Interesting historical unicycling photo (before WWII)


A friend of mine gave me a nice gift one day… she works at Warsaw Rising Museum
and some day, while digging through heaps of very old photos, she had found this awesome
and historical unicycling photo. I thought I’d share it with you, but sorting out copyright stuff
took much longer than I thought.

The photo was taken in Poznan, Poland between the First and the Second World War.
The building behind the tramway is The Great Opera.
I guess those two guys ride 28" unicycles. What is interesting though is that this has probably nothing
to do with circus :slight_smile: :sunglasses: due to the wheel size. Their stance and positioning of hands is just the matter
of elegance I suppose.
What do you think?

That’s awesome. I’m taking it for facebook.

Yes, the arm positions look like they’re trying to be “nonchalant” as they ride down the street in their business clothes. Most people who have such pictures taken are usually trying to promote themselves though, so it’s possible they were entertainers. Their wheels are big, but those unicycles were almost surely handmade (nobody was manufacturing them at the time), so normal bike wheels wouldn’t be unusual. If they were performers, the probably didn’t do lots of tricks on those large wheels, but there are tons of performers out there who ride unicycles but don’t do much with them in their shows.

If they are trying to look relaxed in the photo they’re not quite pulling it off, which may mean they’re relatively new riders, or just bad timing of the photo.

I think the cranks are too long :stuck_out_tongue: but seriously, I think it’s a very nice picture, it looks like the unicycle is just being used as a way to transport themselves, they don’t look like street performers at all, even though they could be ofcourse. Yeah, I like it, und ich gehe du dahr ein PM uber sturen, something like that isn’t it. I’m going to PM you about it haha…

Unicycles are believed to have “evolved” from the penny farthing (high wheeler or bone shaker). The penny farthing had a very large wheel in front and a much smaller wheel in back. While braking or turning a penny farthing, often times the rear wheel would come off the ground forcing the rider to balance on the larger front wheel as he/she rode. The belief is that some riders of the penny farthing got so used to riding on the one larger wheel they ditched the smaller wheel and the unicycle was invented. However, the wheels on these two unicycles are much too small to be direct “decendants” of the penny farthing. The photo must have been taken some years after the transition.

It’s a very nice picture.