We had the honor of hosting Florian Schlumpf, the Swiss engineer and designer from Schlumpf Industries today in Seattle. We met at the University of Washington at Red Square, a large, open, public area. From the links to photos and footage that will follow (I myself have 500MB to process which will take some time, I’m afraid) you will see that we had twenty or more riders show up at this gathering. Florian has made a production model shiftable unicycle with an epicyclic hub and a 24" wheel that can be shifted from 24" to 36" equivalent.
First, let me say that this is the most incedible piece of unicycling machinery I have ever seen. It exhibits unbelievable craftsmanship and has silky smooth operation. Not only is it POSSIBLE to shift this unicycle on the fly, it’s surprisingly easy. Irene Genelin, Bruce Dawson, and I all shifted both up and down on our first tries. I don’t even think Irene knew how it worked and we explained it to her while she was riding. She was the first one to shift it on the fly and that was on her first ride. Tom Jackson, Abram, Jeff Sloan and a number of others shifted this unicycle on the fly but not necessarily on the first try.
The shifting highlight has to be when Irene was seat dragging Florian’s unicycle in 24" mode and hand shifted to 36" mode. When the gears caught, the gear train snapped the frame up and the saddle smacked her on the butt. I spent alot of time trying to get footage of that.
The other geared unicycles in attendance were Pete Peron’s Purple Phaze and my BlueShift. Pete’s geared Coker has been written up recently but I don’t think it has since he changed the gear ratio to 1.89:1. Yes, you read that correctly; a Coker geared up 1.89:1. About a 70" equivalent wheel diameter. We have photos and footage of all three builders on their respective unicycles riding together. It was an incredible, sunny, adventurous, and beautiful afternoon.
Photos and video will follow as will the writeups of others.