Unicycle as transport - a personal note

This morning I had to drop my car off for an oil change and other, hopefully, minor adjustments. As my wife is not feeling well so couldn’t accompany me in our other car (an even bigger wreck) and I didn’t want to fork out 5 bucks for a cab I thought I’d do what I normally do and walk the mile and a quarter back.

Instead, however, I decided to bring along my 24" Schwinn and see if I could ride back. The route has two rather steep hills both up and down and it always had struck me that I wouldn’t be able to navigate them on a unicycle, what with my not being in the best of condition and all.

Well what do you know? I rode the entire way back without a single dismount and before even having a cup of coffee. I realize that this would not be particularly challenging for many here, but I was quite amazed and pleased that I was able to do it. I was particularly surprised at how easy it is, with just a bit of perserverance, to chug uphill for longish distances.

Fortunately there isn’t that much traffic along these streets at 6:00 AM. I passed a couple of dog walkers who ignored me (the dogs, too, fortunately), several police cruisers who also ignored me (the path passes by the police station) and a few cars, one of which honked at me, it seemed, in a friendly manner.

I believe this is the first time in my adult life that I have used any of my unicycles for the purpose of getting from one place to another and not as pure entertainment.

This experience has been a real eye opener for me and I at least anticipate that I wont be so reluctant to hop on the uni to ride the 2 miles (there and back) to the supermarket to pick up a quart of milk.

What a great way to start out a day!

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Sounds good.

Round where I live, I’d be burned as a witch, murdered by rampaging 12 year olds, or have the unicycle stolen whislt I was paying for the milk. Possibly all three.

(Are these the western values of which I’ve heard so much recently?)

My wife and daughter are actually direct descendants of a woman who was hanged as a witch in Salem, Mass. There is no clear evidence that unicycling was considered a cause of her malevolence.

Don’t really consider this one to be a real problem around these parts.

This is something I wonder about. Where I live kids still often leave their bikes outside of stores while they are inside. Grocery stores, pizzerias, etc, not all of which afford a good view outside while one is inside. I wonder if a unicycle would be afforded equal status, given how easily one can be thrown in the trunk of a car?

That would be a bit of bad luck.

Mike, I don’t ride nearly as much as you do by a longshot, but you seem to have, or at least report, frequent encounters that are unpleasant with the non-unicycling populace. Since you seem to continue riding undaunted, all I can say is, yes people are assholes, but what would we do without each other?

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Re: Unicycle as transport - a personal note

> This morning I had to drop my car of for an oil change and other,
> hopefully, minor adjustments.

I’ve used my Coker a couple of times for transport during car repairs.
The first time, the engineer expressed no surprise at all when I hauled
it out of the car, and said “I’ve got one of those”. Small world.

I freqently go to the chippy, cashpoint, chez Wiggins or whatever on
one wheel. So much quicker than walking, so much healthier and greener
than driving. It took me ages to get over that curious embarrassment of
being seen riding in public, but once I did… It’s quite liberating really.
Christmas shopping was tricky - not much room for prezzies…

You get used to the traffic. Most cars give you plenty of room, and those
that don’t will likely drive to see their maker soon enough. :slight_smile:

Arnold the Aardvark

10th British Unicycle Convention
25-27 April 2003
Wolverley High School, Kidderminster

Re: Re: Unicycle as transport - a personal note

I’m on the short side, 5’4" and I find freemounting the Coker under any but the most ideal circumstances, to be quite difficult. On nice flat ground I hit 75% of my mounts, but at least 75% have me pedaling 10 or more feet off in another direction before heading back in the direction I intended. On non-flat ground I can be as low as 10% with the mounting.

This is why I really want to sell the beast and get a 28" or perhaps 29"er. Something I will be able to more easily mount and control, but which is bigger than the 24"er which is fine for short trips, but wont do for multi-mile outings.

I’d plan on nothing more than can comfortably fit in a knapsack.

In my limited experience, that does seem to be the case.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Oh Hell

Well the bad news is that the car needs a fair amount of work: brakes, struts, tires. Yikes!

The good news is that I didn’t have it to get to lunch.

So, I whipped out the trusty Schwinn and headed off the mile or so to get some take out Chinese food.

The route is fairly flat relative to my morning ride. Some gradual inclines but nothing severe. It is however a fairly chopped up road as there is a new development going up and they’ve done quite a bid of damage. Lots of potholes to avoid and rough bumpy pavement. There is also quite a bit of traffic on this street as it leads to one of our major local roads.

Pretty much though it was smooth going. No UPDs and all the cars did give me plenty of space. I cross an overpass above the Garden State Parkway one of two major state highways and wonder what the cars below think to see a unicyclist riding by. I could see the expression on many passing me on the road I was traveling and it’s quite amusing. On this trip no honks.

This road also passes a middle school (12 -14 year olds) and although it was lunchtime no one was around.

I’ll just have to telecommute more and uni to lunch. What a blast.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

I actually had a unicycle stolen while I was in a grocery store. At my university, I never lock it up; in five years, I’ve never had it stolen or messed with or anything like that. But I rode it to the store one time (to get milk), and when I came out, it was gone. Fortunately, it was a starter uni which was already falling apart, and it gave me a good reason to upgrade, but it’s very annoying to get your uni stolen. Who would do such a thing? I could understand if it were worth something like a bike, or something they could ride. But I bet they just stole it to be mean.
So now I carry a bike lock with me (one of those flexible cord types). I lock the wheel up, so if someone really wanted to, they could still steal the frame. But it keeps honest people honest, and lazy crooks honest as well.

My uni’s only utilitarian trip was to get some take out Chinese food. The route is short and level, some potholes aside, but at least it was something.

I suppose my biggest obstacle to riding on a regular basis is free-mounting. I’ve been horrible lately, using the trunk of my car or any nearby curb to help me mount. I’m hoping to get in alot of practice this season, but my time may be limited now that I’m actually buying a rig with two-wheels (sadly, they’re not stacked; both of those wheels will be touching the ground).

As one who spends way too little time working on tricks and neglects many aspects of unicycling I would prefer to spend time on, I will nonetheless say this without equivocation: If you learn nothing else besides riding forward, you must learn to freemount. A few one hour sessions should be all it takes. It is part of the basic, fundamental vocabulary of unicycling.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

And, Raphael, you must learn to freemount that giraffe. It’s a gas running errands on a giraffe, even if on occassion you must use a handy fence or telephone pole.

Please stop this nasty rumor that I can’t freemount my giraffe. I can freemount a 5’ Giraffe!

I will not ride it in traffic, however,

But perhaps when I’m over 50, my kid is grown and out of the house and my life is mostly over anyway, I wont be so shy about that either. :wink:

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Five feet is HARDLY a giraffe.

Ah, yes, I had forgotten why I liked it so much.

Typical! Denigrate someone for being honest and accurate. :angry:


Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Re: Unicycle as transport - a personal note

On Wed, 2 Apr 2003 13:11:50 -0600, JJuggle
<JJuggle.l9vrn@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>But perhaps when I’m over 50, my kid is grown and out of the house and
>my life is mostly over anyway
Oh the inconsiderate perspective of da young ones these days :slight_smile:
Wait till you get older, boy!


On Wed, 2 Apr 2003 13:03:15 -0600, JJuggle
<JJuggle.l9vjc@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote (in another post):

>you must learn to freemount. A few one hour
>sessions should be all it takes.
I agree with the advice, but the estimate of ‘a few one hour sessions’
may be very optimistic. I learned riding in five weeks but could only
freemount after half a year. And that was a LOT of hours!

I’m still a weak freemounter but my ‘normal’ freemount is at least

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

"Before Ontario’s provincial parliament buildings opened in 1896, that site was home to the University Lunatic Asylum. "

More observations

A couple of other observations about using a unicycle as transportation upon riding to retrieve my car:

  1. Road kill passed by slowly as one struggles uphill has a reality to it not experienced when passing it by car

  2. All those bumps and rough spots in the road one rides around when unicycling in open recreational spaces, don’t, as it turns out, present much of an impediment when you’re determined not to UPD because you actually are trying to get somewhere

  3. Commuters returning home from work view unicyclists that they have to avoid as more of a nusance than an interesting curiousity

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Keep it up! This is how you get good. I used to do five mile runs around the university of Kentucky on a regular basis, and it was a lot of fun. Civilians are pretty nice people most of the time.
Throw some longer cranks on the Coker and you will find freemounting easier, then go back to the shorter ones when you want the tooth cracking speed again. Party On! carjug

I use my unicycle for transport almost daily. I ride less in the winter but I’ve ridden in -15C a few times. I go to work, the grocery store and I’ve even done the 45 minutes each way to Costco. Right now I’ve got a 20 inch Kris Holm trials, although I used to do it all on an old Schwinn.


I like to ride my uni to school. It’s quite fun… alot of people walk to school and see me. They always laugh at me or greet me, or sometimes there’s an adult who thinks I’m “cute”. Hehe. The ride is about 2 miles and my mom walks with me, but it’s alot of fun. And then when i get to class people say they saw me and they’re like “Hey Jason! I saw you unicycling today! That was so cool!”. Sometimes at the end of school I let some people try to ride it. Although they never have any success ;). Most of the time they fall over before they can touch the pedal… well anyway, about the first post, that’s cool. I think it’d be funny to see a grown-up riding a unicycle while I’m on one too. It’s like, “Nice wheels–I mean wheel.” Hehe…

I ride my uni everywhere - I dont walk places anymore.
I live about 2km from my university, and often have multiple lectures in a day so I ride up and back.
I ride into the town as well (I live between town and university)…
Then if Im feeling up to it i go for a ‘pseudp muni’ - It involves riding around the back of the uni, or out into the bush, to go for a muni ride…these usually go for about two hours.

Preach it, Harper!!!

Mr. Lasar, did you say you’d be getting rid of your Coker?