If you thought unicycling was just for the circus crowd, you’ve got an awful lot to learn. Though not nearly as mainstream as extreme sports of the two-wheeled variety, unicycling has many styles, each a sister of more well-known bicycling niches, from mountain to trials to street. Also like extreme biking, unicycling has no shortage of athletes who perform jaw-dropping tricks. We celebrate these Adrenalists both because of their unique pursuits and because they’ve got some of the best balance and coordination of anyone we’ve ever seen. This just goes to show you: just because a sport’s not popping up all over ESPN doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve to be discussed.
Canadian unicyclist Kris Holm is best known for his off-roading skills, but his notoriety spans past his specialty. Holm is the world’s best-known unicyclist. He’s ridden off road in most countries, including the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, and on the Great Wall of China. His unquenchable thirst for pushing the limit and his unique skillset has made Holm instrumental in popularizing the niche sport. Aside from write-ups in Sports Illustrated Adventure, ESPN Magazine and Men’s Fitness, he’s appeared in over 200 media features (including 13 films). When those in the know think unicycling, they, more than likely, think Kris Holm.
Sam La Hood
At just 16 years old, Sam La Hood has already earned World Champion cred. The Northland New Zealand teen’s video definitely exhibits a raw skill that tells us she’ll be one of the sport’s best in a very short time. We also respect the fact that she kept some tumble footage in there. We dig her willingness to experiment and are sure that she’ll continue to take the street riding circuit by storm the farther she goes. Internet rumor has it that she’s only been at it a couple of years. If that’s true, La Hood has the potential to be scary good.
The day we discovered Rocco Schulz was a very happy one indeed. As huge fans of trials bicycle riding, it’s almost unfathomable to think that the degree of physics-defying balance needed to complete those trials tricks could be transferred to a vehicle with only one wheel. Despite the fact that our wee brains couldn’t imagine it, Schulz has shown us anything is possible. Riding more than ten feet without falling victim to some serious asphalt burn is hard enough, let alone bounding up and down rocks and tree trunks with the nimbleness Schulz displays.
Blink and you might miss it, but in 2010′s Extreme Unicycle Championship, street rider Adrian Delacroix pulled off a 1080 likely to blow your mind. We know the demonstration gets off to a slow start, but the anticipation’s fully worth it. We have to cut Delacroix some slack after all. Landing such a complex maneuver must take some serious mental prep. And look closely in the background — the scant number of spectators lets us know unicycling’s a sport that’s not yet made it to the forefront of Adrenalists’ must-follow lists. If Delacroix and his fellow riders keep landing stunts like this, unicycling won’t be confined to the shadows for long.
NAUCC 2011 Championships
Is there really anything better than a rapid-fire parade of talented sportsmen organized for the sole purpose of trying to outdo one another as quickly and as spectacularly as possible? Of course not — this is the foundation of every championship competition we live for and what better way to cap off our hat tip to unicycling than by offering a peek at the seldom publicized yet totally awesome North American Unicycle Convention and Championships? Here’s some footage from 2011, featuring street riders, Christian Huriwai, Max Schulze, Kevin Kartchner, Hugo Duguay, Forrest Rackard, Colby Thomas and Dan Cowling. It’s high-octane cool with a laid-back grassroots feel that almost makes us think we could jump in and show off our stuff. The trouble, of course, is that we don’t yet have much to show. But that could change! Who’s got a unicycle we can use… and a whole lot of patience?