How do you act towards others on a unicycle in public?

I’m just wondering if there’s a consensus on the proper way to act on a unicycle in public.

Here are several issues I’ve thought of.

  1. You’re on a sidewalk unicycling at a fairly leisurely pace, and there are people coming in the opposite direction. Naturally, I’d make an effort to get as close to the edge of the sidewalk as possible, but would an “excuse me”, or “sorry” be necessary?

I’ve excused myself while passing several times, and often, someone in the group would tell me to not be sorry since it’s “the coolest thing ever”. I think I’ll continue doing this, but I guess it’s just something to think about.

  1. What about interaction? Do you make eye contact with strangers that you pass, or just unicycle by nonchalantly? Only make interaction if they’re obviously staring at you? My friends tell me that whenever I’m on a unicycle in public, I have a saucy grin on my face (which is probably me having fun), and I certainly don’t want to be misinterpreted as trying to be superior to pedestrians (heh, well maybe I am, but in no way do I want to make anyone feel bad).

Re: How do you act towards others on a unicycle in public?

That’s standard politeness in most situations, but it really depends on whether you’re upwind or downwind of those pedestrians.

:wink:

I cycle around the city centre fairly often. You can get away with a lot more on a unicycle than on a bike simply because of the novelty… people will be too busy saying “Wow, look at him!” or otherwise enjoying the spectacle.

It is possible to go down quite crowded streets on a uni. I find standstills and little hops dead handy for two reasons; you can wait somewhere until there’s enough room, and they probably go some way to showing people that you are actually quite good at it and you’re not going to fall on them. The more impressed they are the more likely they are to forgive you for any accidental mishaps… :slight_smile:

Try to stay out of people’s way; hold back if you’re unsure, or go a different way. If someone is going along the path in the opposite direction to you chances are they’ll give you room to go past (that “novelty” thing again, and not wanting to get landed on), but if not either stop and go past or wait until they’ve gone.

As for eye contact… I always smile and thank people if they move aside or give me room. Smile and wave at people who compliment or encourage you.

Completely ignore people who whinge unnecessarily at you. You’re definitely superior to them.

(On Saturday I heard a voice saying “No riding zone!”, then another saying “Shut up, you’re just jealous”. I enjoyed that… :))

Phil

A lot has been said on this topic. Should I ride on the sidewalk at all? Should I stop when people are near me? How pedestrians percieve you (like – you are going to fall on them, or maybe they think you should get off the sidewalk). Safety issues. Legal issues. Politeness issues. All this from the perspective of the unicyclist AND the pedestrian.

I recently compiled a list of threads. You might want to take a look through them. It’s here –

Street riding - safety and legal issues

By the way, how good are you? I still stink at riding, so I don’t allow myself to get too near pedestrians. Also, a still-stand requires putting your arms out for balance, right? Wouldn’t that run the risk of smacking someone in the head (like if they approached from behind you as you went into a still-stand)?!

I’m late for a meeting (I’m at work goofing off). There was another recent thread about street riding – it also had a raging political debate. I’ll dig it up later, unless someone else beats me to it.

uni57 (Dave)

if i’m approaching someone, walking the same direction i’m riding I:

on the coker I have a bell (they always step aside) and thank them as I pass (never say sorry…it may sound like you think what you’re doing is wrong)

on ‘normal’ uni’s I’ll follow them until I can move around them by going around/over something like grass, curbs what have you.
(or they turn around and see me, they generally move, but I don’t force my way past)

If I’m approaching someone coming towards me, I:

if they are old, or have a dog, I’ll yield the way. if it’s just a sidewalk, I’ll hop off and let them pass. If there is room to move over and give them PLENTY of room, I’ll idle/practice stillstands

If it’s just kids, or ‘regular’ people, I’ll move over on said sidewalk as far as I can go when they make eye contact with me, and ride straight along the edge. This way, they can see that I can ride indefinetly in a straight line without wobbling all about. I slow down as I pass them, but overall, it’s pretty much still ‘just riding along’

I’m very confident of my slowspeed/around pedestrias abilities, of course.

I’ve not clobbered anyone yet*… :slight_smile:

What I do hardly counts as a stillstand; one hand on handle, the other by your side, standing still and doing tiny hops from side to side to keep balance rather than lots of arm-waving.

Phil

  • Yet… Mwuahahahahaaaa…

Yes, I remember encountering a feeble old man several years ago while inline-skating on a paved bike path (I was skating, not the feeble old man). He was very skittish. He must have been very concerned about falling and breaking a hip or something. I was skating slowly and under control and was giving him a wide berth.

His fear of having someone fall on him was very real to him. A bad fall at his age would have been very serious. He said something and I stopped to talk to him. He was quite reasonable. And he was just out for a pleasant afternoon walk – I don’t want to make him afraid – whether or not his fear is warranted.

The perceptions of the pedestrian are most important. They may not understand that one can ride a unicycle in complete control. And thus their fear is real. We should yield to their concerns, even when they are unfounded. The average person seldom encounters a unicyclist – they may base their entire perception of unicycling on how YOU interact with them. We should be good representatives of the sport.

Pedestrians should not be considered annoyances or obstacles. When I used to inline skate on a heavily used bike path, the bikes and pedestrians and joggers and baby carraiges and dogs were all opportunities to demonstrate skill and flair. Stop when necessary (without screeching the skate brake, which startles the people in front of you – they whip their head around to see what’s coming at them from behind). Be extra polite – just for the fun of it. On your left! Thank you! Make interacting with and co-existing with those around you a fun and important part of riding. When you have to, ride super-slow, idle, stillstand, or do a graceful dismount. Think of it as an integral part of riding, not as a nuisance. And remember that THAT person did not ask you one thousand times “where’s your other wheel?” – just once. Challenge yourself to have fun with it. Flair! And don’t be annoyed – it will only take the fun out of your ride.

uni57 (Dave), promoter of unicycling goodwill
P.S. - even something simple like warning that you are about to overtake a pedestrian – “On you left!” – takes skill and practice. If you say it too loudly or urgently (when their back is to you), you startle them because they think you are about to mow them down. You have to modulate your voice to express “no action is necessary on your part. Please do not jump out of the way. But be forewarned, I am about to pass you. Thank you.”

I just try to think Im on a bike. I only acknowledge the person if they say something to me. I always reply with Thanks. Acutally one time, I was so used to saying thanks, one peson asked me:

“Is that hard?”
I said:
“Thanks”

I rode away. It wasnt until about 50ft down the road that I realized he didnt compliment me; He was just asking a question.

The other question is how to react towards townies (of the 15 year old beeston variety for anyone who knows nottingham). If they’re blatantly offensive ignoring them is the obvious option. but if they are just saying jokingly / semi - mockingly “do a wheely” or “jump up that then” do you do something to impress them on the basis that they might shut up, or do you ignore them on the basis that that would look like you’re trying to prove yourself to them. And am I putting far too much thought into this?

John

I find that if you act insane( swear alot, and drool) people usually are more than greatful to get out of your way. The problem resolves itself.

On a unicycle, you are the odd one out, the unexpected, the eccentric, the dangerous one… the onus is on you to deal with situations. You’re used to it.

Some people will genuinely not know what to make of you. They may well fear that you will fall off and hurt them. Be courteous; give them warning of your approach; be prepared to dismount, or take a wide route round them. They are enjoying their walk; you have no right to spoil it.

Be careful with dogs. NEVER ride between the dog and its owner, unless the dog is a good distance away. Dogs are territorial, and they are protective of their owners.

Always make sure that a dog has seen you. Do NOT surprise a dog. Click your tongue; say, ‘Hello dog!’ Do anything, but don’t just ride past a dog that doesn’t know you’re there.

Dismount for horses, unless you can pass VERY wide. If you have any fear that you will UPD, get off and let the horse past. If you DO UPD and the horse shies, and the rider is hurt, it is your fault - morally, if not legally.

If people are friendly, even if their comments are predictable, try to respond in a friendly way. “where’s your other wheel?” “Ha ha! They’ll nick anything round here!” etc.

If people are deliberately rude, restrain yourself, OR go for it big time. :0][ Either both barrels or neither arrel, that’s my motto.

Don’t ride beyond your abilities. If it’s crowded, don’t ride, unless you’re 100% confident of your control. Don’t be cocky. One mistake and you can cause damage. Someone might not have seen you, or they might not understand the danger. If you ride too close, UPD and your pinned pedal takes their shin out, it’s your fault. Even if they’re a complete posterior orifice and deserve it.

Re: How do you act towards others on a unicycle in public?

Mikefule wrote:
> On a unicycle, you are the odd one out, the unexpected, the eccentric,
> the dangerous one… the onus is on you to deal with situations.
> You’re used to it.

Really, really, really used to it.

> If people are friendly, even if their comments are predictable, try to
> respond in a friendly way. “where’s your other wheel?”

> Don’t ride beyond your abilities.

Yeah, right. :wink:

> If it’s crowded, don’t ride, unless
> you’re 100% confident of your control. Don’t be cocky. One mistake
> and you can cause damage. Someone might not have seen you, or they
> might not understand the danger. If you ride too close, UPD and your
> pinned pedal takes their shin out, it’s your fault.

True.

> Even if they’re a complete posterior orifice and deserve it.

If they deserve it’s still my fault, I just don’t feel bad about it. :wink:


Oderint dum metuant.
–Lucius Accius, Caligula, Cicero, and current U.S. foreign policy

Re: How do you act towards others on a unicycle in public?

On Mon, 10 Mar 2003 16:25:50 -0600, uni57
<uni57.k3jgn@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>uni57 (Dave), promoter of unicycling goodwill

Thoughtful post, Dave.

Oh and I think it’s a bit silly to welcome you now. No not silly
because you think silly is positive (as do I, often). Let’s say, daft.

I’ve noticed that people who introduce themselves like “I’m new here”
are most often welcomed by others. In your first post you just said
“I’m a beginner” and that apparently went unnoticed. I don’t think I
was ever welcomed here either. Now I belong to the furniture, as the
Dutch say.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

"I, Q, and X are the only letters that don’t start a city that ends in -ville in the state of Ohio. "

Re: Re: How do you act towards others on a unicycle in public?

Klaas,

Thanks! I always value your opinion, especially when it’s in the form of a nice compliment!

Am I daft as in crazy? I’m still learning to speak English (my native language). Daft, tyre, kerb, spanner, tarmac (pavement), pavement (sidewalk), left (right), right (left). I like daft (I think). Cor! (still don’t know what that one means)

Anyway, here is an amusing page about the differences between American and British English –
http://njnj.essortment.com/americanenglish_akd.htm

And regarding how one introduces oneself – yet another perspicuous observation. I think you are right. I never said “Hello, everybody. I’m new here.” – I just started speaking. It felt awkward for a long time – like I was an outsider intruding on a group of friends. (something like that – I’m putting it a bit too strongly). In “real life”, one would never make such a mistake.

Where’s Your Other Wheel,
uni57 (Dave)

Re: Re: Re: How do you act towards others on a unicycle in public?

Not at all. What I tried to say is that it would be daft at this stage to welcome you in the group. Or at least, if I would do it, it would feel out-of-place. Or rather out-of-time.

Klaas Bil

Great advice from Uni57! And also the usually sensible words of Mikefule.

When on a unicycle, start by thinking and acting the way you should if you’re on a bike. Don’t crowd past pedestrians, and ride where bikes are supposed to, unless you’re really slow or a beginner. If you’re a beginner, don’t ride near people, period. You should get past the stage of the occasional sudden explosive dismount before you risk the safety of total strangers.

When I am riding down the street on a bike, I don’t have an obligation to respond to odd remarks, to answer all questions, or to make eye contact. What you do in these areas should reflect your personality. Be nice. Be polite. But don’t feel obligated, unless you’re in the mood.

I go from total non-eye contact and silence to boisterous openness, depending on my mood (and how much time I have). I usually keep my ears open for original comments, and toss out some of the standard responses to the common ones:
“What happens when you get a flat?”
“I move my furniture in.”
– Like that.

People should not be scared by you, so try not to scare them. There are limits to this of course, as some people choose to be scared before they walk out the door, and it doesn’t matter to them how far away you are. Just keep as much safe distance as possible.

Be ready for people to react by jumping the wrong way. People walking with their backs to you may suddenly turn into your path. Car doors may open just as you pass (try not to pass that close). Children will dart in any direction, even if they have seen you.

Dogs may also act unpredictably. Some do that head-cocking thing when they see unicycles, which I always think is funny. But others may chase.

Squirrels, from my experience, will do best if you aim straight at them. This is more a problem with cars, but squirrels are even more indecisive than a kid in an ice cream store, so they’re impossible to predict.

As mentioned, horses need the widest berth possible. They are flight animals by nature, and scare easily. Plus (sorry to generalize), many horse owners seem to be stuck-up gods and goddesses who don’t think any other form of conveyance should use “their” trails. Just because horses are older doesn’t mean they’re better. In a trail situation, when you only have a 10’ wide space or left, I always dismount before reaching the horse, unless the riders wave me on.

To do all of the above is to attempt to avoid all accidents. This is not possible, but it’s what I try to do. Then if I hit an invisible seam in the pavement and go flying (which I’ve done), nobody is hurt but my pride (or my camera, as happened in Holland in 1983 with lots of pedestrians watching).

Re: How do you act towards others on a unicycle in public?

I’m glad you asked that question because I almost did.=20

Since I am used to being rejected in society no matter where I am =
(people never really want to bond with me a friend or boyfriend [girls =
especially reject me] and please don’t feel sorry for me), I litterally =
cannot find my voice to say “Excuse me” when I ride my unicycle near =
people. I know I should say it. It would feel “courteous”, but since =
I’m so used to people ignoring me, I just can’t say “Excuse me.” I hope =
they don’t think I am too rude when I don’t scoot over to the side to =
give them a wider lane to walk.

However, if the first comments come from a pederstian are positive, I =
usually “open” up fast and smile.

“asqlerth” <asqlerth.k31en@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message =20
> I’m just wondering if there’s a consensus on the proper way to act on =
a
> unicycle in public.

Re: How do you act towards others on a unicycle in public?

On Wed, 12 Mar 2003 11:52:00 GMT, “unknown uni guy” <uug@noemail.com>
wrote:

>Since I am used to being rejected in society no matter where I am =

Well then, unknown uni guy, let me tell you I see no reason to reject
you while you’re here! Be welcome!

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

"There are 1,929,770,126,028,800 different colour combinations possible on a Rubik’s Cube. "

Re: How do you act towards others on a unicycle in public?

Very kind of you to say, Klass (no surprise). Actually, one reason why =
I switched to unicycling was the BENIGN ATTITUDE of the people here on =
the newsgroup. Nathan was the first person ever to respond to my =
statement in this unicycle newsgroup. Of course, he said kind words. =
The more I lurked in this newsgroup, the MORE I really want to learn how =
to ride a unicycle. I was IMPRESSED that nobody here was a “mr. =
know-it-all” and that there were no cocky people. But you could find a =
lot of rude people in the MTB forums, which really was a turn off. I =
was attacked verbally on MTB newsgroup by some werido ex-AirForce guy =
who lived in Arizona/New Mexico for asking a harmless question. =
Basically, I migrated here. There is another benefit in this unicycle =
newsgroup and that is reading the jokes and humor. There is A LOT of =
funny people here on this newsgroup. I can always find something funny =
here in this newsgroup.

You should get back to group.

Making potholders is fun!

Don’t talk to people from Arizona, they’re all assholes.
They’ll take your slippers and your pudding.

Only swallow half of the red pill. You can trade it for applesauce.