When Londonist was at college there was always this guy on a unicycle practicing tricks back and forth across the department courtyard. Come to think of it, when we later worked in a different college there was another one, just the same. Hmmm. Maybe it's like organ scholars and there are bursaries, or perhaps there is a national quota of unicyclists for tertiary educational establishments to fulfill?
Whatever their pedagogical digressions, there are certainly plenty of people for whom two wheels on their cycle seems almost cheating and, in our experience, plenty of other people willing to watch in wonder at their ability to stay out of local accident units atop man's most fundamental invention. Many from both camps will be found this Saturday afternoon underneath the A40 on the premises of the Westway Sports Centre at 1 Crowthorne Road, indulging not only in unicycling, which is a pretty impressive feat in itself, but furthermore in hockey at the same time.
Having to concentrate on the ball, and move to follow it, really helps to build up riding confidence.
Yeah, and then there's the waving a three-foot stick in the general direction of a tiny object and trying not to unseat fellow riders or make tactical errors while, lest we forget, straddling an inherently unstable vehicle that requires to be in more or less perpetual motion to avoid the socially embarassing situation of snorting concrete at high velocity. The ball is a long way down our own notional list of priorites here. Stop-start laps of honour would be attempted by us for managing even to get onto the contraption successfully in the first place. Our respect is due to those with loftier ambitions.
Given the essential individuality of the whole activity we're a little disappointed that this will be a team event, five-a-side to be precise with rotating (spinning, jumping, backrolling...) substitutes and scratch teams may form one or more of the eight to ten squads in the seven hour competition that starts at noon, with arrival no later than 11:30am for competitors, many of whom will apparently be travelling from out of town. Team entry will cost £20 and you must use plastic pedals, not metal ones. Contact the organisers via the details here to get involved.
Picture via soapbeard's Flickr stream.