One of my rasher decisions

So, it’s finally ready - the new super skinny custom-made wheel.

I bought a Suzue hub from Roger, then took it with a basic frame down to Freewheel, and they put a Mavic Open Pro 700c rim on. They couldn’t manage double butted spokes because of the gauge of the holes in the hub, allegedly, but the wheel still feels super light.

I specified a super lightweight inner tube, and took their advice on a tyre. I had been planning to go for the narrowest possible, but was warned that the risk of punctures would be too high. I chose a 23mm section tyre, super lightweight with kevlar beads - so it folds up and it’s bullet proof.

Tonight, home from work, I quickly throw on a pair of 102 mm Qu-ax cranks and some pedals, kidnap the Miyata seat and post from the Road Razor and I am off down to the river bank with my new toy…

Super light, but surprisngly easy to mount. Very skittish, but a pleasure to ride. Once I get going on the smooth tarmac road, the wheel feels almost weightless. This machine is just so responsive, but maybe a bit twitchy on anything less than perfectly smooth.

The soul of a motorcycle is in its engine; the soul of a bicycle is in its frame; with a unicycle, it’s in the wheel and tyre. This isn’t a new wheel for my old unicycle - it’s a new unicycle with some old components fitted. So what shall I call it? I have the Road Razor (700c x 28) and the Holy Roller (26 x 3.4"). (The Coker, KH24 and 20 don’t deserve names because they are almost standard except for pedals and cranks.)

So, it’s twitchy, and on most of my rides I look out for wild birds - so is it called “Twitcher”, or “Twitch”? No, doesn’t seem right.

It’s clearly not simply a development of the Road Razor, so that name’s gone, as are naff things like “Scalpel”, The Rapier and other Boys Own stuff like that.

As I cruise along the road at a steady 12 mph or so, a mountainbike catches up with me. The rider engages me in intelligent and pleasant conversation, with no silly remarks. He seems genuinely interested and impressed, and we ride together for a mile or so until I divert onto a rough track and he stays on the smooth stuff. (He explains he’s in hurry, you see.)

Scooting along a rough track, the new uni has almost no momentum, but is so light it seems to skip over little obstacles and keeps going. Lovely.

I pass a group of lads who are half fishing, half throwing stones into the water. One sees me and makes humorous motorcycle style “Brrrmmmmm brrrrrrmmmm!” noises. Another shouts, “Watch out for that bump. Hahahahah!” His spontaneous and good-natured concern does him credit in a world where all too often young people pay no heed to the needs of those around them.

Half a mile of baked-mud cart track follows, and I have a whale of a time picking my way through, round and past obstacles that would not even exist for me on the Coker. I UPD once, miss the freemount, but get back on second time, and ride as far as the end of the cart track. Turn left onto tarmac and spin the wheel up. It just goes. This is a joy to ride.

Turn right and there’s more straight narrow tarmac, with high hedges to each side. A boy approaches on a BMX, his “woman” standing on the pegs each side of the back wheel. The girl smiles: “Is that hard to do?”
“Yes, But it’s just one wheel per person, like that one.”
It’s wasted. they don’t do sums in school these days.

Temptation strikes and I turn left onto a cinder and ballast track. 100 metres in… Pssssssst! Pinch flat. Tyre goes down like 99 lead balloons. Third puncture in 2 weeks. 3 or 4 mile walk back to the car, so thank goodness the new uni is so light. Shoulder arms and march.

Name? I have about four miles in which to contemplate. Titanic? It did sink on its maiden voyage. If only it had been near a field of lettuce, then I could have blamed it on an iceberg.

If I take it onto rough hard ground, it will pinch flat again. It is doomed to a short but glorious life or to a long but careful life. The unicycle is clearly swift, but has one fatal weakness. Achilles, the doomed hero of the Trojan war had to choose between a short life and glory, or a long life with no glory - he chose the former. He was known as the swift runner, but he had a fatal weakness - athlete’s foot - which led to his downfall. Achilles, then? But nothing short of a battleship should be named after a Greek hero. Pretentious, moi? No, it can’t be Achilles.

And I march on, a mile to go, musing on how the wheel was spinning so fast, the beautiful silver depth of the rim section, the narrowness of the tyre. I have the Road Razor, the Holy Roller and the Coker. All two words (except the Coker) and all ending in “er” except the Road Razor. (There’s a theme here. remember when all Ford cars had three syllables and ended in an “a”? Cortina, Granada, Anglia, Popular (sounds like an “a”, alright?) and we ignored Escort and Capri because it didn’t fit the theory?)

The name comes to me. I say it out loud. The new unicycle, 700c x 23 mm tyre is… the Bacon Slicer.

But I’m still not sure if that’s because of the wheel or the seat.

Nice, I like that ‘gag’.

And another.

Well, I have to be honest, I dont often read your write up’s. But I have to say this one caught my eye when I hovered my mouse above the thread to see if it was worth the read.

I’m glad I did. Thanks a bunch!

Mike

I love your write ups…I read each and everyone! makes me feel like im right there. Thats rotten luck about the Pinchflat again though. So how light is the Bacon Slicer?

sweet story, thats to bad about your tyre though. i wanna see pics of it!

Chase

You have a 700c 28 and a 700c 23? What prompted you to get two unicycles apparently so similar?

Being a long time road biker, I’m surprised that you’d even consider taking a 700x23 off the tarmac. I’d never do that with my road bike. Pinch flats are so common, especially with the ultralight tubes. I usually run over 100 psi in the tires and I’ve got 2 of them supporting my weight plus the weight of the bike (negligable at 18 pounds). If you just have to ride in the gravel, I’d run a 700x28. Sounds like a very fine machine though. Enjoy.

This is all part of the learning process for me. My original 700c had a standard (35 mm?) tyre. In a bid to give it a more distinctive roll and role, I went down to a 28mm tyre and found it made it lighter and more responsive. The existing rim wouldn’t take a narrower tyre, which is why in the end I bowed to the pressure of my internal demon and bought the custom rim and the 23 mm tyre.

I knew it would be vulnerable to bottoming out, of course. I didn’t realise quite how vulnerable. If it ends up as a pure tarmac machine then so be it. If it all gets too much hassle, I can always put a fatter tyre on.

As for the Road Razor… it’s distinctive role has now been usurped. However, it does have 125 mm cranks on instead of 102, and is more versatile.

The fleet is now:
20 with 125s
KH24 x 3 with 165s
26 x 2.4 with 125s - The Holy Roller
700c x 28 mm with 125s - The Road Razor
700c x 23 mm with 102s - The Bacon Slicer.
Coker with 150s.
Plus two old 20s I never ride.

Mike - the opportunity is there to ride the 20" at this weekend’s Derby Hockey tournament and restart you embrionic hockey career. You know it makes sense and the role of match reporter is yours for the taking, the literary fan club would I’m sure be interested to read a Fule account of hockey - so 12:00 - 18:00, guaranteed sunshine and a BBQ - you know it makes sense, perhaps see you there?

Roland

Since you ask so nicely, possibly.:slight_smile:

Mike, have you considered putting a cyclo-cross tyre on the old Road Razor?
If you did that you would still have a ‘niche’ 28er, but with much less risk of pinch-flats off-road.

Cheers for the write-up, I think the title is one of your best yet:)

Or perhaps go for a Stans Tubeless conversion not as much weight saving on the tube as say with the Coker conversion but hopefully a lot lot more resitant to puctures and you’d be able to have the liveliness of the thin tyre.

Always a pleasure, hopefully see you at the park then with a hockey stick ready and waiting for you

You chickened out you wuss :wink: Where’s that 18 or 20mm tyre then? Practicality isn’t the point :stuck_out_tongue:

Rob

I got that gag too lol

Another nice write-up, bummer about the flat though, it has only happened to me once, but I hated it, and my friend has had 5 flats in 2 weeks, and ive been with him for a few of them, and I could tell he hated it.

If I had to limit my music listening to stuff released after I was born it would cut out more than half my collection.
I remember that Nena track being in the charts so long they started playing the German version to relieve the monotony. At least it wasn’t as annoying as that Brian Adams/Robin Hood drivel.

Rob

Well, to be fair there is about 6 different covers of that song. They have the original (was that in German or English?) and then they released another (was this one the German one?) and now they have a ‘Punk’ version by… Damn! I have forgotten.

Anyway, yea, here is how I know that song.

Mike

Goldfinger. I prefer their version to be honest, it’s a bit more lively…

Phil

Nothing wrong with that at all. Road riding is great fun. I find it to be an almost zen-like experience just smoothly riding for miles as the countryside passes by.

Sounds like Cherie Blair on a spending spree in Bristol.:slight_smile:

And I love the pun in the header.

Having seen the picture, The Bacon Slicer seems like a good name.