On Sunday, the dream was over. I would never dream of owning a Schlumpf again. Well, even if I do dream of owning one, I’d just wake up to realise that I already do! A short drive up to Petit_Pierre’s house in Macclesfield turned out to be a long drive due to the weather, but there it was, waiting for me – A 29” Schlumpf with KH rim, brake, and Gel saddle. What a fine beast of a unicycle! I had a little go in Pierres petit cul-de-sac, and on the second attempt managed to change up a gear and stay on. (I won’t mention the third attempt though!). A nice coffee later, and after handing over a Nimbus 36 and suitcase full of used twenties, I headed back to the rain of Nottingham. It’s maiden voyage would have to wait until I got to London on Monday morning.
Due to my inexperience with gunis, and the amount of traffic, and such like, I decided to ride the 8 miles in to London in 1:1 mode. On the face of it, it should have been just like a normal ride in, however, despite the similarities between this and my everyday 29er, the little things kept on reminding me that it was a different thing entirely. The Big Apple is 0.35” wider than I’m used to. The saddle is a bit more worn in, and with the front of a rail adapter just noticeable on my thighs. The 152mm cranks seem HUGE and SLOW compared to my 110s. It’s certainly heavier. And the slight play in the hub kept reminding me that this wasn’t an ordinary unicycle. None of this was a problem. It was just a bit different. So the ride in to work took a little longer than normal.
Tuesday evening was the ride home. The first 3 or 4 miles are through some of the busier parts of Central London, with taxis, buses, and every other vehicle on the road trying to kill you. This isn’t the place to learn about gears. By the time I get to Hackney Road, however, the traffic is much quieter, the road is long and strait, and I’m feeling up to a bit of overdrive. Opting for the easy way, I pull up to some railings and click the gold button whilst stationary. I move the crank a little and the wheel just wants to go. And fast. So, after a little tentative rocking, off I go. Wow! I’m hardly moving my legs, but the wheel is dashing along. The slight play in the hub is still there, but not a problem at all. It felt great. I’d intended to stop and change gear before I got to the end of the road a mile later, but it just seemed quicker and easier to keep going around the corner in to Mare St. Not much later, though, I had to stop at some red lights, so I stopped, dismounted, and manually changed gear. Not long later though I paused at more railings and went in to high gear again. By the time I was going under the A12 where the cycle path and pedestrian bit are really wide, I felt confident enough to try shifting down on the fly. It worked, but boy did it feel weird.
The rest of the ride back was done in a combination of both the high and low gear, but with a few more dismounted changes where there was traffic around. I only had one gear changing UPD (whilst on a cycle path), but it emphasised the point that I have to learn how to change flawlessly 100% of the time before I mess about in traffic.
So? Overall thoughts? Fantastic! This really is the unicycle I need to commute in London. My 29er handled great, but wasn’t quite fast enough on some bits. My N36 was fast, but sometimes too fast, and I never quite felt confident riding through some of the busier bits. But the Schlumpf really is the best of both worlds. The 29er would typically take 45-50 mins to ride the 8 miles. The N36 only a couple of minutes quicker. On it’s first run, the Schlumpf was just over 45 mins. Which considering the stopping and dismounting (which I hardly ever do on the 29), and the whole learning curve, really bodes well for the future.
Sorry I’ve not got any photos for this review, but I’ll take some and get them put up soon.