Unicycle “fun” ride – “Scalisis’s Death Ride” – geared 36″ unicycle.

Logbook, Unicycling

Last Saturday we did “Scalisis’s Death Ride” — a 57 mile ride with 5000’ish feet of climbing. We started at Tom Holub’s house, rode 30’ish miles to the base of Mount Diablo, and then climbed to the top of Mt Diablo (3,849′). The ride started out with six people, but it ended up with just three of us on geared unicycles. Tom on his geared KH 29’er, Mike on his geared Nimbus 36’er with the older Schlumpf road hub and myself on my geared 36’er with the KH Schlumpf hub.

This was the first long distance ride on my Nimbus 36 with a the KH geared muni hub. The geared 36 is an amazing unicycle. I can cruise at 15 mph on flat ground with no effort. I can do sprints at a sustained faster pace (I’d say 17mph, but I haven’t tested that out). I can descend at a madding pace — 21-22 MPH sustained, if it is a smooth light downhill and I’m really paying attention. Going down Mt Daiblo I was averaging 17-18 mph (which is pretty fast down that hill), and slowing down to about 16 mph for the corners (which have a 15 mph speed limit sign for cars). My top speed of the day was about 24.3 mph — and I wasn’t particularly trying to go fast, it was just a speed I hit while going down a hill. All with 150 mm dual drill KH cranks.

The geared unicycle adds more comfort to my riding. With 150mm cranks I have the power to eat up hills, but maintain a comfortable cadence while in high gear. Since my legs are doing less up and down motion, I find that I get less leg pain — especially when at higher speeds, which would sometimes cause my right leg to ache. My bottom felt a little better than usual after such a long ride; the additional force required to move the wheel actually helps relieve pressure from your butt.

Things I noticed: Tom was faster going up Mt Diablo with his geared 29’er / 125mm cranks. The 29’er is really a better machine for such a steep climb. I could go faster on the flats/descents — but that may also be do to my riding style. Learning to shift is essential; I’m getting fairly proficient at it, and hit the shift within a few tries. I generally shift at 10 mph (up or down). We were in geared up mode most of the day, except for a few hills that required shifting.

A brake is really required for a geared 36’er (but Mike survived without one). Mike has the older Schlumpf hub, and it isn’t as wide as the muni hub. The wheel has a significant amount of play due to the hub not being sufficiently wide enough, and it will be hard for him to get a brake that doesn’t rub. The KH hub does NOT have this problem. I should also mention that Tom does really well on his guni 29’er without a brake, but he’s also a really strong rider.

Problems: my right crank kept getting loose. I torqued it up to 30 ft/pounds the next night, and hopefully that will help resolve that problem.

For those that are curious, here is the route:

First half:


Second half:




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