New Uni Event...

Now that my video is online, I would like to share my ideas with the members of the forum regarding my vision for a new form of competitive riding. Obviously, Kris Holm and many other unicyclists have been riding the kinds of obstacles featured at Rays MTB for years (in their traditional outdoor mountain bike park environment and on trials courses). It is the availability of facilities like Rays, however, that I believe has opened up a whole new dimension to riding Cokers, and perhaps smaller wheel uni’s as well. I have worked out the basic concept of the sport… but it will need much refinement and many questions will need to be answered… so I hope some of you will find this interesting enough to want to be involved in the formative stages. If you haven’t already downloaded and viewed my movie, I recommend that you do that first because I will be referencing certain scenes in order to illustrate certain points. For the thread from which to download my movie, click here:

All that being said, here goes:

The basic concept of the sport is very similar to uni trials, but the major difference is that the competition I propose does not involve hopping to get over obstacles, but rather simply riding over them on a Coker (and perhaps there could be a 28”/29” class and other classes as well). In order to successfully ride many obstacles a precise line using the proper entry speed and momentum management is required in order to carry you over the obstacle(s)… and it can be extremely challenging!

Since I already rode at Rays and have the video footage of specific obstacles that I’ll reference, I will be using Rays park in my description… but various obstacles could obviously be constructed and laid out at other locations besides Rays, for the purposes of holding competitions (or just to have a practice course).

A “Section” is a predefined segment of a course. It is defined by an “entry point” and an “exit point” and has a difficulty rating (1 – 10, 10 being the most difficult) defined by the number of points the rider receives for completing the Section. There is also a “starting point.” The rider mounts his/her uni at the “starting point” and rides the distance from the “starting” point to the “entry point” in order to gain sufficient speed/momentum to clear the obstacle(s) contained between the “entry point” and the “exit point.” The “exit point” will usually be positioned a minimum of 10 feet beyond the last obstacle, so the rider must cross the “exit point” on the uni in order to successfully complete the Section. If the rider clears the obstacle but falls down before pedaling ten feet to cross the “exit point”, the rider will not be awarded the points for completing the Section. Sections get progressively harder. Initially, Sections consist of a single obstacle. As the competition progresses, the Sections get longer and contain multiple obstacle. Sections may contain a multitude of obstacles, such as: ramps, jumps, teeter/totters, skinnies, elevated skinnies, swing bridges, drop-offs, or really any type of obstacle that allows continuous pedaling (no hopping). Riders are given three attempts to make a Section. If the Section is completed, the rider wins the points for that Section. The rider with the most points wins… simple as that. I know this is probably very similar to Kris Holm’s rules for uni trials… it’s supposed to be. I do have a couple of additional ideas I’ve been throwing around to spice things up a bit. For example: Each section could also have “bonus points” (I don’t like the word “bonus” so I’d want to use a different term, but I just wanted to give you the idea). If a rider is extremely confident in his/her ability to complete a specific Section, the rider can opt for the “bonus points” (which are usually about 10% - 30% above the point value of that Section, so a level 10 difficulty section could have an additional 1-3 “bonus points”). If the rider wants to opt for the bonus points, it means he/she must declare there intention (to try for the bonus points) before attempting the Section. By declaring your intention to go for the “bonus points”, the rider gives up his/her right to three attempts at the Section, and is given just a single attempt. If the rider completes the Section in that single attempt he/she wins the “bonus points” for that section. This would add an additional element of drama and could help narrow the point spread between the leader and all the other riders making the competition more pivotal and exciting.

Now let me illustrate some sections from Rays that are really great for this competition. (Point value is just a quick example to give you an idea - no official point values have been assigned yet, as this is obviously still in the very formative stages)

Single Ramp Obstacles:

• Jump Ramp w/Flat Horizontal Top and Drop-Off to Downramp
Timecode: 4:26, 4:40
Difficulty: 3
Bonus Points: ½ point

• Multi-level Ramp w/Hollow Step
Timecode: 5:24
Difficulty: 4.5
Bonus Points: 1 point

• Double-Hump Drop-Off Ramp
Timecode: 5:56
Difficulty: 4.5
Bonus Points: 1 point

2 Ramp Obstacles:

• Hump Ramp & Tabletop
Timecode: 4:31
Difficulty: 3
Bonus Points: ½ point

Single Skinnies:

• Small Elevated Skinny
Timecode: 4:45, 5:09
Difficulty: 4.5
Bonus Points: 1 point

Multiple Obstacles:

• Teeter-tooter through turns and over exit ramps back to floor
Timecode: 5:39
Difficulty: 5
Bonus Points: 1.5 points

• Elevated Dip-Turn, Over Speed-Bump & Beyond Log Skinny
(I didn’t make it… wiped out on the log skinny, as you can see)
Timecode: 6:24
Difficulty: 5.5
Bonus Points: 1.5 points

Now here are some observations and questions:

Being that (to my knowledge) “Trials” is defined as a competition involving navigating over obstacles on a uni/bike/motorcycle, I would think that this new sport is a form of Trials. However, Trials almost universally implies hopping, which is not a part of this new sport… so I would think that designating it as a form of Trials would be quite misleading! What do you think? And what the heck can we call this new sport/competition? I’m at a loss! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

I can tell you that this form of riding/competition is extremely challenging and TONS of fun! I think it can be a very exciting new element of the sport with lots of appeal. What do you think? Thanks for your help! I look forward to your comments…

That sounds great, an alternative to this would be cool uni cross event, but instread of having uni’s ride on a track that is not designed for unicycles like at TOque where a BMX track is used, a side by side track that is designed for speed would make for a very cool event in addition to the one you already mentioned. Like these lines at Ray’s , just side by side

I think you have a great idea, and this type of event has a lot of potential, I’ll help out anyway I can

How is the difficulty rated?

Wikipedia’s Definition of “Unicycle Trials”:
"Unicycle trials are an activity in which participants attempt to ride a unicycle over obstacles without any part of the rider touching the ground. The obstacles traversed can be set up specifically for the purpose of unicycle trials, but are often walls, railings, ledges and other “street furniture” found in an urban environment.

Obstacles are traversed using various moves. Hopping is achieved by suddenly forcing the unicycle pedals downwards while holding the seat, the reactive forces resulting from the compression of the tire lift the unicycle into the air. Jumping is a similar to hopping, except that the unicycle seat is held in front of the rider to allow greater height to be achieved. Pedal grabs and crank grabs involve a hop or jump to land the unicycles pedal or crank on the edge of an object, and then a second hop or jump to land the unicycle fully on the object.

Although unicycle trials can be performed on a standard unicycle, many are not designed for the forces which are caused by unicycle trials. A trials unicycle is built with unicycle trials in mind, and is therefore designed to better cope with these stresses."

Although they do mention hopping, jumping, crankgrabs etc. as a part of trials they do no defien it as such. “Unicycle trials are an activity in which participants attempt to ride a unicycle over obstacles without any part of the rider touching the ground.” So technically your new Big Wheel trials qualifies, and also adds more reasons why I need a coker sooner.

Andrew, you astound me and are by far the best coker rider I have ever seen, and I doubt others disagree, but you definetely are “The Coker Guy” in my eyes. I think it is great what you are doing for the sport, thinking outside the wheel. Ride on man, ride on!


Before I read to the bottom of the original post, I already had a name in mind:
Rolling Trials.

It’s Trials, with one major exception. No hopping. Riding through something without hopping is called rolling. To repeat a famous Kris Holm quote from a visit to the North Shore in 1999, “Oh darn it. I meant to roll that.”

You would have to get a clear way to identify what counts as a hop, because at some point you have to declare a DQ or dismount. That’s just a matter of choosing the appropriate definition.

Then you’d have to ask yourself what a Coker has to do with any of it. For regular Trials, a 20" wheel is generally considered the best hardware, usually because the smaller wheel is lighter and easier to move. I don’t think Rolling Trials would need to concern itself with wheel size, as bigger wheels might simply work better for some things. But they would work worse for others. So you might want to divide things by wheel size to keep it focused on just larger wheels.

Catboy quoted a definition of Unicycle Trials from Wikipedia. Who is wikipedia among us? In other words we (the folks here at the forums and our friends) generally make the rules and definitions. I’d rather get the facts from Kris Holm’s mouth than somebody who is posting a second-hand account. Unles Kris indeed posted that. Kris is the originator of rules for Unicycle Trials.

Anyway, whatever it ends up being called, I love the idea of Rolling Trials. Rolling a section of obstacles is the next hardest thing after someone has made it through with hops. I alway try to roll stuff first. So I can really appreciate the simplicity of the idea.

But in a way it will be a little like harness racing, or competitive walking, where you do the best you can but force limits upon yourself. For that reason, it will probably never be quite as important as “unlimited” Trials.

Thanks a lot, Brian. Actually I have ideas for a few types of events and the one you mention is very similar to my obstacle course race, but most of the obstacles definitely wouldn’t be the same as the ones I listed in my original post… those obstacles are too big and challenging, and it would drain a lot of energy to have a lot of big obstacles. My vision for the obstacle race includes most of all the obstacles in the beginner section of Rays (except for the skinnies) and high speed flat (obstacle free) sections leading into banked turns. But that’s a separate event so I’ll save that discussion for a separate thread. Great idea, though! Brilliant minds think alike :smiley:

Thanks for your offer to help out.

This sport/event is obviously in the formative stages, so nothing has been finalized, yet… but the way I see the the difficulty ratings being established is as such:

The difficulty rating is determined by the average number of attempts of the top five rated riders (could also be top ten, or any number) for this event to complete a section, divided by two. Thus if the (average) number of tries to complete a Section for the top five riders is 10, then the difficulty rating would be a 5. However, in my opinion this system should only apply to Sections rated at a difficulty of 1 - 9. A Section having a difficulty rating of 10 should have never been succesfully completed before by any rider. This is just an idea for one way of doing the difficulty rating system… I am open to other ideas.

Thanks for your definition, Catboy, however like John Foss I’m not familiar with Wikipedia… though it does confirm my belief that it is officially a form of Trials. Thanks so much for your nice words and your support and encouragement.

That captures it’s essence pure and simple… I love it! A simple name for a simple concept… and by using the word “Rolling” it avoids the problem I was concerned about of having a name with the word “Trials” in it inadvertantly misleading people into thinking the event is dominated by hopping… as is all other types of Trials events (on uni’s, bikes, and motorcycles). The name is brilliant in it’s simplicity and it’s descriptive accuracy! Unless someone can come up with a more appropriate name (which I doubt), I’d like to suggest that the name John Foss came up with (Rolling Trials) become the official name for this event.

In my opinion, a single hop would be ok, but multiple (intentional) hops would be cause for DQ… but this is something that definitely needs further thought.

In my opinion, you could just have classes… such as: 26", 28"/29", and 36", and possible Open Class (any of the above). If you have open class, can a single rider use different uni’s having different wheel sizes in a single competition?

I’m really excited that you like the idea! I believe once people try this event, they will LOVE it… and sitting 4 feet high on a Coker, pedaling as fast as you can to generate lots of speed in order to roll over large and menacing looking obstacles is an event that I think live spectators (and possibly even a TV audience) could really get excited about, too. Although Dave Lowell did a great job with the camera work at Rays, he’s the first to admit that he is an amateur at shooting video and doesn’t have much experience. With professional cameramen shooting the action, they can get some really cool angles that I believe would make the event appear quite exciting to the viewing public… when they see Coker pilots hitting large, menacing looking obstacles from low camera angles, with different types of lenses, and such… the speed and the ascent up the obstacle will appear much more exhilirating (as it feels)!

I can’t imagine why a rider would ever force limits upon himself/herself??? In my view it would be the exact opposite… you’d always be pushing your limits… that’s why a Section with a difficulty rating of 10 would be (by definition according to the rules) a Section that had never been conquered succesfully before. I don’t know why it could never be as “important” as “unlimited” Trials… I guess just because it is kind of like a subset of “unlimited Trials”? I do believe it may have the potential to be better received than “unlimited Trials” by the general public because it has a lot of speed, steep ascents/descents, jumps, and has skinnies (like “unlimited” Trials)… which if filmed properly may be seen as more extreme than “unlimited” Trials.

“Unlimited” trials will probably alwasy be the crème de la crème but I can see “rolling” trials more inclusive, especially for those that can’t (or don’t) do the big ups, grabs, and drops.

Even beginners like riding simple teeters, ramps, balance beams, etc.

Fortunately (or unforutantely) HardcoreCokerRider is already setting a standard.

To me, the criteria would be pretty straightforward, and the key factor would be momentum. Rolling hops, where you are already in motion and are hopping to maintain or adjust that motion, would be okay. Static hops…i.e. starting from a stillstand…would be DQ. So the “adjust” element would cover things like direction changes in the midst of a rolling line, for example riding up a quarter pipe until your momentum stalls, then doing a 120 degree hop to ride down the face of a neighboring ramp to finish off the section. Something like that would work in that setup you previously posted photos of…with the three different quarter-pipe ramps all next to each other with a catwalk on top.

i think tom might have a good idea there. i was thinking(before reading his post) that any intentional hops would be DQ. but then how does one distinguish between an intentional rolling hop and simply getting some air off the lip of a jump/obstacle? i think rolling hops should be allowed. anything else would be a DQ. and if you ever have an event like this in the midwest, or if i move to near where you have an event i’d love to help out.

DQ for a hop is a seems a little harsh if done unintentional. You dont want people to intentionally hop through it though and take the negitive points though. Something like repeated hops then a DQ seems better. I know if I tryed this that I would hopped just out of instinct and get DQ. I would be pissed.

I’m seeing many similarities with the bouldering sport of rock climbing.

Bouldering is a very free part of climbing, you climb without a harness, ropes and so on, many people boulder as a warmup. in bouldering there is often very spectacular moves, since the problems are made to be really hard, testening strengt balance and flexibility. You often boulder in pair, one climbing, and the other standing under to catch the climber if he falls, and you often have a crashpad to.

But anyway, let’s come to the point now.

In boulderingcontests, there often are +50 problems, each with a grade of dificulty, and a amount of points rewarded to the climber that makes is, with a sign from a judge or so to proof oyu actually climbed it.
However, a contest last for a couple of hours, you could go there when it starts, and climb your balls of for the next couple of hours to when the bell rings. Or, you could simply go chillin’, watching climbers, having a really nice time, climb some problems.

When the contest has ended, each climber hands in his/hers scorecard, and there usualy is a break for fun (or to keep climbing) while counting points and so on.

The best part with this is, that everyone can be a part of the contest, from children to real masters of climbing.
There usualy is several contests in the event, like most points, most problems done, hardest problem solved, and so on. It there is a draw between 2 climbers, there usualy is some small contest to choose the winner. For example, hanging the longest time in a certain grip in one hand only.

Anyway, the point is, that i think thease rules could be adapted to unicycle, to make everyone come together, learn from each other, and a little event, for everyone to enjoy.

Edit: Sorry for the lack of knowledge in english, writing this text.


I believe Kris drew on his experience with the sport of rock climbing (pretty much as you described it above) when he came up with the original unicycle observed trials competition rules (the observed trials rules still in the current IUF and USA competition rules books). He has been modifying the rules based on experience gained in actual unicycle observed trials competitions over the past five years.

Tom Daniels

This sounds really cool. I like everything that andrew said exept for the bonus points-kind of dumb. I think momentum shopuld be only part of it. not only does it take momentum to get up/over a lot of NShore style stuff it also takes very good balance and braking. ‘Rolling trials’ could include things like skinnies and manmade rock gardens. What would be reallty cool would be a big air contest. Use a jump and a limbo stick style apparatus and see who can make it the higest w/o hopping. I look forward to see more ‘Rolling Trials’

I can see Rolling Trials (36" class) being a very prestigious subset of Trials because:

  • The size of the wheel and seat height makes it visually appealing.
  • The extremely fast entry speed needed to blaze up various obstacles should be fun to watch (especially with really cool camera angles, which I haven’t had filmed in my riding, yet)
  • It’s fast (unlike unlimited Trials which is usually quite slow), it’s extreme, and there should be plenty of cool wipe-outs for high drama.

Your comments about beginners, is quite true… Rolling Trials (26" Class and the 28"/29" Class) would be accessible to all levels of riders, would be a great way to build riding skills, and is loads of fun!

I think you are correct about rolling hops and I agree 100%. I propose that rolling hops are officially designated as acceptable/allowed in the new sport of “Rolling Trials.” Excellent, insightful observation, Tom… thanks for your contribution to the development of this sport.

I’m glad you are also in agreement re/rolling hops. I don’t want to be too harsh on even stationary hopping, either though. This sport is intended to be dominated by rolling, but I don’t believe that a minor amount of hopping would be problematic… as long as rolling is always the primary and dominant method of completing Sections. Thus I would suggest that stationary (or static) hops are allowed up to 3 consecutive hops. You must roll after the third hop… if you hop a fourth time, then it is a DQ. No rider will be able to come anywhere close to being able to complete a section in three consecutive hops (thus, it couldn’t be the primary method for completing a Section) and by allowing the three hops it may enable some riders to use the three hops to their advantage for balance or perhaps other reasons as well. What do you think about the 3-hop rule? I’d love to work with you on a “Rolling Trials” event somewhere… that would be awesome!

I think my 3-hop rule (mentioned in my previous response directly above this one) addresses your concern. What do you think? Thank you very much for your input.

Thanks a lot, DK… I think a lot of people would REALLY enjoy this event… and it definitely takes a lot more than momentum… but if you wanna get over the BIG stuff, you gotta have a Coker… and you gotta have momentum as a basic requirement… without it you won’t have a chance to test all your other skills because you won’t make it to apex. The jump contest would be cool, too… but that’s a totally different competition that I’ll save for another thread. I think the “Bonus Points” idea is kind of cool because it enables riders who are super confident in their ability to complete a Section to narrow a lead, if they can pull it off in that one single attempt (they have to forfeit their other two attempts if they go for the Bonus Points). I think it coud add even more excitement and drama to an already exciting event. Perhaps you are right and it’s not the best idea, though. What do the other members of the forum think of my “Bonus Points” idea? I hope I described my “Bonus Points” idea accurately (earlier in this thread) so that you can evaluate the idea fairly. I would appreciate comments from members of the forum on why they think my “Bonus Points” idea is a good idea or a bad idea, rather than just saying something like “kind of dumb,” although if most of you think that it is just simply a “dumb idea,” I guess that’s possible, too… and I can live with that. What is your opinion?

i think depending on how you enforce it, the three consecutive hops thing might be a little too easy. not that you could trials style hop on a coker anyway, but suppose you could roll up the hardest part of a section, hop around/over/whatever something with three hops, then roll a short ways and hop 3 more times to clear the rest of it. I would propose ammending your idea to include three non-rolling hops per section. but you’re the superior coker rider so maybe you should make the rules as you see fit then test them.

is it feasible to treat hops in the same way ‘dabs’ are treated in other trials events?

You bring up a verg good point… I actually had a similar concern upon further thought after my last post (prior to reading your post). I don’t think it would be much of a concern in the Coker (36") wheel size class, but I want to make sure that this new sport works equally well for all wheel sizes (though I think the smallest allowable wheel size class should be 26"), and the issue you bring up could be problematic in the non-Coker class wheel sizes. I think your solution is a pretty good idea… believe it or not I came up with that same idea (upon further reflection), as well, once I realized the problem with the initial idea of simply making more than 3 consecutive hops the basis for DQ… so we’re definitely thinking alike!!! I think it’s a pretty good solution to the problem and perhaps maybe even the best possible solution, but the members of the forum have been very insightful and helpful so far, so I’d like to gather some other ideas (if anyone has any), that you may feel works even better. If no forum members are able to come up with a better solution (rather quickly… I don’t want this to drag on too long and we can always amend the rules later if necessary, although I do want to nail down a good set of solid rules right from the onset that everyone is satisfied with). If no other idea is proposed that the forum members collectively view as superior, than my recommendation is to adopt the three-hop per Section rule… which I think works pretty well. Any comments, feedback, ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much, Mark, for your contribution to the formation of the rules for Rolling Trials. I don’t want to make the rules on my own… I want to adopt rules that everyone (or at least the majority) of forum members are happy with… that makes the sport work for all wheel sizes (26" and above, in my opinion). I’d also love to get some feedback on my idea for "Bonus Points’ (although I hate the name “Bonus Points”… so if the majority of you guys like the concept, I’m sure John Foss or someone else will come up with a much cooler name!) Anyway, the concept was intended to make the competition more exciting, with greater chances for a close match and turn-arounds and such… any feedback on the concept would be most appreciated.

I’m not too familiar with trials, so I don’t know what ‘dabs’ are, but I’d love to find out so that I can see if it makes sense (in my opinion) for Rolling Trials. Thank you very much for your input.

as far as my (mainly TV originated) knowledge of trials go, ‘DABS’ describes the act of taking your foot briefly off the pedals to restore balance by ‘dabbing’ it on the ground
since this isn’t quite in the spirit of the endeavour, they are counted and used (against u) in the scoring system

i’m hoping a more informed trialist will jump in here with a more definitive definition?

I did not read all the above so excuse me if I’m repeating something that was already suggested.

I don’t like the 3-hops idea because then you are very close to regular Trials. Call it Rolling Trials and then allowing sets of 3 hops kind of defeats the purpose.

I would count hops as dabs. This allows riders to put in a hop if they need it to get through, but with a pretty serious penalty. Also it doesn’t DQ you to hop. Of course, the lines will be built with rolling in mind, so they should be rollable (though not easily).

Since my friends and I have been challenging ourselves to roll through difficult stuff for years, I can picture what I would expect. The other hard part would be building/designing the lines. But regular Trials lines are hard to set up too. I think that’s half the fun for some of us.

The idea of allowing sets of 3-hops was dropped. The most recent ideas regarding hops (prior to the idea of treating them like dabs) are as follows:

  • All rolling hops are allowable.
  • Regarding static (stationary) hops: a maximum of 3-hops per Section is allowed.

The dab idea is interesting, but I was thinking of a simple way to limit hops and prevent them from becoming the dominant method of completing a Section (which I don’t think would be even possible for most Coker-class Ridable Trials courses… but like I’ve said previously, I’d like the rules to work equally well for all wheel size classes). As long as rolling is the predominant method for completing a Section, I personally wouldn’t mind seeing riders use a hop or two (or three, which would be the maximum per Section) for balance or whatever (without penalty). It could make the event more competitive and would still ensure that rolling was the primary and dominant method. On the other hand, if more people like the dab idea (for static hops only) for the sake of consistency with unlimited Trials, or for whatever reason, then I wouldn’t mind that being the rule, either. Please voice your opinions. A running tab would be great. Vote for either:

3-hops Maximum Allowed per Section

                      - OR -
                    Dab rule

Thanks for your help,