Rediscovering the muni, or: Oww... oww... oww...

The muni hasn’t had a lot of use over the summer. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of exploring new places, a task better suited to the faster 29er or the bike, so the muni has mainly sat in the garage collecting spiders. With Joe’s PMT this coming weekend however I thought I ought to check that it still works, and I can still remember how to ride it…

To this end, Saturday morning saw me making a lot of spiders homeless as I dusted off the muni. Having not been to the Quantock Hills for ages, I had a vague plan to return for something approaching an epic compared to my normal muni rides; a loop covering the full length of the ridge and taking in as many of my favourite bits as my legs could manage.

Starting off, a brief spin along a fireroad led to the top of the first descent of the day, a recently discovered, really tight length of singletrack winding around the hill before plunging to the valley floor down a rocky shute. With fresh legs I managed it all the way down with only a planned dismount half way down to find the right trail at a junction; I’ve never come close to riding the last bit before, so this left me in a good mood for the next climb.

After spinning back up the fireroad to the top I zoomed along the ridge to the next descent, the narrow singletrack into Hodder’s Combe that BMW attendees will remember. Always good fun, despite the certainty of pedal-strike induced superman impressions at this time of year.

Another descent, another climb; up Lady’s Edge to Weacombe Hill. This is on rough singletrack, so is much harder going than the first climb, and results in a few UPDs on the rockier sections. The gravity karma is soon cashed in, as the next descent is only a few metres from the top.

Weacombe Combe is another recent find; smooth and fast right down the far side of the ridge. It is even worse for pedal-strikes than the last one, though; on two occasions I find myself parting company with the muni, one of those spectacularly flying off the trail into a big ditch, with a ballistic muni in hot pursuit. That hurt…

A fairly easy road climb next, looping around the north end of the ridge before following a trail to the top of the rock-fest that is Smith’s Combe. This is the furthest point on my ride; ten miles in, and my rear is beginning to complain. Fuelled on by soreen I plummet down the hill - this is much more fun than on a bike, where you just hold on tight and bounce your way down - and get a pedal in the back of the leg as a reward.

Another climb and a rather dodgy leaf-covered downhill led to a welcome break on the green at Holford. Where are all the ice-cream vans when you need one? Hopping back on before the legs get chance to cool down it was upwards again, through the stream crossings of Holford Combe. This proved rather uncomfortable; having leaky holes in the back of your leg is one thing, but then dousing them with rather chilly water is a good way to make your legs seize up.

Emerging onto the road at the top it was time for the last descent, a very wide and rocky track which made for a lot of different lines to take, swooping around trees, larger rocks and car parts (car parts? There’s no way you could get a car down there, so did somebody carry them all down there? Weird…) towards the bottom.

Emerging from the trees I came across a woman sat on a little stool, painting the glorious panorama of the hills, the view across to Wales and, unless some artistic license was involved, the nuclear power station in the distance. “Oh, jolly good!” she exclaimed when I went approached. Yes, in England people like this really do exist. I said hello; for some reason the hills were deserted today, I had seen very few people at all.

By now the legs were willing but the rider-seat interface was weak; the last climb followed the most gentle route I could find back to the car park at the top, skirting up the side of the valleys like a helter skelter in reverse, until I finally rolled back to where I had started seven hours, 22 horizontal miles and 1,300 upward metres earlier.

This is where it started getting painful.

In hindsight, wandering around the carpark for five minutes while devouring the last of the soreen, crisps and an apple probably isn’t enough to wind down after such a ride. Doing your longest 24" muni ride ever after a long lay-off probably doesn’t help much, either. That evening my legs were tired, but that was about it. On sunday they ached a little, but I evidently moved around enough to keep them working. Monday, however, I could barely walk! Sitting for long periods behind a desk definitely didn’t help, but you could almost hear the creaking when I started walking around.

Today I’m still hobbling slightly, but they’re getting better; I should be back to normal in time to do it all again in the Peak District at the weekend. The lesson to learn from this is to not abandon the muni in the garage for so long! Even though it’s all just moving your legs around in circles, the bike, 29er and muni all use different leg muscles, so riding lots of one doesn’t necessarily keep you ready for the others. Spinning up hills on the bike seems to mainly use the inside of the thighs; on the other hand stomping up hills on the muni uses muscles on the outside. The 29er seems a half-way house between the two, presumably due to the more upright posture than the muni and not riding up technical, silly-steep trails so often.

Now all I need to do is rediscover the 20" trials unicycle. I don’t know how that’s going to happen, though…


I feel your “pain.”

Just be glad that you still enjoy M-uni.

I went out today on new equipment after weeks of having no uni due to equipment breakage. I did a mile before quitting. I got frustrated because the seat didn’t stay straight, even though I was riding “gently” to test the new frame.
I really don’t think my heart is into this sport anymore. I started unicycling, in part, to get away from the expense of destroying bike parts. At this point, I think that M-uni has been cost and time ineffective. I don’t think there is one part of my unicycle that is not bent or broken in some way. Maybe the right bearing is fine . . .

Not a good attitude to have 2 weeks before CMW.

Moreover, I called (they finally answered the phone today) and found out that the order I placed a week ago is “scheduled to be shipped out today.” WTF?

It’s a frame and a seat post.

Fortunately, I found a new hobby.

/not quitting, just deciding to ride a LOT less

its like that for me too, the 2nd day after a hard ride im more sore than the first day after…anyone know why that is?

today acually is that day since my ride was on Sunday…the tops of my thighs are screaming! walking down stairs is torture.

Curiously before my ride I installed the first new bit for the muni in absolutely ages; a new seatpost clamp, as the old one was on its last legs and not gripping very well. I serviced my pedals earlier this year, too; other than that the muni has been untouched for ages. I have had a mountainbike since February; in that time I’ve probably spent more time fettling the bike than I have the muni since I got that several years ago.

The bike is great fun, and offers challenges unicycles can’t, but as I discovered at the weekend the muni can transform a trail you’ve done before into something completely new and different.


Strange. I have a huge amount of fun on my unis, and I’ve never done more damage than tearing the front of the seat in a UPD. I get my enjoyment from keeping the uni upright and under control, testing my own skill, not the durability of the unicycle, and exploring places I wouldn’t visit on foot or on a bike.

You could try that.

It’s too good a sport to dismiss because you’re feeling dispirited.

P.S. Good write up, Phil.

There’s 2 issues:

  1. I keep breaking unicycle gear. I’m pretty sure that I’ve damaged or broken every part (except my carbon fiber seat base. I’m including the inner tube and bone shaped pillow inside my seat on this. Apparently, my weight and strength (which is enough to handle my weight) are liabilities for this sport. I’ve noticed others with less expensive unicycles riding over 4 times the distance without issues. I’m not that lucky. Unlike your implication, I don’t TRY to break the unicycle. Contrarily, I’m frustrated that I can’t ride at the same (average) level I see others riding without destruction.

  2. I found a “better” hobby. The other hobby has little or no issue with equipment breakage, I can get paid to do it, I can perform competitions on stage all across the country. Today, as I was practicing an SUV pulled up. Two ladies interviewed me and then invited me to perform in front of 500-2000 people at an event where troops are coming back from Afghanistan. My fraternity is sponsoring me to compete in a show on Oct 29th. There are just tons of great things about it. I even launched a dot com to support the hobby and the organizations that compete.

In conclusion, I think that it’s better for me to ride a LOT less, so that I break equipment less and reduce the cost. At the same time, there’s more opportunity and enjoyment for me with the new hobby. Truthfully, I have been doing it since 1993 (so it’s not really “new”).

Perhaps there will be a day when I’m able to ride without breaking something every 100 miles (or less). Until then, I’ll fill the void with a hobby that doesn’t have the same drawbacks.

// The new Drew is merely a “weekend warrior”

drew: what’s your new hobby?

What a great ride, and really nice story. Spending the day on the MUni is one of my favorite things to do. Good work on the ride with all that climbing as well. :slight_smile:

Phil, I really enjoyed your story. Sometimes a layoff from riding really helps put the fun back in perspective.

He thought you would never ask.

Drew, your new hobby is not better, it is better for you. The fact that you gave an example of getting to perform in front of a huge crowd shows that is what is important to you. In that case, muni was never the right sport for you. Many of us have been through many other sports, and this is the best one for us.

Your equipment breakage really didn’t have to be that big of a deal. You had two good components, a Profile wheelset and a CF seat base. You didn’t break those, just your inexpensive frame and seatpost. A little money would have fixed the problem.

See you at CMW. If you don’t look like you are having fun there we can teach you the new sport of base jumping without a chute. :astonished: Don’t worry, we will get a big crowd together first.

Your buddy,

Delayed-onset muscle soreness?

Like you, I disagree.

First, I don’t just ride M-uni.
Second, I have performed on stage with my M-uni and will do so again on October 29th.
It’s part of the show.

Generally, when a subjective opinion is stated, “I” is implied.
I couldn’t care less what hobby is better for people I don’t even know.

  1. Should I point out how I mentioned that I have damaged every component of the unicycle (except the carbon fiber frame) again?

  2. Should I also mention that since I have had the CF base, I haven’t gotten in very many miles (less than 300)?

  3. Should I point out that it’s ironic that you imply it was a “price of equipment” issue.
    I’ve heard that YOU broke an expensive frame and don’t weigh as much as I do?

  4. Perhaps, I should point out that I mentioned that I’ve seen guys ride much cheaper equipment and have it hold up?

Or, perhaps I should expect others to read before posting.

Perhaps you can just admit that you don’t know what parts I’ve broken or not,
rather than attempting to speak with authority on the matter.

Lighter weight guys often don’t understand the frustration in having SOMETHING break every 100 miles or less. They don’t understand what it’s like to do a small/clean/soft 3 foot drop and have the spindel go through part of the pedal. From cracking through welds, breaking 14 gages spokes on drops, bending the bead on a Gazz tire, and a long list of other problems. I don’t want to list everything, but I can simply say that I’ve cleared the amount of money that I feel the sport is worth.

Some guy makes money with M-uni - and then replies here.
Of course he won’t care about cost, the hobby probably pays for itself.

You imply that I should die (or at least be severly injured) if I don’t like M-uni.

It’s hard to describe:

With one (or more) modified walking canes, I do a large variety of things.
I guess my overall goal is to “do more things” with the canes.

(I listed several activities here and deleted the list for legal and personal reasons.)

Never mind Drew, this thread wasn’t about you and I should not have replied to you here. The base jumping thing was a joke. When will I learn. I will not post again on this thread.


To satisfy my curiosity, about how big are you?

thank you…

Ooo good, it’s not just me being a big wuss then. Thanks for the link!


I wish I could predict that would mean deciding to POST a lot less too, but the tea leaves don’t show it. Troll on Drew. :roll_eyes: