February 23, 2000
New officer The Unicycling Society of America's "new" Vice-President is
Andy Cotter. Andy was the VP until last September 30 and has graciously
agreed to take on these duties for the rest of the year.
Unicon X update
Great news! The Unicon X website is now live at
(Andy Cotter - International Unicycle Federation, Technical Consultant
Unicon X: The Tenth World Unicycling Championship and Convention is
happening August 1 through 8, 2000, in Beijing, China.
In working closely with the sponsors and organizers of Unicon X, we are
impressed with the effort and planning that have already been put into
this convention. It promises to be an exceptional event!
The opportunity to attend Unicon comes up only every two years. And
Unicon has never before been hosted by the People's Republic of China.
The eight days will be filled with all the Unicon events-races, standard
skill, freestyle, pairs, coasting, ultimate wheel, relay, MUni, marathon,
and unicycle basketball and unicycle hockey tournaments. There also will
be plenty of open gym time, and plenty of time to meet people and share
skills and information.
Plus, the organizers of Unicon are setting up many optional tours and
special events for participants. Can you picture yourself riding your
unicycle on the Great Wall of China? Or possibly riding in world-famous
Tiananmen Square? The only way you can hope to make this happen is to be
We encourage you to join us and over 700 other unicycle enthusiasts from
all over the world who will visit China this summer for Unicon.
Much of the information you need to plan your trip is available at
http://www.unicycling.org/iuf/unicon10/ And keep in mind that it's a good
idea to tack a few extra days onto your trip if you can. There are plenty
of things to see and do in the fascinating city of Beijing or in other
areas of China!
If you have any questions, please send them to the official (English) UNICON X
e-mail center at: UniconX@Gilby.com
For all the details including the schedule, registration form, and FAQ,
make sure you check out the Unicon X website:
Check back often, as there will be many updates as more information is
We look forward to seeing you at Unicon X!
-International Unicon X Organizing Team
P.S. Please spread the word about the Unicon X and the website.
What USA could really use is a "Club" or "Affiliate" coordinator. Someone
whose job is to gather and provide information so unicycle clubs can learn
from each other and flourish.
(John Foss, President, Unicycling Society of America)
USA should have a booklet with information on clubs and promotion.
And another book on teaching.
And another book on convention hosting.
Anyone want to get involved in this?
Review of 1999 National Unicycle Convention videos by John Foss
NUC 99 is the third NUC to have a commercial video, and this is the best one
so far. It cannot rival professionally produced videos costing thousands of
dollars more to produce (and no unicycles), but it's very good for the
budget under which it was made.
The occasional use of two different cameras on a performance, interesting
editing, split screen effects and other computer-generated special effects
make the videos fun to watch. The camerawork is clean and steady. The
overhead camera angle in the Public Show video is a little strange, but
offers views of some details that you might have missed if you were there
live. Especially the pizza cutter unicycle in the pizza! That pizza was
good, by the way.
The "Convention" video has highlights from everything, including the Pairs
competitions in the Public show. I believe it covers all of the events in
the order that they took place. Parade is covered, I think showing all the
groups. Then Standard Skill, with highlights of age group competition
followed by parts of the various Expert routines. Jr. Expert and Expert
Pairs Freestyle is next, from the Public Show stage. Then back to the gym
for Individual Freestyle and age group Pairs. Much of this is done in split
screen, so you can watch two riders at once. That's a great way to show a
lot of riders without boring the average viewer to death. Then Group
Freestyle and Club Show, including most or all of the amazing Wizard of Oz
performance by Panther Pride. This was a NUC 99 highlight, not to be missed!
Then we're on the track, with lots of interesting shots of the various
races, including some Obstacle Course, Slow, High Jump and Long Jump.
There's a few good crashes in there too. Then there are the MUni events,
with some coverage of our first-ever Observed Trials competition, and the
big downhill race. The cameras were set up in one of the hardest sections of
the course, so you could see a lot of examples of how to ride the hard
stuff, or how not to. Finally, a little bit of the awards presentation at
On to the Public Show video. That's what you get, basically the whole show,
with the omission of the emcees. It's a great video to watch if you're only
interested in artistic and don't care about racing or other stuff.
All of the Jr Expert and Expert Pairs Freestyle performances are there in
their entirety (including the music). The camerawork is steady and clear.
There was a lot of great talent in that show, and it's all here. This
includes Lars Lottrup being eaten by a balloon, which was the funniest thing
I've seen at a unicycle convention since Sem Abrahams and Frank Birdsall did
a crazy Pairs performance in 1984!
Overall, these are the best unicycle convention videos I have seen. Though
I would have liked to have the original music on the Convention freestyle
performances, and the Public Show performers deserved to have their names
announced and listed, these videos were produced on a shoestring budget and
with volunteer help. Until better ones come along, these are the best
examples you can use to see, or show, what goes on at a USA National
Unicycle Convention. And of course no collection is complete without buying
You can order them from the USA web site:
National Unicycle Convention (NUC) 2000 July 20-23 at Adrian College,
Adrian, Michigan. A registration form will soon be available in ON ONE
WHEEL. For more information, visit www.rtuc.org
Yes it is coming! Make your plans now to attend.
Some notes and comments (by John Foss, President, Unicycling Society of
Q: Why is "Michigan weather" getting so much attention? What makes Michigan
weather so different that the schedule must vary from the previous two
the track events held first at other conventions?
A: Michigan is known for sudden changes in weather, and a notorious
difficulty of accurate predictions in certain conditions. The variance in
schedule is a return to the "traditional" order of events from past years.
Because racing takes place outdoors and artistic indoors, it's safer to schedule
racing first. In the event of rain the schedule can then be switched around.
Also the artistic events provide a much better climax to the showing of
talent at NUC, and provide a better situation for non-competitors to rest.
Though having the races last can afford artistic competitors more of a
chance to go all-out with less fear of injury, having the races first makes
those same riders ride more "responsibly", and possibly reduces the incidence
A: The advantage to dorms is that they're usually lots cheaper than hotel
rooms. In combination with a campus meal plan, they also don't require a car
for the duration of the convention.
Q: Do several rooms share one bathroom with shower?
A: Yes, though I don't remember the details in Adrian. It's one of the
drawbacks of saving all that money.
Q: Is there a motel/hotel available for convention attendees to stay?
A: Unfortunately not, but that was not the hosts' intention. The hosts were
stuck with a very limited choice of weekends due to our tradition of not
overlapping with the IJA or UNICON, as well as what the college had
available. This left us stuck with the weekend of the Michigan 500 race at
the nearby Michigan International Speedway. This is a major sporting event,
and all hotels within 50 miles seem to be fully booked! USA conventions were
pretty much dorm-based up until 1990 or so, so though it's a minor hardship
for the luxury-minded, it makes the convention more affordable for many.
Q: What's Adrian like?
A: Adrian is a small town, and I thought it was very nice. The thing I
remember most about Adrian was leaving my fanny pack out on the tennis court
all night, with a camera and maybe even my wallet in it. The next day, it
was still right where I'd left it.
Q How many riders do you expect?
A: I think there were about 200 riders in '93, which was average for the
period. I would take a guess at 225-275 this year. Having NUC on the West
coast two years in a row was unprecented in the history of the USA. It
hardly ever left the Midwest before, so we have no basis for comparison. We
got surprisingly large numbers, especially in WA, but most of those riders
probably can't afford the trip to Michigan and vice-versa.
Q: How will the 2000 NUC compare to the ones in 1998 and 1999?
A: The last two conventions were different in several ways from the
"traditional" ones that preceded them. For example in Monrovia we had a
beautiful mountainous background (with a MUni race on it), super-hot
temperatures, and smog. In '99 we had an even more beautiful mountainous
background (or maybe we could just see it better?), a ski resort, and the
only dirt track we've ever raced on at a NUC. RTUC and the Wood One
Wheelers with their combined management have held more Nationals than anyone
(9), so they have the weight of precedent behind them. This convention will
be more like the previous ones. The lack of hotels will definitely be a
hardship for some, and I sure hope there are lots and lots of dorm rooms to
accommodate all of us!"
One of the sponsors of the National Unicycle Convention 2000, Redford
township Unicycle Club www.rtuc.org is looking for someone to lend a high
speed computer printer (Windows-based) to be used onsite during the NUC2000.
It would be used to keep
everyone informed as the convention progresses.