I had one of these(Hedstrom?) when I was about 5-6 and never learned.Just looking at one now I can see why.lol,my gramps was a picker so I saw a few as a kid,but they were all junk.Hard rubber tire,loose ball bearings(most hedstrom bikes have a weird bottom bracket thing that I dont even know if they have bearings),and checkout that seat.+ it flexed and twisted,impossible to get your balance on.
I learned on a similar one, made by Troxel. Possibly sharing some of the same parts or factory. Tricycle parts, that is. I sort of learned to ride on it, until it fell apart. Like it wasn’t actually designed to be ridden by an eighth-grader. So then I had a 3-year dry spell until I learned again on a Schwinn Giraffe. The first unicycle I owned was also a Schwinn Giraffe, to match my friend’s.
The guy who leant me the Troxel later said I could keep it (whoop), and amazingly I still have it. It’s still not rideable. I also still have my original Giraffe, which has been in hundreds of shows and I will never part with.
Wow,cool you still got it…Yeah I remember looking at it and it basiclly looked like they took the forks off a tricycle and put a seat on it.For some reason I think I remember it split in half when you took it apart or changed seat height.Thats why I found it so wobbly.
How was that learning on a girafe?
I’d get sketched out just sitting that high!
I have enough trouble remembering what I did even a week ago, so remembering what my first uni was more than 40 years ago would be impossible! Like many, I did own a couple Schwinn unis, in both 20 & 24, but those came after my first one, which I can only faintly recall had a hard tire and cranks that was one continuous round steel rod that went through the hub a and then was bent to form the crank arms.
I got my first unicycle in about 1987 when a bike shop burned in a fire in a neighboring town. The shop owner sold his remaining stock “under the table” in an act of insurance fraud (I suspect, though I didn’t realize it at the time). I learned how to ride it in circles without ever getting good at it. When I decided to pick it back up earlier this year, I had to start from scratch.
Christmas 1974, 24" Schwinn. My Parents were reluctant to spend $55 on something “you don’t even know how to ride.” Promised them I would not quit until I was able. I remember getting advice from them and all the neighbors who had never ridden, which delayed my progress. 2 weeks and many scrapes and bruises I was able to wobble down the gravel road full of potholes we lived on. kind of an early version of off road uni riding. I even put a knobby tire on it. It’s still hanging in my garage, and I still ride it once in awhile. In 1988 my future wife almost dumped me when after dating for about 6 weeks, she invited me over to her apartment and I told her I would be over in a while. I was gonna ride my unicycle over and listen to some tunes on my walkman. I rode my 1974 Schwinn that day. She was very impressed. We’ve been married 21 years now and she loves and supports my unicycle thing.
Better than riding that P.O.S. Troxel. In 1979, you could still stand on the fender of most cars without damaging them. Actually it was a 1969 Firebird. Back the unicycle’s wheel up against one of the front wheels, then pretend you’re mounting from the curb. Oh, and it helped to be 17, so you could come down (on your feet) an unlimited number of times and not really notice it.
I would have been so happy to have an evil 24" Schwinn during those three years!
In 1987 I bought a Pashley UMX. Pashley is a British manufacturer specialising in niche products like delivery bicycles and tricycles.
The UMX had vey basic lollipop bearings, each held in place with 2 self tapping screws. The “sticks” of the lollipops were not tapered and they rattled slightly in the ends of the forks - especially after one of the self tapping screws sheared.
The seat was completely unadjustable. It was a slightly curved piece of steel welded into place on top of the seat post. On top of that was a thin oblong piece of foam held in placeby faith and loosely covered with a thin piece of nylon - about the thickness of ripstop, but without the ripstop feature. It was incredibly uncomfortable.
Nevertheless, I learned to ride on it and used to do regular laps of my local nature reserve.
A few UPDs led to the seat cover being ripped to shreds. I then bound the foam in place with cloth handlebar tape. A year or two later I managed to find a seat post of the right diameter and a seat for a child’s bicycle that was almost comfortable.
That’s interesting. I don’t know if I had known Pashley made a unicycle called UMX before their Muni model. UMX (Unicycle MotoCross) is what we called MUni before we called it MUni. George Peck of course called it Rough Terrain Unicycling, which was more accurate, but UMX is what got used in the IUF Rulebooks around that time. Originally it was the title of an article I did in the USA Newsletter in a 1981 issue.
Pashley’s Muni, which came out in 1997 or so, was much better suited to actual MUni, though It looks like it came with the same seat that was on yours. Some of us called those seats the “gravy boat”.
I also have a Pashley 26" Muni, bought many years later. It is a far better uni than the UMX. It came with a Viscount seat. The lollipop sticks are tapered and held in place with through-bolts. It also has a “Reynolds” frame, although it doesn’t specify which particular grade (531, 753, etc.) The old joke is true: it’s made of tons of light weight materials.
When I bought the UMX, Pashley advertised a standard 20 and 24 ( about 1 3/8 inch tyre section) and the UMX. Their catalogue said, “Go unicycle yomping” on the UMX.
David Hood, that is a sweet picture of you on the quad!
I learned on my uncle’s 20" Schwinn. My uncle is a professional juggler and I learned sometime in 1983. The learning process was a way for me to deal with my Mother who was very sick at the time. I was 10.
John Foss, my uncle is the Amazing Larry Vee, who I think you know from back in the day…
The first uni I owned, I still have. My dear Grandmother bought it for me at the request of my Uncle–a 24" Sem. At the time, I think it was the best money could buy.
Very cool Larry came to some of the USA conventions in the early 80s and often organized games of unicycle tag. Larry Vee did the hardest tricks that nobody else would ever want to do, or could ever think up! Such as juggling four basketballs while hopping on a tall pogo stick. Or riding a unicycle while spinning a ring on each wrist, while juggling three balls. Also I think he’s the only person I ever saw juggle three unicycles. Or was that a small child and two unicycles? Yes really, I’m not kidding.