International Harper Day 2015

International Harper Day will inconveniently fall on the same day as my lab campout this year. I plan to have the ride on Sunday, 23 August. This is the weekend prior to my 63rd birthday and it is the day after my brother’s 61st birthday. This will also mark 52 years of unicycling for me. I got my first unicycle on my 11th birthday.

We will ride the Iron Horse Trail from Hyak to Olallie State Park which is about a 17 mile ride down a 2% railroad grade. This is shorter than our usual ride because I’m out of shape and I’m a sissy (but so are Tom, Steve, and Jeff). You only have to pedal to maintain balance it’s so easy. There is a 2.3 mile long, pitch-black, dark tunnel right at the beginning of the ride. If you haven’t gone on this ride before you must realize that you will need a unicycle and a VERY bright light. (Remember to take your sunglasses off in the tunnel, Jeff.)

We will meet at the lot just south of the Issaquah Park and Ride between 9:00 and 9:30 AM Sunday 23 August. To get to the lot, take exit 15 on I-90 to SR-900 (Renton Road) southbound. Go about four blocks and turn left onto Newport Way. Then, turn right into the driveway to the parking lot. Lots of free parking and it’s easy to find people. There we consolidate unicycles, riders, and vehicles and drive to Olallie State Park to drop off a shuttle car. Olallie is a very easy off and on at exit 38 from I-90. Finally, we haul all of the riders and cycles to the Hyak trail head of the Iron Horse Trail and we ride back to Olallie State Park.

If you are a non-US rider who can attend this event, please notify me as soon as possible so we can attempt to maintain the international status of this ride.

International Harper Day announcement on the SARs list.

How fast do you guys usually ride on this trail? I’m thinking of coming but only average about 7-8 mph on the 36. I can probably maintain a little faster speed downhill with other ridersnto pace off of.


Our overall ride average speed is about 6 mph. We have stretches where a few riders will go 9-10 mph. I rarely exceed 8 mph on this ride. There are lots of stops. Someone always rides with the guy in back to make sure no one gets left behind. You would do fine and I hope you can make it.

Hi Matt!

This not a race, just a leisurely ride on a slight slope. There have been riders on much smaller tires that kept up. Actually, it’s not so much a matter of keeping up as finding the pack that is taking another break. :slight_smile:

Hi Guys,

Would a Big Apple tire be ok on this trail or should I get a tire with more traction like a Maxxis Ardent?

Anything that is rubber and will hold air is adequate. I have ridden this trail on a geared 29 with a Big Apple. I have also ridden it with a Coker 36 with the carcass showing through.

This looks like a group of eleven so far…eight people and three bicyclists. DeKoekkoek may bring a huge suburban and possibly a trailer. I think he carries seven people. Kenny may meet us at Olallie but I don’t think he can shuttle. We’ll be taking two or three vehicles to Hyak and I think Kenny has a pickup so can’t shuttle enough passengers.

We’ll see you all in a week.

I count 15 now and six of them want to ride bicycles. What’s with all the bikes? There will be smoke pouring off all of those brakes as they try to maintain unicycle speed during 17 miles of downhill. I might as well ride my motorcycle on the trail or just call Search and Rescue ahead of time, claim hypothermia, and have them heli-lift me out after I go through the tunnel.

Bruce has promised me a return to international status AND will actually ride a unicycle.

See you all Sunday.

I have 4 more joining us, at least one on a unicycle. We are approaching the 20 mark! I think we will meet you at Olallie then shuttle up to Hyak, if that makes sense.

When you say Ollalie State Park do you mean the trail head parking lot (up to the right) or the actual State Park by the river (to the left on the main road)?

Either way I should be there by 10am which will give everyone plenty of time to drive from Issaquah. I just don’t want to be waiting at the wrong place and miss the group! :astonished:


As you take exit 38 coming from Issaquah, you turn right and follow the road around to the left to the trail head parking or any of the parking before that. It’s just a big, long strip so you’ll be easy to find. Will you have a vehicle we can use as a shuttle at Olallie? Something that will carry 4 or 5 people? And, do you even have time to shuttle at the end of the ride?

This is becoming really problematic logistically. I’ve never had to deal with 9 bicycles before. I don’t know how to transport them all to the top. Also, requests are coming in from three sources: RSU, SARS, and private e-mails. I would like to move the entire conversation over to the SARS site (improperly renamed the SAURS site) and start to get a poll of who can carry bicycles and unicycles, how many, who has Discover Passes for parking at Hyak or Olallie.


I think we have 20 people riding. It’s hard to get an accurate count with unicyclists. Our ability to follow instructions and co-operate is minimal at best. If Michael, Matt, Steve, and Tom drive to the top they should be able to carry 23 riders and all of the cycles, uni and otherwise. Among them they have three Discover Passes so I think Melinda can leave her car at the Issaquah Park and Ride. I will buy two Discover Passes, one for Steve and one for a shuttle car. It looks like the shuttle car only needs to be able to carry five people so mine will do. A roomier one would be better. I’m trying to arrange this so Kenny can leave with his entire party at the end and not have to shuttle. See you Sunday at 9:00AM at the Issaquah Park and Ride.

I’ll leave my truck at Olallie so I can shuttle Aaron back to his car at Hyak. Not much room in the front but I could get one more “snuggly” person if they need a shuttle after the ride.

Happy birthday Harper. I won’t be able to join you all, but post some pictures and keep the international incidents to a minimum

Thanks all for another delightful ride. Left to Right: Kenny, Paul, Miles, Melinda, Bruce, Michael, Greg, Jay, A.J., Jeff, Ruby, J.C., Steve, Matt, Shannon. Not shown, Aaron and Tom who are taking pictures. A number of “flat” riders are shown including Doc, GILD, AKA Tom Jackson, Irene, and the two Dawson daughters. Credit to Ruby whose camera was used for this photo.