I personally didn’t have any unicycling related experience. While working in a cybercafé ten years ago I had a customer who always came with his unicycle but I didn’t pay attention. It was the only time where I saw a unicyclist which was not in a circus.
A few years later a sports teacher I vaguely knew made me try a unicycle. A standard 20".
It was way harder than I expected!
A few days after, I was playing World of Warcraft at home. I was in this mood where you play only to pass time instead of actually enjoying playing. It annoyed me and I thought “I’m bored while playing WoW. I’d better learn to ride a unicycle”.
One hour after, I ordered my first unicycle and spent the following days to learn how to ride this thing. It was about 6 years ago.
Now I ride my 24" HK in town after using a qu-ax 29" cross country for years and I’m very happy with that!
What about you?
About twenty plus years ago, married and with children, I purchased a Canadian Canoe to take the family out. I thought it would be a pleasant surprise. Nobody wanted to even look at it let alone go out in it. It sat in the yard for months until a guy at work, who had a smaller canoe mentioned that his wife had showed some interest in going out in a canoe that you do not get so wet in. I chimed in with my canoe sitting at home. He said how much and jokingly I said a Unicycle. A few days passed and he said that my comment had him thinking and he was going to buy one. Another chap there had learnt to ride a uni at school, he showed interest as well, so I went along with the ride. I lost a canoe but gained a 20’unicycle. All three of us took various times to learn but it had a good effect and we had a lot of fun. I sold it eventually, but have recently bought a couple of others and started again… I regret not carrying on though, I would be a veteran by now… !!
After a very long pause
I had a really old, uncomfortable Sears uni when I was 12 or so, and actually learned to sit on it and make it wobble across my back yard. It broke soon after I started riding it, and I moved on to other things and never gave unicycling another thought. Then, a month after my 39th birthday, I found myself researching unicycles online and landed at UDC. It’s almost a year later now, and I still have no idea what finally turned my mind back towards unicycles after so many years, but it was exactly what I needed when I needed it.
i was 16 or 17, senior in high school. Year was 1972, Christmas, and I got the crazy idea. I came from a very small town and new no one who unicycled. My mother said you had to be in the circus to do that.
I phoned around and a local bike shop said they’d had one for 2 years, with little interest in it. I got it. Then began riding it trail and error, lots of error.
Gift Certificate Destiny
In 2005, I had ridden my bicycle in the NC American Diabetes Tour de Cure event. I collected a lot of sponsorship donations leading up to the event and when I finished, the organizers awarded me a $100 gift certificate to a local bike shop. Well, having just finished riding 180 miles for 2 full days, I not only didn’t need anymore bicycling equipment, I also didn’t want to even look at my bike for a while. But the certificate was to expire in 30 days, so I went to see what might be useful.
The vision in the bike shop window inspired me before I even entered. It was a 24-inch Sun unicycle - black frame, white sidewall tires. A salesman was standing by the door and I asked, “Is it possible for a regular person to learn how to really ride one of those things?” He didn’t say anything, but pulled down the uni from its hook, hopped on, rode around two cars in the parking lot, and gracefully dismounted beside me back at the door. When I asked him how much, he said $89. Now, 11 years later and at almost 55 years old, I still have that old Sun, but I also have a Nimbus 20, a Nimbus 29er and a 36er that I put together from various Nimbus, Coker, and Kris Holm parts.
A neighbour of mine always had his unicycle just sitting in his garage unused, a basically brand new 24" torker dx. I admired it for the longest but just never got around to adding it to a Christmas or birthday wish list or even bothering to save up for one. He ended up having some medical issues and was going to just give it away and he offered me first dibs and I graciously took it. Chopped the seat post down a few days later and began trying to learn most ungracefully in the front yard. 3 years later and I learned a lot of stuff on that uni, beat it to hell and back, and still ride it just about everywhere. Finally getting my second uni on Monday (mail willing :D).
I saw a unicycle on the wall at a local thrift store when I was 20, thought it would be something cool to learn and put it on my mental bucket list. 16 years later a change in job situation left me with more free time during the day so I wanted a new hobby. Was looking for something a little on the strange side, got me outside more, was healthy and that wasn’t terribly expensive.
I remembered that little red unicycle on the wall of thrift store all those years ago and realized it fit my criteria perfect. So few months ago I picked up a little 20" trainer and taught myself how to ride it. That led to buying a trials off craigslist and a 24" muni.
I have since given the trainer to my 17 year old son, it took him all of 2 hours to become proficient in riding and free mounting.
When I was maybe twelve years old I imagined myself riding a unicycle. Never thought about it again until I was 54 and saw a unicycle for $10 in a garage sale and remembered my childhood vision. Thought, well at 54, it is now or never.
Not knowing anything about how to ride, I looked up several contradicting bits of advice online. It took me a couple of frustrating weeks to learn to ride it across my front lawn but I was determined to do it. The night that I knew I was nearly there I kept at it for hours in the rain lit only by the street light.
I soon realised that it was too small for me and bought the next in a series of what is now eight unis. Looking back I wonder how I ever learnt to ride that little uni.
I really wish I has had the opportunity to ride when I was young.
I have taught both my sons to ride and they learnt very quickly. One has bought his own uni.
I had always loved watching street unicycle acts but assumed it was something you had to be incredibly talented and trained from childhood in circus skills to do. Then I was at a village fete and there was one in the ‘silent auction’. I was fascinated by the idea and put a bid on it but couldn’t be around until the end and someone else outbid me. Couldn’t get it out of my head and dies bit of googling, which came up with the fascinating information that the only special skill needed is obsessive persistence until it clicks. As obsessive persistence in the pursuit of crazy objectives is practically my superpower, I was hooked - ordered a not quite the cheapest I could see on Amazon because the delivery day would be my day off and a time when my other half was away for a few days so no kibitzing until I had a chance to judge for myself if I was crazy to try. Still at the obsessive persistence stage, but totally hooked.
I was going to my local dump to throw out some junk then I notice something rather interesting in the scrap metal section. It was small 20 inch uni made for children under 10 years old. I took the Uni and taught my self how to ride. Even though the uni was on its last leg that did not stop me from riding down stair, ledges, and even some muniing. Eventually I invested in a better uni and now I am an avid rider and it all staring because someone threw a uni in the garbage. I never met the person who threw the unicycle in the garbage but who ever he is Thank You. This story is a classic case of "One mans trash is another mans treasure.
Love those threads, I think Piece Maker started a similar one a few months ago, but I can’t seem to find it.
My first unicycle was bought in my 20’s, I was living in London then and one weekend in Camden Town, I walked pass OddBall Juggling Shop. They had a couple of chrome unis on display - that was the mid 90’s, nothing else existed. I had just received some money from an insurance claim, so I decided to spend some on that uni. I taught myself in the driveway with a printed .doc I downloaded from the IUF website. But I never really became proficient, and when I moved back to France, the uni came with me and landed at my parents where it gathered dust until my mum lent it to a neighbor… whose garage burnt, with the uni! End of Act I.
Forward to 2011, I’m working in London for the summer, one weekend I bike the northern canal, which happens to pass by Camden. So I decide to explore a bit, and realize that the shop still exists. Out of curiosity, I walk in, and they have a cool selection of munis and cool looking indoor unis. What a change! I resist the temptation to buy one right away, but that very same night I had found this forum, I had found unicycle.co.uk and I had ordered a Nimbus II.
Perseverance is my middle name so it took me a while to ride - thank god, Youtube had appeared in the meantime, easier to watch instructions than to read them. That has become my main intense exercice, and it’s allowed me to meet people in unexpected places around the globe.
How did you start unicycling?
Horribly. I kept falling off!
I’ve told this story in detail in other threads over the years, so here’s a short version:
- In my childhood, I saw unicycles, and other fantastic wheeled devices in childrens books, such as those by Dr. Seuss. I also remember seeing Hans, a chimpanzee, ride a unicycle at the Detroit zoo. It was a little giraffe.
- ~1967 or 68: Saw unicycles in the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade (in person); got interested
- ~1975: A neighbor let me borrow his Troxel unicycle, which he was not interested in.
- ~'75 or early '76: After about six weeks of trying on and off, and giving up in disgust, I started to ride it down the driveway. When I started tryin to make turns, the thing folded.
- Troxel was a maker of tricycles and "juvenile bikes". The thing was never intended to actually be ridden by someone weighing as much as a 14-year old. Bad parts and bad design.
- 1979: A neighbor buys a Schwinn Giraffe (6'). After a few months of watching him ride it, I finally took an afternoon and was able to master it; riding successfully from the car I started on, turning 180 degrees, and riding up the driveway to the basketball hoop. That took about 45 minutes.
- 1980: Bought my own first unicycle, another Schwinn Giraffe.
Moral of the story: While people (and chimpanzees) can learn to ride on giraffe unicycles, it's not the recommended method. :D
My first introduction to unicycles was in my years at high school, I became friends with the guy who took a great interest in the various circus arts (juggling, unicycle, some acrobatics, etc). This kind of led to becoming interested in learning some of them, but never got around to the unicycle because of conflicting schedules. One of my sister’s friends around the same time also had a uni, but he was starting to feel stagnant about learning it. By the time I asked him whether I could give it a go, he had already gotten rid of it, and I was out of luck. Fortunately, an aunt of mine heard I was looking for a unicycle, and when one of her coworkers was getting rid of one, she asked if I would want it. I, of course, said yes, and the next time I saw her, she had brought a 20" unicycle.
That unicycle has lasted 6 years, but I stopped riding it around 2 years ago when I transitioned to a 29" Nimbus Oracle. Even now, it’s in my garage, just waiting for the day when the 29" breaks down or gets stolen (again) and it takes its spot in the sun (for 2 weeks while I get a new uni).
At college, one of my best friends had an unicycle and once I gave it a try. The rest is history haha…
always wanted to ride uni
I grew up in the 80s. My friends and I would ride our bikes all weekend every weekend and all summer long. I’d noticed a couple people around town cycling hands-free and I started to train myself to balance my bike without touching my handlebars. I soon got really good at it and I could ride for long periods using only my body weight to steer. I wanted to take this skill a step further and learn to balance and ride on one wheel. I remember seeing a unicycle in the Sears catalog every Christmas; it was maybe $50. My parents felt that riding a unicycle was going to be too dangerous and I’d probably fall and die. They applied this rationale to skiing, trampolines, diving boards, and practically every other remotely dangerous recreational activity. Needless to say, I never got a unicycle and I kept riding my bike with no hands (they couldn’t see me ride). I got a driver’s license on my 15th birthday and my biking days ended fast.
For the next 20 something years, unicycling sat at the back of my mind. Two months ago, I bought my first Uni.
I’m still learning and getting a bit better each day. From what I’ve read, 37 is certainly not too old to start.
I’m 50 now. When I was 15 years old I learned of an estate auction with a unicycle listed. I was intrigued so I rode my bicycle to the auction and won it with a $15 bid. That makes it easy to remember. I taught myself to ride around 50 feet but never really got it down.
Around 8 years ago I finally committed to learning it and practiced every day until I could ride as long as I wanted. The following summer I committed to learning to idle, which for me was harder than learning how to ride. I finally got that down and felt like I’d done the impossible. That set the stage for my real goal - riding backwards. I can now ride backwards reasonably well.
I quickly fell in love with giraffes and own several. I now have 9 unicycles including the cheapy $15 uni that started it all.
Here is a link to the last thread like this, and in that thread are a few more links to threads like this. This is my favorite topic discussed on the forum
In ‘86, I was spending a week during summer break with my grandparents in a small town. There wasn’t much to do, so I found my cousin’s 20" Schwinn, unused in pristine condition (next to her karate uniform and her telescope), and spent the week learning to ride it. When I got back home, my folks bought me an almost identical one at the Schwinn store, and 30 years later, I’m still ridin’.
Around 1970 my big brother and I went 1/2 on a new Schwinn 24". I think I paid $10 and he paid $30-$35. Then I learned how to ride it and he did not. I messed around on it until my mid 20’s the threw it in the shed where it sat for 30 years. This is what got me started again.