reasons to unicycle

Hi everyone

I want some help with a project of mine.

I’ve recently gotten involved in competing in college speech tournaments and I
want to write a Persuasive speech persuading people to take up unicycling. A
large part of it would be reasons to prefer a unicycle to a bicycle.

issues to address would be helmets, cost and maintenance, health benefits, and
general safety. And anything else that comes to mind.

If anyone can point me to some articles I could find online or through ProQuest,
I’d really appreciate it. Also your own personal experiences could carry some
weight so if you don’t mind being quoted in my speech I would love to hear
anything you can share on the issue.

Thanks everyone.

Daniel ._

“If you think too hard about anything it’s bound to take the fun out of it.”
–David Sedaris

RE: reasons to unicycle

The purpose is to persuade people to unicycle. Therefore it’s important to
capture their imaginations. Logic will not make someone ride a unicycle. It’s
not a more efficient means of transportation than a bike. It’s slower, it’s
harder to ride, and you can’t coast down the hills.

Rick Bissel and Arnold Aardvark (the) gave some great reasons. I think you have
to generate in your audience the motivation to try it. They must know up front
that it won’t be easy, and that the weaker-willed of them probably won’t stick
with it. But the payoff to those who do, will make it worth all the effort.

I just saw the movie Music from the Heart, where Meryl Streep plays a teacher
working in East Harlem teaching violin to elementary schoolers. The kids’
environment is harsh, but for the ones that stuck with it and stayed in the
class, learning the difficulty of the violin taught them many more useful
lessons than how to make music. Based on a true story, kids from this class grew
up to be doctors, lawyers, and otherwise to strive farther than they may have
had they not had the experience. Unicycling gives riders the very same sense of
accomplishment (but no chance at a career in the symphony).

Stay on top, John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone (reply to jfoss@unicycling.com)
http://www.unicycling.com

“I’m okay, I crash like that a lot.”

  • Dan Heaton

Re: reasons to unicycle

, Daniel Wolfe wrote:
> >I want to write a Persuasive speech persuading people to take up unicycling.

I can get the whole families’ unicycles in the car; no need for racks etc

You get to know everyone in your street while you’re learning !

Tim


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Re: reasons to unicycle

Unicycling is good exercise. But I disagree that it is better exercise than
bicycling. Back when I was spending way more time on my bike than my unicycle I
was in much better shape. My aerobic capacity was much better and I weighed less
than I do now.

If your idea of bicycling is to loaf around in the lowest gear and ride on a
bike path with a 10 mph (16 km/h) speed limit then unicycling would be better
for you. But if you do any kind of serious or semi-serious bicycling you will
get a much better workout on a bike.

On a bike you can shift up to a gear that gives you appreciable resistance even
on flat ground. On a unicycle you are stuck with one very low gear. The only way
to get resistance on a unicycle is to climb a good hill and who spends their
unicycling time climbing hills all the time. Muni can give you a workout, but it
is not sustained the way it is on a bike. Muni tends to be short bursts of
energy. A good ride on a road bike gives you a sustained level of effort mixed
with hill climbs and sprints. You can maintain a high heart rate for the entire
ride and you will burn more calories.

The only way to say that unicycling is better exercise than bicycling is to
compare a lazy bicyclist with a serious unicyclist. Get on a bike for an hour
and maintain an average speed of at least 20 mph (32 km/h) with some respectable
hills thrown in. Then get on a unicycle and do anything for an hour. I cannot
see how the unicyclist is going to get a better or equal workout.

That said, unicycling is more fun.

John an ex-roadie

>Unicycling is better exercise than jogging because your body doesn’t “pound”
>the pavement. It’s a very smooth motion.
>
>Unicycling is better exercise than bicycling because you can’t coast. You are
>constantly using muscles to maintain balance. This is an aerobic exercise
>that not only builds muscle strength, but also tones the muscles and speeds
>up the reflex.


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RE: reasons to unicycle

My own personal observations on workout quality of bike vs. unicycle:

Disclaimer: I don’t do that much bike riding, but have logged my own thousands
of miles, especially before I started unicycling.

On a bike, you cover a greater amount of distance per watt of power used. This
efficiency is partly due to focusing the body’s largest muscle groups onto the
pedaling task. You sit on the bike and crank away with your feet, using minimal
upper body. Upper body work increases if you’re riding up big hills, or riding
gnarly trails where you need to move around a lot.

On a unicycle, you’re using the same muscles as above, but not as hard
(unless going up or down real steep stuff). But you are also using
abdominals, lower back, shoulders and arms. Though still leg-centric, it’s
more of a full body workout.

I think your brain has to draw a little bit more energy when you’re on a
unicycle due to the balancing effort, even on flat ground. But I doubt this
translates into more calories used burned :slight_smile:

I remember Brett Bymaster wrote something a few months ago comparing heart rates
between his mountain bike and unicycle. I think what he was saying was that what
felt like similar efforts between the bike and unicycle, on the same trail, gave
him a much higher heart rate on the unicycle. This implies a better aerobic
workout, at least for him.

Have a nice workout, John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone (reply to jfoss@unicycling.com)
http://www.unicycling.com

“I’m okay, I crash like that a lot.”

  • Dan Heaton

Re: reasons to unicycle

Maybe I should have rephrased my comments and said that a good bike ride is
better exercise for me than unicycling. The results for other unicyclists may
vary. Past returns are not a guarantee of future results.

I can push myself harder when I’m on the bike. If I push myself too hard on a
unicycle I will fall. There is not much risk on a bike when pushing yourself
hard. There is risk on a Coker when pushing yourself hard. I’m also not very
good at riding fast on a unicycle. If I was able to cruise comfortably in
control at 15 mph on my Coker then things might be different. Even with muni,
where the speeds are slower, I can’t push myself too hard or the reactions slow
down and I suffer a dismount. On a unicycle you have to maintain a reserve of
energy and speed so you can maintain balance and stay in control. On a bike you
can spend that reserve.

On a bike I can also use the gears to maintain a steady effort and to keep that
effort sustained over varying terrain. On a bike I’m in control of how much work
I want to do. On a unicycle the terrain is in control of me. I can’t change
gears on a unicycle.

Unicycling is a mixture of fitness and skill. Proper technique and riding skills
are very important especially when pushing yourself to get the most out of a
ride. As my unicycling skills improve I’m able to ride harder. Currently I’m not
able to ride as hard as I would like. When my skills get better I’ll be able to
get a better workout during my ride.

Unicycling does get more muscles working. The upper body gets moving to help
keep your balance. Your gut gets a workout too (which tends to make it harder to
breathe properly while riding). Your legs also get to have the experience of
both pedaling forwards and backpedaling.

Anyone want a used road bike? :wink:

John


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Re: reasons to unicycle

>I want to write a Persuasive speech persuading people to take up unicycling. A
>large part of it would be reasons to prefer a unicycle to a bicycle.

Reasons to ride a uni

  1. Its never boring.
  2. Its sometimes a little scary.
  3. You hardly ever get hurt.
  4. You can do something unusual.
  5. You can get a great workout and still be in sight of your house.
  6. You get to tell the same joke to hundreds of different people, (“Where’s your
    other wheel?.” Response: I missed a payment on my bicycle"), who have never
    heard it before.
  7. You never need to adjust the brakes or gears.

Maybe more later

JD Miller “Where there is a wheel, there is a way.”

Re: reasons to unicycle

I’m a relative beginner but here’s what makes me unicycle:

  1. It’s great fun. More fun than bicycling.
  2. It’s surprisingly good exercise.
  3. It’s a skill that you can be rightly proud of for having learned, but there
    are always new things to aim for.
  4. You can do it almost anywhere - I often take mine shopping and do a turn
    round the car park before I leave.
  5. It is not dangerous. Well, not very dangerous - accidents seem pretty rare.
    I’ve had worse spills on my bike.
  6. You attract a lot of positive attention from strangers, which makes the world
    seem a more pleasant place.

So far it seems like a low maintenance hobby, though the initial investment may
seem expensive (though no more expensive than a bicycle or games console).
Having said that I am already considering my second purchase - a giraffe.

A lot of people think you have to be eccentric to unicycle. This is just not
true. Perhaps you just need to be a little adventurous to try it in the
first place.

It seems to me that the way to persuade people is to organise a workshop and get
them riding. You’re bound to get some converts. But obviously this won’t win the
speaking thing.

Arnold the Aardvark

Re: reasons to unicycle

  1. The unicycle unlike a bike is much more portable, I’ve traveled across Europe
    & Greece hitch-hiking,taking trains and buses. 2.I’ve found the unicycle is
    excellent cross training for my profession ( ballet ),it gives me a better
    sense of balance. 3.The unicycle gets people’s attention, and everyone loves
    attention, even if they don’t want to admit it. 4.It is so much more of a
    workout than a bicycle, and more challenging and fun too. 5.For terribly shy
    children, the unicycle can bring them out of their shell. 6. I just always
    liked being different, the unicycle allows me to stand away from the crowd. (
    one wheel or no wheel )

“Ein rad oder Kein rad”

Re: reasons to unicycle

Daniel Wolfe (Daniel@philipKdick.com) wrote:

: If anyone can point me to some articles I could find online or through
: ProQuest, I’d really appreciate it. Also your own personal experiences could
: carry some weight so if you don’t mind being quoted in my speech I would love
: to hear anything you can share on the issue.

People smile when they see a unicyclist serenely glideing acroos the land
scape. sarah

Re: reasons to unicycle

At 06:26 AM 11/5/99 PST, Tim Murray wrote:
>, Daniel Wolfe wrote:
>> >I want to write a Persuasive speech persuading people to take up unicycling.
>
>I can get the whole families’ unicycles in the car; no need for racks etc
>
>You get to know everyone in your street while you’re learning !
>
>Tim

heh. actually maybe not. I remember when I was learning to ride, I was on the
street in plain view and for the first time in my life on that street I saw a
guy unicycle past me! He had to have seen my unicycle but he didn’t stop to say
hi or offer advice or anything :frowning:

ah well. It’s been a few years but I’m sure I’ll get over it :slight_smile:

anyway thanks everyone for your contributions. I’ve printed every response and
you’ve all been really helpful and the speech is coming along great.

Daniel ._

“If you think too hard about anything it’s bound to take the fun out of it.”
–David Sedaris

Re: reasons to unicycle

Unicycling is better exercise than jogging because your body doesn’t “pound” the
pavement. It’s a very smooth motion.

Unicycling is better exercise than bicycling because you can’t coast. You are
constantly using muscles to maintain balance. This is an aerobic exercise
that not only builds muscle strength, but also tones the muscles and speeds
up the reflex.

Re: reasons to unicycle

Daniel Wolfe wrote

>I’ve recently gotten involved in competing in college speech tournaments and I
>want to write a Persuasive speech persuading people to take up unicycling. A
>large part of it would be reasons to prefer a unicycle to a bicycle.

I don’t know of any articles other then the Atlantic Monthly one on George Peck.
It might have something of interest to you.

http://www.theatlantic.com//issues/97apr/uni.htm

>From my personal experience, three are three primary things I’ve enjoyed
most about riding he unicycle. The first is the challenge associated with
it. There’s the inital challenge of learning it, and then there are ongoing
challenges as new skills are attempted.

The second thing I’ve enjoyed about it has been how easy it is to transport
(when I’m not riding it…). I keep it in my small car ready to ride anytime I
have a few minutes. I couldn’t do that with a bicycle. If it would fit at all,
it’d have to be disassembled.

The third thing has been the joy on my children’s faces when I ride the
unicycle. They were all very excited when I proposed learning, were fixated on
the process as I struggled with it, and were very encouraging to me through my
feeble initial efforts. Now I ride with them when they ride their bicycles and
we all have a great time!

Hope this helps, Greg

Re: reasons to unicycle

>The only way to say that unicycling is better exercise than bicycling is
>to compare a lazy bicyclist with a serious unicyclist. Get on a bike for
>an hour and maintain an average speed of at least 20 mph (32 km/h) with
>some respectable hills thrown in. Then get on a unicycle and do anything
>for an hour. I cannot see how the unicyclist is going to get a better or
>equal workout.

Before saying that unicycling or bicycling is better exercise, one should
clearly define what is meant by “better exercise”. This could be defined as the
number of calaries per hour consumed at a specified speed. Balancing on a
unicycle at a sustained specified speed should burn more calories than balancing
on a bicycle at the same speed, regardless of the relative difficulty of
coasting on each cycle.

For example, a unicyclist traveling 30 mph on a 60" big wheel on level pavement
is probably burning more calories that a bicyclist traveling the same speed on
the same level pavement. Also, note that the big wheel and more erect position
of the unicyclist’s body will provide more wind resistance that will require
even more calories to be burned.

Even if we allow the bicyclist to go 40 mph, the unicyclist traveling at 30 mph
may still be burning more calories, assuming equal wind resistance, but unequal
balancing effort.

Sincerely,

Ken Fuchs <kfuchs@winternet.com

Re: reasons to unicycle

John wrote:

> The only way to say that unicycling is better exercise than bicycling is
to
> compare a lazy bicyclist with a serious unicyclist. Get on a bike for an hour
> and maintain an average speed of at least 20 mph (32 km/h) with some
> respectable hills thrown in. Then get on a unicycle and do anything for
an
> hour. I cannot see how the unicyclist is going to get a better or equal
> workout.

I would dissagree with you, but with a few provisers. I think there are 2 levels
of ability can definately find unicycling equilient or better than a bike.

If you are learning to ride then a unicycle it is definatly more excerse than a
bike used by the majority of people. Learners, even when fit end up knackered
within 1 hour of practice.

A reasonably experienced longer distance rider like my self can definatly
consume at least an equivilent amount of calories on a unicycle. Travelling at a
steady 16mph for an hour on a unicycle I find quivilent to travelling on a bike
at a steady 22mph. The difference is that a unicycle gives a conistantly high
Kadance, which is good. It also exercises your tummy/waist due to the
consistance corrections that your body needs to do to correct the wheel wobble.

Roger

Re: reasons to unicycle

Focus motivation

John Childs wrote:

> Unicycling is good exercise. But I disagree that it is better exercise than
> bicycling. Back when I was spending way more time on my bike than my unicycle
> I was in much better shape. My aerobic capacity was much better and I weighed
> less than I do now.

Since there probably have been no scientific comparisons of the two forms of
exercise we are expressing nothing more than opinions. I certainly wouldn’t
compare the exercise I get from my daily Muni rides with loafing on a bike trail
at 10mph. I find I can get a higher quality workout on a Muni in time I have
available. I can plan a ride where I will push myself up to the anaerobic
threshold and stay there without going through the threshold. From time to time
I like to add a high intensity Anaerobic workout. I can do this by choosing a
route with longer hills and attacking the ride. I wasn’t able to do this until
my at first, but once my skills reached a level that i wasn’t just trying to
keep from falling off it opened up a whole new world. In many ways bike and uni
workout are remarkably similar, but on a muni there are several elements that,
at least for me, are missing on a bike. The intensity on concentration to
maintain balance on a Unicycle is far more complete than on a bicycle. As a
result time seems to fly by, especially on muni rides. (I have had the same
level on concentration on a bike, but it usually came while I was screaming
downhill at 50 mph.I just don’t love danger that much.) Perhaps because of the
intensity of concentration I don’t seem to get bored with the routes that are
close to me. I can ride the same route, making only small variations in the
route to taylor the workout to achieve my goals I have for that particular ride.
While training on a bike I just got sick of the routes nearby. This either meant
putting up with too familiar routes, or taking up the limited available time to
first drive to a new, further starting point. Also, because of the intense
concentration I don’t mind muniing alone. Personally, I didn’t like to bicycle
alone and was constantly trying to match my schedule with someone else’s so I
had someone to ride with. The biggest difference, and perhaps one caused by the
reasons I just mentioned, I really had to push myself to get out and ride on my
bicycle. It was a struggle, and it always felt like work. If I didn’t have a
specific goal in mind it would be next to impossible to go out for a ride. I
usually found something more pressing to do. I have none of this difficulty with
taking a muni ride. I have been muniing 5 times a week, 5-7 miles per ride,
usually during lunch, for a little over 2 years. I change clothes, drive a mile
and a half to the trail head, ride, drive back, shower, change. The whole thing
takes around an hour and a half. It doesn’t seem like drudgery at all. It’s part
of my day, one I really look forward to. Weekends are usually dominated by kid
activities (watching soccer, swim meets; Scout activities) but I often slip in a
ride on one of the weekend days as well. I am in much better shape than I was
before I started to muni. I’m sure there are people for whom bicycling has the
same hold. But, sadly not for me.

So what is a better workout for me? One that I quickly grow tired of, have to
force myself to do, and frequently avoid by instead choosing one of the endless
string of other chores I could be completing during the time I would be
bicycling. Or, one that I have found endlessly interesting and compelling to the
point where I am always eager to get out for a ride. I always make time for my
muni ride, not because I really should do it, but because I enjoy it. Since I
spend the rest of my time sitting in front of a computer or at the drawing table
I need to have some form exercise for my health. For me the choice is a no
brainer. A workout that I probably won’t do, or one that I look forward to.

All the best,

John Hooten

Re: reasons to unicycle

John, the way I ride, I get as good a workout on unicycle as on a bike. I know
what you mean about cycling, I’ve ridden fast (>20 mph average for a hour with
hills), done double centuries, even on a 30 pound mountain bike, toured, etc.
But the extra balancing required for unicycling makes it different.

My unicycling falls into two categories: Muni and commuting, and I never ride
anywhere flat. Yesterday, for instance, we rode for 3 1/2 hours with close to
3000’ of uphill, and I climbed the first mountain, 1600’ up, with no dismounts.
Of course this ride would’ve been much easier on a mountain bike, but hour for
hour which is better exercise? What does better mean? More calories consumed? I
measure it by how tired I feel, and would count an all-over feeling of tiredness
as better than just tired legs and a sore neck. Long Muni rides are great for
getting tired! And it’s much more than just leg muscles - there’s all that
flailing, twitching and jumping to make it over obstacles.

My commute is 6.5 miles one way which takes 20 minutes on bike and the current
Coker record is 31:48. I arrive at work truly knackered after a run like that on
the Coker. 20 minutes of biking doesn’t do that. Since we’re comparing distance
not time, clearly the unicycle is better: 32 minutes is more than 20. I get a
sustained level of effort on the Coker, that’s for sure! And once I’m more
skilled, able to cruise at over 15 mph, it’ll be better still.

I also did one long ride on the Coker, 44 miles which took 5 hours (4.5 hours
riding). My legs were SO tired the next day from the long steep downhills. Yes,
let’s talk about downhill! As exhilerating as it is on a road bike, coasting
down a hill at 50-60 mph, I put it to you that it is not nearly as much of a
workout as riding down that same hill on a unicycle. As the downhills get too
steep & fast to pedal on a bicycle, it gets easier. But the steeper the
downhill, the harder it is for the unicyclist. Even on slower downhills, it is
often not possible to pedal hard since you’re probably braking to avoid flying
off the road. Basically, downhill is easy on a bike, hard on a unicycle. And
overall, after any 5 hour bike ride, my legs are in better shape than after that
5 hour Coker ride.

Also, since I’ve started unicyling, I’m in better shape than when I cycled
alot (except for the time I cycle-toured for 9 months) even though I would not
call myself a lazy bicyclist.

I certainly agree that unicycling is more fun. This year, besides commuting,
I’ve gone on three bike rides. On which is better, I think what you get out is
equal to what you put in, so that either can be “better”. Unicycling is better
for me. Maybe it’s the terrain? On flat rides (why would you ever?!) since
there’s no coasting on a bike, it’s more equal, or maybe the bike is better.

—Nathan

John Childs <john_childs@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:19991107063127.86633.qmail@hotmail.com
> Unicycling is good exercise. But I disagree that it is better exercise
than
> bicycling. Back when I was spending way more time on my bike than my unicycle
> I was in much better shape. My aerobic capacity was much better and I weighed
> less than I do now.
>
> If your idea of bicycling is to loaf around in the lowest gear and ride on
a
> bike path with a 10 mph (16 km/h) speed limit then unicycling would be better
> for you. But if you do any kind of serious or semi-serious
bicycling
> you will get a much better workout on a bike.
>
> On a bike you can shift up to a gear that gives you appreciable resistance
> even on flat ground. On a unicycle you are stuck with one very low gear. The
> only way to get resistance on a unicycle is to climb a good hill and
who
> spends their unicycling time climbing hills all the time. Muni can give
you
> a workout, but it is not sustained the way it is on a bike. Muni tends to be
> short bursts of energy. A good ride on a road bike gives you a
sustained
> level of effort mixed with hill climbs and sprints. You can maintain a
high
> heart rate for the entire ride and you will burn more calories.
>
> The only way to say that unicycling is better exercise than bicycling is
to
> compare a lazy bicyclist with a serious unicyclist. Get on a bike for an hour
> and maintain an average speed of at least 20 mph (32 km/h) with some
> respectable hills thrown in. Then get on a unicycle and do anything for
an
> hour. I cannot see how the unicyclist is going to get a better or equal
> workout.
>
> That said, unicycling is more fun.
>
> John an ex-roadie

Re: reasons to unicycle

At 11:23 PM 11/1/99 -0500, Daniel Wolfe wrote:
>I want to write a Persuasive speech persuading people to take up unicycling.

I would ask your audience how many of them still remember the first time that
they were able to ride a bike. Most people never forget that experience…it is
a thrilling moment, a satisfying accomplishment - no matter what age you were
when you learned.

Then I would tell them that every ride on a unicycle feels like that. There is
always something new to learn, and the feeling you that you get when you
perform a skill for the first time is just like the way you felt when you took
that first bicycle ride. Who wouldn’t enjoy reliving that experience over and
over again!

-rick