Hi there! I’m a granddaughter of the late Bernard Crandall and I know that his hand built unicycles are still out there. If anyone is looking to sell in and around Michigan, let me know. I’d love to have one of his pieces and give some back to my dad.
Hello Snowwicked, are you a daughter of Clyde or Floyd? I don’t know if they had other brothers or sisters… Floyd was a man I looked up to in my early years of unicycling, and I considered him a role model in my approach to sports.
One of the things that attracted me to unicycling “back in the day” was watching a guy from the Pontiac Unicyclists perform in the talent show at my Jr. High School (Bryant, Livonia) when I was in 8th grade. This would be approximately 1975 or 76. I can’t remember the guy’s name any more, but when he rode his 7 or 8-footer over a jump ramp, I was convinced that he-was-going-to-die. When he didn’t, I was blown away!
Anyway, to try to track down Crandall giraffes, try contacting people who might know older people who may still have one. I would start with the Redford Unicycle Club:
There were probably a few Crandalls around when I was riding with the club (1980-84) but those things don’t die. They’re heavy, but very sturdy! Putting the word out to the older club members might get you a contact or two.
If you do get your hands on one, if it’s built around a Schwinn wheel, it may be hard to find tires that fit. I would consider it “acceptable” to upgrade the rim and tire (or whole wheel) if people intend to ride it. The important part of those is really the frames; the rest were the ordinary bike parts (and uni or Track hubs) of the time.
I am Clyde’s daughter. The eight footer may actually have been him- he rode up to 16 ft and Floyd rode up to 20. It’s awesome to hear stories from back in their prime- ive always been fascinated by it all. I actually found a video on YouTube of their last big parade after my grandpa passed and I spotted my dad and my uncle in it. I actually still talk to Penny Elliott as well- she was one of the riders too. It’s a small world. I went to school (and church for a while) with a boy with the same last name as yours- his name was John Michael.
Hi Snowwicked! This isn’t a unicycle but… back in about the same day John refers to, in early 1975, I wrote a letter to your grandfather asking some advice on building unicycles. He replied with a handwritten note and drawings, answering my questions and explaining how he built them. I’ve kept that in my unicycle archives, and I’ll be glad to send you a copy of it as soon as I figure out how to reply directly.
IIRC your dad and uncle were setting the speed standards back then, and a friend of mine and I followed them in the USA Newsletter. We went as far as marking off a 100 yards on the neighborhood street to see if we could come close to their times.
I’ll keep poking around the new interface here. I bet your dad would enjoy seeing this letter. Good luck on the uni search!
I think you have to post a few times before you’re allowed to PM someone. Maybe @Canapin can change that for your account so you can PM already.
Yes, new users can’t send direct messages to prevent spam, but their account is upgraded very quickly as soon as they start using the forum. I can manually upgrade accounts too, so you should now be able to send direct messages, @morgan_griffith
Thank you so much! This is really awesome! I can’t wait to show it to my dad. I never got to meet my grandfather but it’s wonderful to find little pieces of him scattered all over this way. It’s like a treasure hunt! Thank you for sharing!
Starr Crandall Yarbrough
You have unicycle archives? There must be more of us than I imagined! What other kinds of unicycle archives do you have, if you don’t mind my asking? I get the impression you around my age, are not from Michigan or Ohio (or you would have gone to those early National Unicycle Meets, and are still interested in unicycling, which is pretty rare for people who rode as kids/teenagers.
BTW, I have archives of the early days of the IUF, including all the judges sheets from Unicon IX (I was the Chief Judge) and lots of other paper stuff that should one day be scanned and made available to the world of unicycle nerds like us.
Hi John, I have a few things, the first 8 years of the Newsletter, the first few years of Uni magazine, some other old letters & notes, one from Emmet Carpenter that came with an 8-footer his shop built for me, lots of random stuff, and an RTL folder. We’ve met before - I was part of the Surly Speedgoats with Dave and Dan at RTL. I didn’t get to too many NUMs, though I still have a t-shirt from the 1980 one in Kokomo. I think I was at one in Minnesota in the 80’s where I met Tommy Miller and first rode one of his big wheels, and I think Bowling Green in 2005 and Saline in 2007. Seems like every decade or so I get the unicycles out and start riding regularly again.
I’m from Indiana, the South Bend (northern Indiana) area when I was growing up, and now living in southeastern Indiana on a farm we’ve had for about 30 years. The roads are pretty quiet out here, and hilly, so there are lots of nice rides to be had.
Post-COVID we should get together and compare notes. Long ago I started to index the newsletters, but now they could probably be scanned, put through OCR (if it hasn’t been done already) and made available for searching.