Dutchie says hi

Hi fellow riders! I’ve been reading this forum for a while now and thought it would be nice to actually join.

I’m Bonnie, age 34, from the Netherlands (Leiden). I’ve been riding a unicycle since 3 months (April). The half-serious idea that I’d like to try it at some point had been on my ‘bucket list’ for years, and in the Covid lockdown slump of this spring I finally decided to follow through. I could use some lightness and fun, and it has definitely brought me that! I’m enjoying it a lot. This forum and youtube have been super helpful for beginner’s instructions and other general uni knowledge, so thank you!

I picked up a second hand 24 inch OnlyOne, a simple learner uni, but it fits my riding goals for the time being. I also infected my significant other with the uni bug: he’s joined me since the early learning stage; we took turns riding holding on to each other’s arm for support, and he got a uni of his own as soon as we could both ride unsupported :slight_smile: so we sometimes ride together.

Now I ride 3-ish times a week for distances up to 6 miles. I’m mostly riding around town and to parks nearby, getting more and more comfortable on the uni and improving general riding skills like handling (sharp) turns, inclines, different surfaces, irregular pavement, (speed)bumps, curbs, dips…

Lately I enjoyed mixing it up with some new destinations. I took the uni on the bus to explore a recreation area a little further away, and I’ve been running some small errands in town. I like how the uni transformed those mundane activities into mini-adventures.

I’m not sure yet where I’ll go from here, but at first I expect to mainly keep on going like this, expanding the distance a bit and incorporating the uni more in daily life. Maybe working on stuff like idling and one-footed riding. And I’m considering to get a 29’er to get some more comfort and speed for rides that are a bit longer.

I’m looking forward to joining the conversations on this forum!

…and I don’t have good uni-pics yet, but here’s a blurry screenshot from a video :sweat_smile:

8 Likes

Wow, you are doing so well.

I see you are from The Netherlands. Our family loves your country. My wife’s parents immigrated to Canada many years ago, so she is 100% certified Dutch.

The Netherlands is such bicycle friendly place, and I suppose that is the same for unicycles too!

Have fun, and happy riding.

(There was a bit of stigma against riding with a helmet as I recall whenever I have ridden there. My wife’s cousin says that only racers, or those who normally wear a helmet when they walk down the streets would wear one when cycling. Maybe unicycling is different?)

Dawson

1 Like

Hi Bonnie,
Glad you posted, it is always interesting to hear how and when people started. I love that this forum is international. I too have the pandemic to thank, at least for the impetus to get my first unicycle back in November. Nice to “meet you!”
Kathryn

1 Like

Hi Bonnie, cool you started. Now you can sign up for the newsletter of stichtingeenwieleren.nl, and who knows in a few years you can participate in the Dutch championships. I did that in 2019. Last Sunday there was a trials-unicycle day in Leiden organised by the Youth-circus Miloco.
The 24" uni is great for cruising around.
Have fun with the uni adventure. After 6 years I’m still hooked.

1 Like

Your wife’s cousin apparently never did any serious mountain biking nor has he ever been in an accident where he fell on his head. I do the first regularly and did the second once. Therefore I always wear a helmet on the bicycle or the unicycle.

Do you also wear a helmet when ur just riding on paved roads? I only wear a helmet when taking the uni to the forest. When riding 10-12km in the neighbourhood I don’t bother.
As for normal bicycles in NL, nearly nobody wears helmets. We are a bicycle country and know how to avoid accidents :D:D

1 Like

Yes I do, but I’ve been burned. Some years ago when I passed a building site a 2m high metal fence fell onto me when I passed on the bicycle. The helmet first protected my head from the fence then from the ground as I was thrown off and hit the ground head first. I’m pretty sure without a helmet I wouldn’t have been able to walked away from the crash.

So, that quote was from a long time ago. It came when I remarked that no one riding on the street had a helmet on. I had been accustomed to riding with a helmet on in Canada and I felt kind of “naked” without one. But I just went along with riding the street without a helmet. To be sure, The Netherlands is much much more bicycle friendly than where I live, so that helps.

1 Like

I don’t know about the Netherlands, but I’ve been bicycling regularly for decades and there are riding conditions where I just don’t find it necessary and some that I do. If I’m riding faster than 30 km/hr, then I’d rather be wearing a helmet, if I’m on a unicycle, I’d rather be wearing a helmet and if I’m mountain biking and will be riding fast, will be airborne or descending a hill where I might go over the bars then I want a helmet.

For giving my dog a walk I see no reason for it as I won’t be going any faster than a running pace anyway. I suspect commuters and people running errands in the NL feel similarly. Get them up to 50 kph on a road bike and you’d start to see the helmets coming out.

1 Like

Thank you all! :blush: and it’s nice to see everyone’s impressive ‘uni fleets’ in the bio’s! Apparently it escalates quickly :grin:

The good bike infrastructure in NL certainly helps for unicycling. If there hadn’t been as many separate bicycle lanes, I would have waited longer before leaving my own safe street!

Interesting discussion about helmets. It’s true that in NL it’s very unusual to wear helmets on normal city bikes and I don’t either.

That’s true. I also wear a helmet for more ‘risky wheel activities’ e.g. when renting a mountain bike and when I went on a bike vacation in the mountains (abroad, obviously). At least in the beginning I considered unicycling such a risky activity :wink: but I must admit it already feels like ‘overkill’ for my uni size & speed. So I may ditch it eventually.

That sounds so scary! I can imagine you were thankful for your helmet back then!

I actually signed up last week :smiley: And maybe I’ll come to the championships this summer just to take a look. Should be fun to see others ‘in the wild’.

1 Like

Yes, I was very lucky that I only got a couple of bruises - ok, maybe a lot of bruises, but nothing serious. The most annoying part was that I had to fight for the building company to pay for the repair of my bicycle. They eventually did but it took half a year and lots of phone calls.

That’s crazy that you had to fight so hard for something so obvious, and something that would have cost the company next to nothing compared to all the other things they spend on.

Glad you survived it well. It is a testimony to helmets.

When I was a teenager, I had a friend tell me a story about someone who fell off their bike and hit their head on a kerb/curb. They ended up with a brain injury. This person had not been wearing a helmet. Ever since that story, I tend to ride with a helmet, and feel “naked” without it.

Cheers!
Dawson

It was at 6:30 in the morning and there were no witnesses. At first they claimed that I must have hit the fence. Only when I had a lawyer write to them they decided that it’s cheaper to just pay up.

Yes, me too, ever since that happened.