Sure, a lot of us expand our uni stable. So, I was wondering how many long time riders have kept their original unicycle?
If so, was it for sentimental reasons, practical reasons, simple enjoyment reasons etc? Maybe that first uni is the only one you’ve ever owned and has always met your needs.
So if you haven’t kept it, what were the reasons that saw you let it go? Weren’t sentimentally attached to it and replaced with another uni? Financial? Gave it away as a gift? Stopped riding for years then got back into it? Do you wish you could get it back?
If you do still have that original ride, how modified has it become over the years? Do you still ride it?
For my part, I am always pretty fond of things that were firsts for me. My original uni is a case in point. It gave me my first thrills so I like having it around and love riding it. I doubt I’ll ever not have it.
My first was a Schwinn 24" which I got as a teenager for Christmas about 15 years ago. I broke it hopping curbs, but held onto it for sentimental reasons. I kept it at my parent’s house after I got married and moved out. (Not much room for broken unicycles in our apartment.) It was thrown out a few years ago when my parents moved to a smaller place. I saved the seat as something to remember her by. When my wife and I moved earlier this year she threw the seat out without telling me. She thought that it was trash. It was a piece of trash, but it was my piece of trash… Oh well.
I went into a basement bicycle store one day to buy a tyre and I noticed an old unicycle with a 20" wheel, hanging from the ceiling. I expressed interest so the man took it down for me to have a closer look.
There was some rust on it but not a lot so I asked the price and it wasn’t cheap. I thanked the owner and went away with just the tyre and didn’t really think a lot more about it.
A couple of weeks later I got to thinking about the unicycle again and I decided if the unicycle was still there that I would buy it. Of course it was still there, because who in their right mind would want to buy an overpriced rusty old unicycle. However, I got a slight reduction on the price and purchased my first unicycle.
Day after day I practised on the grass in the park, I was learning to free mount and ride all in one huge effort using the internet for instruction. I went back to the same spot so often that my wheel made a groove in the ground. The groove was quite helpful because it stabilized the wheel as I freemounted.
Suffice to say, I finally got one pedal revolution, then two and so on until I had motion and then there was no stopping me.
During my research I noticed a site called Unicycle.com U.k. and made a phone call and got talking to Roger who was very helpful and knowledgeable.
Like so many other unicyclists I built up my fleet.
Despite having a fleet of quality unicycles, I still have my first no name rusty chromed unicycle minus the viscount saddle which I replaced with a more comfortable saddle and I kept the receipt.
Why have I kept the unicycle? Well, it brings back fond memories especially that elation I got when I was able to mount, stay balanced and ride for the first time. That was one of my greatest achievements. It’s also useful for teaching someone else who wants to learn how to unicycle.
I still have my old 24 inch unicycle. I have worn out the tire completely despite of rotating it 1/8 revolution a few times. I have recently replaced the tire and still use it on occasion. Its like keeping your old rucksack around just because it faithfully carried your stuff on too many adventures :-). I will never be able to throw it away.
I still have my eBay special 24", #1 because it was a birthday present and it’d be wrong to bin it, #2 because i sometimes use it to practise easy tricks, and #3 because well, it still works, so why would I?
It’s a crapheap but I’ve replaced most of the parts (It has the black and yellow Qu-Ax saddle that came with my 29er!) so it’s solid enough for normal use. It is, however, only a 24" wheel, so can’t get me anywhere very fast (nor is it strong enough to be used for the sort of MUni a 24" would be suited for) so it doesn’t really leave my front garden
The uni on which I learned broke and was tossed. It was such a horrendous piece of garbage that it should have been thrown out the minute my dad brought it home from a garage sale. But I was in 8th grade at the time and didn’t know any different, and I had just watched a friend of mine learn to ride and I wanted one. So I learned on this awful thing with nylon lollipop bearings and one-piece crank on a 20" wheel. I don’t know how it was possible for anyone to learn on that awful thing. I finally twisted the cranks in half and we threw it away.
At that point, dad bought me a new 24". It had real ball bearings in the cranks which was much nicer because the crank didn’t slop around. The wheel was actually responsive. By today’s standards it’s still on the cheap side, but at the time it was a real nice machine and I was happy to have it. That was 30 years ago now and it’s still the only one I have. For a lot of years I didn’t ride much. I’d only get it out once or twice a year. This year I got inspired to ride more, so I dug it out, cleaned it up, and put a new tire and tube on it. I haven’t ridden as much as I wanted to, but it’s more than it has been in years. I did put a KH Freeride seat on it which needed a different seat post also. I’ll keep the old seat and post around for the sake of it, but I’ll never use it.
Lately I’ve been itching for another one, but only because I want a bigger wheel size. I’m not sure whether I want a 29" or if I should just jump straight to a 36". But I’ll never let go of my old 24". It was my first real unicycle.
I still have mine, but, then, I started less than 2 years ago. It was a 24" cheapie that I bought used. Replaced saddle, seatpost, cranks, pedals, bearings, tire (twice), and tube; so pretty much all that remains original is the frame, seatpost clamp (“QR” hardware replaced with hardware store bolt/nut), and hub/rim/spokes.
I put 150mm cranks on it so I can ride in my lawn a bit and because I had them. I still have the original 127s, but I had no end of crank creak on one side until I replaced them. The bearings were probably ok as the play/noise I was addressing remained. I suspect the axle is not quite cylindrical or else the hub is going to freewheel eventually. If it comes to replacing the hub, I might convert it to a 20". Or not. If I’ve already got a 20" by then, it’ll probably remain a 24".
It doesn’t get ridden a lot now since I got my 29er. I still take it for a spin on occasion, and it is my go-to for getting the mail or, of course, doing some modest offroading in my yard.
I still have my first unicycle, a 24" UDC trainer. I had been thinking of passing it on to other prospective learners in the area through contacts in our local circus club, but then I read this thread.
I think I’ll keep it. It was a 50th birthday present from my wife and the start of my fleet of 5. For her, it represents a cheaper “male mid life crisis” than a sports car or a flash motor bike.
I rarely ride it, except to check the wheel still goes round. And to exercise on my other ones - 20" Trials and indoor, 24", 26" Muni and 29" Muni - just to make sure I can switch between wheel sizes easily.
Actually, I checked the tyre pressure this morning. It needs more air. And that’s a weekend job.
The very first one I bought - it was something like 18 years ago - got me into riding a bit, but I didn’t pursue enough to become a good rider then. It was one of those chrome thing with a tire getting thinner by the minute and a saddle that would be ripped apart with each upd. Nothing else existed then anyway.
When I moved out of London, the uni went to my parents and started gathering dust in the garage, classic. I tried it a few times on occasional visits, then forgot about it. My parents lent it to a neighbor to entertain their grand-son, and a few months later, their garage burnt down in a fire. With my first uni in there.
Years later, I bought my first real unicycle, a Nimbus II with a knobby tire. Pimped it up (KH Dual cranks and seat, bigger tire), but eventually sold it when a KH24 came along.
Shame about the flame incident, not that I really wanted to keep it, or use it. But it would have been fun to see how rubbish it was, now that I can ride (almost) properly!
Still have it, and it still rides, more or less. An awful made-in-china 24". It’s of no use to me really. But I keep it as a loaner and a tester for friends and my wife. It happens to be the smallest uni I own, so until (if and when) I get a trials uni, it hypothetically could serve a niche (though not by much, since I’ve got a 26er).
I’m tempted to get it out of storage now, just to see how bad the machine I learned on really was.
Still have my 24" Schwinn my parents got me for Christmas in 1973. I think they paid $55 for it. My Dad said, “That’s a lot of money for something you don’t even know how to ride!” It’s made every move I have made. In 1986 I moved on short notice from Seattle, Wa to Reno, Nevada for a job after I graduated from college. All I took was my Softball equipment, some clothes and my unicycle. Checked it onto the plane and grabbed it off the baggage carousel. I used it as my transportation for a couple of weeks until my parents drove my car down to me. It followed me 18 months later to Phoenix, where a young lady I was dating called me one day to come over and hang by the pool and have a few beers. When I told her that I was going to grab my Walkman, and ride my unicycle over she says she almost broke up with me because, “what kind of a weirdo rides a unicycle?”. She ended up married to that weirdo and she is my biggest uni fan.
I plan to take that unicycle with me when I die!
My first unicycle was literally a piece of junk. My mother found it at the town landfill, grabbed it out of the pile of garbage, and gave it to me as a 10th birthday present. It was a 20 incher, essentially covered in rust and the seat was a just a few stray pieces of foam glued to a metal slab. But it was good enough for me to learn on (a few years later when I’d grown a bit) until I stripped out the cranks not realizing that there was a front and back.
I think it’s still in my folks’ barn minus one pedal and rusting away. I should see if I can dig it out.
My first unicycle is retired and living in the shed. A Raleigh chrome 20” with lollipop bearings. I’m never going to give it away.
It cost a lot more than I should have paid but I didn’t know what I was buying. (I wish I’d consulted UDC first )
I learnt to ride on that unicycle. As a goal for being able to ride unassisted I treated myself to another 20” unicycle, which I then learnt to freemount on.
I never honestly thought I would be able to ride a unicycle. It’s probably one of my greatest achievements.
I learnt on a 20 inch that I bought in a garage sale for $10 late last year. It had no pedals but was otherwise OK though the seat didn’t really go near high enough for me.
I had experienced a strong imagine myself riding a unicycle when I was a kid but had never come across one. Finding this one at 54 I thought if I was ever going to do it I had better give it a go soon.
I learnt to ride and soon upgraded to a QU-AX 20 with an almost adequate seat height then to a 24 inch. I also have a KH trials.
I still have all my unis. The original is good size for little kids. I have ridden it recently and really wonder how I ever learnt to ride on it.
I have kept my first unicycle, but rarely use it. It is a 24" Semcycle, a jack-of-all-trades, usable for many things, but excelling in none. Now I have some six to eight specialised unicycles for various types of riding. I haven’t modified the Semcycle except trying various crank sizes.
I still have it, piece of crap that it is. I initially started learning to unicycle in 1976 on a borrowed Troxel. Troxel was (is?) a company that made “juvenile” bicycles, tricycles, scooters and other toys for small children. This unicycle was scaled for a bigger person (large kid), but it was still essentially made of tricycle parts for a child of not too much weight. Nylon bushings for bearings, one-piece, short & wide cranks, crap pedals, hard plastic 16" tire, plastic top on the seat. The one thing it had going for it was an adjustable seat post that went up to a sufficient height for my 8th grade body.
But alas, it was built weak, and engineered poorly. The bearing holders were attached on either side by a single bolt. In engineering, such a connection is also known as a hinge. The bearing holders wouldn’t stay straight, and the wheel would tilt and hit the frame, wedging it to a sudden stop. This didn’t happen until I had figured out how to ride it forward, and started trying to make turns. It couldn’t handle the stress of a 13-year old trying to turn right.
I was unable to make those bearing holders stay in place with the tools I had available to me at the time, and the thing was parked in a corner. It was three more years before I completed my learning how to ride. This was accomplished on a Schwinn Giraffe, but that’s another story.
Around the time the uni had failed on me, my neighbor who had let me borrow it, said I could keep it. He knew it was a P.O.S. So I did. I don’t believe I had it in my possession the whole time though; I may have loaned it to someone to see if they could fix it? I can’t remember. I did get it back some time later, though Al Hemminger disagreed with me that it was that same uni–it was. I’ve kept it as an example of how not to design/manufacture a unicycle, and a reminder of why less people rode them in the 1970s and earlier. Even when it was new, it was very hard to ride due to the “sticky” bearings, short cranks and wide Q-factor.