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Old 2004-05-17, 06:58 PM   #138
Southern Fried mUni
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: North Carolina
Age: 45
Posts: 1,170
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Let me add to the collection, here's an article about me from a few months ago....


On a Wheel and a Prayer
A local thrill-seeker hits mountain bike trails with only half a bike

By Sam Boykin; Charlotte Magazine

It just doesn't look right. There's this guy, and he's sitting on a bicycle seat attached to one wheel, and his arms are kind of flailing. But it can't be a unicycle, can it? This guy is riding on a rough, dirt path-a mountain bike trail. Who in their right mind would take a unicycle-with no brakes and a wheel that only spins when you peddle it-out on a dangerous trail like this?

Josh Taylor would, and he does.

While riding his mountain bike early last year, Josh Taylor aggravated a case of carpal tunnel syndrome in his wrist. The injury forced Taylor to park his bike for several months. So what's a sidelined adrenaline junkie to do without full use of his arms? Simple, take up the new sport of mountain unicycling. Also known as "mUni," it's just what it sounds like-riding a unicycle-or "municycle"-on the rugged, rock-and-root-strewn terrain of mountain bike trails.

The sport originated in the United Kingdom in the late 1980s, and eventually made its way into the United States, where it's still relatively unknown. Taylor, thirty, is among just a handful of intrepid (some might say crazy) folks in the Charlotte area who mUni at local trails, including Beech Spring (also called Poplar Tent), PeeWee's Mountain Bike Park in Lincolnton, and North Mecklenburg Park in Huntersville.

After his wrist injury, Taylor somehow convinced his wife to buy him a unicycle for Valentine's Day. "It just seemed like something fun to do," he says. "Plus, I thought it might help my overall ability in mountain biking."

Taylor practiced in his driveway, holding on to a chair for balance. After a few days he was able to go about twenty feet without falling. "At first it feels so alien when you put your butt up on the seat and there's no handlebars," says Taylor, who lives in Gaston County. "It is hard, but anybody can do it. You just have to put in the practice." And Taylor insists that there's a far greater chance of getting hurt while riding a mountain bike than a unicycle. "When you fall off a unicycle you can usually just step off and run away from it," he says.

Taylor became adept at maneuvering his unicycle in the driveway and on the sidewalk. Then, while surfing the Internet, he discovered mUni, and he shelled out about $400 for a municycle (they can cost as much as $1,500). Different from "freestyle" unicycles-the kind typically ridden by street performers and circus clowns-a municycle is sturdier, with fat knobby tires, a big saddle, and mountain bike pedals. Once he hit the trails, Taylor discovered that the bumps and uneven terrain provided a far different riding experience than his driveway.

"It was almost like starting all over again," Taylor says. "Every trail is a new learning experience. On a mountain bike it's all about blasting down the trail and just plowing over everything. mUni, on the other hand, is like a slow dance on a tightrope. You learn every root and rock. It's 100 percent concentration at five miles per hour. Plus, I have to admit, the shock value is kind of fun. Everyone I pass on the trail is a little freaked out."
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