Need group ideas for parades.

Anyone have good ideas and info on organizing a group for a parade? We have riders from beginners to level 4. We have 2 giraffe riders and 2 coker riders. The rest are on 20 or 24 unis. I’ll estimate that we will have a possibility of 10 - 15 riders for some parades this year.

I would like to organize our group better for parades this year. We did a Christmas parade with 7 riders without any organization and it was pretty crazy.

I’m looking for simple organization ideas like where to put the newbies and how to keep them moving at a pace that won’t hinder the rest. How to use walkers and support vehicle. Also want some farily easy to organize things to do with a group of 6 - 10 decent riders, including giraffes and cokers.

Anyone have some info sheets from their clubs or video of parade action?


Having been in several parades, you don’t really need a particular routine at all. People love to see people on unicycles, right in front of them. Then if someone does a trick? Holy Crap!!!

Encourage the people who can only just ride (if you can’t freemount, a parade would be very frustrating though)

Then if you have a few people do very cool tricks now and again, that’s perfect!

ride some patterns.have 2 lines of 4 or so hold hands and ride then have on group ride ahead and make a u-turn riding back at the other line. let go of hands and ride under the raised hands of the other line. looks neat. i’m sure you can imagine more like that. the cokers and giraffes could just ride and do the occasional trick.

If you do all pattern riding, it gets boring. If you have no routine at all, there’s really very little for your audience to look at. My favorite presentation in a parade is to do some pattern riding, some other “entertainment-oriented” stuff, and maybe also some freeform riding.

Beginners, even if they can’t freemount, should be encouraged to join the parade. It’s a great way to work on solidifying your riding skills. Bring a walker along if possible, to help with the likely frequent mounts.

The easiest pattern move is follow-the-leader. Make a line, and then the lead person can shape that line in many ways. Circles, snakes or whatever. Don’t attempt a figure-8 unless you’ve practiced it ahead of time. It probably won’t look good otherwise.

The other thing my small club used to do was to make “the V.” This looks the most impressive if your line goes from the tallest rider to the shortest. Everyone in the line takes turns splitting to the left or right, and joining hands. In the end, you have a line all the way across the road, with your tallest uni in the center. This is very visual and is one way to get a picture in the paper. You can turn this line into a V shape by having the tall rider go ahead of the others, so they trail off to either side like birds in flight.

If you practice, this line can even stop and do a stillstand. It’s pretty easy for riders of all levels to do stillstands when they’re holding onto each other.

If you have riders that can’t be in the pattern stuff, they should stay behind where the pattern is. This gives people a more clear presentation for them to see. Also if you have someone who just zooms around on a 45" wheel (my preferred modus operandi), they should stay to the front or rear most of the time, so the focus stays on the pattern stuff.

When you break up for other things, again try to keep it clear enough so people know where to look. When I’m on a tall uni, I like to ride up to the front of the people and make it look like I’m about to fall on them. Work the crowd! That’s the most fun part of all. There are many little comedy bits & things you can do. But I’ll stop now.

Whatever you decide to include in the act, apply the Motörhead Principle: “Keep it simple, do it well.”

Mostly we have a free-4-all.

We have spontaneous stars. Riders approach ea other and clasp hands and ride a tight circle. All levels of rider can do this to some degree. Large, fast stars require more skill.

We like to leave our giraffes alone. We don’t want to hurt the giraffe rider or those he/she would fall onto. But two or more giraffes can make a nice star of their own.

A follow the leader snake is showey.

Any trick is appreciated by the crowd. But I’ve seen our better wheel walker pass a kid who pointed right past the wheel-walker at the giraffe saying “woooow look at that tall one!!!”

We give our Cokers the outer circumference. I chased Charles’ Coker all over the place with me on a 16" peddling like mad. It got a chuckle.

Jugglers always get applause. (Charles now owns torches!! Watch out next yr!!)

3 or 4 times we’d stop and Charles and I twirled a thick rope while Marquis jumped-rope. Its easy to get the crowd counting along. This was a big crowd pleaser. After about 30, we “accidently” messed up…the parade was moving off. (Dont tell Marquise…he’d have gone to 100.)

We’ve never had enough discipline to ride too much in formation. We suffer from “mob ATD”.

6 or 7 “things” is plenty. You’re not in front of any group for too long.

My 2 cents.

mob ATD? Help me out here.

To everyone (except Brian MacKenzie):
Great ideas and some good stuff for starting my planning for parades. Nice mix of ideas too. Small tricks and big group stuff.
Sorry Brian, :frowning: but I feel more is needed that just riding, at least for a great show. Just riding a uni is a good show, doing some additional stuff makes it a great show. I think it also shows a stronger group/club overall.

Now… when is that first parade?

thanks again folks.


That reminds me. From my experience, the #1 trick in any typical parade I’ve been in seems to be jumping rope on a unicycle. People wet their pants over that one.

Juggling is strong too. In my experience I usually got a bigger ovation from picking up dropped props than from initially juggling them. Learn to pick up your clubs/torches while riding for a great effect (juggle them first though).

Beyond that I have to agree with Billham. ‘Just riding’ is interesting, but is not a show and there is so much more a group of unicycles can do. If you just ride, you’re about equal with the cars with people waving inside.

sorry…should be: ADD

mob=everyone, all at once
ADD=Attention Deficit Disorder

We, as a group, can’t do the same structured thing for more than a minute before the “formation” falls apart. I think its easier to heard kittens than young unicyclists.

So we opt for the helter skelter approach.

I can appreciate your desire to have some sort of organized “performance” I have been in half a dozen parades in the last two years, and not one has been truely organized. Basicly most of the riders have never ridden together before.

That didn’t prevent from having a good time, and providing a show. It makes me wonder what we will be capable of once we are organized enough to practice some sort of routine.

A few things that make it more entertaining…

  1. Follow the Leader. Get someone who has good control and can maintain a decent speed to lead the “snake” of unicycles. It visualy has a huge impact.

  2. If someone can get good enough to actually jump an obstacle during the parade, it is a huge crowd pleaser. In my first parade one of the Drummunds kids was jumping as many as 3 people laying side by side. I think it works best with some verbal set up about how dangerous this is, and how were short a few people, and can we get volunteers.:smiley: Don’t take any volunteers though.

  3. Suicide mount. Get right next to the edge were you have the attention of 4-5 or more people. Say a few things about how dangerous this is. How it could be the end of your child rearing years etc… If you make it, great. If not… even better. You tell them if you made it the first time they would all think it was easy.

  4. Fake like your out of control rolling into the crowd and turn away at the last minute. Or pull up into an idle.

  5. Jumping rope gets a lot of applause.

  6. Any trick done in unison. Two unicycles riding side by side then stoping and hoping in a circle, one clockwise one counter clockwise than rolling away from each other toward the crowd.

  7. Anything you choose to do remember that the moments when the parade come to a halt are short, so you have to have very short performances. 15 seconds to 30 seconds a minute if your lucky.

I need to clarify for this thread that I appreciate Brian taking the time to reply to my post. when I said, “To everyone (except Brian)” I meant that I differed in philosophy on how to approach a parade. I am certainly appreciative of Brian’s input and thoughts. I should have worded that a little better.

Brian - I enjoy your postings and enjoyed your company when we were riding and hanging together at the New York MUni weekend. Sorry about the poorly worded post.


i have wanted to do a parade. ive gotten about 4 other people into unicycling. but all the unicyclists i know arent really dedicated to it. i still would like to do it. maybe i could jump in with the flatland bikers or something. heck isee bikers go sometiems just by themselves so maybe i could too? and even if my riders came with me i dont think we would organize anything.


You’ve probably already seen the thread Parade skills, there’s more links in that thread.

Our group tends to put the newbies towards the back. I know others put them in front. We use the walkers to help them re-mount.

An important part of parade riding is to keep up with the parade and keep your space without getting too spread out or too bunched up. We us a banner at the front, ususally held by walkers. The banner stays 30-40 feet behind the group ahead, stopping and starting with the pace of the parade. Our drill team (pattern riding) works their way up to the banner, and sometimes under it, on every pass to keep their momentum forward, otherwise they tend to fall back and get too spread out.

We tend to have the rest of the specialty stuff towards the back of the group, the jump-ropers, jump-overs, etc. It is also important that when they stop to perform they get going again to keep up.

We don’t use a support vehicle, we have a cart mounted sound system that is pushed by a unicyclist or walker. That usually takes the rear position in our line-up.

A lot of parades have a “performance area” for judging so the parades stop and start a lot before you get there. After the performance area the rest of the route rarely has stops.

That’s all for now. I’m working on a description of our core drill team skills but its not ready to post yet.

Thanks Bill, I figured that’s what it must have been. Hopefully I have removed all of the blurs over you riding in the movie :slight_smile:

Some of the young men that ride with the Plateau Unicycle Club also play basketball for their schools. They have tried teaching me that 3 man basketball weave practice formation, that’s probably not it’s official name… of course we don’t use a basketball & we’re on unicycles. It looks pretty neat when they do it, like a glorified 3 man moving sideways figure 8, but then again… not. Maybe you could have several of these 3 man groups in a parade, or modify some other sports practice moves to work for unicyclists. I’m sure in your group practices averaging 20 folks, there is bound to be some involved in some kind of sport that might be able to come up with something similar.


That’s some of the kid of stuff I was looking for. I’ve checked out the threads on what to do and these additional ideas are good. But your “organization and layout of your group” tips are really helpful.

I’d love to see those when you are finished. Have any video of some of your parade routines that you could post? Anyone have some video? Lots of MUni and street vids on this forum, but not much group stuff.