t mix well.
That’s why you meet both gentlemen and terribly gross people (no surprise then that Karl Marx elaborated from what he saw in England).
And now when descendants of these humble people meet a gentleman on horseback they just voice out loudly their discontent of not being able to raise up!
sad … we should start an N.G.O “Cokeurs for the underprivileged”:wink:

Odd, I seem to get the most respect and awe while riding the 36er. Maybe it’s the chrome. Replace it with a Hunter frame and the UDC deluxe wheel. :smiley: Sometimes it’s better to accelerate out of trouble, rather than hit the brakes.

if the price is right, i could be quite tempted to buy your albertross from you,
If you’re playing hockey on Tuesday we’ll discuss it over a beer…

I fear for Mikefule’s sanity.

His stories have gone from enjoying beautiful scenery to loathing humanity.

I can picture him up in the clock tower in rainbow wig and authentic M7 clown nose rocking back and forth with his finger gently caressing the trigger 'dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da! 'dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da! 'dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da! 'dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da! 'dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da! 'dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da! 'dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da! 'dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da! 'dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da dit dit diddle iddle dit dit da da!

Away this week. Should be there next week, though. See how I go.

I’m taken by the image of the clown’s wig and the gun… :astonished:

My hypothesis is that people have lots of trouble with people who can do things they never dreamt of doing, with ease… And to talk nice to someone who for the moment is a few feet longer than he is.
It’s like they feel trethened in some way…

I spent an hour downtown this afternoon to do my first serius street action in allmost two weeks… And a matter a fact, i didn’t get one single stupid thing said about me, least i think so…
It wasn’t all crowded, but it was quite a number of people, i had some teenagers (1 guy, 4 girls, probably around 14 years of age) llking at me when i did some jumping up, riding dropping down a 6 set of stairs (didn’t drop it all the way though, no padding!)… And they looked like they thought i was doing something magical in some way… “Imagine to be good at that!”, so i guess the superhuman-thingie around unicycles are still out there!

Of course there are some people yelling evil things at you, but not that much!

Find another route for riding! Make it fun… :slight_smile:

Re: Dispirited and misanthropic

I believe it to be a type of temporary insanity that effects many males who are late starting puberty.

My favorite reply to people who yell out of car windows (when there are no eggs at hand for me to toss back at them) is “I bet your mother is proud of you.”