Extreme Mountain Unicycling Is as Crazy as It Sounds

As if coming down the side of a mountain on two wheels wasn’t hard enough, thrill-seekers have come up with an even crazier sport – extreme mountain unicycling. Saying this sport is dangerous and difficult is probably a huge understatement.

If you though unicycling was just a goofy pastime, and out previous posts on Cycle Ball and other interesting unicycle sports haven’t changed your mind, this one definitely will. Extreme mountain Unicycling is all about climbing dangerous peaks and then sliding and bunny-hopping all the way down without falling into seemingly-bottomless chasms. Not really my idea of a fun time to be honest, but I have to admit watching the likes of Lutz Eichholz cycling their way down the Dolomite Mountains, in Italy, on one wheel is pretty cool. The young German and his friend Stephanie Dietze garnered the support of Adidas sportswear, who sponsored their trip and provided a professional cameraman to record their unbelievably dangerous feats.

Photo: Markus Greber

26-year-old Eicholz grew up in Germany’s Ruhr area, and started unicycling when he was nine years old. There were no mountains near his home, but together with his friends he started performing all kinds of tricks, and before he knew it he was taking part in one-wheel-riding events around the world. It was during a trip to China that he met expert extreme unicyclist Kris Holm, who introduced him to the sport. “That started me on the extreme unicycling route. It was totally cool. I was in New Zealand and went to the mountains and realized it would be possible, but that it would be difficult. Then in 2010 three friends and I went up the Zugspitze mountain and came down on unicycles,” he told The Local.

Photo: Markus Greber

Extreme mountain unicycling was pioneered during the 1990s, on the West Coast of the United States, and has since then won thousands of fans around the world. “People like the novelty of it,” Wendy Grzych, the president of the Unicycling Society of America,  told the New York Times. “It’s a whole subculture, and a different makeup than your church friends or work buddies.” As you can imagine, there’s a lot of falling involved, but practitioners claim the sport is no more dangerous than mountain biking. “We fall more often than mountain bikers, but we’re going slower so it’s not as bad. The same cliffs are out there,” says unicyclist Hans Van Koppen. But everyone agrees going down the mountain on one wheel is a lot more exhausting than riding a bicycle. “Unicycling is by far much more exercise,” Van Koppen said. “You use every part of your body — arms, legs, stomach, back.”

Photo: Markus Greber

Photo: Markus Greber

 

Photos via ChopMTB


   

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