- Bicycle Culture by Design: new zealand

The 15th World Unicycle Championships are taking place in Wellington, New Zealand at the moment. It’s not everyday unicycle races feature on the main news websites here in Denmark, but Danes have harvested medals, so it featured. It’s a slow sports news period here around christmas and new years, too, but hey.Personally, my relationship to unicycles is the same as to… say… recumbents. I know people do it and enjoy doing it, but I don’t get it. I put it into my “variety is the spice of bicycle culture” box and leave it at that.

I know little of unicyle events. Apparently they compete in a wild mix of events and disciplines. Artistic Freestyle, MUni (mountain-unicycling), Street, Track and Field, Unicycle Hockey and Basketball, Road Racing, Slow Riding, Downhill Gliding, etc.

In Wellington there was Danish gold in men's downhill gliding [fastest one down a hill with no feet on the pedals] and bronze in the women's race.

The event that appeals the most - as the founder of The Slow Bicycle Movement - is the slow unicycle race - backwards and forwards. In Wellington, the Danish ladies dominated this event. Five of the first six places were Danes.

In the 10 m. slow unicycle race [forwards] Germany took gold and Denmark took silver and bronze.In the 10 m. backwards race Denmark took gold and bronze. Signe Jensen, who won the silver and gold respectively set new national records in both disciplines. 10 m. forwards was unicycled in 55.69 sec. while backwards 10 m. was a bit quicker at 41.47 sec.There were other Danish medals won, too. Apparently. Which is nice. I just think it's wild to discover that A. There is a world championship for unicycling and B. There are so many different events.

I have several thousand photos of all aspects of bicycle culture but a quick search for 'unicycle' came up with only one photo. Come to think of it there's one kid in our neighbourhood whom rides around on a unicycle but it's rare that I see any. Kind of like recumbents. They've never hit it off in Denmark either. Although I'm sure they have races somewhere, too.

Here's the link to the World Championship website.

Hmm. Just wondered how many other sports events there are out there that I've never heard of or rarely hear of. Danish ice sailers are out in force now that the temperatures are below freezing every day and the lakes of the nation are frozen. It's been a few years since we've seen them, what with our global warming winters of late.

How many of our American readers have seen their national cricket team play? Or that they call their leader a 'president' because John Adams said in Congress that if leaders of cricket clubs could be called "presidents", there was no reason why the leader of the new nation could not be called the same? Stump your English chums by asking who played the first International Test Match in cricket history. Answer. That one has won me many a pint. Use it freely and wisely.

Five-pin bowling? Been around since 1909 but Canada is the only country where it's still played. [Makes it tricky to have a World Championship].

And what of Kabaddi, popular in India? Cool sport in need of global exposure. And let's not forget the traditional Inuit events which feature in the Arctic Winter Games.

Hmm. I'm rambling. I am sooo not ready to get back to work tomorrow.

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