Just say "No"!?

So, does this ever happen to you: out riding on the Trials equiped with its grippy pin pedals and you wearing all your armour - helmet, wrist guards, Roach legs - and when you stop for a break a kid or cluster of kids approaches you and asks if they can ride your uni?

Actually happens to me a lot… sometimes its an adult or two, often its kids and always they are just keen as all get out to try the one wheel. When I point out that due to the risk of injury from the pin pedals I don’t lend out the uni they generally look crestfallen and somewhat disbelieving. As a result I tend to feel kind of guilty and very miserly.:frowning:

No amount of pointing out my armour or having them touch the sharp edges of the pins seems to bring the point home (pardon the pun)!

any ideas?


I always let them try it. I can usually support them well enough to keep them from ripping their shins. I’m a tad bigger than you, though. I have my shins covered under those conditions so I can sacrifice them to the pedals with very little threat if the need arises. The biggest threat to shin attack with a novice is during the mount. I always put my foot behind the tire so they can’t smack themselves when they invariably step down on that back pedal with all their weight.

Also, if they’re macho, insecure guys, you can ask them if they want to be seen riding a girl’s unicycle. I know that would keep tough-guy Steve DeKoekkoek off of it.

Admittedly, I was on the Coker, which helped, but when presented with this request by a big bruiser of a bloke, I said, “Not on this one. I’ve been riding for years and I can still hurt myself on this one. If I had my smaller one, I’d be happy to let you have a go.” This led to a few genuinely interested questions about the differences between different types of unicycle.

This line could work if your MUni is a 26 or a fat-tyred 24.

Failing that, you have to say either say a firm ‘No’, emphasising the safety aspect, or let them have a go.

If you let them have a go, you can either help them (foot behind the tyre, hand on the seat) or you can leave them to their own devices.

If you leave them to their own devices, they will very quickly get bored.

From a legal liability point of view, I think it’s wise to point out the specific dangers (sharp pedal pins, danger of falling and injuring head, back or wrist, etc.) and stress that it’s at their own risk.

If they’re adults I always let them have a go, but I always point out the 24 pins per pedal and how big and sharp they are before I hand it over. If they’re kids who are genuinely interrested and they can reach the pedals I’ll help and support them as Greg has described.

Last summer there was a teenage boy who was interrested and I let him try riding for quite awhile. My wife thought I shouldn’t have done it in case he hurt himself and his parents sued us. Personally I don’t have this fear and I think it’s sad that it ever comes up.


Don’t kids round your way have bmxs and other bikes with metal pedals?

I let people play on my 24, 26 muni and coker, I’ve let loads of people have a go and none have hurt themselves yet.

I don’t let people play on the 29er, because the 125 cranks mean it goes flying really fast when they fall off and also because I built the wheel and I don’t want to let anyone ride it who is likely to break things.


Re: Just say “No”!?

joemarshall <joemarshall.qakec@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

> Don’t kids round your way have bmxs and other bikes with metal pedals?

And I imagine they have plenty of other and probably more effective ways
of damaging themselves as well. :slight_smile:

> I let people play on my 24, 26 muni and coker, I’ve let loads of people
> have a go and none have hurt themselves yet.

Yeah, I always let people have a play if they ask, I just give them a
friendly warning about how they might potentially hurt themself. :slight_smile: I
find it hard to believe that anyone would turn round after hurting
themself and say “Hey, that’s your fault, you shouldn’t have let me

Of course, it’s not impossible. There’s a small chance that someone
might do that, but if I was so risk-averse that I let things like that
worry me, well, I doubt I’d be unicycling.

Even kids should be allowed to make informed decisions about (small)
risks they take. If not, how else will they learn?

Nick Grey

Gary and I had a great time letting people have a go at unicycling at a school fete a month or so ago. About 20 different kids tried it out and I think one of them now comes to our weekly rides.


I usually think of there being two possible bad outcomes of letting someone try it,

firstly that they’ll hurt themselves, it’s pretty unlikely that they’ll do anything bad, those pedals are only really scary when you’re doing trials or other things where you’re likely to fall off really badly. Secondly that they’ll break the uni, which is very unlikely because they won’t be able to do any of the moves that break unicycles.

I’m not scared of someone hurting themselves and suing me, because they’d lose, riding a unicycle is so obviously a dumb and stupid and dangerous thing to do. However, the UK doesn’t have a big personal injury litigation thing going on and won’t unless there are some serious changes to the law, people might think differently in the US. Over here, despite the way everyone says the UK is becoming like the US, this is just a great big myth fed about by some dodgy insurance people* and personal injury lawyers to try and scam more money off people.


Watch yo’ mouth fool! I’ve ridden plenty of “girls bikes”, thank goodness they’ve changed the name to step-through frame. Just where is the top bar on a “Boy’s Uni”?

“Mr. T” DKkkk (Also goes by Sue)

P.S. I encourage permanent pin tracks in the shins. That way they’ll always be thinking about unicycling like the rest of us.

… good point Steve! ha, hadn’t thought of a regular ‘memo’ like that reminding them to go uni’ing…LOL

Thanks for the perspective guys; I think I have been a bit tooooo careful with lending my uni…gonna loosen up and not worry too much about the fairly long shot of someone getting injured from just having a bit of a go.


After most of my shows (back when I did shows) I leave out several uni’s and give everyone the opportunity to try them out. I have 3 20’s with tame pedals, a 20 mod trials, a 24x3 MUni and a 24in racing uni that I let em have a go at. The last three have nasty pedals and I give people a good warning about those.

The cool thing about doing this is that everyone is so keen to try they are always helping each other out as they are waiting in line. I do have one rule that I am firm on: No bare feet, sandals, open toed shoes, flip flops or untied shoelaces.

I don’t let anyone try the taller uni’s either. I knew I guy who let someone try his six foot schwinn giraffe…when the someone was mounting he didn’t make it all the way up and his foot came down on the frame turning it into a V. Broken giraffe neck…PETA had a fit.

I’m over 6 ft tall and therefore ride with a tall saddle (Allen wrench adjustable on MUni and 29er). If they’re my height they’re welcome to try. Most kids are shorter. I tell them I’ve got it adjusted just the way I want it and that Memphis Unicycle Club meets regularly. I tell them to come by and they can try a variety of club unis.

While on my trip to NZ, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Tony (NZUni) for some urban trials and freestyle. While riding, a small group of drunken lads came up to us and asked for a demonstration and a ride. One claimed he knew how to ride. He obviously didn’t. After a bit of begging on his part and a warning on ours, Tony agreed to let him a go. It was a hoot watching him fall time and time again in the grass.

As a general rule, I let almost anyone try my uni’s. I don’t think that most people that would come up to me to ask for a ride would sue if any thing goes wrong. Also I don’t think that uniinig is all that dangerous to start with for a beginner. I didn’t have a single shin injury until I attempted riding backward.

That isn’t to say that it can’t happen.


Beavis: ehhhe ehheh hhhneh eh. He said “mounting”…
Butthead: nnhhh uhhh what the hell does weird bread have to do with unicycling.
Both: hehh nnhheh uhhnhh hehh nnhheh.

if i get asked i generaly say no these days.
tell them it’s dangerous
tell them its dificult.
show them the scars on my legs
tell them the pedals are covered in my blood (thanks sofa)

I am amazed how many of you all say no. I am always down for letting people try. Although the height usually chases most away. The pin pedals have never been that big of a deal. As harper said I always just try to keep the people from a situation that could cause them to get cracked by the pedal. That usually happens if they try to step down on the wrong side. I have on occasions wound up holding people in the air while the uni fell completely to the ground. Once it was a hot girl (I was amazed she let me talk to her at all, let alone help her). Sometimes if it is like a dude or whatever I just let them use a road sign and go at it because most dudes have been hurt far worse than a pin pedal will do to them in the learning stage of unicycling. This backfired once because the uni shot out from under this one dude, flew through the air until it was interrupted by the pedal cracking ME in the shin. That hurt like hell. I had to laugh though because the pedal bit me and they were the one riding the thing.

i live in the town centre in a place where drinking is a verry popular activity, i have a practice hall in the evening. and i ride my unicycle their and back.
so most of the people who ask for a go are drunk and i say no.
also i’m quite often in a hurry, so i don’t have the time,
other times i’m just bored of people asking for a go just because they want to show off in front of their mates, not because they actualy want to learn, so i say no.

you’d have to live in small town scotland to understand just how irritating/worthless some of the people here are when their drunk.

There is one reason to say just plain “No” … Would you go up to a stranger and ask if you could try out his car or motorcycle or girlfriend or whatever?.. seems to me they probably should have the manners to not ask in the first place… :smiley:

Re: Just say “No”!?

“dustin” <dustin.qb4ro@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message
> After most of my shows (back when I did shows) I leave out several uni’s
> and give everyone the opportunity to try them out. I have 3 20’s with
> tame pedals, a 20 mod trials, a 24x3 MUni and a 24in racing uni that I
> let em have a go at. The last three have nasty pedals and I give people
> a good warning about those.
I too am happy to let people have a go, but they have to receive the old
government health warning from me first. Adults I choose not to help too
much, being ever mindful that even in the UK compensation law is being used
at times for idiotic claims. ( Anyone else read about the burglar who
claimed compensation successfully, having cut himself on the window he broke
to get in…wrong type of glass fitted!) “At your own risk”. is
emphasised greatly for would be riders of my uni!
I don’t use pin pedals, as I have generated enough damage and lost enough
blood from the backs of my own legs with fairly innocuous looking rubber
pedals. It astonishes me, the pedals some people use. I admit their skill
levels are far higher than my own (at least in some cases) , but riding with
a medieval mantrap on each crank is not for me at the moment.
I’ll stick with the girly pedals…

Naomi :wink:

Re: Re: Just say “No”!?

Naomi, yes those ‘medieval mantraps’ (now theres a nice new term for pin pedals! :smiley: ) can seem a bit much but once you get into air time in trials or the rock and roll of rough terrain with MUni its time to switch from the ‘girlies’ to those mondo MAN TRAPS!!!

… besides you might even capture a guy with great quads in your ‘man traps’ … ha, ha, ha… couldn’t resist! :sunglasses: