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Unicycles - One-Wheeled Fun

Picture of two unicyclists riding freestyle.
Unicycling
Photo of a freestyle unicycle.
Courtesy of Unicycle.com

Riding a unicyle isn't as difficult as you might think. Kidzworld checks out the single-wheeled world of unicycling.

Unicycles - History

A unicycle is a one-wheeled vehicle with a frame that sits above the wheel and a seat that sits on top of the frame. Unicycles are believed to have been adapted from the Penny Farthing - the world's first bicycle. These bicycles had a large wheel in front, to which the pedals were attached, and a much smaller wheel behind for balance. When these bicycles hit a bump, or the rider attempted to slow down suddenly, the rear wheel would come off the ground, forcing the rider to balance on the one wheel.

Unicycles - Different Styles

While some unicyle riders use their one wheel for regular transport, there are now several other different styles of unicycle riding, much like regular two-wheeled biking:
  • Mountain Unicycling - This sport is not for the timid. Riders cycle down mountains or off-road trails using a unicyle with a larger tire. A helmet and lots of safety gear is obviously recommended.
  • Freestyle Unicycling - Riders perform tricks similar to those done by skateboarders or BMX riders, including jumps, spins and grinds. Freestyle unicycling may also involve stair jumps, rails or other obstacles.
  • Unicycle hockey - This sport is just like playing street hockey or roller hockey, except players ride a unicycle, while using regular hockey sticks and a tennis ball.
  • Unicycles - Getting Started

    While riding a unicycle isn't as easy as riding a bike, it's easier than you might think. Learning to ride forwards usually takes between five and 10 hours of practice, unless you have incredible balance and a natural ability. But to truly master the sport of unicycling takes years, as there are always new things to learn. The biggest problem for beginners is learning to mount a unicyle without any help. This can take a number of days to learn. You can buy a unicycle at many bike shops for about $100 - $150 US. Use a wall for support when you're starting out and be patient.

    Unicycles - Facts and Records

  • Peter Rosendahl set a unicycle sprint record for 100m from a standing start of 12.11 sec at Las Vegas, Nevada on March 25, 1994.
  • The world's tallest unicycle is 114.8 feet (35 meters) tall. It was ridden by Sem Abrahams, using a safety wire suspended from an overhead crane, for a distance of 28 feet.
  • Between July 10 and August 22, 1992, Akira Matsushima, of Japan, rode his unicycle from Newport, Oregon to Washington DC - a total of 3,261 miles (5,248 km).
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