It’s bad enough cycling through London on two wheels, imagine doing it on one!

Tonight I saw a man commuting on a huge giant UNICYCLE!

It was dark and I got the fright of my life when I spied him coming around Spur Road, near Birdcage Walk. The route here is not very well lit and it was hard to make out this "thing" coming towards me, especially as the unicyclist was sitting up very tall, way above the traffic, so he didn’t look like a normal cyclist. He was going at a relatively good speed, but his movements were kind of jerky, which really confused my brain. It was only when he was literally a metre or so in front of me that I realised what he was riding. How funny he looked!

As it turns out, I followed him all the way to Hyde Park Corner, although he took the road along Constitution Hill while I opted for the cycle path. He had no brakes, so every time he had to stop at traffic lights he had to find something to hang onto (usually the traffic lights themselves). And while he had a headlight strapped to his forehead, he had no reflectors or rear light which meant he was pretty hard to see from behind. Perfectly illegal, I’m sure.

He was a bit of a conversation point though. You could see all the cyclists eyeing him up and shaking their heads in disbelief whenever they saw him. One chap started a conversation with him at the lights, only bits of which I could hear, because there was a woman behind me exclaiming to her friend "How does he stop? He doesn’t have any brakes!"

I have a feeling he muttered something about "being in the circus"… but I could be wrong.

Total distance: 12.68 miles | Ride time: 1hr, 18min and 57sec | Average speed: 10.19mph | Top speed: 19.7mph


3 thoughts on “It’s bad enough cycling through London on two wheels, imagine doing it on one!

  1. Unicycles don’t need brakes–they’re a fixed wheel.
    In his book “Mental Speed Bumps: The Smarter Way to Tame Traffic” David Engwicht talks about how intrigue and mystery helps to slow down traffic. Being something a bit odd, other people around can’t automatically process the presence of a unicyclist, so they’ve got to actively think about/give attention to it and in doing so they slow down.
    So on the one hand, good on him for being a mental speed bump, but then he really should have been better lit (and therefore more visible) to give the effect more clout.


  2. Treadly, whoops, of course they don’t have brakes, I guess what I should have said is that he had nothing to stabilise him when he was stopped — it’s not like he could put his foot down or anything he was seated that far off the ground! 😉


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