Special Unicycle Types

Here are some specials. They don't fit any of the typical niches. Some are variations on the standard unicycle, and others, well, see for yourself!

This MUni belongs to Leo White, and was photographed at UNICON VIII in Guildford, UK. It has a fork-mounted computer which Leo describes as "just about viewable when riding." It also has a brake. This brake mechanism is specifically set up for riding downhill for long stretches while carrying a heavy pack. A bicycle gearshift lever is set for a constant level of braking, and adjusted as needed. Brakes for everyday riding are not practical, but this is a good idea for this specialized situation. Leo rode this unicycle in two Polaris Challenge events.

This is a triple-spoked Schwinn. It was built by Bill Brichford for Mark Schaefer of the Redford Township Unicycle Club in 1982. The extra spokes added the stability that some racers like (but extra weight), and probably no extra strength, but they sure do look cool covered with the morning dew.

Special unicycles at UNICON II on Long Island in 1986. At left is a disk-wheeled racer, built and ridden by Floyd Beattie of Ohio. Floyd was into aerodynamics and wore a full skinsuit and an aero helmet, but his giant beard kind of canceled it all out. The usefulness of a disk wheel is debatable, due to the natural wobble that occurs when pedaling at high speeds. It also makes the unicycle difficult to ride in a crosswind.

At right is a sort of "City Cycle", ridden by Harold Herzig of New Jersey. We met Harold in New York's Five Boro Bike Tour, where 20,000 cyclists ride through the whole city. He rode that thing (minus the chains), the whole 36 miles, within the time limit. How useful is that chain in the snow? I don't know but I'd like to find out.

If you looked real close, you may have noticed that both of these unicycles sport full toe clips with straps. 99% of all unicyclists recommend not using these, but these two riders were comfortable with them.

 The "Excessory Cycle." Built by John Foss in 1981, it's what you get when you give a unicycle the works. Bells, lights, horns, pump, water bottle, rack, speedometer, fender, hood ornament, saddlebag, turn signals, safety flag, etc. All bike accessories from bike shops. The hard part was fitting everything on there and having it still be rideable! More recently, this unicycle had a spectacular tire blowout during the Sacramento Lights Parade in September, 1996. This was the tire that was on it when it was originally assembled. Taking it apart to change the tire will involve completely dismantling everything attached above the fork crown and unwrapping a lot of wires; a task John is not looking forward to . . .

Peter Rosendahl, a professional performer from Sweden, is holding a very special variation on the giraffe. I call it a sideways zigzag. The frame goes up from the wheel, then turns 90 and goes horizontally for a bit, then turns 90 again and goes up to the pedals and seat. When ridden in a spin, it stands eerily upright. Then he rides it with his female partner standing on the flat part.

This is the "Wild Monkey" cycle, brought to the 1996 NUC in Chariton, Iowa by Samson Gruss. The "handle" is a piece of chain pulled taught, and the monkey's feet are attached to the pedals so it looks like he's pedaling madly while Samson tries to restrain him. He rides at the crowd shouting "Wild monkey!!" and the kids scatter. This is the best use I've yet seen for a department store unicycle.

These are hand made "devices" built in Japan in the early 80's. I have had these pictures for a long time, but don't know much about them. The one on the left raises the question of how many training wheels would a unicycle actually need?

This is a water unicycle. It can also be called a Monocycle, because the rider is inside the wheel. What look like spokes are three nylon straps that help maintain the roundness of this inflatable. They are not attached to the rider, which is me. Now I know how a hamster feels. You walk/run on the rungs, trying to keep the thing upright as long as possible. The warm water of Singapore made this beach rental a lot of fun!


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