Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs)
Early in 1999, when first we heard about mountain unicycling (MUni), we thought there were some nuts out there. But after taking a ski lift to the top of a mountain at Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, and riding down the bike trails, we were hooked. If one could combine the sports of snow-skiing and mountain biking, it would be MUni.
The word MUni was coined in the UK by Duncan Castling. It's now a registered trademark of the Pashley Cycle Company in England.
George Peck, a soft-spoken magistrate living in Seward, Alaska, is credited with giving birth to the sport of MUni.
George created a videotape entitled "Rough-Terrain Unicycling", giving tips and techniques that he'd learned on his own. It was sold by the Unicycling Society of America, and interest in the sport grew quickly.
In the UK, Roger Davies began off-road unicycling around 1987. He was pictured in MB (Mountain Bike) UK magazine on his Pashley MUni 26-inch (a converted 24-inch). Visiting friends in California, he was riding down Mammouth Mountain in California, a 4-mile course.
At that point, Roger had never met any other unicyclist, MUni or otherwise!
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 holds the world record in the unicycle high jump at 62-cm (over two feet).
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 bicyclists friends nearby.
Promoting the event on the Internet and word-of-mouth, John soon discovered the lure of off-road unicycling. The first California MUni weekend was attended by 35 riders. By the 1999 event, the number of riders grew to 55.
What is MUni?
There are three types categories of trails that MUni riders enjoy:
Rough terrain: This is generally a trail that has some combination of rocks large and small, fallen trees, stumps, undergrowth and mud.
Uphill: This is the toughest of MUni trails. It requires an extraordinary amount of leg strength and endurance. Mountain unicyclist Ted Howe rides uphill trails for fitness.
Downhill: These trails are the most fun. The best way to begin your downhill trail ride is on a ski lift. Seriously! Take a lift to the top of a mountain and ride down the bike trails. It's an absolute blast.
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.
Unicycle: The best off-road uni's to date are built with some combination of these components, at minimum:
- Hardened, splined axle
- 170-mm (6.5-inch) or longer crank arms
- 36-spoke wide rim
- 24 or 26 x 3.0-inch, knobby tire
- Pedals with pins or mild teeth
Safety: We recommend wearing all of these items when you MUni:
- Wrist guards
- Elbow/forearm pads
- Knee/shin pads
- Ankle Guards