Why Ride a Unicycle Anyway?


Well to start, unicycles are just plain awesome.  Everyone rides a bike, so why not try something different?  Unicycles are cool, ’cause when people see you go by, positive thoughts come to mind, which lets them open up to you in a different way. Unicycles are often associated with circuses and clowns, so more often than not people will try and think of something clever to yell at you as you go by. Then you, as the unicyclist, have the fun job of trying to quickly think of something clever to say back. This happens innumerable times a day when riding around in town. I’ve had conversations with tons of people I would never have met had they not stopped me as I rode past to ask about the unicycle.

It’s also lots of fun when you start talking with someone and they realize that you’re just a regular guy, not some kind of super clown dude or something. That gives some people the courage to try the unicycle themselves.

Not only is it a fantastic tool for starting conversations and meeting people, but it’s also great exercise. Unicycling exercises much of your body, especially your core and legs, and it also teaches better balance skills as well.

My final point can be seen as either a disadvantage, or an advantage: while riding a unicycle, unlike a bike, you must be constantly ready for everything that comes your way. A bike can kind of just roll over stuff, while with a unicycle, one little bump can send you flying! Muscle memory helps a lot, but I still think unicycling requires a lot more conscious involvement. I have been riding before where I’m going super fast, unaware that a small change of terrain is coming up. I hit the bump or root or whatever, and since it’s too late to compensate for it, I go hurtling into the air, usually landing on my feet. But, as I said, this can be seen as good or bad. I like it ‘cause it makes for quite an interactive and exciting ride.

My goal is to try and get as many people as I can to shed a wheel or two and join the unicyclist movement.  #rideaunicycle!


A Dream Come True

IMG_0580.JPGWhen I first started learning to unicycle (in February 2016) my only goal was to be able to ride consistently.  After visiting my Great Uncle David in Toronto – who owns a collection of unicycles of various sizes and descriptions – and trying out some of his unicycles I began to realize how many possibilities there are with unicycling. I tried his five foot tall ‘giraffe,’ and the big ‘36er’ which has a wheel diameter of 3’. You can get going really fast on the 36er, so once you get one of those you don’t ever have to ride a bike again, unless of course, you want to…

Later that summer, after I was feeling more comfortable on my 20” trainer, I decided I was ready for an upgrade of some sort. The only one I found that was relatively within my price range was a used five foot tall giraffe that was a 2 hour drive away, and not on the way to anywhere I or my family really ever goes. I was also a little hesitant to pay the price they where asking, as I didn’t know what shape the unicycle was in. I was about to buy it, but prayed first.

I decided to wait a little longer, and literally the next day I found another ad in Toronto for a giraffe that was half the price of the other one, and it came with another 20” trainer as well! The seller was just trying to get rid of them. And, since I know people who go to Toronto fairly often, this was the perfect opportunity. My very kind Uncle David generously went out of his way to pick it up for me, and my Dad later picked it up while in Toronto for another reason.

Dad got back late, and the next morning told me to go look in the back of the van. I opened the van door, and pulled out a Norco Giraffe and a 20” trainer. I found that neither of them needed a new tube despite the seller saying they did, so I was able to start riding the giraffe right away. The whole story is an example of how God loves to give us good things. We can learn to wait on the LORD for some things instead of trying to figure out everything by ourselves. As the bible says:

Delight yourself also in the LORD: and he shall give you the desires of your heart.

That summer I posted a WANTED: UNICYCLES ad online, and started buying used unicycles, and selling some of them to friends after I had taught them how to ride. I was able to find a 24” uni (unicycle), which was fun because you can go a little faster than on a 20” uni (larger diameter = larger circumference = more SPEED).

Ever since I had ridden Uncle David’s 36er in Toronto, I had dreamed of getting one of my own. 36ers just fly! A 36er’s wheel is large enough that it is almost as fast as a bike. I looked all over Canada and the US for a used or new 36er at a good price, but could hardly find any that where affordable, or located somewhere I would be able to pick it up. I looked on UDC, Creigslist, Kijiji, and even considered buying all the components and building my own (which would have been pretty cool, but was also pretty expensive). I really wanted to get one but just couldn’t seem to find one that would be the right fit, so I talked to the LORD about it.

One day in March (of 2017) I was (half jokingly) trying to convince my Mom to buy one for me. She told me to talk to Jesus about it, because he loves to give us good things.

Literally ten minutes later I got an email from a guy named ‘Mike’ who was replying to the wanted ad for unicycles I had posted months ago. I could hardly believe my eyes as I read the message. He was selling his Qu-Ax 36er with some KH accesories on it, and it was for less than any of the unicycles I had previously looked at. And, it was only a 30 minute drive from my place!

I took this as a clear sign from God that this was the unicycle for me, and in less than two hours I was back home inspecting my very own 36er! After tinkering around and changing a few things on it, the next day I was happily riding around the tennis court. It was amazing to realize that God had just provided something I had been looking for for the past year. God loves to make dreams realities for his children, and for me, He had just made a Dream Come True.

Trip to Toronto

img_4804This summer my older brother Duke and I went for a neat little traveling adventure.  My Great Uncle and Aunt – David (who got me started on uni-cycling) and Joan – live in Toronto, Canada’s largest city in population, and we went to visit them.

Dad dropped us off at the bus station where we got on the bus for Toronto.  When we arrived in Toronto David and Joan picked us up.

First, they took us to the Kensington Market, a market where you can shop for all sorts of interesting things.  img_1101After touring around and looking at lots of food, clothing, and other stuff, my Aunt Joan dropped us off at the Billy Bishop airport which is right beside the sailboat club where Uncle David owns a boat.

We went for a sail with some of Uncle David’s friends.  We sailed way out on Lake Ontario, then back in and around Toronto Island, where we saw a bunch of wind surfers and encountered a sailboat race.  On the way back to the boat club I got a chance to steer which was pretty cool.  We had dinner at the boat club and then headed back to David and Joan’s house where we talked about the plan for the next day.

Next morning the four of us woke up at around 5:30 a.m. and drove to the park where David and I began unicycling and Duke and Joan went for a walk around the park.  image1We unicycled 10 km (6.2 miles); David on his 29” unicycle and I was borrowing his 24” unicycle.  We drove home, then walked to a nearby diner for breakfast.  After breakfast we walked to the nearest subway station and rode around on subways, streetcars and buses for the rest of the morning which was cool for me because I had never been on a subway before.  At around noon we took a bus back to David and Joan’s home and had a snack and some quiet time, during which David let me try out his 5’ tall ‘giraffe’ unicycleimg_1128and 36” unicycle.750_8663I took them down to a nearby park to practice.750_8680An hour or so later we drove to the Beach where we walked around and enjoyed some fresh air.  It would have been a great day for swimming but we just dipped our feet in.

That evening we walked to a restaurant nearby the Beach for dinner.  We had a nice quiet dinner and then walked around watching different bands set up for a jazz festival.

Next morning around 5:30 a.m. Uncle David woke me up and this time just the two of us went to the park to do some early morning unicycling.  This time I was using his 36” unicycle which can go much faster with less peddling.

When we got back from unicycling in the park I packed up my stuff and then we had homemade porridge for breakfast.  After breakfast I practiced a bit more on David’s giraffe unicycle.  Later that morning David and Joan drove us back to our home, and on the way back we stopped at a bakery for a snack.

What a great weekend of fun and excitement!

I Got a GoPro!

I first heard about GoPro action cameras this spring.  A friend of my Mom was telling us about a cool video she had seen that had been made with a GoPro.  Later on I looked them up on the internet, and found the GoPro website.

If you have not heard of GoPros, here is a quick intro:

GoPro action cameras are small lightweight cameras that have three modes:  multi-shot, video, and single photo, with many settings and options for each.  You can use them to capture top quality video and photo footage, in a variety of different settings.  GoPros come with a protective housing that protects them from dirt, dust, snow, water, and other conditions that might damage the camera.  The housing also allows you to attach the camera to all the compatible mounts and harnesses so you can film from your head, chest, wrist, bicycle (or unicycle), surfboard, or even your dog!  Click here to see all the different mounts and accessories.

After using a friend’s GoPro to make a video – that I posted here called Off-Road Unicycling – and researching a little more, I decided it would be a good investment to make.  I just needed to decide which one to get!  At the time I was looking there were three available:  the Hero4 Black, the Hero4 Silver, and the Hero Session.  I decided to get the Hero4 Silver because, even though the Hero4 Black has a few better video quality features, the Hero4 Silver has some things I liked more, such as a built-in touch screen.  I got it in the mail a couple weeks after ordering.

I am very happy with the GoPro I bought, and definitely recommend it.  The video above is my first video made with it, and hopefully there will be lots more to come!

img_5479Here is a photo of my GoPro attached to a floating handle.



Off-Road Unicycling

While visiting some friends nearby I had the opportunity to try to unicycle down a very steep hill.  It is the biggest hill I have gone down so far on my unicycle.  My friend lent me his GoPro camera and we made the video above.

Lately, I have been getting much more comfortable on my unicycle.  It has a 20” wheel.  A 20” unicycle wheel is best for training on, but they aren’t really super great to use for “Muni” (mountain unicycling) unless it is a very thick tire, or for ridding long distances.  The smaller the wheel, the more you have to pedal.  The one big advantage of a smaller wheel is that it is much more maneuverable.  With my 20” unicycle I can turn a full circle in a small area that would be very difficult for a bigger unicycle wheel to do.

Like almost everything in the world, there are both advantages and disadvantages.

Learning To Unicycle

My great uncle has a bunch of unicycles he rides, and so last summer I had asked if he could bring one to a family gathering.  I thought unicycling was a pretty cool sport so I wanted to give it a try.  He brought a unicycle and got me started holding onto a porch railing and using a brick as a chock behind the wheel.  He lent me the unicycle until the fall, and although I was unable to master it, having it for that amount of time confirmed my interest in “one-wheel bike”.

Late this winter I was given a unicycle and I started practicing indoors.  I got more and more comfortable, until I was able to get on and peddle a couple of meters before falling off.  In the past week or two I have been practicing seriously and am now able to mount the unicycle without any thing behind the wheel, and peddle consistently for quite a distance.

You can teach yourself unicycling easily with the help of a Youtube tutorial or a friend who owns a unicycle.  To find a unicycle look up unicycles in your area, or buy it online at a place like Amazon.  For starting, a 20 inch wheel is great or anything around that size.  You can pretty much learn on any unicycle you find, but the twenty inch is my recommendation.  You should raise the seat to about the height of your belly-button before starting.  After learning the basics, you’ll be able to pick up a specialty, or do them all.  Some of these include mountain unicycling, long distance unicycling, riding a “giraffe”, and so much more.  There are many things you can do with unicycling.

One thing learning to unicycle gives you is a great sense of balance with your body.  Instead of only being able to fall right of left, you can fall any direction,  Fortunately while learning basic unicycling you will usually land on your feet because there’s no cross-bar blocking your leg, like on a regular bike.

I highly recommend the sport of unicycling and hope this video and article inspire you to get outside and hop on a one-wheeler.  Please take some time to research unicycling and see if it’s something you think you would be interested in pursuing.

Have lots of one wheeled fun, and don’t forget your helmet!