Giraffes Galore and more

Lots of posts about giraffes lately. If you want to go riding with someone, go riding with the equipment manager for a unicycle club. That’s what I did today. I went over to UniBrier’s (Steve DeKoekkoek’s) to try out his 6’ giraffe with 24" wheel and his 4-1/2’ giraffe with 20" wheel geared to 40". The guy has 5 giraffes in his garage, maybe more. He has some of the Uniques of Lynnwood’s unicycles as well as eleven some of his own.

I started easy with the 6’ with 24" wheel. I always wanted to try a giraffe with a wheel larger than 20". I rode and fell and then I rode and rode and rode. This is a giraffe that is useful as transportation. As Steve pointed out it would be a bit dicey in a parade because it’s not anywhere near as responsive as a 20" but for transportation it’s much better. Giraffes aren’t really meant to be too practical, though. I didn’t spend any time trying to freemount it because I didn’t want to hurt myself before the maiden voyage on the geared camelopard.

Steve handed me the 4-1/2’ with 20" wheel geared to 40". The chainring topside was a giant. I got up on the mail box at the end of Steve’s driveway and wobbled a bit back and forth on it. When I was ready, I grabbed Steve’s hand and started to roll forward. I let go after about 10 feet and started to GO … SLOW DOWN … GO … SLOW DOWN and then finally got the right rhythm and found the balance envelope. It was WAY cool. It pedaled smoothly with backlash no worse than the uni.5 hub. It was a little more stable because of the height but not one on which I would like to ride at great speeds. Steve has 170mm cranks on it which aids control but is also one of the factors that makes the rider want to hold down the speed as fast spinning would become wobbly quite quickly. This guy moves right along and is a TOTAL GAS to ride.

The disadvantage as a commuter as I see it is that it’s not the kind of giraffe one freemounts with ease. It’s not the kind of giraffe one mounts next to a lampost and rides away alone with ease. When Steve went in to get the camera I tried to jump mount it because it’s so short. Fortunately he was not there to witness the embarassing results. Another tricky thing is dismounting even though it’s very short. It is very non-intuitive to have it roll out in front of you if you still have a foot on the pedal. It tends to turn sideways and begs you to land on top of it. To do it correctly you must take both feet off the pedals right at the the moment that it starts to roll out.

We finished out the day with an ultimate wheel, a stock Coker. a 24" Miyata, some goofy trick cycles, and wheel walking with his daughter on his Stealth Torker and me on mine. Also, I’m off the hook again because Steve said he’s going to post the photos. We took about 100. Thanks, Steve.

Pictures Please

Here’s 20 of the 100 or so. The originals are quite large, use caution if you click to see the original; large images of a couple middle aged billboards for SixSixOne are not to be viewed by the faint of heart.

Blue Shift Ride Report

OK, I finally have time for the “and more” part.

First of all, the Blue Shift is an absolutely beautiful machine; I mean it is aesthetically gorgeous. Almost to pretty to risk damaging on a fall, thankfully the pedals and bumpers take all the impact on a uni.

My first try out was marginal at best, got less than 100 feet before the UPD. After Harper convinced me to cut an inch off of the seat post so I wasn’t riding on my tippy-toes I hopped on and rode a 1/2 mile to the end of the block and back with out an UPD (our blocks are 1/4 mile long in Brier), the turn at the intersection was way easier than the Coker.

By my third run down and back I was able to do a rough rolling mount after a UPD, by the end of the afternoon I was probably 30% on the rolling mount. The entire time I never rode faster than I dared run out (which thankfully was only once for the full run out).

After the photo session we did a quick 1 1/2 mile around the neighborhood with Harper on the giraffe and me on the Blue Shift. The Blue Shift rides like a dream, I never even noticed the minor backlash in the 42.5 mode. Shifting into the 29 mode is very simple; riding in 29 I actually noticed the minor backlash a bit more. In the 29 mode it was very similar to my 24 for regular riding, idling and riding backward, very do-able.

Harper can make that thing scream and he is a master of any wheel you throw at him. Thanks for a fun afternoon, the girls had a great time too; sorry John was in his shy mode.

The Blue Shift is a winner.

Re: Blue Shift Ride Report

The Blue Shift is fun!
I got to ride the Blue Shift about a month ago. Fun, fun, fun. I spent a couple hours on it, but not enough time to get totally comfortable on it. Greg has 140 mm cranks on it which is like putting 116 mm cranks on a Coker. I’ve only ridden a Coker with 150 mm cranks so the sudden change to shorter cranks kept things from being comfortable. Any time I would stop concentrating on the fact I was riding a unicycle I would UPD. But still I was able to freemount it after a couple of tries and ride away. Climbing hills on short cranks is different. I need to put short cranks on my Coker and get used to climbing and riding with shorter cranks.

Even in 43.5 mode the Blue Shift is more maneuverable and responsive than a Coker. Backlash is minimal and didn’t bother me a bit. It was minimal enough that I was not even aware of the blacklash while riding.