history of unicycling

I’m not knocking circus at all, or denying the courage, athleticism and skill of many circus performers.

I’m simply stressing that the unicycle didn’t originate from the circus or as a form of entertainment for audiences.

Why, because I personally have found the publics preconceptions regarding unicyling/muni to be annoying (I’m not alone here and those who are totally ok with the circus comments being thrown at them should maybe start to accept that some of us aren’t).

I’ve tried to tackle this sensibly i.e. not waste time whinging, but get out there and challenge these misconceptions. It’s been very effective, if I go for a ride in my area I get very few comments now, and, through newspaper articles and community contacts there is a greater awareness of the reality of muni/unicycling in the area I live in.

I’ve spent a LOT of my life learning skills- juggling, poi/spinning, playing music, unicycling etc etc, as someone who has often found it difficult to get through life, having the ability to immerse myself in those skills, and to be able to do so without the need for teams/partners/audiences etc, has been of great value.

A lot more people then is generally admitted also find it difficult to get through life, some of them can be helped by the confidence/focus that comes with learning these skills.

I fully admit that the entertainment aspects are valuable for similar reasons, but, for me, they aren’t appealing, for me it’s the pure skill aspects.

So, in the community projects I set up, I emphasise those aspects which I know well i.e. the skills.

And, looking at the balance of the two aspects of entertainment/skills, in my opinion, there is a large bias towards the entertainment aspect.

As a practical example, I’m working on getting funding for a community ‘off road unicycling’ project. After going into a lot of detail about what Muni was about, stressing the outdoor nature of it, extensive use of safety equipment (helmets/pads), it was seriously suggested that the group should appear in a local parade dressed as clowns!

I’m intelligent and reasonable enough to explain why such a thing would not go with the project at all, and did so; i.e. challenged the preconception.

So, that’s one of my motivations for getting into a thread like this; as far as I’m concerned things are going well, recent articles in mountain bike magazines, Kris Holm style publicity, discussions on internet forums etc will lead to the preconceptions dying out in time.

I guess what it comes down to is that, on a broad level, unicycling can be split into two- the entertainment/clown/giraffe/costume/enertainment side, and the off road/distance/helmet and pads/non circus side.

Both are ok, and no one should feel insecure about being involved in either one; if there’s no insecurity then we should have no need to blur the truth. To maintain that unicycling originated in the circus is blurring the truth, it is flying in the face of the facts.

It’s true that development took place in circus/entertainment, in fact, unicycling would probably have died out without that because, up till recently, the vast majority of unicycle manufacturing was geared towards the 20"-er and giraffes used for entertaining.

But unicycling did not originate in circus/entertainment.

and no one here is saying that it is

if this whole discussion originated from the comment made by the thread starter (do they say DUH?! where i live?) then we should really reconsider

not one poster to this thread suggested that unicycles originated from the circus and i think the unicycle world is clued up enough to know about the penny farthing link

the general public however is a different issue
and even there i doubt if u’ll find a major amount of people who will happily argue that the uni originated in the circus
that insecure people, surprised at the presence of a unicyclist in the middle of their boring grey world will still grab to the circus-(mis)conception in an attempt to ‘level the playing field’ is undisputed
that we should address this misconception with the only tool at our disposal (information/knowledge) is quite possibly another thing we’ll all agree on
in the battle to rid future generations of unicyclists from the clumsy ‘clown’ comments passed by unimaginative drunk people (was that tautologous?)we are all fighting on the same side

having said that
i believe a lil’ lightening up is in order around here
‘that’ sentence in tom’s first response wasn’t offensive or worthy of being reported to a moderator
it was hilarious and following OTT comments about hero’s and athletes, clowns and idiots, homemakers and traffic cops it was the perfect way to start that post and go on to make some very good points

while trying to lose the ‘clown’ jacket, let’s not toss out the sense of humour or the ability to laugh at ourselves

after all, we ride unicycles
:wink:

Very well said, Gild! Dave, I have to admit that my comments were just to keep the discussion going. I have nothing against most of your arguments; I agree that the public has a major misconception involving unicycles and that unicycling and clowning can be related, but don’t have to be. I agree that sometimes we need to educate the general populus.
I love MUni, and when I’m out there on the trail, I’m doing it for myself, not to entertain anyone else. I rarely get any clown comments when I’m riding MUni or in the skate park, but I have heard my share of “Enter the Gladiators” as well.
But while many of the ignorant public can’t seem to shake the misconception of unicycles and clowns, I seem to hear from the unicycling community that they hate clowns because they reflects poorly on us ‘serious’ riders. Why be serious when you can have a sense of humor?
I’ll shut up now.

My sense of humour is fine, that doesn’t stop me taking some things seriously though.

The line at which something goes beyond humour into a region where it needs addressing is something we have to decide for ourselves.

I’ve have decided, after long experience in unicycling and the publics perception of it, where I draw that line, and I’m confident and happy with that choice.

Concerning the offensive comment, maybe it was a humorous one, my feeling was that it wasn’t. I could be wrong, however I was straight and honest about it and simply said that I would report further such comments to a moderator, at which point it is in their hands.

I’m not the kind of person who habitually runs off to the moderators, in fact the only stuff I’ve ever previously reported has been spam.

Maybe it’s true that no one here has said unicycling originated from the circus (other than the first post of course, which stated it quite clearly), however, there does seem to be some issue which is sustaining this discussion.

To be honest I’m not sure anymore what that issue is, given that we all accept that unicycling definitly didn’t originate in the circus,or as an instrument of entertainment for an audience (we do all agree on that, yes?).

I suspect that maybe the issue comes down to our reaction to: -

Some, like Paco, find comments like these perceptive and amusing, others, like me, find it a little insensitive given that much of this thread has been a debate on whether unicycling is a serious pursuit, in the way that mountain biking is, or something with a hint of mockery, even if it is self mockery.

like I hinted before, it’s all well and good being harmonious, humerous and not taking things too seriously, let’s just remember that it cuts both ways.

i.e. some of us here are obviously feeling a bit negative about issues like public perception, comments and factual inaccuracies.

Rather than having a go at us (albeit humourously) and basically critisisng our feelings, why not think about giving us some leeway and acknowledging that there are grounds to those feelings, and than reflect on the fact that, in critisisng, you’re also maybe taking something a bit too seriously?

No hostility intended here, I’ve got respect for many of your posts here, we’re both unicyclists, we’re both trying to sincerely express our feelings; I guess in the same way I find your use of humour a little disturbing, you find my use of seriousness a little disturbing.

I certainly don’t hate clowns, I dislike being compared to them when when doing something as unconnected to clowning as riding my muni, but I definitly don’t hate clowns.

Interestingly, there are many in the community of ‘genuine clowns’ who, having spent years practicing the art of clowning, are dismayed by the fact that others just stick on a clown costume and are seen by the public as being full on clowns. It drives them nuts!

Many of them actively try to challenge what they see as being a misconception.

Having also been accused of being thin skinned and lacking humor here on these boards, I completely agree with Dave on this point.

I reread Hoeher and here’s what he says at the end of the history section discussing the period after 1903, the year of the first Tour de France:

“In the following years the art of unicycling was mostly limited to a few colourful individuals who developed it into a circus skill.”

So from the beginning of the 20th century on unicycling was in the public mind an activity primarily seen in the circus. Seems like for better or worse 100 years is plenty of time for an idea to become deeply ingrained.

Unicycling may not have originated in the circus but certainly has deep roots within it. And as has been said in so many words, that tent is big enough for us all. :wink:

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Cheers Raphael, I appreciate that.

Yeah, I guess it’s understandable. Maybe, with the rising popularity of muni and the publicity associated with off roading and distance rides, in another hundred years the public will have different feelings about unicycling.

At the end of the day, I can’t complain, it’s far better to ride one wheel and get the occasional silly comment, than to not ride one wheel and get no comments.

I completely agree on this point. Even though I am a clown, I hope that in ten years when people see me riding in my costume, they will say, “I saw someone doing that offroad!”

This feels like a good time for a Group Hug.

OOOOO

Re: history of unicycling

onewheeldave <onewheeldave@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> wrote in message news:<onewheeldave.11dven@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com>…
> paco wrote:
> > *
> >
> > But while many of the ignorant public can’t seem to shake the
> > misconception of unicycles and clowns, I seem to hear from the
> > unicycling community that they hate clowns because they reflects
> > poorly on us ‘serious’ riders. *
>
> I certainly don’t hate clowns, I dislike being compared to them when
> when doing something as unconnected to clowning as riding my muni, but I
> definitly don’t hate clowns.
>
> Interestingly, there are many in the community of ‘genuine clowns’ who,
> having spent years practicing the art of clowning, are dismayed by the
> fact that others just stick on a clown costume and are seen by the
> public as being full on clowns. It drives them nuts!
>
> Many of them actively try to challenge what they see as being a
> misconception.
>
>
> –
> onewheeldave - Semi Skilled Unicyclist
>
> “He’s also been known to indulge in a spot of flame juggling - but it’s
> the Muni that really fires him up.”
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> onewheeldave’s Profile: http://www.unicyclist.com/profile/874
> View this thread: http://www.unicyclist.com/thread/30344

sorry dave, but tom blackwood was right, you are full of shit. report
him to the moderator? there is not moderator on rec.sport.unicycling
you idiot. theres no need for it. thats called censorship my friend
and can work against you just as quick as it works for you.

you seem to have some sort of hangup with clowns that you havent yet
come to grips with. before you go riding next time, you should shave
that orange afro off your head. you might also try laying off the
grease paint and stop wearing those baggy pants and big floppy shoes.

you friggin clown!

Re: Re: history of unicycling

This is an excellent time to illustrate a point. I feel that Tomblackwood, while using somewhat strong language, was still giving a constructive comment about a previous post. His post stimulated more conversation, and showed another respectable viewpoint. One could agree with either Tomblackwood’s opinion or Onewheeldave’s.
Loonicycle’s posts are completely destructive, give no useful views, and are basically just picking a fight. This type of comment should be reported to a moderator.

Re: Re: Re: history of unicycling

monty python vs jackass
:slight_smile:

Re: history of unicycling

> This is an excellent time to illustrate a point. I feel that
> Tomblackwood, while using somewhat strong language, was still giving a
> constructive comment about a previous post. His post stimulated more
> conversation, and showed another respectable viewpoint. One could agree
> with either Tomblackwood’s opinion or Onewheeldave’s.
> Loonicycle’s posts are completely destructive, give no useful views, and
> are basically just picking a fight. This type of comment should be
> reported to a moderator.

paco, paco, paco. what part of “there IS NO moderator on
rec.sport.unicycling” did you not understand?

call it picking a fight but i’m tired of hearing this guy whine about
clowns. he needs to get over it.

So let’s see, it looks like one, two, uhm, three votes against that Group Hug. Anyone? I was looking forward to seeing a little love in this thread. :stuck_out_tongue:

Re: Re: history of unicycling

RSU doesn’t have a moderator.
Unicyclist.com does.
Tomblackwood’s original comment was made through unicyclist.com, and so if it was offensive enough to be reported, it could be.
Hope this clarifies things.
It sounds like you could use a hug, Mr. Grumpy Wumpy. :angry:
:stuck_out_tongue:

i think despite the differences of opinion, there is more than enough love left in this thread
recent incursions aside, i think this thread has been a discussion held in a fair spirit and none of the major combatants are likely to stop speaking to one another
a couple of comments have been ‘taken the “wrong” way’
but despite that, no-one has flown off the handle and exploded in a way to derail the discussion and have it deteriorate into a slanging match
i think onewheeldave’s point regarding being criticised for taking things ‘too seriously’ being an indication of the criticiser taking things to seriously as well was a masterstroke of dealing with criticism

having said all that, i’m still in for the group hug
:slight_smile:

Re: Re: history of unicycling

I think that people post here from different boards, I’ve never really understood how it works.

However, from where I’m posting each reply has a ‘report this post to a moderator’ link.

You can’t pick a fight with me, cos I’m not up for it. Anyone who compares the past posts can easily see who is, and who isn’t in control of their emotions here.

Sorry if you’re upset by what you see as my ‘whining about clowns’ as I previously said I don’t mind clowns at all, I just happen to not be one myself.

Can’t we just put this down to a difference of opinion and stop making this thread unpleasant?

Re: Re: history of unicycling

On the other hand, some of us see a link at the lower right of each post that says “Report this post to a moderator”.

Now, what might that mean?

Apparently, you haven’t noticed that some people have been removed from this forum for making unacceptable statements.

I’ve found it’s a good idea to remember that my viewpoint is not the same as the rest of the universe and to think about what someone else says before making blanket statements about it. It’s also a good idea to act as if there were a moderator, even when I don’t think there is one, because that’s called being considerate and polite.

Re: Re: Re: history of unicycling

As my fiancee put it, we should agree to disagree agreeably.

Now how about that group hug?

Re: Re: Re: Re: history of unicycling

i’m here