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Unicycle History
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.

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

Unicycle Benefits
Scientific research has demonstrated that unicyclists improve their concentration ability, balance and motor coordination. This activity plays an important role on the physical and mental development.  The Japanese Educational Department has officially recognized this discipline: they integrate it in their school program. Today, there is over a milion unicyclists in Japan.  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

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

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. George's skill level is second only to that of Kris Holm and 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 typed "Mountain unicycling" in to a search engine and found he was not alone!  Roger Davies stilll has Kris' first email where he says "I'd love to find people to ride with"... he certainly did!

Kris 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.  Thirty-five riders attended the first California MUni weekend. Now the event attracts hundreds 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: recommend wearing all of these items when you MUni:

* Helmet
* Wrist guards
* Armour

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