The flying 12 foot unicycle

A couple weeks ago on Saturday, I was driving to a parade here in Minnesota. I
had my sister’s truck and was pulling the Twin City Unicycle Club trailer. I was
bringing the 12 foot unicycle for Jamey Mossengren. He will usually ride either
his 10 foot unicycle or Connie’s 12 foot in the parades. Since the 12 foot is so
long, it only fits in the trailer diagonally, and with all the other unicycles
and tandem bike, there is no room. So, like all the other parades, the 12 foot
was put in the back in of the truck. The truck only has a short box so about
three feet of the sticks out, angling up toward the drivers side door. Of course
the paint on truck needs to be protected so we put down some blankets where the
unicycle touches the sides of the truck.

So, I’m driving to the parade in Cottage Grove, about 40 miles from my house.
While usually there are a bunch of us in the truck, today it was just me (Connie
was taking care of a show that we had that day). About 10 miles away from home,
I noticed that the blankets had gotten semi loose and were flapping in the wind.
I thought of stopping but thought it wasn’t that big of deal (big mistake on my
part). Approximately 20 miles into the trip, going into a 30 mile an hour head
wind, the blankets must have been positioned just right and started to act as
big sail. I was going slightly over 65 mph in the left lane when the next think
I heard was this soft thunk. I looked out my side mirror just in time to see the
12 foot uni cartwheeling once on the side of the freeway before rolling into the
grassy median. You can imagine my surprise. After getting over the initial shock
of watching a 12 unicycle do a cartwheel on the freeway, not something you would
see every day. I moved over to the right lane and pulled over. I ran back the
quarter of mile to the unicycle and found it have buried in the weeds. It was in
one piece and nothing looked broken. I then proceeded to push it back to the
truck. It must have looked quite amusing to watch someone push a 12’ unicycle on
the side of the freeway. At least I didn’t get any standard comments (“Can you
ride that?” or “How do you get on that thing?”) as cars were cruising by at 70
mph. Well, I got the beast back into the truck, put some other unicycles on top
of it to make sure this didn’t happen again (I even put my brand new MUni on it
to hold it down). Looking at the unicycle, I didn’t see any damage except for a
little scuff mark on the seat.

I got to the parade, with no further problems. After telling the story to our
two equipment managers (they expected it to be in pieces) they went over it to
double check it. The tire was flat before it was loaded in the truck that
morning so the replaced the tube. But other than replacing a flat tire, the
unicycle looked just fine. The pedals weren’t bent and the frame looked fine.
Jamey rode it in the two mile parade without any problems. Amazing.

Normally, I would think anything going out the window at just under 70 MPH would
be toast. Having a heavy 12 foot unicycle fly out of truck would normally mean
disaster. Having the unicycle come out of an incident like that with very little
damage says a lot for the unicycle builder, Tom Miller at the Unicycle Factory.
It is one TUF unicycle.

Thinking back, I realized how lucky I was. There was no damage to the truck (not
even a scratch). The trailer has one very small dent from the incident. It could
have been really bad if the unicycle would have gone under the trailer. I cringe
even worse thinking about what would have happened if the unicycle would have
hit another car. While I would take this to be an isolated case, from now one, I
will stop and fix the blankets if they start flapping in the wind. I also will
make sure the 12 foot is strapped to the truck with a bungy cord.

-Andy


Andy Cotter - cotter@skypoint.com New Unicycle Video “One Wheel - No Limit” -
http://www.tcuc.org/nolimit/ IUF-Technical Consultant to China -
http://www.unicycling.org/iuf/unicon10/ Unicycling Society of America, VP -
http://www.unicycling.org/usa Twin City Unicycle Club, Pres -
http://www.tcuc.org

RE: The flying 12 foot unicycle

Wow, great story! And a great lesson learned, miraculously with no harm to
anyone, even the unicycle. You were very lucky the flying 12 footer did not hit
another car.

I have always said that Tom Miller’s unicycles were built to withstand being
backed over by a car. But I never thought a 12 footer could survive something
like this! Great advertising for Tommy - (765) 452-2692.

Stay on top (but tied down), John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone
http://www.unicycling.com

“I thought it was Memorial week!” - Austin Miller, 8, on being told he had to
get up for school on the Tuesday after Memorial Day

Re: The flying 12 foot unicycle

There’s a simple answer to why the various possible diasters didn’t occur:
“Clean Living”. That’s what we always attribute things like that to. You must be
doing things right in your life! And a side benefit is that now you and the
unicycle have a fantastic story to tell. Just think what it would’ve looked like
to someone following on the freeway!

—Nathan