unicycling in NZ news

For the first time New Zealand offroad unicycling made it onto the national news scene.

We had a 3 minute clip on national TV last night covering Ken’s solo 24 hour offroad ride at the Cateye Moonride MTB race.

There is also a good article in this morning’s New Zealand herald:


That’s great news. Congratulations on your 12hr / 24hr effort. You did the 12hr solo didn’t you? Have you got any photos of the events yet?

Did any of your non-unicycling friends notice you on TV?


Peter and Tony,

See if you can get a copy of tomorrows Dominion Post- they came around and interviewed me again today at work. I was knackered enough as it was but they made me ride around the hospital and then took pics of me jumping up and down in front of this kid in my ward. Boy my bum hurts.


p/s My pics will be up real soon…just got to drop them off at the photo shop- I need a digital camera in future.

Jez has some pics on his website already:
Jez’s photos

Congratulations, both for the race and the excellent article- it’s good to see that the media can take it seriously and portray you as atheletes rather than entertainers.
Also nice to see that there was a bit of fire poi (last set of Jez’s photos)

Guys, I, too salute you for your excellent achievements. Very fine.

I must, however, differ in the view that the article was as good as some others I’ve seen.

In the first 7 paragraphs you’ve got 6 mentions of the word “clown” (or one of it’s other forms). All are protestations of what you are not. Anyone reading up to that point and not beyond would think that you have something to prove, rather than that you have just proved something.

Looking back to the Boston Globe article on Ben Plotkin-Swing and Joey Cohn there is only one mention of the word “clown” (one too many in my opinion) in a much longer piece.

My points being:

a) by bringing up the clown thing you put yourself on the defensive
b) you set yourself up in opposition to another category of unicyclist (clowns and other entertainers who use unicycles in their performances) which is not good for the activity of unicycling as a whole, i.e. in order to make yourself look good, you try to make other unicyclists look bad (perhaps not your intent, but what is an inevitable by-product)
c) you put the imagery of clowning back into the mind of the reader, which is clearly not your intention

Question: Do you really believe that there are no clowns out there who are physically fit enough to engage in MUni and perhaps even some who do in their spare time?

I’m sure that journalists more than likely bring the clown thing up themselves and force the issue. The proper response, in my opinion, is not to protest the comparision by rather to matter of factly state that clowns use unicycles for one purpose and we, the off-road, trials type, ride them for another different purpose and let the articles’ description of you and your achievements speak for themselves.

Anyway, sorry to beat this dead horse, but it keeps getting exhumed.

Once again, great riding guys.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

good points about the clown thing, the local paper came to talk to me a couple of days ago and I was in a dilema about how much to stress that Muni was nothing to do with the circus.
On the one hand we know that, for whatever reason, the public associate all unicycling with clowns/entertainment, on the other, as jjuggle points out, to go on about it looks defensive.
I erred on the side of caution and stuck to facts about wheel sizes and riding trails etc, so it’ll be interesting to see what the article is like.
Another thing to consider is how clowns feel about this i.e. I do believe that true clowns like to distance themselves from people who merely dress as clowns.
So someone who has devoted a great deal of his/her time to learning the art of clowning, feels a bit annoyed when someone else buys a cliched ‘clown costume’ does a bit of balloon modeling, and is identifed by the public as a clown.

a nice analogy might even sneak into the article
i’m thinking in terms of beethoven and jerry lee lewis both using pianos

more suggestions?

Walker Evans and Diane Arbus both used cameras.

Eliot Ness and Al Capone both used guns.

Marilyn Monroe and J Edgar Hoover both wore womens’ clothes to look beautiful.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Here’s another article on our weekend expoits:


And also in my local Wellington Newspäper:
Page 3 Dominion Post

I’m a bit embarrassed about that world record thingee. I never insisted on it being the case but the media seem to have latched on to this idea. There’s no way of having an official off-road record anyway since every off-road course is different and it’s hard to define exactly what is meant by off-road. This record would quite easily be broken on an easier course. But I guess if it makes the news it’s good for our sport. Hopefully one day we will have enough Municyclists to run our own 24hr event!


Although it does sound like your course was a bit harder than the Red Bull course which I did about 122km on, so you probably did a fair bit better.

For off road records, I guess records on particular courses make most sense, in the UK the South Downs Way in a day ride would be good as no-one has done it at all yet. Loads of people do it on bikes and it’s been done by runners, but it’s a hard ride, 100 miles of off road, about 10,000 feet of climbing (and the same of descending), in the dry the riding is not too technical, there’s some steep uphills and downhills and some sections are on the upper boundary of what is cokerable, but a coker or a 29er are definately the tools for the job. It’s basically a killer because it’s constantly undulating rather than having one nice big climb and lots of descent.


dont be
yours was an awesome effort

journalists have to have certain elements in a story to keep the editor happy
there must be an entry point and an angle and ‘voices’ and all sorts of weird things (the good woman’s just started at a new newspaper so i’m picking this up as she goes along)
the chance to drop ‘world record’ in an article is just way to good for them to pass up and trying to understand the intricacies of different courses isn’t part of their job description

besides, in x-country running they don’t make allowances for hilly or less-hilly courses, the world record is the world record