I’m writing about each kind of unicycling for my website and I need some help. Anyone knows:
How Uni Basket was invented?
How Muni was invented and when the first meeting was made?
When Long Distance was included in UNICON?
How Hockey was invented?
Soon I will post each article translated. The website will have English, Portuguese, and I used Joomla, a CMS, so anyone that want to translate it is able to do it!
The main idea is have a unicycle portal, with stuff from all over the world, translated to all languages ;). I used a internet template, so the website will need some improvements in the future (only design I think). Anyone that want to help, just let me know… Joomla templates are basically PHP/CSS…
Basketball and hockey both go back to whoever started playing them on unicycles. Obviously those sports existed previously, and all that was needed was enough people to play them. I know of a unicycle hockey group that was active in Hutchinson, Kansas as early as the early 1960s, but they were probably not the first. Basketball was played at the first USA convention I went to (1980), but this was long after the King Charles Troupe and World Wheelers were doing it for a living.
MUni was “invented” by people riding on dirt. That goes back as far as unicycling, probably. I started riding on dirt trails in my first few months of riding and other people probably did as well. I wrote an article for the USA Newsletter called “U.M.X.” in 1981. George Peck started unicycling in 1983 and started spreading the word about it, namely with his film Rough Terrain Unicycling from 1991 (I think that’s the year). Kris Holm was may have been riding trails by then, but I’m pretty sure he did it on his own without knowing about what other people were doing. Dan Heaton, believe it or not, doesn’t really consider himself a MUni rider. He just happens to be really good at it. But he did come to the second-ever CA MUni Weekend, and his films did much to popularize that area of the sport, along with Street and Trials. He is the inventor/father of Street, in my book.
The first MUni “meeting” that I’m aware of is the 1996 California Mountain Unicycle Weekend. Before that, there were MUni events (usually called UMX in those days) at some of the big unicycle conventions, but they were side events. The IUF held its first MUni/UMX race in 1988 at Unicon IV in Puerto Rico. It was about a mile long, on a sandy dirt road with mud puddles. Alfredo Martinez was the winner, followed by me. The USA had its first offroad race in 1989 at the annual convention (meet) in Mobile, Alabama. It was also about a 1-mile race, around the University of South Alabama campus. The course started on the track, went across grassy fields, a parking lot, up and down curbs, and through a lightly wooded area. All the riders in these races were on “regular” 24" and 20" unicycles. I won the one in Mobile. Also I was the course designer, but riders were lead on a tour of the course before the race so there were no surprises.
The first long distance race at Unicon was also at Unicon IV in 1988. Before this, Unicon was a weekend event; Unicon III, for the majority of competitors, was only a 2-day event, and I and II were 3-days long. Unicon IV was six days of fun, and added a full round-robin basketball tournament (instead of a few quick games), Road Coasting, Downhill Gliding, UMX and an 8k Road Race. Again, this race was for 24" track unicycles only. Not a problem, because there was no such thing as a Coker unicycle and larger wheel sizes were uncommon. The 8k distance was the length of the road in use, which was closed for the occasion. We raced from its intersection with a main highway, into the center of Isabella (the birthplace of unicycling in Puerto Rico). There was a radio crew in a jeep at the front of the race, doing a live broadcast. Along the route, a school was let out so the kids could watch us race by. And at the end, the central square of the town was filled with people and decorated with a big FINISH banner and cheering crowds! It was a blast. Alfredo Martinez would have won this one also, but his crank came off and he was stuck. I think the winner was Jose Lopez. I came in 3rd. Yes, those were the days… After Unicon IV there has generally always been a 10k race at Unicon.
The winner of the 8K race at Unicon IV in Puerto Rico was really Hector Rosado, and José Roman came in second (both from Isabela), well, actually they finish the race holding hands together but the first place was given to Hector.
It looks like Puerto Rico has a very important place in the history of the sport of unicycling!!!
Pedro, good luck with your website! If you need any help translating something into Spanish I’ll be willing to help…. Please let me know!
John: Thanks… That helps a lot! Now I can finish the Muni Article!
Carlos: Thanks again! There’s a All Stars section on the Basket Ball article, and for sure I will use the material in the future! there’s so mich stuff! I’m also using some of the pictures from there. Can I put the link to the All Stars history document?!
Thanks Carlos. Yes I could have looked it up but I’d have to dig in paper files. Now that you mention it I remember seeing them cross the line together, so I must have been within a block or two.
Yes, Puerto Rico was a historic Unicon, and many top riders have come from there. Those of us who were able to attend Unicon IV will never forget it, and still hope for a future date when Unicon will return there!
wow is that all from memory John!?! How?
THis is what UDC UK says about muni All around the world people found mountain unicycling independently, and it got many different names consequently, rough terrain unicycling, mountain unicycling, off-road unicycling, UMX, mountain unibiking and MUni. Duncan Castling designed the first purpose made, mass produced, mountain unicycle for Pashley in 1994 and called it a Muni. Although it is a registered trademark of the Pashley Cycle Company in England, the word “Muni” is becoming the internationally accepted word for… well what ever you want to call it.
Here is some information on the pioneers of “Muni”:
1994 Polaris, photo courtesy of the Newcastle Journal.
In 1994 Duncan Castling (on left) and Simon Schofield (on right) entered the Polaris Challenge on a unicycle. In what was a straight competition against the mountain bikers in what is claimed to be the UK’s roughest ‘n’ toughest mountain bike happening, they actually beat some of the bikes! The publicity that was created from this act of pure stupidity inspired many people to get on their unicycle and get dirty, including my self.
A Mountain unicycle club called Mt Sensations was started by Thierry Bouche in 1990 near Grenoble in Southern France. The club was affiliated to the French cycling organisation in 1993 and has over 50 active members.
The club use 20" unicycles with long upward facing seats to give them control when descending the incredibly high mountain using a technique taken from downhill slalom skiers.
George Peck, a soft-spoken magistrate living in Seward, Alaska, is credited with giving birth to the sport of MUni in the US.
George created a videotape entitled “Rough-Terrain Unicycling”, giving tips and techniques that he’d learned on his own. The Unicycling Society of America sold it. This video is now included as an extra on the UNiVERsE 2 DVD. His skill level for many years was considered second only to that of Kris Holm, he is awesome.
Kris Holm, a geologist living in Vancouver, B.C. is considered todays premiere MUni rider and is the only unicyclist on the Norco Factory Trials Team. He can jump on a unicycle over 65cm (over two feet).
Kris started riding off road in 1990, but it was only in July 1998 that he typed “Mountain unicycling” in to a search engine and found he was not alone!
He was also one of the stars in the amazing UNIVERsE Video along with Dan Heaton and Adam Ryznar. Since then he has produced 2 short movies that have gained international acclaim One Tired Guy and Into the Thunder Dragon.
Kris has also developed the Kris Holm saddle and the Kris Holm unicycle range (now available from unicycle.com).
John Foss, a three-time world unicycle champion, began hosting the California MUni Weekends in the Fall of 1996. He said the idea came to him while riding the trails, just after he’d moved to California. “I just gotta share this!” he said to two bicyclist friends nearby.
Promoting the event on the Internet and word-of-mouth, John soon discovered the lure of off-road unicycling. 35 riders attended the first California MUni weekend. By the 1999 event, the number of riders grew to 55.
Of course you can do it! Also I will like to put a link in my page to your website!
In many occasions we have talked about doing again a Unicon here but these days organizing an event like this is more complicated than it used to be. Anyway, you are always welcome to come with Jacquie and spend a vacation here any time you want!