> A simple question - who is the patron saint of unicyclists ???
That’s an easy one: William Jenack. You may have heard Jack Halpern refer
Mr. Jenack as ‘the father of modern unicycling,’ a phrase I coined. So
Jack would probably agree with me.
Bill Jenack was the guy who organized the many disconnected unicyclists of
the world, first by forming a mail service where he sent out
newsletter/mailings to a looser group called the Unicyclists Association
of America. From this grew the non-profit national organization we call
the Unicycling Society of America.
Bill Jenack influenced the architects of much of today’s unicycling world.
The founders of the original Japan Unicycling Club (now the JUA) got
guidance from Mr. Jenack. I believe Jack Halpern, the founder of the
International Unicycling Federation, was in many ways inspired and
assisted by Bill Jenack in his early efforts there.
Over the years between 1933 when he learned to ride, and his untimely
death in 1982, Bill Jenack also taught thousands of people to ride. During
my ten years living in New York, I constantly ran into people that told me
they used to ride, and that Bill Jenack taught them.
Bill Jenack was the editor of the USA Newsletter (now called On One Wheel)
for the first four years, 1974-77. He made good use of his many unicycling
contacts around the world to provide fascinating breadth and depth of
reading in those early issues. The USA still has reprints and back copies
of those issues available for sale:
http://www.unicycling.org/usa/merchandise/. We are also working on a
project to scan all the old issues and will someday have them on CD, but
we don’t know how long this project will take.
I had two role models while I was “growing up” in unicycling. One was
Floyd Crandall. His father’s club, the Pontiac Unicyclists, hosted the
first USA nationals in 1973. Floyd used to win most of the competition
events throughout the 70’s. But he was credited with always being a good
sport, and always friendly and helpful to others.
My other role model was Bill Jenack, who always made it a point to spread
unicycling and help others do so as well. He was a prolific
letter-writer, cranking out as many as 40 per day. He helped people start
unicycle clubs, learn to ride, and more. He was often quoted in newspaper
and magazine articles when an “expert’s” opinion was needed on
unicycling. He also assisted many bicycle companies with their unicycle
designs, including Miyata.
I have tried to live up to the example set by my main two unicycling role
models, and follow in their footsteps. Let us not forget the man
originally responsible for all of us knowing each other. Mr. Jenack came
and went before the Internet was popular, but without his groundwork it
may have taken much longer for our current newsgroup and other
communication systems to have been built.
Stay on top, John Foss President, Unicycling Society of America President,
International Unicycling Federation firstname.lastname@example.org