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  • History of Extreme Unicycling

    I'd like to know the history of its development in chronological order. It all started with young boy named Kris Holm doing muni on some rocks in Canada and breaking his cranks all the time, didn't it?

    Can someone write it all out from there(or earlier on) and up to the present day. I know it's a lot to ask, but I'm quite interested. You can write in installments if you wish, that way you can keep to details without damaging your fingers by doing too much typing at a time.

    Thank you.
    Did you know that lighter flame smells like burnt nose hair?
    Entropy isn't what it used to be.

  • #2
    I'm working on an article about the history of MUni (at least up to the late 90s) for the next issue of Uni Magazine. "Extreme" unicycling has been around for at least 100 years, with people doing big drops or crazy stunts, though most of what's recorded was related to professional performers. Kris will be the first to admit that he didn't "invent" extreme unicycling, though his style of riding was mostly developed entirely on his own, and he sure has invented and popularized a lot of other stuff in the unicycling world.

    You might want to start with a more detailed definition of what you mean by "extreme unicycling." I remember riding on a wall with a 20' drop on one side back in 1980. That was pretty extreme to me. Sem Abrahams rode a 45' tall unicycle in 1976 or 78, Wally Watts rode around the world during the same time period; plenty of older examples.

    Not wanting people to get the wrong idea, Kris deserves much credit for bringing the kind of riding I think Ivan is thinking of out to the world for people to see. Certainly he belongs high on a list of the pioneers of that kind of extreme unicycling, just as he is also on the short list of pioneers and popularizers of MUni.
    Last edited by johnfoss; 2007-05-07, 07:35 PM.
    John Foss
    www.unicycling.com

    "Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"

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    • #3
      I can't believe the name of a certain Canadian magistrate hasn't come in to this conversation yet, ivan if you can get a copy of universe 2 there is the most fantastic documentary entitled 'rough terain unicycling' by George Peck on it. It's not a history but it gives so much insight in to what the scene was in 1993 (particularly the equipment) that i think it would be really valuable.
      Dave

      - what a thoroughly post-modern subversion of the cycling genre -

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      • #4
        is there any way I could see this article, when it's finished, for free? I can afford uni my dad just won't let me spend $60 on a unicycle magazine.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by kington99
          I can't believe the name of a certain Canadian magistrate hasn't come in to this conversation yet, ivan if you can get a copy of universe 2 there is the most fantastic documentary entitled 'rough terain unicycling' by George Peck on it. It's not a history but it gives so much insight in to what the scene was in 1993 (particularly the equipment) that i think it would be really valuable.
          I believe George Peck was in Alaska...
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Originally posted by forrestunifreak
            I believe George Peck was in Alaska...
            Oh sorry yes you're right.
            Dave

            - what a thoroughly post-modern subversion of the cycling genre -

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            • #7
              By extreme I don't necesarrily mean dangerous. I just wanted to group the styles of riding like muni, trials and street into one category.

              I'd love to see that article and the documentary and hopefuly one day I will. I supposed Dan Heaton also played a pretty big role in the development and promotion of the sport world-wide, right? With the two universe movies, he spread the word around the world. Also, how did that work? He produced a movie and then how, let's say, people in Australia got to watch it and get inspired by it? Saw the trailer on the internet and decided to watch the whole thing? I know that I was brought into the uni world by Universe II trailer.
              Did you know that lighter flame smells like burnt nose hair?
              Entropy isn't what it used to be.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by kington99
                ... a certain Canadian magistrate ... get a copy of universe 2 there is the most fantastic documentary entitled 'rough terain unicycling' by George Peck on it. It's not a history but it gives so much insight in to what the scene was in 1993 (particularly the equipment) that i think it would be really valuable.
                I believe George Peck started offroad unicycling around 1983. From memory 'Rough Terrain Unicycling' dates from 1987.
                There's some history of extreme unicycling on the Unicycle.com UK site.
                Take a squizz at my YouTube videos!

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                • #9
                  Universe 1 was screened in a basement bar one night in China in 2000 during Unicon 10. The bar was crowded with unicyclists from many differnt countries, I expect some of them took the word about and maybe even a copy of this video home with them.
                  I suspect there was a parralel development of the styles of riding you call extreme. riders in USA, UK, Germany, France all pushing the possible a bit further at the same time but with out communication between them.
                  South West Unicycle Meet
                  www.uk.unicyclist.com/swum.html

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                  • #10
                    So, I've watched George Peck's "Rough terrain unicycling"(thanks, Blue). I liked it quite a bit. It is historical, but it says nothing about the history of the sport. He's at the roots, I imagine, so there'd be not much history before him.

                    What I was looking for is sort of a timeline of development of the sport. Like, George Peck being a dot on the left(1983), some more things to the right, Kris Holm gets that person to machine a splined hub(some other year), Universe video release in year 19something, etc and up until 2007. That would be very cool.
                    Did you know that lighter flame smells like burnt nose hair?
                    Entropy isn't what it used to be.

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                    • #11
                      Extreem Unicycling History.

                      Yes, Circus riders have been riding unicycles on cables for well over 100 years. Now cable riding is pretty extreem! I know that Walter Nillson crossed the US on a unicycle in the 30's. Also a bunch of Swedes invented a whole bunch of street and trial moves back in the 80's. during the 80's a few pockets of unicycling developed independly of each other in different parts of the world. It is kind of like the Liebnitz Newton debate of who invented the integral!

                      By the way George Peck is from Seward Alaska. Yes he is a magestrate.

                      A well written history of our sport with descriptions of the advancements in the unicycles themselves would be really interesting!

                      Unicorn
                      Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the pedals, and you will accomplish great feats!

                      The Unicycling Commune

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                      • #12
                        Revived

                        ^^^^^^^^^^^^
                        JF - I'd also like to see this article/timeline. A $60 subscription w/ back issues is too much for me for quite a while I do have issue 1 though
                        Ride everywhere and never just ride anywhere. If you can ride where you are going within a hour, do it, and if you can do a trick 50-75% of the time do it along the way.- Bob Burnquist

                        What's next?
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                        • #13
                          History Article

                          I just got the last issue of UNI magazine and have still not seen an article about the history of Unicycling. Did you ever finish your article John?

                          Unicorn
                          Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the pedals, and you will accomplish great feats!

                          The Unicycling Commune

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                          • #14
                            Uh, no. I had been waffling, as I know it will be a lot of work to try to get in touch with the faraway people I need to interview (and with translation for at least one), so all of a sudden I had to get something in for deadline (about a year ago!) so you instead got a nice article about the "Tour of Tahoe."

                            I have to talk to Mike Penton to see what his thoughts are on an Issue Five.

                            Early pioneers in the "modern" era of riding offroad and what followed, in rough order of doing/publicizing it. The years listed are when they "shared" what they were doing:

                            John Foss, Michigan (where I grew up), 1981
                            George Peck, Alaska, 1985
                            Thierry Bouche (spelling may be wrong), France, 19??
                            Duncan Castling, Roger Davies, Mini Mansell, England, 1994?
                            Bruce Bundy & David Poznanter, California, 1997
                            Kris Holm, Canada, 1998
                            Dan Heaton, for his films, 1999

                            There are many others of course! The above list is "general MUni." A Trials list would have to start from Bruce Bundy and continue in the same order. A Street list would clearly start with Dan Heaton. Anyone want to discuss, add or refute?
                            Last edited by johnfoss; 2008-05-20, 04:46 PM.
                            John Foss
                            www.unicycling.com

                            "Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"

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                            • #15
                              Unicycling had its overall start when daredevils riding penny farthings would try and see how far they could ride without the back wheel touching the ground. Finally, someone got the idea of chopping the back wheel off and voilą, the unicycle was born!


                              This is a penny farthing:


                              Not really on topic, but it is history
                              Last edited by poofengle; 2008-05-20, 11:07 PM.
                              Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day. But set a man on fire and he'll be warm the rest of his life.

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