RTA Big Ride - Attempt on Unicycle

Hi All

This past week I took part in an anual cycling event, the RTA Big Ride. Each year they take a different route through NSW Australia and cover about 600kms. I tried to do this on a Unicycle. Unfortantly after only 3 days I was ready to go home (it is a 9 day event). I covered about 100kms on the Unicycle but I found it very hard going. I am disapointed that I couldn’t do the whole thing on the Unicycle, but I changed to two wheels and completed the ride.

I think that this event is possible to do by Unicycle but it was too hard for me. I know that I didn’t do enough training which was a major factor in me not being able to ride it on Unicycle.

However from this it does make me realise how hard touring by Unicycle is, I take my hat of to all of the riders who have done GURAI, Unicycle Tasmania, EUT, UAM and those who are going to take part in NUT and all of the other long distance rides that people have done or have planned.

I must say that I turned a lot of heads attempting this ride on the Unicycle and all of the other riders were very supportive and were still impressed that I got as far as I did.

You can read about my experience on the web.


Also I think that it would be great to see a Unicyclist complete this ride. But unfortantly my hope of being the first to do so were dashed. I will take part next year but on two wheels.


James (jimmy).

Don’t give up Jimmy, Don’t give up. What sort of unicycle you’ve got. A Coker, Tourer or what. Probably your wheel size could be the problem since you decided to give up 3 days later. If John Foss is on, He’ll tell you some of his tips. I’ve just read some of his Threads (I’m going back over again to re-readed it properly again) and quite interesting. Some Folks will give you advice as well besides me. Pity I didn’t know about it, 'til I form my Unicycle Club in Newcastle-Lake Macquarie. Oh-well it will be on again next year as you said. Thanks for that Jimmy. Probably we’ll meet one day too like Samuel and Andrew Carter very soon into the future.

David. :slight_smile:

Re: RTA Big Ride - Attempt on Unicycle

Jimmy, thanks for posting - that’s a really nice writeup and scrapbook that
you put together. It looks like a really fun event. That type of ride has
got to be really tough on a unicycle and requires lots of training. Now
that you know what it’s like, you should go for it next year! It was nice
seeing those familiar places and names as I used to live in Canberra and
went all over those areas.

I’m training now for the NUT (www.unitours.org/tours/NUT) and am
concentrating on riding day after day with no days off - 184km this week,
but I just started training and still have over 2 1/2 months. Check out the
“Training” link on the above page to see what Andy is recommending. I’m not
sure about the xx km without dismounting idea, but most of the rest of those
ideas seem great. With this much careful training, even an event like yours
should be quite doable (he says, not really knowing, but really hoping!)

Good luck,

“jimmy” <jimmy.krtzz@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message
> Hi All
> This past week I took part in an anual cycling event, the RTA Big Ride.
> You can read about my experience on the web.
> http://www.acay.com.au/~jamesx2

[QUOTE Originally posted by djm]
Don’t give up Jimmy, Don’t give up. What sort of unicycle you’ve got. A Coker, Tourer or what. Probably your wheel size could be the problem since you decided to give up 3 days later.

An Apology.:frowning:

I’ll Apologies what I’ve said Jimmy. I was in a hurry to feed my dog and I’m Cutting back on Internet usage. I saw the pic’s and I was amaze your uni was well equipped. It’s the one I will go for, for myself, but as you said I only lasted for 3 days. I’m with Nathan too, Go for it next year. I’d love to go but I can’t due to a new Job I’m getting soon. So apologies from me Jimmy, I’ll take that back. Sorry.


James, it is interesting to read you experiences on your tour. As others have said, don’t give up based on one bad experience. Training is the key to for sucess. Good luck.

Btw, as I understand it, you did a lot of the detailed planning for Unicycle Tasmania or Tasmania Unicycle Tour (TUT). Now that you have done a long distance ride, I would be curious to know how you would have planned the TUT differently. I don’t mean to put you on the spot as having organized several big rides, I know all about what it is like to plan a trip and then have to actually ride it.



Thanks for the question. I think that in hindsight and having heard from Joel some of your comments on UniTas, I would have made an effort to have driven the route at least once.

The reason I say this is that I found that hills were one of the big contributing factors in me not being able to ride it. I know that there were Topographic maps provided for the route, but they weren’t accurate enough. I found the same thing with the ride that I just did. I think that instead of providing Topographic Maps instead while driving the route just note the typical terrain, i.e. climbing, falling, undulating, flat etc. This way the description of the route is more general and you don’t look at the map and think that it is flat or downhill, and in reality it is undulating.

The other problem that we had with Tasmania compared to EUT is that there was really only one route, it was the same with the Big Ride. This means that if there is a hill, you have no choice but to ride over it, so again having driven the route you have an idea that this is the case.

One other thing that I liked on this ride that I would look at putting into a long distance tour (if possible) is the water points. These were about every 10kms along the route and were basically serveral water barrels and a volunteer. The advantage of these were that you didn’t have to carry your days supply of water at the begining of the day, and it breaks up the day. If you can ride as a group then it means that the support vehicle has a small window to be there.

Also from comments on UniTas, I would have put a Rest Day in after at most 4 days cycling, and then increase the number of days cycling between rest days.

Thats about all that I can think of atm, but I am sure that more will come to me, especially if I try more distance unicycle rides, or bike rides.


James (jimmy).


That was a great effort. Thanks for posting that, it was a really good read. Don’t get put off, go for it next year!

Good luck,

Re: Re: RTA Big Ride - Attempt on Unicycle

I think what Andy is getting at there, is the benefits you get when riding when tired. When I used to do racing, I made sure part of my training included staying on the unicycle after completing four laps as fast as I could. Staying on the unicycle when fatigued will make you a better rider, and better able to stay on in all conditions, not just when you’re tired.

Beyond that, listen to Nathan and other experienced riders. I have plenty of experience, but not in long distance road riding. I’ve done 75km March of Dimes rides, but never with proper training and never on consecutive days.

Re: Re: RTA Big Ride - Attempt on Unicycle

Originally posted by Nathan Hoover [/i]
I’m not
sure about the xx km without dismounting idea, but most of the rest of those
ideas seem great.

I’m not too sure about this part either. I prefer minute-long dismount breaks about every 4-5 miles. I have tried long distances without breaks & have ridden 3+ hrs without a dismount, but it always seemed to be extra pain without a purpose. (kinda like carrying a 20 lb Camelbak in a fully supported ride)


Here is my thoughts about the training.

Note: if you want to see the full training info for NUT, go to:
and click on Training.

There are two different types of rides that involve staying on the unicycle

x km without dismounting - stay on the unicycle but can take a break holding on to something.

x km with no breaks - no breaks at all, no dismounting or hanging on to someone or something. Idling is ok, if you call idling on a Coker a break.

I came up with both of these when designing EUT training. I was thinking back to UAM when later in the tour a sizeable group of people (me included) started taking breaks every mile. It sure makes for a long day when we were getting off every mile. But alas, those where the days when I thought a 28" was the way to travel long distance. So, I came up with these training goals as ways of getting the rider used to staying on well after what the normal person would call a break. My personal record in the ‘no breaks’ category was 40 km (24 miles), something that was pretty hard.

Another reason for adding this type of training is that having many different goals for each month gives the rider different markers to shoot for. Just saying that a rider has to ride x km per month doesn’t indicate how long or hard the training should be. Training is about pushing the rider so they are ready for the real thing. As almost all riders will say on a real ride, they didn’t train like the actual ride. The training goals are to help get the rider as close as possible to the real thing.

In an actual long distance where riding goes on day after day, breaks happen a lot more frequently. It really depends on the rider on how often breaks happen but if I were to guess an average it would be about every 5 to 10 km.


update to website.


Just letting you know I have added Route Information and Topographic Maps for each day (these were provided to us, I just needed a scanner). These are the first image in the Day’s Scrapbook.

There are also a few pictures of me on the Unicycle and Bike that I purchased and also scanned in.

Web Site is: http://www.acay.com.au/~jamesx2


James (jimmy)