Parade tricks for a 36?

My son is looking for some parade tricks for a 36 inch unicycle. He can hop on it and is working on idling, but what are some cool reasonable ticks to do on a 36. Somebody posted a while back a trick that made it look like he was falling, then he would recover. I can’t find the video.

I did search the forums, but the only thing that come up are tips on free mounting. The trick has to be reasonable (I know we all want to do a uni-spin on a 36) and it should be for flat land. There are no stairs in parades.

So please post your favorite trick that you have seen on a 36.

Pedalling with the tops of your feet on the underside of your pedals.

Before Cokers, my 45" hard-tire Big Wheel was my parade machine of choice. It rides a little different from an air-tire big wheel, so I’m leaving out the spins and pirouettes You can do them on a 36" but it’s a lot harder. But you can work on these:

  • Big, swoopy curves
  • Riding backward, Idling
  • Going fast
  • Dismount, mount
It's all about showing people what can be done, based on what you can do. It also has to be something they can notice. Where riding with your feet under the pedals would be extremely impressive on a 36", a parade audience is unlikely to notice you're doing something. They would have to be paying close attention to the transition of your feet, and then be interested enough to detect that this is really hard. But parade audiences have a lot to look at. When I ride in parades, it's almost always been as part of a larger bunch of unicyclists, so the audiences' attention is split all over the place.

Swoopy curves are one of the things big wheels are good at, and they look really dramatic if you can get lots of lean into them. Make sure you have enough room, and never assume you have control over your “stage” in a parade. People may be passing along the edges of the street, small children may walk right out in front of you, etc. So always leave some space. If you know you have a solid “front row”, you can do some swoops right in front of them. That usually will get a good crowd reaction.

Riding backward or idling are obvious things to do, and can be fun. Idling isn’t real impressive on a big wheel because it usually happens in slow motion. But making a stop and then going backwards can work. I will often do this in a dramatic fashion, by “air shifting” into reverse, and then going “BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!” as I back up.

Dismount and mount are good because people are usually curious about how you do it. Practice doing interesting stops and dismounts, and various types of mounts. It doesn’t matter if it takes you more than one try; that just makes it look all that much harder!

Go out and have fun. Pay attention to your audience; listen to them to find out what works and what doesn’t.

If he wants, it’s pretty easy to add the ribbon dance while riding in a parade.

Thanks for the ideas. He really likes the idea of riding backwards (with the sound effects). It is going to take a bit of practice and confidence to ride backwards on a 36, but I am sure he can pull it off.

John, I explained to him you were the guy with two different color shoes explaining the rules of basketball at NAUCC Madison. Then he remember you, but only after I mentioned the shoes.

You might be confusing me with Jim Sowers, who actually went to NAUCC Madison (I couln’t make it). Last summer, we were both at NAUCC for what it’s worth…

Here we are in a picture together, from the 2012 San Francisco Uni Tour. That’s Jim with the yellow sock (the other one’s red), and that’s me with the yellow glasses. Notice my shoes are the same color. :slight_smile:

Here’s a funny picture of Jim Sowers (him in his element), that I found before I found the one with both of us together. This was last summer in Seattle, where Noli Ergas had organized a scenic city fun ride. This painting was along our route. Too bad about the graffiti. Note not just the turtle, but the unicycling Narwal over on the left!

Back on topic:
Here’s a picture of me in a parade. I hardly have any of these, apparently! It’s the Auburn Lights Parade in December, 2001. That’s my 45" Big Wheel, with glo-sticks stuck to the spokes, two sets of battery powered Christmas lights pinned to my jacket, and another set attached to my silly hat. And a lot of newspaper stuffed in there to make it stand up. I also seem to have some Christmas decoration inside my wheel; I can’t remember what that was.

Night parades are the best!

Oops. Thanks for the correction!

Nice photo!

So my son learned how to idle, hop, tight circular turns, and ride backwards on the 36 as suggested in this thread. He rode the 36 in the town’s Memorial Day parade with the other Gym Dandy’s. Best 36 performance I have seen, but I am biased. It sure beat the usual ride back and forth and occasionally “shoot the tunnel”. He was energized and it was reflected in his tricks.

Here he is “shooting the tunnel” from the local paper.