From time to time, as I ride on a variety of surfaces, I muse on which is worst. For me, Muni is about exploring, covering distances, facing challenges as they arise, short bursts of technical stuff, and medium stretches of path requiring adequate care. When the riding gets so difficult that each ‘step’ is a battle, for long distances without a break, I just get heartily sick of it.
Until recently, my least favourite surfaces were either sun baked mud with hoof prints in it, or track ballast, as found on old railway tracks. But in the last few days, I’ve been riding some tracks on Dartmoor where approximately half the rocks are deeply embedded in the ground, so they don’t move when you hit them, and approximately half the rocks are loose, so that they do move when you hit them. (Avoiding them altogether is not an option.)
Add to this delightful mix a slight incline, and wheel ruts, so that you have a choice of fixed/loose rocks in shallow opaque water, or fixed/loose rocks on a narrow raised central ridge, and you have possibly the least pleasant Muni surface in the known world.
Anyone else have a least favourite surface on which to ride?
Seafair Torchlight Parade route in Seattle.
(actually Edwards but I hope to fool the lottery next NAUCC and win a unicycle)
… sounds more like a “challenging” surface rather than a bad one.
My pet hate is unexpected patches of sand that suck the wheel from under you. Also when I not particularly fit ANY steep uphill that lasts longer than a minute or two.
I hate riding through alfalfa fields after the alfalfa has been cut and the remnants are crusty and crunchy, and the ground is bumpy, but when it isn’t cut, it is alright, Kinda cool actually to see me just gliding (in the regular person sense, not unicyclist sense) through the field, oh… it’s cool.
RE: Worst surface?
As a former unicycle performer (I still do it occasionally), here is a list
of my top three worst performing surfaces:
Lawn with roots under it
The wet Astroturf was at a very big production in Manhattan, for the
opening of a huge new apartment building. Lots of celebs present, including
Mayor Koch, Dr. Ruth, and many more that I didn’t personally see. They had
set up three tents. Two round ones and a giant square one. The square one
was like a restaurant, with tables and seating for hundreds of people. One
round tent was a jazz band and dance floor, and the other round tent was a
circus. It had rained all day, and this was in the early evening. The
pavement was starting to dry up, but it had been covered with this plastic
grass stuff to make it look nicer. No chance to have it rolled up, bare
asphalt would be too ugly. The Astroturf was wet, so my shoes were wet. Hard
to do a high-end freestyle act. So at the last minute, I switched the pedals
from my big wheel, which had metal pedals with studs on them, and put those
on my freestyle uni. That helped a little.
Lumpy carpet you ask? Yes. The one and only time I performed in a real,
full-on, honest-to-goodness circus! It was the Latvian State Circus, in
This was in a 101 year old, purpose-built circus building. The floor under
the carpet was rubber, which was worn lumpy from the constant traffic of
horses, elephants, and equipment. Couldn’t they roll up the carpet? No, same
reasons as above. Carpet sucks to ride on when you’re trying to do specific
tricks in a limited space. I consider it one of my peak moments as a
performer. In spite of the ill-fitting gold lame costume and lumpy carpet, I
only had one dismount in my old 3 min. Freestyle routine.
“Now you will get to see something few people ever have–John Foss will
perform, on grass!” This was a joke by the ringmaster of a circus I
performed in New York’s Flushing Meadows Park. That grass was pretty nice.
Other times, I’ve been in less formal shows with really nasty riding
surfaces, with lots of roots or other bumps under there where you couldn’t
see them. “you knew you had hired performers that included unicycles?
But this thread is perhaps talking more about MUni terrain? Hey, if it were
easy, everybody would do it.
Loose rocks can be hard. Sand can be even worse. Especially fine, dry sand.
The Slickrock Trail in Moab, UT was definitely a challenging surface. Pure
rock. There’s a big difference between rock and dirt. Dirt is a lot softer
and more forgiving! Even solid dried mud! With rock, you have to pay
attention every second. Add to that the altitude of about 5000’, constant up
and down of the trail, and lots of texture in the rock. Lastly, the only
breaks from the solid rock are the occasional patches of fine, dry sand! See
my Moab pictures, listed on this page:
Stay on top,
John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone
“This unicycle is made all from lightweight materials. But it uses a lot of
them.” – Cliff Cordy, describing the very heavy new prototype unicycle he
brought on the Downieville Downhill
Especially where we were. Close enough to see that the Puerto Rican team kept stopping every two minutes, screwing us all up, but far enough away that we couldn’t see the incredibly amazing routines that I’m sure they were doing.
Re: Worst surface?
Anything that someone else on the muni ride can ride significantly better than I can.
By that definition the muni fun rides at NAUCC/UNICON were all on my least favorite surfaces. Now that NAUCC/UNICON is over they are once again my favorite trails.
wet mossy bricks! i got a real nice long slide going once though.
Re: Worst surface?
I hate water. With weight like mine the surface tension
is just way too fragile.
I like any surface I have a chance of riding. Staying on
is my goal, not covering great distances at great speed.
Arnold the Aardvark
Re: Worst surface?
“Mikefule” <Mikefule.email@example.com> wrote in message
> From time to time, as I ride on a variety of surfaces, I muse on which
> is worst. For me, Muni is about exploring, covering distances, facing
> challenges as they arise, short bursts of technical stuff, and medium
> stretches of path requiring adequate care. When the riding gets so
> difficult that each ‘step’ is a battle, for long distances without a
> break, I just get heartily sick of it.
I don’t like it when there’s so much mud you can’t turn the wheel anymore.
I also don’t like it when there is a patch of sand on the inside of a corner
and there are a bunch of mtbers watching you whoosh past and you slide
sideways and fall off.
Yeah actually the worst surface is the surface you fall off on when someone
is watching you.
Re: Re: Worst surface?
RE: Worst surface?
> Seafair Torchlight Parade route in Seattle.
Was it bumpy? I didn’t really notice. You’ve got to try a parade in
Manhattan! Potholes, asphalt lumps, and all manner of who-knows-what
embedded into the street. But at least they don’t have the raised lane
markers like Seattle did. Those can definitely catch you off guard in a
For Muni dried horse hoof holes are a pain. I particularly dilike narrow ruts or V’s so you can ‘wobble’ as you ride. Very easy to do a face-plant
Ice is fun. Put weight on the back pedal, the wheel stops turning but you don’t stop moving. Tricky
Re: Worst surface?
John Foss <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> Was it bumpy? I didn’t really notice. You’ve got to try a parade in
> Manhattan! Potholes, asphalt lumps, and all manner of who-knows-what
> embedded into the street.
Maybe there’s Jimmy Hoffa in there somewhere…
Never trust a man with a blue trench coat + email@example.com
never drive a car when you’re dead. +
Worst surface= flat smooth road (boring)
2nd worst surface= anywhere indoors
3rd worst surface= anywhere I can´t ride but someone on a bike can
Best surface= Twisty downhill singletrack, with jumps (woohoo!)
2nd best surface= steep grunty uphill fireroad (Good for the legs and lungs)
3rd best surface= Mud- the thin soupy kind
4th best surface Mud-the thick porridgy kind (but only with good tyres)