Unicycles in New Zealand

Anybody know these folks?

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Up to speed on one wheel.

By Ellen Read.
420 words
17 October 2003
New Zealand Herald
© 2003 The New Zealand Herald

When the Allis boys wanted to learn to ride unicycles last summer, frustration at the difficulty in finding one prompted the family to set up its own unicycle-selling business.

Ten months later, three of the boys, aged between 9 and 14, are directors and shareholders in the home-based online business UNICycle Shop NZ, with parents Margaret and David Allis.

“We thought the unicycles were great for them over Christmas,” David Allis said.

“They weren’t stuck inside in front of computers, and we thought it would be good to teach them something about business too.”

Starting a business was a leap in the dark for Margaret and David, who live in Devonport on the North Shore.

But they knew they were on to a good idea, and thought learning the process with their children would be fun.

The original plan to import the bikes was revised to buying them from a wholesale importer and sticking to the selling side of the business.

The company buys from the importer, stores the unicycles and sells them via its website.

“Scooters and skateboards have been a craze, so we think unicycles could be the next big thing,” David said.

Most of the Allis family have taken to the single-wheel cycles.

Youngest son Luke, 5, also rides, and mum and dad are learning. Daughter Amelia, 16, is not involved. The couple have another daughter, Esther, aged 1.

David said that judging from reactions as the family ride to nearby Narrowneck Beach, the unicycles were a source of delight to spectators.

About half the company’s 30 sales have come from people seeing them out on their cycles.

They are also working on getting schools to try unicycling.

Students at schools in Paparoa and Opua, in Northland, have learned how to ride unicycles and do tricks on them.

“Our goal is to expand the market,” David said.

A former mechanical engineer, who used to work for Fisher and Paykel, he now has a raft of occupations, including being a part-time minister, director of a bible college and helping run an alternative education school and working for the family business.

Son Joseph designed and maintains the website, mum Margaret receives the orders and stock, all the children are involved in unicycle assembly, and David does the accounts.

The aim is for the business to grow to a point where it will pay the boys’ university fees.

ON THE WEB www.unicycleshop.co.nz.

Re: Unicycles in New Zealand

Re: Unicycles in New Zealand

no, but more power to them!

I don’t know them, and I don’t think they made it to the NZUni weekend unless they went undercover.

I think they will have to try to eliminate Unicycle.co.nz if they want to expand their business. How can they compete when their Unicycles are crap compared to Unicycle.co.nz? Watch out Tony and Peter, the Allis boys might come and let down all your Unicycle tires or something like that!

Maybe they haven’t tried drops or jumps yet on their fancy 20" MUni or the 24" regular unicycle. They look quite a much the same as my brandless 20". Not a bad uni at all, but definitely not suitable for drops and jumps. It comes with lasco cranks and plastic pedals. Even the saddle looks the same. I only use it for freestyle trick practicing. I’m thinking of replacing the wheel of it with a Qu-Ax next summer if I can afford it after buying the Qu-Ax for my MUni.

i can understand that the market may be too small to support two outlets of this nature, but if it wasn’t for that ‘start-up’ mentality, unicycle.com may still only be a good idea

the kids may be in for a rough lesson in the competitiveness of the marketplace

Sorry about that quote thing without a reply, I accidentally hit the wrong button and was so tired I didn’t realise what happened, and I forgot to delete it in time.

I did not realise they had new stock. Last night I was too lazy to check their site, and I was basing my reply on the fact they only had crap 20s, 24s, and giraffes the last time I looked. I think their 20" MUni is funny. Why would you want suspension on a 20"? I thought 20s were considered more useful as trials unicycles rather than MUnicycles. At least they are trying to compete though I guess, they are doing a good cheap deal on the october special. It’s either $140 or $150 for a 24" which has a nasty weak axle, which is a good price considering they used to sell them for $180, and most bike shops sell them for more than $180. I now think Unicycleshop.co.nz is trying to sell as many weak-axled-unicycles as they can before people realise they can get the new hardened axle Unicycles relatively cheap from Unicycle.co.nz, with a wider selection to choose from.