Will Unicycling Ever Become Mainstream?

Do you think that unicycling will ever be “mainstream”? I hate to use this term but for lack of a better word it will suffice. Do you think it will ever be as popular as skateboarding or even biking?

Unicycling has so many angles, there is the trials crowd, rec riding, roadie style, mountain style…it covers so much, would one dominate more than another? If so is there someone that could bring it out of obscurity for most people?

My opinion -

I think it has as much possibility as any wheeled rec sport; however I think because there is a bit of a learning curve this will discourage most people in general. There is still the circus stigma that unicyclists have to deal with most of the time, which will need to be filtered out with a more serious attitude from those who have very little knowledge about the sport.

What do you think?

Circus unicyclist take it as seriously as any hobbiest … and they make a living at it. Most people that do not uni more than likely saw their first unicyclist in a circus. I did and was inspired to learn…
It is just another area of the sport/art/hobby/lifestyle.
Just don’t wear sparkles or a clown nose and folks will view you as non-circus type.
As to the main query … I don’t think it will ever be mainstream. That is why I was drawn to it … its lack of the norm.

Thats very true, typically association with the circus is taken negatively but it deffinately has another side. I think I would like this less if everyone was doing it. Normal is boring!:stuck_out_tongue:

I feel that our sport will indeed continue to grow as more and more people look to challenge themselves in various ways; be it mountain bikers looking for a new experience doing muni or road cyclists to uni touring. Those are probably the two areas most likely gain followers from. As for other disciplines, street and trials, flat, freestyle etc… probably fewer areas to draw from; at least fewer participants. This is just a generalization; could be more, could be less. But mainstream? No way, the learning curve is just so high that for most people it’s not worth the trouble. Kind of like another niche activity I’m in called ultra-running; it’s a sport that continues to grow, but it will hardly be mainstream as it is extremely difficult to run long distances. No, I think unicycling will always remain a niche sport, I just hope it keeps growing enough to sustain the various high quality unicycle and unicycle component manufacturers!

Gotta have an open mind, huh? I LOVE all the new styles of uni and MUni and the modern approach to the sport. It is inspiring and a ton-o-fun!
Me … MUni and trials these days … soon a 36’er. I have to try that!

Will Unicycling Ever Become Mainstream?

I hope not! I love the “Uni-queness” of our sport! :sunglasses:

Yeah its so easy to close off without even realizing it. I am just getting into serious trials stuff, and can’t wait to buy a muni now that i just got a nimbus trials!

Thank god for unicycle.com

I don’t think it will become mainstream. It is too hard for many people to learn. I have tried teaching about 7 people and only a few have been successful. I like how unique it is also.

I like to balance, I like to be different, I like to be underestimated. That’s why I joined up.

As for the circus references, well that’s probably not going to stop. I see no problem with the circus performers, maybe someday I will be performing for money, who knows. But I think unicyclists just find it offensive because people are underestimating them. I got the circus jingle treatment from my friend the other day, until I started hopping up curbs and such, newbie stuff, but at least it shut him up :wink:

This topic again? Someone chose not to add to one of the previous threads about this.

Only a tiny percentage of “circus” unicyclists make a living at it. Unless you only meant professional circus performers. But what about all the kids in school circus programs, juggling club members who also unicycle, and anyone who aspires to perform? I think the proportions are roughly similar to amateur vs. pro skateboarders. Just less of us.

Probably not. Though some of us are exposed to more circus as kids than others, and some areas have a lot more opportunities to see “real” circuses than others, most people probably see unicycles first in childrens’ books, parades, or more “likely” places. I have a really hard time finding unicyclists in circuses, and I’ve been to a ton of them! But it’s the imagery of those unicyclists in the childrens’ books that may be the strongest creator of the circus “stigma” for unicyclists.

If only this were true. Unfortunately you can still get asked if you’re in the circus when you’re riding a trail a high altitude, miles from the nearest car, and covered in lycra and safety gear.

But that’s happening less and less. As images of “sport” unicycling are becoming more accessible and common, people are getting familiar with the idea of the unicycle as a recreation & sports vehicle. In recent years I’ve been hearing more and more detailed questions on the trail, about the equipment, what it’s like to ride, etc. We are becoming less of an oddity.

Yup. As long as unicycles seem impossible to ride, actual participation will remain limited. There are too few people out there who are willing to really work at something silly until they can do it.

Unless it’s golf.

Isn’t unicycling already mainstream? Isn’t the Columbia commercial evidence? My experience lately is that non-unicyclists I meet generally know what I’m talking about when I tell them I’m going mountain unicycling. It’s been a while since I received a blank stare.

That maybe true in Sunny Southern California where, based on the number of you guys on this forum, it’s not surprising that mountain unicycling is getting noticed. Here in the Deep South all I get is blank stares. Of course, our numbers are sparse in these parts. Still I’ve educated most of my trail running friends now so word is spreading.

Yes. I agree here. These are the early signs, of the reality that unicycling is making it to the mainstream. Americas Got Talent is specifically asking for us. Commercial writers are putting us in scripts to sell “mainstream” products.

It looks like its here boys and girls.

I also want to add, on the more theoretical side, I strongly believ the more people that are out there unicycling the smaller that initial learning curve will get. Progression is very much a mental challenge as well as a physical challenge. I think as more riders show what is possible on a uni, and how easy some things can be… a new rider will be able to easily work past what used to be very tough mental blocks for some. Of course there will always be that initial learning stage, but the more people that try to unicycle the more “quick learners” we will find.

I think the mind and global consciousness is a powerful thing.

No. The difference is that now people have heard of mountain unicycling. A few years ago, it was a totally bizarre concept to them. And by mountain unicycling being known as a regularly-practiced activity by more-or-less normal humans, that extends to all other forms of unicycling. So, like kite-surfing, bobsledding and Jai-alai, we are known, but we’re not mainstream.

Please give credit where credit is due. Though the majority of the state gets lots of sun, organized MUni started in northern California. The “explosion” of riders and groups in SoCal is relatively recent (though long overdue and very welcome!). And of course much of that is owed to a few people who started riding there long ago and are finally picking up some momentum, along with many new and active riders. Let’s hear it for sunny Northern California! :slight_smile:

They are also asking for contortionists, people who can blow out candles with their farts, and finger-balancers. This is not acknowledgment of being mainstream. If anything, it’s the opposite! Though mainstream acts are usually the ones that win. Boring singers…

I agree! I love being one of very few who can do something so awesome!!:smiley:


How are you defining mainstream?

Is skateboarding mainstream? I’m sure there are plenty of people who have never and will never skateboard even though they have heard of it. They may not even care to watch videos of it. How is this different than unicycling?

I would have to define mainstream as something that has become generally accepted by the public, and by this I mean as you see a unicyclist, you don’t look twice. I don’t give skateboards or bikes a second thought, but you can definitely draw a crowd with a unicycle. I was just thinking on my train ride home last night, if because of the major unicycle players, and with different brand endorsements if you will see it accepted as much as say bikes. I was looking around the threads and found some posting in 2001, but much has changed since then. I was just curious all the perceptions of the sport and its now multiple angles and constant new developments; is it now so out there that its “mainstream”?

Probably not, like John Foss stated, well known but not mainstream. It’ll probably stay this way too I imagine, which is a double edged sword.

Perhaps it depends where you are.

Sounds like it’s pretty ‘mainstream’ in Japan.

Here in (rainy) North Wales it’ll never be mainstream, not even sidestream.

Thank goodness.

I hope it doesnt become mainstream nor organized! Thats why I like unicycling and also rollerskating bowls. I like to follow the beat of my own drum, not try to fit in. Its more fun that way! I do hope it becomes more popular as it would be nice to be a part of a local group and have more people to practice with. There is one not too far away so I am happy about that but not sure yet if they have meetings very often besides muni rides. I dont think it will ever be mainstream as people like immediate satisfaction and success. That normally doesnt happen on a uni. Usually most people it takes time and practice and probably frustration to work though first.