One with her unicycle

Photo: Ken Looi,

When taking her unicycle out for a spin, Dr Genevieve Nawrot of Rutherford Dental in New South Wales thinks nothing of pedalling 80 or 90 kilometres. By Frank Leggett

“Each year, a Sydney to Wollongong bike ride raises money to fight MS. I put together a team of unicycles but we were unsure if we would be welcomed. The organisers said unicycles are allowed but not recommended so we figured, no worries! We raised over $2000 for the charity.

“During this time I was also preparing for a 750km two-week unicycle tour around the South Island of New Zealand. After the Sydney to Wollongong ride, I had been training for about four months. I had done much longer rides than the MS charity event, though nothing quite as hilly. It took us just over five hours to roll into Wollongong.NE WI

“I started unicycling after signing up for circus skills as a school sport. Learning to ride a unicycle isn’t easy. You have to try, fall off, try again, fall off and keep repeating until you eventually get it.

“In my final year at uni I purchased my first good unicycle. It’s a bit like riding a bike from Kmart then upgrading to a racing bike. I started covering greater distances and kept purchasing more unicycles. I have quite a collection now.

“I contacted other unicyclists through the internet and now we’re an unofficial Newcastle unicycle group. There are only four main members but we have other tag-alongs. There’s a 90km loop that goes around Lake Macquarie that we’re planning to undertake soon.

“The unicycle I ride for commuting has a 29-inch wheel—it’s like a standard mountain bike wheel. I also have a 36-inch wheel that’s really tall. The seat comes up to my chest. It’s a great unicycle for long-distance events as the 36 will go further with every pedal rotation. However, if you hit a hill, it’s very hard to maintain your pace.

“Unicycling is more of a challenge than two-wheel biking and I’ve met lots of interesting people from different parts of the world doing it. There are also different facets to the sport—you can do trails unicycling, you can do tricks, you can go mountain unicycling or you can ride long distances. And a unicycle fits easily in a car boot.

“The only negative is passersby who shout, ‘Where’s your other wheel?’ I’ve only heard that about 600 times.”

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