Racing Vs bicycles?

Is it at all realistic to enter a “casual” bicyclerace on a 36’er?
Some races in Denmark have a 25 km distance labelled family
I know I’m not going to win, but would I be able to at least not finish last?
Would i be able to finish less than 30 min. after last person?
Im thinking about 25km distance
I ride to work each day 3,5km with some hills, I could add a detour on my way home around a lake making it 14-15 km that route sure has some hills too:P

Any advice is appreciated

As much as I love riding my 36" as fast as it will go, the only bikes you’ll be able to keep up with in a straight line are likely fixies. You’ll have some advantages on hills that bicycles don’t, but if you’re talking about even the most casual of road bikes (which any race will probably include), it’s apples and bananas.

With that being said, I still have a goal of doing a triathlon on my 36". Just don’t expect to compete with anything with gears.

Adding a geared hub might make it more interesting, however. :smiley: But you will still be the slow one in the pack.

Kris Holm tells an intriguing story of racing bicycles in a seven day event that included a lot of off road in his book “The Essential Guide to Mountain and Trials Riding”.

Kris was on a geared 29 and finished third in his class despite the huge disadvantage on many parts of the course.

If the roads are smooth, you could conquor 25 km in about an hour to an hour and a half. It’s realistic if you’re confident on a 36, and willing to lose horribly. : P If it’s labeled as a “race” I expect them to be averaging >20mph, whereas I’m usually averaging 12-15 on the 36er depending on crank length and terrain. I can bump that up to 17-18 if I’m on a rails to trails with a geared 36, but that’s smooth and straight.

Are there checkpoints on the race? As long as you can meet those, I say go for it if it’s a casual event. : )


I’ve been invited to a chrono-uphill, I was the only unicyclist (I was invited as a special guest), all the other riders were road cyclists, and the other guest was Paolo Savoldelli, two times winner of giro d’italia.
The race was only 4,5 km, but with a 8% average incline, with a maximum of 18%.
The track was perfect for us, cause also the cyclists had to struggle a lot and their maximum speed couldn’t be very high, but…

Well, I’ve beaten some of them!

I’m in the video from 00.40" to 50" and from 1.15" to 1.25"

Have fun!

PS:being the only unicyclist, I felt the pressure and I pushed really as hard as I could!


Uphill is where you would shine. Aspen Mike goes head-to-head against bicycles in events like the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb, and finishes in the middle of the pack (while many of the bicyclists DNF). On a flat track there are guys like Scott Wilton who can average 20 MPH over 26 miles (clipped in, on a G36). So yeah, it’s definitely doable, if you choose your event to play to your strengths. (But realistically, in most events they’ll sail past you.)

In eighteen months of road riding I have overtaken two cyclists … a six year and his dad riding together.

Still waiting to arrive at the bottom of a decent hill with a regular cycle commuter who lives nearby. I know I could overtake her.

Does anyone know how good a unicyclist would do in a mountain bike race?
Has anyone ever tried?

vookash on this forum enters mountain bike races regularly. I don’t know how he places, but he takes the technical sections as well as or better than the bikes (often way better). Look for his photos in the search feature, many of them feature race shots.

I sometimes pass casual riders on moderately steep uphills a on my 7 mile commute. I’m on an ungeared 36 with 137mm cranks. But your race will have flats and downhills where even the slowest bike will overtake you.

Could be hard for road races.
But we often competed in mountainbike races and weren’t allways last. Muni Ben finished 74th of 333 in the 37.9km and 1114m elevation mountainbike race at the Salzkammergut Trophy.

It seems than most missed the “casual” aspect of the race. If you’re on a 36 and it’s labelled “family”, you should be able to arrive with the bulk, if not before.
Unless you pedal casually too. :slight_smile:

If it is a road race then it will be hard to keep up unless it’s really family “race” with children on their bikes in trailers and in seats. As it was said, the more the uphill it is (if not being the loop) the better for unicyclist. I participated twice in a road bike race being amatour stage of Tour de Pologne, so it was one loop of what World Tour riders do several times during their stage. But measured part of the loop contains three climbs and just two descends, so I was able not to finish last.
If it is a MTB race then you have quite a chance to be not the last. Quite often there are some not very fit ones that you can pass on the uphills and technical downhills (I often pass people that are afraid of steep or rocky descend). Generally the harder the route, the better for us as the bikes cannot get that much speed. Easy roads with light descend are killers for us in the competition. I participated on distances from 17 to 50km and it was just the first time I was last and I’m not the fastest unicyclist offroad, definitely slower than Kris, Ben or Mark Lawis, who also did longer routes.
If you want to read more I invite you to my blog: as I try to write something about each race there. Also feel free to write me if you have more questions.
And I’m riding geared 26er, which gets me to similar speed as ungeared 36er on the flat.

If it’s a ‘casual’ race, does it really matter? :smiley:

Just go enter, have some fun, and if you beat a few people, more power to you.

That being said - there’ll be plenty of people there who are also ‘just there to have fun’, and you’ll probably be able to beat those people because chances are they won’t be going flat-out all the time and chowing down energy gels every 15 minutes. Just gotta choose your attack time :sunglasses:

Found a race

Ok I found a race 40km and checked last years results

Slowest rider did it in 3H 42M thats about 12km/h
Slowest guy was 3H 3M thats something like 15km/h right
Fastest was 2H something 20km/h

I think I’d be able to compete with that?
there’s also a 80km and a 120km distance, theyre just 1 and 2 laps more of the same round.
So it would’nt be me finishing last and everyones gone home:P

Only 1 problem…its Oct. 3rd in a month lol:P


That’s what, 7.5mph? Easy! :smiley:

I did a large city event a few weeks back, I averaged 8.8mph and that wasn’t in ‘race conditions’ - in fact, it was in ‘jammed between about 10 million cyclists like sardines’ conditions, and I did 45.5 miles (Not to mention I’m a fairly slow 36er rider… There are folks on here I follow on Strava who would burn through my average!)

So yeah, go for it! :sunglasses:

BTW, don’t be so sure you would have a chance against fixies, as someone suggested. I ride a fixie to work sometimes, and I actually get there and back faster than on my geared road bike. The fixie I have is lighter and it’s geared pretty high. That gives me no choice but to crank up hills. To keep momentum up I stay at a pretty fast pace the whole way. I go a bit slower downhill than my geared bike/freewheel bike, but I go way faster uphill. The irony.

Kahunacohen: exactly like unicycles, suprising isn’t it? :wink:
I see the same on a small hill on my way to work. The fastes riders up are either really sporty ones or the ones with just one gear that have no option to downshift and ride slower.

JohnIb: sounds promising… now you need to do some training :smiley:

The mechanical advantage of a bike is significant over a unicycle. Generally, a person of the same fitness as you on a bike will be a lot faster (especially on the road). I have done a lot of long distance MTB races on my geared Muni. If you have good technical riding skills and the course is appropriate you can do fairly well against the bikers (this also depends significantly on the quality of the riders the race attracts in the first place.)

I have had a lot of fun racing against bikers on my geared Muni over the years. It can be a good way to feel like you are part of a community if you don’t have any local people that ride at your level. I have also raced on a MTB more recently and it is still just as fun, You are racing against a faster group of people.