'evens' for distance unicycling

In road biking time trials, they have a concept called ‘evens’ which is averaging 20mph over a course. Beating this is seen to be the point at which you become a racer rather than just someone who rides a bike. Evens on a 20 mile course is pretty good and if you beat it on a 100 miler, you’re really very good.

I was wondering if a similar concept made sense for unicycling. The main problem is that there obviously isn’t one fixed speed that makes any sense, as pretty much anyone with a coker could get 10 miles in a hour, but only a few could do 100 miles in 10 hours.

Something else to note is that this is preferably for an out and back course, to make wind / height loss/gain irrelavant. If not out and back, at least to the same height above sea level, otherwise you’re cheating.

A first stab at this, involving different speeds for different distances all of which I’d say you’re pretty good if you beat. I know a couple of riders off the top of my head who almost certainly have beaten the 15,30 and 50 ones, probably the 100 too. I believe the 200 is under the world record, so obviously doable. I don’t think wheel size is relevant as anyone serious about distance riding has at least a 29er and short cranks, which you could beat these on.

15 miles - 15 mph avg - 1 hour
30 miles - 12 mph avg - 2hrs 30 mins
50,100 miles - 10 mph avg - 5 / 10 hrs
200 miles - 8.333 mph avg - 24hrs

Some of these may seem a bit low to a few riders out there, but I reckon any more than this is getting beyond what a normal person could train themselves to do and into the realms of genetic advantages, which kind of removes the point somewhat. The slower speed for the 24hr obviously allows for the rider to have breaks and stuff. They’re also done like this to make nice easy to remember numbers in terms of times.

So, firstly any comments on the times / speeds I put here, secondly, anyone think they can beat any of the times? I reckon I could beat 30, 50 no problems, 15 with a lot of effort and a very flat course, 100 with a bit more training and 200 if I had a year to waste doing training rides.


A lot of people may tend to be into shorter distances. Though the ‘evens’ rule may not be as effective for shorter distances, unicycles also aren’t built to go as far as bikes. (hey, argue all you want; no gears=less miles covered in a given amount of time)

What about recommendations for 5 and 10 miles, then adding a full set of metric distances?

All the numbers you listed look reasonable, though not easy. But that’s the point.

I think for 5 and 10 miles, 15mph is still a challenge, so how about

20 mins for 5 miles - 15mph.
40 mins for 10 miles - 15mph.

You could see these as practice runs for the full 15 miles in an hour.


What is a mile? :thinking:

I think that is a good suggestion- countries like New Zealand mostly use metric and these imperial measures are confusing. I think ‘evens’ on a 28 or 29er for me would be about 20 km in an hour. The ‘evens’ of 15 miles in an hour is just over 24km and I think that would be far easier to achieve on a Coker than anything smaller.

I would have to agree, an average of 15 mph on a 29"er is next to impossible.

yeah, on a 29er… but they’re talking aboot cokers.

I personally think that anyone could train themselves to do that, if they wanted to. They just need to want to do it hard enough.

Re: ‘evens’ for distance unicycling

It can’t be an easy comparison- there are so many factors involved even when riding on the road. How many hills, height above sea level, road surface, etc. etc.

I think I just make the grade on my bike evens :stuck_out_tongue: But I’m just a social biker these days. I’d like to beat the 200 mile unicycle evens. Hopefully on the 5th Feb.

Rowan- I know we run on metric, but I still think of distance milestones in miles, and so do a lot of cyclists in NZ. A 100mile century is a nicer concept than a 100km century :sunglasses:


Distances are imperial not particularly because that’s what I use. I have to do conversions to work with them on my maps. They’re imperial because of the inspiration for the concept being from road time trials.

The other thing is that converting them to metric doesn’t give nice numbers, due to the particular characteristics of our wheel sizes etc.

I think I might just hit bike evens for 20 miles, it’d kill me though.

To those of you saying that 15mph is too fast for a 29er. Get some 102 cranks and get practicing. Find a flat, well surfaced course and you should be able to hit that speed for an hour. It isn’t supposed to be at all easy though, expect to do some training before you hit speeds like that. I used to average just under 13mph through heavy London traffic, 50 sets of traffic lights or so and rubbish road surfaces, on a 29er with 125 cranks. 20km in an hour is relatively easy even with 125s.


Those speeds seem pretty amazing to me at the moment… Admittedly I haven’t got a “road” unicycle and all my long(ish) rides are on my 26x3 on mud/gravel, but on a smooth track I can JUST maintain a steady 10mph - any faster than that and I’m likely to UPD. Perhaps I could go a bit faster with shorter cranks, but I’m still impressed by people who say they can average 15+mph over a distance (I usually average about 7mph on my 10 mile ride to work).

On my road bike, on the other hand, I can average very nearly 30mph over the same trip :slight_smile: so I use the bike when I need speed and the unicycle for fun, but it would be cool to be able to keep up half that speed on a uni some day.

I’m a bit wary or riding a uni on the road though - I tend to keep to tracks and very minor roads as much as possible - people pass very fast and close on the Dartmoor roads :astonished: - bad enough on a bike!


Which is an impressive feat in itself. Most cyclists in London couldn’t manage that on a bike!

I like the idea of evens, it’ll give me something to aim for. At the moment I’m still averaging around 9mph on the 29er, but I can hit 15mph at a push. It gets a bit scary above that.


Check the times for the 10k at Unicon XII in Japan. Even in the Unlimited category, probably the majority of the riders were on 24" wheels, including several who were directly in front of me.

In my better day, I could do 11 mph for an hour on a 24" wheel with regulation 125mm cranks. (9 mile race in Chariton, IA in 1991 and 1996). Scale that up to a 29" wheel and shorten the cranks (assuming minimal hills of course) and 15 mph should be relatively a piece of cake.

Wait, I’ll look at those 10k results myself (you can see them at www.unicon12.com). Yuta Ando won the Unlimited race in 23:33.01 What’s the average speed there? That was a 700c wheel (skinny tire, so probably only 27" or so).

In the girls, the first six or several riders across the line were all between 26:00 and 27:00. Most of them were on 24", but I’m not sure of the other details.

In the 24" race, Hiroshi Shigeno did it in 28:22.52 on a regular 24" with 125mm cranks. The female winner was Nagisa Yasuda at 29:50.68.

Anybody want to crunch the numbers on all of that?

I am going to have to try out some shorter cranks. I dont really dare go below 125’s at the moment because of all the hills and long descent/ascent’s here on campus. GizmoDuck brings up a valid point though, the elevation profile of the ride needs to be taken into account.

That was the last long distance ride that I did. A ride like this would obviously have a different “evens” than a ride on flatland.

The thing about “Evens” is that it’s just a fixed set of speeds to beat.

It’s harder on a hilly course, I reckon the 50 mile evens would be beatable even with a lot of hills, but the 15 would be very hard.

With road biking, courses in the South East of England where it’s flatter are easier to achieve evens on. It’s pretty hardcore to get evens on some of the big hilly courses in the Lakes and the Yorkshire Moors.

Same goes for wheel size. It’s easier to beat on a coker, but obviously some super-fit people on 24" wheels are pretty close to hitting it and that’d be well impressive.

About the 10k speeds, if you can do 10k in a bit under 30 mins on a 24, then you should probably be able to get evens for 5 miles on a 29er.