So you've never heard of a Mountain Unicycle?


A little Q and A

Yes that's right, Mountain Unicycling, and no I'm not kidding.  You've probably seen a couple pictures by now, and you probably have a bunch of funky questions.  With almost a decade of unicycling and a couple years of mountain unicycling under my belt, I'd like to claim that I've heard them all (but I'm always surprised).  So here's a few questions I get a lot along with some answers.

Q:  Does that take a lot of Balance

A:  Yes, otherwise I'd fall off (OK that's the smart mouth answer)

Q:  Are you in the circus?

A:  No, are you?  (That's a smart mouth answer too).
I wouldn't ask a unicyclist this question.  To say its a big fat put down is an understatement.  You might end up with a unicycle where the sun don't shine.

More serious questions:

Q:  How do you stop? (there aren't any brakes on a unicycle)

A:  You just stop pedaling.  A unicycle is direct drive.  Direct drive means that the pedals are attached directly to the axle -- no gears, no chain, no brakes, etc (look at this picture).   So to stop, all you have to do is stop pedaling.  Its kinda like walking -- you don't need brakes to stop walking, you just stop stepping and wala, you stop.

Q:  Can you coast?  Can you use gears?

A:  No to both of these.  It is theoretically possible to use gears and to coast, but it is practically impossible for mountain unicycling.  It can be done on perfectly flat and smooth surfaces, like in a gym, but it just doesn't work on dirt.  Our equivalent to gears is wheel and crank size (cranks are the thing that go between the axle and the pedal).  It is very easy to pedal a small wheel with long cranks, but you can't go very fast.  On the other side, it is hard to pedal a unicycle with a big wheel and small cranks, but you can go very fast.  I use a 26" wheel with 6.0" cranks for mountain unicycling.  For going very fast (on pavement) I have a 40" wheel with 5.5" cranks.  This allows me to ride fast, but it is very hard to pedal.  For freestyle, many unicyclist's use a 20" unicycle with 5.5" cranks, which is very very easy to pedal, but it would take forever to actually go anywhere.

Q:  How fast can you go?

A:  My maximum speed on dirt trails is between 13 and 15 mph, but it is dependent on the unicyclists and the unicycle.  I usually average between 5 and 7 mph on long rides (which is a little more than half a mountain bikers pace).  On paved hills, very high speeds are possible.  Check out the High Speed Gliding page to see how.

Q:  How far can you go?

A:  The sky is the limit!  I have gone 45 miles in a day on dirt.  My goal is to break 60 miles in the next year.  Someday I would like to do the  Western States 100 trail (which is 100 miles long with over 17,000 vertical feet of climbing and 21,000 vertical feet of descending) in a 24 hour period.

Q:  Is it safe?  Do you fall off very often?

A:  Yes, it is very safe.  It is in fact safer than mountain biking.  On a bike, you can coast out of control down big hills.  Unicycling is much safer since you can't coast out of control.  Also, most bike wreaks are worsened by getting tangled up in the bike.  This doesn't happen to a unicyclist, you just simply step off.  I've gotten hurt really bad many times on my bike, and after thousands of miles of unicycling, I've never had a serious injury.


The Gear

Ok enough questions, lets talk about some other stuff.  I'm sure you're probably wondering about the gear.
I'll point you to some links!

The Pashley MUni

The first commercially available and mass produced mountain unicycle was the Pashley.
Pashley's web page.  Pashley's MUni page
Some pictures of my Pashley MUni.

The Telford Mountain Unicycle

This is the first unicycle designed from the ground up for a suspension seat post.  It is one of the best unicycles out there, and Geoff Faraghan has just had a big batch of them made.  So you can get one!!  This is the only suspended unicycle available to the public.  Check out it, its awesome, and don't forget to buy one.  In my opinion, this is the only high quality unicycle available to public.  If you want one, email Geoff, or get his contact info off of his web page, and give him a call.
For more info, look at The Telford Muni Page

Roger Davies Carbon Fiber Unicycle

Roger Davies hand makes these beasts.  It's the lightest mountain unicycle out there!
The Carbon Fiber Mountain Unicycle

The DM DMATU Mountain Unicycle

DM is a British unicycle manufacturer.  They are currently making a great mountain unicycle.  It is (in my opinion) much better than the Pashley MUni and not much more expensive.  Check out some pictures and some more info at the  Idiots on Unicycles Web Page.

(That's John Foss riding at Northstar-at-Tahoe)

And Finally, WHY???

So why in the world do we do this?  Click here to find out why I do it.   I am Christian, so riding is a good way for me to spend time with God.

What are some other reasons that people Mountain Unicycle?  Hmmm, there's lots of 'em.  I would guess that people love the challenge.  Its cool to do something different, that other people wouldn't think about doing.  But when you get right down to it, its just like any other hobby, ITS JUST FUN!!!