Upcoming Wobble Sightings

We're indoors in the Winter at the Butler YMCA on Saturdays from 4 - 6pm (Except last Saturday of the month)We're outdoors in the other seasons (well, sometimes in Winter as well too).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Wheel Mill Fridays/ YMCA Saturdays

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

The 2014 Month of Mud

Photo by Mike Briggs - He RULES!!!
Once again, it's time for the Month of Mud.  Not only is this series 25+ years old, it's been home for regional off-road unicycle racing since 2008.  Since then we've been welcomed.  This year things are a bit different.  We've got an official uni class.

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

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

Unicon 17 and Other Conventions

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

It Must Be Summer

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

The Wheel Mill

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

May Days

Thanks Liz Wilson for the photo!
It's been a bit since you've seen some news here.  Rest assured, that's NOT because we've been inactive.  Quite the contrary, we've been too busy riding to keep the virtual end of things up to date.

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

Changing Seasons

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.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April- Here's the Skinny

No joke: this Friday- April 4th, is the Wheel Mill Uni Skinny Contest (part deux).  Showtime is 8:30 pm and entry is FREE with your paid park admission (it's Family and Uni Night so there's a discount from regular price too!)

There will be multiple categories.  Last time G-Form generously sponsored the event with pads for the male and female winners!

If you're not interested in The Wheel Mill riding, then don't forget we're at the YMCA in Butler on Saturdays- for a few more weeks.  We plan to end the winter indoor season on April 19th.  We'll resume Y time in the Fall.

Until then there's a growing list of fun on one to check out.  Expect to see some more group rides- and general tomfoolery.  We've also got events on the calendar- 6 Hours of Brady's Run, Dirt Rag's Dirt Fest, the Fat Tire Challenge, NAUCC 2014 (in MN), and UNICON 17 in Montreal!

Don't miss out!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Marching On

What's wrong with this picture?

Hopefully we're heading out of Winter soon.  Very soon.  If you're not looking forward to it being over, you might want to see a doctor.

With Spring come a few changes to the routine.  We'll be heading back outside a whole lot more.  That means our YMCA indoor time will taper off (typically in April) and we'll hopefully have more group rides outside.  Until then, it's business as usual- Friday Nights we're at The Wheel Mill, and Saturday afternoons from 4:30 to 6:30 we'll be in the gym. 

Thanks to the many new riders who joined us and learned to ride this Winter.  It's our hope you'll continue to ride unicycles throughout the snow-less months and join us for some other rides.

If you've enjoyed unicycling with us at the Butler YMCA, please consider giving back.  The YMCA has been gracious to keep unicycling absolutely FREE to those in the community.  In appreciation, as the unicyclists, we'd like to give back.  The YMCA is a wonderful organization that gives on so many levels.  One significant way they take care of the community is through the Strong Kids Campaign.  It provides scholarships for those who can't afford YMCA services.  They do a much better job of describing what they do so Read all about it here.

If you choose to contribute, please note on your donation with "I'm with the Uni Club" on the form or in the comments.  We have been challenged to see if we can raise $1000 as a team of unicyclists.  That's a big challenge, but totally doable.

As always, we as the Butler Wobble not ask you for money.  We also do not receive any financial compensation from the YMCA for unicycling.  They help us out with giving us a space to practice and that's been the essential element needed for unicycling to grow in our area.  All of the funds given during the Strong Kids Campaign go directly to the YMCA.  All we ask that if you choose to contribute, please note your affiliation so they can see how we do appreciate the YMCA's role in our community.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Winter Time Fun

Last Friday night's trip to the Carnegie Science Center was an all around good time.  It was a good thing we had a crew of around a dozen of us to help as we had 200 people sign waivers and give unicycling a try.  Once again, 0 injuries.  Overall, unicycling is a relatively safe venture.  And as many people discovered, it's challenging and FUN!

If you were there that night and are now reading this, we hope you'll join us again in a bigger space (The Wheel Mill or Butler YMCA) to really get the feel for riding.  As always, we don't ask that you give up anything else you may already pedal.  We just ask that you remember that unicycles are more than just circus props.

As I sit here and type this, we're in the middle of the coldest day of the year.  Let's hope this is it and Spring is around the corner.  Let's look forward to riding comfortable again outside.

Here are a couple of events you may want to keep in mind:
1. 6 Hours of Brady's Run- May 10th.  This is a great race for Intermediate/Advanced riders.  It's a mountain bike race, but there are Uni Solo and Uni Duo classes.  The laps are in the 8-9mi range with a fair amount of climbing.  Registration opens Feb 1st here: https://www.bikereg.com/Net/6-hours-of-bradys-run.

2. Dirt Fest- May 16th-18th.  This is a great event for all levels of riders.  We've been there every year.  This year we will again have uni demos (like the Science Center nights) and a mUni group ride.  If you decide to go, register under Group Camping and use Butler Wobble as the name of the group.  If we have 8 or more (like we did last year) we get a site to ourselves.  Ask anybody who has gone to Dirt Fest about how much fun it is.  The trails at Raystown are unlike those around here.  They're fast and swoopy and not super technical.  More details can be found at www.dirtragdirtfest.com.

One last item: we're still on throughout the winter for Fridays at the Wheel Mill and Saturdays at the Butler YMCA.  This Saturday is the first Saturday of February, so we'll be going to The Chop Shop for dinner after practice.  We hope you'll be joining us.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fridays and Science!

Photo: Come hang out with us and have a good time at our #uni skinny challenge starting at 7:30pm!

Last night's overall winners of the Skinny Contest were Daniel Collins (for the males) and Danielle Millett (for the females).  A huge thanks to The Wheel Mill and G-Form for inventing and sponsoring the event.  G-Form awarded a set of pads for each winner!

The 15 minute jam format was a lot of fun, but the contest was only the beginning of the evening's good times.  Hopefully we'll get to see the official pics from the contest sometime soon.  Friday night mUni nights at The Wheel Mill have indeed turned out to be fun for the entire family.  Last night we had riders ages 10 and up.  Up didn't stop at 40 either.

As much fun as it was, many of us are going to be taking a break from The Wheel Mill this Friday the 24th to be part of a 21+ Night at The Carnegie Science Center.  The theme is Circus Science!  While we don't personally do many circus-like activities with our unis, we do see the connection.  We also can't resist the chance to ride our unis around the Science Center and share the fun of one with people who might not think it's for them otherwise.  We'll bring some loaner unis so people can give it a go.  It's always fun to give adults the chance to try something new.  (Please do note, the night is for those ages 21 and over.)

Hope to see you there.

As always, don't forget we're at the Butler YMCA indoors on Saturdays from 4:30-6:30.  Feb. 1st is coming soon and we'll be heading out to eat that night after riding.