Just a general post really as I am keen to attend a Unicon for the first time… and looking at the logistics of making it to Bemidji USA next July 2024…
But I haven’t actually pulled the trigger on this as it isn’t that cheap a trip.
Are any people who frequent these forums going? What’s it like at Unicon?
I saw the summary video of the Unicon from Grenoble and that looked amazing but I confess to being a little underwhelmed by Bemidji as a destination (but perhaps I should challenge my prejudices)
It’s an opportunity to visit the filming locations of the Cohen brothers’ Fargo movie and series.
Besides, I don’t know whether it’s good or bad publicity. Any thoughts on the subject?
I really want to come, but I really don’t like the idea of flying, and what’s more, the return trip from Mineapolis to Paris will take place during the Olympic Games, which won’t make it any easier and cheaper…
I’d have thought it would now be illegal to run the 10k if you’re not going
Yes I did hear about that movie link - it’s alright if you’re a fan I guess. I’ve never been to the states or flown that far so that adds to my slight trepidation.
But I dig the idea of having an event to aim for. If I could wind the clock back I’d have gone to Grenoble but equally waiting until 2026 seems ages.
I don’t think I will go to Unicon 21. I would love to attend the event, but I don’t want to take the plane. I’ll wait for Unicon 22. Hopefully it’ll be in Europre, again
BTW, yes, Unicon 20 was a blast. Many people said it was the best Unicon ever. But I’m sure Kirsten and her team will make an event even better!
I would like to go to another Unicon in the future.
The only one I have been to was back in 2010 in New Zealand , it cost a lot to drive down to it, I enjoyed the Muni day out riding and helping at a few events .
My only way flying to the US is that in America, they carry guns on their hips, Hidden under the jackets.
I’ve seen all the movies it looks so scary.
I’d rather go back to Europe, Or maybe we could have it in Australia and fly over the ditch.
Anyways, too early to work out at this point in time.
Same here, I have to go to a Unicon in my life, but not this one. Since I’m still a grade one student in unicycling, I have to get better to legitimize it.
I’m also a grade one unicyclist and I have recently convinced myself that your actual skill level shouldn’t be something that puts you off taking part in an event like Unicon.
For me the only reticence comes from the distance and destination and perhaps a general weariness over if I’d actually enjoy the big event type thing.
I probably won’t be there, if I fly across the atlantic, I’d want to have some extended time to explore more parts of the continent and it looks unlikely that I can make that happen.
I quite enjoyed all the Unicons I’ve been to and would recommend going whenever reasonably possible, despite usually also not being a fan of big events. But I guess by now I have the advantage of knowing a fair amount of unicyclists, so if I don’t feel like meeting new ones or being a bit overwhelmed, there is always someone I know to hang out with. But I think if you just go to watch/ride in competitions enough, getting to know some people will happen very quickly.
I don’t think skill level should put someone off, convention is part of the name I hope the convention aspect will maybe get a bit more focus from the organizers again, if possible. I don’t think there was necessarily a lack of group riding happening in Grenoble, but quite often they were organized in small groups of friends and not as publicized as they maybe could have been.
As a weird example that location does not have to matter, my first Unicon was Brixen and I did not even go up a mountain (or even really acknowledge their existance) once. It’s a small town in the middle of the alps, having absolutely amazing mountainous landscape around is why most people would go there, but I had a perfectly good time just riding flatland/street/trials in small concrete spots.
I wish/hope you (Felix) and Finn could go/attend, because I would love to meet both of you.
I am planning to attend, and will offer my volunteer services to the Unicon organizers as they see fit.
I will be driving, so as to bring as many of my favorite unicycles as possible.
So, to confirm, I will be there.
At over 34 hours, and over 2,200 miles (round trip), of drive time, I sincerely hope to meet as many members of this forum as possible.
This comment was posted by @finnspin with regard to the most recent Unicon in Grenoble.
“I don’t think skill level should put someone off, convention is part of the name I hope the convention aspect will maybe get a bit more focus from the organizers again, if possible. I don’t think there was necessarily a lack of group riding happening in Grenoble, but quite often they were organized in small groups of friends and not as publicized as they maybe could have been.”
Maybe I can help to organize group rides at Unicon 21 in Bemidji, Minnesota, during the time I am there?
Just a thought, and a (possible) offer.
Bemidji is a curious location for this event. It’s rural Minnesota, far from a big city. Minneapolis is around 4 hours by car. It wouldn’t be my first suggestion of a place to visit in the USA if you haven’t been here before, but it will be a new place to visit for almost all of us. I would like to see it. Could visit Lake Superior and the Isle Royale National Park on the same trip, but they’re a good distance from Bemidji. Or canoe in the boundary waters. MSP is a reasonable international airport. Do bring your bug spray . I’m thinking of attending but haven’t committed yet…
I live in central Minnesota and am confused as to why Bemidji was chosen. Bemidji is a fine place but it has a lot of drawbacks for international travelers. The nearest international airport is 4 hours away by car. Also, the town only has about 15K people and it is the biggest town for miles in any direction.
Minnesota is a beautiful place though so please visit (:
As far as I remember from Unicon 21 introduction:
- There are sport infrastructure that could be used during the summer
- That’s a student city, so not a lot of people during summer and lots of apartments
- Mountains (hills?) accessible not too far away
- Isn’t it where Kristen comes from?
BTW, I don’t know how it works in the US, but in France you would prefer organising such an event in a not-too-big city. It’s easier for having great contact with the local administration and for accessing gyms. I wouldn’t imagine organising an Unicon in Paris
To answer the What’s it like question?
Unicon is an incredible experience and event.
As a Muni rider, turning up the first experience was how incredibly diverse unicycling is from the artistic. We’re watching them for five minutes. I wanted to go home, thinking I just couldn’t ride and it was out of my depth!
To the track and field events, downhill Freewheeling race, long jump, high jump, slow race, all the different track distances to race i.e. 50 meter 100 meter Plus.
The marathon race, 10 K road race, Muni cross country, and Muni downhill.
The team, sports basketball and hockey from my memory if I’m right?.
The other aspects were more incredible things like workshops, Social rides, Muni day just riding etc.
Then there was the aspect of hitting the town/city as a large group of unicyclists is mine blowing?.
Overall and it’s extremely good experience.
I’m planning to go back to one in the future, despite having a severe Brain Injury (Note Not caused by unicycling) It’s such a great experience with like-minded people riding bikes, without a spare wheel.
Also meeting partners parents etc of some of these riders is also a great.
If you’re keen, unicyclist, it’s a must do event at some point in one’s life.
I’d say the most amazing thing in Unicon is that unicycling becomes normal for one week in the place you are. Unicyclists are everywhere and they don’t seem out of place. That’s… wow!
Those are all good points. After posting I looked at the website, the availability of athletic facilities and dorms makes it much more desirable.
There are benefits to a smaller city but usually events like this are organized closer to the metro. Again, Bemidji is great but not easy to get to. I did see on the website that they have bus services to and from the airport. That should make things much easier. Otherwise you would have to rent a car.
We don’t have any mountains but Minnesota is beautiful. It is a bit less than half the size of France but only has 6ish million people. Most of those are in the bottom half of the state. As such the northern half (includes Bemidji) is rural and has maintained much of its natural beauty.
Series 3 Episode 1 of Edd’s “Unicycle Life” podcast (26 April 2023) is an interview with Kirsten Goldstein – about 1hr 2min in there is a discussion on the location and the reasons for choosing it.
(I’d need to relisten to it all but a quick ‘scroll’ through the audio got me to the discussion I remembered from listening when it was released – there is maybe more in the rest of the podcast).
I’ll 100% be going! It’ll be my 15th Unicon as I haven’t missed one since 1994. Yes, I LOVE them. Nowadays I just compete for fun and mainly go for the hang as unicyclists are the coolest people ever. If you have never been to one, I highly recommend going and giving it a go. Chances are you’ll be hooked and will go to the next one as well.
Bemidji is a unique location. It’s up north where lots of people have cabins on lakes. It is so beautiful. If people are looking for things to do/see in MN before/after you are more than welcome to ask me but the Boundary Waters is amaze balls and only canoes are allowed there so it’s very peaceful.
It is one of America’s most beautiful and remote places. Its vast wilderness extends 150 miles along the U.S.-Canada border, covering approximately 1,098,000 acres with over 1,100 lakes and 1,500 miles of canoe routes, attracting more than 150,000 visitors annually. To truly understand this incredible destination, you have to come experience it for yourself.
Then there is Duluth and the drive up the north shore of Lake Superior. Lots of waterfalls and cool things to see/do. And of course Minneapolis/St Paul is fun to check out. All sorts of bike trails and cool buildings.
And you get to hear all the people talking like Fargo…oh yah, dontcha know?! U betcha! So ya, come to MN! I promise you that you won’t regret it.
There weren’t exactly many other places fighting to host Unicon. It’s (more or less official) policy to try to alternate Unicon between continents and the pool of choices is so small, often it comes down to finding a group of people willing to organize living in a region, whether that is a perfect place is secondary, as long as it has enough capacity. I’m always amazed how many people willing to volunteer for such an undertaking can be found, but as far as I am aware, having more than 3 places competing to be chosen for unicon would be rare.
I listened to that podcast also and basically, Bemidji is a small city that doesn’t have a lot of other events requiring their attention. Bemidji WANTS Unicon and is really helping to make it happen.
Kirsten said that if they had tried it in Minneapolis/St. Paul, it would have been one of many events and the city people would have just seen it as such.
I’m a 64-year-old man who was born in the USA. I’ve lived in a few places in the USA, rural places, and large cities. Yes, some have guns hanging in the back windows of their trucks, but I rarely see anyone with a gun.
The gun issue is a huge one, and more complicated than most think, but it shouldn’t keep anyone from visiting the USA.