english paper on unicyclist community

as the subject implies, i have to write a paper on the unicyclist community. i was thinking have the thesis asking whether unicylists become “different” because of unicycling or are “different” already and then have a natural yearning to unicycle. this of course assumes that unicyclists are people that are different from everyone else (in things other than being able to ride a unicycle, too). so, if you want to participate in this silly project, answer these questions:

(1) was learning to unicycle a spur of the moment thing or is it something you had wanted to learn for a while?
(2) how are you “different?” be creative. anything will help. dont say unicycling :wink:


Re: english paper on unicyclist community

  1. I wanted to learn at age 12, but not bad enough apparently. Picked it up again 27 years later and finally got past critical mass.
  2. Different? Yeah…thinner, mostly. And in reasonable shape versus the gelatinous mass of panting ex-smoker I was 2 years ago.
  1. always thought it would be amazing to ride but it thought u had to be really good to even ride one, then after joining a juggling club i learnt. and now im way beyond what i used to wish i could do.

  2. oh yeah im different, youve only gotta ask my friends, the 10minute solid expression psycho smiles, that i will give anyone, the songs and lyrics that are concieved in my head with fellow guiatrist and unicycle ridind friend lewis. and oh yeah we know mark cooper, a guy u need to meet if u go tothe UK juggling conventions, hes different alright. hes changed my life :astonished:

  1. Spur of the moment. i was sitting around one day and decided that it would be really cool if all my friends and i would learn to unicycle. a short while later, my friend cashed in a bike shop gift certificate for a torker, one thing led to another, and now there are about 10 unicycles within my high-school group of friends

  2. yeah i’m pretty different. i scorn most of modern pop-culture and stereotypes, but not in like a stupid, punky, counter-culture kind of way. i’m fairly laid back and rarely take anything too seriously, and i’ve always thought the key to awesomeness is by being an individual.

First, I’m not an active member of ‘the unicyclist community’, I just know how to ride a unicycle. I learned at age 21 - one year ago.
Also, is this a survey of unicyclists, or of unicyclists who are also bulletin boards or newsgroup users. I think the latter group might tend to be more obsessive than unicyclists in general. This will skew your results completely

(1) After learning to juggle 3 balls, it crossed my mind. I wouldn’t say it was a yearning, but it has been on my mind for 8 years. As soon as I had a disposable income, I bought my first unicycle.
a)I’m a bit of a show-off, I enjoy being perceived as ‘good’ at something
b) I tend to be very unmotivated in general. When it comes to unicycling or juggling, as long as the reward seems to be fairly immediate, its easy to keep learning. In fact, after 2 months riding for an hour or two every day, learning and enjoying the basics - freemount, idle, forward and backward, I didn’t ride very much at all after the learning curve started to get steeper. Recently, I have taught several people to unicycle. I get more of a buzz from watching someone else learn than I do from learning a new skill myself
c) I am not a creative person - I work as an engineer, I have a very very logical mind, and love figuring stuff out. For many years, i pondered as an armchair experiment, the idea of building my own unicycle from an old bike. Of course I never got around to it due to lack of motivation (see above) - I spent just as much time pondering how to build a cycle-powered flying machine.
d) I am a very even-tempered and laid-back person.

Before I became heavily involved in juggling and unicycling – a couple of hours daily for the last year, and trips to all the conventions in the country (there are 4) – I was equally enthusiastic about scrabble, before that, it was rowing. - very similar stories to 2a and 2b above with regard to my previous hobbies/obsessions.

i see your point but this is the audience im targeting, since for these people, unicycling is a lifestyle, not just a hobby. thanks for your responses and keep them coming.


Re: english paper on unicyclist community

(1) I had thought about getting a unicycle in September/October 2002. That Christmas, I got my first one.

(2) I like to do anything differently than the average person. Because if I didn’t, then [b]I[/b] would be an average person!!! :astonished: And no one wants that.
Also, my hobbies are considerably different than most people’s. I speed solve Rubiks Cubes, unicycle (oops, you said not to say that), I do magic, program computers (sorta), etc.

  1. I did learn spurr of the moment. I was at a circus camp and the unicycles were sort of there so I picked it up and started riding.

  2. I don’t think unicycling has changed me specificly. I believe that it has given me a rock solid personality trait from which I can branch out all my other personalities. I haven’t really changed, its just that I may appear to have changed to my friends because unicycling has allowed more of the real me to come out.

  1. Spur of the moment; intrigued by the attention my cousin got when he unicycled around the block.

  2. We are all different from the rest of the population. We dont try to conform (a great trait, i might add). Just look at everyone’s hiddent talents and hobbiest and interests. We are unique. I do rubiks cubes, spin objects on my fingers, unicycle, juggle, diablo, devil sticks, card magic, sleight of hand magic, coin magic (im still a beginner at all 3 types of magic, however), hiking, sailing, rock climbing, and i listen to Gershwin. Im not different. I’m special :slight_smile:

-Grant “am i an odd duckling?” Houghton

I’m not a unicyclist yet, but my first Torker is being delivered tomorrow.

I wanted a unicycle for Christmas when I was about 8 years old. Don’t remember why; I was just dying for one. I didn’t get it, and every Christmas after that for years I asked for one and was DENIED. So a couple of weeks ago I had a dream of riding, and finally figured out that I can buy one for myself now.

The answer to your question is people who are different will ride a unicycle, not that riding a uni makes you different. My opinion, but I think it makes the most logical sense.

I’m different - let me count the ways:

  1. Happy, no excuses lesbian
  2. No kids, so my childhood can last forever
  3. Sort of a Star Trek and Star Wars geek
  4. Always thought I should be telekenetic, and still hope to someday demonstrate this latent talent
  5. I’m friends with a local radio personality - when I asked him why, out of all the people (prettier, cooler than me) that he could hang out with, he likes to spend time with me, he said it’s because I’m different. I hope he meant it in a good way…

Re: english paper on unicyclist community

(1) I think I saw unicycles and they intrigued me at age six. I didn’t get my hands on one until I was 14. And I didn’t really learn to ride until I was 17. I think it was somewhere in the back of my mind all that time.

(2) The question is “how are you different?” It doesn’t give a definition. I think I like to stand out from the crowd, in some things but not all. I don’t feel a need to always look unusual or act in contrary to normal social norms.

I think it will be easy to show that unicyclists like to do unusual things. But it would be a little harder to say we’re all “different” without a more specific way of defining differentness.

I don’t think we are physically different. If we ride a lot, we develop muscles from the activity, but that’s the same with any activity. I do not think we have an innately greater sense of balance. Balance is an acquired skill. Some people are naturally better balancers than others, but this is true both within unicycling and without.

Mentally different? Yes. But I don’t know that we all share some special thing in common, other than an enjoyment of doing things that are hard. That’s what I’ve come to believe over the years, that unicyclists are people who like challenges, like solving difficult things, and don’t mind taking time to figure things out. In that way we have a lot in common with serious jugglers. Though the basic 3-ball cascade is much easier than unicycling, learning lots of juggling tricks takes a similar mindset.

Unicycling attracts a lot of “smart” people, but we are not all smart. Unicycling also attracts a lot of people who are not socially adjusted, people who like to do things on their own, and people who are cheap. Again, not all, and I have no idea how any of those factors relate to anything, I just have seen a lot of them.

Is any of that useful?

(1) I learnt to unicycle, cos bmx was getting to mainstream and i wasnt much good at it anyway, so i sat down and thought of all the things i could do instead and unicycling seemed like the best idea

(2) Im an attention seeker (the infamous middle child syndrome) i think you’ll find most unicyclists are, im into body modification and doing body piercings tho i dont generally do facial piercings, theyre too “cool” i surf and ride my quad… errr thats about it i think. im on no particular quest for individualism, its an impossible task, i just go for an image that stands out.

Interesting question, some interesting answers.


As already suggested, the people in this forum are a subset of unicyclists generally, and the ones who will respond are a subset of the people in the forum. So you will get responses primarily from a small self-selected pool.

Also, ask anyone whether they think they’re different and they will usually say yes. Only the saddest (or wisest) among us believe (or recognise) that they are pretty similar to everyone else. ONly the details vary.

Also, before you can see whether people are different, you need to decide what they are allegedly different from. What is the standard person like? How does the unicyclist tend to differ from that?

Unless you examine quantifiable things (age, weight, body mass index, IQ, income, number of siblings…) or clearly definable things (member of political party; regular church goer; graduate…) your results will reflect little more than your own preconceptions, reinforced by a number of observed cases where your preconceptions appear to be substantiated.

Take me as an example.

I’m like, sooooooo unusual:
Reached 41 with no kids.
Morris dancer.
One time scuba diver, white water kayaker, rock climber…
Can juggle.
I read philosophy for fun.
Occasional published writer.
Can play melodeon and harmonica, used to play cornet/trumpet. Used to play percussion in a ceilidh band.
Songwriter and occasional singer.
All this would suggest I’m unusual, different from the typical 41 year old white middle class male. Just look how zany we unicyclists are!

But, I’m so exceptionally normal:
41 year old white male, lower management/clerical.
Suffer from occasional depression - like about 1/3 of the population.
And the list goes on.

So, do I support the hypothesis that unicyclists are unusual and creative, or the hypothesis that even boring middle aged office workers can unicycle?

What made me take it up? A desire to take up unicycling! Whence came that? Possibly from my connection with folky type people who do that type of thing. Possibly because I was a keen bicyclist. I do know that I took it up seriously - years later - because, like lots of men in their late 30s (as I was) I needed to lose weight, I couldn’t afford a good folding bike, I had nowhere to put a non-folder… then I remembered that I had an old unicycle somewhere. Then I got really into it because it was a good diversion from problems elsewhere in my life.

2 - 3 years later, it is now a settled hobby that I happen to do and enjoy. Scuba diving faded out of my life due to the cost and logistics; kayaking because my next boat would have cost more than I could justify; rock climbing because I’m scared of heights. Unicycling stuck because it came along at the right time and I got into it. Yes, and I enjoy the notoriety.

Good luck with the project.

I think a lot of us will agree we are attention seekers. Though I don’t want attention every time I ride, I like it when I’m trying to show off. Being a performer is a higher form of this, with maximum payoff (assuming your show is good).

I am also a middle child of three. Neither of my siblings learned to ride. In unicycle clubs you’ll find many entire families who ride, but I wonder how many of us only-in-the-family riders are middle kids?

I am not into body modification or piercing. I prefer to be able to erase or otherwise change the canvas. This even applies to scars. I try to avoid them! :slight_smile:

  1. Spur of the moment. I had only seen one unicyclist in my life about 2 years before I started riding, but at the time I didn’t think about learning at all. One day I thought “Hey, I think it would be cool to unicycle!” so I started saving money to buy one.

2)Well, I guess I’m different. I’m not really “popular”, but I get along with everyone. I’m addicted to minesweeper (5 seconds beginner, 26 seconds intermediate, 89 seconds expert). I love the Lord of the Rings. The only thing I wear to school is unicycling t-shirts. I’m a Christian and try to put God first in my life, which is unfortunately kind of different. I have a pug. My two obsessions are pugs and unicycling. Really, some may think me kind of a boring person, since I mostly talk about those few things. I don’t even have my ears pierced. Oh, and I’m not a middle child. I’m the baby. :smiley:


  1. Something I wanted to do for a while. I watched my daughter ride for a few years before I tried it. She tried it because I bought her the unicycle and suggested she try. Maybe that was me trying to live vicariously through her. My son says the same. He watched his sister ride for as long as he could remember and always wanted to do it too.

  2. I consider myself different. I’m always taking the road less traveled. In grade school when we picked musical instruments, I chose the on that no one else played. String Bass. Lug that thing around for a while! I was the only girl in electronics class, I learned to fly a plane before I got my driver’s license, etc.

I would be curious to see if unicyclists share the same personality traits. My favorite personality assessment is True Colors. http://www.uwsp.edu/education/wkirby/pluralis/colors.htm I learned a lot about myself by discovering what the colors stood for. No it’s not about fashion.
I won’t hijack your thread to test this one. I open a new one. Maybe it will be helpful to your assignment as well.

Re: english paper on unicyclist community

On Tue, 30 Mar 2004 23:57:54 -0600, “muniracer” wrote:

>(1) was learning to unicycle a spur of the moment thing or is it
>something you had wanted to learn for a while?
A bit of both. (Ooooh that’s helpful.) I tried 20 years ago and found
it no fun. Then my daughter got started and it intrigued me, so after
half a year I joined heer.

>(2) how are you “different?” be creative. anything will help. dont
>say unicycling :wink:
I don’t dare to tell all the ways I’m different. But I think I’m more
different than the average person.

Oh and I’m not a middle child but the oldest of four.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

I think profile should make some stronger 145mm cranks - Ryan Atkins

Re: english paper on unicyclist community

On Fri, 2 Apr 2004 19:29:39 -0600, “nikkifrog” wrote:

>I’m addicted to minesweeper (5 seconds beginner,
>26 seconds intermediate, 89 seconds expert).

Hey Nikki, I never heard someone say that before. I used to do a lot
of minesweeper as well, until my mouse lost some of its responsiveness
which was really frustrating. My record times are gone with my old
computer, but I guess they were not as sharp as yours.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

I think profile should make some stronger 145mm cranks - Ryan Atkins

Re: english paper on unicyclist community

On Fri, 2 Apr 2004 10:59:02 -0600, “Mikefule” wrote:

>Only the saddest (or wisest) among us believe (or
>recognise) that they are pretty similar to everyone else.

Which then sets them apart :slight_smile:

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

I think profile should make some stronger 145mm cranks - Ryan Atkins

(1) Was learning to unicycle a spur of the moment thing or is it something you had wanted to learn for a while?
No, I bought a VERY bad unicycle more than 20 years before I learned to ride (on a CyclePro, later purchased through eBay). I decided I wanted to, originally, because I thought it was a challenge, different, and interesting.

(2) how are you “different?” be creative. anything will help. dont say unicycling
Oh, boy, here goes the list again, I have done or still do:
>Downhill sking
>Long distance motorcycling (8000+ mile trips)
>White water canoeing
>Canoe sailing
>Canoe camping
>Primative camping – all year, including in the snow
>Scuba diving
>Ballroom dance (waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, swing, etc), both lead and follow
>Ballet (I’ve danced in amateur productions of Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty)
>Rock or mountain climbing – climbing a cliff face
>Fly kites (single, dual, triple, and quad line, indoor and outdoor, and kite aerial photography)
>Mountain biking
>Electronics for vocation and avocation (“fix it” for vocation)
>Wood working
>Voracious reader – 350+ words a minute (2500+ books in the house, most read many times)
>Computer games
>Computer programing
>Other things I’ve forgotten to mention
>Watch television - NOT

I’ve always tested as slightly above average in everything I’ve done and all the tests I’ve taken.

I don’t care for competition and don’t care for competitive activities, although I do well when I do compete. Or team activities, most of which are competitive. Note that most of what I have done is noncompetitive but personally challenging.

I believe that I can do anything that I put my mind to.

I like to do things that suprise people, so I’m a bit of a show-off.

I was different long before I unicyled.

83 seconds, expert.:smiley:

I hope they’re long ones! :wink: Bare foot, too? :astonished: