Wasn’t too keen on getting out of bed at 5.00am, but am glad I did! Along with over 16,000 cyclists and one other unicyclist I participated in the annual Around the Bay in a Day ride in Melbourne.
I’d never ridden in an urban environment, or with another unicyclist or cyclist before today – it took some getting used too! So as not to get in anyone’s way I headed to what I thought was the back of the field prior to the 8.00am start which in practice meant walking for the first 30 minutes of the ride as the streets were clogged due the thousands of riders, many of which were ahead but also now behind.
After what seemed like endless stops at traffic lights (how do city riders put up with the broken rhythm of continual stop and starts!) I finally cleared the city and headed out over the Westgate Bridge. The combination of the 36 wheel and 125mm cranks made short work of the bridge, which is a much gentler climb than many of the offroad tracks around home. Great fun spinning past cyclists on the way up, and then have them fly past on the way down.
Road riding is certainly a differently experience to off road unicycling. On the road there’s not much to do except spin as fast and smoothly as you can, which is enjoyable in its own way and a great opportunity to work on spinning technique. Around the bay is generally flat that’s for sure!
After a brief stop at Williamstown for coffee and snacks with Matt, the only other unicyclist in the ride, the route continued onto Altona, the half way point. A top up with water and food and it was time to head back towards Melbourne. The main feature of the return trip was crossing the Westgate Bridge for the second time, prior to heading back into the congestion and traffic of inner city Melbourne.
In the end the distance was around 53km, in a leisurely ride time of 3 hour, 4o min plus stops. You can view a groovy replay from my Garmin 405 here. For my first road ride things went well. I wouldn’t want to ride in traffic like that everyday but it definitely builds confidence on the unicycle.
The support from cyclists was great! Lots of encouragement and fun conversation – if only they knew riding a big wheel is far easier than it looks! Next year it would be good to give the 100km route a go if they allow unicycles to do so.