Ride the Lobster: history

The Masticating Bunnies from Hell have never been so cold. From Singapore, on the Equator, the all-woman unicycle team are about the begin a five-day unicycle marathon. Ride the Lobster (RTL) is an 800 km race from Yarmouth to Cape Breton. It’s June 16th, 2008, the Bunnies are in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, halfway to the North Pole. Summer in the Northern Hemisphere is five days away.

Dr. Ken Looi from New Zealand leads Team UniNZ, having left the last days of Fall in the Southern Hemisphere behind. He’s lost the Guinness World record for longest 24 hour unicycle ride recently. Welshman Sam Wakefield’s 453 km ride in 2007 gives him the title. Riding the Lobster with Team Smile, Sam’s teammates are from Sydney, Australia, San Diego, California, and Hertfordshire, UK.

Nathan Hoover rides with Team Yellow Line Fever, an all-Southern California trio. Hoover has ridden in the Land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan, in the Himalaya’s, among other exotic locations. (By 2023, he’ll have ridden on all 7 continents.) An early injury to the team’s third rider means Nathan and his son Beau will race the bulk of the route between them.

Team Manly Legs, one of four Canadian teams, has riders from British Columbia, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Narrow Hills, Saskatchewan. Eric Pulvermacher, from Narrow Hills, unicycle-commutes to university, in shorts, winter and summer.

Nova Scotia’s High Rollers Eric Morneau and Stephen Plumridge, neophyte unicyclists, trained over the winter with endless circuits inside the Mayflower Mall in Sydney. Beth Amiro, surfer, actress, surf instructor, and longtime recreational unicyclist, trained in Eastern Shore outside Halifax.

Thirty five teams, racing ~160 km a day. Each carrying a transponder, sending instant location data to the nearest cell tower. Plotted on the race map, posted to the Internet, anyone can follow the race in near-real time from anywhere.

A Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, tech firm, aided by students from NSCC’s Applied Geomatics Research Group at the Centre for Geographic Science (COGS), are making that happen.

Teams will pass through ~ 140 communities on their way to Baddeck, on the Bras D’or Lakes of Cape Breton. Before finishing, though, the riders encounter Kelly’s Mountain. Two hundred and forty five meters high and a breathtakingly steep grade. The last climb of the race, a fitting end to this extreme athletic challenge.

Ride the Lobster? Edward Wedler, whose idea this is, thinks the province’s outline looks like a lobster.

A five day marathon on unicycles? Where did that idea come from?

Maine, and a chance meeting with Max DeMilner, riding a unicycle to raise his college tuition.