My 10 year old sons first Muni ride

This weekend I took my 10 year old son, Karl for his first real Muni ride with fellow Muni rider, Eric Ambat, and we had a rip roarin blast. Karl has been riding off and on since he started on a Juggle Bug uni near his 6th birthday. I never really pushed him, but helped him with the frustrations of trying to ultimately get on and ride the uni down the block. Lately, he had been riding my old 20” uni very infrequently, but he has been wanting to try Muni for a while.

After some mods to my trials uni, he was ready to rock. A swap of the Jimmy C pedals to something less lethal – some old mtb pedals without spikes and an airseat. I didn’t want him to experience the pedal bite in the back of the calf just yet. My goal was to make the experience a fun one.

We went to an area, which I learned in. It’s a single track trail that runs about ¾ of a mile and works it’s way up in elevation very gradually. There are some bumps in the trail to navigate over and some short 20 foot stretches where you have to work to climb up. Overall there is typical undulating surfaces you find on a hard pack single track. At the top are some small mounds to ride over and some short steep descent areas.

I had heard that kids learn fast. Well it’s true. I was amazed at his progress, just over the time we spent riding on the trail from the beginning to the end. He has only ridden on sidewalks and maybe down the sidewalk driveway slope a few times. I got to see him ride over small bumps in the trail as well as through depressions and maintain his balance. Riding with 138 mm cranks helped a lot with the climbing. I kept on scratching my head and wondering, “How did he do that with so little practice?”. I remember myself 5 years ago in that same area learning and having constant UPD’s. There was a steepish grade on the way back that he managed to ride down, that left me jubilant and with my mouth agape. I remember looking and yelling up at Eric, “How did he do that?” and then yelling “attaboys” to Karl at the bottom.

It’s really fabulous watching your son do something you think is challenging and work right through it in only a few tries. There’s jubilance and pride.

I don’t know about other guys when they ride in groups, but there’s the ride a little, play in a spot and shoot the breeze about whatever, that happens on my rides with others. Karl fit right in with jokes from school which were rife with bathroom humor. Eric and I chimed in and laughed. There was plenty of laughter to go around. All around a great bonding experience for Karl and Dad.

Links to a gallery are here where you can run it as a slide show. Two very short videos are here at

Nice going Karl! Rod, the video won’t play for me in either my firefox or IE browser. Can you upload it to youtube? I hate to say it, but the gallery SUCKS for playing (trying to play) videos! And if I actually ever get one to play, it just takes FORVER to load and I have dsl! :o

PS: Where is that trail? The mountain/hills in the background look like they’d be fun to ride down! Any techincial sections at all?

Hi Terry,

Sorry the vids didn’t show. I have to wait about 15 or 20 seconds and then they run for me. I didn’t realize it might create a problem as I almost never post a vid. I originally had the vids posted in the picassa album, but it blew it up to where it was blurry. I liked the gallery because the video was more clear. It shows up for me, but I can’t say why.

I posted them to utube, but they are low res, so the clarity is lost.

The background is near where we exchanged the tandem, but this particular canyon, has no technical riding areas. The mtns, are way too steep to ride down and no trails exist, but one that I found, and it’s not technical or challenging.

links to utube.


karl’s the next KH! Way to go!:slight_smile:

Well done Karl! hope you have fun riding. i wish i had learnt earlier, younger kids learn so much quicker, and i know im only 15 but im a slow learner. its annoying really


Please pass on congratulations to Karl. You both must be pretty proud and happy right now. If there is anything better than riding unicycles with your kid, I don’t know what it is. I remember my son’s first muni rides quite clearly, and it’s been fun watching him get better and now (finally) get tall enough he can hop on a coker and join me on the road.

Much fun ahead for both of you…


Very cool videos, and story, congrats on the riding… seems to be a good rider for off and on riding… :slight_smile:


Good for you and Karl. Well, good for Karl. He’ll probably be better than you next week.

Its gotta be the genetics, Rod. Totally rad. We’ll have to start SBUni recruitment soon.

great job Karl! I’m going to have to get my 9 year old sister riding Muni now:)

my 9 year old is learnin, so is her friend (who’s 9 too) and my cousin wants a unicyle (she’s nine too!) unicycling seems to be quite popular amoung 9 year old girls. atlest around here anyway!

Congratulations to both of you. It is one of those “moments” that a parent will never forget. That pic of Karl is priceless, he looks BA. Keep up the hard work Karl.

i wish my dad unicycled

Can’t wait to train up my son or daughter if I have one.

Rock awesome! I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to come out on the uni with me.

Nice write-up! I was on an afternoon muni ride yesterday with my 13 year old, Tyler, who really only started riding muni a few months back (his older brother’s been on the trails for a little over 3 years, and his younger brother doesn’t seem too interested in uni yet). He was on a 26er with 140s, fwiw. He was kicking butt on the climbs. My riding buddy and I were on 29ers, and we went up the North Rim trail in Chico, which is moderately steep but rocky as all get-out. It was just as you said: I kept looking at him cleaning uphill sections that I wasn’t even considering attempting, mouth agape.

It is a very cool thing to watch your child develop such enthusiasm.

Makes it sound as if she’s your daughter :astonished: .