Unicycle Hire - would you have done it when learning?

A question mostly to those who have learnt recently - would you have been interested/would you still be interested in hiring a unicycle to learn on/try out if such a service existed locally to you?

Before the pandemic period I had been spending some time collecting unicycles and researching venues to start a club for people to learn to ride (in Leeds, UK).

Now this obviously hasn’t happened and isn’t looking like it can happen any time soon, so I’ve been considering what I can do with all of these learner unicycles in the mean time.

There would be some small weekly fee plus a refundable deposit, but it’s not something I’d be looking to make money on, rather just try and get more people learning and riding.

A selection of sizes would be available to hire, so if you were learning you could potentially swap a 20" for something like a 24/26" a few weeks on, then if it was working out for you you could then buy your own.

Has anyone done anything similar either through a club or otherwise?

I asked this elsewhere and there were quite a few comments from people who could ride who’d be keen to hire more expensive munis/big wheels before investing lots of money themselves, but that’s likely not something that I could consider until the number of local riders went from “can count on one hand” to “hundreds”.

I did initially borrow a unicycle from a club to learn (when I was 7 years old). For free on a trust basis, but I guess if it’s cheap enough my parents would have payed a small fee too.
Unfortunately, I think having the club is a much bigger part in getting people onto a unicycle, since it also offers the inspiration to learn in the first place, support while learning, inspiration to progress further etc. It wouldn’t necessarily need to be a formal club, a sufficiently large informal group of unicyclists works too.

I’ve also borrowed Munis (from friends, I guess I’m lucky to have a few in the unicycle community) multiple times before getting my own one. Helped me decide on what I wanted to a certain extend, and also deciding if I wanted to get into Muni in the first place.
I think once you have a large enough group of riders in one area, you wouldn’t need to get ones explicitly to hire them out, here in Berlin if someone is looking for the opportunity to get onto any size uni to try one out, we’ve always found someone who is willing to lend theirs.

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I always have some unicycles to lend to newbies or to travelers from far far away.
When traveling myself I would realy like to be able to rent a unicycle.
I did that once in Moab (though the beast was not very good) and otherwise had to buy a cheap Muni when spending weeks in the US for my work. (that was a good thing … Now that I don’t work there anymore I left it to someone who was willing to learn))
BTW this is an important topic for those who travel for UNICON!

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I think that’s true to an extent, but in the lockdown here in the UK it’s not possible right now, and there has been a massive influx of people buying unicycles to learn as it’s something you can do alone.
Rest assured that I’ll be starting up the club as soon as it’s permitted!

For an event like UNICON, how much do you think people would be prepared to pay for the hire of a top notch unicycle? I could perhaps see it being possible if someone like UDC did it, then sold them at the end of the event for the discount of whatever the person renting it paid.

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I would be interested in trying out strange and unusual unicycles that I don’t necessarily want to own. I wouldn’t mind trying a BC wheel, Huni-rex, ultimate wheel, giraffe or big wheel uni, (36+) and would be willing to pay a bit to do so. Unless you’re located in London, Tokyo or some other megalopolis however I don’t see there being an adequate customer base to make it financially viable however.

Yeah I think unusual unicycles probably works better as club stock rather than hire. I do have some but no plans to offer them for hire.

The thinking at the moment is “those unicycles are sitting unused in my basement”, and “apparently lots of people are learning/want to learn right now so maybe I should loan them out in some manner”.

The monetary part is really because I’d be loaning out to strangers, and to cover costs.

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In Norway the librarys have a service where you can borrow sports equipment for free for 7 days at a time. Bicycles, canoes, skis, sleeping bags, gps, tents, sup, helmet, pretty much everything. They also have unicycles.


Just how libraries should be!

I don’t think we’ll see that any time soon in the UK, but it’s great to see.

I guess the libraries here in Aus just might ask where to store it. But there are tool libraries, so…

I think you’ve misunderstood. COVID means no workshops or in person activities, hence why this thread exists!

But… Things in Australia are largely normal… there might have been 0 cases of community Covid transmission again today (population of approx 25 mill).

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Another example of why Norway is an example for all countries!

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Yep, I am envious. We’re just starting mandatory incoming hotel quarantine (but only from very specific countries) - that’s something Aus has done very well from the start.

So libraries in some places in the UK are used as more than just book hire, but there’s definitely more that could be done.
We do have so called “bike libraries” here in Yorkshire but they’re organised by a local bank rather than libraries and don’t have quite the same accessibility as items from a library do.

Thinking about my situation however, I might approach some local bike shops and see if they would have any interest with helping out in some manner.

I would definitely rent a 32/36-er and a giraffe once to see how it feels.
I think although the customer base isnt that big, neither is the risk of damage to the uni and with it decrease in value (comparing to bikes).

Therefore if you buy some uni’s which for example cost $150 and you rent them for $8 a day, you could have some nice bachelor parties and team building things and with the limited required maintenance you could make it profitable. But to make a living out of it will be a different story…

When renting like a car you shouldn’t get scratches on it or you will have to pay for that. That will become difficult with a uni, especially when first learning or when riding off-road. Everybody UPDs and then the uni clashes on the ground, a few scratches richer. I would rather just buy and not worry about that.

On a second note, before making a choice of buying a new uni, like the other day when I was thinking of getting a huni-rex, it could be great if I could just try it out before making a decision if it is for me.
There aren’t any clubs around here that have a big selection of unis that you can try out.

Definitely the hunirex should be tried first… I would not have bought mine had I known how hard and weird it was to ride. And while the actual price was ok, shipping to Australia very significantly added to the price. Damn heavy unicycle.

Re: giraffes, they locally tend to come up on second hand sites with fair regularity if you don’t mind a bit of a wait. The buy price is not too high second hand, so that’s what I would do.

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Quarantining but only from very specific countries? With only that much detail, that sounds like there are still a lot of holes…
Anyway, here in Australia, I would prefer the quarantining to be away from the major population centres as it appears the quarantine staff (e.g. security guards, drivers) can still easily get it… tough situation.

I managed to try one at the Dutch Championships. It wasn’t very high, one of the smaller ones, but as I sat on and held the fence, I chickened out. A buddy of mine in Germany had one and he broke his foot during one of his trainings and was out for a few months to let his foot heal. Though it could be fun to ride a Giraffe, I don’t see myself ride around town with it or take it to the forest and ride on the cycle-paths there.

True, that’s another tricky part (for the one who is running the unicycle hire) - defining what is normal wear and tear that is covered by the fees, and what is out of the ordinary. A few €/$/£ per renter should be enough to cover the wear on pedals and seat, since he is not looking for profit I don’t think factoring that in will be an issue.
But there will be more people like you that would be worried about that, so you would need to find a way to distinguish normal wear from excessive damage that is pretty clear to reduce those worries. I’ve seen some businesses that rent out sports equipment doing a really good job of showing what is normal wear, and what is too much with pictures beforehand.