New Skill Levels

I was looking at this site

about the new skill levels. It said that riders were field testing the new skill levels now. Will the new or old skill levels be used NAUCC 2005? Or both? This website also talks about the new USA, Inc. Unicycling Handbook that will explain more in depth about the new levels. Is this new handbook completed yet? If so i would like to see it. If anyone has a link to the new handbook please post it. Thanks

Some of this seems quite silly.
(Starting with the terminology: “Base 5 Blue”?)

Why have people doing freemounting and idling at level 5, and then have to test them for 66 wheel revolutions at level 6? Surely anyone who can freemount and idle can ride forward.

I think this system seems confusing and insular; what does “Artistic” mean to someone who’s not been to NAUCC before? What are the division numbers? The current 10-level system is easy to understand, whether or not you’re a member of TCUC.

Ya i think it is kind of confusing to understand but take a look at the orginzation chart of the new skill levels (its on the same site). The first six levels (like base 5 blue) are just the beginner/rider tier levels. I would like to see the full handbook if it is finished yet.

The organization chart doesn’t help much. What does “Class” mean? That’s not a word that contrasts with “Base.” Why say “Tall” when you mean “Giraffe”?

I would much rather see “Giraffe level 1-10” and “Freestyle level 1-10”, etc…

I think what you said about having Giraffe level 1-10 and Freestyle level 1-10 would make it much more simple. Maybe the bases are called bases because they are the basic skills (forward, idling, freemounting). I dont know why they used classes for the more intermediate and advanced stuff.

A little off topic, but we’ve started fiddling with ratings per Muni trails down here in So Cal. It’s impossible to rate Muni skills since they’re terrain dependent; but having some rating beyond Beg., Int. and Advanced is helpful.

Basically we’re looking at two ratings: Difficulty, and endurance, or effort required. Difficulty goes from M1-M10, endurance from E1-E10. A grim but rather short trail like Saddle Rock would be M8, E6. A really hard and exhausting trail like Tunnel would be M9, E9.

We’ll see how this goes . . .


Hmmm… I believe that rating scheme is already in use.

Not to be a smart-a** but why is there a need for something more than “green circle,” “blue square,” “black diamond?” Perhaps they could be augmented with a letter that indicates sustained difficulty “R” or life-threatening obstacles “X” as in climbing ratings, but I think placing a number on a ride is far too subjective.


The ‘new’ Skill Levels posted on Carol McLean’s website have not been approved by the USA officers/members. They will not be used at NAUCC.

The handbook that is being prepared as a guideline for the officers to approve hasn’t been previewed by very many people outside of Carol’s committee and isn’t available for the public at this time.


Ok, thanks for the info. I mailed in my resigration and money to the USA today. Will i become a member before NAUCC? (The date is 6/26/05 and I live in IL)

Yes, you will be a USA member before NAUCC.

You may not receive your membership card and other materials*, but you will be a member. One of the USA officers can email you your membership number if you don’t receive the materials before you leave for NAUCC.


  • receiving membership card and other materials depends on how busy the USA officers are with their ‘real’ life and with other unicycling-related activities.

I think it’s an interesting idea; think of it like rock climbing, where the community has agreed on a rating system that is actually quite useful in letting climbers know what walls they should be targeting.

Now, MUni doesn’t have the same risks as climbing, and my view is that you won’t get better at MUni unless you tackle things which are too hard for you. There is also quite a bit more variability in the terrain; there are some trails which are mostly easy to moderate but with one or two sections with log stairs or other fairly advanced technical features. Or look at something like the Slickrock Trail, which is totally different depending on the line you take. So it’s a tough problem, but I applaud the effort.

This issue partly came up because in a few short months the Santa Barbara Unicycle Club will be hosting the next California Muni Weekend and orgainzer Eyal H. was struggling with what trails to orgainze as group rides and what trails to not even mention-- fearing that if someone who spent time and money just wanting a great time, and was somehow directed to Tunnel or Saddle Rock, bad things might happen. If there was some kind of standardized rating system, and the trails each had a rating (by concensus), then folks could judge for themselves what was appropriate. As is, it’s all just word of mouth. Simply put, word of mouth, or a vague, three-tiered rating system is the best way for folks to get sandbagged. I did.

On my first trip to SB my Muni experience consisted of a few weeks of riding up and down groomed fire roads. Suddenly I found myself trying to negotiate steep switchbacks, narrow, angled U turns over shale and boulders with 200 foot cliff plunges on the downhill side and I feared for my fricking life. Eyal was just starting to get really good and he flew off one turn and only posponed his own funeral by grabbing the shank end of a flexing sappling as his Muni freefell to the next switchback far below. A couple weekends later, on another trail, a guy busted his lower leg in two. Fact is, you can get really worked on grim Muni tracks, even if you’re a total expert.

I think a rating system of some sort could work just as it works in rock climbing. The rating is arrived at through concensus and over time the various grades get standardized. There’s an enormous range of terrain and techniques encountered in climbing, from slab climbs to steep face stuff to cracks of every size, all on rock that varies a whole lot from area to area. But the rating system does work and gives climbers a benchmark to work off and dream grades to work towards.

There’s probably no more than two or three hundred Americans really going after hard Muni, but as the sport catches on, a rating system of some sort will surely evolve. In climbing, a rating tends to build a mystique around a given route, and in that way, this or that climb gets a legendary reputation. And that makes the game all the more interesting.

Just a few rambling thoughts . . .