(Urban) Cokering the day away...

Yesterday was a cool, breezy day in Seattle…one of those days that feels more like September than June. Five of the Seattle Area Riders—Jeff Sloan, John Childs, Greg Harper, Pete Perron, and I—used the occasion to do some casual urban cokering, taking in some city streets, stop lights, people hazards, parks, bridge crossings, lots of hills, and some expansive views of Puget Sound and downtown Seattle.

I’ve uploaded some pics and video clips to my Misc. Seattle Riding Club gallery on unicyclist.com. They start near the bottom of Page 3, here .

The ride started at Gasworks Park, better known in uni circles for its trials scenes in Universe 1 and 2, but also located right on the Burke-Gilman bike trail. From Gasworks, we rode along the B-G trail into downtown Fremont, and crossed the boat canal via the Fremont Bridge. From there we followed the water up to Ballard and under the Ballard Bridge, cutting through the Salmon Bay marina where many of the local fishing boats are docked. We continued along the water to the Ballard Locks where we climbed a REALLY steep hill to get up into the Magnolia section of the city. This hill climbs sharply up a neighborhood driveway, then continues climbing across a narrow, bumpy wooden footbridge over the railroad tracks, then takes a sharp uphill left onto a final steep section of sidewalk. It’s a hit or miss affair. Harper, Jeff, and JC all made it, and Pete also had a personal best. The sharp left took me out, so I’m now batting .500 on this hill. I made it the only other time I tried it, despite attempts at the time by JC to take me out.

From there, we ambled along Government Way to Discovery Park, where we had another long climb to the now-abandoned Fort Lawton, which sits atop a big hill overlooking Puget Sound. Great views here, and visually interesting riding past the old abandoned Navy buildings. From there we cut down to Magnolia Blvd, where we wound our way leisurely through the very high rent district–decreasing property values as we went–and around the point of land above Puget Sound and Elliot Bay. Along this section, Harper decided to try cokering on top of a skinny concrete rail separating the bike lane and car lane on a narrow bridge. After a false start or two he took off and got in more than the required “three pedal revolutions” before landing the 2-foot plus drop back to the pavement (see video). From here, a long descent across the Magnolia Bridge brought us back down to sea level in the valley between Magnolia and Queen Anne. John Childs was ostensibly in charge at this point, and we gave him the choice between taking a route with no hills and more traffic, or a very steep hill and less traffic. This led to the “opportunity” to climb the Dravus Street hill as our final obstacle on our way back to Fremont.

For a map view of the area we rode, click here. Clicking on the satellite link gives a decent aerial photo of the area as well, and lets you zoom in on the Locks, Gasworks Park, etc.

For me, one of the highlights of the day—along with trying to follow JC up some of the steeper hills in the city—was watching Harper play on his Coker as if it was a 24”. He was riding skinnies, doing still stands and drops, and riding backwards and idling…all skills that still elude me on the 36”. There is some good video evidence in the gallery link above. A second highlight was being able to teach Jeff firsthand the meaning of my signature line. He was tailgating, and now he knows better :).

Looks like fun was had by all! My favorite part was the “rolling crank grab”. I giggled out loud. Harper, you look mahvelous. Really nice controlled drop, idle and backwards stuff. I forget to think about the coker as something other than a distance machine. Thanks for the inspiring video!


What a fun ride. I did all that and then racked my shin up at work on the lip of an aluminum, interlocking floorboard today. Work sucks and is dangerous. I raised a huge, eight inch long hematoma and a cut that length through my jeans. My jeans were, of course, uninjured. What good are they? I need 661’s at work.

The rolling crank grab was at a natural height for the bench. The problem is that the pedal pins stuck in the wood and I couldn’t back out of it. That would have made for an interesting stunt. A rolling crank grab to reverse back-out.

Jeff and I chased each other on curbs and had plenty of spills as we wedged our tires between lawns and curbs. Lots of slaloming opportunities on that ride, too.

Thanks for the write-up, Tom.



Either you all are not very good, or cokers are really really hard.

Thanks for sharing your pics. Impressive to see the Coker clips.

…looked like a fun day in Seattle.

I think I’ll vote for option #1; we are all not very good. Cokers are clearly not really, really hard because they break.

hmm harper how tall are cause you make that coker look more like a 28…


here u go

Great pics. It makes me wish I had some friends.

Now I know what some of you guys look like. Haper looks like a mis directed old hippy with too much time on his hands. He should be learning lawn bowls instead of unicycling!

Keep it up Harper, your an inspiration.



Who’s Haper? What’s a hippy? Lawn bowling sounds too rough for me, I’ll stick to safe unicycling.

There are alot of Aussie riders out there. None in your area? You didn’t specify your location. Maybe Andrew Carter is your next door neighbor.

Fun pics and nice riding, especially the guy who has the wimpy leg and tough jeans. I look forward to seeing you work out a big finish for the rolling pedal grab.


Sounds like a really great ride!

It must be awesome to have a pack full of Cokers to tear up the City like that… almost makes me want to move to Seattle to be amongst the SARS - or at least visit, anyway!

(you can move to NY from anywhere in the world and feel at home… but if you’re from NY, you feel a bit displaced anywhere else!)

Great stuff, Harper! I love playing around on the City landscape… especially elevated skinnies like the one you rode on that bridge.

I did observe that the surface of that skinny wasn’t flat… it was slightly triangular, or pitched up in the center. I have ridden along those exact type of skinnies with that same surface and it does seem to a bit trickier. I don’t know if it’s just psychological or what, but that minor amount of pitch seemed to make a difference.

I, too, want to die riding… :sunglasses:

Looks like a good time!

Well certainly we pale in comparison to you… And to make it worse, we’re not half as polite. :roll_eyes:

Lawn bowls. That what people our age did before the postmodern baby boomers turned up.


Andrew lives about 2000Kms north of me. He is a great rider. I live in the country so riders are few and far between, especially Coker riders. I will have some 36 QU-AX for sale next month so hopefully increase the big wheel rider numbers.

The Australian Unicycle Society is holding the Uninats next month but I cannot make it so will miss a great chance. I do all my riding alone except when I organised a Muniuni Weekend.


Ahhh…my dreams of riding with you guys are even more frequent now… I can’t wait until I get my Coker and then I might be able to go on a little ride with you guys!