I thought this article about Pashley Unicycles may be of interest from a unicycle history perspective.
Interesting. There’s a person in Oakland California selling this Pashley which appears to be one of the Muni’s described in the article.
It almost seems that they are taking credit for coining the term muni. I wonder how true that is? I do like UMX for an off road uni especially a smaller wheeled uni.
When I think of motorcross/BMX I think of big jumps on a closed course. I know there is now “street BMX”, which blends freestyle/trials into the mix, but either way I don’t think UMX is a great name compared to Mountain Unicycling.
I was a kid back when BMX was just taking off. 95% of what we did was riding on local trails, small ramp jumps, natural dirt jumps and things like riding off stairways. If you were really brave you’d ride off the back of a pickup truck. An actual day at the track was quite rare. When we first started we had long motocross style saddles and plastic “gas tanks” on our bikes, but by the time I was ten we had become weight weenies who did things like drilled holes in our rims between each spoke and cut off the bottoms of our seat posts. Everything on our bikes had to be “alloy” and we didn’t realize that “alloy” wasn’t an actual metal like steel or titanium.
I believe in this link John Foss will explain the origins of the terms UMX, rough terrain , and muni.
Until quite recently I had a Pashley that looked very similar to that. The same colour, same frame design and (originally) the same seat. I hated that seat, so I switched it. It also had a bigger wheel, 28”x1½” (635mm rim, not the more common 622mm) and cotterless cranks, rather than cottered (handy because I shortened them at some point). I also changed the tyre along the way.
Here is a slightly blurred image of it next to my Nimbus 26”
Cool thanks for the pics
That’s close. If you read the article on TraditionalBicycleShop.co.uk (above), you will see Duncan Castling. He is credited with coining the name “Muni” in 1995, I think. I don’t think there is anyone who disputes that. But that article taught me that he worked directly with Pashley to help them develop the first purpose-built Muni, which they called the Muni!
What I also learned from that article was that they previously had an “offroad” unicycle they called the UMX. According to that, the UMX was available in 1994, and possibly earlier because they are just citing the '94 catalog. I see in the catalog page shown, it lists the tire (ahem, tyre) as “Wide UMX” as if that was a tyre type. Let’s assume it was a BMX tire, but put on a unicycle.
“UMX” was already a thing. A type of riding, but that didn’t yet have any unicycles being manufactured for it. I titled my first article on offroad unicycling “UMX” because the idea was to latch on to the popularity of BMX at that time. It was exploding. Duff explains his experience of BMX around that time, and it kind of parallels early offroad riding. Except regular unicycles would break if you jumped or dropped too much, so we had to take it easy (real easy, if you had to wait six months for the next shipment of Miyata parts to replace your hub!).
So this article, UMX, appeared in a 1981 issue of the Unicycling Society of America Newsletter, which got mailed in early 1982. And didn’t change much, other than to put the idea out there. I had discovered dirt in my local area and was having great fun riding on it, because it seemed more challenging than just riding on floors or paved surfaces. There are some clips of me riding on the local trails near my house in Dan Heaton’s video, whose title escapes me at the moment (Revolution One?).
But when George Peck started getting into offroad unicycling (1985 or so), he started building stronger ones, because he was hopping a LOT, and his terrain was much rougher than what I had in Flat Livonia, Michigan. BTW, the trails shown in that video are gone; replaced by a manmade marshy area for geese and other local wildlife.
So we called it UMX up until 1995, when there was an online discussion about the inappropriateness of that acronym. I don’t know if a BMX-style UMX race has ever been held. George Peck had is video, Rough Terrain Unicycling, out since '91 or '92. That was the most accurate name for our sport, but not interesting. Being accurate is not the most important quality of a name if you’re trying to promote something. Example: NAUCC. That’s the name of a major annual unicycling competition but nobody is sure what the letters stand for, and which C comes first. George argued that calling it Mountain Unicycling might discourage people who didn’t have mountains nearby (like me in Michigan). But the rise in popularity of mountain bikes had already proven this to not be an issue. About 90% of mountain bikes, at that time, had never been ridden on dirt, according to an article I remember reading, possibly in Bicycling Magazine.
That Pashley for sale in Oakland is in great shape – tempting for my collection!
Thanks John thats great stuff. I started riding unicycle around 1980 and a few kids in the neighborhood including my self had huffy thunder roads and some had low end bmx bikes. We had a make shift track in a patch of woods in our neighborhood. I would attempt to ride a burm and ride over jumps we built on my uni.
Hi - interesting article. My mate is the guy on the Pashley brochure on the blue unicycle. I had a Pashley 24" and a Pashley Muni (still in my garage but needs a tyre and pedals). We used to go into the forest’s where I grew up. In order to make the tyres grippier we put electrical wire around the tyres, have a feeling we ended up in Mountain Bike UK too.
These days I have a custom built mountain uni with 4.8" fat tyre etc…
Please tell me he still unicycles!
Back in the early 90’s I was riding a 24" Miyata Flamingo I’d found in a used bike shop in LA. I was practicing on rocks and gravel, and beating the hell out of it, so the 26" Pashley Muni looked like a Godsend. And it worked really well to take me to a better level. It was capable on lots of mountain trails around Seattle, where I lived at the time. Then, at the 1997 California Muni Weekend–or maybe it was a year or two later–Bruce Bundy arrived with a 24x3 setup. It was awesome. I talked Geoffrey Faraghan into making me one of his first Telford unicycles, so I could ride a wider tire. It’s still my go-to unicycle today.
You might be thinking of the 2000 Muni Weekend; in '98 and '98 we were all still riding “skinny” tires, including George Peck, Geoff Faraghan and everyone else. I think it was either '99 or 2000 when Bruce Bundy and David Poznanter discovered the 3" Gazzalodi tire, from the world of downhill mountain biking. In '97 Geoff had a Telford at the Muni Weekend, but it had the typical width of MTB tire at the time, which was around 2" I think.
It’s great that you still have, and ride, your Telford!