Hand pedaling a giraffe

Once upon a time during a hometown visit and performance by DK, we observed said DK jump on his giraffe’s axle pegs and pedal away with his hands. The boys have been dying to try this ever since so tonight was the fateful night. We installed freestyle pegs on the axle of the giraffe this evening and Ben and Brad were out trying to ride it. They can stand up on the pegs, pretty wobbly right now, but they can’t make themselves move. Sometimes the seat comes back and hits them in the forehead. Sometimes their head goes forward and hits the back of the seat. Bad giraffe! Either way, the contact is not pretty. I suppose the ride could almost be considered a self-propelled impossible wheel. Help!

Bruce and da boys (and Mary, too)

Re: Hand pedaling a giraffe

Ahh, those were the days…a big bump on the forehead, a black eye (roach didn’t have armor for the face yet), all the things necessary to learn hand ride with a chain driven uni.

There are a couple different styles…
*Mr. Foss does this trick with one hand on the frame or seat while the other hand does the pedaling.
*While learning I eventually went with the “both hands on the pedals” method. I think it helps to experiment with both.

Here are the main tips I can think of for the two hands method…
*(If you don’t mind getting your face whacked, just ignore this step) Wear a full-face helmet and tape some thick foam to the back of the seat. Some bmx pads on the seat tube might not be a bad idea either.
*Hands on pedals, pick up the uni off the ground and “pedal” with your hands. Your arms need to get used to the circular motion of the pedals and how close the frame and seat is during your pedaling motion. When the wheel is on the ground we tend to pull the entire uni towards ourselves when we are pulling on the back end of the pedal stroke, WHAM, black eye!
*As soon as you get both feet on the pegs your legs should be locked straight vertically over the axel. I find that I usually bend my upper body forward a bit.
*Keep the arms as far in front as you possibly can.
*I do most of my steering by making minor adjustments with my feet, moving them forward and back. At the same time I may lean the entire uni in the desired direction to produce a sharper turn.
*As far as getting the engine cranked up, I just have to say keep trying. Have the pedals vertical at your start, push the top pedal and pull on the bottom one. It’s hard getting started at first, don’t give up.

Hope this helps…

sorry about the big pic, I thought I had it sized down…


what kind of seat is that in the picture.looks cumfy

That is one of the original Miyata seats from the early 80’s. I had a custom cover made to accomodate two layers of foam. Heavier density on the bottom and a lighter density foam on top.

The seat also has an aluminum plate inside running from front to back to maintain strength and rigidity. Lastly, the seat is mounted on a custom post made by Paul W. This post was made to eliminate the clutter and leg scrapes that come with an adjustable seat post and clamp.

Re: Hand pedaling a giraffe

yoopers <yoopers.5ju7y@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

> Sometimes the seat comes back and hits them in the
> forehead. Sometimes their head goes forward and hits the back of the
> seat. Bad giraffe! Either way, the contact is not pretty. I suppose

I saw, but did not try myself, a giraffe at Eurocycle 2002 ( this
weekend) being used as a hand cycle. This one had had the saddle and seat
post removed, so no whacking self in face …

Might be worth trying. manfread and Arne looked pretty at home on it,
ever one else looked well wobbly.


Eurocycle 2002, Bremen, May 31st-June 2nd
The European Unicycle Event of the year.

Re: Re: Hand pedaling a giraffe

I wish I had taken a picture (and still might). Ben was out in the driveway trying to hand pedal the giraffe. To avoid the ol’ saddle plant on the nose, he was wearing my old football helmet from college with the big lineman’s faceguard. It was hilarious!