Yes, I rode my unicycle on national ride a unicycle day

Seventy one years old, two knee replacements, and two Achilles tendons injuries. Hell, yes, I rode my Coker on national unicycle day. Not far and not well but I rode it. And it was witnessed by three people I know. National ride a unicycle day (19 May 2024) kicks off national unicycle week (19-25 May 2024) although exact dates for both are hotly disputed with very serious and volatile arguments…or would be if you could find two people who cared enough.

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I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiment: Hell, yes!

Are you and I the last two people still riding “Coker” brand 36ers, or are there still a decent number of our kind out there?

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i don’t know how many purists there are but I would guess quite a few. I wonder how many have the original Coker frame with the steel rim wheel. I gave my steel rim away to someone trying to build an original Coker many years ago after I got an aluminum rim. They didn’t even care that it had exhibited the “taco instability” while I was hopping it once.

I still know of only one fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and Coker pilot.

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No, not the only ones. Although I normally ride a non-Coker, with Harper’s example and for the special Ride a Unicycle Day I put a few miles on the Coker today. The Coker Non-skid tire preforms completely differently then the Nighrider tire I am used to but it will still get from point A to B.



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I rode today on National Ride a Unicycle Day! I took my parents’ dog around the local high school track as I rode my 36er :joy:

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52, only one knee surgery (torn tendon repair), but I was out for 13.5 mile trail ride on a 29" guni! Haven’t quite learned how to ride through a shift yet, so it was just a 1:1 ride. Once managed to half-shift it into freewheeling which was… exciting.

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@harper Well at least one more purist has shown up on this thread so far. Nice job, @JimT! Did you paint your Coker gray? I wasn’t aware of them being available in any color other than chrome. I’m riding what I think is the original Coker tire, or whichever one has the multi circular convex tread. I had a road tire at one time, but I don’t remember what type it was or what happened to it. I would like to ride whatever tire would perform best for doing banked turns (as well as be good for skatepark and MTB park riding). I think the attached photo on my original Coker also had the multi circular convex tread, so I guess I should be ok attempting to make banked turns again on that same tire. However, any suggestions from anyone who knows about this sort of stuff would be much appreciated.

@harper I find your choice of words rather interesting because in the world of hang gliding (one of my favorite types of flying), a purist is a pilot who only foot launches from mountains or cliffs and avoids any type of towing (winch, aero tow, etc.). Such pilots enjoy launching and landing on their feet without the need for any further equipment or complexity. While I have towed up, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as foot launching, so I never became tow certified. It seems both in the world of hang gliding and in the world of unicycling, I am a purist. Not sure what my designation will be once I get my geared 36er built, though, because it won’t have a Coker frame. I guess as long as I always own and ride a Coker some of the time, I can claim to be a purist, or at least a partial purist, lol.

Thanks, @harper, I hope I can still live up the “pilot” designation on my Coker. Once my conditioning is a bit further along I will be returning to some local skate parks with my Coker to find out. All I know is that you are the guy who rode his unicycle on top of some insane industrial equipment. For some reason I remember it being a nuclear reactor or something of that sort, but since I’m not certain can you please refresh my memory regarding exactly what you were riding on in that iconic photo?

@MatthPeder That video reminds me of my brief time in the Salt Lake City area. It’s an incredibly beautiful part of our country. I hope to spend some time there again in the future. Can’t think of a better way to walk a dog! That’s a Win-Win-Win situation for you, your parents, and their dog. For some reason I get the feeling that any excuse to get out on your 36er will do for you.

@UniTographer I already have the hub and can’t wait to join your ranks of over 50 guni riders at some point, hopefully in the not-too-distant future. Sounds like you’re doing pretty darn good to me! Please keep us updated on your progress with your guni.
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Andrew-

It was an FN tandem van de Graaff accelerator. I made an automotivator poster from it.

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Thanks for the information and reposting that photo.

Well that, my friend, is the most incredible photo in the entire history of unicycling, as far as I’m concerned. I hope you have that photo hanging on your wall somewhere! I also love the tag line. Great stuff!

Since becoming a member of this forum a long time ago and reading your posts, and then of course after meeting you, I always looked up to you for many reasons. However, upon first seeing that photo I realized that you’re truly a living legend!

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I don’t believe my Coker has been painted. It is the newer Coker aluminum fork rather then the older chromed steel fork.

For a tire for banked turns, I can say you should NOT use the Coker Non-Skid tire. It does not turn well at all. My Nimbus has a Nightrider tire and it turns very well, just lean/bank to the side and it turns. At least my worn Nightrider tire (not the current Lite version) turns very well. I don’t know about the same tire that is not worn or the newer Lite version.

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Interesting! I didn’t even know Coker made an aluminum frame version. I’d be curious to know when their aluminum frame version first became available.

Thanks for your input on tires. I don’t remember which road tire I had. I think I’m stuck with the stock Coker tire for now because mine has plenty of tread and I even have a spare Coker tire. While other tires may turn better, I will have to make do with what I have for the time being. I’m pretty sure I had the Coker tire when making banked turns in the past, so hopefully it will be good enough.

Great photo!

Mostly from past threads in this forum the Coker 36er started in 1998 and the aluminum frame came about 2007 as well as the Coker V2 (squid frame).
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Thanks for the information and that photo, @JimT. It’s much appreciated. Now that you’ve posted that photo, I do remember having seen pics of that Quad Coker. I don’t know if they were any good, but I sure would have liked to have bought one of those!

Hey guys,
I guess I also qualify as an original(ish) Coker rider. And I did ride on National Unicycle Day! It was the Strawberry Fields Forever annual charity ride in Watsonville, CA. I rode for a bit with Nathan Hoover and his girlfriend (on bikes) but I was too slow for them. But that was on my “modern” 36er, with a KH frame and Schlumpf hub. I rode about 20 miles of that route and it wore me out. Lots of road camber and me being out of practice! And hills.

I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who still have and ride original-type Cokers; they just haven’t upgraded. If they’re still riding the old ones they count! I have a 2001 “Coker Deluxe”, which was an offering from Unicycle.com that included a cable-actuated rim brake and the black aluminum rim. Great cycle, I rode it in Ride The Lobster and on many adventures. Got the 2-speed built up by Bronson Silva in 2010 and. the old Coker became a backup. But it’s still hanging in the garage, ready to ride though the tire is about to come apart.

Best 36" tire for tight turns and spins? Probably the most accurate answer would be none of them. The tire on my Coker may have been one of the best candidates, but I don’t think they’re available today. It’s called “Wheeler TA” and is made in Taiwan. Straight lines for tread and lasted a ton of miles.

I’m not up on what’s available these days. I did buy one of the new Schlumpf hubs (with coasting option) but it’s sitting in its box. I might put it on a 29" Mad 4 One Muni, or possibly a new 36". Someday.

Coker’s second generation: Yes, the aluminum frame and the V2 (squid) frames came out in 2007 or 2008. Coker sent me one to test and review for them. They sent both frames so I got to try both. The V2 frame had the striking visual, but was less practical and a little heavier than the aluminum one. It was probably stiffer though. As long as you were tall enough, the fore-aft spread of the fork wouldn’t interfere with your legs (didn’t bother me), but shorter riders had issues with it. I sold that uni in 2010, something I rarely do, but I had a brand new Schlumpf 36, as well as a perfectly good Coker as well. I believe those frames were powder-coated or otherwise painted that gray color; it wasn’t bare aluminum.

However I do still have the V2/squid frame, sitting in a cupboard doing nothing. Andy, are you interested? :slight_smile:

I saw that video clip of the “Davis” track and thought "That sure isn’t the track at UC Davis, Davis is flat as a pancake! I actually got to ride a Penny Farthing in a race on their track in the early 2000s; part of the Davis Cyclebration. Somebody let me borrow one for a one-mile race, but I didn’t know how fast to pace myself, so I overdid it and got smoked by the other guys.

Harper is a bad-ass, of course. But you haven’t really seen him until you’ve seen him on a T-shirt! These were available at the 2004 California Mountain Unicycle Weekend:


That’s my wife Jacquie with Harper, and those super-cool shirts that unfortunately didn’t hold up very well when washed. :frowning:

Andy is HardcoreCokerRider. He is the nephew of Meryl Shaffer, the person who came up with the word Unicon.

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Great post, @johnfoss! I figured there was a very high likelihood that you still owned and rode an original Coker in one or more of their forms. There was a separate discussion on unicycle (36ers, particularly) purists that evolved as a side discussion to a post in which I was trying to get an idea how many 36er owners ride without brakes or handlebars (what I called a “purist”). In that thread (How many 36er "Purists" on this forum?) I had expanded the notion of a " 36er purist" being only a Coker rider to the more general idea of a 36er purist being any rider of a 36er unicycle that consists solely of the original set of components typically found on commonly accepted mainstream, basic unicycles from the past to the present. Of course, the idea I was putting forth is nothing new. I was just reiterating my view which is the same view as many other riders throughout the ages, but certainly not all and probably not even most current riders (on the forum at least). You can only imagine where this discussion lead if you haven’t already read the thread! In any case, AI seemed to validate my conception of a 36er purist, but did remind me that once I get my 36er guni built, I will no longer be a purist when riding it. Given how many unicycles you have, @johnfoss, I would imagine you are both a purist and not a purist, depending upon what you choose to ride on any given day.

@johnfoss Thanks for the history and other information on the Coker frames. Depending on certain factors, there is definitely a strong possibility that I would be very interested in your V2/squid frame, though my highest priority at the moment is building my ideal skatepark/MTB park 36er, and I don’t yet know if the V2/squid frame would be a good option for my skatepark 36er (though even if not, I may very well remain quite interested in buying it from you at the right time, if it is still available). For my skatepark unicycle I want the aluminum rim to be about the same weight as my original steel rim Coker, so I will probably implement one or more of the suggestions from this thread:

My understanding is that only the weight of the rim (and within the vicinity of the rim, such as tube, tire, liner, etc.) are the weight that matters for the flywheel effect. Spokes can have some effect, but not nearly as much as the rim/tube/tire area. Weight of the frame has no bearing on stability, is that correct? Putting aside any possible strength advantages due to type of material used, extra weight of the hub, frame, cranks, and pedals will provide no advantage whatsoever and could even be disadvantageous regarding stability and flywheel effect (or at the very least just be extra weight that is not contributing to stability/flywheel effect in any way), if my understanding is accurate. If I am wrong about any of this, please let me know.

Haha, that’s awesome that you competed in a Penny Farthing race, @johnfoss! Oh well, live and learn! I’m sure it must have been a great time regardless of your finishing position.

Now that you’ve sparked my memory I remember seeing those Harper T-Shirts. That makes me realize there are at least two reasons why he is truly a living legend, though I’m sure there are more! Harper may very well be the Chuck Norris of the unicycling world!

Thanks, @johnfoss. You know me as Andy. I’m also known as Andrew, Drew, and Heskie, by various friends, family and colleagues. For a bit more history on how John and I met for anyone who is interested, here’s the story:

As John mentioned, I am a relative of Meryl Shaffer. Although she is like an aunt, she is actually my cousin. She is in a very long-term relationship (since the time I was about 10 years old or maybe even younger) with JeanPaul Jenack. JP Jenack is the son of Bill Jenack, who I believe founded the Unicycling Society of America and is a legend in the world of unicycling and was an incredibly impressive man for many reasons. When I became interested in unicycling as a pre-teenager, my parents brought me to the library and I took out some books on unicycling. One of the books I borrowed had a photo of a young JP Jenack riding a unicycle. At some point not too much later, I was absolutely shocked to find out that the JP Jenack I saw in that book was dating my cousin. I subsequently met JP for the first time and soon after he introduced me to John Foss. John pulled up to my house in his Volkswagen bus loaded with all sorts of unicycles! The only thing that impressed me more than how many different types of unicycles he had was how mind-boggling well he was able to ride each and every one of them! And so began my friendship with John Foss. Thanks to John, we got together for unicycle meet-ups regularly, I got to learn how to ride many of his various different types of unicycles and to practice improving my skills and everyone had an amazing time! I look back very fondly on those times unicycling with John in my youth.

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