Has anyone heard of/ or knows Lloyd Johnson? We’ll he has been featured in the reno gazette-journal todayand I’d like to congratulate him for that. Here’s what the article said
Unicyclists explore Sierra Nevada 1 wheel at a time
The looks on the faces of passing motorists and bicyclists were of uniform amusement. Yes, they were really seeing unicyclists riding down polished granite slabs, hopping from boulder to boulder, balancing in place on precarious edges.
Nearly a dozen of them were from Truckee and Reno gathered last week on Donner Pass off Old Highway 40.
“I hesitate to call it a growth sport, even though the numbers are growing,” said Lloyd Johnson, whom many credit with popularizing mountain unicycling in the area.
Mountain unicycling is like mountain biking — only on a unicycle. The sport has been growing, albeit slowly, ever since unicyclist Kris Holm began entering unicycling movies in adventure film festivals like the Banff Mountain event. Set against exotic backdrops like Bhutan in the Himalayas, Holm attempts extreme moves and routes normally reserved for the most extreme mountain bikers.
Around Truckee, unicyclists have been practicing on their wheels during group rides that sometimes draw up to 25 people. A gathering at the Johnson family’s house last fall attracted 60 unicyclists, one from as far away as Boston. Reno and Truckee unicyclists also have traveled to Moab, Utah, Mammoth Mountain, Calif., and Downieville, considered the downhill mountain biking capital of the Sierra Nevada.
An amateur film of the group’s exploits in Moab shows some of the best riders dropping off 5-foot ledges and landing with aplomb. In Downieville, the group rode down the gnarly trails designed for armor-clad athletes astride the beefiest of mountain bikes.
Some of the local guys are getting pretty good. Matt Chapman of Reno pedaled down the highway, whirled around backwards, continued pedaling, their whirled around again and pedaled on. He started unicycling in October and just recently has mastered that move. He can also drop off smaller ledges.
When the unicyclists land off jumps, they absorb the shock with their legs. In the case of the male riders, it’s a good idea to stay off the seat while landing.
“When you’re learning, you wrack yourself plenty,” he said.
Most unicyclists say it takes about 10 hours to figure out how to ride while keeping balance.
“You walk yourself around some table over and over again until you can let go,” said Johnson’s son, Kari.
They brake by pedaling backwards. Once a beginner has mastered that, they practice “self-starts,” in which they climb onto their unicycles without the aid of a table or something to lean on.
Then comes tricks, hopping, and jumps. Lloyd’s two sons learned on a Jugglebug, a popular model for beginners because it only costs around $90.
“It’s kind of a toy,” Kari said. “Don’t plan on doing anything too crazy.”
Most unicycles around Donner Pass that day cost around $200 to $400, although one Kris Holm model cost $500. The more advanced models feature stronger parts that can withstand abuse. Still, the unicycles remain quite simple, a trait that has drawn Scott Berelson.
“It’s a quiet and simple machine,” he said. “That’s what I love about it.”