Uhhh.... Unicon?

What did my 200 Euro registration fee pay for? I’m wondering what the big expenses in this sort of event are.

The venue rentals probably cost a lot- judging from the beautiful pics I see here in front of my computer in the USA.

And the trials course?! WOW!

It just seems odd to pay so much and then still have to organize/build our own events. The flatland competition didn’t even have a location until 6 hours after it was supposed to start. The street course to be used today had to be built entirely by the riders as well, because an inadequate skatepark was provided. The judges are all unpaid volunteers as well… With a couple thousand people paying a 200 Euro registration fee, it doesn’t seem absurd to expect that the events will at least be organized. I mean, unicon is supposed to be the world championships. I doubt that the world championship soccer teams are mowing the grass on the field and carting around wood to build stands for spectators. I’m trying to understand if other events require all of the money, or if it’s just going into a black hole…

Edit: Also, the trials course was designed, built, and then judged by unpaid volunteers.

As UNICON 15 organiser, I don’t speak on behalf of UNICON 16, but please think about how much work and cost it takes to organise an international event like this. Many costs are hidden but don’t come cheap.

I’m posting because I know how much effort the organisers put in, and it’s really disappointing to see their efforts disparaged. We’re not always happy with how things are done (I’m personally disappointed to have three flat road races- it’s probably a logistical decision), but they do their best.

I’ll talk general numbers (off the top of my head):
It cost us tens of thousands for our main venue in New Zealand, a few thousand for traffic management (including council approvals, barriers, public notices, waterfront closure etc), ten thousand or so for medals (almost certainly more at UNICON 16), several thousand for pallets used in Trials, a few thousand for our opening ceremony, website (we were on such a tight budget I did this for nothing, but I charge $130/hr in my day job), food for volunteers (biggest regret with UNICON 15 was not being able to afford full catering…expect to spend $10k or more); few thousand for volunteer t-shirts, few thousand promoting the event, few thousand on communications (hiring radios, microphones etc); tens of thousands to print registration booklets, flags, meet costs for event directors, legal and accounting fees, liability insurance; and several thousand to have ambulance and first aid on standby, and many thousands on paying our full time employees in the two weeks leading up to UNICON

Sure, it will cost next to nothing if you want to get your friends together to go to the local skate park. But you’re not (unless all the worlds best unicyclists live in your street), you’re getting 1800 unicyclists from 30 countries together in one place. I think that is what makes it special, and less than 20 Euro a day is nothing.

In terms of volunteers…they answer your questions, marshal events, judge events, build trials obstacles. Now imagine paying everyone minimum wage and multiply that by the number of volunteer hours at UNICON.

You are comparing how well UNICON is organised, to the Soccer World Cup. One has a budget running in the hundreds of thousands, one has a budget running in the tens of millions. That’s why we need volunteers to help out.

Ok, thank you for explaining. The soccer was a bad analogy, here’s a better one. The freestyle riders aren’t waking up hours early the morning of their competition to find a gym to ride in. But we are all paying the same fee, and some people have their events (with venues) organized in advance, while others have to do it themselves. It’s the same at EUC, where everything is done by the riders, for the riders. The difference is, people are paying about 70 Euros for 4 days, which includes a place to sleep, the competitions, and all food. I’m just annoyed that in all of these major conventions, the flat/street events are treated like a joke. Hopefully unicon 17 will be much better, in Montreal.

If its is in Montreal im going!!! but for real. its a growing sport we are still figuring out things

Thanks for the answer GizmoDuck.

And yes, the next UNICON will be in Montréal.

I don’t think organisers intend anything as a joke…but you have logistical considerations, as well as the skill set of volunteers who run particular events.

As I mentioned, I’m disappointed to be in the Dolomites and to have three road races on a cycle track. I had visions of Giro D’Italia style mountain finishes. But if I put my organiser hat on, I’ll concede it’s more practical and cheaper than road closures or traffic management…I might have done the same. To have a 100km race…I’m so happy I don’t care what course it is raced on.

In NZ we put a lot of effort into our road and MUni races and our trials competition (because it was what we were experienced in and passionate about); we relied on overseas event directors in freestyle, hockey/basketball and track racing because no one in NZ has any idea.

We had a lot of criticism of our MUni Downhill course (which I thought was fair- it was made suitable for too wide a range of riders), but the whole clown suit drama was a tad offensive.

Even with the best intentions…there are things beyond your control. We had to postpone a hugely expensive 10km race (after erecting barriers to close the waterfront) because of inclement weather. We had our fingers and toes crossed on several others…I imagine we hosted the windiest ever street competition, and the windiest ever Marathon.

Then there are things you do because it would be fun, no matter how expensive or impractical it might be- for us it was carting several tons of crates to build a trials course outside the NZ stock exchange.

Again, I don’t speak for UNICON 16- this is my thoughts as a past organiser. I wasn’t at the flat/street competition and your criticisms may be justified. Give the organisers feedback, but remember to pat them on the back for all the work they put in also.

If you think things can be done better, I’m sure UNICON 17 would love your ideas and services :slight_smile:

Oops, I was giving specific examples to UNICON 15 without answering your question.

The UNICON gym (in all the UNICONs I’ve attended XII-XVI) is the central hub that other UNICON events revolve around. Even though you might not need a gym, you still need a place to meet, a place for information, registration, results and notices, social events, hangout, workshops etc.

It also tends to be the most expensive (several tens of thousands for us), and therefore one of the first things planned months or years ahead. You can’t change your mind at the last minute because the weather is bad or the air conditioning isn’t working, or it isn’t big enough. I don’t know why your locations changed, but at least it was flexible- you’re not stuck with it.

If you think of UNICON like the Olympics- there are sports that cost millions to put on, and some that are relatively cheap in comparison (think building a shooting range vs an athletics stadium vs swimming pool). I would hate to see a UNICON where different groups of unicyclists start counting costs and feeling like they subsidise others.

The whole point is to get everyone together and enjoy the Olympics of unicycling.

I know that rent for stadium with freestyle and trials hall, workshops place, hockey hall, basketball hall and skatepark were big expenses. As well the food that was provided to volunteers, water at the end of the races and all other stuff we got.
Nevertheless I would like to see a public financial summary at the end of Unicon, so we all know where our money got.

I personally think $20 a day is cheap. Most mountain bike races I’ve entered charge close to $100 for one race! It is hard to make everyone happy, as even I was dissatisfied that the xc muni race was only 7km long for a world championship. Ken, I almost wanted to dress up as a clown. :wink: I will say the downhill was awesome.

FTFY :sunglasses:

There was really no point to this thread I guess, nothing can be done about it now. It just bothers me that Olaf is single-handedly organizing the street and flat competitions in addition to everything else he has to do. Upon further review it doesn’t even seem like a money issue, just that nobody thought about the competition until the day of. It seems like the organizers had the ice hall as the location, but it was very clear to everyone else that it was dangerously slippery. Then several locations got bounced around but weren’t usable, until finally they decided on a tennis court (which was free).

Many people I’ve talked to about it have said that there were big mistakes made here in Italy, by not having a contract for what Italy would actually provide (ie: the skatepark), and that they learned their lesson for future unicons. And I’m sure organizing this is a learning experience, but many people will only go to one unicon, so I think that saying “We’ll get it next time” is sort of a silly response for such a big event. I don’t know if I’ll even be at the next unicon, but the street and flat riders will be in Hugo and Emile’s very capable hands. I hear they already have an amazing skatepark booked. :smiley:


Olaf was the main organiser by his own choice he went to Brixen long before Unicon to do a location check. Maybe something went wrong afterwards but i think it is bad luck.

The trials rider had to build there own obstacles too. I think its cool if the riders build there own obstacles because they know what is perfect better than anybody else. Freestyle and Race unicyclists have the luck that you can find a stadium and a gym in most cities. Also these unicyclists paid most off the money for unicon (i guess only about 10% off the unicyclists at unicon took part in street or flat).

I think the same but dont know if it is possible to do.

Dont’ get me started. I know people were unhappy with many things we did at UNICON 15, and there are things I am unhappy about at various UNICONs, including our own. Constructive criticism is great…it make future UNICONs better. But showing complete disrespect for the efforts of people who put in countless hours of (mostly) unpaid work is self defeating. Without people who organise events, you wouldn’t have any.

The only way that a non organizer will understand the time and money it takes to organize an event is if they become organizers themselves.

Voluteering is a great way to improve the events, esp in a relatively poor and low profile sport like unicycling.

If the event were held in the same location each year, the quality of the individual events would likely improve…but who wants that?

I’ve organized muni events, running events, and skiing events, and in each one I lost cash money not to mention all the lost time and energy. It seems to be the nature of things.

So maybe it’d be best to avoid criticizing those who put on these events since they are all volunteers?

It would be sad for everyone if the event organizers feel unappreciated and in turn refuse to help at the next event :astonished:

One of the downfalls of unicon 16 was the lack of volunteers… it would have helped if they had offered a discount for volunteering…for example: volunteer to help at 1 event get 10% discount 2 events 20% etc and 10 events get in for free :slight_smile:

Totally agree Ken. Although I don’t think it’s a disrespect to make a protest by dressing as a clown. It’s probably the best method to get noticed and to make sure everyone knows what your unhappy with.

I enjoyed my first unicon very much and would like to thank all the people who put in hard work to make this all possible!
My main criticism though would be about the massive delays or even absence of results lists on the unicon website. There are no lists for the uphill, DH, marathon or 100k on the results page until now. I would think it should be a no-brainer to upload the PDFs which they clearly have ready. What’s the hold up?

The flatland lists still aren’t up, and it happened Thursday! It’s not a big deal though, I’m sure it’ll be up in the next few days.

Most of the dance camps I attend usually have a volunteering type of system. Volunteering gets you either a discount or an entire waiver off the registration charges. Just throwing the idea out there.

I have no issues about the 200 euro charge personally, I feel that it was quite reasonable. I knew what I was charged when I signed up for it, even though I was only there for 4 days in total. I remember one dance exchange in London I paid 60 pounds just for the weekend, no classes, just dance.