Not everyone who ventures up to Galbraith Mountain needs both wheels. Bellingham is home to a dedicated and growing group of mountain unicyclists—munis as they like to call themselves. We caught up with Joe Myers, organizer of the Bellingham Muni Weekend to chat about this wild sport.
Mountain unicycling sounds really hard. Is that true?
Most unicyclcists start on smooth surfaces and work progressively through the 10 skill levels. Most people stop at 3. A few people will get as far as 7, but few will go higher than that.
The mountain requires a fairly high skill level, and not many people are able to make it off the blacktop.
Do you pedal up the mountain or carry the unicycle up the mountain?
Some of both. I know a few people who can ride from the parking lot all the way to the top of Evolution trail (the summit of Galbraith Mountain) without stopping.
It’s quite a challenge because you have to account for every root and rock. If you overlook one, you’ll have to step off.
I’ve been told the falls are more . . . thorough . . . than on a traditional mountain bike, but usually happen at a lower speed. Do you think it’s a more dangerous sport?
We might fall more often, but it’s usually less dramatic.
When a mountain biker crashes, they almost always hurt themselves. When a unicycler crashes, the worst that happens is a scraped elbow.
What’s the appeal? Is it fitness or adrenaline or something different?
I guess there’s an adrenaline rush at first, but with enough experience that goes away.
Mostly it’s the challenge. Unicyclers often are the kinds of people who pick a challenge and won’t rest until it’s overcome.
Unicycling takes so much practice that either you like challenges, or you won’t like unicycling.
What do you think the unicycling community needs most?
A forum to gather. That’s why I organize the Muni Weekend. For skilled riders, there are only 6 noteworthy events per year in the whole country. We try to host one here because we have the terrain and the climate for it.
For more pictures from the most recent Bellingham Muni Weekend visit the Bellingham Wins