Is Kris the best...or just the most popular?

Wow, what a disscusion. Do you think this will surpass the “Clean Jokes” topic in posts? :smiley:

Kris is very very good, yes. So is Nathan, Max, John, whoever else you guys want to mention. I love this sport because usually we are pretty non-competitive. I’ve seen some of my friends bike, skate-board, whatever, and they are usually under a lot of pressure to go big or go home. With unicycling, I’m impressed if a new guy can free-mount, or if Kris or Nathan can uni-spin out of a seat out in front wheelwalk. ( :astonished: , level 11) (Did my first seat-out in front hop last night in the deep snow:p )

I have to admit, Kris is my personal hero, and an example of what I can do if i put my mind to it. He’s the hero of the sport, just like Bender or Ryan Leech are to biking or Tony Hawk is to skating. It’s not that they can do every trick or move better than anyone else, just that they are a great example of what someone can accomplish.

Plus, with all the media he has been in (NWD 1 and 2, One Tired Guy, etc, etc) he’s someone that almost all of us unicyclists and some who don’t do the sport can recognize.

Ok, done my rant :wink:

P.s. I’m sure it also has do with the fact that he is really really reallllly good.

To me, the amazing thing about Kris is not only that he has all these amazing abilities, he puts them to use in the most extreme situations.
Nathan Hoover explained it very well in the Unizaba film. Kris performs a move that maybe alot of guys can do, say ride a narrow railing. But Kris rides that railing a few hundred feet up in the air. If he blows it, he dies.
The ability to filter out the obvious danger and focus to the degree that Kris can is what to me is truly amazing.
I used to be somewhat active in a Saxophone Disscussion Forum and the same sort of threads used to come up. 100 posts to the subject of whether or not Michael Brecker is really all that good…
It’s kind of a silly question to pose and this one sort of strikes me the same way. :smiley:
There are and will be many, many amazing riders but there will not be another Kris Holm.

i wouldn’t mind seeing a video of Jay Brady. How good is he? how far can he gap? how high can he hop? what colour is his hair?

(the third question will any tie-breakers)


Can he play the blues sitting on the edge of a 2000 ft cliff?

Kris Holm has been riding offroad for over 8 years or so now, and was riding the north shore trails with Mt. Bikers before most of us probably knew what MUni was. He’s got a head start, and a talent for it to boot. But it’s just getting started. It’s like Harper said about “the Kids”, they’re young, and if they keep at it they (or someone else) could easily surpass Kris. He already did all the hard work though, he made it all possible. He did it, and it’s all on video. The first times the hardest, now it’s gona get silly, and I can’t wait, cause at 26 I feel like one of the kids and I’m gonna do my best to take the torch from Kris and run with it a minute, or at least hold it with him for a second. But that said, Kris will always be the first, and no matter how much bigger or farther anyone goes in his wake, he will always be remembered for that. Kris rules!

Oh-oh. Some of these are starting to read like epitaphs. I want to take a different tack.

There is the possibility that Kris can be the best AND the most popular. Popular certainly in the sense of most-widely known but also in the sense of appealing. And best of course in the sense of daring, ability, and innovation. Kris is THE right guy at THE right time. He is the perfect representative for our sport because he has all of the right ingredients. He has the athleticism, nerve, and talent to ride like most of us will only ever dream to. He has the recognition and the notoriety that accompany those people who consistently perform ridiculously difficult skills. Through this exposure he has brought our tiny, obscure sport a little bit further into the light.

But it doesn’t just stop there. An ideal representative must be eloquent and articulate … publicly … all of the time. When some agent of the press asks the same inane question you’ve heard over and over again it takes something above and beyond great riding ability to be able to patiently and completely answer in a manner that is also satisfactory to the audience and can be received at their level. And to do it with a positive attitude … always. Ever hear him faulter in an interview?

That’s still not enough. Kris is a big star in a small sport and as such garners alot of attention from young, adoring fans. None of these developing athletes walks away feeling neglected or belittled. That takes alot of personal time and yields returns that are immeasurable. Not everyone can do that. And when one of these young people has something to show off to the Big Wheel (I thought I’d slip that in) they hear nothing but praise and encouragement from a guy who exudes only sincerity, enthusiasm, and gentility. That holds for antique geeks like me trying to keep up on the trails, as well.

These are traits that not shared in equal proportions by all people. Some are great athletes, some are great speakers, some are great teachers. Having all these traits at once is what sets Kris WAY apart from the rest of us, or them if you prefer. And if that’s STILL not enough, he can play the violin better than any of us ever will, too. That’s what really tweaks me.

Sounds good to me!

Not to give the wrong impression (and to hog a little bit of the spotlight), Kris did not singlehandedly “invent” Unicycle Trials. He is, however, almost singlehandedly responsible for Unicycle Trials being what it is today.

I think I first heard about Bike Trials (Observed Trials) from Bruce Bundy and David Poznanter. They apparently got interested in such riding before they discovered the big 3" Gazzalodi tires. Nobody at MUni Weekend '98 was riding those, so they must have started using them in early '99 or so. Somehow, I got the idea to do a “Trials” competition at the 1998 MUni Weekend.

It can be argued as to whether it can be counted as “Trials,” but I’m pretty sure it was the first one, at Sly Park in Pollock Pines, California on October 18, 1998. All you had to do was ride (or hop) down the lumpy rock beach to the lake, get your tire wet, and ride back up, with penalties for dabs (dismounts). Building an “obstacles” Trials course requires a huge amount of work, and was not possible for that MUni Weekend’s schedule.

The first entrants were Julie and Sierra Young of Cle Elum, WA. Sorry the cgi-scripts still aren’t working on my Web site yet, but here’s the picture:

That’s Julie. Kris Holm is in the background in the pinkish shirt, taking pictures.

Here’s the page with the rest of the pictures, which you can see by clicking on them and then eliminating “cgi-bin/” from the URL:

This page explains the competitions:
Notice I didn’t call it “Trials,” but it does speak of dabs. Notice also the cute picture of Dan Heaton and his dad at their first MUni Weekend ('97)!

1998 was Kris Holm’s first time riding unicycles with a group. He won the Trials event (and the other competitions) handily. I’m sure his interest in Trials was already there, and he has taken it much farther since then.

Though the Jenkinson Lake Wheel Dip was arguably the first Trials competition, the next one I’m aware of was definitely the real deal, and the first time we ever had bicycle-style Trials. This was at the Snoqualmie Summit in Washington, at the 1999 National Unicycle Convention. Kris was in charge of building the obstacles, and explaining all the rules and details to the riders.

Before and since then, Kris has written up two different sets of Trials rules for unicycles, including the current set used by the IUF. The only Unicycle Trials competition I’ve been to since the 1999 NUC that was not built by Kris was at the 2001 MUni Weekend in Idaho, built by Joe Stoltzfus. That one was fun too!

So. From an objective point of view. Is Kris Holm the world’s most visible unicyclist? Yes. To the general public, I’m pretty sure he’s the most likely unicyclists to be seen, at least in the Western half of the world. In that sense, he’s the most popular.

He’s also the guy, with a little help from Dan and Andy in Universe, most responsible for the popularity of Unicycle Trials. Independent of that, he’s the undisputed best Trials rider on Earth at the moment.

I believe John ment Dan and Adam. :slight_smile:



Yes, the masterful camera handling of Adam Rysnar. Andy is more quiet, and was usually in the background… :stuck_out_tongue:

“Best rider” is a hard title to hold. my votes:

Muni and Trials: Kris holm, with Nathan Hoover, Dylan W, and Dan Heaton all comeing close.

But for flat out style, Dan is out in front with huge uni spins, grinds, gaps, and freestyle.

Freestyle, Im not really up on, but I know that a few asian riders (from Japan I think) Do same crazy things, stand up 1 foot ww.

John Foss has got to be # 1 in the all around category. What cant he do? (hand wheel walking! hah hah hah)

Distance theres Christian Hovrath, I dont know who else.

one thing to remember is that christian is an insanely good freestyle rider, not only distance.

Freestyle has had contributions from many creative riders over the years and a lot of what we have in street riding and in other areas of the sport has been influenced by these…Yuichiro Kato and Diaki Izumida of Japan; Josue Barretto, Javier Ruiz, Jose Roman and others from Puerto Rico; Julian Monet of Switzerland. Sem Abrahams from Holland; and JF.