You are hereForums / BMORC News / "One is better than two for Blaxland cyclists" - Blue Mountains Gazette

"One is better than two for Blaxland cyclists" - Blue Mountains Gazette

moggio's picture

By moggio - Posted on 16 February 2011

Story in the Blue Mountains Gazette about the local Muni riders, as often witnessed down at Knapsack... good going guys!

As if hauling a regular mountain bike along bush trails was not challenging enough, two Blaxland men decided to ditch a wheel when they tackled a 12-hour endurance race recently.

Charles Hardimon and Robert O’Brien received more than their fair share of sideways looks from fellow competitors when they took on the Jet Black Cycling race at Wisemans Ferry on the their unicycles.
Despite the oppressive heatwave conditions, coupled with the obvious challenge of staying upright on the unpredictable terrain, the duo managed to complete a combined distance of over 100km during the two six-hour blocks of racing.

“The hardest part was probably dealing with the heat, as it was for most of the riders, starting out at 40 degrees and trying to slog it up a two kilometre hill,” said Charles. “It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Charles said it had taken endless patience to master the unusual craft in the five years since he traded in two wheels for one.

“The learning process was long and slow. Kids can pick things up in five minutes but for us it took a bit of time . . . It took us probably three months before we could ride down the driveway without falling off at the crack of the pavement. And then you get to that point and it just clicks and you work towards another goal,” Charles said.

While preferring to call them “un-planned dismounts” rather than crashes, whatever you call them, Charles and Robert have had a few.

“I’ve had ripped hamstrings and broken ankles but they’re usually just cuts and scrapes, bruises,” said Charles.

Despite the more common image of unicyclists partaking in some slapstick under a circus tent, for many mountain unicycling — MUni for short — is serious business.

Charles and Robert credit much of their progress on one-wheel to a visit to the World Unicycle Championships in New Zealand last year.

Many in the Lower Mountains community still have to do a double take when they see the small band of enthusiasts pedalling down the street, with the words crazy and insane often bandied about.

“It’s definitely still a head turner,” said Charles. “You ride down the street and people stop and wonder what you’re up to.”

Far from deterred by the arduous race, there are already plans for further endurance efforts down the track with a return to the Jet Black Cycling event pencilled in for next year.

Best Mountain Bike