RTA Cycle Sydney

Hi All

On the weekend (30th November) I took part in the annual RTA Cycle Sydney. This event has been running for about 8 or 9 years. It has two distances either 50kms (North Sydney to Parramatta) or 20kms (Concord to Parramatta).

Although neither distance compares to Ken’s ride just recently I took part for the second year running in the 50km leg on my Coker. We set of at about 7:30am and once I had a clear run I was able to mount and I was away. It is a bit chaotic at the start as there are cyclists everywhere and everyone is trying to break away from the pack, well, the fast cyclists are. From there we made our way over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and for the first year we had two lanes instead of the usual one.

Once over the bridge we turned off and went through the Rocks, the site of the origional Sydney Town and then from there headed south through the City. This was one of the hardest parts for me as there were a lot of traffic lights, and a lot of the time I was forced to stop and dismount. Which then meant that I had to remount. It wasn’t uncommon for me to walk across the intersection, wait for all the cyclists and then remount and keep going.

I made the first 10 kms (which was to the first rest stop) in about 45mins or so, as I was feeling really good I didn’t stop long and I was soon back on the Unicycle and away. The route typically weaves it’s ways through cycle paths and back streets, but there are some places where it is necessary to mingle with main road traffic. Luckily there is usually a lane closed just for the cyclists.

I was getting a lot of encourging comments from other riders, including the usual original lines of “you’re missing a wheel”. The comments in something like this can really keep you going. Especially when crotch pain starts to set in a bit.

I had a break at each of the rest stops, some longer than others and in some cases I went between rest stops without stopping or dismounting. For me that was a record. I ended up finishing at about noon. I had an average of about 13.5, so I spent about 3 hours 45 minutes cycling. Again no where near as fast as Ken but I don’t have the same super human ability as him.

Like last year I had a lot of fun, and although I am feeling it a bit this morning I can’t see any reason not to do the same thing next year as well.


Well done James! Any photos? Would you be interested in submitting a report in the soon-to-be-released first issue of the australian unicycling newsletter? If so, I’m sure Karen Martin-Stone would like to hear from you.


Hi James,

Well done on your ride!

If you’re into distance events perhaps we could do a trans-Tasman exchange at somestage? I think it would be really cool to get some Aussie riders over for some MUni/12/24hr/endurance races. And we could hop across the ditch for a bit of the same. There is the Aussie MUni weekend but perhaps it could be based around the time of a major cycling event that unicylists could enter? Have you finalised dates yet Andrew?


Great idea Ken! No I haven’t confirmed dates yet at all so maybe you could suggest a ride for us to participate in. Any ideas? Then I’ll ask if it suits people.


Do mean what NZ rides?

Well there are a few of my favourites:
The Karapoti Classic is my favourite epic MTB race and the one I aim for above all else. 50km of river crossings, three big hills, the Devils Staircase, mud, sweat and tears. Everything you could wish for. There is also a shorter 20km version. Usually has 1000 MTBkers and $15,000 in prizes. It’s in my home town Wellington

24hr Moonride in Rotorua. Teams of five or there is a solo option. We had a team and three soloists this year. The course uses Whakarewarewa forest, the venue for the 2006 MTB world champs

The 12hr Day/Night Thriller is apparently the worlds biggest 12 hr event with about 4000 riders. Again teams of five or solo. Lot’s of cool prizes. We’ve had a team in this event two years running. It’s based in Lake Taupo.

The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is a 100 mile century ride around NZ’s biggest lake. About 9000 riders this year.

And we have to fit this around Unicon and the Aussie Muni weekend!

Well I think it’s pretty important to hold the muni weekend pretty early in the year. I’ve been tlaking to some people and that seems like the time that would suits almost everyone. I don’t know what I was thinking before…I seem to have forgotten that you don’t live in Australia and therefore you’re probably not familiar with the Australian MTB races. I think it would be best for us to all participate in an Australian MTB race. That way I’m sure we’ll have more competitors and it would link in with the muni weekend easier. If you do come to visit us though I plan to hold up my end of the bargain and join you guys over there in one of your races. The Karapoti Classic seems like the most inviting one to me. I’ll try to track down some MTB races here in the earlier months of 2004. Does that suits you? Would any of you other New Zealanders care to join us?



There were photos taken of the event, and as far as I know nothing or very little showed up in the papers. Last year there was about 5 lines on the entire event in the Sydney papers. Not bad for 8,000 cyclists…

When the photos show up I will post them. But considering that I am still waiting on the shots from an event at the begining of November, it may take a while.



Photos of the event


as requested here are the photos that were taken of me in the event. You will have to put up with the water mark over them.

Close to Finish 1
Close to Finish 2
Sydney Harbour Bridge

I must admit I have no idea why I look so terrible in the last shot, I suspect that I had just mounted, it looks like it was near the start so it is possible.



Re: Photos of the event

The links to the photos didn’t work for me at first. It looks like you need to have a cookie set for the event that you are searching on at that site.

If you go to the RTA Cycle Sydney 2003 photo search page it looks like that sets the cookie so that the links in your post will work. Or you could do a search there on your bib number 2618.

That looks like a nice custom Coker. It’s cool to see the Airfoil rim making its way down under.

Thanks James, they’re great photos. It looks like a lot of fun.


It’s a beautiful frame. I feel vry lucky to have seen it first hand at UniNats. Here’s a photo showing it in a little bit more detail.

From what I remember, that frame is rather heavy. Was it very expensive to make? Are you considering going for a lighter one? Was it really heavy or is my memory failing me?




There is a good picture of that frame here


You are right about it being heavy. The frame is made out of Stainless Steel piping and was made by a professional stainless steel worker. Despite being heavy it has two advantages.

  1. it won’t rust,
  2. it won’t break.

This is a very solid frame, although the front bumper has some dents in it, it is no where near breaking.

As far as the cost, the total for this whole unicycle cost me about $2,000 AUD, about 12 months ago (when the Aussie dollar was worth about 0.56 USD). It cost me about $1,200 AUD to get the Airfoil Wheel Set shipped over from the States, then the frame was about $800.

As far as making a lighter one (or getting one made), probably not at this stage, I don’t ride it enough to justify it. Most of the riding that I do on it is in short events like the RTA Cycle Sydney. I do most of my other cycling on two wheels.

Hope this helps.


Yeh, that’s interesting. It’s worth about as much as my muni. What length cranks are you using?