FAQ

  • First time buying a unicycle?

    Is this the first time you have bought a unicycle? Here is some basic help to guide you through selecting a unicycle.

    • What style?


      There are lots of different styles of unicycles because there are lots of different things that you can do on a unicycle. When deciding which unicycle is suitable for you it is worth deciding what sort of riding you are planning to use the the unicycle for. Here are some of the main styles.

      Learner Unicycles

      Learner
      We use this term to describe those unicycles that we feel most suitable for someone who is learning. These are generally the same as the freestyle unicycles but of a less specialist nature. To help people when they are buying their first unicycle we have produced learner kits that contain the most commonly bought items when learning to unicycle. We have two types of learner unicycles; Dodger and Club unicycles, which are suitable for children and are not recommended for people over 11 stone (70kg) and not for jumping or rough use; the Trainer and Circus unicycles are more robust with CroMo hubs and stronger saddles so are suitable for adults as well as children. If you would like a stronger unicycle, have a look at our Freestyle Unicycles.

      Freestyle Unicycles

      Freestyle
      This is a term used to describe the unicycle competition where music, movement and high skill level are mixed. This is an up and coming style in the UK with more people learning freestyle tricks. You will find a good selection of these tricks in our One Wheel No Limit DVD or UNICON dvd. The most common size for freestlye is a 20" wheel. Freestyle unicycles have slick tyres to help with tricks. At Unicycle.com we also use the term 'freestyle' to describe the basic ranges of unicycles that are suitable for majority of tricks and games, like unicycle hockey or basketball.

      Trials Unicycles

      Trials
      Trilas riding is a style which involves jumping over obsticals such as picnic benches, up stairs or along railings. Trials Unicycles have special 19" rims and massive 2.5" wide tyres to help absorb the impact from landing and for greater stability. Trials Unicycles are available with ISIS hub/cranks or cotterless hub/cranks. ISIS hubs being much stronger.

      Road Unicycles

      Road
      It would not be sensible to use a 20"unicycle to commute to work or school, but there are unicycles suitable for this, these we refer to as road unicycles. They generally have larger wheels and proportionally shorter cranks. The UDC 36" and the Coker have a 36"tyre are capable of speeds in excess of 20 mph with an experienced rider, while the 29"Nimbus is quite capable of exceeding 15 mph. These large wheeled unicycles can also be used for cross-country unicycling when fitted with an off-road tyre. With the Schlumpf geared hub you can now also use a smaller wheel but gear it up for commuting or long distance riding. These are not really learner machines and are for experienced riders.

      Muni Unicycles

      Muni
      This is the commonly known abbreviation among unicyclists for Mountain Unicycling. Muni was originally used by Pashley for their range of off-road unicycles, but is now used to mean any off-road unicycle. Off-road unicycles have to be very strong and generally have bigger wheels and longer cranks. The wheel size can vary with 24" for technical Muni and jumping, and 26" and 29" for covering greater distances. Unicycles with splined hub and cranks are much stronger than cotter-less but can be more expensive and heavier.

      Giraffe Unicycles

      Giraffes
      A giraffe is a tall unicycle or to be exact a unicycle which is driven with a chain, this needs to be said because there is no way you could call the fleet mini giraffe a tall unicycle at only 18"above the ground! Giraffes are generally easier to ride than a standard unicycle after you have over come the fear of being so high and the problem of getting up there. This being said, they are not for the beginner because falls can cause injuries.

      Ultimate Wheels

      Ultimate Wheels
      These are like a unicycle with the saddle and frame missing, just a wheel with pedals attached. Quite challenging to ride, though the bigger the wheel the easier they are to ride as you can pedal more slowly.

    • What size?


      To check whether you are tall enough or need a longer seatpost. Here is a rough guide. You will find exact sizes in the item description, remember these sizes are from your crotch to the floor with your shoes on, not your trouser length.

       

      Standard
      Minimum
      Leg Length

      Shortened
      Minimum
      Leg Length


      Maximum
      Leg Length

      12"
      Unicycle

      19.5" (50cm)

      18.5" (47cm)

      24" (61.5cm)

      16"
      Unicycle

      23.5" (60cm)

      20"(51cm)

      29"(74cm)

      20"
      Unicycle

      28" (71cm)

      24" (61cm)

      33" (84cm)

      24"
      Unicycle

      31" (79cm)

      27" (69cm)

      36.6"(93cm)

      26"
      Unicycle

      32" (81cm)

      29" (74cm)

      36" (92cm)

      29"
      Unicycle

      34" (86cm)

      30" (76cm)

      39" (100cm)

      36"
      Unicycle

      29.5" (75cm)

      29.5" (75cm)

      40.5" (103cm)



      You also need to decide what you want to do with your unicycle. Here is a breakdown of the sizes:

      12" Unicycle This is a unicycle designed for a smaller child. It's good for children who are too small to ride a 16" unicycle, but it needs smooth ground and is not really good for outdoors. For children up to 5 year olds.

      Cut Down Seatpost: 18.5" (47cm) Minimum Leg Length: 19.5" (50cm) Maximum Leg Length: 24" (61.5cm)

      16" Unicycle This is a children's unicycle, the small wheel makes it only suitable for very smooth areas. Best used indoors or on smooth ground; not so good outdoors especially if it is rough or uneven, good for learning for 5 to 8 year olds (always check your childs leg length to be sure)

      Cut Down Seatpost: 20"(51cm) Minimum Leg Length: 23.5" (60cm) Maximum Leg Length: 29"(74cm)

      20" Unicycle Traditionally the most popular size of unicycle. These are great indoor, they turn quick and the best size for tricks.. They are great for unicycle hockey or basketball. They are used for Trials with a big tyre. The down side is that they make poor distance machines. Good for learning.

      Cut Down Seatpost: 24" (61cm) Minimum Leg Length: 28" (71cm) Maximum Leg Length: 33" (84cm)

      24" Unicycle This is a common size among adults. Good for outdoors on paths, off-road and open areas although it can be a little bit big for indoors unless you have access to large hall or gym. The bigger wheel can make some of the advanced freestyle tricks harder. Good learner machine. Good for Muni and Trials with a big tyre.

      Cut Down Seatpost: 27" (69cm) Minimum Leg Length: 31" (79cm) Maximum Leg Length: 36.6"(93cm)

      26" Unicycle This is a machine for Muni. If you are interested in off-road then this is what you need if you are not a beginner. These are also great street unicycles. Not really suitable for indoors.

      Cut Down Seatpost: 29" (74cm) Minimum Leg Length: 32" (81cm) Maximum Leg Length: 36" (92cm)

      29"Unicycle This is good for communting. The big wheel makes it fast and smooth. You can also use this for off-road but it's not so good for very rough terrain. Not as fast as a 36" but lighter and more nimble. For advanced riders.

      Cut Down Seatpost: 30" (76cm) Minimum Leg Length: 34" (86cm) Maximum Leg Length: 39" (100cm)

      36"Unicycle The commuting unicycle. If you are a speed fiend then consider one of these, they are fast and smooth. Not a learners unicycle at all and not for indoors.

      Cut Down Seatpost: 29.5" (75cm) Minimum Leg Length: 29.5" (75cm) Maximum Leg Length: 40.5" (103cm)

      Note
      These are approximate sizes only, check the catalogue for the model you want. The cut down seatpost measurement is there to show the leg length after you have cut the seatpost shorter. If your legs are longer than the maximum leg length for that size unicycle you can always purchase a longer seat post.


    • What size unicycle would be easiest to learn on?

      It depends on both your leg length and what kind of riding you want to do.

      If the unicycle is for a child under 10 they are likely to be limited by the length of their legs, select the largest unicycle you can fit them on, up to 20" (you will find the leg length in the description of the unicycle). A 20" wheel will roll better than a 16" and hence will be easier to learn with.

      If the leg length is long enough to fit on a 24" then you need to assess what style of unicycling is preferred. A 20" is best for doing tricks on and riding on smooth ground – these are preferred by jugglers, skate boarders, bmxers, etc... basically people who like doing tricks. 24" is less good for tricks and is better for moving, especially over rougher ground, they are preferred by mountain bikers and road cyclists.

    • How much does delivery cost?

      We can not give you a quick answer for this...  We always charge for shipping, but we charge for it at cost.  We normally will give you multiple options for shipping, so you can choose what service you prefer.

      On our site we have an 'Estimate Shipping and Tax' module, so when you add things to your shopping cart on the site this allows you to get an accurate cost before you commit to buy. This will also set the VAT to the correct level for the delivery address.  If you are outside the EU will not be charged the UK sales tax (VAT).

      There are a few areas in the world that this does not cover. If you email us with a request of what you want and we will produce you a quotation for shipping. This will, generally speaking be, by DHL which calculates it's costs on both weight and volume.  We pack your order then get an exact cost for you rather than guessing.

      If you have any questions on how much shipping will be please email us contact@unicycle.uk.com

    • Shopping cart will not give me shipping...

      We can ship almost anywhere, but our shipping system can not always do this automatically with any sense of efficiency. This is due to the packages needing to be both weighed and measured before we can get a shipping cost.

      What we need from you is either an email indicating:
      Quantity and items (giving us the product code helps) you want
      Your full name
      Your delivery address
      Delivery telephone number
      Your PayPal email address

      We will then email you a proforma invoice and a paypal request for payment. The bill will be in UK Pounds.

      Please note that we will deduct for you UK sales taxes (VAT) which is 20%. Although when the goods enter your country there may be a charge put on it by the customs, we can not predict this charge. 

      Do not worry if you do not have a PayPal account as PayPal requests can be used a normal payment gateway using a credit card.

    • What is the guarantee on Unicycle.com unicycles?

      Yes, the unicycles have a one year warranty against manufacturer’s defects.  We also go beyond the legal requirements, we offer you a 28 day cooling off period on all purchases.  Just return it us unused, in resellable condition and we will give you an unconditional refund.  At Christmas we go beyond this as we know that sometimes your well thought out presents are not appreciated. After this period we will repair, or exchange for an equivalent product if a defect is found. Note that damage caused by incorrect assembly (pedal threads or over tight bearings clamps) are specifically excluded. Contact us as soon as you find a defect and we will issue return information. We will refund shipping charges incurred in an authorised return of defective products.

    • Can I buy your unicycles from my local bike shop?

      We do have a few specialist shops that sell some of our key models.  We vet and train the staff in these shops for their unicycle knowledge so they can support the products correctly.  No bike shop will sell the full range of our unicycles… they just can not stock over 140 models of unicycle; we do.

    • What is wrong with buying cheap ebay unicycles?

      Many of these unicycles are sold by people who know nothing about the unicycles and their only interest is to make a quick buck.  As unicyclists we get annoyed by phrases like “suitable for most adults” or "Super Strong Unicycles" when the unicycles are blatantly nothing of the sort.  Often they have tiny weak seats, short weak seatposts, weak single skin aluminium rims and tiny tyres… all of which are unsuitable for most child riders, never mind adults!

    • What makes unicycle.com unicycles better than others?

      Unicycle.com does not buy their unicycles from a supplier in China who produces them in the thousands, for many different companies.  Unicycle.com not only designs and develops their own unicycles at component level but are often the technical experts that are consulted by other brands and manufacturers regarding unicycles.  They are THE experts in this area and are famous for pushing the boundaries of what a unicycle can be and do.   Unicycle.com strive to make unicycles perform better and be better value for money while making them appropriate for the riders ability.  Remember… ALL the staff at unicycle.com ride unicycles.

  • Common beginners questions

    Here are some of the more common questions before people buy a unicycle

    • Is there a weight limit on unicycles?

      No. It is not actually possible to say that a unicycle will not break when used, what we can do is offer recommendations. Here are the basic rules if you are just learning and less than 12 stone then you would probably be ok with a Hoppley or Club unicycle. If you are over 12 stone we recommend the Trainer unicycle as it has a bigger saddle and a stronger hub. If you are wanting to jump or hop on the unicycle you should consider one of the ISIS unicycles (except for young children) as they are considerably more robust and designed for this kind of treatment.

    • Is a 5 year old too young to learn to ride a unicycle?

      No. There are many instances of children younger than 5 who have learnt to ride. It often takes a little longer as younger children tend to have shorter attention spans.

      If you check your child’s leg length and find it is too small for our standard 12" talk to us and we can cut a frame down for you. The youngest unicycle rider in the world was only 18 months old.

    • My 10 year old wants to ride a unicycle which one should we pick?

      If your child is 10 they are mostly likely to be big enough to ride on a <a href="/unicycles.html?dir=asc&limit=all&order=name&sizewheel=469">20"</a unicycle, do check the leg length in the product description.  If you think that your child would only want to learn to ride and go no further then select a <a href="/catalogsearch/result/?

      If your child is 10 they are mostly likely to be big enough to ride on a 20" unicycle, do check the leg length in the product description.  If you think that your child would only want to learn to ride and go no further then select a Hoppley, they are robust and ideal for children learning.  If you think they are interesting in doing tricks and going further with their unicycling select a Club unicycle.  Besides them coming in bright colours, they have a fantastic saddle, shorter cranks and a square topped frame for doing tricks on.

      q=hoppley">Hoppley</a>, they are robust and ideal for children <a href="/howtoride.html">learning</a>.  If you think they are interesting in doing tricks and going further with their unicycling select a <a href="/catalogsearch/result/index/?brandother=36&brandunicycle=102&cat=227&dir=asc&order=price&q=club">Club</a> unicycle.  Besides them coming in bright colours, they have a fantastic saddle, shorter cranks and a square topped frame for doing tricks on.

    • My 14 year old son wants a unicycle and has been watching unicycles jumping on YouTube?

      It is more than likely that you will need to be looking in the Trials Section. These unicycles have larger tyres that absorb the shock when jumping. At 14 you should probably be looking at the 19" ISIS unicycles, we recommend the Nimbus Trials series as they are competitively priced and are extremely rigid.
    • I am over 2m tall, will I have problems finding a unicycle to fit?

      No, not a problem. You may just need to buy a longer seatpost or we do special learner unicycles with extra long seatpost on them.

      Do not make the assumption that you will need a bigger wheel if you are bigger, select a unicycle for what you want to do with it and then buy the seatpost to fit.
    • I am interested in off-road unicycling but I have never ridden a unicycle before, what should I buy?

      We would recommend that you at least start on a 24” learner unicycle although often it is best to go straight for a 24” or even a 26” Muni. They have a similar crank ratio to a learner unicycle and are ideal for learning on outside. They will also take the knocks and falls of someone learning to ride. We would recommend the Nimbus Muni.

    • Why are 20 x 2.5 tyres also called 19” tyres?

      When trials biking was first starting they stipulated that the rear tyre must be 20” in diameter. The bike riders wanted tyres with more cushioning for their rear wheel so Monty took a 1” smaller old scooter rim and tyre (which is nominally 20" in diameter) and used that instead of the standard 20" tyre. To help differentiate between the two tyre sizes the non standard small rim ones are called 19".

    • What is Trials, Street and Flatland?

      Trials Unicycling


      Trails Unicycling takes it roots from bike trials and involves traversing over/between either natural or urban obstacles. In the urban environment obstacles often include, walls, ledges, railings and other street furniture are often used; in the rural environment rocks and boulders are used.
      Unicycle trials competitions take place on specially constructed courses. Riders are given sections to clear and a penalised for not following the correct route or for touching the ground with any part of their body. The obstacles are often constructed from a mixture of natural and manmade materials. These are set in to distinct section often separated by several meters. The most common construction material is wooden pallets.
      Trials unicycles are the toughest of all unicycles. They have 19” mod tyres, ISIS hubs, wide box section rims and strong frames. The unicycles often have longer cranks than are seen in flatland or street. The Impact Gravity is a good example of a trials unicycle with its pressure formed frame.

      Street Unicycling


      The aim of Street Unicycling is to use natural/urban structures or specially made obstacles to perform tricks on. When these are conducted as part of a competition it is restricted to set area and the scores are issued for technical proficiency, style and creativity. Skate parks are often used as the basis for competition spaces. Street unicycling draws inspiration from skateboarding and flatland bmx.
      Although the most common unicycle used for Street Unicycling is the 19” trials unicycle you will see riders using 20” freestyle unicycles with light weight large tyres such as the Nimbus Equinox or 24/26” lightweight Muni unicycles.

      Flatland Unicycling


      Flatland Unicycling can be seen as a crossover between freestyle Unicycling and Street Unicycling. Tricks are always performed on a flat surface. The riders are encouraged to perform combinations of tricks on the unicycle without touching the ground. These do not always include the cranks or pedals but include the wheel.
      Flatland has developed from a predominately static display of tricks in to a more flowing array of complex moves that flow in to each other smoothly. Tricks often include jumps and flips of the wheel.
      Flatland Unicycling is performed on a unicycle that is similar to those used in Trials and Street Unicycling but with shorter cranks and made as light as possible.
      When competitions take place they are often set up as battles with each rider being given 15 seconds to perform each trick.
  • Buying from UDC

    Why should you buy from Unicycle.com?

    • Why buy from Unicycle.com?


      At Unicycle.com we are all unicyclists and have many years experience in unicycling - we know what is good and bad in a unicycle! We are a specialist unicyclist store with hundreds of unicycles and unicycle accessories.

      Whereas your local bike shop may have a unicycle or two in stock, if you are lucky, is it going to be the right one for you? We have a wide range so can supply the unicycle to suit your needs, whether you just want a basic unicycle to learn on, a unicycle to perform on or a specialist off-road or trials unicycle.

      We sell a complete range of spares for unicycles for upgrading or just maintenance and only sell spares that are appropriate for unicycles. From Pedals and Tyres to Tools and Safety equipment, we have used our years of experience to find the most suitable products at the best prices delivered to your door. test

    • How secure is it?

      At Unicycle.com realise we that one of the greatest worries that people have about purchasing on the web is that of security. We use Paypal for the payment of your credit cards as well as taking the payments directly using Paypal. When you order from our site the data is sent directly to Paypal and the merchant (Gemcrest Ltd t/a Unicycle.com) does not store the numbers or have any has access to your credit card details.
       

      Trustwave Seal shows you that this site has the highest level of encryption available today. It also shows that this site has passed an extensive validation process which Trustwave guarantees their identity with a warranty of $500,000.


      The only information that Unicycle.com holds on you is information for the purposes of ordering and/or the opt-in mailing list. This user information is held in our database that is not directly accessible from the web. You can view/edit your personal profile at any time using a password. If you have any worries about security please feel free to contact us here.

    • How long does delivery take?

      We process orders every weekday (Monday to Friday). If the order arrives before 2.30pm, we will process it that day and it will leave that day.  The delivery time depends on the shipping option you select.For the majority of the UK the delivery is 24 hour so you will get it the day after it is processed: please note our couriers only collect and deliver on weekdays. Small items under 2kg can be sent by Royal Mail. Sometimes your order may contain special items, like wheel builds, which may take up to 10 working days to be dispatched - there are very few of these items and it will be highlighted in the product description.

      You will be advised of any delay or if any of your ordered items are not available. Deliveries will NOT take longer than 28 days. Any exceptions to this, such as; items that are out of stock or need manufacturing especially, should be marked in the product description. Please contact us to check delivery times for these items.

      In the unlikely event that your goods are lost or damaged in transit please contact us as soon as possible. We will arrange with you to replace or repair the goods as quickly as possible.

    • Does the box have the word unicycle on it?

      Yes.  All unicycle boxes have the word Unicycle on it. 

      We offer a non-descript wrapping service for your package to help hide the contents. You will find a click box in the checkout for this service.

    • Will I get charged VAT and Duty

      If we are delivering to anywhere inside the EU you will be charged UK sales tax (VAT); this is already added to the price, so the price you see is the price you pay.

      If you add a delivery address outside the EU we will deduct the UK sales tax (20%) automatically.  You will see this in the shopping cart.  Be warned! you may be charged duty, taxes and administrative fees by your countries customs on import.

  • Parts of a Unicycle

    Not sure what a part on a Unicycle is called?  It shows not only the English word but gives you the translation in 15 different languages.

  • Instructions

    Here are instructions how to assemble your Unicycle, Giraffe or Penny Farthing. We also have links for you to download the latest instructions.  We also have instructions in different languages if you want.

  • Learning to ride a unicycle

    This section aims to guide you through the basics so you can learn to ride. It includes the preparation required before you even start to learn. The video clips in this section are from the Unicycle Skills DVD, a 43 minute introduction to unicycling.

    • 1. Select the right unicycle


      It is important when that the unicycle you select is the right one for that person. This is often not an easy call and sometimes it takes several tries to get the right unicycle for a person.

      12" - For children under 6 years old
      16" - As soon as they can fit on them, but generally from 6 to 10 years old children.
      20" - As soon as a person can fit on them and this is normally from 8 years old and upwards.
      24" - People over 6 foot, road cyclists or mountain bikers

      Trials/Muni - these make great learning machines when the metal pedals have been removed for bigger/heavier riders. The lower tyre pressure helps absorb bumps etc. They are also good outdoors.

    • 2. Learning Space

       

      Finding the ideal teaching space is very hard to do. Firstly it should get a smooth flat surface clear of any obstacles or debris. You should have at least one long clear wall, without any doors or alcoves in it. Ideally the bar should be at chest height.

       

      The ideal space is often not available in fact I dont think I have ever seen one. So you are then picking the best space that is available. Here are some of the things to look out for.

       

        • Doors - I have seen people hit by doors or fall through them when they put weight on them. In the worst case I have seen someone was using the door itself for support and fell backwards closing the door and then trapped their fingers as they went.

       

        • Grass - It is not that this is unsafe, just a lot harder to teach on if the wheel is not on a smooth surface.

       

        • Carpet - Unless it is very thin it tends to track the wheel and makes it hard to ride on.

       

        • Astroturf / Composite Rubber - These can be found on tennis courts, there seams to be no set answer here; sometimes they are great places to learn other times they are nightmare with catching the tyre and tracking like carpets.

       

        • Flagstones - Check for them being smooth and without large gaps between them.

       

        • Tarmac - This can be good to ride on but when people fall they will get scrapes on their knees and hands.

       

        • Glass - A lot of modern spaces now have large glass window panels. Avoid!

       

    • 3. Reducing any risks


      Here is a check list before you actually get to started to try and reduce the chance of any accidents..

      Environment Check - Be sure that there are no tripping obstacles on the floor or walls.

      Unicycle Check - Are all the unicycles in working order? Quick releases fitted and tightened properly and pointing down, pedals tight and tyres pumped up. You then need to be sure that it is fitted to the person correctly. From sitting on the seat the leg should be absolutely straight when the pedal is at the bottom of the stroke.

      Safety Talk - I warn people that this is a physical activity and that they should expect fall at some point. They should be aware of riders around them and not ride too close to them. They should listen to advice given as it is often guided towards keeping them safe. I often tailor the talk to warn people of the dangers of the environment they are in eg. Avoid doors, pillars, holes etc. I also ask people if they are prone to falling or breaking bones; if they are then I recommend wearing safety equipment.

      Clothing Check - No baggy trousers, no scarves, or dangling bits. I also make everyone tuck shoe laces in to their shoes. I always show my shoes, since I always tuck my laces in it is a good example.

      Safety Gear - When you are doing basic level teaching of unicycling I feel that most safety gear is superfluousness, being only required if you want to totally reduce the risk of injury or are prone to injuries. I will add there that a learner should be taught to fall properly, without this then yes they do need protective gear. There are exceptions where I would recommend wearing safety gear; this is where the environment or the person requires them. For example if you are on tarmac; then knee, elbow and wrist guards are useful against grazes. In my opinion learning to ride a unicycle is safer than playing most sports played in schools.

    • 4. The Location



      Places to Learn
      A gym or indoor area with a smooth wooden floor and a hand rail about elbow height.

      A tennis court or outdoor concrete path that is swept free of small stones and has no bumps or cracks. A firm rail or fence is helpful.

      A narrow corridor allows you to hang on to both walls. Work your way along and back, trying to hold on less and less each time.

      Start between two chairs placed back to back in front of a wide open space. Get your balance then launch into space Get two friends to hold you up, or get between a friend and a wall. The friends should be half a pace in front of you and carry none of your weight. Its cheating if you have your arms around their shoulders!
    • 5. Adjusting



      Few Quick Adjustments.
      The wide part of the saddle goes at the back. Double check: the pedal and crank marked “L” should be on your left, “R” on your right.

      When you’re seated on the unicycle, with the heel of one foot on a pedal in its lowest position, your leg should be almost straight. Getting the right height is important. If not your riding posture will make learning much more difficult. If the seat does not go high enough you’ll need a bigger unicycle or a longer seat post.

      A quick rule of thumb is to stick your thumb in your belly button. The top of the saddle should be 2-3 centimetres below. Safety

      Unicycling is generally not dangerous, but expect to fall every now and again, especially while learning. The vast majority of unicycle falls result in the rider landing standing uninjured on their feet. We recommend wearing a helmet and wrist guards, sneakers and trousers.

    • 6. Mounting



      Mounting in Eight Steps
      1.Stand with both feet flat on the ground, legs apart.

      2.Put the seat between your legs.

      3.Walk forward so that one pedal is in the 4:00 position.

      4.Step onto this pedal.

      5.This is different from a bicycle. If you stand on the front pedal, the unicycle will roll away as you attempt to get on it. Hold on to the handrail or fence.

      6.Step onto the lowest pedal.

      7.As you step up the wheel will rotate 1/4-turn backwards. You should now be on the seat with the wheel underneath you. Pedal backwards 1/4 turn to get your feet horizontal.

      8.This gets you out of the “dead spot” when your cranks are vertical.

    • 7. Balance



      Getting Your Balance
      Now that you have Mounted, rock there for a moment and feel for balance. You can keep your body still and let the unicycle move under you 1/4 turn each way.

      1. Sit up straight

      2. Not too stiff with your chest puffed up

      3. Not too floppy with your bum stuck out the back: Watch for Elvis Pelvis

      4. Straight but relaxed is good

      5. Keep your weight on the seat.

      6. If you stand up or put too much weight on the pedals the unicycle will wobble as you ride.

    • 8. First Steps



      Taking Your First Steps
      Now you you can Balance you are ready to go forwards, along the rail.

      1. Reach forward and grab hold further along the rail. Lean forward slightly while pedaling slowly.

      2. Pause when your feet are horizontal again to check your posture and that you are sitting on the seat and not trying to stand up on the pedals.

      3. Take it one “step” at a time from horizontal feet with your left foot forward to horizontal feet with your right foot forward. Its just like learning to walk.

      4. Make sure you are sitting up straight.

      5. Build up from one step at a time to two steps, then three steps.

      6. Try to hold the rail less and less until it is only needed for occasional balance correction.
    • 9. Launch



      Launching into Space
      Now you have taken your first steps, gradually lean less and less on the support. Try just running your hand along the rail for extra balance.

      1. Remember: relax, keep your weight on the seat.

      2. Riding speed is a fast walk, so practice going along the rail at this speed.

      3. To steer, point your knees / swivel your hips the way you want to go

      4. Steer gradually away from the wall for one or two revolutions, then come back to regain balance.

      5. Try to let go of support for one or two turns of the wheel

      6. When you reach the end of the rail, just keep doing the things you have been doing beside the rail and ride on out.

    • 10. Learning to Idle

      Idling or rocking is a useful basic skill. Here are some tops for learning to idle:

      1. Saddle at the right height (leg almost straight at the bottom of the stroke)
      2. Lots of weight on the bottom pedal - it does most of the work.
      3. Remember it is a pendulum action, NOT riding back and forwards. Note the idling in this video
      4. Since your shoulders do not move forwards and backwards, you can use them to give balance guidance while learning.
  • How to Teach Unicycling

    This is part of an article written by Roger Davies of Unicycle.com about the basic structure that should be taken when teaching someone to ride a unicycle.

    • There are 5 key stages to the riding. Different riders will need different amount of time at each stage. There are also different techniques to help at each stage which I hope I will explain.


      There are 5 key stages to the riding. Different riders will need different amount of time at each stage. There are also different techniques to help at each stage which I hope I will explain.

      Getting on the unicycle

      1. You need to find a wall next to some flat ground with a grab rail ideally at chest height.
      2. Get the learner to stand side on to the wall holding the wall bar with one hand and holding the front of the seat with the other.
      3. Ascertain which pedal is going to be their leading foot you can normally just ask them or look at which foot they want to put on pedal first.
      4. Ask them to then sit on the seat. Then show the learner the correct position for the lead pedal, it should be about the 4 o'clock position.
      5. Get the learner to then press on the pedal so that the unicycle winds up underneath them. The pedals will then be vertical then ask them to use the other pedal to ride backwards so that the pedals are horizontal.

      Finding Balance

      you should leave the learner for about 5 to 10 minutes just sitting on the unicycle. This is time just to allow them to familiarise themselves with the experience of sitting on the saddle and finding their balance. You need to emphasise:

      1. Keep their weight on the saddle
      2. Sit upright
      3. Keep the pedals horizontal (although some moving to find balance is good)
      4. Keep one hand one the wall while the other is straight out.
      5. Look at ahead at fixed object.

      Dismounting

      You need to show riders how to dismount safely. Get them to step forward off the unicycle letting it fall away to the floor. Do not let them catch the unicycle. Repeat this a few times. It will also help build confidence at getting on the unicycle.

      Moving

      Get them to move slowly along the wall bar at walking pace. Emphasise that they need to rotate the pedals smoothly, put all of their weight on the saddle and look forward. They should have only one hand on the wall and the other should be held out away for balance. If you have a large group you should set up a one way system along the wall. This stage varies in time between individuals from 5 minutes to an hour or so.

      Launching

      When they have succeeded in moving smoothly along the wall you need get them to launch away from the wall. There are 2 basic techniques here, you can get them to veer off from the moving position or launch out at 90 degrees from the wall. I personally prefer the second as it gets them safely away from the wall faster. Before you leave your learner to practice the launching you need to get them to practice dismounting. Do this several times and be confident that they are walking off the front of the unicycle upon dismount and not trying to catch the saddle.

      At this point I will tell you about my brother. He does not ride a unicycle, but I tried to teach him at one time. He was at the launch from the wall stage, he did this and succeeded very well, getting half across the hall fist time (I claim it is in the genes although that is probably not true). I then encourage him to go further, thinking he may get to then full length of the hall second time! Well he did. Well almost, he panicked and dismounted to the rear a foot or so from the wall, this propelled him backwards across the floor in howls of pain. After his trip to the hospital he gave up learning to ride.

      There are several additional aids and tip to help at each of these stages. I tend to demonstrate all the stages my self pointing out the key things at each stage, this helps the learner see what they should be doing clearly. The moving stage can be helped by using 2 assistants to hold a broom handle out at the right height in front of the rider for them to hold.

      For nervous riders it is often useful to give them a hand to steady them. This can be done in several ways, for maximum stability use 2 hands, one to hold the elbow and the other with palm clenched and facing downwards down to allow them to hold your wrist. When they are more confident you can offer them just your or hand. A good technique at this stage is ride next to the learner holding their hand - be sure to have your hand palm outstretched so that they can disconnect at any stage. This offers moral support and a perfectly smooth platform that moves that the same speed as they do. When working with large groups I tend to split the group into pairs. This allows them to help each other, particularly in the moving stage where a steadying hand is helpful.

      I think one of the best ways to help people to learn to ride is offer them encouragement. You can also encourage continuation of their learning by finding their local unicycle or juggling club.

      Things not to do
      1. Dont use walking poles, these are dangerous to the rider and other around them, they also encourage stooping.
      2. Dont try and teach too many people at any one time,
      3. Dont support the saddle at any stage except in an emergency to stop a rider from falling off backwards, then go back to teaching the correct dismount.
      4. Do not stand in front of someone learning.


      Teaching for me is often as rewarding as actually doing a new trick or playing a good game of unicycle hockey. I would love to also hear your comments on methods of teaching; mine works for me but I am certain that there are many others that are just as effective.

  • What size Penny Farthing to buy

    Not sure what size Penny Farthing will fit you? Not sure the sizing difference between racing or touring Penny Farthings?

    • When buying a Penny farthing it is important to know what size you require. You can not just put the seat up or down!

      How to size your Penny Farthing
      A wheel that is too large or too small will result in an uncomfortable ride. For general riding follow that table shown below.  If you are looking at racing penny farthing consider going to the size larger.  If you are wanting to tour on your penny farthing then tend towards a smaller size. The measurements are from crotch to floor with your shoes on and are a direct measurement.


      30" inseam length = 48" Penny Farthing
      32" inseam length = 50" Penny Farthing
      34" inseam length = 52" Penny Farthing
      36" inseam length = 54" Penny Farthing

      There are many things that effect the size of wheel that can be ridden.  These are:

      • Saddle type - some saddles have a lower profile than others.
      • Riders position on the saddle - some riders prefer to ride on the front of the saddle, this increases the reach.
      • Crank length - If the standard crank length is changed then the reach changes.
      • Riders pedalling position - some riders like to pedal using the ball of their foot, others in the middle.  This changes the reach possible for riders.


      These are recommended "rules of thumb" only, and not written in stone.  If you are not sure give us a call and we can discuss.

  • Maintenance

    Every unicycle needs some maintance over time. Here is some information to help you.

    • What crank length should be on which unicycle?

      This is not an easy question, it depends what you want to do with your unicycle. All the unicycles are sold with standard length cranks but you can upgrade your unicycle with different size cranks. As a general rule, the shorter the crank the faster you can ride, the longer the crank the more control and power your can have. Cranks are measured from the centre of the wheel to where the pedals are threaded in.

      16" Unicycles
      Can only be fitted with 100mm cranks or smaller otherwise the pedals touch the ground when riding.

      20" Unicycles
      75mm are for advanced freestyle, 89mm are still too short for beginners but are good for advanced skills such as pirouettes, they are also by some hockey players to go fast. 100mm cranks give a smooth fast ride but make idling harder, 114mm cranks are a good length for most freestyle tricks and hockey. 125mm cranks give a lot of torque and are good for learners. 140mm are for Trials, 150 mm are a bit long.

      24" unicycles
      114 mm cranks are very smooth and should only be considered if you are a speed fiend, 125mm cranks are smooth and still quite fast, although are ok for idling, 140 and 150mm cranks are great for off road and learners. 165mm are sometimes used for very steep Muni but tend to hinder most riding.

      26", 27.7" &  29" Unicycles
      114mm cranks make a great long distance machine on flat surface but very hard to idle, although some riders do go as short as 75mm. 125mm cranks are smooth and make a good street machine. 150mm cranks are great for standard Muni riding and tricks work. 165mm are for heavy mountain climbers, these give you the ability to go up almost anything! 

      32 & 36"Unicycles
      89mm cranks, yes; you can put them on a 36" unicycle and they make an incredibly fast unicycle - experts only! Sensibly you should consider 114mm the shortest for general riding and make nice smooth action although 125mm cranks create an extremely fast machine for most use. 150mm cranks are standard for beginning with and should be considered the starting point for all but experienced riders.

    • Upgrading Parts?


      Saddles
      When you are learning to ride, you can destroy your saddle with the constant dropping. We sell a wide range of saddles from the cheap plastic seats such as Trainer and Qu-ax to high quality saddles made by Nimbus and Kris Holm. You can also change your saddle to have one with a Handle which is useful to make jumps easier and to have a more comfortable position to ride. Make sure to take a look at our range of Saddles.

      Seatposts
      Have you outgrown your existing unicycle? We can sell you a longer seat post to revitalize it or a seatpost rail or angle adaptor? Even if your unicycle has a non-standard size we can supply shims to fit most sizes. Older seatposts tend to be 22.0mm newer models tend to be 25.4mm or 27.2mm, we keep all sizes in stock. Be sure to take a look at our range of seatposts.

      Seatpost Clamps
      It can be very annoying to be constantly straightening your seat so one of the most common upgrades is to fit a double bolt seat clamp. These clamp the frame and the seatpost keeping them in position even under the worst conditions. Learners though are the other way round they need to be able to move their seat position regularly until they find the optimum height for their riding style, for them we sell replacement quick-release clamps.

      Frames
      If you have a Hoppley or Trainer and you are getting into bouncing then it is worth considering upgrading to a Nimbus frame or if you are looking to do more advanced stand-up tricks then the Nimbus II frame. If you are a good off-road rider and you want a high performance Unicycle, you should buy a Kris Holm or Nimbus Oracle Frame. Frames come with either 40mm or 42mm bearings. If you are wanting to upgrade your frame you will need to check it will fit on your existing bearings and seatpost.

      Brakes
      Yes, it is possible! For Muni downhill. Once you are used to them they can give you more control for technical downhill riding, or you can use them as a drag-brake to save your legs on long downhills. You can either go for a Magura hydraulic rim brake or you could go for one the new disc brake set ups. The new Kris Holm frames will enable you to fit both a disc or a rim brake, or you could go for the special Nimbus II frame with Magura mounts and buy the Magura Brakes set, the third option would be the Nimbus Oracle frame for an inboard disc brake set up.

      Rims
      One of the most common upgrades for Muni riders is changing the rim to a strong one like one of the Nimbus Dominator II rims or the Kris Holm Freeride rim, but we do stock other strong rims too.

      Tyre
      One of the biggest, easiest and cheapest upgrades you can do to your unicycle is replace the standard tyre. On a unicycle all your weight is on one tyre unlike a bike so you need a larger volume than standard, high-pressure tyre with strong sidewalls. For Freestyle we sell the Kenda Kikzumbut and the Duro X-Performer which a couple of the best freestyle tyres available. For Trials we sell the 19" Creepy Crawler & the Nimbus Cyko lite, and for muni the Duro Wildlife Leopard and the Halo tyres in 24" and 26", both of which offer massive improvements over standard tyres.
    • Different types of cranks


      Cotterless Cranks
      This is the standard crank that comes on most modern unicycles. The hub axle has tapered ends with a square cross-section and a bolt or nut to hold the cranks on. The cranks are forced onto the axle to create a friction fit and locked in place with the bolt or nut. You should never ride with loose cotterless cranks as this will round the corners off the axle and distort the square hole in the crank, preventing them from fitting tightly ever again.



      ISIS cranks
      These are a type of splined crank but have tapered axles so their removal is similar to cotterless cranks BUT you must use a crank extractor with an ISIS head otherwise it will damage the threads in the axle. Some extractors have a removable ISIS head so you can use them on cotterless and ISIS cranks.



      Splined Cranks
      Splined cranks are stronger than cotterless cranks and therefore are more suitable for muni or trials unicycling, but require slightly more maintenance. With the exception of the Onza with the Kris Holm/Onza cranks and all the ISIS cranks with each other (not Koxx), these cranks are not cross-compatible as they fit different spline formations. The bolts will probably need to be tightened after a week of riding and checked regularly after that. For more information read our section on maintenance of splined cranks. Never ride with the cranks on the wrong side or you will destroy them.



    • Unicycle maintenance


      Unicycles are not complicated but they do take a little bit of maintaining. Here are some of the key points:

      Creaking Cranks: Stop riding immediately and tighten! If these are left they will destroy the cranks and hub. The creak comes with downward pressure of the pedal and is often confused with loose spokes. Cotterless cranks: remove the caps from the end of the cranks and tighten with a 14mm socket spanner (or 8mm allen key). ISIS Cranks: tighten bolt with 8mm Allen Key

      Creaking Spokes: After some time spokes stretch and slacken, this is not normally terminal for the wheel but does weaken it. Tightening a wheel is a job that is normally considered to be a job for an expert, but if approached carefully, it is not difficult for the lay-person. If the wheel is just loose, but central, tighten each spoke using a spoke key by a quarter turn, being careful not to miss any, repeat until spokes are tight.

      Loose Pedals: Stop! Check that you have the seat facing forward and you have the right pedal on the right-hand side. If your pedals come loose it is almost certain that you have the right-hand pedal on the left side and vice-versa. If this is left for any length of time then the crank and pedal will be destroyed. Tighten with a 15mm spanner. If you have damaged your pedals and cranks we do sell replacements. To remove the cranks you need to use a crank extractor.

      Loose Seat Bolts: When learning, the constant dropping of the unicycle can cause the bolts that hold the seat to its post to come loose. Check and tighten these regularly. Use an 11mm or 10mm socket spanner to tighten.

      Loose Frame Bolts: If you feel the frame clicking or moving then stop and check the bolts, if left loose the frame cracks and will be destroyed. Use a 10mm spanner or socket to tighten.

      Frame Bolts: It not very common to find these bolts coming loose. If they do then they should be tightened immediately. It is considerably more common to find them over-tightened! If the wheel does not rotate freely then the bolts should be slackened by about a quarter or half turn. If the bearings are left over-tightened for too long they will wear and require replacing.

      Under Inflated Tyre: It is bad practice to ride a unicycle with a flat or an under-inflated tyre, because all your weight is on a single tyre, so you need to have the pressure higher than you would on a bike. An under-inflated tyre can also cause the wheel to buckle under rapid turning or bouncing.

      Worn Tyres: When a unicycle has been ridden for a bit you will notice that there is one or possibly two areas of the tyre that are getting considerably more wear than any other. This is due to idling and turning. This can be remedied by letting the air out of the tyre and then rotating the tyre through 90 degrees.

    • How to change Bearings


      Bearings on unicycles generally last a long time; even when you take your unicycle in a fountain, or the sea, or just splashing around in the mud. They do give up in the end though; normally at the worst moment possible (the middle of a Polaris Challenge event for me). You hear them grinding first, then when you turn the wheel slowly by hand you can feel the restriction in the movement.

      This document is to give you a guide of what to do if you are brave enough to try and replace them yourself. Be warned this is not an easy task and requires special tools, most bike shops will be able to do this for you.

      What you will require:

      Replacement bearings - see our catalogue for quality replacement bearings. Crank extractor - again we sell these. Socket set - not really necessary, normal spanners can do but makes it easier. Rubber hammer/mallet - again not really necessary, a little imagination can find other things that will do. Bearing puller - either as small 3 leg bearing puller or a special DM bearing puller - this is essential. Scrap Wooden Block - not really necessary but it helps to prevent damage.

      To remove and fit bearings:

      1. Remove the dust covers from the cranks.
      2. Remove the nuts/bolts from the centre of the cranks
      3. Remove the cranks using a crank extractor (see instructions). Be sure to screw the extractor fully home before you start to extract the cranks.
      4. Remove the wheel from the frame, in most cases this involves removing
      4 bolts from the bracket that surrounds the bearing. In the case of the Pashley the screws are in the side of the fork legs and the bearing holder stays with the bearing.
      5. Fit 3-leg bearing puller over bearings and use a spanner to pull the bearing from the hub. Be sure to seat the legs of the bearing puller securely under the bearing so that it is not destroyed before it is removed from the hub. On a Pashley you need to extract the whole bearing holder. Do not try to remove with a lever or screw driver behind the bearing, it will damage the hub. For ISIS hubs use the ISIS cap from the crank extractor or something similar to prevent the bearing puller damaging the threads in the hub. (With Pashley and Dodger bearings they will require pressing out from the bearing holder and then the new ones pressed back in before refitting to hub. It is recommended that this is done by a machine shop).
      6. Once bearing have been removed clean the hub shaft with wire wool and little oil to remove any rust or dirt.
      7. Fit new bearings over the shaft (be sure to fit spacer on first if one was fitted) and gently push, ensuring that it is square with the shaft. When it can not be pushed any further by hand place the old bearing on top of the new one and slip a pipe or socket on top. Ensure that the pipe/socket is pressing on the centre of the bearing, not the outer ring or rubber seal. Place the wheel on a piece of scrap wood to protect the other side of the hub shaft. Hit the pipe/socket with a hammer until bearing is seated home. Remove old bearing.
      8. Clean the bearing holders to be sure that there is no dirt or rust.
      9. Re-fit the wheel in the frame. Be sure not to over tighten the bearing cups as this will impede the performance of the bearing.
      10. Re-fit the cranks on the hub. Be sure to check that the cranks/pedals are on the correct side. On the end of the pedals there is a letter L or R for left and right and a letter on the back of the cranks.
      11. Place the unicycle on your scrap of wood and use a rubber mallet to hammer the cranks home.
      12. Tighten the nuts/bolts in the end of the hubs, these must be secure. Tighten well but do not over tighten.
      13. Replace the plastic dust caps.


    • How to Maintain your Splined Cranks


      It is very hard to actually break a set of splined cranks but unless they are regularly maintained they will wear and show movement on the spline. This goes for all types and makes of splined crank sets. This is because the splines are not tapered but are straight and rely on the precision of the fit to keep them from moving.

      Features 20mm hardened CrMO spindle. Fine 36 crank splines. 2 x 1/4" keyways over the whole length of a central length. T3 Aluminium hub body pressed on to spindle. CrMO hollow cranks in 165 and 140mm with 12.5mm offset. 30 x 8mm hardened crank locking bolts. Self extraction ring. 6004 bearings (42x20x12mm), 108mm spacing (centre to centre).

      How to Assemble They come assembled with the Bearings already fitted. 1. Grease the spline liberally, both on hub and crank. 2. Slip on the bearing spacer. 3. Slide on the crank 4. Tighten crank using the hardened steel bolt, use a long allan key or adaptor on a socket set. Do not tighten fully until you have assembled both sides then you need a very high torque on this. 5. Insert nylon washer on to bolt 6. Insert extractor ring - look out though, the thread goes the opposite direction to normal. Tighten fully until locked. 7. Repeat with the other crank, be sure that the cranks are 180 degrees from each other.

      General Maintenance You should be aware of any change in the condition of your cranks when you are riding your unicycle. If they start to creak or movement is detected then stop immediately and investigate. Creaking - this is the sign of movement check the pedals are tight, crank bolt, spokes. Tighten if found loose. Movement - Check that the right crank is on the right hand side - if not swap the cranks over. If you are detecting movement tighten the crank bolt TIGHT. If there is still movement detected then give the crank assembly a full service.

      Service Crank assemblies should be serviced on a regular basis to help eliminate any wear . If you have detected movement and it has not been fixed by tightening the crank bolt then try servicing the whole assembly; this can reduce or even eliminate this movement.

      1. Extract the crank using a long allan key or adaptor on a socket set. To do this just unscrew the bolt and it will pull off the crank.
      2. Remove the spacer, clean and put aside.
      3. Remove self extraction ring (remember the thread goes the other way), the nylon washer and bolt. Clean and put aside. 4. Clean the hub splines and those inside of the crank thoroughly using a solvent and cloth.
      5. Inspect for wear, if wear is bad consider replacing the parts.
      6. Grease the spline liberally, both on hub and crank.
      7. Slip on the bearing spacer.
      8. Slide on the crank, but select a different position to where it was originally. Select a position at least 20degrees from the original position.
      9. Tighten crank using the hardened steel bolt, use a long allan key or adaptor on a socket set. Do not tighten fully until you have assembled both sides then you need a very high torque on this. 10. Insert nylon washer on to bolt
      11. Insert extractor ring - look out though, the thread goes the opposite direction to normal. Tighten fully until locked. 12. Repeat with the other crank, be sure that the cranks are 180 degrees from each other.

    • How to straighten your frame

      Frames can get bent by various means or sometimes they just need fitting to a new hub. A bent frame can be caused by doing kick-up mounts in the gym or by jumping down loads of stairs and landing badly. On the larger frames the forks can widen after doing lots of turning, this then causes the bearings to be pulled off towards the cranks. Sometimes it can be that the frames when supplied from the manufacturer are just not straight or are too wide for the bearings and just need some tweaking for optimum performance. This is not a hard process but does require a little patience.

      It is easy to correct the straightness of most frames, there are some frames you should NOT try straightening… these are carbon fibre or aluminium frames.

      1. Check if the wheel is bent. Spin the wheel within the frame and if the gap changes then this may be the problem not the frame. You should get the wheel straightened before going any further.
      2. Check that the wheel is not dished. To do this mark the side of the wheel that is closest to the frame with a marker or tape. Then remove the wheel from the frame and re-insert it the other way around (so the left crank is on the right - remember to put it back afterwards). If your mark is still closest to the frame then the problem is the dishing on the wheel which is out. This should be corrected before going any further.
      3. Check that the frame has the same length legs. There has been a problem with some frames being manufactured with one leg longer than the other, but this is very very rare but is worth checking. Without the wheel in place measure from the bottom of the seat tube to the edge of the bearing housing. This distance should be identical. If it is not then the correction should be made with a thin metal shim placed above the bearing in the bearing holder, a soft drinks cans can be used but be careful when cutting them.
      4. If the wheel is consistently closer to one side than the other after you have done three tests above then your frame needs tweaking.
      5. Place the wheel in the frame and mark the side that is closest to the wheel with a marker or tape.


      6. Take the wheel out and place the frame on the ground with the marked side to the top. Place your foot on the frame between the crown and the seat and then apply a gentle pressure on the frame pushing it towards the ground.

      7. Turn the frame over. Place your foot on the frame again and this time pull the leg upwards.
      8. Place the wheel back in to the frame and check the positioning of the wheel. You will probably need to repeat this process several times until the wheel is central in the frame and the frame slips over the bearings easily. The standard width on bearings varies but is 100mm centre to centre on most Taiwanese bearing and 83mm on Japanese ones, although ideally you should aim to have your frame about 1 or 2mm smaller than you require so that there is a slight inward pressure on the bearings.

    • How to change your cranks


      There are four types of cranks: cotterless, ISIS, splined and cotter-pinned.

      Cotterless Cranks. This is the standard crank that comes on most modern unicycles. The hub axle has tapered ends with a square cross-section and a bolt or nut to hold the cranks on. The cranks are forced onto the axle to create a friction fit and locked in place with the bolt or nut. You should never ride with loose cotterless cranks as this will round the corners off the axle and distort the square hole in the crank, preventing them from fitting tightly ever again. To remove cotterless cranks you will need a crank extractor. First remove dustcover (if fitted) then unscrew (anti-clockwise) nut/bolt with 14 socket spanner or 8mm allen key. Retract the central shaft of the crank extractor fully before screwing the outer clockwise into the crank fully. Next turn the shaft to extract crank. Then unscrew the outer threaded section to separate it from the crank. To fit cotterless cranks; gently seat the crank on the axle stub and affirm its position with a mallet (not metal), then tightly lock in place with the bolt/nut. Make sure the righthand crank is on the righthand side and the lefthand crank is on the lefthand side before riding otherwise you will wreck the cranks.

      ISIS cranks These are a type of splined crank but have tapered axles so their removal is similar to cotterless cranks BUT you must use a crank extractor with an ISIS head otherwise it will damage the threads in the axle. Some extractors have a removable ISIS head so you can use them on cotterless and ISIS cranks.

      Splined Cranks. Splined cranks are stronger than cotterless cranks and therefore are more suitable for muni or trials unicycling, but require slightly more maintenance. There are several different models; Onza, Kris Holm, Profile, Qu-ax, Koxx, Onza/Kris Holm, Qu-ax ISIS, Onza ISIS, Nimbus ISIS and Kris Holm ISIS. With the exception of the Onza with the Kris Holm/Onza cranks and all the ISIS cranks with each other (not Koxx), these cranks are not cross-compatible as they fit different spline formations. The bolts will probably need to be tightened after a week of riding and checked regularly after that. For more information read our section on maintenance of splined cranks. Never ride with the cranks on the wrong side or you will destroy them.

      Cotter-pinned Cranks. These do not come on any new unicycles but we do sell replacements for them. The crank is held in place by a tapered bolt, called a cotter-pin, which is at right-angles to both the axle and the crank. To remove the cotter-pin; unscrew the nut slightly then carefully hit with a hammer/mallet. Repeat this process until the pin is completely removed. Do not completely remove the nut and hit it with a hammer since this tends to bend the pin, making complete removal a little more difficult. When you change a cotter-pinned crank it is recommended that you also replace the cotter-pin. Before riding, make sure the righthand crank is on the righthand side and the lefthand crank is on the lefthand side before riding otherwise you will ruin the cranks.

    • Calculating the length of Spokes

       

      We have a great little tool for when your building wheels our Spoke Calculator calculates what spokes you will need for the rim and hub you will be using. Simply select your Hub and Rim from the drop downs and it will tell you the size of spokes you are going to need.


      www.unicycle.uk.com/calculator

    • How To Bleed Your Tektro Auriga Sub brake

      Should you need to bleed your Tecktro Auiga Sub brake you will need to get a bleed kit, we sell them here.

      We then recommend you follow the instructions laid out in this instructional video.

    • How To Bleed Your Shimano brakes

      Should you find that your brake lever is becoming spongy, this often implies that the brake system has air in it.  This is normal in use and can be rectified by bleeding the brakes.  There are lots of great instructions online how to do this.  Bikeradar.com has done a great blog how to do this

      If you prefer a video then they have a video version of the same instructions.

      .

    • How to replace your pads on a disc brake

      Your brake pads need replacing reletively frequently.  Luckliy they are not expensive and it is an easy job to do.

       

    • Servicing your disc brake callipers

      Over time your brake calliper performance may deteriorate as they get dirty.  You can quite easily service them to bring them back to full performance by  checking, cleaning and;lubricating them: 

       

    • What size seatpost clamp do I need?

      Bikes have always specified the clamps by the frame size. Unicycles have been lucky that they only needed 3 sizes for ages.. hence simple. These were the steel frames with 22.0 seatposts (25.4mm clamp size), 25.4 seatposts (26.8 clamp size) and aluminium frames with 27.2 seatposts (31.8 frame size). Then we got the eclipse and equinox frames that were 25.4 seatposts, but had 30.5 frames; also Oracles and QX that had 25.4 seatposts with 31.8 frames.

      So that is why we are now seeing fuller descriptions on the clamps and frames.

      Here is a quick list to help:
      Cheap Chinese unicycles with steel frames and 22.0 seatposts = 25.4 clamps.
      UDC, Nimbus and Qu-Ax with steel frames = 25.4 seatposts with 28.6 clamps.
      Pre 2015 Eclispe and Equinox (aluminium frames) = 25.4 seatpost with 30.5 clamps.
      Oracle and QX with aluminium frames = 25.4 seatpost with 31.8 clamps.
      KH and Impact (aluminium frames) = 27.2 seastpost with 31.8 clamps.

    • Tuning new cranks on twin chain giraffe unicycles

      If you ever have to replace the cranks on a twin chain giraffe unicycle you will need to “tune” the chain system so that the two chains work correctly together. You will know if you need to tune the chain system if one chain is tight at the front while the other chain is and visa-a-versa.

      Depending on how much adjustment is needed there are 3 processes than should be followed until you find the one that tunes the system for your giraffe.

      Method 1.
      At the wheel you will see 2 plate sprockets. These are held on by 12 bolts (6 per sides). Loosen these bolts by a single turn each while the chain is in place. If there is only a small amount of adjustment required the chains automatically centralise the sprockets in the correct place. If this is the case, tighten up the sprockets and the tuning is done. If this is not the case, go to method 2.

      Method 2.
      Repeat method 1, but this time take all the bolts out of the sprocket that has 12 holes on it and allow it to it rotate until you can use the second set of holes. This should allow the sprocket to rotate further than the tolerance in the holes allowed in method 1. If this does not work – or makes it worse, go on to method 3.

      Method 3.
      Remove the wheel from the frame and remove the 12 hole plate sprocket and flip it over. Now re-apply it (loosely to begin with). Re-mount the wheel and repeat firstly method 1 and should that not work then method 2 will work.

      Good luck with your maintenance. Remember; to do regular checks on all bolts and lock-nuts on your giraffe to be sure that they are tight. Damage can occur (both to the giraffe or yourself ) if the giraffe is ridden when parts are loose.
    • Building a Unicycle wheel – A guide for the Amateur .

       

      So  WHY Build a Unicycle Wheel?


      This article aims to provide all the information you need to build your own wheels. There is also the question  why would anyone want to? Is it only for geeks and mad men (or women, we do need to be PC here!)? When you buy a uni it has a wheel – they do not come in DIY form as a bundle of spokes and a rim and hub and if you want to upgrade a wheel then your uni supplier will sell you one. Beside all that your unicycle supplier or bicycle shops can build a wheel for you (and will probably offer tips if you get stuck).

      Well why?  Here is the result of an exhaustive survey of reasons to build your own wheel (well a couple of in the pub over a few beers actually but it sounds good that way).

      You can re-use a hub after the rim has been broken.

      You can use a hub from a wheel for a different purpose, eg to convert a trials wheel for muni.

      You can get that unusual combination of rim and hub and spokes for a particular purpose.

      You can fill those dark winter evenings by fiddling with the wheel on your unicycle.

      When you have built a wheel and ride it, there is a tremendous sense of satisfaction that you are riding a wheel that you have made.

      You unicycle supplier’s web site indicated that it was a good idea to try.
      My favourite – you can think about Buddhism, the cyclical nature of life/death/reincarnation and unicycle wheels as representing this cycle, the one-ness of the universe and so on.

      Building a unicycle wheel is thus an act of meditation helping you to come closer to attaining Nirvana. Note the similarity between a unicycle wheel with the famous Yin-Yang symbol.
      You want to try to build a wheel to see if you can build one – why else did you learn to ride a unicycle in the first place if it wasn’t to try a new challenge?
      The voices in your head told you to. [The authors recommend professional help in this case].
      So, without any more excuses, here is HOW to build a wheel…

      Components:

      Rim

      Hub

      Spokes (get at least one more than you need)

      Nipples (get a few more than you need)

      Tools:

      Flat bladed screwdriver

      Spoke key

      Spare spoke

      Unicycle frame

      Optional tools:

      Cordless screwdriver

      Cordless drill

      A friend

      Preparation:

      Rim; there are 36 (or 48) holes in the rim.  On unicycle rims they are normally offset slightly to one side or the other. There is also a larger hole in the rim for the valve.

      Hub; there are 36 holes in the hub, 18 per side.  Note that the holes are NOT opposite to each other, they are positioned alternatively on each flange as you rotate the rim.  This may seam obvious but remember this because this is where most people go wrong.

      Spokes; these have a threaded end and a hooked end.  The threaded distance is always an exact distance (normally 10 or 11mm).  Be sure that they are the right thickness for the hub and rim.  14 gauge are the most common, 12 gauge is thicker.

      You should have selected your spokes using the spoke calculator, a unicycle specific one is here: It is not always possible to get the exact size of spoke that is specified in the calculator then go for one that is smaller, up to 2mm is not a problem.  Make a note of how close to the optimum the spoke is.  If it is exact, you will build the wheel to this position, if you are 2mm shorter, you will aim for this position.

      Nipples; The nipple come in different lengths. For basic wheel building this does not matter, but if your spokes are a little bit short then longer nipples will help. 

      Orientation

      Sit down and lay out the components and tools within easy reach.

      Place the rim between your knees with the valve hole at the top.

      Take the hub and hold it in the middle of the rim so that with the writing in the centre of the hub so you can read it if you look through the valve hole. 

      This is where you want the hub to end up. (it may sound silly to be so pedantic but it helps with orientation if you know which way around the wheel is).

      Now you remember this position, keep the right hand side of the rim on the right hand side and always be aware of where the valve hole is as you will be using it constantly as reference

      Lacing
      - Lacing is the term used for the process of threading the spokes into the hub and rim.

      The first spoke. - The first spoke you put in will be the spoke that is 2 in front of the valve hole.  Note which side of the rim it is on, this is normally the right hand side with most Tiawanise made rims, this is the side of the rim that the spoke will coming from.  You now need to guess which hole on the hub the spoke is going to go to.  The spoke will be going away from you; the nipple end of it will be closer to you than the hook end (this direction is called leading, if the spoke comes towards you it is called trailing).  With the hub held approximately in the middle using the spoke  you should be able to guess where it goes (this does not need to be accurate and is about 40 degree forward around the right hand flange of the hub).

      Second spoke etc. -  Feed the spoke through the flange of the hub from the outside and feed it up to the hole in the rim.  Screw on the nipple, only put this on a couple of turns (you don't need tools for this).  Once the first spoke is in you can let go of the hub and let is hang on the single spoke.  Now take your second spoke; on the same flange of the hub thread it through the next but one hole further away from you.  Now feed the spoke through the 4th hole from your first spoke and put a nipple on it.  Repeat this process until you have all 8 spokes in.  Check that there is 3 empty holes in the rim next to each of the spokes you have fitted.

      First spoke on the left hand side - This is the point where most beginners go wrong with the wheel. So be sure to take your time.  You are going to put the spoke in that is between your first spoke and the valve hole.  Remember that this spoke is one spoke behind the first spoke.  Now twist the hub away from you and look where this new spoke is going to go.  It needs to go to the hole one back on the other flange.  This is sometimes not easy to tell especially on 36” hubs with their big spacing.  I push the spoke through the hole I think it is and then across to the other flange and then looking directly down at the hub you can see if it is one hole back or not.  Once you are sure that you have the spoke in the right hole then thread it through the rim and put the nipple on it.

      Spoke 10 to 18 on left hand side - You now need to put the all the leading spokes in to the left hand side.  The holes in the hub will be every other one and the ones in the rim are immediately next to but behind the ones on the right hand side.

      The first trailing spoke. - Take hub and rotate it away from you.  This is where having writing on the hub helps as a check, it will tell you if you have accidentally turned the wheel around.

      Pick any hole in the hub and feed a spoke through from the inside this time.  Bring the spoke across the wheel in the opposite direction from the other spokes.  You now need to count the number of spokes that it crosses.  This is called the “cross” of a wheel.  Most 36 spoke  wheels are 3 cross, Airfoil rims are 4 cross and all 48 spoke wheels are 4 cross.  The spoke must pass on the outside of all but the last spoke that you need to feed it underneath.  Warning, be aware that spokes will scratch the rim! You may need to bend the spoke, do not worry about this, do it as little as gently as you can the bend will come out in the end.  I put my finger over then end of the spoke to protect the rim at this point as well.  The spoke then goes in to the hole that is 2 forward (or 2 behind) of the nearest spoke from that side.  Put the spoke on and tighten.

      Second trailing spoke. - Pick a hole on the opposite flange approximately opposite to the first one. Now repeat the process of the first trailing spoke.  This will help keep the hub in the right orientation.

      Spokes 21 to 36. - You now need to feed all the remaining spokes in, they should go in easily.  There is no need to any particular order; I like to do one side in full but is not necessary.

      Tips for lacing

      Be methodical, you need to always be aware where the wheels orientation is, which is forwards and backwards on the wheel.

      You can feed 2 spokes in at a time when you putting the leading spokes in.

      Do extra checks at spoke 9 and at spoke 17 stage.  This is where you can very easily get the wrong hole or wrong direction on the hub.

      Do not put too many turns on the nipples to begin with.

      Bending the spokes is ok, but don't kink them.

      Put a finger over the top of the spokes when feeding trailing spokes to stop them scratching your rim.

      A little bit of light oil on the spoke thread helps them.

      Use your spare spoke to thread into the back of the nipple to feed it through deep rims (airfoils).

      Mechanical Build

      The next stage is to get the wheel built so that the spokes are all tightened to the same length.

      This is where you need to remember where the length of your spokes is in relation to your nipples.  Starting at the valve hole you want to tighten all the spokes using your screwdriver to 3mm of this optimum length.  You do this by looking down the nipple from the top, good light is useful for this.

      You can use an electric screwdriver or drill at this stage if you want but be careful if you so as not to over do it.
      Now repeat the process taking them all to 1.5mm of the optimum.  Do not be tempted to take them all the way at this stage.

      Repeat again taking them to the optimum length, but this is best done using your spoke key.

      Once this is done, check it again. You need to have this reasonably accurate.

      Tensioning to the same tension.

      In theory the spokes should all be the same tension already, although due to discrepancies in rim or hub they are unlikely to be exactly right.  There are several ways to check the tension of a spoke.  You can:

      Use a spoke tensioning gauge, this is easy and not available to most people.

      You can feel the spoke by squeezing it against the next spoke and then wiggling it to determine if it is tight or slack.

      Pluck it like a harp.  This will give a note, if it is high it is tight, if it is low it is slack'

      I tend to use method 2 mostly, then check with 1 and 3 should I feel it necessary, it more than often shows that I have it right first time, but this comes with experience.

      You should be using your spoke key at this stage to tighten or loosen the spokes to achieve the right tension.  Keep an eye on the mechanical build of the wheel all the time you are doing this, it will give you a good clue as to what is happening.

      You may feel that the wheel needs more tension on it (unicycle wheels require quite high tension), if this is the case then you should add a half turn to each spoke (do not be tempted to do more than this at a time).

      Releaving the spokes.

      If you now need to settle the spokes in, if you don't your wheel will creak and go out of true very quickly.

      To do this you should place the wheel on the ground, do protect the rim and hub with cardboard or wood though.  Not step onto the rim with feet 180 degrees across from each other and jump gently on it.  You should hear the wheel creak, this is good. Rotate the wheel and repeat.  Now turn the wheel over and repeat until almost all the creaking has gone.

      It is now worth just doing a final tension check to check nothing has changed dramatically.

      Truing the wheel.

      Truing a wheel where you get the wheel straight and round. In theory after a mechanical built it should be true.  They never are though, it will be close but will need a little bit of tweaking.

      Place a frame upside down between your knees then place the wheel in the frame.  Now spin the wheel while holding the frame with one hand and your thumb gently touching the rim. You should be able to notice when the rim wobbles towards your thumb.  Stop it at one of these points.  You now need to pull the rim away from where your thumb touched it.  So tighten the spoke that goes away from it by half a turn and loosen the spoke on each side (these are going towards the thumb) by quarter of a turn.  Now spin again and repeat the process.  The important thing here is to be patient, this may take several goes, do not rush it.  Once you have done one side repeat the same process on the other side.  You should easily be able to get down to 1mm movement.

      Your wheel should now be ready for assembly.

      This article was originally written for UniMAG by Roger Davies and Sam Franklin

  • General Questions

    General questions about Unicycles and Penny Farthings

    • Article about breaking the world record ride from Lands End to John O'Groats (LEJOG) on a Unicycle.

      Article written for UniMagazine by Roger Davies from Unicycle.com.  2009

      Who had the stupid idea to try and ride from Lands End to John O’Groats in 6 days averaging over 120 miles a day?  Well, I am not going to take the blame for that one; it was Sam Wakeling!  I must say that it did not take much persuading to get me to go along as well.

      Initially the plan was for there to be three riders; Tue Johansen was to join us but due to having a knee operation had to drop out.  He did still play a key roll in the episode with being our witness at the start and being able to give us advice on what drugs to take (all legal ones!) and in what quantities to help keep our bodies working.

      Sam and I have a distinct style of organisation.  All the main planning got done early, but the small details got left until the last minute.  One of the main things we did was work out an approximate route to take using data from previous peoples rides/walks.  There is a lot of information on the web and we also had help from the Lands End to John O’Groats Association who have a route planner pack which includes a mixture of information on recommended routes and emergency contact information.

      Setting a date for the ride was interesting.  In May Sam fell and broke his collar bone while riding his schlumpf.  This gave a predicted ride date in the middle of August which would have been great with the longer warm days… then he fell again while riding and re-broke his collar bone!  So we needed to move the date in to September.  We realised this was not ideal as the daylight available to cover the distance would require us to cover 11 miles every hour including breaks.  This we thought should be possible.

      Next problem was finding a support person.  Both Sam and I had put a list together of people who we thought would be good to ask to help.  There was one name on both our lists;  Paul Royle.  Luckily he accepted the challenge but unfortunately he had to move house on the weekend we had initially wanted so we had to delay things by one more week.

      Once we had the route worked out and had determined what we thought we could ride a day we then determined how fast we thought we could do the ride.  Initially Sam had thought of doing the ride in 6 days.  I am pleased he reconsidered this and we decided that we needed 7days.  Once we had that sorted out we put something in place to make sure we would not let it slip… we booked our accommodation.  Our initial thoughts had been that we could stay with friends and family all the way, we both had enough friends dotted about the country to do this.  After some thought and discussion we realised this was not practical if we were going to do this seriously.  Socialising in the evenings after you have ridden the distances we were thinking of riding was not practical or sensible.  So we booked Travel Lodges.  As it turned out this was a really good decision.  The hotels were always on main roads and they are identical.  This made their use ideal, no problem finding them and having the rooms all identical really helps when you are too tired to think.  You know which direction to flop!

      Selecting equipment was a relatively easy choice.  We realised that to do the distance we needed to do in the time we intended to do it, we needed to have schlumpf hubs.  This would not only give us greater speed but also reduce the repetitive wear on our joints.  As it turned out this was one of our biggest headaches… Florian had the hubs on recall, we had both had hubs that had failed and needed the bearing replaced.  Sam got his hub back only 7 days before the ride… mine did not arrive!  I called Florian and found that he had stopped dispatching due to another potential problem.  So this left me without a hub and resigned to having to ride with short cranks and fixed.  Mike at UniMag came to my rescue, he unlaced his own Muni schlumpf and lent it to me.  This did leave a limited amount of time for practice with the new equipment!  the wheel was not built up until the day before the ride on the way down through Cornwell in the car.  Mikes hub had another problem as well; it was an early KH schlumpf which had had none of the improvements on and needed new bearings and oil from day one!

      Here is a break down of our equipment:

      Sam:

      • KH Schlumpf hub (latest model), Lightened Stealth rim, 29” inner, Nightrider tyre.  KH 36” frame, Aluminium seatpost holding a CF base saddle. Home made handle constructed from an old bike frame – this gave a long low handle.

      Roger:

      • Mikes Schlumpf hub, Nimbus 36 frame, stealth rim, 36” tube, Nightrider type, KH freeride saddle and a prototype T7 handle.

      Due to the length of the ride and the time of year we needed lights.  We both had head torches and frame lights.  During the ride we kept them on long after dawn and put on early to be safe. 

      I carried a Garmin 305 which tracked our GPS position and my heart rate (this can be found at http://connect.garmin.com/).  This could not cover the full days riding as the battery only lasts for 8 hours maximum so I carried an external battery and charging cradle as well.  In addition to this we used an application on the Iphone to update a map on Sam’s blog every time we stopped.

      On Friday, 11 September 2009 I drove down from the North East of England down to the bottom tip of England – Lands End.  I picked up Sam and Paul up from Bristol train station on the way.  This gave us time to plan and go over some of the finer details of the ride.  We also got to stop off at a big supermarket to buy food for the trip.  This was not the normal kind of shopping trip and I am not sure what the other shoppers made of our selection of food.  We were going around reading all the labels to try and find the products with the MOSTamount of calories or fat.  We must have amassed tens of thousands of calories in a single basket by careful selection.  Our selection included: Peanuts, mixed dried fruit, peaches, crisps, Soreen, Cheese, bananas, chocolate (lots of it), Jelly babies, M&M, harabey, Pasta source, Pasta, Pasta and more Pasta.

      That night we met up with Tue.  He came over to the Travel Lodge with a few bits and pieces, and a lot of kind words of encouragement.  We also got to relax with a beer in the local bar and discuss how silly we were and how Tue really wanted to join us!

      To get a better time for the record we knew that we should leave as late in the morning as we could on the first day and set off as early as we could on the last day.  We did have a reality check after seeing the weather and realising that we would have a strong head wind.  We did decide that we should not leave much later than 9.00am or would end up riding the dark (little did we know what was to come!).

      At 9.00 am we lined up at the lands end hotel ready to go.  Tue had appeared to witness our leaving and we had our photos taken umpteen time by Paul and others.  Sam had already upset a group of bike riders who thought that doing the ride in 12 days was really fast.  We had said hello to superman and his misses on their bikes (you do meet some odd people at the end of the world!).  We had got our piece of paper signed and stamped by the hotel with the official start time of 9.05am.  We then set off down the long hotel drive onto the main road.. and then turned around and did it again because Paul had not got a good photograph.  Yes we did eventually get away from there and blasted along the narrow country lanes towards Penzance.

      We had arranged to stop every 15 miles.  We then had only 10minutes to refuel and get back on our unicycles.  This worked most of the time, although as the days went on it got harder and harder to be consistent and Paul had to be more and more forceful at getting us moving.

      Our breaks were a mad dash to put as much food down us as possible.  We would wolf down sandwiches, pasta salads, sweats, chocolate and breakfast cereals.  There was some logic behind our selection of foods.  We would have the pasta, bread for the calories since we were burning lots of these.  The chocolate and sweets were to give us fast burn to get going after we had stopped.  The breakfast cereals were to help us digest all this food we were shovelling down us.  Our digestion systems were doing a marathon as well as the rest of us, we were consuming somewhere in the region of 8000 calories per day and it was not used to digesting and processing the amount of food required to produce this.

      The other thing that our breaks were needed for was to deal with our falling apart bodies.  We both had knee problems from the second day onwards.  Neither of us have really suffered with this previously, but the continual battering we were giving them was taking it’s toll.  We would pop annica and ibuprofen tablets like they were sweats and rub liberal doses of ibuprofen cream on our knees every time we stop.  We also resorted to strapping our knees up.  We had one articulated knee support and several tubular grips that we found really helped.  Without these supports I don’t think we would have been able to cope with the pain.

      The other predictable problem was saddle soreness.  Again this is something that we normally do not suffer with but with riding these kind of distances we definitely suffered.  Our problem was exasperated by lymph glands becoming swollen and contributing to the rubbing.  I certainly will have the scars on my thighs for quite a while from the sores.

      Stopping to refuel had an unforeseen problem, that of having to start off again.  Our legs and particularly our knees would stiffen up rapidly.  We would often rush into a stopping point at 14 or 15 mph only to find 10 minutes later we could only able to move at 9 mph.  The pain at times was almost unbearable, it was a sharp stabbing pain along with a continual ache.  What we both realised was that this was only temporary and we could ride through this pain and get to the point where the pain subsided to an acceptable level.  The mornings were the worst.  As Sam came out of our accommodation he would move like a swivel hipped cowboy before he mounted his trusty KH steed.  Then once mounted he would grind up the road at a snails pace, gradually building up speed minute after minute until his knees were free enough to allowing him spin at the speed he wanted.  This would some days take 2 or 3 hours to happen and I at that point I would be hanging on to his wheel trying to keep up.  I found that I was able to get through the pain barrier quicker than Sam and get up to my riding speed earlier than Sam.  I would suffer later in the day when I slow down as my body ran out of energy and I would demand a snooze (that will not surprise anyone who knows me!) – 10 minutes of power nap and I would be off like a rocket and Sam would be trying to hang on to my wheel!

      Riding with Sam was an absolute joy for me, he has a very similar riding style and speed to me.  We rarely were more than a few 100m from each other.  We did not talk much as we rode “hi Sam”, “faster” “slower” or “Stop in 10” was almost all we said.  What we tended to do more was ring our bells at each other just to tell the other where we were.  Three rings for “I am ok”, two rings for “slow down” and one ring for “she looks nice”.

      Riding and punishing your body as we did caused other interesting effects.  I found that in the mornings after riding for 3 or 4 hours I would want to give up!  I felt I had had enough and wanted to stop.  I would feel depressed and really low.  Sam would help me through this hour or so until I recovered to blasting time again.

      The afternoons would often be when we were feeling at our best and would blast along at a good speeds of between 15 and 17mph, this helped a lot at eating up the miles.  We would often surprise Paul by getting to stop points before he was expecting us.

      Day by day break down:

      Day 1 - 12 Sept 2009. Land’s End to Oakhampton.

      Leave Lands End Hotel at 9.05.  Strong headwind as we head up the headland.  Rolling little hills and very narrow roads.  The traffic was mostly tolerant of us.  At Penzance the roads got bigger and wider and we could ride along A30 hard shoulder.  We got stopped by the police who were worried about cyclists riding along the rode (they had had 2 deaths the week before).  Long rolling hills but generally good riding.  Meet Sarah Miller in Oakhampton.

      • Stats:
      • Riding time: 10 hours 11 minutes
      • Distance: 156km (97.4 miles)
      • Elevation Gain: 2,473
      • Calories burnt: 4,701

      Day 2 - 13 Sept 2009. Oakhampton to Bristol.

      Leave at 6.20am, cool morning riding with lights through the mist.  Cold enough to want extra layers on.  Constant rolling hills travelling on an old A road through lovely villages and small towns.  The day feels long as we get to Bristol where we struggle with weekend traffic and especially the manic caravan drivers who don’t actually know how big they are!  We were worried about getting through Bristol but after a few high speed blasts along rather dangerous duel carriage ways we got on to the road that winds it’s way along the Avon and underneath the amazing Clifton Bridge - fantastic.  Light starts to fade as we get out on to the flats running along by the Severn estuary, and we speed up leaving several bikes behind in our wakes.  Sam is tired by the time we get to the motel.

      • Stats:
      • Riding time: 13 hours 43 minutes
      • Distance: 180km (112 miles)
      • Elevation Gain: 5,280
      • Calories burnt: 8,042


      Day 3 - 14 Sept 2009. Bristol to Warrington.

      5.00am start, dark but pleasant morning as we ride over the Severn bridge in to Wales.  Beautiful dawn going past Chepstow and riding up past Tintern Abby.  Road is small and winding, we find it slow going.  Meeting Paul in Monmouth.  We set off on wrong rode out of the town and end up heading west, not North!  Ahh, saved by a phone call from Paul and the GPS on the Iphone confirming we were not where we wanted to be…oops!  So almost an hour later we were back where we started in Monmouth and a horrendous climb out of the town along a scarily narrow B-road.   The hills of the Welsh Marches gradually subsided in to flat Cheshire plain and allowed us to pick our speed up.  Steve Colligan came and joined us for the last hour on his bike to encourage us to keep up the pace as we headed toward Warrington in the dark.  Warrington was a little bit of a nightmare of a city for Unicyclists, the main roads are full of pot holes and trenches, when you are tired after a long ride this is not what you want.  This combined with having difficulty finding the Travelodge meant we actually didn’t roll into our room until about 11.30pm.

      • Stats:
      • Riding time: 19 hours 6 minutes
      • Distance: 255km (158.5 miles)
      • Elevation Gain: 5,948
      • Calories burnt: 10,032

      Day 4 - 15 Sept 2009. Warrington to Carlisle.

      We decided to have a lie in as we had such a long day the day before and “we only had 120miles to do!”  6.45 start.  The journey through the northern towns was hard, in particular Wigan which seamed to go on for ever and be a continual line of lights and roundabouts.  We were working well as a team dealing with directions, lights and roundabouts by now taking even the scariest junctions with confidence; although this did take a lot of time… but not as long as it took Paul.  He was unable to catch up with us until we were well past Chorley some 40km north of Warrington.  I collapsed at this point and demanded a snooze, it was too much for me.  The ride through Preston and up to Kendel was an absolute pleasure with good roads and the wind had dropped for once – easily enough to recharge my batteries.  The 15 miles out of Kendel was the famous Shap pass, one of the hardest climbs we had to do on the ride.  We churned up the hill or to be exact I did, Sam seamed to on a mission and attacked the hill with an amazing spurt of speed.  The ride down from the top was long and gradually turned in to a gentle rolling section with great roads.  Sam lead and rocketed forwards sustaining absolutely amazing speeds as dusk approached.  Paul had commented that he did not think he could have stopped us even if he wanted to and it was only the need for lights that did stop us.  Carlisle Travelodge was a relief and a surprise when we got there, it was more like a youth hostel than a hotel.  It did have a great kitchen that was open until 10.00pm so we fed well on oversized plates.

      • Stats:
      • Riding time: 14 hours 43 minutes
      • Distance: 193km (120 miles)
      • Elevation Gain: 4,855
      • Calories burnt: 8,036

      Day 5 - 16 Sept 2009. Carlisle to Kinross

      The ride out of Carlisle on the A7 was bliss, great empty wide road all to ourselves.  The only problem was the pre-dawn winds that would almost bring us to a halt.  Luckily these subsided as the day went on.  We made amazingly good time and even though our knees were hurting more than ever.  Edinburgh caused us a few problems with its restriction of cycles on the ringroad.  We took a recommended cycle route around the cite – this was badly marked and on rough pot holed busy inner city roads.  It took us 2.5 hours to do only 20 miles.  We did have some moments of light relief meeting other riders who had just completed the LEJOG and had met up with Adam Cass and Max Parfitt who are attempting the LEJOG unsupported.  They again were staggered by our speed.  Dust on the 4th road bridge was a magical moment, we had an unscheduled stop (please forgive us Paul!) and marvelled at the 4th rail bridge and beauty of the 4th estuary.

      • Stats:
      • Riding time: 14 hours
      • Distance: 193km (120 miles)
      • Elevation Gain: - ?
      • Calories burnt: - ?

      Day 6 - 17 Sept 2009. Kinross to Inverness.

      Leaving Kinross in the dark at 5.45am did not seam too bad, we had been doing it all week and it almost seemed normal by now.  We slowly crept off through the village and up what we had assumed was the right way.  Although in the dark we had missed a turning and got on to a smaller road that climbed over a hill rather than around it.  We realised our mistake after a mile or so and decided to continue, hills and short as opposed to long and flat.  In our early morning state this was probably not the right decision.  We both suffered.  Once we got past Perth and on to the A9 we were warmed up and moving well.  We flew along with smooth easy riding.  We met a mad enthusiastic rock band who cheered, waved and filmed us as we went by.  We stopped at Pitlockty for afternoon tee in a posh restaurant (we sat out side) and Sam had porridge although his digestive system said NO! and he brought it back up on the road side.  The road up the Cairn Gorms was amazing, it was smooth and open with a big wide section at the edge for us to ride one.  This was one of our fastest and enjoyable climbs of the trip, that was until the road deteriate and it then became a slog.  I  then had a bad time, I had a sugar low moment (the bonk) and combined with a drop of about 10 degrees in temperature I had to stop and get some care from Paul.  The journey to Inverness from that point was a long down hill.  I was relieved to get there and meet Sams parents.  I also got to meet Innes Dunbar who came to cheer us along.  We also met Louise Mellows, Sams girl friend who was going to accompany us for the last day.

      • Stats:
      • Riding time: 14 hours 47 minutes
      • Distance: 208km (129 miles)
      • Elevation Gain: 3,101m
      • Calories burnt: 6,423

      Day 7 - 18 Sept 2009. Inverness to John o’Groats.

      The ride up from Inverness can be described as nothing but beautiful.  It was lovely with rolling hills, deep coved with villages nestled in them and even the odd fairy tail castle.  We also got for the first time on the trip a tail wind.  We travelled up the coast road that wound its way up and down the buffs.  If it we had not had a bright day with a favourable wind we would have found very hard.  The only real town was Wick on the route and it is an odd place, full of youngsters with no jobs.  At this point I turned on my Iphone tracking to run continually to allow people following the ride on the internet to follow our final few hours. The ride to John O’Groats was not what we had expected, we were told that it was a gentle ride out to the peninsula and that we should find it easy.. it was not and with our tired state we found it hard, the 100m climb before the end we plodded up.  It was here that we really realised that we had done it, we had ridden all the way from the bottom of the England to the top of Scotland in less than 7 days on unicycles.  It was one of the few times on the ride when we actually talked and chatted.  As we rode into John O’Groats we found Paul and Louise waiting for us with a chilled bottle of Champaign.  We rode to the official post and stopped.  We then realised that there should be a line that we cross, so we went looking for it.  It was not obvious as the hotel there, a grand old affaire was closed and the line was in front of that.  So went and had a photo of us crossing the line.

      Finishing was amazing, we were so happy.  We got texts and phone calls from friends, family and just people who had been following our progress on the internet.  We were totally overjoyed and quite overwhelmed.

      Paul drove us back to Wick were we tried to find some food. We tried to get a pub meal but we got refused due to Sam not having any identification with him to confirm he was old enough to be in the Pub.  So we ended up eating a Chinese take-away in a car park.  The drive back to Inverness seamed to go on for ever, we were struggling to stay awake for Paul.

      Paul flew home on the Saturday from Inverness to London.  Sam and I relaxed at his Parents house.  We sorted the car and our kit out. Washing and cleaning everything and packing things up so we could go home.  We also tried to get our bodies to relax and recover.  It took 9 hours to drive home on the Sunday, this brought home to me how far we had ridden.

      I have not been able to ride more than a few miles on a unicycle since.  Even the 3 mile ride in to work hurts my knees.  I am going to try and let knees recover properly before I do anything like a proper ride.  I am confident that I have not done permanent damage to my knees, but I do want them to stop hurting! 

      The record is set now.  It is not a record that can not be broken, but it will probably not be one that I would like to attempt again.  We were very lucky.  We had no major breakages, our bodies did not break, we had no bad falls, the support car did the 2500 miles with no major problems, the unicycle and the hubs did not fail, our lights did not fail, the weather was clement and dry – any of these factors could have delayed us or even stopped our attempt.  We even had the one piece of incredible luck, a tail wind on the last day, this may be the one thing that will make the record harder to break – but not impossible… so who’s going for it? 

      During the record attempt there were regular posts to Unicyclist.com.

    • When was the first Unicycle?

      The most accepted theory for the appearance of unicycling is that it was found "by accident" while riding a "penny farthing". This kind of bike had a disadvantage: when you applied the brakes it was very easy to be thrown over the front of your bike. Get rid of the useless bits and you're left with a much safer vehicle. And so, unicycling was discovered... There is also the theory that they were brought by the pixies.

    • Responses to "where is the other wheel"

      A: Real men (Women) don't need two wheels.
      A: I'm paying for it in instalments.
      A: You're kidding, it was there last time I looked (and promptly fall off).
      A: I got the bike on sale, half off...I didn't realise they meant the bike.
      A: This is the recession model.
      A: Two wheels? That's twice as hard!
      A: My other wheel? Why, I don't need a training wheel anymore! (my favourite, to bike rider)

    • Some unicycle links.

    • The benefits of unicycling


      Recent scientific research demonstrated that unicyclists improve their concentration ability, balance and motor coordination. This activity plays an important role on the physical and mental development.

      After this research, the Japanese Educational Department officially recognized this discipline: they integrate it in their school program. Today, there is over a million unicyclists in Japan.

      Also, an International Unicycling Federation was founded in Japan, June 1st 1982 and further to the elaboration of a structure and a regulation for this sport, the Federation sanctioned the first World Unicycling Championship which took place in Syracuse, New York, in 1984.

    • History of Muni (Mountain Unicycling)

      Article written by Roger Davies for UniMagazine

      When I went to Mammoth, California in 1987 for a friends wedding I was an avid mountain biker and had already been riding a unicycle for a few years. I had already converted my 24" Pashley unicycle into a 26" when the rim collapsed and I had the largest mountain bike tyre on it that I could get at the time. It seemed normal for me to take my unicycle with me rather than my bike, just more convenient. After seeing the Kamakarsi down hill course, I just had to do it! While the Mountain bikers were doing it in 4.45 minutes, I took 40 minutes. It hurt: my knees and back ached, and I inner thigh was raw from the Pashley saddle. I also got a photo in to MB UK magazine and I was hooked on what was to be called "MUni".

      All around the world people found mountain unicycling independently, and it got many different names consequently, rough terrain unicycling, mountain unicycling, off-road unicycling, UMX, mountain unibiking and MUni. Duncan Castling designed the first purpose made, mass produced, mountain unicycle for Pashley in 1994 and called it a Muni. Although it is a registered trademark of the Pashley Cycle Company in England, the word "Muni" is becoming the internationally accepted word for... well what ever you want to call it.

      Here is some information on the pioneers of "Muni":

      Duncan Castling:

      Duncan Castling and Simon Schofield

      1994 Polaris, photo courtesy of the Newcastle Journal.

        In 1994 Duncan Castling (on left) and Simon Schofield (on right) entered the Polaris Challenge on a unicycle. In what was a straight competition against the mountain bikers in what is claimed to be the UK's roughest'n toughest mountain bike happening, they actually beat some of the bikes! The publicity that was created from this act of pure stupidity inspired many people to get on their unicycle and get dirty, including my self.

      Thierry Bouche:

      Thierry Bouche in the Alps   A Mountain unicycle club called Mtt Sensations was started by Thierry Bouche in 1990 near Grenoble in Southern France. The club was affiliated to the French cycling organisation in 1993 and has over 50 active members.

      The club use 20" unicycles with long upward facing seats to give them control when descending the incredibly high mountain using a technique taken from down hill slalom skiers.

      George Peck:

        George Peck, a soft-spoken magistrate living in Seward, Alaska, is credited with giving birth to the sport of MUni in the US.

      George created a videotape entitled "Rough-Terrain Unicycling", giving tips and techniques that he'd learned on his own. The Unicycling Society of America sold it. His skill level is second only to that of Kris Holm, he is awesome.

      Kris Holm:

      Kris Holm Photo copyright Galen Rowell   Kris Holm, a geologist living in Vancouver, B.C. is considered the premiere MUni rider today. Kris is the only unicyclist on the Norco Factory Trials Team, and he can jump a unicycle over 90cm (three feet).

      Kris started riding off road in 1986, but it was only in July 1998 that he type "Mountain unicycling" in to a search engine and found he was not alone!  I still have his first email where he says "I'd love to find people to ride with"... he certainly did!

      He is also one of the stars of the UNIVERsE Video along with Dan Heaton and Adam Ryznar which was the film that catapulted Muni in to the lime light.

      John Foss:

      John Foss - Picure courtesy J.Foss   John Foss, a three-time world unicycle champion, began hosting the California MUni Weekends in the Fall of 1996. He said the idea came to him while riding the trails, just after he'd moved to California. "I just gotta share this!" he said to two bicyclist friends nearby.

      Promoting the event on the Internet and word-of-mouth, John soon discovered the lure of off-road unicycling. 35 riders attended the first California MUni weekend. Now the event attracts 100s of riders.

       

      What is MUni?

      Muni is the riding of unicycles off road, but it does vary dramatically.  Some riders ride along canal tow paths other throw them selves down the mountain bike black runs in the Alps.  What is common is a love or riding their unicycle outside on dirt.

      What kind of equipment do I need for MUni?

      MUni pioneers like George Peck and Kris Holm built their own off-road unicycles, in some cases spending thousands of dollars. Riders like Bruce Bundy and Geoffrey Faraghan applied mountain bike technology to theirs.  Now a days there are many off the shelf muni unicycle available, they have ISIS hubs, big knarly tyres and even brakes.  Things have come a long, long way!


      Safety:
      We recommend wearing all of these items when you MUni:

      * Helmet
      * Wrist guards
      * Leg armour

    • Want to play a unicycle game? Here is a game to challenge you!

       

       

       

    • What is Unicycle Hockey?

       

      Playing Unicycle Hockey is an excellent way to improve basic unicycling skills. It helps with speed and manoeuvrability and leads to more instinctive control of the unicycle. The game is based on Ice Hockey but with a lot less contact.

      Unicycles: Unicycles should have 20" or 24" wheels, the choice is up to the individual. A 20" is better for manoeuvrability but can lose out in a straight-line speed to a 24" over a longer distance. The pedals must not have metal parts that touch the floor when the unicycle is lying on its side. This protects the floor and players ankles/shins.

      Sticks: Any stick legal for ice hockey can be used except a goalie stick. There is a wide selection of sticks available but it is normally best to use one with a fibre glass/wood laminate head. These stand up best to being run over by other people's unicycles. You should fit a rubber stopper (bung) to the top end of the stick to prevent injuries in case anyone falls on it. The wooden end of the shaft is not that sharp but a rubber stopper is definitely preferable and also helps you to keep hold of the stick when swapping hands.

      Ball: We recommend a street hockey ball designed for low temperature (winter) use. Otherwise an old tennis ball that has lost most of its bounce can be used.

      Gloves: Gloves, usually fingerless bike ones, help to grip the stick.

      Where to play: Any space with four smooth walls. Indoor or outdoor Tennis or Basketball courts and schoolyards are generally good.

      Goals: Six foot wide by 4 foot high. The backs of the goals are inset from the back wall of the court by about 6 feet so that the players can ride round behind them.

      Rules

      Safety: There are a number of rules that must be enforced for the safety of all players.

      1. The bottom of the stick must not be lifted above hip height.
      2. One hand must always be placed at the top end of the stick. You can swap which hand is at the top and play either one or two handed but the stick should not be handled with the top end uncovered.
      3. The stick must not be released or thrown intentionally.

      Other main rules: The game does not have a lot of rules and the other main rules are:

      1. There are five players per team. There are no specific rules relating to goalkeepers. I.e. the goalie is treated the same as any other player.
      2. The ball can only be played when a player is riding the unicycle. I.e. not touching the ground.
      3. Putting your stick under or through someone else's wheel is a foul.
      4. A goal can only be scored from within your opponents half.
      5. You can play the ball with your hand but you cannot score a goal like that.
      6. Each half starts with the referee throwing the ball onto the centre spot between one player of each team.
      7. After a goal the non-scoring team restarts by playing the ball over the half way line.

      The UK have an active hockey league. You can read more about the UK Hockey League on their website.

    • Want to see our Testimonials?

      Testimonials

      Profile image
      This is the best website for information about unicycles and selling unicycles. The staff are knowledgeable and helpful. The 'chat' feature is handy, whether you are buying a new full spec unicycle or a new seatpost clamp and can't decide on the colour match, they don't rush you. If you want to build your own unicycle from scratch their advice is second to none. They even make spokes to length ! The delivery time is great, usually next day because they know we need our new goodies as quick as possible. All in all, a grand lot of folks at UDC Elaine
      Rating
      Placed on 21 October 2016