Unicycle articles (but wait there's more...)

From penny farthings to freestyling
4 January 2010
Lincolnshire Echo
© 2010 Lincolnshire Echo.

Unicycles are believed to have been developed from the Penny Farthing - the world’s first bicycle.

While some unicyle riders use their one wheel for regular transport, there are now several other different styles of unicycle riding.

Mountain Unicycling is a sport for the brave at heart in which riders cycle down mountains or off-road trails using a unicyle with a larger than average tyre. A helmet and lots of safety gear is recommended.

Freestyle unicyclists perform tricks including jumps, spins and grinds.

Peter Rosendahl set a unicycle sprinting record for 100m from a standing start of 12.11 sec in Las Vegas on March 25, 1994.

The world’s tallest unicycle is 114.8ft high. It was ridden for 28ft using a safety wire suspended from an overhead crane.

And between July 10 and August 22, 1992, Akira Matsushima, of Japan, rode his unicycle from Newport, Oregon to Washington DC an incredible total of 3,261 miles.

Snow joke trying to train in the big freeze
7 January 2010
Edinburgh Evening News
© 2010 Johnston Publishing Limited

THERE are a lot of people whose work grinds to a halt when there’s heavy snow - teachers, train drivers - and unicyclists.

Unicycling champion Jason Auld is appealing for help to find somewhere he can train during the bad weather so that he can win back his title this spring.

The 21-year-old from Newington has been learning to do stunts on one wheel since the age of 14 and turned professional in 2008 - the same year he became Britain’s best.

But unless he can find a dry indoor space to train in, he fears he won’t be in top form when he tries to win back his title at this spring’s British Unicycle Convention, and is looking for help.

He said: "I would probably normally start training now for it but because of the terrible weather I’ve not had an opportunity to go out very often. It’s very important for me in terms of having that title. It just says you’re the best in the country at what you do.

“The way I look at it is that because I’m doing it professionally, I have to judge myself by similar standards to other professional athletes, so if I don’t train every single day I feel I’m not working hard enough.”

As the unicycle equivalent of stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill, Jason describes his sport as “like BMX, but on one wheel”, with leaps up and down steps, along rails and over barriers.

But because the sport is so young, riders must constantly develop new skills and stunts to stay ahead of their competitors. He is currently trying to perfect a forward somersault off a 6ft ledge, something which can currently only be done by two other unicyclists worldwide.

He said: “Being able to train now would definitely give me an edge over the rest of the guys in the competition and would give me the chance to start doing things that would catch a bit more attention. I need just an open flat space with a roof so that there’s no rain or snow, and well-lit.”

The former Boroughmuir school pupil tried his luck on TV show Britain’s Got Talent last year, but was voted off by an unappreciative panel of judges. His enthusiasm was undimmed, however, and he has remained dedicated to the sport. He said: "I got my first unicycle for my 14th birthday and it’s kind of evolved over the time I’ve been doing it. Street unicycling was pretty much brand new when I started doing it, new tricks were being invented, people were doing ridiculous things.

“Everyone wants to do something significant and different with their life and doing this I do think that I’m definitely doing something different. I don’t feel like I’m the best at something that already exists, I feel like I could be writing a new chapter.”

His search for practice space has the support of Southside/Newington Councillor Cameron Rose, who said: "He’s obviously developing a fitness and physical skill in a serious sport which challenges the ‘cotton wool culture’, and I give all credit to him.

“It would be very helpful if some businessman or owner of some premises could see their way to help him.”

Jaryd puts sporting world in a spin
12 January 2010
Macarthur Chronicle
Copyright 2010 News Ltd. All Rights Reserved

TAHMOOR unicyclist Jaryd Harris has added another four Australian records to his name after an outstanding week at the World Unicyle Championships in New Zealand.

While most of his schoolmates at Campbelltown Performing Arts High School were taking it easy during the holidays, the 14-year-old one-wheel specialist was competing in a rigorous schedule.

He was up against almost 800 fellow unicyclists from 23 countries.

Jaryd qualified for the world event after a standout effort at the Uninats last year.

He was crowned the national junior champion after winning nine titles and coming second in another seven.

Already a seven-time Australian record-holder, Jaryd lifted the bar in New Zealand and set new national standards in the 800m, one-foot, wheel walk and 10km road race events.

Mum Lynette said her son had competed in relay hockey, basketball, track races, high jump, long jump, skills, freestyle, 10km road race, downhill gliding, coasting, flatland, trials, muni (mountain unicycling), and finally the 42.2km marathon.

``He’s done remarkably well,’’ she said. Jaryd has set his sights on the next world games in Italy in two years.

13 January 2010
The Nelson Mail (NZ)
© 2010 Fairfax New Zealand Limited. All Rights Reserved.

MOST overseas tourists travel around New Zealand in planes, trains, cars, buses, ferries or campervans.

But Canadian Dave Cox and Welshman Sam Wakeling are doing things slightly differently, travelling from Picton to Christchurch on one wheel.

The intrepid unicyclists got on their bikes in Picton on Sunday and rode to Havelock before continuing to Nelson on Monday. Yesterday, they rode at a painstaking average of around 20kmh to Nelson Lakes, planning to arrive in Christchurch sometime later in the week. Although it might seem an unusual way to see the country, it was the obvious choice for the two tourists who came to New Zealand to compete in the World Unicycle Champs, in Wellington. Now the championships are over, they plan to spend two weeks travelling throughout the South Island.

“It’s slow going,” Mr Cox admitted. “But you get a chance to see everything - the countryside, lakes and mountain and the road kill.”

Mr Cox said the bikes were made for distances, with 91cm diameter wheels and two gears. They had hit a top speed of 34kmh.

:roll_eyes: :smiley:

Today I’m wearing my new Merino/Possum sweater from the Sheepskin Warehouse in Wellington :smiley:

For those that don’t get the connection, almost all the roadkill in NZ is the pesky NZ possums. There’s at least one per kilometer on South Island roads. Have a great ride, guys!

Family enjoys the power of one
25 January 2010
Lilydale & Yarra Valley Leader

MOST parents are nervous enough about their children riding bikes without training wheels but Lilydale woman Kim Monty is teaching her sons to be one-wheelers.

Mrs Monty, 36, is an accomplished unicyclist and came second in the 30-plus women’s 10km race at the Unicon XV World Championships in Wellington, New Zealand, this month.

``It was a great time and the whole family came along,’’ Mrs Monty said.

``When people think of unicycles they think of the circus but there is so much more to it, like unicycle basketball and hurdling,’’ she said.

Mrs Monty said six-year-old son Nathan competed in his first unicycle event and four-year-old Dylan had just started to learn to ride.

Dad Mervyn is the only member of the family who doesn’t ride the unicycle but Mrs Monty said that could change.

``We are working on convincing him to try it, especially since the boys are learning now,’’ Mrs Monty said.

Darwin-born and raised Mrs Monty and her twin sister Debbie were taught to ride the unicycle by their father when they were eight and were well known for their one-wheeled prowess.

``Riding a unicycle is so much fun and a real challenge,’’ Mrs Monty said.

``It is a wonderful family activity and a great community of people.

``You wouldn’t believe what amazing things people can do on unicycles.’’

Kim Monty is a Lilydale & Yarra Valley Leader Senior Sports Star nominee.

To nominate a Sports Star in either the junior, senior or services to sport categories contact the news room at Lilydale & Yarra Valley Leader on 9760 5131 or by email to lilydale@leadernewspapers. com.au

Pretty cool article came out today (2/21/10) in the Santa Barbara Independent. The link below is to the online version of the story. As usual, there are some misquotes (“worldwide sensation”. Lol, their words, not mine!) but overall, It came out well. I was hoping they’d mention this website and UDC, but at least they remembered to mention SB uni website! :slight_smile:

I’m also excited to announce that the book I was featured in, “50 Athletes over 50”, has been released ahead of schedule, and the full 300 page book is now available!

I consider it an honor to have been included as one of the 50, and there are 49 other amazing and inspirational athletes telling their story, so it’s definitely worth getting! Cheers! :smiley:

Terry, great article! That picture looks very familar. :wink:

Thanks Jamey! Yeah since they interviewed me over the phone they just asked for some MUni shots, but said actual pics from Cold Springs weren’t really necessary. Which is good since all I have from there is video, and the vidcaps aren’t really that great of quality. :smiley:

My recent writeup in the Santa Barbara Independent must be getting some good circulation, as two more websites have put it on their front page. One is
the MUTC, or Multi-use-trail coalition. The latest is the New York Unicycle Club.


On a wheel and a prayer; Bayonne is bridge du jour for trio of unicyclists who plan to pedal across every span in the city
25 February 2010
The Staten Island Advance

Watching three men on unicycles dodging potholes in the cold and rain, drivers on Richmond Terrace could be forgiven yesterday for asking themselves, “Who are these clowns?”

Well, one of the riders, Keith Nelson, 39, co-founder of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, is in fact a clown, not to mention a juggler and sword swallower, though he was dressed for the trek not in floppy shoes and a red nose but in sneakers and a sweatshirt.

He was joined yesterday by friends Rob Hickman, 47, an artist and sculptor, and “The Brooklyn Juggler,” Kyle Petersen, 25, who entertains the crowds at Brooklyn Cyclones’ games and is also a stilt walker and plate spinner.

The one-wheeled trio of Brooklynites is on a quest to cross every bridge in the city by unicycle, and they had set their sights on the Bayonne Bridge.

Yesterday’s ride marked their first foray into Staten Island and ultimately New Jersey, as they crossed number 24 off their list.

The NYC Unicycle Bridge Tour was born last October, when Nelson and Hickman crossed the Williamsburg Bridge and thought they should try all the others. Very minor crossings included, they estimate there are 2,078, which they intend to tackle during rides every Wednesday, weather permitting.

The Triborough Bridge, now known as the Robert F. Kennedy, was the most challenging so far, they said, mostly because they got lost on Randall’s Island.

The Bayonne, though beautiful, was also a little hairy, they agreed, with its narrow bike path and low railings.

When they finally reached the span, it was a long pedal up the steep incline to the midpoint of the arch, where they paused to admire the architecture, before rolling downhill into Bayonne, where they paid a visit to a friend’s saloon to rest their legs and gear up for the long ride back to the Staten Island Ferry.

“It’s a gorgeous bridge,” Hickman said. “This bridge is a gem.”

Along the way, “We get a lot of thumbs up and horns honking,” Petersen said.

They also got plenty of quizzical looks and chuckles, as they cycled around two construction sites along the way.

And they took the potholes and rough road along the Terrace in stride.

“It keeps it interesting,” Petersen said. “It gets a little boring when it’s just smooth ground.”

The unicycles top out about 8 mph; the average for yesterday’s ride was somewhere between 4 and 5 mph.

The trio is working up to maintaining a 6-mph clip, which they say is the minimum speed required to join the Five Borough Bike Tour. That’s key because it’s the one day a year that it’s legal to cycle across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

The Goethals Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing aren’t on the group’s unicycling itinerary, as neither span has a public walkway.

Petersen, who learned to ride on one wheel at age 12, was charged with updating the group’s live Twitter feed during the ride, until a Richmond Terrace pothole swallowed his tire. “It was an ‘unplanned dismount,’” he said after losing his balance, as opposed to a face plant on the pavement.

Hickman and Nelson just learned to ride about a year ago.

Follow them in their journey by visiting their blog at http://unicyclenycbridgetour.blogspot.com/, or http://twitter.com/uninycbridge.

Maura Yates covers transportation news for the Advance. She may be reached at myates@siadvance.com.

Words on wheels: Choctaw’s Anna Jinks helps mentor Pryor students with the help of unicycles
By Katie Tammen, Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach
McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
4 March 2010

Mar. 4–FORT WALTON BEACH – Few people associate reading comprehension with riding a unicycle, but it seems to be working for a group of Pryor Middle School students.

Since the beginning of the school year, Choctawhatchee High School junior Anna Jinks and the Choctaw Unicycle Club have used unicycles as the vehicle to help a group of sixth-graders improve their reading, expand their vocabulary and build their confidence.

“I’ve seen a difference in terms of motivation,” Pryor Principal Marcus Chambers said. “Now they have something different in their life that’s exciting them.”

The sessions have changed a lot since the group started meeting. Students who initially looked at the unicycles and said, “I can’t” now are strapping on helmets and knee pads and asking, “Can I ride now?”

During the weekly meeting Wednesday, the students held onto the unicycles as they ran through their vocabulary words and read a passage about the history of unicycles.

More than once, they used a vocabulary word correctly in a sentence as they practiced riding the unicycles.

“My vocabulary has gotten better, and I understand the words a lot better,” said Katie Carnes, one of the sixth-graders participating.

Anna approached Choctaw Principal Cindy Gates over the summer with the idea to teach younger students how to ride unicycles. An avid unicyclist herself, Anna saw an opportunity to share her passion and get the community service she needed to complete the International Baccalaureate Program at Choctaw.

Intrigued, Gates asked Anna what she thought a unicycle program could do for the younger students. Without missing a beat, Anna told her riding a unicycle not only builds self-confidence, but requires perseverance and determination.

After adding the reading comprehension aspect to the program, Gates let Anna get to work.

Initially, Anna tried to secure a grant to purchase unicycles. When that didn’t work, she found sponsors in the community and was able to purchase six of them.

In addition to the unicycles, Anna also developed the curriculum for the program using unicycling books. They have covered a variety of topics, and Anna has drawn vocabulary words for the students from the reading.

“The program has been incredible,” she said. “(Unicycling gives them) a sense of self-respect and the realization that they can succeed in something others can’t.”

City helps one-wheel whiz take on world
Louise O’Keeffe louise.okeeffe @thechronicle.com.au
9 March 2010
The Chronicle (Toowoomba)

Kevin, 17, gives new business a trial

KEVIN Wharton is not your average Toowoomba teen.

For one thing, he rides unicycles and secondly he has started his own business at the tender age of 17.

“I was born in Chinchilla and we moved to Toowoomba when I was two,” Mr Wharton said. “After school, I did a few TAFE courses in business and computers which has helped me start my own business full time.”

Mr Wharton runs Unicycle Online, selling unicycles, parts and accessories for Australian riders.

“I have been unicycling for three to four years because my dad has been riding on and off over the years,” he said. “A lot of kids are starting to get into it in Toowoomba it is kind of like skating back in the 70s, not a lot of people know about it.”

Mr Wharton’s style is trials and he rides a Koxx One XTP. He is currently the Australian Unicycle Trials Champion and is internationally sponsored by Koxx-One.

Recently he competed at Unicon XV (Unicycling World Championships) in New Zealand and came second in the 16-17 Male Trials.

Mr Wharton loves living in Toowoomba because of the great places to ride. His favourite is Picnic Point tracks.

“Toowoomba seems to have everything you need like shops and schools, but it is also close to Brisbane,” he said.

“Toowoomba is a good place to live and most of the people here are great.”

Mr Wharton will stay in Toowoomba while the business builds up.

There is an article about our KH Evo award ride across Panama in the current issue of DirtRag magazine. (yes, a year later :astonished: )

Unfortunately, the article isn’t online, so go out and buy a copy! It’s a somewhat different version than the one in UNI mag.

Almost off-topic is this article on Nintendo’s game Unirally/Uniracer http://retro.nintendolife.com/news/2010/03/feature_the_making_of_unirally which most interestingly gives the reason for it’s demise… everyone loves Disney!!

Nice one - that’s great! Will have to check it out.


Meanwhile, Gracie and Matt should write a five-book series on their adventure!

“50 athletes over 50” book review:

Pretty happy that the book seems to be getting good reviews!
(About half-way through the 3rd paragraph, I was also surprised to read who the reviewer chose as his favorite out of the 50! :))


Just thought this was a nice post about life from a Vancouver-based blogger and mountain biker: