Saturday, November 22, 2014
Last night was Jesse's first time aboard a 36. Finding one to fit him at this stage of his life is a bit of a challenge. Thanks to Unicycle.com and Chris at Thick Bikes, the planets aligned and a Nightfox was available for demo. The world won't ever be the same.
As you can see, the week before was chocked full of good times too.
You can join the fun. We are at The Wheel Mill most every Friday night. There's a discount for uni riders. We've got free loaner unis available (Trials and 24" muni) all the time.
Last night we got to meet a new rider who has been riding for less than a week. Ashley's already riding around the nice big open Beginner Room upstairs and working on her freemounting.
We're at the YMCA in Butler on Saturdays from 4:30-6:30pm as well. It's FREE to learn there too.
Can't ride yet? It's time to learn. Why? IT'S FUN!
Monday, September 1, 2014
|Photo by Mike Briggs - He RULES!!!|
This is huge.
First off, mark your calendars and plan to attend:
9/21 - Moraine State Park Cross Country
10/5 - Brady's Run Cross Country
10/12 - North Park Cyclocross
10/19 - North Park Cross Country
10/26 - Ohiopyle State Park Super D/Enduro
10/5 - Brady's Run Cross Country
10/12 - North Park Cyclocross
10/19 - North Park Cross Country
10/26 - Ohiopyle State Park Super D/Enduro
Now that we've got the dates established, let me explain why this is a big deal. Outside of unicycling conventions such as NAUCC (the North American Unicycling Championships and Convention) and Unicon there aren't a whole lot of races that have official unicycling classes. (Around here, we're lucky to have 2: The Fat Tire Challenge, and 6 Hours of Brady's Run.) When you throw in the word Series, the number shrinks to nearly none.
Once again, the Month of Mud comes through. If we have 5 or more riders per race, we've got the class.
While racing isn't all unicycling is about, it's important that it exists. Competition pushes riders to best themselves. It pushes the sport forward as not only is unicycling for performing, but it's also an intense athletic endeavor that happens outside. For us, partnering with bikes makes sense.
One of the reasons partnering with the Month of Mud makes sense for us is that the races are already a reasonable length. The series is not only a place for the local fast folks to have a run at it, it's a gateway series for many riders. The races are family friendly with the courses at the beginner (and uni) level designed to be relatively short- 10mi or less vs. the 15+ mile races that are common to mountain biking. They were originally designed so that people could race in the morning and be home in time for the Steeler game.
Another major reason for partnering- we've already got experience working together.
The Month of Mud has played an important role in moving off-road unicycling forward already. The NAUCC 2013 Muni course was at Moraine, the site of many excellent MoM races. We drafted a bunch of our local MoM regulars to help make Moraine Muni a success. Moraine is challenging terrain, and it opened the eyes of some (both riders and spectators) to what unis can do.
Without MoM Cyclocross, specifically Matt Tinkey, it may have been years before Unicycle Cyclocross happened at the National and International levels. Since his work in debuting it at NAUCC it's become a regular event at NAUCC, and now Unicon. Around here we knew unicycles and cyclocross made sense, but it took the efforts of locals to bring it to the worldwide stage.
So this year, it makes sense we keep pushing forward. With a series, it encourages multiple days of racing. It hopefully attracts riders who haven't ridden the series before. Having prizes (other than medals) in unicycling is rare. The Wheel Mill has been excellent in this arena with 2 uni contests this past Winter. Having prizes at the conclusion of the series will also hopefully attract riders.
Regardless of whether or not we get people to travel to the races this year, we're business as usual:
Fun. Fun. Fun.
Join us. If you're unsure of your abilities, it should be noted that Cyclocross is for EVERYONE who can ride a uni and freemount. The Cross Country and Super D races require some technical ability and a level of fitness to ride several miles of single track trails.
Registration isn't up just yet, but when it is we'll disclose the details. For now, consider making it to one or more of the races and collecting some High 5s from local unicyclists and bikers.
The Month of Mud is packed full of awesome people.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
The 6 of us who attended Unicon 17 will remember the trip for years to come. Beyond amazing is an apt description of the experience. If you want to see some of the pics, go here. If you want first hand accounts, just ask Connor, Danielle, Dave, Isaac, Lisa, or Steve. We'll be glad to tell you as few or as many stories as you want.
If you just found out about the Butler Wobble, you may not know we hosted the North American Unicycling Convention and Championships (NAUCC) in 2013. A big reason we did was to encourage people to experience a unicycling convention. We had around 300 people participate. Among those were Benoit and Hugo, the two primary organizers of Unicon 17. Long before we met them in person we could tell that Unicon was going to be phenomenal. After getting to know them between the start of NAUCC 2013 and the end of Unicon 17 we found them not only to be tremendous organizers, but fantastic people as well.
At Unicon we not only competed, traded T-shirts, made new friends, and had way more than our share of poutine, we also left the Butler Wobble mark. We got disc golf discs with our logo on them to a few friends from around the world and got Butler Wobble buttons onto 5 of the 7 continents in the world (we're still missing Africa and Antarctica). We also brought Unicycle Cyclocross to the party.
We didn't invent cyclocross. It's been in the biking world for quite a long time. We probably weren't the first to have unicycles in a cyclocross race either (I've heard it's a big part of keeping Portland weird). What we did do is take our experience from helping with the local Month of Mud series and debuted Unicycle CX at a major unicycle convention with NAUCC 2013. (Thanks Matt Tinkey!) It went over so well, we did it again at NAUCC 2014.
By the time we got to Unicon we knew CX was fun. From our experience we also knew that unicyclists have a way of being extremely athletic, and ridiculously fun at the same time. See for yourself:
And that was just one of about 30 events. On the competitions side, world records were broken in the 10k and Marathon (yep, 26.2 miles in 1:19:07), as well as the High Jump (137cm or 53.9in). The beauty of Unicon though is that while records were being broken, many people were racing for personal bests (or firsts, as in Gigi's first Marathon) and having fun doing it.
Competitions were great, but the convention aspect was at least as equally as awesome. Old friends were seen again. International friendships were made. Everybody got enough High 5s to have sore hands by the end of the 2 weeks.
Unicycling is full of fantatstic people. When 1100+ of them get together, it's bound to be an amazing experience.
Short story- if you've never checked out a major unicycling convention, you need to. Mark your calendar now for NAUCC 2015.
Monday, July 7, 2014
The short message: GO RIDE!
If you can't ride a uni yet, there's opportunity to learn. We've been a bit busy, but that doesn't mean we don't join up with the THICK Bikes crew when they have Uni Nights every other Monday. Rumor has it that Unicycle Hockey is starting to gain some traction. Don't be left out. If you can't ride, we'll teach you how to. As always, unis are available to borrow for free at these sessions.
As far as where else we're at, that involves hanging out with our friends from far out of town. Dave just made the trip to Minnesota for NAUCC 2014. If you're wondering about those results, hang on a bit, they'll be published to the site soon. Several of us are headed for Unicon 17 in just a few short weeks. If you're missing the uni conventions this summer, that's a bummer. To say they're an incredible experience is an understatement. Ask any of us who have been to one about the experience, and then cut us off when you've heard enough raving about how awesome it was.
If you missed the uni party this summer, don't beat yourself up over it too much though, next summer already is looking good. NAUCC 2015 is already well in the works. At this point the site does say "Under Construction", but keep checking it. It's going to start the last week of July and it's going to be in Madison, WI.
The inside scoop: YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS IT!!!
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
In April of 2013, Pittsburgh officially got it's own indoor bike park. Well, Pittsburgh actually got a lot more than that. From the start, The Wheel Mill not only welcomed mountain and BMX bikes
but unicycles and even Striders for the wee ones too.
It's been a home for all things cycling since. From being a stop during other local cycling events, to being a birthday party venue (wear a helmet)
to just plain being the place with the coolest pump track on the planet.
It boils down to this: The Wheel Mill has been ALL about cycling since its inception. Now it's time cycling is all about The Wheel Mill.
Summertime in Western PA is not the time we think of heading indoors for a ride. The weather's (FINALLY) nice. There are other things to do.
However, it IS Western PA and Winter will inevitably return. We speak from experience when we say that in spite of the craziest winter we've seen in a long time, we kept riding and smiling. Sure, sometimes we went outside, but more often than not we gathered indoors for an evening of fun. That fun didn't involve board games either. It involved riding. Lots, and lots and lots. And our skills improved tremendously.
When the trails finally dried out this spring we found ourselves cleaning lines we didn't even think of before.
We owe all of that to the The Wheel Mill.
As we roll through Summer, times get a bit tough financially for bike parks. We need to support them. If everybody who went over the Winter takes a few trips over the Summer, the good times will continue as the leaves turn and the snow begins to fly. We don't really want to think like that now, but it's time to look down the trail a bit.
Spending a few bucks (Check out the Summer Rates) on admission over the next few months will help insure Pittsburgh has a place for us to ride now, but a place for the next generation of riders to ride as well.
Still not convinced that The Wheel Mill is totally awesome? LOOK HERE.
And, if you want to give unicycling a try, there are several there that you can try for free with your paid admission! If you need a few tips, find us here or meet up with us in person- most likely at The Wheel Mill.
We'll continue to hang out there throughout the Summer (when we're not at unicycling conventions!)
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
|Thanks Liz Wilson for the photo!|
The picture above is from the 6 Hours of Brady's Run race on May 10th. We're all smiling because this was before it went all down. Yes, we had a unicycle class with 8 total entries. It was definitely a FANTASTIC experience. Not only because we had a great group of riders- including Liz and James from out of state, but because the organizers do an amazing job of putting on an event that welcomes all levels of riders. 6 Hours is a long time to ride a unicycle, but it's much easier when you're sharing the experience with other cycling brothers and sisters- even if they have 2x as many wheels.
The weekend immediately after Brady's Run we went to Dirt Rag's Dirt Fest. We've been there in some form every year the event's been at Raystown Lake, and the last 3 we've been been holding uni demos and muni group rides. When we're really feeling adventurous, we even make a video:
A 5 minute video isn't very good at capturing the whole experience. As with Brady's Run, we'll be back next year.
We plan on heading to The Wheel Mill this Friday for Family and Unicycle Night. For the Summer, we're splitting out time between there and the Friday Night Rides here in Butler.
May is almost over. June's got the Fat Tire Challenge (the FIRST Western PA race to have a uni class!), NAUCC and a few other surprises. July ends with Unicon and August starts with it.
We'll be riding. You should too.
If you can't ride an uni yet but would love to learn, you can try to catch up with us over the next few months, but a better option might be to check out Unicycling Mondays at THICK Bikes in Pittsburgh. We'll probably be there for a few too.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Tomorrow, April 19, is our last indoor day at the YMCA for the season. We'll be back in the fall, but until then our indoor riding will mostly consist of visiting The Wheel Mill for Friday Night Family and Uni Nights. Speaking of those, with the nice weather on its way we won't be there every Friday night. If you're hoping to catch us, it would be best to contact us via email (put our name first (at)gmail.com- you can figure it out) or via our facebook page.
One last definite YMCA appearance is for Healthy Kids Day on Friday the 25th from 3:30-6pm. It's always been a good time, and we expect nothing less this year.
Indoor season coming to a close in no way means we won't be riding. Actually, we'll probably be riding more. It's just that most rides will be outside on trails and roads. There will be some group rides for sure, but we won't be bringing loaners for the most part (unless you ask nicely).
There's always and exception of course. Dirt Fest is in a few weeks. We'll be there with some loaners for a learner session and a group ride to follow.
If you're really disappointed we won't be indoors at the Y, don't worry. It's outdoor season. We'll be back to indoor riding around Daylight Saving Time in the fall.