Kangaroo mount challenge

Just yesterday I happened to be walking in suburban Canberra (capital of Australia) streets. No not unicycling, because my 3 rib fractures are still healing - when I came across a bewildered large kangaroo hopping in and out of front yards and gardens.

The coincidence is that just prior to this I had got out a dusty old book of mine, “the BICYCLE BUILDER’S BIBLE”, published in 1980, by Jack Wiley (who also authored a lot of books about unicycling, I found out from googling). Anyway this bicycle book had a chapter on unicycles and 3 pictures of John Jenack riding a modified unicycle - a “kangaroo unicycle”.

In those days, to make a kangaroo unicycle you had to remove one crank, file a new notch in your cottered cranks axle, rotate the crank 180 degrees and re-tighten, making the pedals adjacent. Riding it looks like fun - apparently “the difficult part is getting pedals over the top of the pedal cycles”.

OK so here’s a challenge:

flip one of your ISIS cranks to make your unicycle into a “kangaroo unicycle”, learn to ride it, post the results. Two thumbs up for a good description, three thumbs up for a picture, four thumbs up for a video (oops I only have two thumbs, oh well!)

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A kangaroo is also supposed to have the wheel laced asymmetrically so that the hub is off-center. Definitely a very weird unicycle.


wow!..(interesting)… but that is not just a kangaroo, but an ECCENTRIC kangaroo!

however it is NOT required that the hub be re-laced to be off center (fun outcome, but would be a real pain with spoke sizes) - a “normal” kangaroo unicycle simply has one crank moved 180 degrees so that both pedals line up.

EDIT: I found more info in two related topics from 2003 and 2010…

AFIK it’s only a real kangaroo unicycle if it’s eccentric. Without bein eccentric it doesn’t let you make this kangaroo like movements with your body.

We did this flip-one-crank thnk a lot in our training group. 90° is fair easy if you already can ride 1ft. 180° is harder than simple 1ft. The eccentricity would make it easier again.

I agree that eccentric would be easier and better to ride if you wanted to build a special wheel, which would then have to have more room in the frame (eg a 24 wheel in a 26 frame). With a “non eccentric kangaroo” I am sure there would be a longer learning ordeal. I wonder what would be the best size cranks?

Anyway, the archives of “Unicycling Society of America” web site, October 1976 has some grainy pictures of “kangaroo” unicycles which are not eccentric, and volume 13 number 3 (1986) has an article about “HOW TO BUILD UNICYCLES AND ARTISTIC BICYCLES” which describes making one, again, not eccentric.

Oddly the term “horse unicycle” seems to be used instead of “eccentric kangaroo” (though they usually have a “rocking horse” seat for comic effect). And actually kangaroo motion is quite smooth at speed, due to their heavy balancing tail.

Works with square taper too :wink: (but with Isis, you have more funky angles to try, all of which feel slightly different).

I’ve found this surprisingly hard, both on a “real” eccentric wheel kangaroo and on a round wheel with the cranks lined up. (I don’t think I have any video around, unfortunately.)

I thought being able to ride one foot with either foot would make this a matter of hopping on and riding away, but I did need quite a few attempts (starting from idling) to get the rythm.

I actually “messed up” when I was re-attaching my cranks recently.
I ended putting my crank back a little bit “off angle”.
Then when I tried to ride it, all of a sudden it felt weird.
Almost like the tire was “smooshing down” and lost air.
I checked and immediately, I noticed the pedals were about 150° apart.

Fixed it right away.
So this Kangaroo crank trick that you mention is quite interesting to me.

However, having “both cranks at same timing on the wheel” is I believe “too easy”.
Because it only requires symmetrical leg action on both sides.

Let’s kick up the level of difficulty, because I think in a few days you will be inundated with many unicyclists bragging about doing it.

Try this you’all:

a.) Remove one crank.
b.) Close your eyes and press that crank back into the spline.
c.) Now try to ride it.

Call it the Limping Kangaroo Ride Challenge


ha ha slam, “limping kangaroo” - I love it!
but maybe we can take the crank asymmetry game one step further…
Many of us will have a box of spare cranks of various sizes, so why not close your eyes, pick one of these spare cranks at random (probably a different length to the one you just removed), then press it into the spline at a random position, and “go for it”?

[ note: unicycling with randomly changed equipment can be dangerous, and this topic should not be construed as promoting unsafe behaviour. Please check your unicycle thoroughly before riding, wear appropriate safety equipment, have medical insurance, make sure you are in good physical and mental shape, with appropriate length legs, and tell mummy and daddy. ]

I’ve found most of the angles I’ve tried easier than having the cranks in sync.