video: episode 8, bringing back the i in IUF

During last "I"UF meet I proposed to discontinue the "I"UF and continue within the UCI, as a very serious proposal, not just some provocation. A commitee “Dissolve IUF into UCI” was founded and I promised to put the video at
It turned into a 45 minutes video, with not a single frame of unicycling in it, devided in 5 parts:

Please watch them in order, to see things in the remained timeline. Also because the non-unicyclist interviews are the most interresting.

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That was a very informative watch. Thanks a lot for posting. I don’t really want to say my opinions on it because after watching that they are pretty biased, but I think it is a very good idea. I agree with you, there is no reason to keep this awesome, wonderful sport to ourselves and keep it super underground.


Interesting thoughts, but too much politics for me. I’d rather just ride and enjoy myself than worry about all that.

It was interesting…what what up with this guy?

I’m 100% with you on this Leo. I would love to see unicycling progressed e.g. more funding, bigger events, sponsored riders etc. I do enjoy the personal touch that most unicycling events have and it would be ashame to lose, but I live for the sport I would love to ride professionally.
I think this could be a step in the right directions.

Good Work Leo, a very interesting watch.


P.S. Congratulations on putting John Foss on the spot! :smiley:

A very interesting hour of video stuff about the possible future of unicycling without one unicycle in it !
I recommend it to everyone.

The one on the left or the one on the right? :slight_smile:

We taped the interview in front of the well-lit display window, down the street from Markthalle, the central Unicon location. At that time there was music and dancing in the building, and it was dark! So there were cars, people, unicyclists and that guy passing by.

The IUF awaits a proposal. What was offered at the IUF meeting in Langenthal was, to paraphrase “Dissolve the IUF, because it has done nothing for 20 years” which didn’t go down so well. Certainly the IUF can do more, and better. All it takes is energy, people, the will, etc. We are, perhaps, too focused on Unicons, rulebooks and little else. The Unicycling Society of America has a similar problem. So much I would like both organizations to do, but nobody seems to want to do it.

Most of that can be obtained without the IUF. Funding, for the most part, will come from private corporations (depending on the country). I don’t expect the UCI to lavish much on unicycling if they get no return on their investment. Certainly the UCI (or IUF) does not sponsor riders. That is a business proposition between people or companies that expect to mutually benefit from the sponsorship.

Leo rides professionally. I used to. This is something you need to do on your own, by developing a “product” someone wants to buy. We are entertainers, and I assume you want to do it more from the sport side.

So maybe the sport needs to go somewhere, or move faster, for this to work. The IUF’s model is great for Unicons (every two years at least), but has not been successful for much else. I’m definitely open to new ideas and willing to try things. This UCI thing may have something to it. But will UCI deal directly with us, or do we have to become members of our national cycling unions? Most don’t recognize us. Each country may have to work that out on its own. The IUF should encourage and help with this in any case, but it will be harder for some countries than others. In the meantime, we want to keep having championships.

That he did! By suggesting Unicon 11 (2002) was railroaded by me, the new president, in 2000. To clarify, in 2000 we had exactly one proposal for Unicon 11. The representatives for Japan, Switzerland, Denmark and Australia all spoke excellent English, so there was no problem there. But none of them offered to host a Unicon in 2002.

I stood to gain nothing from having a fourth Unicon hosted in my country, other than the opportunity to drive to it. Hopefully you will believe that I base my decisions on other things. Unicon should visit as many countries as possible, perhaps never being in the same place twice. They just have to be ready. Even the folks in Washington were not 100% sure about doing it in 2002, and many questions remained to be answered.

I don’t think the 2002 location was set in stone at the end of Unicon X in China, it was tentative. We made it tentative because they were the one group that volunteered to host it. Any questions?

In that section of the interview, part of the discussion was edited out, but it was mostly me repeating the above, which is still in the video. The interviewer was fishing for controversy. I think there’s plenty of it out there, but that wasn’t it. Our IUF meetings are public affairs, open to anyone. If we’re in China and 50% of the attendees are American, or otherwise all speak English, good for them. Those meetings are not run purely in English, though we lean too heavily on it. Other languages are welcome.

Last words:
In the omitted part of the interview, the suggestion is made that the other “future” Unicon hosts were ignored or passed over. There is no record of any of them communicating this to the IUF board.

I spent a little bit of time trying to dig up a copy of the minutes from that 2000 meeting. I don’t think I have a copy, but if it exists (there was a problem with getting them from audio tape to paper), our current secretary has it. That should be a matter of public record. I am currently not on the IUF board.

Last words for real (this post):
This is a great discussion. We need to talk more about this stuff and less about the relative merits of 29er vs. Coker (people can look that up). I encourage more discussion about building the sport, promoting it, and how to make it better.

I think there is not other chance then talking English in the meetings and this is not a problem because everybody can speak a little bit English.

I agree with Leo but as John said riders must search by self for there personal sponsors. And I am a bit scared that a big organisation like the UCI don’t care what the unicyclists do, like the BDR (don’t know if it depends on the unicyclists who are involved in the BDR or because the BDR don’t want to do much for unicycling).

I know that anti-US conspiracy theories are currently all the rage, but there have been far more, “international,” officers elected to serve the IUF, Inc. (especially since 1990) than Leo’s taped interviews would lead one to believe. I unsuccessfully tried to post the complete list (complete through UNICON XII in Tokyo, that is) to this thread last night; it is available upon request.

There have only been five different Presidents of the IUF, Inc. In the 20 elections held since the founding, the President has come from the US eight times (one person six times, the other person -the current President - twice); from Israel and Puerto Rico five times; and, from Germany twice.

For those of you who are keeping score, here is the history of the location of UNICON:

UNICON I - Syracuse, New York, USA
UNICON II - Uniondale, New York, USA
UNICON III - Tokyo, Japan
UNICON IV - Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
UNICON V - Hull, Quebec, Canada
UNICON VI - Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
UNICON VII - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
UNICON VII - Surrey, United Kindom
UNICON IX - Bottrop, Germany
UNOCON X - Beijing, People’s Republic of China
UNICON 11 - North Bend, Washington, USA
UNICON XII - Tokyo, Japan
UNICON XIII - Langenthal, Switzerland
UNICON XIV - Denmark
UNICON XV - Australia

The first two UNICONs were organized by the founders of the IUF and were held in New York in the US, near their homes. SInce then, only two UNICONs have been held in the US (three if one counts UNICON IV - which the organizers from Puerto Rico would not); two in Japan; two in Canada; and, one each in Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Germany, China and Switzerland.

Tom Daniels

Wow, that was very interessting.

As you pointed out the situation in Germany. There exists a parallelism between here (in Germany) and the IUF wordlwide. I will explain the situation here with just a few words out of my point of view to the others here to understand the of what i’m saying: Our head organisation in Germany is the BDR (Bund Deutscher Radfahrer) where unicycling is a department of it. The BDR don’t complain much about the unicycling. The BDR has a lot of funds but just a little bit is floating into the unicycling department, what unicyclist get from it is laughable. Another point is the organisation within the unicycling department. There is a president (I don’t know how this person is owning this position but it seems there is no possibility to change it as we grup through all rules we can found on). Further on there are representives for each county (actually 5(?) out of 16 have representetives). This team meets 2 times within the whole year. Communication is a real big problem here in Germany as we have to fight on our own to get some information. There is no official board but rules no one knows about. The BDR also limps the time. They introduced the 1998er skill-level last year, as there are new under development still better for the use here instead of the old ones. And another major problem is that the BDR has only ears for freestylers (well I can’t complain, I’m one) but neither do I respect their development nor I’m uninteressted of other disciplines (as I do, but my focus is on freestyle). Ok I stop here, as well as I could follow this list…

!Before I go on I DON’T compary the BDR with the UCI!

As you read by you might have encountered some similarities between the BDR and the IUF. So, communication is a problem. The website of the IUF is old and outdated. The rulebook commitee is the only place where I can read something new (As I remember correctly). I would happy to read what the IUF concerns next (I better won’t read what the BDR concerns next, as it doesn’t meant to be a good thing :roll_eyes: ).
Another major or at least the most important point is a structured organisation with rules (and stuff) that is passed to every club all over the world. So, I can only talk from Germany, but there exists the IUF rules by the IUF Commitee. And the BDR Rules (That are the IUF from 1998 - there are still present in Germany as well as there are 2 newer versions of it). So we ride after the old rules at nationals and the new rules at internationals - does that make sense? NO! And even if there we would adopt the IUF rules there would be made some changes to make this german rules - absurd (German bureaucracy :/). I don’t know how this is handled in other national organisations (USA, JUA, …). But that can’t be that every country has its own rules and they drift apart in different directions.
So, I don’t judge at the Unicon (I wanted to watch all the freestyle routines). But I participated in the workshop by Connie who presented the judge system that is used at the unicon and was worked out by the IUF commitee. The system was pretty similar to the german system but has defined exactly what to judge. Which points to give for the different areas. I recently talked to somebody who judged under this system at the unicon and that person was highly impressed how exactly a judgement can be measured. He also let me know that there are some little leaks in there but those were forseeable and would be kicked out by further proposals after the unicon (or I hope so - hopefully this is not too naive). In general this system is developed by the IUF so it might tram his way to all national organisations… :]

I have another two examples of the development of different rules in two different disciplines in multiple countries:

  1. New Skill-Levels. There are new skill-levels under development for ~2 years now. I heard of it some weeks before Unicon (they were proposed there by John Foss, would they?). Hey cool, so I talked to Carol (the project leader) and I’m happy to see those. The development is mainly done in the states (as I can derive - maybe I’m wrong but this is what I read). But the development is now covered by more people of other countries.

  2. Hockey rules. In Germany there is the worlds biggest unicycling hockey league. The rules are under development there and the development process is more advanced than the rules in the IUF. (So the hockey player are not part of the BDR, this is why the development there rushes fast and the hockey league grows while the freestylers are damaged by the BDR -_-).

Anyway, these are two examples of 2 ‘projects’ that are not controlled by the IUF and living beside the development of the IUF. So bring them into the IUFs boat that EVERYBODY benefits from that work.

When we treat this project (becoming an olympic sport) which has the blast off at the unicon because of leos proposals. This project consists of many sub-projects and only when they are finished we come closer to our goal. So, the development process should be done on a central place visible to everybody, contribution by everybody, comments and suggestions by everybody and so on (Like the development of an open source software). The right place would be the IUF website. There are enough systems which cover the development of such projects to use it as a webfrontend.

There you go: Bring a lot of people in the boat. Gather the requirements, respect the stakeholders, define projects and get this shitty thing DONE! :smiley:

Sounds to easy as I know what huge efforts are needed for a project with that kind of scope. But I’m happy Leo is on the way to push unicycling.

But for my understanding:

  • UCI
    - IUF - national organisation (USA, JUA, etc.)

Would that be the targeted constallation?

P.S. The IUF should cover all different unicycling disciplines and should have a commitee for each one!

Thanks Leo for considering so much on our sport and putting so much effort in it - go ahead!

PPS: Thanks for reading my initial comments on the seen interview - I think it now takes me longer to write it than to watch the ‘documentary’ g

Ride on

add ons to gossis words:

To be complete in that german things there is to say a bit more.
There are two existing German cycle Federations, the BDR (since the second World War) and the Solidarität (since 1920 or earlier). Both of them keep some unicyclist inside and both of them are registered at the UCI. So at least, the german unicyclist are a official Part of the UCI sinc many many years. The Problem is only that they are not representd by BDR or Solidarität and so the UCI still don’t know that the Unicycle Sports ist a part of the UCI.
The Unicycle Sports they do inside of the Solidarität is also not based on IUF stuff, its independent. Only the BDR do IUF stuff but as gossi wrote under different rules.
So for Germany we can say that it is not an advantage to be a member of the BDR / Solidarität / UCI for the moment.
As we could hear in Leos great interview, the UCI don’t know about unicyclist inside of them. There are still hundreds or thousands a member of UCI.

So after many posts typed and deleted I will try again.

For the last 4 years while I have been active in unicycling, I have seen very little done from the IUF, or the USA (my national orginization) Since these two orginizations are very similar it is often dificult for me to see the difference between where each begins and ends.

It is good to see people’s ideas on more short term goals for the IUF but the major problem that I see, like leo has pointed out is that there are few members that represent an international demographic among the board members of the IUF.

Is UCI the answer to our orginizational problems?
no, while other cyclist are more likely to understand that we are seeking to be recognized as a legitamate sport, We are still concidered by most cyclist to be entertainers and not athleats. While joining the UCI may be a goal down the line we have more importaint matters to deal with of defining what we want out of a national and international union.

My Dream List for the IUF
Set a world wide standard for competition. (rule book)
Help national orginizations hold events
other basic event coordination.

Support international Riding (Unicycle Alps Tour, and othe Tours)
Hold a world wide compitition (Unicon)

Hopefully this is a spark that will start change.



From Article 4 of the UCI Constitution: “The members of the UCI shall be the national federations accepted by the Congress as being the representative organization for the sport of cycling in general in the country of that national federation”

Therefore, the path forward would seem to be for the current national organizations, (e.g., JUA, USA, UUU) to work with their respective national cycling federations (e.g., Japan Cycling Federation, USA Cycling, British Cycling Federation) with the ultimate goal of merging with those federations. At the same time, the IUF would have to work directly with the UCI toward the goal of establishing a UCI Commission for unicycling.

There are several considerations to keep in mind in this discussion.

  • These people represent serious, world class athletes. They require very strict competitive rules, formally run events and semi-professional officials. If you don’t like the competitive events, rules and lack of more, “fun,” things at NAUCC or UNICON now, you don’t want to even consider the path toward UCI recognition.

  • These organizations are able to spend money on promotion, etc. because they collect real membership dues, club fees, event fees, etc. in addition to attracting major corporate sponsors. In my experience, many US unicyclists would not be willing to pay the current USA Cycling, “international rider,” membership fee of $150 per year ($60 for a, “domestic rider”).

  • Anti-doping restrictions are absolutely required and are very, very expensive (and time consuming) to administer.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time researching the path toward IOC recognition in the past. For example, I’ve corresponded and spoken with the gentlemen who did much of the work that was required to get snowboarding recognized as a discipline by the national ski federations and the International Ski Federation (FIS). The snowboarding situation in the earliest days of the sport was actually very similar to toiur unicycling scene today.

The bottom line seems to be that we would have to demonstrate to the UCI and the national federations that we can attract (or, better yet, have already attracted) sponsors that are not already part of national / international cycling. In other words, We cannot go into this with the idea that we will be getting money from the national federations and / or the UCI; on the contrary, we would need to demonstrate that our sport is capable of generating its own revenue stream.

Tom Daniels

Another long post that took longer than the video to write it (and shorter to read it).
If I reply to specific parts of earlier replies DON’T feel attacked!
It means I wanted to put attention on those parts, so take the highlight as a compliment.

Further this topic is doomed to be spoiled by incorrect assumptions, to which I do not wich to defend, as I prefer
spending my time in executing the tasks of the “Dissolve IUF into UCI committee”, so we can come up with hard facts.

A cycling federation is not a job-agency, it’s not within the tasks of a federation to find sponsors for individual riders. But it will become a task to keep things controlled.
When the big money came into bicycling in the 70’s and 80’s it did more damage than good. Same for BMX.
To me it’s no question IF sponsors will come in.
Are we willing to learn from those who made these mistakes already, or do we wish to ignore them?

Further finding sponsors like Erdgas was on unicon13, is COULD be a task of a federation.
Ask event organizers whether that’s desired or not, or if they rather depend on early registrations.

Please don’t change my words, or remove the context. I did not do that to you either. It was:
“Dissolve the IUF, because it has not reached anything in the past 20 years” (in comparison to the UCI).
Which didn’t go down so well because hardly anyone even knew even the existence of the UCI.

It’s a fact no other countries officially offered hosting for unicon-11.
I knew that back in 2000 as well, I was there myself. But:
It’s also a fact that the majority of non-Americans in that room (including ex-presidents Jack Halpern and Alberto Ruiz) requested
not to have this sudden deadline that you (addressing John) like an real former-president now as suddenly can’t remember.
That request was voted-out by over 50% of American votes, who -yes- came to that certain meet.
And so the decision to have it in a America was made.
So yes, please publish that as a mp3 from beginning till end!
I’d like to hear how loud I left literally with a slamming door (and if you even paid attention to that).
By then I already knew that IF I would return to the sport after a long while that nothing would have changed. Though by now I got attention on this problem.

One of the questions you avoided in the interview:
Do you think America needed the injection for the sport, at that moment, or do you think other countries needed it more?

And regardless of your answer:
Why did you -as president of the “International” Unicycle Federation- ignored the request of all those other countries?

while editing this interview I already expected this childish statement.
And so NOTHING of what you’ve said was cut out, NONE of your words were removed.
I only removed 2 i[/i] things of myself:

  • a question that took me over 3 attempts te ask (the moment the smoker comes in).
  • In 2000 John became president, because nobody else volunteered, I witnessed that myself.
    In my mind I was already at the next voting and so I mixed up, and made an unintended false statement about an election there never was.
    So NO discussion was edited out. I could have done so, but to keeping it as is is (despite all recording circumstances) was desired by -at least- me, as it gave a good illustration of the issues to be improved and why they didn’t.
    Truth always has at least 2 sides and so your answers were very valuable, so I did not have the need to cut anything out.
    When I said thanks, I maybe ment it more than you may think.

As long people can say what they want the way they see or feel things, and the rest will understand it that way, I’m fine with it.
But when people asked “internationalization”, they got “bla bla bla other languages” as reply.
While the people asking for internationalization were more thinking of presence in other countries.
Like in Jack Halpern his unsuccesfull attempt in 2000. Why did that fade out?

What did the IUF ever do in France?
What did the IUF ever do in Kenya?
What did the IUF ever do in Poland?
Take a pinpoint and start trowing at the world-map to continue this list.

Those US complaints are out there from before todays (non unicycle related) anti-US rage even started.
I’ll state it different:
ALL non-US presidents there are have spoken up to me -in person, and in confidence- to be frustrated by the US who’d kept them from discission-making.
As all was said to me in confidence, and especially the last person I spoke about was very diplomatic about it, I leave it up to them wether they will or won’t contribute it into this discussion.
One well practiced technique by certain Americans is the so called filibuster.
A technique where an individual starts talking and talking and talking to avoid a decission being made.
The amount of non-US ex-IUF officials who express me their frustrations is still growing.

But now that I have your attention, and as you published these facts, I’d like to ask for some more history justification:

The IUF is spreading incorrect information about the way things started.
Both written and trough countless false statements by a certain IUF official I wont name.
One former president said:

  • “Jack Halpern is the original guy”
  • “Jack Halpern came with the idea”
    and later:
  • “Jack Halpern started pushing it”
  • “Jack Halpern his inspiration came from Bill Jenack”
    I would consider this just an innocent error, however as this same IUF official said:
  • “I only have background of being around since the beginning”
    He should know better. And so I would name it a (diplomaticly said) a serious error, especially since Jack Halpern already admitted himself it’s incorrect.

ex-IUF volunteers say you hold the minutes of that meet where the IUF was founded.
And so they told me to do the next (for now informal) request:
can you please send a copy of those minutes to me, or publish those as well? Thanks in advance.

And (addressed in general) about nationalities; I’m rather a volunteer of a non-profit organization in neutral Swiss, than of a .Inc in the USA.

That would be a compromise that still wouldnt change much. And maybe only create more problem than it would solve.
While a unicycle section inside the UCI (like trail, like artistic cycling, like mountain biking, etc) would mean unicyclist can be involved with unicycling,
other volunteers can do other aspects -for the unicycling sport- what they are good at.
For finding event-sponsors you don’t need to have unicycling experience, but financial experience.
For managing event-insurance you don’t need to have unicycling experience, but insurance experience.
For dealing with police for having a save marathon, etc.
For directing potential riders to a local club, etc.
For getting in contact with potential riders, etc.
The UCI has this all already up and running. Why waste time, energy and money in founding new national federations while there are?
And why not put unicyclists inside those national (legally excising) federations so they can be involved with only the unicycle part?

Disagree. National federation can be a UCI member, but that does not mean activities of UCI members are automaticly UCI activities.
But you made two important points clear:

  • these national federations are confused by having no clear international body.
  • are willing to add unicycling to their program.

max. amount of characters reached,
part 2 two will follow:

part 2:

What national organizations?
what events?
Your dreamlist is almost the same as it was since day 1.
I’d like to have something more than just dreams.
The UCI realized and is realizing those dreams to others.
The amount of actvity of "I"UF is know.
While the UCI is active and experienced.

Nothing new. Especially if you did a fair amount of research. Or if you would have listened to me and what was said by the interviewed guests.

Is it? If you would have paid attention in episode 8 part B you would have noticed the UCI (and even the IOC) were willing to change things.
If the "I"UF, Inc. is being terminiated and the unicycling activities are being taken over by the UCI there is no "I"UF, and so "I"UF would NOT have to work directly with the UCI.
How many of “all those” national unicycle organizations would like to have more time for the unicycling related topics of a national federation?
How many of “all those” national unicycle organizations have enough volunteers?

That 1st part (semi-proffesional) official I see as a benefit.
That 2nd part is again another BS statement.
I don’t really wonder with what arguments you want to come up for that misleading misinterpretation.
The UCI and its members do for sure take care of less-competitive cyclists.
On the other hand I wonder why you -apparently- think fun events will become disallowed, or who wants to keep you from having fun.

What make them powerful, opposit to the "I"UF.
Collecting fees was one of the very 1st things the "I"UF planned to do since day 1, but didn’t so.
But who is paying the stamp when our current president needs to mail out a letter?
Further it’s totally irrelevant to blindly mention pricing, without mentioning they differ from sport to sport, category and age.

Sponsors are attracted by membership fees? Explain that.
Membership fees are also used to have a collective insurance. International. Did you ever considered what that mean?
That means organizers of events don’t have to deal with insurance.
Any clue how much time is wasted now, now that each organizer has to deal with several companies before getting somewhere.
They can now use that time for other things.
Just another example of the benefits.

Unless they realize what they or their children get back for it. And how the sport will benefit of it.
As you have seen even the directors are only getting travel expenses (and not even in all cases!).
So, if you like to state they spend it other than investing the collected fees back into the sport, then I’m curious for your conspiracy theories.

And paid from the same fees, but often also financed from governmental subsidies.
They are able to get those subsidies because they are real organizations.
But if your country has no real organization which represents unicycling…

And did it harm the sport?
And regardless if your answers is either positive or negative.
Does this automaticly mean that is also will be for unicycling?

I’ve been competing in cycling. Saw the sport for kids. Saw the sport developing for female riders when Leontien van Moorsel was riding. I sometimes trained with her (now) husband. I’ve been riding side by side with many riders who later have been riding and even winning the Tour de France. I did not forget what it takes to reach the top.
And most of all I realize everything that was needed was done, and facilities were available. Opposit to when Mat Hoffman started BMX.
Do you think that any of the BMX riders think the fun part of the sport will now be gone?

the 1st part is again nonsense.
the 2nd part is correct: do not expect to be able to make an “Hi UCI, we are unicyclists, we don’t like to organize ourselfs, we don’t like membership fees, can we have your money?”
Why? Because there you will not find people willing to spend their private money to finance all the postage for having active organizations.
But you will find people who have a more realistic view.


After trying to organise a couple of unicycle meetings myself I was extremely impressed that anybody/organisation could actually organise a UNICON. I thought that was a great achievement in itself. I guess I was wrong.


Kinda like talks about unicyclists recognizing that there are many sports in unicycling, and not just one?

Am I right in thinking that so far only one national unicycle body has applied for a vote on IUF matters? Something that national bodies have been able to do since 2004.

IUF influence on UK unicycling has been quite large, but i expect many UK riders don’t realise it. but we play hockey and basketbal to IUF approved rules, we have a freestyle comp to slightly modiufied iuf rules and our trails comp looked a lot like it was to IUF rules as well. then there are the skill levels, popular and again directly taken from the IUF. british cycling (our uci) national body have to the best of my knowledge held one unicycle race, as part of a large cycling event.