Interesting Performance Occurance

The boys and I were asked to perform for a Park District kids day camp and our performance was today. The camp was being held in a large indoor hotel room with commercial carpeting, usually used for large conference gatherings and such. When set up and hopped on our unis to warm up, we each noticed that the carpeting seemed to cast us to one side or the other. It was the weirdest thing and almost impossible to ride in a straight line without falling to the side. There was really no padding to speak of so we failed to understand why the phenomenon occured. It happened with all the uni’s; freestyle, trials, Cokers, etc. No matter how long we tried, we couldn’t get used to it, so we finally moved the performance out to the big tiled hallway outside the room.

It was neat to watch folks reactions as they walked by our presentation to the kids. By the end, we had developed a small standing crowd along with the kids. The kids loved it and we loved watching the kids love the performance. At the conclusion, we moved back into the large room to allow the kids to try riding some of the extra club unis we had brought along.

All in all, it was a very fun and satisfying afternoon.


I noticed that too, when I took my uni into work the other day. I was riding around the office, wondering why I kept banging into walls. I swear I readjusted my seat a dozen times trying to figure it out.

Our office has a multi-hue, short knap (the lead of a pencil is still visible when the tip is gently pressed into it) carpet. It has a definite weave to it, but I wasn’t expecting that much of an effect.


It was definitely a learning experience and a heads up for future performance conditions.


Interesting Performance Occurance

Calling John Foss and Dustin Kelm!

Surely, you’ve got some experience to relate and/or explanation for this phenomenon…?

Carpet — the work of the devil, or what?

carpet is weird stuff to ride on, it does indeed push you over to one side.
after a while you get used to it but its still weird.

I am familiar with this phenomenon you experienced. I spent a year in the mid 1980’s as an entertainer in a large nightclub/disco/bar, and spent most of my time unicycling & juggling indoors on carpeted floors. It took a while to get used to the unicycle wanting to go left or right on its own (especially with someone on my shoulders), but the thick padding under the carpet made my “patented-high-speed shoulder roll of death” much more comfortable.

And Harper, before you ask for pictures, there aren’t any.


Sketches, please.

How about I substitute a video of me riding a uni off a high dive into a pool ? Of course getting it from to VHS to the internet could be a problem.


That would be EXCELLENT!! It will involve you mailing the tape to someone who has the equipment to capture from VHS. Hopefully some knowledgeable fellow will step forward.

Send me the tape. I’ll make sure it makes it to the internet.


Re: Interesting Performance Occurance

Yes, carpet is the second most difficult performing surface I’ve had to work on. Not just any old carpet; some ride easier than others.

Unfortunately the cgi scripting on my Web site is still not fixed, so I have to give you individual links to some images of me performing on carpet. This was at the Latvian State Circus in 1990, one of my only true performances in a full-on circus:

No, I don’t use that costume any more. :stuck_out_tongue: In fact I never owned it.

I could have done without the carpeting! Under the carpet, as seen in the picture below, was a green rubber flooring material. This was still fairly lumpy (horses and elephants run on it daily), but grippier than the carpet. But for aesthetic reasons, I had to ride on lumpy carpet.

I think the nap in the carpet, as you ride over it, continually gets pushed over to one side. This causes your wheel to keep veering a little bit to the left or right. But it’s traction galore, as long as the carpet is well anchored!

Also, a dirty tire becomes a clean tire after a little carpet riding. If you’re stuck performing on carpet, pump your tire up as much as possible. It won’t cure things, but it will help.

Once upon a time, I had to perform on my artistic bike on a carpeted stage. I had brought the bike all the way to Bali for one show, and damned if I wasn’t going to use it! I spent hours practicing for the trick where I juggle three clubs while standing on the seat and handlebars. If I got enough speed, and timed it just right, I could get up, juggle, and get down. It worked in the show, but just barely! No more artistic bike (where you have to coast when your’e away from the pedals) on carpet!

So what was the #1 worst surface I’ve had to perform on (for an actual paid performance)? Wet astroturf. This means that plastic imitation grass stuff. The event was held in a tent on a day of solid rain. They could have picked up the nasty green stuff and let us perform directly on the asphalt beneath, but as above, it wouldn’t have been aesthetic. This was a very big event in Manhattan, with celebs and political people like mayor Ed Koch present, and over a dozen circus performers taking turns in the ring they’d set up. So I took the toothy pedals off my big wheel, which I wasn’t going to use anyway on that stuff, and put them on my freestyle uni instead of the plastic ones I had on there. I slipped and slid, but it wasn’t bad considering the conditions. You want a unicycle show on wet astroturf? That’s as good as you’re going to get!

Re: Re: Interesting Performance Occurance

unfortunatly i still have my questionable looking show outfit, and worse still i made the waistcost myself from a pair of curtains!
it wasn’t realy that bad because the rest of the performers had identical waistcoats too

the portable stage we used at this show was actualy perfect for riding on. much to my suprise