Here’s a few basics to get started

Figures can be done either

a) unlinked

b) linked by holding hands

c) linked by arms around shoulders

For example 4 people can ride in a circle unlinked, or they can all join hands.

You can have people riding forward in a line either unlinked, holding hands or

holding shoulders.

There are several basic figures for group riding.

d) the line

e) the circle

f) the figure eight

g) the star

One of the simplest group exercises is to simply follow the leader. Each rider

rides after the person in from of them and you get a snake like effect. This is

a good warm up and can bet turned into a game where the object is to catch up

with the person in front of you while the front person is trying to catch up to

the back of the snake.

Also try this exercise with linked hands, you will find your upper body twists

so that you can link with the person in front and behind.

There are some nice line moves you can try. An effective but simple one is to

being with a follow the leader move and then all turn 90 degrees so that the

line sweeps forward with every one riding besides each other. This can be done

either linked or separate. You can also ride backwards doing the same thing.

Note that at present all riders face the same direction.

If one half of the line rides forwards while the other half rides backwards the

line can rotate around its center. The people on the end have to travel quite

fast while the people in the middle are virtually stationary. This works better

with people linking with arms around shoulders as it provides the line with a

little more rigidity. (By the way, this is known as the New York move I believe)

If not enough people can ride back wards a similar effect can be gained with

half the people facing one way and the other half facing the other way. Both

halves can then ride forward creating a rotating line. With odd numbers you need

someone fairly good in the middle who can balance while the spin on the spot.

This can be done with three or even two people.

All these figures can be done with everyone wheel walking too. It is actually

doable even if you aren’t that good at wheel walking as you have two people to

support you either side. You can then alternate between competant and not so

competant riders. With lines you need a good rider in the middle and at each

end. At TCUC we did some nice line variations with stand up wheel walking, it

looks quite cool.

Another thing you can do with lines is have two lines parallel to each other

with both lines sweeping forward. Each line is linked and then the back line

unlinks so that they can ride between the riders of the front line. The front

line obviously holds their hands up high to provide enough space to go under

their arms.

A line with everyone following can easily be converted to a circle pattern with

the leader just going into a circular shape following the tail end. Everyone can

then link up. A circle is a good transition pattern and from it you can go into

a star. More about that later. It looks quite impressive having one circle

within another, especially with the circles travelling in opposite directions.

This gives the illusion of people riding faster than the really are. German

circles involves 3 concentric circles moving in alternating directions (you need

a lot of people for that).

Figure eights are usually performed unlinked with a reasonable number of people.

It looks very nice at the intersection point if you can get a uniform spread of

people so that people entering alternate from each half of the eight.

There are many star patterns, the most common being 3,4, and 5 stars. The number

refers to the number of lines eminating from the center of a star (imagine the

spokes of a cartwheel without the wheel and you’ll get an idea of what a star

looks like from above). The basic linking method is for each person at the hub

to reach for the wrist of the person behind. A 3 star has 3 lines of people

linked by 3 people at the hub. The best transition into a star is from a linked

circle. 3 people equidistant release their back hand and converge towards the

center. Everyone else is still linked and the 3 people link up in the middle

forming the hub. Exiting is the same process in reverse. You can extend this

concept indefinately, transitioning from a circle, to a 3 star, to a circle, to

a 4 star, to a circle, to a 5 star etc.

There are a number of interesting tricks which involve going under other

unicyclists while they are holding hands. Some of the variations are incredibly

complex and a nice investigation into knot theory Tangleweed in particular

ends up just like it sounds.

On of the basic tangling type moves is known as the Cinderela move. Form a line

of unicyclists linked together. Now the leader aims to go between the last and

the second to last people with everyone still linked! Everyone follows the

leader under the bridge created by the two end riders until the figure

straightens out into a line. The two end riders need to be fairly tall and

skilled as they end up twisting all over the place when things straighten out.

This figure can be repeated ad infinitum and built into a high speed manoeuvre.

Another variation on this theme is the monkey which is essentially the same

except you don’t go through the end pair but choose some where in the middle.

With a long line you can do monkeys from both ends at the same time. This can

also work well if you go through the middle pair, straighten out then go through

the gap next closest to the middle, then the next gap out etc and gradually work

your way out.

There are some nice moves involving pairs of riders. Pull gliding is not as hard

as normal gliding and looks impressive. In each pair one person rides backwards

while pulling the other person who is gliding (ie foot on the tyre to regutlate

speed). This is a good way to learn gliding and can be extended to stand up pull

gliding or even stand up pull coasting! As an aside this goes for learning a

large number of tricks (wheel walking, riding backwards, one footed etc can all

be learnt holding onto another unicyclist for balance).

A slightly more achievable group move with pairs is unders and overs. Several

sets of pairs line up at either end of the stage and ride towards each other,

with each pair holding hands.0

One set of pairs all hold their arms up so that the other set can go through the

tunnel formed. This can be complicated so that as you ride you go under the

bridge created by the approaching pair and then form a bridge for the next pair

to go under. You can alternate between going under a bridge and then forming a

bridge over the next pair.

o o Peter Bier o O o Juggler, unicyclist and mathematician.

h/|\o peter_bier@usa.net

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