Yeep, that was my ‘quote of the day from non-riders’, I feel it deserves its own thread as I want to ask the question myself.
Today while riding home (I hadn’t been anywhere in particular, just out for a few miles), I got overtaken by a jogger, who smiled and asked me the question in the title. For a second or two I was stunned - Who was this superhuman?? I quickly grasped around for an excuse for my slowness, and settled on ‘not on this terrain no…’ (I was riding on a VERY beaten-up farm path that is full of broken bricks, potholes and, today, water).
After overtaking the jogger (He stopped to chat to somebody), I rode on hoping to get some distance put between us to avoid further embarrassment. I got off to get past the farmer’s gate (It’s a public path, we’re allowed to walk around it when it’s shut - the gates are there to stop cars coming through!), jumped on and rode along the next section, when the jogger overtook me again! For the rest of my journey (He ran past my house), I was unable to catch up. Despite some EXTREMELY reckless, speedy pedalling along more treacherous farm tracks.
My pride has been hurt. I was on my 29er with 145mm cranks, and wasn’t riding what I consider to be a slow pace at all (My GPS tells me my max speed today was 12mph, which I’m fairly sure I did on the last leg of the ride), and yet a man in trainers overtook me!
Please, if the jogger in this story is reading (You know who you are!) Take this post in jest, as I enjoyed our little unofficial race, however I need to ask a question of the unicyclists of the community.
Are unicycles really ‘slow’? Barring contraptions like geared 36’ers of course. And to ask the question once more - Isn’t Unicycling supposed to be faster than jogging?
As far as pacing joggers goes, I only have experience on a 26" and 36". On the 26", I get passed by all but the slowest joggers. On the 36", I pass all but the sprinters. I don’t know how fast I’m going (no speedometer or personal GPS device).
Skateboarders, on the other hand, is kind of a toss-up. If they’re pumping away in earnest, they’ll be faster. If not, I think we’re about the same.
Rollerbladers are pretty fast. I don’t encounter them very often, but when I do, it’s usually them passing me.
But I’m not really a very fast rider. I think I only average about 8 mph or so on level ground.
To be fair he didn’t ‘pass’ me at 12mph, he was already ahead of me when I really let the meat hit the metal And that speed could’ve been at another part of my ride - that path is VERY bumpy and I doubt I could pull 12mph on it if I tried. But I was going full-throttle!
Fast and slow are relative and in that light, yeah unicycling as a means of transportation is slow… but it’s still a simple machine. You can cover the same distance and expend a lot less energy (depending on the terrain of course). I know I’ve covered distances on my uni that I could never hope to cover on foot in the same amount of time, but I’m no athlete.
One of the main reasons I rode a uni back in the day was because I had a 2 mile commute from my car to my class. A uni didn’t require that I put a bike rack on my car, I could show up to class a lot less sweaty than if I had jogged in, and it was way faster than walking.
I guess the jogger’s grin as he overtook me hit a nerve
I don’t care THAT much really, that was just the first time I’ve been overtaken by anything human-powered besides a bike, and it got me thinking about where we stand on my newly-imagined ‘scale of stuff that is faster than the stuff before it’.
I think on technical and semi-technical terrain, joggers have a HUGE advantage in that they choose where to step, so they can glide over a lot of weird rocks or ruts without ever having to contend with them. it sounds to me like based on your skills and the terrain that the going was slower.
I’ve wondered/realized A MILLION times going on semi-technical terrain that WALKING is faster. but unicycling is fun, so there it is.
I’d say it largely depends on unicycle setup (wheel & crank size), terrain AND distance. On rough terrain (anything but easy pavement or gravel) a runner will destroy you every time. As mainly a runner myself (and occasional unicyclist) I know I can run faster than I ride on most offroad surfaces. HOWEVER, on easier terrain while I might be still slower than a real runner on my KH24/KH26 over the long haul I’ll be much faster. Case in point over a 100 miles I rode on my KH24 GUni in ~8 1/2 hours, that is almost 3 hours faster than the world record on foot. On easy surfaces unicycling takes much less effort than running but on rough terrain I’d argue the opposite is true.
This thread got me thinking about what’s the definition of jogging. Instead of actually looking it up though, as people often do I will just expound on my lack of knowledge; surely that guy was doing something beyond jogging (running). Good for him, it sounds like he’s in great shape!
I have often been on MUni rides, usually with at least one other person, where we struggle to not get passed by hikers. Or we pass them back and forth as we go, this being on rides where we stop a lot, or re-ride technical sections. At events like the Moab MUni Fest, hikers usually had little problem keeping up with large groups. This would not be the case on easy terrain though, or on longer rides.
Yeah he was definately not your standard fat businessman pretending to care about his health, nor was he doing the slow chicken-wing shuffle
I know the consensus seems to be that rough terrain = slow unicycling, but this encounter has got me thinking about working more towards faster riding. I’m not going to upgrade my wheel-size, though I may in the future consider shorter cranks
I think about this in terms of marathon distances. Elite male marathon runners have been finishing 26.2 miles
in less than 2 hours, 10 minutes since the 1970’s. There are still only a handful of unicyclists (100? more?) who
could finish a marathon in that amount of time. That number has gone up with geared hubs, of course.
That’s also on pretty smooth surfaces, too.