New Unicycling Club – Looking for Tips

Hey Everyone,

This is my first year running a club. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for eons (NUC 2001 locked it into my noggin). My budget is very tight, but I’ll outline a few things that I’m doing to start building it up.

For now, all the unicycles used are my own, or whatever club members bring out. I’ve ordered a pile of seat posts which should help. I’m thinking that building up a collection of gym floor friendly 20” unicycles is probably the best way to go. Beyond that the individual can specialize and purchase whatever they choose too. For unicycles I think I’ll be okay over time as I’ve managed to secure a cycle shop as a sponsor. They’ve been very generous.

One of the main things I want to be sure of is that the club is encouraging for new comers as well. Right now we use a school lot for training which has been working well as there is a mixture of pavements (perfectly smooth, to very rough) and then various placed to build up on from there. There are a few walls and fences, but the pavement in those spaces is pretty rough and would make learning harder. Those spaces are also very spread out, which is good for concentration, but lousy for building membership repore.

Any thoughts on what to do here for training? Perhaps someone has built a simple reliable railing system?


I was just thinking of starting a thread along the same lines, sort of. Is your club already established or are you just trying to start one up? I was thinking of buying a few unis and having some “learn to unicycle” sessions. This is a fairly small community so I could advertise pretty easily. i know some people in the media here as well.

Do you think it would alright to ask for a small fee or donations to eventually offset the cost of the unis? I’m not interested at all in profiting from it. I just want to give some more people a chance to try out our great sport.

My goal is to get more people interested and eventually have a regular unicycle club with organized events. It is something I would be happy to devote some time towards.

When you were talking about a space to unicycle in, I had an idea that I am hoping to use in the summer. We have quite a few local outdoor hockey rinks that are paved. The boards are a great wall/railing to learn on and the space is a little more enclosed. Being in Ontario, you probably have some outdoor rinks around! It is Canada! :wink:
I really like your idea of having different sizes of seatposts to use.
I’m open to as much advice as I can get!

With 2 freinds, I have just started a circus skills club - “Elephants Not Included” - living in a country famous for rain, indoor space is a necessity.

We found a small community hall, put some posters up in the town and with that, Facebook plus word of mouth we have made a sucessful start.

Everyone contributes £2 per session which pays for the cost of the hall, refreshments etc and we hope to purchase equipment as the pot builds up.

For the moment, everyone brings their own equipment & we share, although my £25 Lidl traning unicycling is showing it’s age! (Its done very well for the price!)

The plan is that as we grow, we can then aproach other organisations to get a larger Hall. As for rails, we just use the walls and improvise.

To date we have not had to risk any of our own money, as the first meeting gave sufficient funds to cover the hall costs.


I’m in the process of starting the club up. I know there are other good riders in the area, but as of yet, I haven’t bumped into anyone.

An outdoor hockey rink is good thinking. There would probably be some discussion with the owners about various risks (mind you hockey would win for dangers).

I haven’t taken fees of any kind, much as I like to to offset the cost. The main reason is that I’m concerned that makes the club a little more official as opposed to a random gathering of people. Then I’d have to look into insurance and I’m not ready to fork over that kind of money. I’ve made it clear that I expect safty gear on. This is to protect my interests as well as theirs.

For now we’re a 7 month club, avoiding riding in the winter. I’ll have to look into halls in the area. That is a very good idea. I wonder what the rent is on them for an hour?

You guys might want to try talking to Darren Bedford to see what sort of advice he might be able to offer. He started the Toronto unicycle club and is still quite involved with it.

Dr. D - great to hear you’re starting a club. I can’t give universal advice, but I can give what we found helped us. We’re in our second year and we’ve had as many as 20 unicyclists in one spot at the same time - not bad since we started with 4 or 5 in the area who could unicycle just over a year ago. (Our roster had 30+ members, but we didn’t have all in one place at one time.) is our site.

The first thing we did (when “officially” forming) was find a partner organization. The local YMCA worked for us as I already had been volunteering there for a while. This did a few things: 1. A place indoors to ride (and store on site unis). 2. Liability coverage under their umbrella. 3. Advertising and exposure. Since we’re in the YMCA during normal hours we got a lot of people interested just by seeing the flyers, but mainly by watching us have a fun time. When people would poke their heads in and see people learning they’d get interested. New unicyclists would bring more new unicyclists in. We just showed people how much fun it is and they kept bringing their friends, relatives, and significant others.

We personally believe unicycling is for almost everyone and that it isn’t that hard to learn. To get people to try it we kept the cost low (free because the YMCA didn’t charge us anything) and removed excuses. We got a few learner unis (a couple from my basement, a couple from friends, a couple from a local tag sale, and some from the local bike shop- he just had some really old school ones around) and kept a bag of helmets (required by the YMCA and a good idea I think). We also committed to a weekly consistent time that many people could make. Weekend afternoons were off peak hours for the YMCA. (Sorry if this sounds like a YMCA advertisement at this point, it’s just what worked for us.)

We’ve also used tennis courts and now we’re meeting at the local skatepark (with a few changes). As far as a space to use the biggest help we’ve found is that there be a nice flat smooth surface with a wall or fence to hang on to. The gymnasium is ideal and we liked it from Oct. to April- the time when the weather was bad and people were likely to try something inside. When the weather is nice we have a lot fewer people show up to ride indoors.

From May to October we shift from indoors to outdoors. This changes our organization a bit. The YMCA can’t cover us so we’re organized under the Unicycling Society of America as the Butler Wobble. We meet at a local “skate at your own risk” free skatepark. From May to Oct. we don’t have a pile of loaner unis since we’re not covered as well. We’re also adding regular MUni rides to club members (fill out a couple of forms and be a USA member are our requirements). We’re up to three 36ers in the area so road rides will become more regular as well. We’re focusing on those who can ride for the next few months until the weather goes bad again.

As stated at the beginning, this isn’t necessarily THE plan for starting, it’s just our experience. I guess I’d summarize by saying: join the USA organization (works for Canada too). Ride a lot and stop to talk to people. Print some cards with your regular meeting times on it and hand them out to all who are interested. Shoot for natural growth- trying to go big too fast just leads to burnout. Have fun!

At this point our 2 year old club is looking to start hosting bigger events- we’re partnering with bicyclists for a local stage race - the Butler County Stage Race (listed over on the events page). That gets the shameless self promotion in for the day. Check out the event details and plan a trip to meet up with us here in Butler, PA on July 17-18.

I hadn’t thought about the liability thing at all. That adds a pretty big element to trying to do things in any organized fashion. That could even cause problems with local community areas if you wanted to use outdoor rinks with paved areas. They may not want to take the risk. I’d be inclined to try to fly under the radar as an informal organization until I know who is out there that is interested and what they would want but that is a big risk in our litigious society. Thanks for pointing that out.
I may contact our local cycling association and see if they have any ideas.

I have just contacted our local cycling/mountain biking clubs about insurance. I am hoping that I would be able to work under the umbrella of one of these organizations.

Hey guys;

I know it works in some proviences and not in others. But in Calgary we got our club insurance as a member of the Alberta Cycling association. Clubs are slow to build but fun once it works.


Risk of litigation is exactly why I’m going slowly. This risk is probably very small, but all the same.

I do like the idea of getting into a more public location. Our gym rental rates around here are very high, so I’m not sure how to handle that one. I think I’m going to look into some of the church gyms in the area and see what I can find there.

Once the club is large enough, I intend to formalize it with various perks and insurance and so on. I think that will happen in good time.

Does the US organization insurance really cover Canadian Clubs? I’d be happy to support it, but my general sense is that the border would create a great deal of red tape.

I sent an email to the local bike clubs and cycling association to find out more about insurance. I talked to a board member of one of them and they said that the club does have insurance under the territorial cycling association but so far they are only open to adults as there are more issues with insuring anyone younger. They have a $40 fee that covers the insurance for any sanctioned events and club rides and you must have that insurance for their club rides. One way to get started is to offer their members a chance to try unicycling as a club function.
I don’t think a club will happen really quickly as I only know a couple of unicyclists in the area and only ride with one. I am trying to see if there is any interest at this point.
The main thing I wanted to do is give local people a chance to try unicycling. I was just thinking of getting a few unis and putting up posters offering some set times to try them out. i have a local outdoor skating rink with a paved surface right across the street from my house. If I offered it only to adults and created a liability waiver form for them to sign, I am wondering if this would be enough to protect me.
It’s kind of funny because I originally thought this would be the simplest thing in the world and the biggest hurdle would be the expense of the extra unicycles. Maybe I’m making it harder than it has to be.

The insurance question is an interesting one. I think its more about personal risk. Frankly I don’t find unicycling overly dangerous until much higher levels of trials and muni is considered.

For now, I’m teaching one on one being very clear that riders must have a helmet. As well, everyone that has come out is a friend or a friend of a friend, so I believe that limits the risk further. This will only be temporary though.

If someone from the Uniycling Society could let us know what sort of costs we are looking at for insurance, that would be appreciated. Also, I’m curious to how the insurance company is able to handle all the cross border issues. :thinking:

i am still waiting to hear back from the Cycling Association of the Yukon to hear about insurance.
I did order 2 20" club unis and a 24 club uni with an extra couple of seatposts in different sizes. i figured that if I waited to long, summer would be over before I got started. :smiley:
I have quite a few people I know that are interested in learning so I will have them to loan out as well. i am also looking into offering a program for the cities Parks and Rec this summer. We’ll see where it all goes. Hopefully there will be a few more unicyclists out there by the time I’m done!

Smart thinking. I think it’s about the doing part and in time it builds. There are two people that come out pretty consistently to mine. One just purchased a unicycle too. I’ve picked up a pile of seats and seatposts and I just interchange them as needed.

We’ll have to see where we at in around September. :slight_smile: