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Old 2018-01-05, 03:03 AM   #16
Super G
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John Foss – John Moller shot his footage in 1994. I spent an afternoon at Tommi's dubbing VHS clips to DVD so I could then rip them into digital files. My only goal that day was getting the footage of Tommi riding so I could put together that montage you saw in the documentary. While sifting thru the video, I learned of the big wheel build. I was fascinated about the technique used to do the tire, but didn't have time to convert all of it to DVD that day. I just made a mental note that I should revisit it. With your current big wheel tire situation, it would be super helpful.

Reeny – Thank you! It was my pleasure “bringing the giraffe build photographs to life.” It was difficult but gratifying to make. Compliments like yours make it all worthwhile.

Note to everyone:

I went the extra mile for Tommi to help his business, which is very slow. I also did it to boost his spirits. If you watched the documentary and thought it would be fun to talk to him, then call him up! He enjoys meeting new people and talking about all things unicycle related.
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Old 2018-01-05, 03:11 AM   #17
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Gary your documentary is great. It must be a great feeling to make your own giraffe unicycle, with a little help from Tommy.

Seeing all the precision tools it takes to build a high quality giraffe was awesome.

The documentary will help others with there own small projects. When it comes to the big projects leave it for Tommy.
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Old 2018-01-06, 12:23 AM   #18
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Fantastic!

I really enjoyed the documentary. Thanks for your hard work in putting it together.
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Old 2018-01-06, 10:43 PM   #19
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Awesome

What an absolutely wonderful documentary!
I enjoyed every minute of it: the introduction of Tom and yourself, Tom's history, execution of the giraffe build and good sense of humor. At the end i was left with a deep sense of respect of a true artisan. Well done and thanks to you both.
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Old 2018-01-07, 01:06 AM   #20
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Unicyclist Lou – Thanks! I love to make things in the first place, so yes, making the giraffe was great. It was more than a little help from Tommi though!

TheWheelThing – Thank you also! Many worthwhile things in life require hard work.

Timoteusmunk – Wow! I really appreciate your compliments. I like the fact you used the word “artisan” because it really is fitting for Tommi. And of course I'm glad you enjoyed the documentary.
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Old 2018-01-08, 07:17 PM   #21
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The scene with the coffin kind of suggests to me that Tommie has a tiny bit of Ozzy Osbourne in him. Nice work, though, and nice drumset sniglets! In addition to the obvious educational value of the documentary to anyone who has ever wondered what it would take to manufacture a unicycle mostly from scratch, it is amazing to watch some of the riding, particularly Tommie on that 16-footer. The way he has to pause every few strokes to let his body get out in front of the wheel again is truly awesome, not to mention frightening.

A member of this forum who isn't around much anymore -Maestro8- once wrote that a unicycle being ridden is a "bimodal double pendulum." I'm no physicist, but that sounds correct to me. A tall giraffe helps to illustrate the point, though actually, having seen Tommie's sideways-traveling unicycle being ridden, I have noticed a similar sequence of movements. The rider has to pause every so often, get out in front of the wheel again, then resume pedaling. I guess we all do the same thing while riding any unicycle, but normally the movement is too small to notice. The taller the giraffe, the more pronounced the movement becomes.

Anyway, thanks again to you and Tommie for making this documentary, Super G!
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Old 2018-01-09, 01:16 AM   #22
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Song – Thank you! I was hoping you'd pipe in at some point. Tommi only had one request for the whole project other than conveying what goes into a build. He wanted the last scene to be of him with his sign. On the day I went up to get that video/picture, I learned of his plan for the “coffin” bit. That was a wacky day – transporting a coffin to a parking lot several blocks away. The scene where he discussed his truing stand collection was also his contribution. The rest of it was me. He was very cool about letting me have complete freedom to do as I saw fit.

Thanks also for the compliment on the drumset sniglets. I played for over 25 years then fizzled out. I haven't owned a drumset for well over 10 years so I played on a friend's set who was kind enough to put up with me. That was my way of trying to add “music” that we all expect on a documentary. I'm aware of royalty free music, but none would have satisfied my opinion of what would have been appropriate. Drumset sniglets come across as somewhat musically neutral, so I thought it worked.

I would describe Tommi's slow, stop, slow technique on taller giraffe's differently than you. I feel it is simply the best way to ride a tall giraffe and maintain control. Once you get comfortable riding like that, it helps a lot with feeling at ease up there. It also has a fringe benefit of appearing more difficult than it really is. As said before, its all about confidence and fear level.
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Old 2018-01-14, 12:10 AM   #23
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Thanks for making the video and documenting the process.

I have only had time to watch part of it so far. Tommi seems to be a super nice guy with a lot of talent for riding and building. However, I just cringe when I see the shop equipment operated with those long nails, and some other scenes with sandals.

He has obviously contributed a lot to unicycling, sorry to read somehwere that the unicycling community left him behind. I hope his business picks up, but I think a bit of change of style and a better online presence might help him out a lot.

Perhaps someone out there would help him by creating a supportive online presence?
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Old 2018-01-14, 02:53 AM   #24
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Thanks for making the video and documenting the process.

I have only had time to watch part of it so far. Tommi seems to be a super nice guy with a lot of talent for riding and building. However, I just cringe when I see the shop equipment operated with those long nails, and some other scenes with sandals.

He has obviously contributed a lot to unicycling, sorry to read somehwere that the unicycling community left him behind. I hope his business picks up, but I think a bit of change of style and a better online presence might help him out a lot.

Perhaps someone out there would help him by creating a supportive online presence?
I agree and believe Tommy will never end up with much business unless he starts using the internet.

I live in Australia, I am not going to go and call Tommy on his US number to get something made.

I would have to:
1. Call by phone every time you need to discuss something
2. Have to pay for those phone calls
3. Cant get easy updates of my project which is often exciting to someone getting a custom frame.



When I needed a 22" frame I chatted to Jakob (Flansberrium) online. I told him what I wanted, discussed it with him and he made it and sent it.

1. I could chat online/email
2. Could facebook voice call/skype voice call easily
3. He uses the internet so he can send you pictures of your frame as it gets made.

Even someone in the US I feel would still prefer the ease of use of the latter. How can you compete with that if you refuse to use the internet.
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Old 2018-01-14, 06:03 AM   #25
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The way he has to pause every few strokes to let his body get out in front of the wheel again is truly awesome, not to mention frightening.
Actually it's kind of normal for riding something that tall. The taller you get (at least up to Tom's 22-footers), the harder it is to maintain a steady amount of lean in your direction of travel. On my 9-footer it's fairly easy, but you still have to pause sometimes to even things out.

My favorite parade move on that uni was what one might call a "tipping stillstand". Ride on an angle toward the curb, waving at the people next to you (and not the ones in front of you). Then stop pedaling, and let the uni start to fall forward. At the last second, notice the people in your path, react with fear and make a quick turn back toward the street. The crowd loves it, though at the expense of the small portion of the crowd you just gave a heart attack. Work your way toward the other side of the street, and repeat. I could do those all day!
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A member of this forum who isn't around much anymore -Maestro8- once wrote that a unicycle being ridden is a "bimodal double pendulum." I'm no physicist, but that sounds correct to me.
I never took a physics class, but I agree. Seems to make sense! And don't worry, Maestro8 is still around, but currently he's a recent father, and I think his cycling lately has been on two wheels, pulling a trailer.
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...having seen Tommie's sideways-traveling unicycle being ridden, I have noticed a similar sequence of movements. The rider has to pause every so often, get out in front of the wheel again, then resume pedaling.
I think for that cycle (the Crab Cycle), he appears to ride it like a beginner. In other words, he just hasn't fully mastered it yet. At the same time, of course, he's an expert because hardly anyone in the world has ever tried one! His is the only example of such a unicycle that I know of. In fact, the last time I saw Tom was at a NAUCC where he was hoping to deliver it to the customer, so I've seen it in person. I remember him telling me this was the first unicycle he'd ever built that he didn't test ride before delivering it. I'm sure it would be very odd getting used to riding it, even a little bit!

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...I just cringe when I see the shop equipment operated with those long nails, and some other scenes with sandals.
I'm still not used to the nails. They really seem to get in the way!
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Originally Posted by Up Rite
...sorry to read somewhere that the unicycling community left him behind. I hope his business picks up, but I think a bit of change of style and a better online presence might help him out a lot.
When you stand still, the world tends to leave you behind. Today, an online presence is hard to live without if you want to really do business. But you also have to be able to meet some reasonable deadlines, and charge what you're worth. In the past he tended to charge too little (unicyclists are notoriously cheap), and avoid deadlines. Years ago, Unicycle.com tried a few different ways to sell his equipment, but he wasn't willing to really commit to specific timelines. They wanted to sell his Ultimate Wheels and a few of the other cycles that would appeal to lots of riders, but they don't like to sell anything they can't have in stock. This is why they don't sell Schlumpf hubs either; because availability is on and off. Mostly off, without a set time for when the next batch will be coming out.

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I agree and believe Tommy will never end up with much business unless he starts using the internet.

...Even someone in the US I feel would still prefer the ease of use of the latter. How can you compete with that if you refuse to use the internet.
Absolutely. Where I used to live, he was still six hours away by car. In theory, you could order something from him and have it delivered to you at the next USA convention, if he could get it done by then...

Being an "Internet virgin" is a choice, like the long nails. He's a brilliant machinist, but I think he has difficulty with the written word, which may be part of his reluctance. If he could have a "front man" to help him out, that might help, but it would add cost to his product. The market is there, and I think there's a lot of potential for custom-built unicycles but if you just want to be a hobbyist, and not do it "for work" it's never going to be easy.
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Old 2018-01-14, 06:57 PM   #26
Super G
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I will not attempt to defend Tommi's business decisions or fingernails. I will say, reluctantly, that Tommi has reading retention issues. He has told me that he can read and understand what he's reading, but cannot retain what he reads from one paragraph to another. I learned that years back when I gave him a book as a gift. He informed me then of his problem and did not keep the book. This is a striking problem to have for someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of unicycles and metal fabrication. I have also noticed he may be dyslexic. I say this because he typically misspells names, including my own. In fact, I've seen him misspell my first AND last name. I'm reluctant to say these things because nobody likes having their shortcomings put on display for all to see. Would you? Even though he does not use the internet, he has friends that read stuff like this to him on the phone.

Reading issues do not translate to bad business decisions. I get that. To put it bluntly, he is his own worst enemy with regard to his business. So you probably wonder, why did I put so much effort into this documentary? I did it because I felt like doing a huge favor to a good friend. A good friend who has better integrity, character, conversation skills and sense of humor than most people I know. A good friend whose over-all talent ranks in the top 1 percentile in my view. A good friend that would give you the shirt off his back whether he could afford it or not.

For those of you that wish to dwell on Tommi's shortcomings, consider this question. What is the most effort anyone put forth to help you. If you struggle to think of anything substantial, ask yourself why.
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Old 2018-01-14, 07:45 PM   #27
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I will not attempt to defend Tommi's business decisions or fingernails. I will say, reluctantly, that Tommi has reading retention issues. He has told me that he can read and understand what he's reading, but cannot retain what he reads from one paragraph to another. I learned that years back when I gave him a book as a gift. He informed me then of his problem and did not keep the book. This is a striking problem to have for someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of unicycles and metal fabrication. I have also noticed he may be dyslexic. I say this because he typically misspells names, including my own. In fact, I've seen him misspell my first AND last name. I'm reluctant to say these things because nobody likes having their shortcomings put on display for all to see. Would you? Even though he does not use the internet, he has friends that read stuff like this to him on the phone.

Reading issues do not translate to bad business decisions. I get that. To put it bluntly, he is his own worst enemy with regard to his business. So you probably wonder, why did I put so much effort into this documentary? I did it because I felt like doing a huge favor to a good friend. A good friend who has better integrity, character, conversation skills and sense of humor than most people I know. A good friend whose over-all talent ranks in the top 1 percentile in my view. A good friend that would give you the shirt off his back whether he could afford it or not.

For those of you that wish to dwell on Tommi's shortcomings, consider this question. What is the most effort anyone put forth to help you. If you struggle to think of anything substantial, ask yourself why.
He is obviously talented and skilled very nice person. It was very good of you to help him out like you did. Now I am aware of an interesting person in the unicycle world I previously did not know about.

Hopefully, a good working relationship with someone that has great internet, PR, and management skills will help him to bridge the gap. He obviously has a lot to offer the unicycling world. It would be a shame for it to go to waste. There is a good opportunity here, a win win situation if the right person can step up to the plate.

I don't think anyone here intends to be mean or anything like that. No one is perfect. Everyone is good at something, not so good at other things. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.
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Old 2018-01-14, 08:49 PM   #28
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Like snowflakes

I’ve never met or talked to Tommi. Maybe some day I will get the opportunity. Most of us on this forum never will. Who are we to decide our standards and ambitions should be his? Or think he might be more successful by our standards? Or that “It would be a shame for it to go to waste.“

My guess would be that what many of us think might benefit others might ultimately decrease their real enjoyment, happiness, and success.

Why is it we want others to be just like us while we don’t want to be like anyone else? Thankfully, like snowflakes, no two unicyclist (or humans) are alike. I’m enjoying what I’ve learned from this thread (and the previous one) about Tommi and glad a small portion of what he can accomplish, his methods, and what his values are has been shared with us. I don’t want Tommi to change. I’ve grown in my appreciation for who he is. I almost always only start to appreciate others once I get a feel for what it’s like to walk in their shoes, understand why they are who they are, and try to comprehend why they think and feel as they do. If he chooses to change in some way, may it be for HIS benefit, not mine.

Hopefully, my post share what works for me and not what I think anyone else MUST do. Occasionally, I tend to step up on my soapbox and be a little insistent. Saddly, after I push the “Submit Reply” button i usually feel regretful. And maybe it’s a good thing I still feel regretful when I do.

One of my sadnesses is that modern society and technology has provided such a great increase in the anonymity of us all. Many of us now reach out to everyone and know no one.

JM
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Old 2018-01-14, 10:40 PM   #29
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I’ve never met or talked to Tommi. Maybe some day I will get the opportunity. Most of us on this forum never will. Who are we to decide our standards and ambitions should be his? Or think he might be more successful by our standards? Or that “It would be a shame for it to go to waste.“

My guess would be that what many of us think might benefit others might ultimately decrease their real enjoyment, happiness, and success.

Why is it we want others to be just like us while we don’t want to be like anyone else? Thankfully, like snowflakes, no two unicyclist (or humans) are alike. I’m enjoying what I’ve learned from this thread (and the previous one) about Tommi and glad a small portion of what he can accomplish, his methods, and what his values are has been shared with us. I don’t want Tommi to change. I’ve grown in my appreciation for who he is. I almost always only start to appreciate others once I get a feel for what it’s like to walk in their shoes, understand why they are who they are, and try to comprehend why they think and feel as they do. If he chooses to change in some way, may it be for HIS benefit, not mine.

Hopefully, my post share what works for me and not what I think anyone else MUST do. Occasionally, I tend to step up on my soapbox and be a little insistent. Saddly, after I push the “Submit Reply” button i usually feel regretful. And maybe it’s a good thing I still feel regretful when I do.

One of my sadnesses is that modern society and technology has provided such a great increase in the anonymity of us all. Many of us now reach out to everyone and know no one.

JM
I don't think any of us who made comments are calling for Tommy to be like us.

I was under the impression from the very first posts on the documentary series that the reason why Tommy said he would make this unicycle for free (-minus material costs) was because he wanted the video to show how much work goes into his unicycles and why they cost what they do in an attempt to get more people to order from him as work on custom unicycles had dried up.

So those who made comments I think were just pointing out that if his wish is to increase business the "internet" point is probably non negotiable.
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Old 2018-01-14, 11:05 PM   #30
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he's an expert because hardly anyone in the world has ever tried one! His is the only example of such a unicycle that I know of.
Yeah, as far as I know, only two people ride that crab unicycle, but now that you've put it in perspective, perhaps I should try to become the third.

Weird unicycles kind of scare me, though. Even just to ride a 5-foot giraffe, I always have to start with a few minutes of cowering. There is no good reason for this, as I don't have any problem once I actually set sail, and I have even fallen off a giraffe many times, both intentionally and unintentionally, and never got hurt.

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One of my sadnesses is that modern society and technology has provided such a great increase in the anonymity of us all. Many of us now reach out to everyone and know no one.
Hah! That's almost exactly what Tommi said when I spoke to him!
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