Unicycle History

Here is a page that I ran across tonight, with an interesting article from


The broken-framed bikes would have been high-wheel pennyfarthing units of
course. “Both boys have tried saddles, and have discarded them, preferring to
stand on the pedals.” This probably means that they tried using the saddle on
the remaining part of the frame still attached to the front end of the bike,
which wouldn’t have worked very well, as the saddle would not have been
attached rigidly to the fork and would have swung freely to either side. So
they most likely were standing on the pedals and hanging on to the handlebars
instead, sort of like riding seat-out-front. Three and a half miles over the
roads of the period, riding a saddleless 48- or 50-inch uni with a hard tire,
would be quite a challenge I think. “Their performances are considered
remarkable here, and, in the present state of one-wheel riding, should, I
think, be placed on record.” This seems to indicate that the unicycle concept
was already known at the time, but that few people were doing it competently

One can only imagine what kinds of comments they got from onlookers back then.
“What happened to your other wheel?” would actually be a legitimate question in
this case, though…

The home page (English version) is here:


Get to the article through the “historic pennyfarthings / Articels (sic)”
links. I hope to own one of their highwheelers one day.


  • Another Joe in MN
    Level 2 and holding

There’s some good oics in Sebastian Hoher’s book- “Unicycling from beginner to expert” of uni’s made from penny farthings.

A lot of them seemed to go for handlebars rather than saddles.

“rides successfully up and down a curb measuring between five and six inches.”

the first recorded drop in unicycle history!