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Old 2018-04-13, 11:11 PM   #1
Canapin
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Cool Your unicycle story (unicycle pictures welcomed)?

Hi.

I like pictures of unicycles as well as stories, so I thought about this thread or one can write his own unicycling/unicycles story.

It's not about how you started as we already have threads about that, but rather your unicycle story over time, what made you the unicyclist you are nowadays, and the unicycles you chose (or maybe built!) during this journey.

I've been unicycling for 6 years.

My first unicycle was a brand new 20" Only One bought online. Cheap, beginner stuff. My goal was simply to learn how to ride this thing.

After a few days of struggling how to learn properly, I found an empty outside basket basketball court. There were never people here. I did my learning mainly on this court.

After a while, I tried my unicycle on country paths! It was fun, hard and it appeared obvious to me that my unicycle was not made for that!

Four months after my first unicycle, I got my 2nd one. A used Qu-ax Cross 29". Heavy (8 Kg), with no brake and with KH double insert cranks.

Here are my dirty, maybe exhausted 20" and my then new 29" to replace it on dirty trails:


Riding it was very, very weird at first. Obviously, I couldn't mount it without the help of a wall.
I rode a few meters with it and I told my girlfriend: "Woah! That's amazing! It's so tall and I don't feel the road small holes and rocks anymore, it's massive!". I liked the inertia, it felt powerful. I pretty much felt in love with it!

for the next year, I rode it on country paths daily and it was awesome. I had bike rides with my girlfriend, I was following her as much as I could with my big wheel. I was kind of an attraction since we were living in a 400 souls village.

The following years I didn't use it much, but I sometimes used on rocky trails and stuff like this.

I finally moved again in town. I never rode a unicycle in a town before, as I lived in the countryside. I was not ready at all to ride my 29" on sidewalks or road, with all the people and cars.

So I bought my third one, a used 24" KH with brake:


I quickly learned how to use it and it became my primary mean of transport (I almost never walk since then). I never learned how to jump, ride backward and stuff like this.

Unfortunately, I used it mostly in town. After almost 2 years, I sold my old 29" as I wasn't using it anymore.

I was also reading stuff about freewheel unicycles.
I found them very original and I thought it could be a good challenge.
I also wanted to assemble it entirely by myself. I bought new and used parts in many places and shops (USA, Germany, France, UK) and I assembled it myself. The spokes were the hard part…

Here's my fourth one, 24" freewheel with disc brake, from February 2018:


Unfortunately, I almost never used it at this time. But I certainly will!

And just 2 months after, I bought my fifth. Since my 24" felt a bit small and slow as a mean of transport, and I 've been thinking about a 27.5 for some time… I bought one. I didn't buy a 26 because I tried one and it was too close to 24". And my 29" was a bit big for me. So I felt that could be a perfect size.

Since it's difficult to find a used 27.5, I bought it brand new a few days ago:


And I feel that I won't use much my 24" KH anymore!

It has been 6 years, I still don't know how to jump, ride backward, I can barely idle, and I intend to go back to dirty trails again with this one

What about you?
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Old 2018-04-16, 11:21 PM   #2
Pierluc
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I started unicycling 8 months ago, i always was curious to try it but i never had the opportunity. Watching Kris Holm seqments in new world disorder movies made me want to try someday. Earlier this year, i saw a video on youtube from Mike Boyd - learn quick and he learned to ride under 3 hours! a lot faster than i though it could be learned. I went straight on kijiji and found this 20'' unicycle for 30$. the cranks are pretty bent but other than that, its working good.

20180416_183816 by Pierluc Richer, on Flickr

After 2 weeks and a total of around 3-4 hours, i could go straight for a couple minutes on a nice cycle path, any hole or bump would make me fall. I was not too impress by the speed so i decided to order a 26 inch unicycle!

20180327_051422 by Pierluc Richer, on Flickr



I started riding most days, either on the cycle path or the cross country trails. Im addicted!! way more fun that cycling Changed the cranks to 125 and added a brake.

On the trail, the 26 is great! but i would like something to replace my road bike! Im really thinking about getting a 36" , Maybe soon the weather isnt great yet in Quebec
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Old 2018-04-17, 10:33 PM   #3
rich
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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.

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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!
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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.

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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 )
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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!
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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!
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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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Old 2018-04-18, 09:13 AM   #4
Canapin
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That's quite interesting to see how we took different paths while all starting the same way!
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Old 2018-07-11, 10:12 PM   #5
JakeXman
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I got my first unicycle this last Christmas (2017). It was a nicer Sun 24”, and it served me well. I was riding by the second day. Not long after that, I started hitting trails with a tire I salvaged off an old mountain bike. After a few rides, the poor cotterless cranks sheared the hub. RIP little guy. 😢. Fearing a repeat, I got a job Lifeguarding, saved up, and I’m now looking at an ISIS Nimbus specifically for the trails. Wish me luck!
J.
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Old 2018-07-12, 07:46 AM   #6
Mikefule
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich View Post

*except I’ll mention Mikefule because his ride write ups from years ago are still great to read! Up with this sort of thing.
Thank you. They were many years ago, but they're all still there. Most of my write ups were of individual rides and the adventures I had, and the people I met. I must look them up myself some time and remind myself of some great times.

Since then, I've married and moved to an area where the local riding is less varied. I still ride 29 and 36 and occasionally one of the others, but I've been doing more bicycling as well recently.
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