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johnfoss July 8th 04 08:31 PM

Unicycle articles (but wait there's more...)
 

Francis Brunn was awesome. I saw him the first time I went to the Big
Apple Circus, in 1983. He was worth the entier ticket price.

Okay, way more than the ticket price. That show was only $10.00! Times
have changed.

I took a picture of him at the end of his act where he looked straight
into my lens. Somehow this picture ended up in the current issue of
JUGGLE Magazine, which has an aritlce about his life. I'll have to ask
author Alan Howard how he ended up with that picture...


--
johnfoss - Walkin' on the edge

John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone
"jfoss" at "unicycling.com"
www.unicycling.com

"Beer me." -- Scot Cooper, at the end of a group ride all the way up and
all the way down Mt. Diablo (3300'), a 20 mile round trip of road and
trail.
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JJuggle July 9th 04 03:50 PM

Unicycle articles (but wait there's more...)
 

If, as I've heard it said, "rugby players eat their dead", what do
unicycle rugby players do with them?

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

=============================================
YOUNGSTERS PUT THEIR CIRCUS SKILLS TO THE TEST

208 words
9 July 2004
The Northern Echo
06
English
(c) 2004 North of England Newspapers.

FIRE juggling and *rugby on unicycles* are not activities usually
associated with schools, but one group of North Yorkshire youngsters are
preparing to put on a show combining all manner of circus skills.

Thirty pupils at Richmond School are taking part in a circus performance
next week.

Gymnasts and members of the school's circus club have been rehearsing
every week since the start of the year.

Among the performances will be a display of unicycle riding, including
unicycle rugby and hockey, as well as knife, fire and diabolo juggling.


Maths teacher Andrew Mollitt, who is also the circus club leader, said:


"We have been working on it all year so it will be the culmination of a
lot of hard work.

"We have done little performances before in assemblies and village
fetes, but this is the first time we have tried to put on a big circus
show.

"We went to watch the circus in York early in the school year and we
fancied trying it ourselves."

Performances take place at the school on July 14, 15 and 16.

Tickets cost 3.50 for adults and 2 for children and are available from
the school or on the door.


--
JJuggle - Last of the Dogmato-Revisionists

Beware of the devil my child. Beware of his charming ways.
You'll fall under an evil spell just looking at his beautiful face.
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KcTheAcy July 10th 04 01:39 PM

Unicycle articles (but wait there's more...)
 

"Bike Magazine June 2004 v11 i3 p82(1)


Here's one for the MUNI Militia. Head to Spearfish Canyon in South
Dakota on June 26-27 for the Black Hills Mountain Unicycle Weekend.
Organizer David Maxfield is promising some "very technical singletrack
downhill [with] 10- to 15-mile courses." Shuttles will be provided.
World Wide Web it to www.blackhills.unicyclist.com, or contact Maxfield
at for all the answers to your one wheeled questions.
Keep sending the dirt to:
."


--
KcTheAcy - Ohh Baby

--Kaycee[image:
http://home.maine.rr.com/kaycees/sbemail101aaa[2].gif]
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KcTheAcy July 10th 04 01:40 PM

Unicycle articles (but wait there's more...)
 

Sports Illustrated Dec 3, 2001 v95 i22 p1(1)


The One And Only: Unicyclist Kris Holm is taking his sport out of the
big top and up to the mountaintop. (SI Adventure/Air--Land--Water)(Brief
Article) Ballard, Chris



Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2001 Time, Inc.



Riding a unicycle is an activity that, like bullriding or doing
handstands, would seem to be an end in itself. Just staying upright is
impressive. So the idea of mountain unicycling might seem about as
practical as swamp surfing and as intelligent as nude fencing. Even
after you've watched Kris Holm, the sport's foremost practitioner,
career down a boulder-strewn hillside like a human avalanche, legs
spinning and arms windmilling as he negotiates roots, stumps and rocks,
it's still hard to comprehend how he does it. "It's really not that
different from mountain biking," says Holm, 28. "It's a perception
thing. Riding on one wheel seems intimidating, but it's not that hard."


At least it's not that hard for Holm, who took up mountain
unicycling--or MUni for short--within months of getting a unicycle for
his 12th birthday. Since then he has ridden his custom-made $1,500
one-wheeler most every place he has traveled. He has cruised atop the
Great Wall of China, landed drops of 15 feet in Squamish, just north of
his hometown of Vancouver and, last April, sped down 18,555-foot Pico de
Orizaba, the third-highest peak in North America. Last year he rode 50
feet along the six-inch-wide concrete guardrail of Vancouver's Burrard
Street Bridge, which is about 200 feet above False Creek, during rush
hour. "That was one of my more high-consequence rides," Holm says with a
laugh. "I just looked at it and decided I could do it."

A seven-time U.S. unicycling champion, Holm has also appeared in
numerous films, including the adrenaline-addict favorite Unizaba, which
follows him as he cycles through Mexico and ultimately descends the side
of a volcano. He admits that he falls--a lot. "I'm actually pretty good
at it," says Holm, who, remarkably, has suffered nothing worse than a
sprained ankle. "It's an easier fall than on a bike because you can
throw the unicycle out of the way and jump in any direction you want."


After he completes his master's thesis at the University of British
Columbia, where he's enrolled in the physical geography graduate
program, he plans to go to Nepal. There he hopes to make even more
madcap descents. "That'll be really cool," he says. "The bigger the ride
and the crazier the experiment, the better."

--Chris Ballard


--
KcTheAcy - Ohh Baby

--Kaycee[image: http://home.maine.rr.com/kaycees/sbemail101aaa[2].gif]
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KcTheAcy July 10th 04 01:41 PM

Unicycle articles (but wait there's more...)
 

COPYRIGHT 2001 National Geographic Society



Worldwide Participants: 3,500

Price per Unicycle: $150 to $1,500

Highest Descent: Pico de Orizaba, 18,855 feet

This hybrid pursuit seemingly falls into the same category as
blindfolded lion taming: probably impossible, and why would you do it
anyway? Unicycling has been around for a century; mountain unicycling,
or MUni, is a more recent invention--the first bike wasn't manufactured
until 1997. But today, there are a thousand riders in the United States
alone. Fat-tired, thick-axled models that can take the hammering of an
off-road ride are sold online at Unicycle.com, and competitive
events--including cross-country races and technical trials--have sprung
up in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain. The sport even has its own
Michael Jordan, a 28-year-old Vancouver grad student named Kris Holm,
who fides some of mountain biking's toughest terrain, the singletracks
of southwestern British Columbia. "The simplicity of mountain unicycles
is attractive," Holm says. "It's a sport for riders, not gearheads." In
Telluride, Colorado, local freestyle skiers spend summers increasing
their strength and balance by riding dirt on one wheel, a training
method used 30 years ago by champion Swedish racer Ingemar Stenmark.
"People are pushing the limit in all sports," says Hugh Sawyer,
Telluride's junior-ski-team coach. "It's happening in unicycling, too."
In April, Holm descended two Mexican volcanoes on his uni: 14,800-foot
La Malinche and 18,855-foot Pico de Orizaba (where he is shown above, at
left, with cyclist Nathan Hoover). "It's cool to be at the beginning of
a sport," Holm says. "This is the stage Gary Fisher was at in mountain
biking 20 years ago."


--
KcTheAcy - Ohh Baby

--Kaycee[image: http://home.maine.rr.com/kaycees/sbemail101aaa[2].gif]
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KcTheAcy July 10th 04 01:47 PM

Unicycle articles (but wait there's more...)
 

Hockey Digest March 2001 v29 i5 p58


Wheel's On Fire. (unicycle hockey) O'DONNELL, CHUCK



Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2001 Century Publishing



Unicycle hockey players all over the world are having a wheel good time,
and wish you were, too


They converge every Thursday night in the fall and winter on the
Cordella public school in Toronto. It's the highlight of the week for
these movie camera repairmen, students, Website designers, teachers, and
others who put the world on hold, put the nets in place, pick up the
sticks, and throw down the ball.


Sounds like another pickup game of deck hockey or floor hockey? Well,
yes and no.


It is floor hockey, but the Toronto Unicyclists hockey team puts a
unique spin on a sport in which "cycling" is a term that isn't usually
meant in a literal sense. Perched precariously atop one wheel, trying to
negotiate a street hockey ball or a tennis ball across a gym floor, the
action is non-stop.


Having trouble visualizing this? Think of it as the X Games meets Wayne
Gretzky. The Ringling Brothers meet the Hanson Brothers. The high-wire
act meets the leftwing lock. BMX meets the NHI.



Think of it fast and furious fun played with some real gusto. "It's
really fast-paced," says Darren Bedford, a member of the club since it
was founded in 1987 by unicyclists who were looking to try something a
little different. "There are a lot of collisions. You may turn to look
for the ball, not see where you're going, and run into someone. You
can't always instantly stop on a unicycle. The maneuverability [on
unicycles] is harder [than on ice skates]."


In the beginning, Bedford's crew, believed to be the longest-running
club in North America, would play on the playground outside. They would
spend a few hours just shoveling off the snow until "we were almost too
tired to play," he says. Surprised people would stop and ogle. "Most of
the feedback we have had has been very positive," says Bedford, whose
club has about a dozen members between the ages of 10 and 60. "People
would stop and see what we were up to. They were a bit curious. A lot of
them couldn't believe it was possible to do all that [while riding a
unicycle]." They've since found it easier, and a lot less strenuous, to
rent space in the school's gym.


And although the Toronto townspeople can't wander by and watch, they
would probably be shocked to learn that unicycle hockey has been played
in several countries across the globe for several years.


For instance, at the 2000 world championships held in August in Beijing,
China, 20 teams from nine countries--Denmark, France, China, Great
Britain, Japan, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, the United States, and
Germany--competed.


Unicycle hockey may be most popular in England and Germany, the only two
countries to have national leagues. The sport seems to be taking off in
Germany, in particular, where 26 teams compete in the national league.
It is also home to the world champs, LAHIMO, which crushed the Twin City
Unicycle Club of Minnesota, 23-2, in the tournament final.


"LAHIMO started playing in 1985, so they have a lot of experience," says
Rolf Sander, a former LAHIMO member who now plays for RADLOS of
Frankfurt. "They have been by far the strongest team for quite a while
but now there are some other very good teams in Germany. I have to admit
that LAHIMO was quite lucky that these other clubs did not send their
complete teams to the world championships in China this year."


Sander has gone from just a unicycle hockey player to an amateur
historian of the sport. The earliest mention of the sport he has been
able to uncover dates back to 1925, when a silent German movie called
"Variete" shows "a short scene with two unicyclists performing on a
stage. One has a hockey stick, the other is swinging a walking stick.
They have tiny goals and they use something like a crumpled towel as a
ball."


The first reference he has found to unicycle hockey in the United States
goes back to 1960, when an article in The Bicycle Journal mentioned the
Albuquerque Unicycle Club of New Mexico had taken up the sport.


Sander says, however, that the grandfather of the unicycle clubs was
Wheel People, a group that formed in California in 1976. Playing under
the golden sunshine, they were trailblazers in the sport, forming many
of the rules by which the game is played today. The club disbanded in
the mid-1980s, but not before it was joined by other major clubs in
North America such as Harvey Mudd College Gonzo Unicycle Madness in
California and Association de Monocycle de Quebec in Quebec City.


Many of the rules seem to be enforced universally. You can't take part
in the play unless you're on top of your unicycle. So if you fall off,
you have to get back on before continuing. At the beginning of the game
and after each goal, all players go to their own half of the surface
where play resumes as soon as a player of the team in possession crosses
the center line. And if you knock the ball out of the playing surface, a
player from the other team brings it back in from the point of exit.


But other rules differ from club to club. For instance, the German teams
play with goalies, using a larger net. The Toronto Unicyclists don't use
a goalie, per se, although one of the four or five players on a side can
go back and defend the net. Consequently, they use a smaller net, about
12 inches high by 18 inches wide. The Germans use your average ice
hockey stick, while the Toronto crew uses street hockey sticks with
plastic blades.


Finding a stick isn't a problem, since players don't play using one of
those tall unicycles you may have seen in a circus. They sit about four
or five inches above the ground. "Actually, the proper length [of a
stick] is more or less a matter of taste," says Sander. "People who are
good hockey players but only mediocre unicyclists seem to prefer longer
sticks. This gives them a larger action radius. Good unicyclists, on the
other hand, often have short sticks because they are fast and they
prefer to ride quickly to wherever the ball is."


What makes a good unicycle hockey player isn't much different from what
makes a good ice hockey player. Sander suggests that, like hockey
players who first learn to skate before learning to stick handle and
shoot, the basis for a good unicycle hockey player is the ability to
ride well.


"A good balance between hockey and unicycling skills is necessary to
become a good player," says Sander. "But you won't become a good player
as long as you don't unicycle properly. However, even the best
unicyclists are not good players unless they practice shooting the ball
and team strategy."


And of course, it doesn't hurt your chances of success if you're willing
to stick your nose into the action like a Claude Lemieux or a Matthew
Barnaby.


"Since you're moving as fast as guys on ice skates, there's less
maneuverability," says Bedford. "This leads to collisions and spills.
You might get a little road rash on you arms. A few of the players wear
elbow pads or gloves. No one really wears helmets."

Says Sander: "Although bruises are quite normal, not many serious
accidents have happened in the 15 years that I've been playing. Yes, we
had to go to the hospital a few times to stitch a wound. However, if you
compare it to other sports such as soccer I think the danger is below
average."


The next world championships are scheduled for Washington state in 2002.
People inside the sport are hoping flint by bringing the world
championships to the biggest stage in the world, the United States, that
word of their new, exciting sport will get out in a big way.


And as the players continue to improve and their numbers grow, players
such as Bedford dare to harbor golden dreams. "The International
Unicycling Federation is hoping that unicycle hockey will be an Olympic
sport someday," he says. "That's their dream. They're always adding
games to the Olympics. You need to have 16 countries playing the sport
to get the Olympic committee's attention. Maybe someday, that will
happen. I hope so."


--
KcTheAcy - Ohh Baby

--Kaycee[image: http://home.maine.rr.com/kaycees/sbemail101aaa[2].gif]
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KcTheAcy July 10th 04 01:51 PM

Unicycle articles (but wait there's more...)
 

The Atlantic Monthly April 1997 v279 i4 p109-10,112


Rough terrain unicycling: Riding a unicycle up and down mountains
requires the balance of a gymnast and the temperment of a teenager.
Finkel, Michael



Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1997 The Atlantic Monthly Magazine



WHY the red unicycle was left in the Seward, Alaska, dump and what
inspired George Peck's wife, Carol, to bring it home are both unclear.
"I'm a salvager and recycler," is all she will say. "She's a dump rat,"
Peck says. Carol put the unicycle in the garage, and Peck found it
there. This was almost fourteen years ago. His life hasn't been the same
since.

"I glom on to things," Peck says. "He gets obsessed," Carol says. Peck
taught himself to ride the red unicycle--no books, no instructors. He
practiced daily for more than a month before he could wobble up and down
his driveway. Then he attempted to take the unicycle onto the roads.
Riding a unicycle is as precarious as it looks--the "cone of balance,"
as Peck calls it, is extraordinarily precise. A pebble can be enough to
put you on your back. So can a patch of sand or a gust of wind or a
crack in the pavement. This may be why the red cycle was tossed into the
dump: Seward is possibly the worst spot on the planet in which to ride a
unicycle. The place is all sand and gusts and cracks, not to mention ice
and snow and logs and boulders and mountains.

Peck learned to ride his unicycle under all conditions. He discovered
how to make the cycle hop, and he honed the skill until he could pop
over logs two feet in diameter. He figured out how to power through
boulder fields, how to jump up and over picnic tables, how to turn in
ankle-deep mud. He became skilled at riding in dried-out riverbeds,
across frozen lakes, up mountain trails, and through wind-crusted snow.
This is clearly not what unicycles were designed to do. When the red
unicycle fell apart, Peck drove to Anchorage and bought a new one. When
that broke, he ordered another. After a dozen more were destroyed, he
began designing his own.

For almost a decade and a half, no matter the weather, Peck has gone
mountain unicycling nearly every day--twice a day most weekends--in and
around Seward. People in town are used to seeing him. He has ridden the
shoreline so many times that he notices if a rock has been moved. Seward
sits on Resurrection Bay, on the eastern edge of the Kenai Peninsula. It
is separated from Anchorage by 125 miles of glaciated mountains and
sprawling icefields. The town is so remote--a Galapagos island of
sorts--that something odd or fantastic can develop there and never be
discovered by anyone beyond the city limits.

Until three years ago, when he attended the International Unicycle
Convention in Minneapolis, Peck was completely unknown in the unicycling
community. At the meet he learned of a handful of other mountain
unicyclists. He found out that his sport had not only other participants
but also a name--"muni," short for "mountain unicycling" (a name, Peck
feels, that is a little too cute; he prefers "rough-terrain cycling").
Later, through a unicycling newsletter, he read of plans for an
inaugural muni convention. Last October he flew to Sacramento for the
first annual California Mountain Unicycle Weekend. Thirty-five of the
best rough-terrain unicyclists in North America came to show off their
skills. No one was half as good as Peck. He is now widely viewed as the
best mountain unicyclist in the world. He is credited with helping to
invent the sport, and the cycles he has designed are probably the
sturdiest and lightest unicycles ever built. He is riding rougher
terrain every month. And he is almost certainly the world's oldest
mountain unicyclist: Peck is fifty-six.

CAROL and George Peck and their two children, Kristopher, twelve, and
Katy, seven, live in a small brown house two blocks from the center of
town. Attracted to Alaska's frontier image, Peck moved to the state in
1974, after a stint in Nepal with the Peace Corps and almost ten years
in the University of Idaho's graduate schools, where he earned degrees
in physics, law, and teaching. He came to Seward to take the job of
magistrate, a position he still holds. He met Carol Griswold in 1981.

The inside of their house, especially during the long Alaska winter, is
a scene of unmitigated chaos. Peaches and Boomer, a pair of parakeets,
like to divebomb visitors' heads. Berry and Jessie, two Labrador
retrievers, wrestle in the kitchen. Katy prefers roller skates to
sneakers, and Kristopher wouldn't be caught dead without his skateboard.
The living room contains three unicycles, a small trampoline, a
basketball net, an electric keyboard, two acoustic guitars, two fiddles
(Carol and George play in a local folk band), an indoor garden, an
eclectic library (one shelf devoted to entomology, another to dog
training), a general scattering of children's toys, several of Carol's
junkyard furniture discoveries, a hamster cage, a fish tank, and a
midden of unicycle parts.


--
KcTheAcy - Ohh Baby

--Kaycee[image: http://home.maine.rr.com/kaycees/sbemail101aaa[2].gif]
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KcTheAcy July 10th 04 01:52 PM

Unicycle articles (but wait there's more...)
 

The Atlantic Monthly April 1997 v279 i4 p109-10,112


Rough terrain unicycling: Riding a unicycle up and down mountains
requires the balance of a gymnast and the temperment of a teenager.
Finkel, Michael



Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1997 The Atlantic Monthly Magazine



WHY the red unicycle was left in the Seward, Alaska, dump and what
inspired George Peck's wife, Carol, to bring it home are both unclear.
"I'm a salvager and recycler," is all she will say. "She's a dump rat,"
Peck says. Carol put the unicycle in the garage, and Peck found it
there. This was almost fourteen years ago. His life hasn't been the same
since.

"I glom on to things," Peck says. "He gets obsessed," Carol says. Peck
taught himself to ride the red unicycle--no books, no instructors. He
practiced daily for more than a month before he could wobble up and down
his driveway. Then he attempted to take the unicycle onto the roads.
Riding a unicycle is as precarious as it looks--the "cone of balance,"
as Peck calls it, is extraordinarily precise. A pebble can be enough to
put you on your back. So can a patch of sand or a gust of wind or a
crack in the pavement. This may be why the red cycle was tossed into the
dump: Seward is possibly the worst spot on the planet in which to ride a
unicycle. The place is all sand and gusts and cracks, not to mention ice
and snow and logs and boulders and mountains.

Peck learned to ride his unicycle under all conditions. He discovered
how to make the cycle hop, and he honed the skill until he could pop
over logs two feet in diameter. He figured out how to power through
boulder fields, how to jump up and over picnic tables, how to turn in
ankle-deep mud. He became skilled at riding in dried-out riverbeds,
across frozen lakes, up mountain trails, and through wind-crusted snow.
This is clearly not what unicycles were designed to do. When the red
unicycle fell apart, Peck drove to Anchorage and bought a new one. When
that broke, he ordered another. After a dozen more were destroyed, he
began designing his own.

For almost a decade and a half, no matter the weather, Peck has gone
mountain unicycling nearly every day--twice a day most weekends--in and
around Seward. People in town are used to seeing him. He has ridden the
shoreline so many times that he notices if a rock has been moved. Seward
sits on Resurrection Bay, on the eastern edge of the Kenai Peninsula. It
is separated from Anchorage by 125 miles of glaciated mountains and
sprawling icefields. The town is so remote--a Galapagos island of
sorts--that something odd or fantastic can develop there and never be
discovered by anyone beyond the city limits.

Until three years ago, when he attended the International Unicycle
Convention in Minneapolis, Peck was completely unknown in the unicycling
community. At the meet he learned of a handful of other mountain
unicyclists. He found out that his sport had not only other participants
but also a name--"muni," short for "mountain unicycling" (a name, Peck
feels, that is a little too cute; he prefers "rough-terrain cycling").
Later, through a unicycling newsletter, he read of plans for an
inaugural muni convention. Last October he flew to Sacramento for the
first annual California Mountain Unicycle Weekend. Thirty-five of the
best rough-terrain unicyclists in North America came to show off their
skills. No one was half as good as Peck. He is now widely viewed as the
best mountain unicyclist in the world. He is credited with helping to
invent the sport, and the cycles he has designed are probably the
sturdiest and lightest unicycles ever built. He is riding rougher
terrain every month. And he is almost certainly the world's oldest
mountain unicyclist: Peck is fifty-six.

CAROL and George Peck and their two children, Kristopher, twelve, and
Katy, seven, live in a small brown house two blocks from the center of
town. Attracted to Alaska's frontier image, Peck moved to the state in
1974, after a stint in Nepal with the Peace Corps and almost ten years
in the University of Idaho's graduate schools, where he earned degrees
in physics, law, and teaching. He came to Seward to take the job of
magistrate, a position he still holds. He met Carol Griswold in 1981.

The inside of their house, especially during the long Alaska winter, is
a scene of unmitigated chaos. Peaches and Boomer, a pair of parakeets,
like to divebomb visitors' heads. Berry and Jessie, two Labrador
retrievers, wrestle in the kitchen. Katy prefers roller skates to
sneakers, and Kristopher wouldn't be caught dead without his skateboard.
The living room contains three unicycles, a small trampoline, a
basketball net, an electric keyboard, two acoustic guitars, two fiddles
(Carol and George play in a local folk band), an indoor garden, an
eclectic library (one shelf devoted to entomology, another to dog
training), a general scattering of children's toys, several of Carol's
junkyard furniture discoveries, a hamster cage, a fish tank, and a
midden of unicycle parts.(...Next Post)


--
KcTheAcy - Ohh Baby

--Kaycee[image: http://home.maine.rr.com/kaycees/sbemail101aaa[2].gif]
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KcTheAcy July 10th 04 01:54 PM

Unicycle articles (but wait there's more...)
 

Continued...

"George has been a teenager for forty years," Carol says. This is only
partly true. When Peck is in his courtroom, facing the daily litany of
drunk-driving and domestic-violence cases, he is fifty-six years old.
When he is awake at two in the morning, mulling over the physics of
wheel diameter and axle size he is fifty-six. When he is riding, he is
seventeen--though he doesn't use swearwords. When he falls, he says
things like "Gargle!" and "Yug!" and "These shoes are explosively
decoupling with the pedals, and that's disconcerting."

Peck is a little over six feet tall and about as thin as a fence post.
He has the air of a mad scientist. His hair appears to be an assemblage
of cowlicks. He is profoundly nearsighted, and wears round gold-framed
glasses. A housewide search for his car keys is almost a daily event. He
eats dinner as if a cash prize were to be awarded to the first finisher.
His unicycle is built of top-quality titanium and tempered aluminum
parts, special-ordered from a custom manufacturer, but Peck often rides
wearing faded jeans, a stained sweatshirt, and leather work boots. On
the front of the family's washing machine, using word magnets, Katy has
assembled a succinct ode to her father: DAD IS FUNNY.

On weekend days Peck takes his first ride soon after sunrise, usually
with the dogs. He rides along Resurrection Bay, the sharp summits of the
Chugach Mountains forming a backdrop. He pedals in fits and starts: a
powerful flurry to ascend a flat-topped rock, an immediate ninety-degree
turn on the top, a momentary pause to consider the drop-off, and a
careful hop down to the sand. His arms provide counterbalance, waving in
controlled, tai-chi-style movements. The tip of his tongue flits in and
out. In roughterrain cycling, top speed, even going downhill, is about
six miles an hour. "It's not exhilarating," Peck says, "but a series of
little joys." He cuts through a puddle, cracking a thin film of ice, and
chugs up a dirty snowbank. He falls twice, gracefully, and climbs back
on.

AUNICYCLE is both more and less than half a bicycle. It has a solid hub
and lacks any gears, meaning that one rotation of the pedals produces
one rotation of the wheel. This is called direct drive, and is the
reason a unicycle is limited to low speeds. You can't coast, but you can
ride backward.

"Unicycling is intrinsically a slow-motion event," Peck says. "It is
more about rhythm and mental dexterity than about strength--it has more
in common, I feel, with a chess match or a Bach concerto than with any
extreme sport. And it's actually very safe--far safer than bicycling.
I've never had an injury so bad I couldn't ride the next day. Much of
the thrill, really, is in pondering the ergonomical conundrums. Torque.
Pedal separation. Crank-arm length. Spokes. You need the cycle to be
sturdy, and you need it to be light and maneuverable. And everything has
to be balanced on one tiny axle. It's nearly insolvable. The five best
riders I met at the California weekend were a physicist, a
mathematician, a neurophysiologist, a computer analyst, and an Intel
executive."

He says this as he rides. If a visitor jogs alongside him (the pace is
perfect), Peck will furnish an hour-long disquisition. He will expound
on Alaskan geology. He will talk about unicycling up street curbs, and
about the appropriate pedal positions for optimum torque, and about the
time he beat a pair of bicyclists up the steep Crown Point Mine trail.
He will insist that it is possible to unicycle nearly any surface that
can be walked, provided one has the right unicycle.

Peck estimates that he has spent $2,000 on his current unicycle--but he
is still unsatisfied. About once a week he visits Ron Henderlong, who
helps to improve his unicycles. Henderlong Enterprises is a welding shop
located in a garage not far from Peck's house. Henderlong is shorter
than Peck but probably twice his weight. The lower half of Henderlong's
face is devoted to a terrific beard and moustache, between which is
inserted a steady stream of Marlboros. He wears a patch over his right
eye. On the floor of his garage is a masking-tape outline of a body,
with a wrenchlike shape stenciled in the body's right hand. "That's the
last guy who went into my toolbox without asking," he says. According to
Peck, Henderlong is a genius with hot-rod engines and cuttingedge
unicycles. He customized Peck's shock-absorbing seat post. The two men
can talk shop for hours; Peck always leaves with a new idea or two. "I'm
tired of giving him six-packs of beer," Peck says, "but he won't take
any money."

If you really want to make Peck mad, ask him if he is a clown. "That
word makes my teeth set right at the top," he says. The image of
unicycling, Peck fears, automatically brings clowns to mind. He has been
asked more than once if he works for a circus. Some have wondered if he
entertains at birthday parties. One person questioned whether riding a
unicycle is an appropriate activity for a judge. "Unicycling is at the
very bottom of the respectability curve," Peck says. "Nobody would
accuse me of being irresponsible if I were a skier or a rollerblader.
I'm trying to get as far away from clowns as I possibly can." He tries
not to use the term "unicycle" anymo too circusy. He prefers to call
what he rides a cycle.

SOMETIMES Peck thinks that if he can only free his sport from the clown
associations, nothing will stop rough-terrain cycling from becoming the
next big thing. He likes to point out that unicycling has been around
longer than bicycling: one of the original cycles, the "penny-farthing"
with the giant front rim, was little more than a unicycle with a
training wheel. Combine modern materials with the old idea, toss in a
few log jumps, and rough-terrain cycling should be Olympics-bound:
"Bored teenagers in California will be hopping their cycles over their
Volkswagens."

Then he thinks better of it. "Cycling is safe and slow," he says, "and
safe and slow are unhip. People want sports that are like video games.
Maybe that's why there are so few riders." Peck estimates that there are
perhaps 200 muni participants worldwide, including a club based in
England and a Frenchman, Thierry Bouche, who has unicycled down a
20,000-foot peak in South America. No company in the United States sells
mountain unicycles (with so few riders, there's no incentive to
manufacture them), and without good cycles available there won't be many
more converts.

The sport is nearly certain to stay tiny. And in Seward, at least, it is
likely to remain a solitary pursuit. Peck hasn't let this discourage
him. Recently his cycling entered an entirely new phase. He acquired a
contraption called an ultimate wheel, which is a unicycle without a
seat--just a wheel and two pedals. It looks impossible to ride, even
when Peck is riding it. It took a month of intense ultimate-wheel
training, combined with the skills of years of unicycling, for him to
balance on the thing. He says he's glommed on to it. Carol says it's a
new level of obsession. He and Henderlong are sure to re-equip it with
sturdier parts. And Peck is already riding it up and down Alaska's
mountains.


--
KcTheAcy - Ohh Baby

--Kaycee[image: http://home.maine.rr.com/kaycees/sbemail101aaa[2].gif]
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KcTheAcy July 10th 04 01:55 PM

Unicycle articles (but wait there's more...)
 

I Hope all these havent been posted b4.


People Weekly Nov 13, 1995 v44 n20 p111(1)


His clowning glory: thanks to Mr. Twister, it's now legal to feed
parking meters in Santa Cruz. (Santa Cruz, CA, clown)(Brief Article)



Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1995 Time, Inc.



RED NOSE. YARN HAIR. PURPLE high-top sneakers. This perp didn't fit the
usual profile. Neither did his crime.

Mr. Twister, a clown in Santa Cruz, Calif., spends his days performing
magic, riding a unicycle and making balloon animals. Okay, nothing
suspicious--so far. Now the weird part: Mr. Twister takes some of the
change donated by passersby and drops it in parking meters. Other
people's parking meters. This saves them from getting tickets. "When I
leave the house in a clown suit," says Mr. Twister--Cory McDonald,
26--of his philosophy, "I want to see 100 smiles every day."

In Santa Cruz, though, the law frowned on anyone--including Mr.
Twister--putting coins in other people's meters, a fact of which he was
apprised in September when a traffic enforcement agent spotted him, told
him he was breaking the law and ticketed the car anyway. Irked, Mr.
Twister went up and down the street feeding expired meters. The agent
followed, ticketing cars.

A week later, McDonald hit the pavement again, this time in mufti. As he
was doling out coins, a meter maid called the police, who gave him a $13
ticket. McDonald, who lives with his mother and stepfather in a trailer
in nearby Capitola and supports himself performing at parties, was
determined to test the law. So he enlisted the help of Ben Rice, a local
criminal defense attorney, who took the case on what he called a pro
Bozo basis. When the council met on Oct. 24, Mr. Twister appeared in
full regalia, along with his friend Sprinkles, a lady clown, his lawyer
and about 40 boosters. "I urge you to vote this unfriendly law out of
Santa Cruz," exhorted Rice. "Mr. Twister is a gift to all of us, a
genuine human being." In the face of such eloquence--and petitions from
Mr. Twister supporters--council members voted to repeal the law, enacted
eight years ago to increase business turnover. Then, in a show of
solidarity with Mr. Twister, they all donned red plastic noses. McDonald
couldn't have orchestrated it better. "When you find someone being
nice," he says, "you should support them."


--
KcTheAcy - Ohh Baby

--Kaycee[image: http://home.maine.rr.com/kaycees/sbemail101aaa[2].gif]
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