LI Muni weekend from a novice's perspective

Wow! Firstly thanks to Adam (JustOneWheel) and Renie for the deluxe accomodations. Bagels and lox, biallies (sp? - I think some of the guys didn’t even know what those were), coffee, juice, big screen TV with a Brian MacKenzie uni vid playing, and an authentic Brian MacKenzie sitting right there, too! They even have a high cieling for juggling - wow!

By 9 AM all were gathered on the front lawn, along with an amazing assortment of unicycles and related contraptions, in the fine, cold sunshine of late autumn. The brisk breeze made a few of us add an extra layer. We came from ONT, CT, NJ, PA, upstate (the other NY), and probably more places. We drove, we came by planes, trains, taxis, and probably a boat or two, too. Riders ranged from age 9 (I think Unipsychler’s two elder sons Daniel and Brian were around ages 10 and 9) to the oldest of us at the age…errm…well, that’s not polite to discuss, but it might be me anyway.

We crammed the wheels and people into cars and followed Adam to a parking lot near a trail system (Adam may be able to supply the names of these places). Everyone and their cycles spilled out of the cars and started hopping and spinning and generally doing tricks that had my jaw dropping. The younger hotshots immediately starting pedal grabbing this 3 foot high wooden post, maybe 8" square. Grab, up to rubber, off the drop, “Next”!

After the usual delays of getting a bunch of people moving there was a group photo and we headed down a dirt road. Now, when I learned uni, I become aware of possessing an unusual skill and so it was, for me, surreal to see that many unicyclists on a trail, or anywhere, for that matter. I’d entered a new universe. Would I see any two legged deer?

We took a right and pedaled down a beautiful mellow single track which soon ended at a steep ravine. Brian MacKenzie said “Oh we should film dropping off here” as if it was a perfectly reasonable thing to say. But then, even more oddly, a bunch of the riders, Joel, Nick, Dan, NJ-Brian, Taylor (young hotshot), and I’m forgetting some other hot riders’ names, actually seemed to take Brian’s suggestion seriously!

Then they began scoping out lines and landings like extreme skiers from the cliffs-of-insanity (maybe I’m exaggerating) down into the gully’s center. Still acting like nothing was wrong with them, they proceeded to ride, leap and slide their unicycles down the thing! It was crazy, Brian aiming his camera from all angles and rider after rider dropping off, then scrambling back up for another run.

Their antics got me psyched enough to attempt (several times) the relatively gradual center line in the ravine, though it was, by far, the trickiest thing I’ve ever tried. Fortunately for my ego, there was a carpet of slippery leaves conviently placed to provide a ready excuse for not “cleaning the line”. These leaves also protected my posterior and so were a double blessing.

After a while we got back on the trail, which now took a turn down a slope on the most pleasing, serpentine set of banks and turns ever graced by a single-track. I repeated (er…attempted) that section four times on three different unicycles, just because it was so cool, and I kept thinking “This is Long Island?!?” At the bottom of those switchbacks was a set of logs and rocks which became the next filming venue. While the pros worked the heck out of their trials lines and MacKenzie did his filming stuff, me and Jay, our MTB tour guide, and a few other uniers rode other bits of the trail system. It was fantastic, all tight-turning single-track in the early winter sun-dappled trees.

Another spot had a skinny log ending in a nice dropoff where the guys did side-kick and foot-off moves. Here Brian used his ground-angle camera technique, riding just behind Nick, I believe, who was just getting sick air. Way cool.

At this point I had a totally flat tire, and a broken spoke as the kicker. I walked/jogged back to the car with Taylor’s dad Rob kindly keeping me company on his MTB. Rob then lent me their extra 24" DX and we went back find the group. The trails there, however, are such a maze, we rode aimlessly for too long, and ended up getting a cell phone call from Adam in the parking lot “Where the @$##$% are you guys?”, and he talked us out of the woods. Rob and I were relating our own vast experiences in the Adirondacks and were joking about a newspaper headline like “Two men lost in LI wilderness found hungry and cold after two days, claim to be experienced outdoorsmen”.

So we left this trail mecca and drove to our next spot. After many of us bought a bad hot-dog from a truck at this new trailhead, we rode off down this new trail, again a narrow, twisting, rolling-hill, banked turn single-track. We soon came to a downhill leading into a boulder garden and the next trials and filming stop. Among the attractions were a couple of logs, including one tree broken over about 5 or 6 feet off the forest floor which Joel took a liking to. With Brian M’s camera rolling, he climbed up, got his uni handed up to him, and rode 20-some feet to the end and calmly leaped into the jagged boulders below. He stuck the landing, and then climbed up and did it again. Holy cow.

Again, I was motivated to try (around a thousand times) a nice section with a rock jump unlike anything in my uni experience near where all the hot doggers were filming. What a feeling to actually get air on one wheel and stay in control (sometimes).

Then Adam says “we gotta go to this other place out by Jones Beach”, which he promised has huge stuff to jump around on. We followed him into what looked like a post-apocalyptic landscape filled with piles of broken concrete things in various shapes. More filming, much more hopping, gapping, grabbing, these guys just blew me away with their control and the jumps they committed to, and then just stuck, time and again. There were some biffs, too, but I don’t think anyone got hurt too bad.

I worked on a “novice trial line”, with a 6 inch gap followed by a two foot drop, something I’ve never even considered before that day, and stuck it…after only 20 or so tries. :sunglasses:

I had to split to rejoin my family in Manhattan at 4PM, but the LI Muni weekenders were still visible in my rear view mirror as I drove out of that place. Silhouetted in the low-slanted sunbeams of early winter twilight I saw them back there, one hand up high, and just one wheel underneath them.

I felt like I was there… thanks Steve!

And yes, Brian is an awesome rider, and happens to be a really nice guy too!

Great Detail Steve…I felt like I was there…oh wait I was!! :astonished:

Adam and Renie are truly the best hosts. She put up with all us crazy mud-people in her house. :smiley:

I posted some pics for everyone to follow from your description.

Great pics Jeff!

ok this weekend was wicked aweosme, eh? it was cold, but the muni riding is awesome there! i will be sure to go back when the weather is better. cokering off that drop was sweet. i cannot thank adam and renie enough for feeding me and housing me. boy do i eat a lot! adam’s basement is awesome, with its asteroids and mrs. pac-man im sad that i missed the sweet rock trials for naptime, and then it got worse the next day when we had to ride around freezing new york city looking for people and then ride miles to the spot where the meeting was. on the plus side i got to see new york up close and ride two unis i had not ridden before, the geared 29er and the sideways uni. all in all i had a great time, cant wait for the next time!

Some of that Canadian lingo rubbed off on you, eh?:wink:

Alas - I neglected some others’ names in attendance.

Jeff “Shibumi” was cranking a gnarly 3X24 muni, and Ultimate-wheel Dave was, well, on his ultimate wheel ON the muni trail. Hope I’m not forgetting anyone.

Great write-up. The essence of MUni, and especially of group MUni rides, is going out and trying things that you didn’t think you could do. I take a lot of people out on their first MUni rides, and you can always tell the guys who are going to be good in the long run–they’re the ones going back and re-trying the things that knock them off, going for steeps and drops and not really worrying about whether they’ll biff at the bottom. Sounds like you’ve got the knack!

I only got to ride on the Long Island trails for a couple of hours when I was back east this summer, but I’ll be sure to get out there again the next time I’m around on family business. A real treasure just an LIRR ride from downtown Manhattan.

Great Pictures

I will be posting alot of great pictures from the weekend in the next few days.
I am in the middle of setting up my gallery. Keep an eye out for them. Renie really took some great action shots.

Great write up Steve!
It was a pleasure to meet and ride with you.
Yes Adam and Renie did it again. They opened up their house to us all and made us feel right at home. Feeding us and making sure we got to ride all that L.I. had to offer. Adam and Renie did an outstanding job finding great areas for Muni and trials as well. From the old abandoned car in the woods to my new favorite trials playground I can honestly say I can’t wait to get back there for more riding. Every time I drive along a stretch of highway I stare at those cement dividers and wish I could just pull over and ride them. Adam found an area that was a blast to play and practice in with huge boulders, highway dividers, large cement pipes, and other large cement structures. So much stuff that we only scratched the surface with all the possible lines.

Riding again with Brian Mackenzie, Joel Burgess and Nick from Philadelphia was awesome. I wish there was a way for us all to ride together more often. It was also nice to see new young faces with so much talent and promise.

Thanks again Adam and Renie for all your hard work,
Brian Maw

It was great to have you.

It was our pleasure!!!
Any Time!!!
Being we all loved it, I guess we have no choice but to do it again and again and again.
Then I will find more.
I’m glad everyone had a blast.



You came to eat some rocks. I’m glad we were able to feed you some boulders.:smiley: And i’m not talking about Renie’s meatballs. :astonished:

:astonished: You got gut’s. You know Renie reads this when your not around. :smiley:

I have to say that ‘Rock Farm’ in Long Beach was fantastic. Now I have to learn trials.

why did i skip the trials?! oh yeah, because i muni’ed the heck out of the trails that adam put in front of me and i needed a nap

But your a youngin’

Sounds like a great weekend. I had my first Muni ride with Brian M, and I sure hope it won’t be the last. I hope to get out to some trails other than the one’s here in North Bay. Maybe I’ll see some of you out there. Are any of you participating in the May long weekend 24 hour Muni? If so, I’ll see ya there.

Steveyo isn’t

Sure - rub it in.:wink: