>For the past couple of days, I’ve been reading the unicycling archive file of
>past messages. I’ve got some serious eye strain, but it was well worth
>it. For example, John Foss wrote;
>>JF I enjoy examining assembled unicycles in shops to see if the cranks are
>>on the right sides, if the fork and seat are facing the right way, etc. It
>After reading that message I had to check my own uni, and can’t ya just guess!
>I’ve been riding it with the seat on backwards for three months.
See, told 'ya so. For those of you who didn’t know this (bike shop assemblers
listen up), the pedal on the right hand side has normal threads, and the one on
the left side has reverse threads (lefty tighty). This way, your pedaling action
puts pressure on them in the direction of tightening. If the seat or pedals are
backward, your pedals will gradually loosen, which will lead to stripped threads
in the cranks. Always keep your pedals screwed in as tight as possible.
A side note to Miyata riders: that little wrench that comes with the unicycle is
handy if you don’t have any REAL tools available. Otherwise, it’s main use is
making an indentation in your hand when you try to get pedals and bolts tight.
always use more substantial tools if you want things to stay tight.
>Anyway, I’m able to tackle some pretty rough surfaces, and a hill that I nearly
>can’t climb. This is because the sidewalks in my area are old and intermittant.
>Some of the course I can’t ride, so I dismount and run. It is enormous fun. I
>feel great (from all the exercise), and my skills are improving rapidly. I
>would not recommend this to anyone, as far a method to learn how to ride.
On the contrary. But play it safe! If you go barreling into things that you’re
sure you can’t handle, you will get some knocks. But otherwise, the things
described above will make you a much stronger rider than just tooling around in
a smooth, level gym. I observed this in the riders from my club (Long Island
Unicyclists). If they learned in the gym, it was a lot harder for them to get
comfortable riding outside on sidewalks and bumps.
I learned in a local neighboorhood street, and one of my early challenges was to
ride on my own street, which was dirt. Ride on everything you can. One of the
best surfaces to improve your skills? Grass! Try it. If you live in Minnesota &
Wisconsin, sorry. You’ll have to wait.
>The last thing I want to write about is an image I’ve had in my head for a long
>time. When I was about ten or twelve I received “World” magazine. In one issue
>there was a segment about unicycles. One of the photos was of a man who had
>used a ramp to jump his unicycle over several people. I remember it well. He
>was sailing through the air on blue giraffe with white tire. I think it is
>interesting because my USA “Tidbits for Beginners”, describes that photo
>exactly, as feat proformed by Floyd Crandall back in the mid seventies. Also,
>after 20 years when I finally got my own uni, by gosh I still wanted a blue one
>with a white tire.
Very interesting. I pulled out my April 1984 issue of National Geographic WORLD
Magazine (the issue with the unicyce article), but there are no blue giraffes,
and no jumps. This article was made at the 1983 National Unicycle Meet in
Syracuse, NY (a year before UNICON I, which was also held there). Floyd was
present, but the photographer was only interested in young riders, as WORLD is a
Perhaps this image comes from an even older issue of BOYS LIFE, or some other
unicycle coverage that I don’t have. Hey, old timers, pull out your old articles
and see if you can find the coveted blue giraffe!
Don’t worry, Mark, you weren’t imagining it. All of the Crandall unicycles
were blue. I’d like to see that picture myself, because one of my early
exposures to live unicycling was when a member of the Pontiac Unicyclists
(Floyd’s club) performed in the talent show at my junior high school, when I
was in 8th grade. He rode a blue, 5 or 6 foot Crandall unicycle over the
Pontiac jump ramp, and I was positive that he was going to die. When he didn’t
even fall, I was blown away!
Keep enjoying what you are doing! John Foss, president International Unicycling