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

Look at us - unicycling is J.U.S.T great fun
4 May 2010
Evening Gazette

UNICYCLISTS of all ages and abilities wheeled into a Billingham school for a national convention.

The 17th annual British Unicycle Convention at St Michael’s School attracted more than 200 fun-seekers and adrenaline junkies for some one-wheeled cycle trickery.

Organised by J.U.S.T. (Juggling, Unicycling, Stockton-on-Tees), the event had a series of workshops and demonstrations for beginners and competitions for the more experienced riders who came from across Europe for the event.

Among those taking part were St Michael’s pupil Lewis Spacey, 12, from Billingham, who took up unicycling around 18 months ago with his uncle Chris Stokes, 51, from Stockton.

Chris said: "I took it up at about the same time as Lewis but he’s in a different league from me now.

“Some of my friends had been doing it and we’ve always cycled and had motorcycles. I think we just look for a bit of adrenaline.”

Asked how best to master the art Lewis said: “You just keep pushing yourself off the wall until you don’t have to any more.”

Those taking part in the three day Bank Holiday event aged from seven up to oldest participant Peter Carmody from Stockton who recently celebrated his 75th birthday.

Also taking part was special guest Matt Sindelar from the USA who is ranked in the world top five.

Other activities across the weekend included African and Samba drumming, juggling and didgeridoo showcases.

Organiser Stephen Devereux, club president of J.U.S.T. said: “It’s really family orientated. We encourage the parents to stay and enjoy some of the other entertainment and they usually end up giving the unicycling a go. It creates a nice atmosphere.”

For more information on J.U.S.T. visit www.justonline.org.uk.

Peak unicyclist always on the go
By The Republic|azcentral.com
8 May 2010
The Arizona Republic

Why ride a unicycle through the mountains of metropolitan Phoenix?

The answer, according to the Arizona Unicycle Club, is simple. Arizona, and especially the Phoenix area, “has some of the best technical mountain unicycling in the nation. The trails tend to be rocky, steep and with the possibility of close encounters with cactus!”

The club has about 20 members, including one of its co-leaders, Mark McCann of Tempe. McCann, a researcher at Arizona State University, has been taking part in mountain unicycling for about two years. The club has been in existence for three years. Participants ride their unicycles along steep trails at South Mountain, Piestewa Peak and other locations in central Arizona. They have also taken out-of-state trips to such places Lake Tahoe.

McCann came to ASU after completing his doctorate in theoretical computer science at Princeton University. His other hobbies include rock climbing, mountaineering and mountain biking.

For those who like to ride unicycles but would prefer to stay out of the mountains, the club has other activities, most notably unicycle basketball. The games are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Agua Linda Park in Scottsdale.

For more information go to www.arizonaunicycleclub.com

From the Idyllwild spring challenge last month. Cool to see that the MTB community is beginning to recognize us and include us in their events! :smiley:

(I’m pictured on the bottom right) :slight_smile:


A unicyclist juggling flags featured in a prime time television advertisement for a newspaper (Sydney Morning Herald) promoting the Football World Cup.

Here is a screen shot,does anyone know who it is.

Where there’s a wheel; Daredevil unicyclist faces his toughest mission - a mountain bike race
By Ross McGuinness
259 words
4 June 2010
© 2010 Associated Newspapers. All rights reserved.

HE HAS unicycled along the Great Wall of China and on Mexican mountains but now Kris Holm is gearing up for his greatest challenge - racing against mountain bikes.

Holm is swapping the challenge of using his bike in tourist spots for a tough off-road contest against cyclists on two wheels.

The 36-year-old, who has taken his unicycling skills to 14 countries, admits that it is not the winning but the taking part that will count.

‘I am under no illusions about winning the race,’ said Holm, who is competing in the BC Bike Ride from Vancouver to Whistler in Canada.

'I just hope that I don’t finish last.

Hopefully, I can show up a few twowheeled adventure cyclists and fly the flag for unicycling.’ Holm, from Vancouver, will ride 18km (11 miles) a day on his unicycle during the week-long race, which starts on June 27.

And, in case anyone wants to join him on a unicycle, he says: ‘It’s quite easy to learn. If you have an accident, instead of flying off the handlebars, you just hop off.’

Peak of fitness: At the top of Orizaba mountain in Mexico I’m off to uni: Kris Holm gives a death-defying demo at a canyon in Moab, Utah Pictures: Barcroft Balancing act: Holm tests the Great Wall of China (top) and (above) looks a little precarious on a rock at Panther Beach in California

Ha Ha, that’s a funny one (posted here). I like the conversion from the actual race length (30 km) to miles (18 miles) in one article and then from 18 km to 11 miles here. In any case I hope it will be a fun time - a week of nice riding around southwest BC.


Perhaps and hopefully a slightly more accurate article about Kris’s upcoming adventure: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/bc-bike-race-welcomes-unicyclist

BC Bike Race welcomes unicyclist
By: Sue George, Mountain Bike EditorPublished: June 1, 15:45, Updated: June 1, 22:58Edition:MTB News & Racing Round-up, June 1, 2010Race:BC Bike Race

Unicyclist Kris Holm enjoys singletrack, too.

view thumbnail gallery

Holm to race seven-day Canadian stage race

Unicyclist Kris Holm will race the BC Bike Race from June 27 to July 3. With 23 years of riding spanning 14 countries and including the Great Wall of China, ancient trade routes in Bhutan, and the first unicycle descent of a Bolivian Volcano, Kolm was the first rider to bring mountain unicycling to the mainstream, through film, television, and magazine features.

“I’m stoked about the BCBR - this race is like a summer’s worth of great riding packed into a single week,” said Holm when asked his thoughts on the event’s start.

The BC Bike Race is a seven-day mountain bike adventure, from Vancouver to Whistler, and it can be ridden as a team of two, three, four or five, or as a solo. It comes in two packages; the ‘Epic’- avg 60km per day or ‘Challenge’ - avg 30km per day. The event has hosted World Champions, Olympians and this year boasts a field of 500 mountain bike enthusiasts.

“When considering how people may view the BC Bike Race, hard or difficult, it is with great pleasure that we can host an icon like Kris who is used to doing things that are different and difficult,” said Andreas Hestler, Marketing Director. “Kris is one amazing athlete and an inspiration to us all, he will make it look easy, but it is his sense of challenge that speaks to our clientele who are all here to push themselves, as teams and individuals.”

Holm considered the Epic with its 60km per day, but upon reflection and with a little training under his belt, he felt that the still impressive Challenge course of 30km per day would be plenty of singletrack and still leave him with enough energy to enjoy the full BC Bike Race experience, on and off the his unicycle. Though he is reserving the right to change his mind and go bigger.

Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed

Get to Know: Cyndie Wilkins
734 words
16 June 2010
Press-Register (Mobile, AL)

Get to Know: Cyndie Wilkins



Teacher balances busy schedule with unicycle riding

Birthplace: Rayne, La.

Hometown: Daphne

Family: Husband, Dan; two children, Catherine Reynolds and Matt Wilkins

Occupation: Teacher

Activities: Camping, nature photography, painting, cooking, kayaking, unicycling


Cyndie Wilkins has many passions. She loves the outdoors, nature photography, painting, cooking, kayaking and church work.

But at Fairhope Middle School, the award-winning family and consumer sciences teacher is best known for her ability to balance teaching life skills with encouraging students to ride unicycles.

Wilkins - who heads up the school’s Unicycle Club - wrote the grant that brought unicycles to FMS’s P.E. program. “I learned to ride a unicycle when I was 10,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins has been riding unicycles - and preaching the gospel of this unique form of exercise - ever since. Along with the Unicycle Club, she rides in parades and school pep rallies.

“I am passionate about teaching nutrition and I love to encourage children to exercise,” she said. “I have traveled throughout the state giving programs on the unicycle. We are the only middle school in the state that has unicycles in its P.E. program.”

The Association of Career Technical Education, of which she serves as the state board secretary, recently named Wilkins the Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher of the Year for Alabama. She also was named FMS Teacher of the Year in 2006.

Wilkins said her semester-long class, which is offered to seventh-graders, teaches students necessary life skills such as cooking, clothes washing, managing a kitchen, mending and sewing, mastering babysitting and even table manners.

“I am very passionate about this,” Wilkins said. “I feel that parents don’t have time to teach children all the stuff they need to know, and by learning, students feel empowered. To me, the class satisfies a huge need.”

Children also write and illustrate a preschool storybook in that unit. The children who make good grades on their booklet read their storybooks to preschoolers.

Wilkins also believes children need to expand their global knowledge and help others around the world who are less fortunate. She encourages students to participate in the Soul of Somonya Project, in which young people from Ghana, Africa, make jewelry and send it to the U.S.

Money raised from the sale of the jewelry sends young people to high school.

“The jewelry shows at our school have raised thousands of dollars to send over there and we have already sent 10 or more young people to high school,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins said this is only her seventh year teaching full-time. She went to work for FMS in 2004 when her son was getting ready to enter college. “The empty nest was hitting me,” she said.

Wilkins had been substitute teaching for years and worked as a home economist for Louisiana Power and Light before her children were born.

She was raised in Rayne, La., and graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where she earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics education with a minor in preschool education. “I was going to be an art teacher,” she said.

She later decided to follow in her mother’s, Tez Guidry, footsteps.

“My mother lives in Fairhope and was a home economics teacher,” she said. “She encouraged me. Now, she is 84. She comes and helps me at school some days, especially during the sewing unit. I am so blessed to still have her in my life.”

Wilkins also sponsors the Family Career and Community Leaders of America Club.

Outside of school, she enjoys spending time at her family’s camp on the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, kayaking, shooting nature photography; painting and she recently wrote a cookbook titled “From LA to L.A. From Louisiana to Lower Alabama.”

“I started out just writing it for my children, typing favorite family recipes,” she said. “Then it just got bigger and bigger.”

Wilkins also is an alumnus of Chi Omega Sorority; she has acted in plays, done church work and is a life member of the Junior Auxiliary of the Eastern Shore.

“I have just dabbled in everything,” she said. “I love life. I love the Lord. I have a passion about everything that I do.”

Even with just one wheel, you can get cited, unicyclist finds 360
Pam LeBlanc
21 June 2010
Austin American-Statesman
© 2010 Austin American Statesman. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All Rights Reserved.

Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-StatesmaN

A.J. Greig rides his unicycle in a wide variety of places; it’s been his main way of getting around for 10 years.

A.J. Greig might be the only guy in Austin who’s not angry about getting a ticket for running a red light.

Greig, 34, was riding his unicycle home about 10:30 p.m. Thursday when he succumbed to temptation and rolled through a red light at South Congress Avenue and Elizabeth Street.

He knows what he did was wrong, and inherently dangerous. He’s been using a unicycle as his main mode of transportation for most of the past 10 years.

“I’ve been working very diligently on still stands, so if I come to a light, I can rock back and forth until the light changes,” he says. “I know this sounds stupid, but that’s the only light I didn’t stop at.”

“He nailed me,” Greig says. “I don’t know why I didn’t stop. I’m absolutely not mad at (the police); they were just doing their job.”

Greig says the police officer told him all traffic offenders have to be treated equally, whether they’re in cars or on bicycles - or even unicycles.

“When he said that, I was beaming,” Greig says. “I was so excited to be considered just another cyclist.”

That made the ticket - a moving violation with a penalty of $217 - sting a little less. Greig says he is planning to take the new defensive cycling class offered by the Austin Cycling Association. Cyclists who take the class, created in partnership with the Austin Municipal Court, can qualify to have tickets waived.

Shirt ruffles feathers

Lance Armstrong is ticked off about his cover shot on the latest issue of Outside magazine.

The photo shows the Austin cyclist, who will start his bid for his eighth Tour de France victory on July 3, wearing a blue T-shirt that says “38. BFD.”

He’s 38 years old. You can probably figure out what BFD stands for.

Armstrong, it turns out, wasn’t wearing that shirt - the magazine altered the solid-colored shirt he was wearing, apparently without letting the cyclist know.

“Just saw the cover of the new Outside mag w/ yours truly on it. Nice photoshop on a plain T-shirt guys. That’s some lame (expletive),” he Tweeted to his 2.5 million followers on Wednesday.

The magazine does explain in small print that the T-shirt text was added after the fact.

The headline was none too flattering, either: “His age, new rival, the latest scandal: Is this the end for Lance?”

Cellphone Users Too Distracted To Notice Clown On Unicycle

Study Says Most Cellphone Users Are Too Distracted To Notice A Clown On A Unicycle (from http://gizmodo.com/5385315/study-says-most-cellphone-users-are-too-distracted-to-notice-a-clown-on-a-unicycle)

Clowns are scary to some, but apparently they’re invisible to most cellphone users. According to a study involving a unicycle, a clown, and 150 college students, cellphone users were half as likely as others to notice a red-nosed, unicycle rider.

Ira Hyman, Jr., a researcher at Western Washington University sent a student unicycling around campus wearing a clown costume and then asked people who’d walked past if they’d “noticed anything unusual.” The cellphone users were less than half as likely to have noticed, but Hyman speculates that it may not be the technology itself which distracts them, but instead the concentration required to maintain a conversation over that particular medium. Whatever the case, kudos to him for managing to find an excuse to run a study involving a clown. [Live Science]

Send an email to Rosa Golijan, the author of this post, at rgolijan@gizmodo.com.


Here’s a video about Kris Holm’s upcoming participation in the BC Bike Race that was on Global BC, a big news station in British Columbia, last night.

I thought it was a pretty good piece. The part about changing gears on a unicycle was cool. It’s great seeing unicycling on the local news:D

An LA county daily newspaper, the Daily breeze, did a little article on my upcoming 100 mile uni-century that I’m doing for the ACS.

As usual for the press, there are a few misquotes and stuff they just made up, (I never mentioned the circus! :roll_eyes: ) but I guess that’s par for the course. The picture the photographer took, caught me in the air, reaching down to grab my tire for effect. It also shows the grimace on my face in that split second when I was in the “moment”, and it’s pretty bad, lol! :stuck_out_tongue:

He had also taken some 36er shots, which I was expecting them to use, since that’s what I’ll be riding on my century.
This is a link to the online version; the actual newspaper article is basically the same. :slight_smile:


More city riders get into the balancing act - Unicycle gains popularity
By Geoff Kirbyson
12 July 2010
Winnipeg Free Press

If you’re walking around The Forks, the Exchange District, or even the University of Manitoba and see cyclists bounding around on one wheel, rest assured the circus is no longer in town.

Unicycles, long the domain of jugglers and carnies, are slowly edging their way towards the mainstream – or at least away from the outermost points of cycling’s fringe.

Olympia Cycle and Ski has sold about 30 unicycles over the past 12 months – mostly to 15- to 25-year-olds – double what the store sold during the previous year.

Liam Mohan, one of the shop’s mechanics, said most unicyclists you see around town make it look easy because they’ve put in countless hours of practice. Getting your body weight balanced and riding without the benefit of handlebars is trickier than it looks. “Just because you can ride a bike doesn’t mean you can ride a unicycle. You can expect to spend a couple of hours just learning how to mount it without using a wall to get started. That’s the biggest thing.”

Mohan said starter models sell for about $160. “Even if you’re not doing jumps, a lot of your body weight is on the pedals and the cranks so you want that to be strong,” he said.

Some unicyclists pedal to work, but the highest-profile ones prefer doing “trials” – jumping up and riding down stairs, picnic tables, large boulders and public fountains or any terrain that even the hardiest of mountain bikers would avoid.

Mike Branconnier, a letter carrier by day, has been riding a unicycle for nine years after getting one for free while buying mountain bikes.

He said they’re ideal for people who aren’t big on team sports. "When you’re on your unicycle, it’s just you and your machine. It’s about slowing down your breathing. You’ve got to stay calm and not second-guess your machine. It’s so simple, no gears and no brakes. The possibilities are only defined by your fears. You’ve got to give 'er.

“A lot of things I’ve tried on my unicycle are now routine. The first time you’re sitting at the top of the stairs at the legislative building, wondering, ‘can I do this?’ Then after you do it, you look for the next challenge, a steeper staircase or a larger obstacle. It’s you, a wheel and a seat. There’s something really pure about it.”

Branconnier likes to go places where people can see him, not so much to show off – OK, maybe a little bit – but so he can increase the sport’s exposure.

“I try to be as big an ambassador as I can without coming off cocky.”

Tristan Geisel, another unicycling enthusiast, will often ride around Olympia’s shop while helping customers. “We get lots of customers who come in and buy unicycles after they see me riding,” he said.


On the move

Unicyclists were allowed to participate for the first time in the B.C. Bike Race, a seven-day mountain bike stage race that wrapped up last week. Last year, they were allowed to enter the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, a more than 4,400-kilometre event that runs from Banff, Alta., to Mexico.

Unicycling isn’t popular enough to merit any sanctioned events on its own, but that could change if it catches on with a sufficient number of riders, said Greg Mathieu, chief executive officer of the Canadian Cycling Association.

“You never know where things are going to go. In Europe, there’s a group that plays a derivative of soccer on bikes,” he said.

“You push [the button] with your heel and push it through”, says Kris, and demonstrates the same. Isn’t that different from Florian’s recommendation to kick the button in with your heel? Florian warned against letting your heel ‘rub’ the button in - it could bend the shift shaft (I like this word). Or maybe that advice is obsolete with the new generation’s rounder buttons and the sturdier shift shaft? Regardless, I would like to kick because it gives a more positive indication of when you have shifted gears.

Catching the button with your heel seems to be the most solid way to shift, and I’ve not had a problem with it in terms of damaging the shifter rod, given the rounder button and sturdier shift shaft. Usually I try first with my heel, and if I think I missed it, I angle my ankle inwards to try to push it it with the inside of my ankle. The latter definitely works best with over-the-ankle shoes.

Yeah!!! Go Kris! :smiley:

Here’s a local article (Times Union, Albany, NY, US), which came from my riding the Black Fly Challenge. At the newspaper link, there are also a few pictures.

Here’s the text. It comes on a bit too “anti-biker” for me, but what the heck.

Big wheel keeps on turning

First published in print: Thursday, July 15, 2010
You’ve got two wheels on that bike, Lance. No excuses.

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You and all the other riders in that grueling, 20-stage race up the Pyrenees and through cobblestone streets are no Steve Relles.

Who? No, he’s not part of the Tour.

He’s a guy from Delmar who pedaled his unicycle up Whiteface Mountain – eight miles and a 3,500-foot climb – legs cranking as he tried to manage another revolution on just one wheel. He’d be the guy who, when he placed next to last in his first Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race in 2005, crossed the finish line and saw a mob of people who’d completed the race on two wheels, cheering and honking horns.

It took him a smidge less than two hours to become the first person to ride the course on a unicycle. He has competed in the race four more times since, and sliced his time to 1:15. Now, the 47-year-old finishes only three-quarters of the way back in the pack, which means a bunch of guys with an extra wheel to work with can’t keep up.

That’s badass, Lance.

You think you’ve got a strong core? It’s an apple core compared to Relles, who doesn’t even have the advantage of coasting down hills. Instead, he’s got to lightly apply the brake installed on his unicycle and use his legs to keep the pedals from spinning out of control. Essentially, he’s holding the bike back for the entire descent while you’re cruising at top speed taking it easy.

The unicycling community is a small one for a reason. Any middle-aged guy with the money to blow on a bike can shimmy into some Spandex and pretend he’s you on the nearest stretch of two-lane. But a unicycle accepts no imitators.

“You can’t be a poser,” Relles says.

He started riding after he hurt himself playing ultimate Frisbee and needed to have anterior-cruciate ligament surgery. Biking is a good post-surgery exercise, he figured, and he did mountain and road bike for fun. But two wheels didn’t strike him as much of a challenge, and the one-time computer programer does admit to having a geeky streak. He already loved to juggle and thought he’d look even cooler doing it on a unicycle, so he bought a one-wheeler off eBay.

The stay-at-home dad of two and owner of the Delmar Dog Butler, a dog waste removal business (yes, a professional pooper scooper), then spent an hour a day out in his driveway, perched on top of a unicycle and leaning on his car for support.

Learning to ride a unicycle isn’t an intellectual thing. You can’t just think about what you need to do and do it, how you need to adjust when it’s leaning right by turning the wheel to the right and finding your center again. It needs to become part of your muscle memory, an instinctual thing, before you can really ride.

The neighborhood kids watched Relles fall a bunch of times, then fall so hard he cracked his helmet and then not fall so much. It took three weeks of daily practice before he could ride smoothly down the street.

He does still suffer the usual jokes, shouted out car windows like they’re novel. Lots of, “You lost your other wheel,” and, “Hey, you only have half a bike.”

But on the trails, even if he’s leaving them in his wake on the hills, bikers look up long enough to bow down.

“We’re very welcomed by the mountain bikers,” Relles says, the “we” meaning he and Albany unicycling friends Roland Kays and Perry Woodin. “They think we’re the greatest thing. They think that what we’re doing is nearly impossible.”

Relles was hooked immediately on the sport, loving the way it made him feel like he was flying (even if he can’t safely ride any faster than someone can run) and enjoying the fact that it was so blasted hard.

His wife, Rose Duhan, who compares to the “Field of Dreams” wife when it comes to indulging her husband’s quirky passion, says unicycling just fits him.

“It combines his two favorite things,” she says. “Athleticism and exhibitionism.”

Besides, as mid-life crises go, this one is pretty tame. She doesn’t have to wonder where her husband is at night. He’s out in the driveway, tooling around on one wheel.

So when Relles said he and a couple other friends won a contest that meant they’d be unicycling the width of Panama – overgrown jungle paths and all – she said to have a great trip.

Same went for the 77-mile charity ride, and the recent Black Fly Challenge in Indian Lake where he left 30 bicyclists in the dust. (Chumps.)

There’s something about being the first to do something that makes it special. Skiers love the first descents. Rock climbers love the first ascents.

And you were the first to win the Tour seven times, Lance, so you probably get what it feels like to cross the finish line a pioneer.

Even if it was – yawn – on two wheels.

Jennifer Gish can be reached at 454-5089 or jgish@timesunion.com. Friend her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenniferGishwriter.

Great write-up Steveyo! :slight_smile:

Thanks, UniShark!

And I didn’t realize but there’s a teeny link to a video.

Video loads for a long time, displaying a still. At some point the vid seems to have been fully loaded. But the “play” button doesn’t work.

Edit: now I have “The video you are trying to watch is currently unavailable. Please check back soon.”
Probably “not too soon” is better, everybody wants to see it :slight_smile: