Uni commuters / magazine story


There is a Vancouver-based magazine called Momentum, aimed at riders/readers who use their bikes as their primary transport. It’s a great magazine- is growing fast and has subscribers all over North America now. See www.momentumplanet.com.

I’d like to see them do a feature on unicyclists who use a uni for their main way of getting around, perhaps focused on riders who use a uni to commute to work.

So- if you ride to work on a uni, post here! Any stories would be great. Also stats- how far, how long does it take, what kind of areas do you ride through etc.



Hi Kris;

I commute on most days. It’s only about 1.5 miles, I wish it was longer. Most days I have my coffee mug in my hand but on this day it was raining. My route is on residential streets, but there is a nice hill, so I get the blood moving a bit, which is good for us older people. Hopping the curb at the bike rack is also very popular with the co-workers and there are extra style points if I have my coffee with me.

I commute to work on my uni. I haven’t the past 2 months due to my knee injury, but hopefully I will be back commuting next week. I ride 16 miles round trip, 8 miles each way.

I ride from my house on the road for about 2 miles before joining up with a bike trail. The bike trail takes me most of my distance 4-5 miles. I then have to cross a busy 4 lane parkway that has no pedestrian crossing, so I unicycle in front of the straight lane and hop in place waving to the driver behind me to make sure he sees me. When the light turns green, I cross the parkway and continue riding on the road for another 2 miles before arriving at my office.

Lucky for me my office has a gym, so I can shower at work before going up to my cubicle.

Unicycling to work takes me about 45 minutes due to traffic lights.

Bicycling to work takes me about 30 minutes.

Driving to work takes me about 25 min on a good day.

During winter when it got dark out early, or if I go to a friend’s after work and know I will be commuting home at night, I take a helmet mounted headlight with me. It is a really bright dual beam LED that provides a very nice spotlight. It also comes in handy if commuting in the fog or at dusk because I can put the light in strobe mode. Motorists always have the weirdest faces when they see a guy riding a large unicycle with a bright strobe on his head.

I commute on my 29er uni daily for part of the route.

I ride from my house to the bus stop (about 2/10 mile).
Then I ride the bus to work at N.C. State University.
Then about a 1.2 mile ride across campus.
Then ride back to the stop, take the bus home and ride to my house.

About 2.5 miles daily.

This story came out this week about commuters from my town; I’m in both pictures :


Hopefully this will encourage some riding buddies. There is a guy the next street over from me who used to deliver newspapers on a uni…tom

I have used a unicycle as my main method for commuting to work (or university) for over a decade. I started out living on campus at university and using a 20" unicycle to get to and from class. Over the years I have moved further and further away from my work place and this has been matched by a corresponding increase in wheelsize: from 20, to 24, to 28, to 36 and now to a geared 29er.

Currently I ride around 8-10km each way. My trip in takes about 35 minutes, most of which is road riding as there are very few cycle lanes. A blissful few minutes at the start are spent rolling through a very nice park and the last stretch of the journey is spent risking life and limb in downtown rush hour traffic. We have “cycle lanes” which are also bus lanes and a bus takes up the entire lane, meaning no room for cycling.

Just about any time I talk with someone about unicycling in Auckland they mention “this guy who unicycles around town” which almost invariably turns about to be me. I’m hoping that my daily commute helps to raise the profile of unicycling as a sport.

I commute about 8.5 miles each way on my 36" Nimbus. I’ve worked out a nice route that’s well populated by cyclists for increased safety. With traffic lights, climbs (both coming and going) and such I take around 50 minutes each way. Relative times are similar to what siafirede reports above, except the only place I can park is far enough away that it involves either a bus ride or a 1.5-2 mile trek if I drive! Definitely tilts the balance towards arriving by my own power.

Recently a friend forwarded me a link to a post on a local bike forum where a guy encountered me on my commute, which I’ve attached below. I get a kick out of it. It was fun to see in the comments the different places I had also been spotted (on a century cycling event, at my local grocery, etc). I guess I’m pretty visible and a unique sight out there.


Subject: Unicycles Rule!
This evening, I was running late.

I was lugging my laptop in a pannier, but my 80s Raleigh Comp GS was still in fighting form, tires just topped off to 110 and fresh lube on the drivetrain.

I’ve had a good winter of commuting and I’m feeling my oats, passing fair weather-ers on the waterfront like they were sitting still (which they were).

Then I get to Wieldler and Williams and I spot him. Big wheel Uni. Purple in colour. He passes in front as I wait for the light and then positions himself behind me in line to head north.

Total bike jam and I’m kicking hard for home so I don’t think about him again until I have to stop at Russel for the light.

Shoom, he passes me on the right just as the light turns green.

“I’m totally tucking in” is all I can offer.

So not only did I get passed by a Uni, I drafted one for a good 8 blocks. And it was a good pull. I’m hauling ass and I don’t have the legs to make the pass. But he’s punching a big hole and I’m grateful for assist.

Once the terrain flattened out and I could grab a gear, I offered “Drop in, man” as I crawled past him.

No idea if he tried.

But as I waited to turn left at Alberta, he was right there. Giving me the peace sign.

A totally stud performance.

I Am Humbled.

During the warm months I tend to commute to work in downtown Toronto. I live in midtown so it is about a 6-7km ride down to work. The ride there is entirely downhill and the ride back is of course, entirely uphill. I get off work at 11pm so the ride back is at night.

Since I have an indoor rack at work I don’t have to worry about one of Toronto’s many bike theives taking off with my quite novel mode of transport.

I also sometimes use one of Toronto’s Bike Bikes to store my uni safely.

I actually now prefer the uni-commute to the greatly efficient TTC (public transport). I have taken to emulating the New-York city style riding shown in Brian’s Inner Balance.

Until recently, I used to commute in London (That’s the original London, not the Ontario variety!). I started off on a 20" just riding a mile or so to and from the train station a couple of times a week, and got more and more regular.

I then moved in to rented acommodation 8 miles from work and started off taking the underground for half of it, then riding the other 4 miles on the 20". Then a 26", by which time I was doing the whole 8 miles each way. Then a 29". Eventually a 29" guni.

It worked out almost exactly the same time (around 35-40 mins) as taking public transport. The obvious advantage was that it was saving me money every day, as well as getting me fitter. The other reason I loved it was because I was probably the only person in London that arrived at work with a grin on his face!

I used to use the main roads, as cycle paths didn’t really go where I wanted to go, and there were a few dodgy moments with motorists, but the buzz it gave me was amazing.

If it hadn’t been for commuting in London, I wouldn’t be where I am now with unicycling!


Wow, didn’t think you guys knew about London, Ontario.

When I used to be a bike courier I met a guy who couriered in London and though he said it was incredibly difficult to navigate, he also said it was by far the most fun cityscape for riding.

When I first went down there I googled a lot for “unicycle club london” and similar, and kept on getting lots of good hits. I didn’t recognise any of the meeting places, or photos, or names or anything, until I realised that maybe it might be the wrong London!


I first started commuting to college in Portland, Oregon on an old Schwinn 24" back in 1986. In 1989 I cut the forks, did some welding and extended it into a 27". That was a key improvement as my commute distance had increased to 1 1/2 to 2 miles each way. I rode that uni for about 15 years. Commutes varied from a mile or two to about 4 each way. Part of my commute used to include going through downtown Portland. It was fun dodging cars and passing them. What a rush…Until that day I got hit “SMACK!” by that BMW. My right hip has never been the same since.
Now I’ve graduated to a 36" guni and wish my commute was longer than the present just under a mile. Isn’t that just like a unicyclist “I wish my commute was longer.” Here I am living in a small town, Ashland, Oregon, working in my own office close to home, great views, great job and I find a way to complain.:stuck_out_tongue:
Every morning I load up my back pack with my laptop, change of clothes, lunch and other sundries and ride to work. On the way home I frequently stop off at the grocery store and get dinner, a bottle of wine and whatever else looks yummy. I love food.
But you know what? It’s 90 degrees out there, a beautiful sunny day. I’ve been having a lot of fun hill climbing lately, so I’m outa here. Time to ride up into the mountains, then down to the swimming hole for a dip. I even brought my swim suit to work with me today, hoping business would be slow. Life is too short to stay inside writing about unicycling.

I ride my unicycle to work every single day, but then again, it’s only a 3 minute ride. Maybe 3/4 of a mile, quite pointless.

Corbin works right near me, though, and when he had his geared uni, he’d ride 21 miles each way to get between his house and work. I think that’s pretty durn hardcore. He should get in here!

How the heck does one do that without showing up to work all sweaty and gross? I’d love to ride to work but I know that by the time I got there, even with a change pf clothes I’d be pretty sweaty and gross, definitely not fit for an office setting.

Longest commute?

I ride no more than a mile now as part of my commute these days, but back in my NYC days several years ago, I think I had the longest commute of anyone: 27 miles a day. It was 5.5 miles to the school where I taught from my house in Brooklyn, then 8.5 miles to my office in Manhattan where I tutored, and then 13 miles back home each evening. I managed this 4-5 times a week for a year or so, and then I managed to cut down a bit, but there were many years where I rode at least 9 miles a day as part of my commute. Most of this was on my Coker, tho eventually I included my guni (when I got one).

I miss that marathon-a-day commute, tho :frowning:

A lot of modern office buildings have a shower or the lucky ones have a gym facility.

Great to hear a bunch of people do longer commutes. I uni about 23 km round trip with a few hills along the way (currently on a singlespeed KH36 with 110 mm cranks). I find that’s an ideal distance for me- enough to stay in shape but short enough that I look forward to it and am not too tired for lunchtime trials rides. Mostly the ride is along side streets, but there’s options for a cool beach ride and some forested 36’er muni too, depending on my mood. Vancouver is great for riding!


Lots of people ride to work here, because there are showers in the buildings. I almost wish I lived farther away (but not toooo far), so I’d get more riding in.

edit: looks like the James beat me to it!

110? Some people will be flying on geared KH36" with those…
How much Muni do you do day average?

I wish I had a 36" or even a 29". I have no money right now though and I’m saving up for a Cf base and sym cranks.

As Chuck said, I was riding to work back when I had my 36-guni. I haven’t had it since RTL (waiting for a KH 36 frame and to get my hub back from Florian).

I kept good stats on most of my rides (but not all):

Roughly 20 miles each way to work, and it would take me roughly 1 hour 30 minutes. Something like 1200’ of elevation each way (and it’s uphill both ways!)


I ride almost exactly 5 miles one way to my job at the museum in down town Albany. It takes me about 30min on the 29" guni, 20min on a bike, and something in between there in a car.

The ride includes a zip through a university, down a busy road, down a side road, and through a park.

In the morning its mostly downhill (towards the Hudson River), uphill on the way home.

I usually leave home around 7am when its a bit cooler (summer) but am still a bit sleepy and just mosey on down to work. In the afternoon I typically ride faster, have a bit more fun, and get a lot more comments from other folks about town.