Today I went to an area known locally as ‘The Desert’ which is on the site of a sand/gravel quarry, and where all the off road bikers, quaders and 4X4 drivers go - a rough corner of a rough area, and you can smell the testosterone in the air (mixed with 2 stroke smoke). Burned out stolen cars as far as the eye can see, this is a well rough area.
Determined to ride the distance, but reluctant to ride the gauntlet of abuse, I adopted a tactic which seems to have worked. The most embarrasing moment is always when you fall off in front of someone who is taking the mickey, and the track through the Desert is very rough and with sandy patches, so UPDs were inevitable.
So the tactic was to take a diversion and do some difficult riding, incorporating some of the more serious descents visible to ‘the gallery’. I fell off a good few times, picked myself up, rode the descents again, walked a bit, rode a bit. By the time I went past the gallery, they were well used to the fact that there was a unicyclist in the area, they had seen that I had attempted some impressively difficult stuff, and, most of all, they had seen me fall off lots of times, and had got used to the idea that sometimes I’d have to walk, or I’d miss a mount.
So when I rode past them, there was nothing new for them to poke fun at, and apart from the odd ‘Where’s your other wheel?’ the reaction was generally good. One bloke even asked for a go, tried it briefly, expressed admiration, and asked where to buy one.
This all contrasted very sharply with the reaction of people who met me suddenly on the trail, and whose immediate reactions were often hostile or abusive.
Perhaps it’s even easier to avoid riding where you know that there will be extreme hostility, or perhaps I think about things too deeply, but if this tactic helps someone else, then great.