Your unicycle story (unicycle pictures welcomed)?

My name is Rich and I’m a unicyclist

Thanks for a great thread idea!

I bought my first unicycle whilst sat in a pub with some mates in 2005. I ordered it from ebay on a Windows CE phone or something.
I think there might have been a bet regarding how quickly one of us could ride it (and if there was, I certainly won!). It was a chrome budget model, cotterless cranks and OK alloy rim but overall very basic. Still, a bargain at £36 delivered.

I posted recently about the learning experience that I had so I’ll just link to that. There’s a .gif I made from a video of the day I learned.

Once I could ride, it was a natural leap to using the thing for transportation, I remember setting myself a challenge of riding home from a friends house. I’ve just looked it up on Google Maps: 2.4 miles. This basically killed me because of my lack of experience, the poor comfort of the unicycle’s rubber seat and lack of handle (and the colossal hangover from the evening before).

I even took it ‘off road’ on a local bridleway. Not comfortable. I also got the sense that I’d break something even though I weigh about 70kg.
I wanted to improve but was clearly limited by the unicycle. I figured I’d have a look online for a new one and bought a 24x3 Qu-Ax with the ten-spline hub (nearly a kilogram per spline too!) Cost £180.
It also came with 170mm cranks which felt like I was slowly hurdling a Transit van every time the pedals went round. It was before I’d discovered the forum and the (relatively few) parameters which are important to how the unicycle performs, such as crank length.

Still, I made it work and even rode down Snowdon in 2006 with a few fine people of this parish.

Other than the occasional muck around in the street, I hung up the unicycle for a while.


Some time passed. Several years, a couple of house moves and a few foreign deployments later I saw a couple of youtube videos that piqued my interest. This prompted a look at the ‘state of the nation’ of equipment. I definitely fancied a KH but there didn’t appear to be a strong second hand market in the UK. 
I was planning to visit my Great Uncle in Seattle as part of a west coast road trip in 2013 so I checked Craigslist. A guy called Eric in Las Vegas (ex-Prison guard and a thoroughly nice chap) was selling a KH36. He received my call from Portsmouth, England and enjoyed my plan so much he reverse-haggled me into a great deal!
I had a friend make me a travel bag to take with me so I could fly it home afterwards (she makes boat covers). ‘Sporting equipment’, I told the airline.

I ended up flying straight to Vegas and Eric drove to meet me at the budget off-strip hotel. I freemounted it in the car park and did a lap. He was impressed. I think it must have been fear and bravado because I wasn’t that reliable at freemounting over the next few days! A great feeling being up on the big, fast wheel though. I paid what we agreed and he insisted on giving me twenty back, and some KH leg armour and a big bag of various accessories and farkles. What a hero!


Over the course of the next few weeks I rode it around San Francisco, along Cannon Beach, on the rim of Crater Lake, in Death Valley, in Seattle and Snohomish County and a bunch of other cool places. I didn’t take many photos because I usually went out by myself really early while my wife slept in (I had twice the holiday she did!). They were mostly short rides while I got the hang of it, or photo opportunities. Writing this has prompted me to try and find them; they are conspicuous by their absence from my digital archive.



I got more confident with the 36 when I got home, using it for local fun rides and for various errands. My longest day is still short of 30 miles though. I really must make time for a big day out!

I have built a few wheels over the years, mostly low or zero-dish for internally geared hubs, so I figured a unicycle wheel would be easy. It just happened that I could fit a 26” wheel in place of the 24” QuAx boat anchor wheel, so I built one around a standard width MTB rim for a 2.35” tyre. Much lighter and good fun for brakeless muni with 137mm cranks. 
That’s a Help for Heroes charity wristband on the hub, which is something usually I do when I build a wheel. Impossible to put on afterwards (and it’s a fun gimmick so I can brag that I did the wheel build ;) )


A few friends expressed a bit of interest, and I wanted something that would be easy to lend out or use to work on skills when I am stuck at work (I spend half my life in a Naval Base).
Bought a KH20 and my idling and backwards skills are improving, as well as my jump height (tucking is really starting to make the difference). I got a second hand Reagent at the same time so I’ve got a twenty at each end of the country. This proved invaluable when it snowed recently and I got stuck up North!



When I go out with my son (just turned 4) on his bike I need to take at least the 26 because he’s too fast for my 20. He’s on an Islabikes CNOC 16 (great bit of kit) and he’s never had stabilisers, having started on a balance bike. Unicycle one day soon!



I’ve just purchased a 5’ DM Giraffe and can’t wait to give it a go when I’m home in a couple of weeks!

So thanks to everyone who has provided great reading material for me along my journey. 
 The depth of experience, the huge archive of historical posts (not to mention the history that has been made here), the gear envy, the direct connection to designers, producers and salespeople, the organisers and instigators of events, the new things that are being done all the time. 

This place is like no other forum I’ve had the pleasure to lurk in. There are too  many names to mention, so I won’t*.



*except I’ll mention Mikefule because his ride write ups from years ago are still great to read! Up with this sort of thing.

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