Unicon 2006- info online

Not sure whether I’ll be there or not. If I do, then the only competing I’d be doing would be in the hockey. On the other hand, spending time in the Alps with the Muni could possibly be a better option for myself. Hmmm… :roll_eyes:


I’ll almost definitely be there, with Madeleine. (babysitting circle starts here…)

competing… hmmm. hadn’t really thought of that.

Joe, if I may ask: why are you not considering to enter a competition?

Klaas Bil (posting from the forum, my news server seems broken)

I wasn’t planning on competing (except for hockey and basketball). I expect I’ll take part in one or two other fun events when I get there.

I was thinking of taking a few days out and heading to the hilly bits. Not sure how far it is to places like Verbier(I really haven’t thought this through yet :slight_smile: ). I’m sure somewhere with lifts would go against the whole Gravity Karma thing but it would be fun.


Cos I like riding with people much more than riding competitively. Also cos most of the competitions are boring ones, like track races or stupid ones like wheel walking with your nose for 200 metres, or comedy small wheel racing, if I’m going to travel to somewhere I’d rather spend the time seeing the place and riding it than hanging around in sports halls or riding on flat tracks.

I’d kind of consider entering the marathon, but that would mean bringing a big wheel with me, which would be a right old hassle, although if I have a schlumpf by then it’d only mean compromising a bit on what I’d ride for muni. The fact there aren’t any proper muni races (if it’s rideable on a road uni it isn’t a muni race, if it’s only downhill it’s only measuring a third of your riding skills like Ken said) doesn’t fill me with confidence as to the goodness of the muni riding planned either.

To be honest though, I think as a muni or distance rider, you’re almost always going to get better races by getting good enough to enter bike races on their terms. You get proper long courses with ups and downs, designed by experienced course designers, as opposed to something down the side of a hill that lasts for 5 minutes designed by someone who thinks that xc means rideable on a 20" street unicycle.

Yeah, so I’m only really considering coming along for the fun bits and going riding, but if everyone is going to be off doing backwards standup wheel walk 200 metres all the time then obviously I don’t want to, which was why I was wondering if other people are coming along just to go riding like.


While nothing is finally decided yet, it would seem that I’m using my leave and budget for a trip to Europe to attend the European Juggling Convention in Ireland in July.
No disrespect to you fine people, who I’d love to hang out with and will someday, I just had to make the decision and finally based it on the fact that Juggling is another of my interests, that I would be travelling with a group of friends from South Africa and that would allow us to play international UniHoki at the EJC.

The more I read about Unicon the more I am wavering but I suspect those considerations will force me to miss this one.

No, no, come to the EJC. I’m going to the EJC, although possibly not for all of it. Depending on how much annual leave I have left by then.

And now I’ve found uni hockey too.


So far I’ve been to 3 unicons - China, USA and Japan, at all three I have taken part in some of the competitions. Also at all three I’ve gone riding with interesting people in interesting places. In the US some of those were “organised” muni rides while one was me wanting to do the iron horse trail on my own including the tunnel so I could say I’d done it.
In China I rode with the American muni bunch for the first time and we explored a small patch of ground very thoughly finding lots of single track and thorns with in a mile of the hotel, I also rode into central beijing with a crowd of people one eveing and one day a group of us arranged to hire a bus and driver and go out of town to a hilly place. None of those were “organised” events, we just skipped off what ever was organised and did our own thing some days.
In Japan, I did a solo tour of central Tokyo early sunday morning, I had the streets to myself and got a glimse of innner city life from the saddle of my 29er, baseball practise, people going to worship at shrines, people gathering for exercise sessions, the blind runnning club training and a HUGE car boot sale. Another couple of days Paul and I went and did real touristly stuff manageing to see 6 of the top ten Tokyo tourist sights.
So I think what i’m trying to say in a round about kind of way is. Unicon is more than the competitions, its about meeting other riders from all over the world, hanging out in the evening and swapping ideas, going for rides, beers, meals. Sure I love hockey and take THAT competition seriously but all the others I don’t take too seriously ,I’ll enter some of the races, and maybe show up if I havn’t got any thing more intersting planned. I’ll watch a bit of freestyle , maybe a basket ball game or too, I probadly won’t bother watching standard skill or the kids 100m races, those are days I’ll go off and explore. For some other people, those are the serious days and the hockey is the event they will ignore.
I believe our swiss hosts are trying hard to make unicon 2006 a convention as well as a competition and I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends and makeing some new ones during the event.


You probably know that you insult people with your writing above. There are lots of people who take these races seriously and prepare for them with lots of trainings. BTW, WW is 30m (10m for U11) and not 200m. I don’t know how you wheel walk, but I’d rather use my feet and not my nose …

UNICON is not just about competition. It’s also a convention, there are workshops, we will be having non-competitive MUni and longdistance rides with local riders to locations with memorable scenery that you won’t find on your own otherwise. We will be having local clubs organizing swiss evenings to show you part of the swiss culture etc. etc.

Above you write, that you don’t like riding competitively. We have planned to have daily non-competitive MUni rides. Further on we will be having a XC Unicycle Orienteering, which is competitive, it is cross country and you will be far better of using a MUni. So it is a fact, that we have proper MUni rides. What exactly was your point here?

Where do get that one from? Have you ever been to the Gurten, have you seen the course already. Inventing things (5mins, 20") and putting them alongside with facts, doesn’t make it true, sorry.

BTW, our Downhill course will be setup with the guys running the Downhill course. Further on I don’t think XC is a 5 mins race down a hill on a 20".
I also don’t understand, why you keep insulting the organizers of UNICON XIII

UNICON is a convention aimed at all unicyclists. It is aimed at the freestylers, it is aimed at track racers, we have events for the trials guys, we have street in the programme, it is also aimed at MUni and long distance riders, we will be having three full days of hockey and basketball. But it is also aimed at unicyclists that just like to see other unicyclists and have a good time without being competitive.

If you really look at the programme, you will see that it is all there. We do our best to make everyone happy, at least a bit. By doing so, I learnt these month, you end up having everyone complaining …

UNICON is not simply a MUni event , as you probably would like it to be.

Best wishes,

Cool, that was exactly what I was trying to ask if anyone was likely to be up for.

As for the muni events, I’m sure the downhill course is cool, looks good from the site, but I do still think it’s weird to only have downhill and not have a cross country muni race, which is really the ‘gold standard’ for competitive muni riding. The XC downhill, it says ‘rideable on a street unicycle’, which presumably means one with a slick tyre and it’s still a downhill race and presumably run like a downhill race ie. short and down a hill?

I don’t mind that there’s loads of other events I’m not interested in though, that’s always going to be the case in a big event, same as at the BUC. I guess also there are always going to be events that seem silly in a large athletics competition, like synchronized swimming at the olympics.


No it doesn’t. A slick tire is crap for going down a hill like that. If you’re up and riding your wheel will slip off under you and then you won’t be able to get up again, because there is too little friction. I would have thought everyone knows that a good knobby tire is what you have to have, but you just have prooven me wrong. I will change that bit of information, when I have some spare time.

I used to work in Cardiff. I think we have a terminology problem here. In Wales I saw what you guys on the other side of the channel call a hill and I saw what you consider a mountain. I can assure you that the Gurten is not a hill in your terms. And consequently, it won’t be short either.

I wrote XC Downhill in the schedule of events, so that registrants see that they have an alternative to the MUni Downhill. They both start on top of the Gurten. Who said that the XC Course stops at the bottom of the Gurten?

I will forward your concerns to the two persons being in charge of this race, so that they can make sure the XC race on the Gurten really deserves that name.


Hi Franz,

We appreciate your help keeping us up to date and trying to keep everyone happy. With such a big event, it’s never possible to satisfy everyone. As Unicyclists we have to be aware that most of these events are run by volunteers, who give up their free time for the good of the sport.

However, I think what Joe (and me also) was getting at earlier was that the MUNI events at Unicons have not kept up with what people are doing in the real world. If you took Japan Unicon 12 as an example, the XC was only a 10min race. Most MUni riders tackle the same sorts of terrain as mountainbikers, and enter mountainbike events, and 10min is a pretty short sprint even on a unicycle! A MUni is only on average 20-40% slower than a mountainbike, which have races lasting 2-3hrs or more. I would have thought a MUni race should be roughly 30-60min minimum. The reasoning I was told for the short XC and DH race in Japan was that it was to cater for the freestyle riders, many of whom have never ridden MUNI. Which is great, except that this is the world convention. Even recreational MUni riders typically ride for an hour or more.

Anyway, thanks for your help with the XC Downhill event. Look forward to it whatever form it takes.

BTW, Joe, I hope you make it to Unicon- would love to meet up.


A 10 minute race is definitely not a sprint. Sprint distances are 100m up to 400m, followed by Mittelstrecke (don’t know the english term), 800m till 1 mile, everything above is long-distance. All this is defined by the IAAF. The best riders in the world do the 400m on 24" racing unicycles in just under a minute. 800m is done in just above 2 minutes on a racing uni. A 10 minute race is a long-distance race.

This is a proper requirement to put forward: XC race should last 30 to 60 minutes.

I was also told, that the uphill part should be about 20% to 30%, the downhill about 20% to 40% of the whole race. And there should be a considerable amount of singletrail.

Can you add to this list of requirements?

Have you yet considered that the amount of long-distance races at the UNICON, contains already more events than it ever did? Apart from the XC race, we will be having:

  • 10km
  • Marathon (42.195km, UNICON event for the first time)
  • XC Unicycle Orienteering

And then there is the highly technical MUni Downhill as well.

I now feel that we start to overdo the long-distance part of the UNICON. Any other ideas?

I see, you like these long-distance races, because you are good at those. There are other voices, who request a 200m sprint, 3000m, other age groups etc. Obviously, they claim that there are lot of people interested in these, that spectators like to see these etc.



And another word of thanx for all the work you’re doing in keeping us up to date with developments in the planning of Unicon 2006.

I don’t think all the comments made on this thread are meant as criticisms. They are simply thoughts and suggestions made by people as passionate about the sport as you are.
If you take them as criticism, your hair will turn grey much sooner than Unicon 2006 will turn it on it’s own.

Keep up the good work.

Like I said in my post, it’s not possible to satisfy everyone ;), but thanks for trying.

The fact I ride long distances has nothing to do with what I’m saying about the MUNI events being too short. I came third in the 10min XC and also the Downhill in Japan, and I don’t think I would have done better if they were longer. What I’m saying is that they don’t reflect real world MUNI riding.

Ok, so maybe a 10min XC race is not quite a sprint, but I don’t consider it MUNI either. How many MUnicyclists would go riding for 10min and consider that a satisfying ride? You don’t get very far in 10min. It’s not a criticism of UNICON 13- I think it carries over from previous UNICONs. But people are now riding further and longer than they have in the past. Where MUNI was something that freestyle/racing unicyclists did as a novelty, it’s now a discipline in it’s own right. I don’t know many MUNI riders who drive out to the trails and go for a 10min ride and then go home.

I also don’t think the long distance part of UNICON is overdone:
Track and field/ Short distance events:
4x100m Relay

Medium distance:

Long distance:
Marathon (42.195km, UNICON event for the first time)
XC Unicycle Orienteering

Also, I wasn’t advocating for adding more long distance events, all I was saying was that the existing MUNI events should be lenghtened to reflect what MUNI riders do.

And the IAAF is for athletics- unicycling is more efficient that running- you can go farther and hence distances can be longer by comparison.

But hey, these are just my opinions and some suggestions. You’re organising the event, it’s up to you how you want to run it and what events are included. Like you said, there are probably plenty of (?freestyle) riders who like short distance MUNI races.

Ken Looi
NZ Unicycle Federation

Will the orienteering be for everybody or just for the smaller ones


And I certainly hope that my comments aren’t taken as criticisms, but that they reflect what most of the MUNI riders I know do in their sport.

We will be having two agegroups for the Unicycle Orienteering: U15 and 15Up (each for males and females).

So it’s for everybody.


I think the IAAF definitions for sprint, midde- and long-distance may well be used for unicycling too, because with the currently given limitations to unicycle racing, the runners are actually faster or in a comparable speed to unicycling.

100m (<10s vs. 13s)
800m (<1:45 vs. 2:03)
10’000m (~26:00 vs. ~28:00)

If we change the wheels to Cokers for the longer distances, the times are slightly in favour of the unicyclists. With the currently given racing uni 24’, the times are slightly in favour of the runners.


That was what I was getting at ,about the Japan thing, pretty much everyone I’ve met moaned about the muni there.

Incidentally, it might not be possible depending on the place you’re running the course, but most XC races I’ve ridden in have been based around multiple laps, for example the Gorrick XC races <http://www.gorrick.com> are based around 2 to 5 laps of the course (depending on category, 4 is the standard ‘sport’ category), which is about 5 miles per lap (about half an hour lap time for most riders). Now obviously something that long would be way harder to organise than a 10 minute race, but if laps are a possibility on the course, 5 laps could make a 10 minute race into a 50 minute one relatively easily. Laps are cool in other ways, as you can get better at riding the trail during the race, and learn from mistakes you’ve made on previous laps.

I’d agree that more distance races might not be the thing (much as a muni marathon would be a fantastic event, I accept there aren’t likely to be many competitors!), but I would also agree with Ken that 10 minutes is a bit of a short ride on a muni, where you’re much more comparable to a bike than to a runner.

I think however, there may be a bit of a culture divide here, between people who came into muni from the freestyle /track / circus skills end of unicycling and see it as being like athletics and those who got into it from bicycling and see it as being like that.