Who remembers the weekly features? When we updated the site all of them were lost, or so you thought. We backed them up and we’re going to repost one every once in a while. Today we’re reposting Joe Baxters brilliant article about where unicycling has taken him. Check it out.
How far can you go on a unicycle?
This is a question that I have been asked time and time again, usually when out riding my 36”. The answer to the question comes down to personal fitness and stamina, as well as using the most suitable unicycle. The furthest I’ve ridden in one day was 100Km (62miles).
Anyways, I like to think not how far can you go on a unicycle, but how far can a unicycle take you? When I started riding 11 years ago, not for one moment did I think it would shape my life so drastically, or take me to such amazing places.
From meeting local riders, to attending national competitions and making good friends there, I soon ventured to European competitions. The first was FLUCK held in Denmark, this was to be the start of something special, it was a real adventure, and I had caught the bug for it. We flew to Copenhagen, then got a train to Faxe Ladeplads. It was a chance to put faces to names, people you had only talked to or heard about online, for example Gilby from USA, Jesper and Christian from Denmark and Steph and Janina from Germany. We got to know each other, and great friendships which will last a lifetime were formed.
In the following years unicycle competitions, conventions and meets became my summer holidays! I’ve travelled all around the UK from Edinburgh, spent a good time in the Lake District, and down to Cornwall on the south coast, and also FLUCK back in Denmark, UNICON in Switzerland, Wunschkonzert in Frankfurt, then again in Cologne, Germany, which then became EUC. With all this travelling, I decided there was only one vehicle for the job… a campervan! Now with a camper van, I could go anywhere with as many unicycles as I wanted, which is exactly what I did. 2008 saw UNICON held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Infamous UK unicyclist Kit Johnson joined me for a 3 week roadtrip with Steph, Janina and Jess. We drove up through Denmark, meeting up with Danish unicyclists Emma, Ina and Gro, before heading back down to Copenhagen for UNICON – meeting even more unicyclists.
When UNICON was held in NZ, it was a no brainer. There was no better excuse to visit New Zealand than for a unicycle competition, and I already had friends over there which I had met at previous UNICONs. This meant when we arrived we had somewhere to stay… Tony Meltons living room! After hiring a campervan, we drove the length and breadth of New Zealand’s North Island, visiting amazing places, and finding awesome trails to ride!! After New Zealand I spent a week in Australia, where I met up with the Sydney Hockey Club who I had just met at UNICON. I joined them for a game of hockey followed by a well deserved cold beer, and was even given hospitality by Charlie in return for unicycle lessons! I will be returning to Australia in April, and I look forward to catching up with them again.
Muni has also taken me to the French and Swiss Alps, for some of the best riding and spectacular views on earth. Taking a mountain pass railway to Chur and gondolas up mountains to reach the trails were just as impressive at the riding itself.
To me, unicycling isn’t just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. It has taken me literally all the way around the world, to incredible places, with incredible people, giving me friends in so many different countries, all with one thing in common. A love for the simplest form of transport ever invented. Who would have ever thought it could have taken me so far?!
I look forward to returning to Switzerland for Grischa Muni Challenge again this summer, as well as planning a trip to the highlands of Scotland.
Life is one big adventure; make the most of it, even if it is only on one wheel… who knows where it will take you!
Words: Joe Baxter
Photos: Joe Baxter