The UNICON in Switzerland this summer is going to be my first one.
What I would like to hear from you guys, who attended other UNICONs previously, what made the UNICON to something special for you, why do you plan to go again?
I would be grateful to know more about workshops. Workshops on what topics would you like to participate in? What workshops do you plan to conduct?
It would be great to hear, who is planning to come, are you?
In return I plan to keep you up to date with the latest news about UNICON right here in this thread.
MUni & longdistance tours in Switzerland: I will publish details about the MUni tours in the swiss alpes in here, once I get the details. Maybe you would also like to follow the path of one of the day trips of the Alpes Unicycling Tour, like Meiringen to Grindelwald
Please keep in mind that registration fee is now at CHF 150 (EUR 100, USD 117) and will rise at 1st of March to CHF 170. So it’s wise to register early, right during February.
Of course I’ll be at Unicon - wouldn’t miss it for anything. I’ve been going to Unicons since Unicon 3 (1987) and the biggest part that keeps me going back isn’t the competitions or the location (although the competitions this year will be probably the most diverse and the location is incredible). The thing that keeps my interest in attending Unicons is the people and the friends I have made over the years. We have been able to talk over 40 people from just TCUC into attending Unicon - who else is going?
I know I will see old friends and make some great new friends in Switzerland this summer! Of course - all on a unicycle.
We just did a count last night and it looks like there will be over 40 people going to Unicon just from Minnesota. That is an amazing number and I think is the biggest showing from Minnesota to a Unicon since Unicon VII (which was held in Minnesota).
One of the workshops (if you want to call it that) that is being talked about is a video competition for Unicon is a video competition. It will be modeled much after the video competition done at the French Cup. I think the rules have already been translated to English but from what I remember, the video content has to be unicycling related and only have a length of 10 minutes.
I’m looking forward to hearing about the MUni daily rides. After being in the Alps last summer doing AUT, I realized that there is some amazing potential for some great MUni rides. I am even toying with the idea of planning an overnight MUni trip where a chalet could be rented (some are really cheap in the summer) and then there would be two back to back days of heavy MUni in the Alps. Anybody interested?
What makes Unicon special for me is the people, the chance to meet up with and ride with new friends from all over the world. I’ll probadly be competing in even less this year than previous (I’m not big on competitions) but I’m going to go along and enjoy the event.
I enjoy being part of such a BIG group of unicyclists , its so nice for unicycling to be the normal thing for people to be doing. I also like seeing what the inovators in our sport are up to, be they invovations in equipment like the geared hubs or in riding like Simon Wells freestyle routine.
At past unicons my favourite activities have been social rides - Muni in USA , City tours in China and Japan and the fun games & hockey sessions in USA.
This’ll be my first UNICON, and I’m really looking forward to a good trials parcours, and a chance to get help and advice from fellow trialers. I’d love some workshops on trials, and street. I’m really interested in the Muni rides too.
And ofcourse making lots of new friends. It’s not a convention for nothing.
As I told Andy when he last came to France, our club “HLM” organizes a week long gathering in the French Alps every year.
This year it will be right after Unicon, it would be more of a hangout, camping in the Alps and riding from that camp, rather than a tour, going from one location to the other.
I have never attended it (I hardly knew how to ride last year) and need confirmation from my folks but I heard that they expected a lot of peoplke to come this year.
Will keep you posted on that.
That video things sounds pretty cool and that overnight MUni trip would be sweet. Count me in! 2 days of Muni in the Swiss Alps staying at a chalet…WOW!
My first Unicon was in 1994 and I’ve been hooked ever since and been to everyone since then and plan on going to everyone for the rest of my life. Not only does it give you a great excuse to travel and see the world, but you meet so many cool people and actually become real good friends with some of them. If you are even thinking of going, I strongly suggest you to go and try it out. I can almost garuntee that it’ll be well worth your while and most of you will come back for the next one!
My first UNICON was in Seattle (UNICON XI). I have gone to every one since, and I hope to attend them for the rest of my life. I remember walking into the gym and seeing Japanese unicyclists stand up gliding with one leg extended all over the gym. Next, I met unicyclists from Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Japan, the UK, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. I now have unicycle friends in all parts of the world, which is fantastic.
If you have never been to a UNICON but have a small inkling to go, I urge you to consider making the trip. It is an amazing experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.
I really like the idea of a video competition. I watched the video competition at the French Cup (La Coupe de France de Monocycle) this past year, and it was one of my favorite events.
Going to Unicon, whether it be in your local country or far away, is like going to the Olympics. Except I’ve never been to a “regular” Olympics, so I guess I’m just assuming that. There are similarities and differences to what I imagine a real Olympics would be like:
You get to see the best athletes in a wide range of disciplines
You will see firsthand what’s new in the different sports
There are athletes/participants everywhere
You will learn more about the various areas of unicycling than you would almost any other way
You will be surrounded by like-minded people
You will understand each other, even if you can’t speak the same language
If you didn’t already know it, this will help remind you that we have a lot in common regardless of our poilitics, religion, race or background
You will meet interesting people from around the world
You get to watch up close
You get to meet and talk to the athletes
Aside from Unicon registration, getting into the events is all free!
The town won’t be as crowded
You can help out and be a part of unicycling history
You can enter nearly any event
By comparison, it’s dirt cheap; the world’s best bargain in unicycling experiences!
No Wheaties box
Okay, explanation of that last one: Wheaties is an American breakfast cereal (from Minnesota) that usually features a famous athlete on the box. Many Olympians have been featured on the Wheaties box. Unicyclists don’t get their pictures on the Wheaties box (unless they’ve worked for General Mills, like Andy Cotter, which is another story). The same goes for large endorsements, contracts, and otherwise careers built on competitive unicycling. Though that will change someday.
But there is much more to Unicon than being at unicycling’s Olympic village. Mostly it’s the social experience, as people have already mentioned. You will meed unique and fascinating people from all over the world. Some may become your friends for life. One of the big reasons for returning to Unicon is to be together with them again. Competition or not, you will ride with these people as well, or learn from them in workshops, or informally, or you may even teach them.
As a side benefit, you will travel to places you may otherwise never have gone. Don’t forget to make a vacation of it! This Unicon looks like it may have the best “convention side” we’ve ever had. As the convention part gets better, the numbers of attendees will continue to grow. It’s going to be quite a Unicon village!
I went to my first Unicon almost two years ago (Unicon 12 in Japan).
Like others have said, one of the most exciting parts of the experience
is meeting others from around the world, making friendships, and then
seeing everyone again in two years. That kind of sounds like a cheesy
summer camp advertisement, but it’s unbelieveably true.
When you get a lot of people together that are as interesting and
kooky as unicyclists, you get something really special. Then add in
both fun and hardcore competitions, throw on the latest unicycle innovations that everyone checks out, and pour over the notion that Unicon’s location changes dramatically to make every event unique and incredible.
Mix it up, add a pinch of beersketball, and you’ve got a conconction that
has me saying “I’m going for sure!” with only 1/3 of all the money I’ll need in my bank account. Which brings me to my next point:
If you want to go, but don’t have the money, don’t give up. There are
waaay too many ways to fundraise. Put on a unicycle demo somewhere,
and have posters describing your quest to travel to the “Unicycling World
Championships” and include a donation box. Probably the best way to
fundraise is design a T-shirt that is obviously about unicycling (maybe
even with text like “I helped <your-name> go to Switzerland for the
13th International Unicycling World Championships!”) Get the shirts
printed, then send flyers out to all your friends and relatives explaining
your quest. Ask them to help support you by buying a shirt or two, or
if they want, donating as well. The nice thing about shirts are that
people are willing to buy one for $15 bucks since they are not
only supporting you, but they get something!
Also, if you really get your stuff together, you might be able to get
businesses to sponsor you. I know that the Danish National Team
had a lot of their trip payed for when they went to Japan. Maybe
they can share their fundraising secrets.
My first Unicon was the Seattle one and I didnt managed to make the last one but Im sure I will be able to make this one.
My Favourite things about Unicon:
At The last unicon i didnt really do any of the events or anything as I was out riding in the nice area where Unicon was being held, hopefully Switzerland will be the same, memorable moment for me was riding back from the trials comp on the roads and seeing some great views.
UNICONs are probably the best two weeks of the year. The atmosphere is amazing and the people are incredible. I especially love the competition aspect of the convention. It is a competition for the best unicyclists in the world. My first UNICON was in Beijing in 2000. Since then, i wouldn’t miss one for the world! Being able to cheer on people from around the world, inventing new skills, traveling across the globe, and just being submersed in the uni culture is truly unbelievable. If there is one thing in your life that you never regret, it will be going to UNICON. Where else can you see the premiere of new skills? No where!! See ya in Switzerland!
That was not just an idle thought, Jess and Zack Baldwin did just that to help pay for Japan. Japan was expensive! I’m not sure if he did the T-shirt thing though. I don’t remember being hit up for one…
When will Unicon be in the USA again? Soon as somebody offers to host one. My wife and I have talked about the possibility of 2012 in Davis, CA. We’ll see.
Off course we will…
Make a flyer where you write a little about UNICON, yourself and your unicycle career… then take your unicycle and maybe a unicycle t-shirt and visit all local shops, give them your flyer and tell them that you’ll make a note in the local newspaper and thank everybody, who has given you money to the journey. Give them a couple of days to think, come back and then some of them maybe will give you something… Then, if you work really hard, you will be able to travel all the way to swiss without using any (of your own) money.
In Denmark, the best people to ask are friends with big companies, banks and the local authority… Can’t promise it’s as easy to find money in US as in Denmark… But i guess it’s worth trying?
My first Unicon was Puerto Rico in 1988. I didn’t realize it at the time but that was a life changing event. Since then I have been to every Unicon and helped organize Unicons since Unicon VII. Even though I am a bit burned out of organizing, the benefit of a Unicon for the world wide unicycling community and the people that attending it outweighs any feelings of being tired of helping organize. I have friends from so many different places around the world that it is not a question of where to travel but who should I visit next. Thanks to unicycling, my life goal is a new country ever year and to travel outside the North America at least twice a year.
Ironically, unicycling has even got me the job that I have today. For Unicon VII I wrote the first version of Unicycling Convention Program, an Access database. I had to learn the program and understand relational databases. Having that skill turned out to get me one job, then another and then to my job at General Mills (hence the reference in an earlier email from John about me being on the Wheaties Box with my unicycle).
It may be many decades before Unicon goes back to Switzerland so if Switzerland is on your list to visit, there is not a better time. As for future Unicons in the USA, there is nothing planned and the earliest opening is in eight years but most likely it will be a lot longer.
True dat! Andy Schwarz from Minnesota met Francisca from Switzerland in China in 2000. They became friends and met again in Washington in 2002 for Unicon. They then started dating and have been ever since. They will be getting married in Basel, Switzerland on August 5th, the Saturday after Unicon is done. Crazy but cool!
I actually dated someone from Switzerland as well, but it didn’t work out…