Not sure where to start, but here goes! I’m not really new to unicycling. I’ve been riding on and off since I was kid, but I’ve really gotten back into it recently. I bought a basic 24" Club unicycle at the beginning of the the summer, but I already feel like I’m ready to upgrade to something bigger/better. I’ve always wanted to try out some Muni, but I’ve mostly stuck to the bike paths and sidewalks this summer.
I recently moved to a small town, so everyone just kinda stares at me. I’ve found it to be more of an unwanted attention grabber rather than a conversation starter. Though, things are better on the bike path where there are less onlookers.
I hear there might be a bunch of riders in the nearby Tri-Cities, but I haven’t met anyone yet. If you’re in SE Washington and know of any groups/people who ride, I’d love to chat!
Hi MuseMeow. Welcome and congratulations on your riding progress this summer. A few options come to mind for me: You could drop the tire pressure a little and start riding that Club 24" on more challenging surfaces now. It won’t be as capable as a muni of course but there’s always terrain to be found that’s at the limit of your skill on a given tire, which is really the fun part. Or you could get a proper mountain unicycle, a 27.5" or 29" wheel maybe, and hit the trails in a big way. That really is a blast, and mountain bikers have never been anything but friendly and respectful (and often quite impressed) when I’ve met them on trails. Finally, a 36’er on the road is quite a different experience. Several nice used ones have popped up on this site this year, so you could hang tight and keep watching if you’re looking to keep the cost down a little.
As for the unwanted attention grabber versus conversation starter thing, I’ve had the best interactions while riding either my muni or my 29" road unicycle. Maybe smaller wheels look silly and toy-like while the 36" seems too towering and serious? But as an overall trend, I actually had more conversations and legitimate interest in unicycling when I was pretty new at it, riding OK but still looking a little unsure of myself. Maybe it was being able to say, “You’re doing great!” when they knew I wasn’t quite that was the conversational opening strangers felt most comfortable with. I don’t know, you could probably do an interesting psychological study.
Same here. The harder the technique I was practicing and the more I failed, the nicer people were to me. If you look like you’re doing okay, riding competently, then there’s no need for encouragement. I think many people stare because they initially think they’re looking at a bicycle, then are unable to locate your other wheel. For people who like certainty and predictability, you are going to be a mild annoyance. For those who enjoy spontaneity and surprises, you will brighten their day.