Sleepless in the Saddle 24 hour race, August 11/12, UK

In my opinion a geared 29" is the perfect unicycle for such events; in low gear it is a capable hill climber, nimble enough to take on the singletrack and nice and easy to ride when you’re knackered; in high gear it will eat up the fast bits like nobody’s business. The most common choices for things like this are the coker and 29er; with a geared 29er you’ve effectively got both.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!


Hi guys, so with only 2 weekends left until the event I was just wondering if any previous or new riders had any advice / suggestions as essentials to bring etc.

I’m thinking ALL my cycling gear / tools and spare pedals etc and the usual but what about for example Food? Tents? Gazebos? Cooking stove? etc.

oh and about the no rain thing :wink:

Lots of clothing is nice to have, especially if it rains. Spares are handy to have, but it’s a unicycle, so it won’t break. Who would break a pedal at a 24hr race? :slight_smile:

As for food - pasta! Soreen! Lots! And lots of variety is nice, so that you can always have something that you want to eat. Remember savoury stuff too, as (scarily enough) jelly babies lose some of their appeal after the 4th bag. Crisps are good for electrolyte (salt) replacement. Fresh fruit is nice to have too, as a break from the sugary processed stuff that is quite common as riding food.
I’ll be using magic go faster energy powder in my camelback, which is nice as you get a constant trickle of calories, but not everyone gets on with stuff like that so it’s only worth it if you can train with it for a while beforehand.

Don’t worry about stuff like that too much - each lap is only quite short, so you can get away with things not being perfect. It’s only 6 hours riding in 24 - not a lot really. The most important bit is your level of fitness. If that’s sorted, the rest will be fine. The other thing is to have your kit (unicycle and lights) sorted before the race. Anything experimental will go horribly wrong in a race, even if it would normally be a good idea.

We do want a gazeebo, but not one each.

And it WILL NOT RAIN. There isn’t enough water left for sleepless to be wet, because as far as I can tell it’s all in Worcestershire.


But I thought Kit couldn’t make it :wink:

Anyway, I have normal ‘road’ type lights, so was planning on getting a head torch as well. I’ve been looking around, and wonder what you guys thought of something like this; It’s 1.25w, but it looks like it can easilly be upgraded to a 2w bulb.


Officially your main light has to be at least 10W. That’s presumably halogen bulb equivalent because new LED lights are as bright on less power. I think as long as you’re happy riding (off-road in the dark remember) on whatever light you bring and it looks like a half-decent lamp then nobody will stop you racing. You are also supposed to have a backup light with you in case the main one fails, but that can be anything.

I use a 10W helmet mounted halogen lamp, which is plenty bright enough for unicycle speeds and runs for just over 1 1/2 hours on a smallish stick battery, and an LED head torch for backup, which is very much like the ones linked to from the SJS page you pointed out. The head torch is actually just bright enough to ride by on smooth parts of the course. I also use a tail light on the back of my camelbak - some people don’t like tail lights in races but I reckon with the lower speed of us unicyclists it’s wise to use one. I set mine on its least bright non-flashing mode and I’ve not had any complaints.


Oooh, I knew there was something else I wanted to ask. Now, I know this is going to sound like a dumb question, what with the race being Sleepless in the Saddle… however, do we bring a tent to sleep in between laps? By my estimation, there should be about 3 hours or so between laps (assuming we rotate 1 lap each), so I’m guessing that an hour or two kip would be a good thing. In which case, a tent is also a good thing.

Is that right, or does it work better just to ride until you’re tired, then keep hitting the Red Bull and hot coffee until the next day?


Ooooh, and another thing… I can get a pair of 2-way radios from work for the weekend. Would they be handy? Or not really worthwhile?

You want a tent. Most people turn up on friday for an evening of careful race preparation (beer), so a tent is handy then. A tent is also nice for breaks between laps, even if you only get an hour of sleep.

As for lights, I’m dubious about a 2W halogen light being enough. You’re going slower than bikes, but can’t ride over invisible bumps as easy as a bike can. Have a look through this lot: (lights page on chainreactioncycles). Either way, get something sorted quickly and practice with it.

Radios might be handy. Might not work, but worth a try. It’s either that or mobile phones to let the next rider know you’re nearly back.

You do need a tent, if only for somewhere to change out of your mud-plastered (sorry, dusty and sweaty) kit into clean stuff ready for the next lap. Some people sleep between laps, but it doesn’t suit me - I feel worse if I try to sleep for an hour or two, so I just tend to stay awake then sleep for a few hours after the race before going home.

I’m with John on the lights - I don’t reckon 2W halogen will be enough for a main light. You may be able to see well enough if you were on your own and had time to adjust to the darkness, but after you’ve been passed by a bike with a few kW of HIDs (OK that may be a bit of an exageration, but they’re pretty bright) you won’t be able to see a thing. I could lend you a 10W lamp and a helmet mount, but not batteries - I’ve only got two sticks and I sometimes need both if I do a slow night lap. If you can get hold of a 6V VistaLight Nightstick battery (or something with the same plug) you’re welcome to borrow my other light, but you could do with practicing with something before the day really.


Hi guys.

The 2007 Event Manual has now been placed online at

Pdf download here

From Metcheck this morning:

Thursday 9th
Friday 10th
Saturday 11th
Sunday 12th

It’s going to be gooooooorgeous, I tells ye… :slight_smile:

You had to check a weather forecast this far in advance? Well that’s done it then. Never mind the gazeebo, does anyone have a yacht?

A week to go folks!

If any of you have a gazebo please bring it. I’ll bring mine, but it’s only 8-foot square with no sides, so may get a bit crowded if it’s wet.

Also if any of you are close to the site and will be arriving early it would be cool if you could claim some camping space for us.

I’ll be with Tue in his land rover, probably quite late on Friday by the time we get there.


Or to notify of a serious problem, like a broken crank, or (heaven forbid) an injury.

Any progress on a gazeebo or do I need to pretend that we’re all in the Notts uni bike club again? Or I’ll just tell them that the gazeebo is only for me?

Under a week to go now.

Sorry guys I’ve got no access to a gazeebo, will be bringing a small tent though.

I will be driving down early Saturday morning so if possible can the people arriving Friday evening save me some room for a car and a tent? so that we can all be together.

On that note can I have a few peoples mobile numbers so I can find out where you have camped when I arrive.

Any final ‘must haves’ from those in the know before I start packing?

A friend has a very large 8-man tent that is big enough to stand up in, so I’ve asked whether it would be suitable for a gazebo replacement; unfortunately she’s away until tomorrow so I won’t know for sure whether it’ll do the job or whether I can have it until then.

The highly exclusive John Himsworth branch of the Nottingham University Bike Club sounds like a good option… :slight_smile:

I have Friday off so will be aiming to get there fairly early. I’ve never been first at one of these things before… do I need to find some marker tape and posts, or is it just a case of scattering stuff to make the space look taken?

I’m afraid that I can’t help out on the gazebo side of things. I’ll be bringing quite a large tent though for all my crap to go in, and that’s tall enough to stand upright in the middle of it.

I won’t be able to get there on Friday night unfortunately, but I’ll be there nice and bright and early on Saturday morning. Hopefully about 8ish.

Mobile phone numbers would be handy in advance… look out for a PM in your inbox any minute now…


Phil in the chester MTB forum it would seem that people getting there early will indeed me marking out their pitches ready for those of the team arriving at various times.

I’ll PM my mob around in a bit.


That’ll be cool if you can claim some space Phil. I’ll have my usual little tent and no car (I’m hitching a lift with Tue again) so I won’t need much space. I’ll bring my gazebo as well, whether we use it or not - there’s plenty of room in the land rover.

I think Steve usually ropes off an area and puts up all his flags and stuff to stake a claim - dunno how we’re going to find each other without the famous unicycle flags :confused: - might have to rely on phones and other such gizmos. FWIW I’ve got a flag pole (not huge, but at least 12 foot or something) but nothing particularly distinctive to fly from it.


Right, I have a gazeebo, or at least will have when I pick it up tomorrow.