Jousting?

In article <3spinm$mjk@gap.cco.caltech.edu>
allenk@liquefy.ugcs.caltech.edu wrote:
> In (of all places) the recruitment brochure for Microsoft, I saw a great
> picture of two people unicycle jousting. Is this as dangerous as it sounds?
> They wore helmets, and of course a shield.
>
> (For non-native English speakers: jousting is traditionally done by knights on
> horseback, rushing at each other holding lances, which are large sticks,
> pointed at the other person. The goal is to knock them off their horse, or
> unicycle as the case may be.) Allen K.
>
> P.S. Don’t worry, I didn’t go to work for Microsoft.
>

I’m the guy in the picture with the beard and the yellow sheild. the guy with
the green SCA type helmet is Brian Lewis, inventor of this lunacy back when he
was in college at Oregon State University, and a fairly active medievalist.

the surprising thing about jousting is that if you take some reasonable
safety precautions, it’s really not dangerous at all. Besides, we can’t hit
very hard (after all, we’re riding unicycles…we all use 24"ers.). The first
time you see unicycle jousting in person, you can’t help but giggle
giddily…it looks so goofy.

the shield is 30" or so in diameter, made of 3/4" plywood, and has a pretty
solid handle made of a piece of wood, a metal handle (like for lifting a crate)
and a leather strap that goes around your forearm. The lance is a piece of the
dowling you hang clothing on, 8 feet long and about 1.5" in diameter. it has a
split ball on the business end. We’ve tried quite a few types of balls, and the
most effective is a tennis ball with silicone caulk on it. the problem, you see,
is that the lance has a tendency to glance wildly around on the shield. this
both causes the hits to be ineffectual, and the danger is that the lance end
goes somewhere unpredictable. the most scary is the throat. So we make the ball
as sticky as we can short of actually adhering to the shield, and we make a rule
that the blow has to be “Low and Inside” so that any deflections will be to
somewhere safe. Somebody tried holding the lance across the path of travel of
the other rider, and we banned that immediately. spokes, etc. are all out of
bounds. you have to do it with timing and balance.

the most serious injury anybody’s had jousting is when brian caught his lance
arm between his shield and lance during the hit, and it pinched him badly
enough to require stitches. After that, we always wear gloves that come well up
the right arm. I hurt my knee when I was wearing Brian’s full face helmet,
which obscures visibility low down, and missed the pedal while mounting,
carrying all the gear.

when you get hit hard enough to knock you down, it doesn’t hurt at all. It’s
incredibly exhilarating! most hits turn out to be pretty ineffectual, and we
generally wind up doing a half dozen tilts or so before somebody goes off…
almost always to land on your feet on the grass (our tilting list is a narrow
concrete path with grass on either side)

changes in our internal network have resulted in our usenet newsfeed being
unreliable, at least temporarily. Will somebody (especially Allen K) send
mail me to tell me that they got this. I’ll repost if I don’t get any mail in
a week or so.

                                    hanss@microsoft.com

Don’t worry, I did go work for Microsoft. Quite a number of your fellow
CalTech folks did too.

Re: Jousting?

Sounds like just the right sport to add to the next UNICON (international
UNIcycling CONvention)!

Hans, can you please be more specific about how the equipment is constructed and
what the rules are? It sounds like you are wearing helmets that protect the
face; is that true? Does the lance have any sort of handle or guard attached or
is it simply just a 8 foot long
1.5" pole? Did anyone ever wear armour? Did any women get involved in the sport?

On One Wheel, with Lance, Shield, and Armour,

Ken Fuchs <kfuchs@winternet.com

Re: Jousting?

kfuchs@klondike.winternet.com (Ken Fuchs) writes:

>Sounds like just the right sport to add to the next UNICON (international
>UNIcycling CONvention)!

>Hans, can you please be more specific about how the equipment is constructed
>and what the rules are? It sounds like you are wearing helmets that protect the
>face; is that true? Does the lance have any sort of handle or guard attached or
>is it simply just a 8 foot long
>1.5" pole? Did anyone ever wear armour? Did any women get involved in
> the sport?

I’ve often thought about this sport. There’s a large group of SCA people
(Society for Creative Anacronism) who meet on Tuesday nights and fight with
swords and axes in Union Square Park. It would be very amusing to show up on a
uni’ and show them some tricks.

/stern


Irgendwo ist ein Fehler aufgetreten! * stern@deshaw.com * stern@panix.com


Re: Jousting?

Ken Fuchs (kfuchs@klondike.winternet.com) wrote:
: Sounds like just the right sport to add to the next UNICON (international
: UNIcycling CONvention)!

Yeah! That would be more fun than rollerblade midget tossing! And certainly
much less expensive.

: Hans, can you please be more specific about how the equipment is constructed
: and what the rules are? It sounds like you are wearing helmets that protect
: the face; is that true?

If you’re really worried about accidentally bofing your naughty bits and/or
neck, you may want to either add some kind of neck cover (what are they called
on suits of armor - “gorgets”?) or design a differently shaped shield to
direct the blast sideways, like they did in actual jousting tournements.

Dunno, if you go buy an hors d’ ouvre tray at your local grocery store,
they’re cheap, plastic, circular, and divided into partitions (presumably to
hold different veggies and dip in the middle), you can affix that to the
center of your shield; this would add a neat 3-D effect and help to catch
the boffer.

This kind of sport would certainly allow for a degree of creativity -
i.e., coming up with a ginchy coat of arms, designing a big floopy helmet, etc.
etc. Too bad I seem to be the only cyclist in the DeKalb area.

: On One Wheel, with Lance, Shield, and Armour,

: Ken Fuchs <kfuchs@winternet.com>
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