I thought ‘UMX’ was a general, if rather dated, term for general offroad riding on unicycles. Its fallen out of use since the advent of Muni, so calling a unicycle race on a short BMX track is not really in the original sense of UMX. However if this form of unicycle racing gains popularity that’s what it could eventually come to mean.
I’m sure John Foss will be able to tell us more about the original use of the term ‘UMX’.
One other point is that I think the Muni race at UNICON is still officially rather quaintly called a UMX race. At UNICON XI at least (the only UNICON I’ve been to) the muni race was more of a downhill muni race - not really UMX at all. Correct me if I’m wrong!
Personally I’d rather see more effort go into true cross country style Muni races - more similar to MTB XC races than BMX races. My 2c.
It’s really not a problem for a Coker to get air off those jumps. An existing BMX track seems pretty ideal for a UMX race on Cokers, actually… and I don’t think Cokers would mess the track up too badly (if at all).
Oh, ok… those “hills” (table tops and ramps) are actually still jumps when you’re riding a Coker :D!
Yeah, I can’t wait to try the downhill BMX track in NH. Hopefully some local riders (KcTheAcy) will want to meet me there to battle the track!
It depends on the track. There was a local BMX track that was official and actively maintained by the city. They wouldn’t even allow 24" or 26" bikes on the track because the bigger wheels messed up the track for the 20" bikes.
Then there are the outlaw tracks that are built on vacant land. They get traffic from all types of bikes. They’re volunteer or outlaw tracks. You could take a unicycle there without kicked out. But you do need to respect the trail and the track. Don’t take a unicycle over a kicker jump if you’re going to damage the jump. It is very easy to damage a jump by riding over it repeatedly on a unicycle. That wouldn’t be cool.
On the right trail or track you could ride around causing no damage. On the wrong track you could be messing it up for all the other riders and the people who put in the work to build it.
Near the end of my ride with Adam (JustOneWheel) on the Greenbelt yesterday, we stopped off at the BMX track. Having experienced attempting to ride my Coker on a (pretty hairy) BMX track, I now realize that I was completely wrong and John was right… I am now pretty much in total agreement with what John said.
Having ridden similar types of obstacles at Rays in Cleveland, I thought the BMX track would be a lot of fun and fairly rideable.
The problem is that the obstacles are spaced way to close together to maintain a decent speed between them and the natural dirt trail makes rolling fast enough a lot more difficult than on Rays smooth concrete floor with a nice run-up.
I can see how unicycles could mess up the track so I tried to take care to avoid causing any damage and I didn’t ride there for too long.
The local BMXers seemed to get a kick out of my follies on the track, though, and were friendly and encouraging. Adam said one guy had even heard about me from the skatepark community somehow.
All in all, I think there were small sections of track that were rideable and could be a lot of fun… especially sections you could ride in the trails along side to get sufficient speed and then turn to enter the section of track you want to ride. I know I could have done much better if I wasn’t exhasted from climbing hills on my first Muni ride (and still sore from 1st long endurance ride of the season the day before that) but I won’t spend much time there because I don’t want to risk messing up an awesome BMX track.
A (UMX) track designed specifically for unicyclists would probably be awesome… though I’d have to really build up my stamina to do that kind of riding for very long.
I imagine there are some BMX tracks that are downhill and/or less radical in design that could be a lot of fun for unicyclists.
I’d like to ride one that was either less radical (or the obstacles spaced wider) than the track I rode yesterday, yet a bit more challenging than the track Klass posted a picture of (from the looks of the photo, anyway) in this thread.
i think you are confusing a dirt jump parkand a bmx race track. bmx race tracks normally have rollers and tatble tops, and the jumps are small and have rounded lips, which unis wont mess up. Unis would destroy a DJ park… the differece is that dj parks are singletrack, big jumps and steep lips and landing, ie, if you rool it you screw them up.
Ah…thanks for clarifying that! I was confusing the two as well. The track Adam (JustOneWheel) took me to yesterday was DEFINITELY a dirt jump park… only WAY more radical than the one pictured!
A BMX track like the one pictured seems like it would be awesome for Coker races!
It’s great to have MTB, BMX, and skateboard guys on the forum to educate us and clarify things. Riding on a lot of the same terrain, it’s nice to know the correct terminology and to become more knowledge about the other sports that the terrain was originally designed for. Thanks DK.
I wasn’t confused because I know the difference.
But yeah, I was talking more about the dirt jump oriented tracks than the racing tracks. The dirt jump tracks are what you’ll find out and about. The racing tracks are purpose built and managed by an organization that does racing.
There is a small BMX racing track here near Seattle. I haven’t gone there to ride. There is a list of BMX race tracks at the ABA web site: ABA BMX track search. From there you can find links to many of the tracks and see what they look like. The track near Seattle is here: Sea Tac BMX. The racing BMX tracks are much more suited to Coker riding than anything designed for dirt jumping, even the ones with small jumps.
We’ve actually got some little abandoned jumps right near us (not the ones on that picture), that are just the right size for uni but have been left to get worn down and don’t have a good lip, so I may go down with a shovel and optimise them a bit.
The most important thing is not to ride jumps you’ve got no chance of launching, ie. really big tabletops etc. as you’ll screw the ramp by rolling the jump.
If you’re launching jumps not just rolling them, then you don’t screw the jump any more than a biker.
At a lot of jump sites people have a rule that anyone who jumps the jumps should sort them out with a shovel afterwards so they’re nice for whoever turns up next.
The first use of “U.M.X.” for us may have been in a 1981 issue of the USA Newsletter. It was the title of an article I did about riding offroad. I consider this article one of the origin points of what we now call MUni (some of the earlier ones being 100 years previous). At the time BMX was at a peak of popularity, and the idea was to possibly attract some of that huge audience into unicycling.
We didn’t do any offroad racing at the big unicycle conventions until 1988 (Unicon IV) and 1989 (USA Convention in Mobile, AL). We still called it UMX then, as “muni” didn’t come around until 1994 or so.
UMX was added to the IUF/USA rulebooks somewhere in there, with a loose definition of racing on dirt. More recently, the IUF noticed it was still called that in the 2002 book and we only updated it for 2004 (see rulebook links, below).
The name UMX breaks down into Unicycle Motocross. To be done properly, it’s supposed to be a heat event on a short course, with several “motos.” The only place where I know this has been done is at Toque. Everything we’ve done in the USA and IUF have been cross-country races, uphill, downhill, or combinations of those.
UMX would be fun. As always, the first hurdle is getting access to a track. I also like the idea of rolling trials, and would like to do that someday as well.