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  • Hub of liberation -- Just go with flow, urges off-road unicycling guru, as kids pedal downhill
    21 January 2007
    The Commercial Appeal
    Copyright (c) 2007 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

    His students were riding unicycles down steep and rugged hills. Tommy Thompson told them to relax.

    "Relax and focus," he yelled to nearly 30 unicycle riders Saturday at Shelby Farms. "If you see something challenging, like a root or a hole, your first instinct will be to tense up. But you have to relax to get through that trepidation."

    That trepidation was unicycling, off-road unicycling.

    These unicyclers were from the Memphis, St. George's and Grace- St. Luke's Unicycle Clubs. They gathered on the Tour de Wolf Trail to hone their off-road skills and get a little mud on their single tires.

    "People look at the unicycle as such an oddity," Thompson said in the chilly morning air. "They only know them from the circus."

    Thompson has been trying to break that stereotype for many years. He began by establishing the Memphis Unicycle Club in 2002. He established a unicycle club at St. George's Independent School after his students saw him riding at lunch.

    Last year he brought the North American Unicycle Championships and Convention to Memphis. While enthusiasts ride their unicycles with staunch fervor, Thompson admits unicycles are far from pragmatic.

    "(Unicycles) are the most ridiculous form of transportation. But there is more to life than the speed in which you travel through it," he said. "(Unicycling) is not about speed it is about agility."

    Agility was certainly the name of the game at Shelby Farms Saturday. Most of the riders were used to riding in gymnasiums or on asphalt, places with linear and predictable obstacles. A tree root doesn't respond like a curb or a set of steps. Riders had to adapt, to think, to trust themselves. Thompson said they had to relax.

    Mary Elizabeth Ward, an eighth-grader at St. George's from Eads, was trying to do just that as she rode her knobby-tired Christmas gift down a washed-out path. Her arms flailed for balance and her eyes were focused on the brown ground before her. Surely the root would stop her wheel and she'd fall like a hammer, face first. Instead, she bounced softly and gently pulled the unicycle from her legs.

    "People think this is a clown sport," she joked. "I am not all that athletic. The only sport I play is lacrosse and I'm the goalie. So I love doing this in my free time. They say this is a guy sport, and I love it when they say that girls can't do this sort of thing."

    Unicycling offers unique physical benefits, Thompson said, calling it "yoga on wheels." However, he sees it as a mental springboard for life.

    "It is an amazing self-esteem boost," he said. "That shows them that if you can do this, then you can certainly do algebra 2 or anything else."


    Join the fun

    The Memphis Unicycle Club meets every Thursday at First Congregational Church in the Cooper-Young neighborhood from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information, visit
    Raphael Lasar

    To Plotz is Human
    To Shvitz Divine


    • Balancing act: St. John's unicyclist enjoys playing the role of high roller
      875 Words
      19 January 2007
      Guelph Mercury
      Copyright (c) 2007 Guelph Mercury.

      ST. JOHN'S, N.L.

      David Cox is a big wheel around town.

      Well, at least, he rides one -- the 20-year-old is a unicyclist who has been pedalling his way around St. John's for the past few years.

      Whether it be summer or winter, Cox can be seen balancing on one wheel, making his way up and down hills, on city streets and sidewalks.

      But he's not riding as a gimmick. Cox uses his unicycle for transportation, just like any other cyclist.

      "It's normal for me to get up in the morning, hop on the unicycle and ride downtown," said Cox, who routinely makes the 8.5-kilometre commute from his home to his part-time job downtown.

      "People see me and say, 'Whoa, this guy is crazy,' but it's just part of my routine."

      Cox and his unicycle have attracted plenty of attention from curious residents, who often beep their car horns, wave, take pictures or just watch in awe.

      "It's a lot of fun just to go around town," said Cox, who has developed muscular legs from two years of regular cycling.

      "You meet a lot of people you otherwise wouldn't. People always stop to talk to you. It's nice because people always smile at you."

      Cox became interested in unicycles about two years ago when he saw unicyclist Pete Duchemin riding on a city street.

      "I was just with a few friends coming from one of their houses when we saw him. I thought it was so cool," recalled Cox, who points out that unicycles can reach speeds of 20 kilometres an hour.

      Cox said he yelled out to ask him where he'd purchased his unicycle and Duchemin yelled back with the name of the store.

      "So, I called up and I got my parents to get me one for my birthday that year."

      Unicycles range in price from $100 for a base model up to $1,500 for a custom-made one.

      Cox has six of them, in an array of sizes. Included in his collection is one with a 36-inch wheel, which he uses for transportation, as well as a mountain unicycle with a smaller and more aggressive tire, which he said is great in snowdrifts.

      Learning to ride a unicycle can be difficult, Cox said, although skiers and skateboarders may have a bit of an edge.

      "It takes a bit of perseverance at first," admitted Cox.

      "It's not quite as impossible as people think. It just takes time and practice."

      Once he was comfortable riding the unicycle, Cox spent the next year and a half perfecting tricks using a special freestyle unicycle.

      "It's challenging and you get a lot of satisfaction when you get a new trick down and land something for the first time," he said.

      Unicycling is popular worldwide. In the United States, there are unicycle competitions where riders perform figures and are judged on their overall performance.

      There's also a unicycle community on the Internet, with sites that people from all over the world surf to every day to write about their experiences and share ideas and videos.

      And that's how Cox found out about what will be his next venture.

      This summer, he plans to take part in the Mediterranean Unicycle Tour, a 1,000-kilometre trip starting in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and ending in Aix-en-Provence, France.

      The 19-day tour will feature 10 or more riders, who will travel through Slovenia, along the coast of Croatia and through central Italy, Corsica and the south of France. The tour will pass through mountainous terrain and along challenging coastal roads.

      "It's going to be great. I can't wait," Cox said. "It's going to be tough, but I want to keep up with the rest of the riders."

      Among those riders will be a former world freestyle champion.

      To prepare, Cox rode from North Sydney on Cape Breton to Halifax last summer, a distance of more than 300 kilometres.

      He figures he's the only "serious" unicyclist in the province.

      "You see unicycles around a lot, and I think I know most of (the riders)," he said, "but I think I'm the only one who does it as often as I do."

      He's not sure if his skill will ever earn him a living.

      "I'm thinking about it, but it would be tough. Being a street performer, for instance, it's a viable living, but it doesn't make you rich by any stretch," said Cox, who has inspired many of his friends to try unicycling.

      "But it's like anything -- there is money to make, but you've got to work hard."

      Also a member of a local juggling club, Cox has not yet used his talents to join the circus, but he hopes to soon.

      He's making inquiries about joining Beni Malone's Wonderbolt Circus, based in St. John's.
      Raphael Lasar

      To Plotz is Human
      To Shvitz Divine


      • Unicycling tour to promote Indo-Pak peace
        25 January 2007
        The Press Trust of India Limited
        (c) 2007 Asia Pulse Pty Limited.

        New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) Siddharth Rajan will embark on a unicycling tour from Delhi to Lahore on Saturday to promote the Indo-Pakistan peace process.

        Minister of Sports and Youth affairs Mani Shankar Aiyar will flag off Siddharth Rajan from Delhi, an official release said here today.

        For part of the journey, Siddharth will be accompanied by two friends on bicycles. His parents and sister will cheer for their son till the Wagah border.

        Twenty-year-old Siddharth has excelled in several adventure sports and has achieved several long distance records in unicycling, which includes the ride through Laos.
        Raphael Lasar

        To Plotz is Human
        To Shvitz Divine


          Raphael Lasar

          To Plotz is Human
          To Shvitz Divine


          • Unicyclists wheel into town
            Raphael Lasar

            To Plotz is Human
            To Shvitz Divine


            • Unicycle ride to promote India-Pakistan friendship
              Calcutta News.Net
              Saturday 27th January, 2007 (IANS)

              A youngster Saturday embarked on a 530-km unicycle ride from New Delhi to Lahore to spread the message of peace and India-Pakistan friendship.

              Siddharth Rajan, 22, was flagged off by Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Mani Shankar Aiyar at the National Stadium.

              'We need to spread the message of peace among the people of both countries. It is a tough journey but I know we will achieve it because we are determined to do so,' said Rajan who hails from Hyderabad.

              Said Aiyar: 'It is a good feeling to see Siddharth ending his journey at a place where I was born. It is a very good initiative to spread the message of friendship among the people of both sides of the border.'

              Rajan is accompanied by his Australian friend Benjamin Boyle. They will stop at Panipat, Ambala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar and are scheduled to arrive in Lahore Feb 3.

              Rajan's sister Samyukta will accompany them on a bicycle till the Wagah checkpost on the India-Pakistan border.

              Rajan took to the sport of unicycling - cycle with just one wheel - when he was pursuing his diploma course in engineering in Singapore and also went onto captain the national team there.

              He is currently based in Australia, where he is pursuing his post-graduation in sports and outdoor recreation and aims to be a mountaineer.

              At the flagging-off function, Aiyar tried his luck on the unicycle and was quite successful.

              The minister said Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri played an important role in making this expedition possible.

              'Siddharth was having problems in getting the visa and when I came to know about it I called up Kasuri, who is my college friend from our Cambridge days. In the next few days the visa was ready and so the expedition is on now,' he said.
              While you and I are having our cake-and-ice-cream party, the others are having a drink-the-blood-of-the-poor party in the back room. --[QUOTE=maestro8;1433130]


              • Mayor keeps her feet on the ground
                5 February 2007
                Bath Chronicle
                (c) 2007 Bath Newspapers Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

                There may be a family connection between unicyclist Pauline Paradise and Mayor of Bath Cllr Carol Paradise.

                But that was not enough to persuade Bath's first citizen to trust herself to just one wheel during an official visit yesterday.

                Cllr Paradise dropped in on the Unicycle Maniacs club in Weston after presenting a grant to its members and its organiser, who happens to be the mayor's sister-in-law.

                Pauline said: "It was the first time Carol had been to the club, and I think she was very impressed.

                "She didn't try the unicycles or stilts as I would think she is a bit heavy for that.

                "For someone who is over 60 and a bit overweight, just starting out would be very tricky."

                Despite Cllr Paradise not taking to the stilts or unicycles, the oldest member of the club is a 71-year-old, though most participants in the weekly sessions are in their teens.

                The tutors focus on the basics in these skills, as well as teaching elegant routines and some floor-based circus skills, such as juggling.

                A parent won a raffle offered by the mayor's office to mark the visit, and will be able to take afternoon tea at the mayor's parlour in the Guildhall.
                Raphael Lasar

                To Plotz is Human
                To Shvitz Divine


                • CHALLENGE OF ONE WHEEL
                  Raphael Lasar

                  To Plotz is Human
                  To Shvitz Divine


                  • Unicyclist not hanging up helmet yet
                    Raphael Lasar

                    To Plotz is Human
                    To Shvitz Divine


                      Raphael Lasar

                      To Plotz is Human
                      To Shvitz Divine


                      • Mary Rios and I were on Denver local TV for our 169 seconds of fame. Here is a link to their website;
                        You have to scroll down, we are just below "My Little Pony". Good thing we weren't competing with that! I was just glad that 1) I didn't have to talk and 2) I didn't biff.
                        TTFN- JR

                        Keep your Gubmint hands off my Medicare!

                        In theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice
                        In practice, there is.


                        • slickrock unicycle

                          That article about unicycling on the Slickrock Bike Trail is crazy. It's demanding enough on a mountain bike.




                            • Article in Newsweek by John Drummond
                              Raphael Lasar

                              To Plotz is Human
                              To Shvitz Divine


                              • NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS - Southwest Tigard
                                Raphael Lasar

                                To Plotz is Human
                                To Shvitz Divine