Seeing as it’s been a while due to the fact that I’ve published a piece of bike history, we’re going come jump back in time this particular day to discover the history of the unicycle. Allow me preface this article by stating that, despite I’m no a unicycle expert, I have ridden a dozen or so end the course of mine life and can verify that ns am absolutely fascinated v them. Balancing on 2 wheels can be an overwhelming enough! Therefore, without more ado, let’s take it a journey into the weird world of cycling and talk a bit much more about the one-wheeled machine.

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According to Wikipedia, the an interpretation of words unicycle means:

A automobile that touch the soil with just one wheel.

Historically, this “vehicles” have actually a longstanding legacy in circuses, in ~ street fairs, and for oddballs obsessed with the unusual who take it it up as a hobby. However, these fascinating contraptions haven’t constantly looked like the saddled frames we know them together today. The unicycle actually originated end 100 year ago.


How Traditional Unicycles Function

Before we jump right into the chronological history the the unicycle, let’s take it a watch at how this maker works. Return you deserve to see the there are many different type of unicycles the possess differing functions as you’ll review below, the standard unicycle features simply. Typically, the unicycle is consisted of of a saddle chair affixed to a solitary wheel. Unlike two-wheeled bicycles that make use of gears and chains to revolve the wheels, unicycles have actually pedals that connect directly to the axle and also make the wheel move straight in unison v the rider’s feet. According to ZenArts’ history of the Unicycle, “This is in reality a an ext efficient usage of energy, because the pedaling power goes straight into the rotation of the wheel and not secondarily as v a belt or a chain. On a unicycle, the axle is a fixed component of a special hub i beg your pardon is also affixed come the pedals, allowing for the activity of the pedals to cause a direct rotation the the wheel, an design feat well-known as direct drive.”

The Evolution that the Unicycle

Unicycles inevitably came after the innovation of the an initial bicycle (read more on The background of the Bicycle) and also after the development of the penny-farthing (read an ext on The history of the Penny-Farthing). After ~ the relax of the penny-farthing, human being realized that they could balance on the larger wheel. The first official patent that the unicycle to be submitted by Frederick Myers in 1869, then next by Battista Scuri in 1881. The design went through numerous changes and shifts early on on. Below, I’ve detailed the various kinds that unicycles the evolved:

Seatless Unicycle: The “ultimate wheel,” together this sport was also called, only has actually two foot pedals directly affixed to it. There is no saddle or chair of any kind of kind.

Giraffe Unicycle: Any guesses why this variation is dubbed the “giraffe?” It’s height, the course! This tall unicycle requires a chain to reach the pedals and also average from 5 come 10 feet high.

Freestyle Unicycle: Having wheels only 16 come 20 inches in diameter, these unicycles have actually high-pressure tires, higher seats, and also are built as whole to manage tricks and stunts.

Touring Unicycle: The function of the touring unicycle is to walk on rides 5 miles or longer. It possesses a larger wheel that making it feasible to travel these lengthier distances.

Trials Unicycle: The fat, knobby tires on the trials unicycle space designed come ride problem courses. Castle are generally ridden exclusively in competitions.

Muni: These unicycles are hill unicycles. They’re constructed to withstand hard terrain and can ride over hills and also rocks with ease. More thick seats and brakes do these unicycles unique.

Kangaroo Unicycle: With the kangaroo unicycle, the pedals room not off-set similar to traditional unicycles, yet rather in line. The rider must “hop” favor a kangaroo in bespeak to make this unicycle function!

Freewheeling Unicycle: These unicycles are built with brakes because that the reason that they’re expected to cruise and coast at faster speeds.

Self-balancing Unicycle: This is the modern version of the unicycle seeing that it’s computer-controlled and motor-driven. Many compare it come the Segway.


Riding styles of the Unicycle

In enhancement to different varieties of unicycles, there are a range of methods to ride the contraption. First, there’s the classic riding format of freestyling in i beg your pardon the rider maneuvers the unicycle in different ways to develop a stream of aesthetically pleasing movements. The next layout is comedy inside performers, usually clowns, journey unicycles in methods that space both perceived as more challenging and hilarious. Street unicycling is what is known as the “BMX” the unicycling; riders usage a mix of objects uncovered in urban setups to do tricks. Off-road unicycling, known together “Muni” above, function riders braving unstable terrain. Finally, the flatland style is a type of combination between complimentary styling and also street unicycling whereby BMX-type tricks space performed on level ground.

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These various kinds and also styles of unicycling advanced after over 100 year of breakthrough and technical advancements in cycling. This simple overview reflects you wherein the unicycle come from and potentially wherein it’s headed as it continues to evolve.


For an ext images featuring cycling, please visit my various other picture-based website at! many thanks for reading, fellow-cyclists, and happy riding!