An adventure on one wheel can be just as thrilling as an adventure on two – just ask the solo riders of the New York City Unicycle Festival.
The unique, three-day unicycle-themed adventure kicked off on Friday, August 29, with a 13-mile ride across the Brooklyn Bridge toward Grand Army Plaza and then Coney Island. On the peninsula best known for the annual Mermaid Parade, cyclists enjoyed the spectacular “One-Wheel” stage show at USA’s Shooting Gallery Arts Annex with fellow unicycle patriots and enthusiasts. The party wasn’t over just yet, though, as everyone gathered their energy for the long weekend of entertainment – and for some, entertaining – ahead. But first, we offer you a brief history on the quirky apparatus.
A standard unicycle is a vehicle with a frame and saddle that touches the ground with a single wheel and is pedal-driven. Inspired by the 1800’s popularity of the penny-farthing (the vintage, high wheeled bicycle), unicycles generally lack brakes, gears, and the ability to freewheel. Nonetheless, they are still reputed to be much more stable than a traditional bicycle (with an expert rider) due to the fact that the wheel is not constrained by the linear axis of a frame. Now, let’s get back to the festival.
Festivities during the next two days took over Governor’s Island and included unicycle training for beginners, performances by trained cycling basketball and hockey players, amazing trick riders, and even sumo wrestlers. Other activities featured throughout the fun-filled weekend were races, competitions, and fascinating exhibitions. World-renowned riders displayed their skills as curious onlookers had the opportunity to try the one-wheel adventure for themselves. All the while, DJ Sky King provided the soundtrack for the 48-hour celebration with rocking tunes to one-wheel groove to.
Produced by Bindlestiff Family Variety Arts Inc., alongside organizer Keith Nelson, the NYC Unicycle Festival is known to be an event that brings together recreational riders, elite performers, mountain and off-road unicycle riders, mono-wheel vehicle inventors, circus supporters, and thousands of spectators. With over 300 enthusiastic participants, of all ages and abilities, aficionadas from all around the world always make time to travel to the Big Apple to view the unusual, but ever-delightful occasion firsthand. And you should, too.
To find out more information about the New York City Unicycle Festival and what it has to offer, click here.