proper long proper muni

Who else out there does proper long muni rides?

I’m meaning not the sort of riding you can do on a 29er, obviously loads of us have done 50-60 miles offroad on a 29er. Proper muni, with technical trails, big hills and big downhills? Done on a 26 or a 24.

What’s your longest proper muni ride?

Todays ride was I think my longest ever continuous proper muni ride* -
51km (31.7 miles)
1360 metres of ascent (4365 feet)
1330 metres of descent (4461 feet)

Was nice - I got up at 8:30 and got the train out to the hills, and set off at 10:30am, with a massive hangover thanks to Spencer (semach the monkey) forcing me to drink ridiculous amounts at his house last night.

The ride started off with a 170m in 1.5km road ascent, a good way to cure a hangover for sure. Then I hit the proper muni a bit too literally - round the first corner, past some gawping walkers, then hit a wet muddy rock, slid out, and landed face down in stinging nettles (ouch). Fortunately on my pride was hurt, and I got to continue through the woods, through a gently uphill singletrack, littered with wet rocks and roots, and interspersed with 1.5 foot deep waterbars that took quite a bit of power to get through. This ended with a slidy mud downhill to a river bridge, then an enforced short walk up a stupid steep slidy mud hill. Through a farmyard, then out onto a super rocky super steep 4wd track, winding up a hill, taking all my power to stay on. I got a new record on this section, only falling off 4 times, and riding 95% of the track. A few of us have ridden this, and no one has cleared this section on a unicycle yet, but I reckon it’s only a matter of time now.

At the end of the track, I’m suddenly out on the high moor, and a quick easy fire road takes me across to another wood - this has a steep and surprisingly technical little downhill in it - that if you’re not careful, lands you going full speed into a mud pool. Inevitably, I’m not careful enough, and I’m soon covered in mud. Out of the woods, and back on the moors again - this time an easy bridleway, through a whole load of cows and through a gate, at which point it plunges downwards and suddenly turns into tight singletrack, heading down and then rollercoastering up and down round the hillside. I come out onto a road, and decide to explore an unknown track that is marked on the map, higher up than the trail I usually ride. 150 metres higher up it turns out - it’s an okay track, but some sheep seem to have strayed onto it - I try to get them to go past me, but in the end it turns out the only way to pass sheep without them running down the trail in front (to come out in the town below - which I didn’t want) is literally to power up and overtake them, at which point they peel off backwards.

At this point, a brief steep downhill over a bumpy previously ploughed meadow takes me down to the valley, and I head across on the road to the other side of the valley, only pausing a a level crossing to watch a steam engine driver take the ‘token’ from the signal man, which lets him go through a single-track section. There is something reminiscent of a Ride the Lobster changeover in the way the train goes past the signal box without stopping and the fireman grabs the token using a big loop attached to it.

Now, I’m in Snitterton, possibly one of the the best named places in the world, (with the exception of F*cking in Austria, Dildo in Canada and Blubberhouses in the UK), and I have to head up another silly steep uphill, this time off road. Unfortunately some cows have decided to get in the way, and I have to ride much of this. Having said that, I’ve never made it before, it’s probably too steep to ride. At the top, I wolf down a cake, and headed into Bonsall, and then down a steep and rather scary descent next to a quarry that takes me into Cromford.

After a quick visit to the sweetshop, I check the train times home, and head off up the hill out of Cromford - another rocky track, going past a biker who seems someone put out by being overtaken. I’m aiming for some woods where I know there are decent trails - unfortunately the direct route is down a footpath that is too much hassle (and illegal) on a unicycle, so I take a road detour which turns out to involve 150 metres of descent and coming back up the same amount, up a really steep road. I really should remember to check the contour lines.

Coming down to the woods, I notice something odd, the stile seems to have been knocked down. After 20 metres, I see a whole bunch of cows completely blocking the trail, who have obviously knocked down the stile, and appear to be somewhat pissed off. So, instead of heading straight down the footpath to the train station, I have to head up through the woods, on a new to me track, which turns out to be a super-duper, narrow, rooty singletrack, first going steeply uphill, and then contouring round. I narrowly avoid losing the unicycle or myself down the cliffs here, which is always good, and whoosh down past some houses suddenly finding myself popping out of the singletrack onto a trail I know. At a junction here, there’s an uphill I’ve been meaning to explore for ages, I head up that, and find a satisfyingly steep and scary downhill coming off it, full of roots, little drops and steps, which is a great way to end a ride.

Phew. I hadn’t noticed until I wrote it down, how many cow and sheep encounters were involved in this ride!


*I’m counting a ‘ride’ as being a single unicycle journey, without any shuttles / ski lifts etc. in the middle of the journey - ie. I’m not counting big ass purely downhill rides I’ve done in the Alps, or lazy American & New Zealand shuttled downhilling that I’ve done.

What kind-a cake did you have?

I was sort of wondering the same thing… Do tell. :slight_smile:

But anyway, that sounds like a good ride. I think I should invest in a MUni soon so I can explore the Niagara region when I move around there next month.

For me, it’s not just about the distance, but the entire experience. I prefer many good drops and tech stuff along the way, and good ups and downs with variety of terrain, as long as it’s technical. Imo, that is what “proper” MUni is all about. Length alone does not proper MUni make! All singletrack is a total snoozefest to me. Trees and shade cover is a must for me, unless it’s a 5am or 5pm start. I ride MUni mostly every day and I average around 8-10 miles only. But then again, there is no way I would want to ride 30+ miles on my 24" muni everyday lol. Something that long would be a special occasion. Sounds fun though.:smiley:

great write up Joe your a great source for inspiration,after riding with you at Manly Dam the bar was raised considerably for me and my riding and fitness have improved as a result.I’m not at the stage of doing epic rides like yours but I have done a few 18km rides and at least 8km once a week averaging around 8kmh.My speed is up ,rest stops down and I’m climbing most things instead of walking.Thankyou.

30+ miles on a 24 (ungeared) MUni? Sounds like a lot of pedaling. I don’t think I could find a 30 mile route around here that would require a 24 MUni. I’ve done a fair amount of big hills and technical trails on my 29 MUni. Most of the trails around here with big drops have alternate rolling routes. For me, the main differences between a 24 and 29 MUni ride are that I tend to pick the rolling routes when on a 29 and don’t stop to play on the “trials features” on the side of the trail.

Sounds like you had fun though. :slight_smile:

My longest proper muni ride has been about 18ish miles and 4000+ feet of climbing and descending. That’s far enough for me. I don’t have the endurance to do much more than that in epic style. I like to keep the rides short enough that I’m having fun the whole time but still pushing myself a little bit further.

I understanding that urine is supposed to be an effective topical treatment for stinging nettles. So the next time you land face down, you could always…oh never mind.

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Do 24 hr races count? I did 5 laps of about 8miles at the Lifestyles race last May.

same for me … though my riding is less technical I like just wandering in the woods , spotting rabbits or deers…
longest muni ride: 20km (while entering MTB events) with a 24 , I think I may be able to ride 30km on less technical terrain with a 29" but no more …
I am a lazy man: I love enjoying pauses :stuck_out_tongue:

Proper MUni Rides

I have done 20+ Km rides on my KH24. I am talking about rides on technical rocky hilly singletrack with tons of 2+ foot drops and lots of gapping and picking of lines. I am in good shape and I would not want to do any more.

I have done plenty of 30+ km rides on my KH29 also on singletrack but not as technical without drops and without having to pick lines. However I don’t call these rides MUni. I consider them cross country.


I think maybe it’s a British thing - even just in England, we have 18,000 miles of bridleways which are legally rideable, and 82,000 miles of footpaths which are sometimes rideable. So in country areas, you can link up tracks to make really big rides - a lot of bikers have done 100 mile or more off road routes. It means you don’t tend to just go out and ride a particular trail, so you can make up a route on the fly and just ride until you get tired / have to catch the train home or whatever. I know there are at least 6 or 7 riders in the UK who’ll happily do a 30 mile or more day, so it can’t be that uncommon. It’s great because you get a big variety of trails, like yesterday I rode woodland singletrack, wide rocky gullies, moorland tracks, farmland and probably some other stuff I’ve forgotten.

In Scotland it’s even better - basically anywhere there’s a track on the ground, you’re allowed to ride (or walk, horseride etc.), they have an incredible amount of riding there.

The flip side of having so many trails, is that we don’t have the same infrastructure around the trails that some places have, with things setup for shuttling and all that. Which is why all the good muni riders in the UK can ride up hills as well as down, you don’t really have an option. Although it appears I got myself 30 metres of uplift yesterday by starting at a different train station to where I finished.

I wasn’t worrying too much about tree cover by the way - the weather here is pretty minging at the moment - just kind of grey and drizzly.


Massive hangover? That was only a mild one, despite the mixing of beer then wine. Sounds to me like you need to a proper training schedule! :smiley:


I’ve done a several 20 mile plus “proper muni” rides on my KH24 with 150mm cranks, and many more in the 10-20 mile range on the same setup. These were not nice easy XC trails either. I’ve also completed 50 miles as a 12 Hour mountain *ike race on the same set up last year in May, that course was very hilly but not as technical so one could argue it was more XC though I think one would have been hard pressed to ride a 29er for very long on the route…