I learned to unicycle mostly as a side-effect of learning to juggle. It was
probably early 1986 or so, when I was very active with the University of
Minnesota Jugglers. The club had a few unicycles: a 6’ (20"?) Schwinn, a 24"
Schwinn, and a Cycle Pro. I mostly learned to pedal along using the
one-hand-on-the-wall-of- the-gym technique, and it took me a long time to
learn to turn to the right. About the time I managed that, lots of unicyclists
started showing up at juggling club (Connie Cotter for one), I think mostly
because of the unicycle festival in Minneapolis that summer (or was that
'87?). By the standards of 1987, I think I’m a level three rider, but am now a
level 2 rider (I don’t ride over objects well).
Unfortunately, this has not been a banner year for me – I had a friend buy a
20" Miyata Deluxe for me (I already owned a 24" Miyata Deluxe) that I knew a
bike shop in Boulder, CO had. He was going up to Boulder for the day (I’m ~100
miles from Boulder), and got it for me. I was skiing that day (this was in
January), and had my first bad skiing accident, spraining my right knee. So I
didn’t get to ride my new unicycle until last month!
I have managed to spread unicycling some. Some very old friends of the family
have an eldest daughter that always wanted to learn to unicycle. While in high
school, she had her parents draw up a list of classic American literature that
they figured would round out her knowledge of American authors and literature.
She set to work on it one summer, and got through by September. For her
birthday, and partially in reward, her mother set about attempting to locate a
unicycle for her to ride. I advised on this and, being a Miyata bigot,
strongly recommended a Miyata.
Unfortunately, in 1987, no bicycle dealer in Salt Lake City carried Miyata
unis. A few bicycle dealers attempted to discourage buying a Miyata (“It’d be
too good”), and recommended a Cycle Pro (ugh!!) or a Schwinn. So I bought a
Miyata 20" in Minneapolis and shipped it out. It was apparently a great hit –
she learned to ride within a week. She also discovered that the man next door
had learned to ride 30 years before. (His wife was very surprised, too!)
Harriet is extremely possessive of her unicycle, and has ridden it just about
This last Christmas, I gifted her two younger siblings with a unicycle I saw
advertised on this mailing list; that has been well received, too. (It has
been named “Ethelred” (The Unready).) Last I saw, about a week after I gave
them the 'cycle, the youngest was toodling up and down the street, and the
middle was riding most of the length of their driveway. Fortunately, Mom is
a pretty tolerant type – when the driveway was iced over, practice was in
Next up, getting two of my coworkers who have not ridden for > 10 years
back on unis.
Robert Herndon firstname.lastname@example.org