Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Juggling store is "serious" about unicycles

Posted by on January 31st, 2007 at 8:21 am

[This Torker Unistar will set
you back $85-105.]

Reader Ben Schoenberg wrote me yesterday to tell me about Serious Juggling.

Besides all manner of juggling paraphernalia, the Northeast Portland store (and online shop) has a big selection of unicycles.

Ben says they’ve sold unicycles for 10 years now and that they can special order anything your unicycling heart desires.

Think only clowns unicycle? Not in Portland. According to Ben,

“Unicycling is growing in Portland as a fun way to commute or go trail riding. There was even a group that did Bridge Pedal last year.”

Believe it or not, there’s a unicycle class at the Cross Crusade and they’re even great for kids.

At the Worst Day of the Year Ride last year I met a pair of seventh-graders who were gearing up for a one-wheeled ride across Oregon. And there was a cool-looking guy atop a uni’ at the Tour de Fat parade last June. Check them out:

Worse Day of the Year Ride

I’ve tried it a few times, but still can’t seem to get the hang of it.

Check out Serious Juggling at their new location in Hollywood (1532 NE 37th Ave.) and get your uni’ on.

Update: A commenter reminded me of unicycle jousting at last year’s Bike Fair. Check it out:

Mult. County Bike Fair!

More unicycle jousting photos here.

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  • Dabby January 31, 2007 at 9:53 am

    I hope the new legislation is including unicycles, as they are the same as a fixed gear, just one less wheel. And there is actually less of a braking “mechanism” than there is on a fixie…..

    On another note, I have ridden off road with unicyclists, and while I will not switch from two wheels to one anytime soon, it takes a lot of skill to ride one off road, or anywhere for that matter.

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  • Paolo January 31, 2007 at 10:03 am

    I saw many kids on unicycles at the junior rose parade on Sandy last year, there were close to ten different groups and some were riding the tall ones, it was amazing.

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  • JayS, January 31, 2007 at 10:06 am

    I saw the same thing two years ago. I have to find one of those groups for my daughter.


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  • MJ January 31, 2007 at 10:20 am

    Unicycles Represent!

    Yeah Serious Juggling is great, pretty much any unicycle you see on http://unicycle.com you can order via Serious Juggling and NOT pay the shipping.

    I’ve been riding for about 2 years and over the past year have found more and more unicyclists. We’ve actually formed a mailing list and have rides (both on and off road) regularly.

    The group is called ‘OneTireFlyer’ and the list is found: http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/onetireflyer

    A website is on the way which will list great rides around Portland and other Unicycle bits.

    I really think unicycles are gonna become more common around P-town.

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  • Scout January 31, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    I was repeatedly passed by unicyclists on STP. They whooped my butt!

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  • organic brian January 31, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Hee-hee… unicycle jousting:

    Action from the Multnomah County Bike Fair

    on youtube

    more on Flickr

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  • Dan Porter February 1, 2007 at 3:52 am

    Don’t forget about Uni-cross. There is a full division dedicated to uni’s at the cross crusade which I believe hosted the first annual WORLD unic-cross championship this past fall!

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  • J-On-Bike February 1, 2007 at 11:16 am

    Is riding a unicycle like riding with your hands-off the handlebar? Or does the fixed-gear aspect greatly change that balance? Are unicycles allowed on sidewalks?

    I saw guy on a unicycle going down NE B’way – it looked like he had just gone grocery shopping.

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  • Dabby February 1, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Depending on how you look at it, technically unicycles are illegal to ride anywhere in the city, just like fixed gears.
    It is the gray area of whether they are considered bicycles, or whether they slide by as scooters and skateboards, and fruit boots (roller blades) do, under the radar.
    A parent can take a child out into the public on their first, or even second bike, which would of course not meet the braking requirements, or even on their skateboard, and feel confident somehow about it.
    Whether on the sidewalk out of downtown, or on the street, none of these, including unicycles, fulfill the ludicrous bicycle braking ordinance we are forced to abide by.

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  • MJ February 1, 2007 at 1:00 pm


    It’s kinda like riding w/no hands as far as the posture goes, however it *alot* harder. I think riding a fixed gear would help because it promotes being in harmony with the wheel and using it (forwards/back) to your advantage.


    How did you conclude “technically unicycles are illegal to ride anywhere in the city”?

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  • Dabby February 1, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    The logical answer to your question to me is, and I am amazed that you do not even see it;
    A unicycle is considered a bicycle, right?

    The brake on a fixed gear is considered, at least for now, to be illegal.
    The brake on a fixed gear actually has a “mechanical function” that causes you to stop.
    The “brake” on a unicycle is composed of even less, or no mechanical parts. (besides bearings and axle mounted crank arms)
    You stop by pedaling backwards, just like on a fixed gear, right?
    But, the chances of actually skidding, or breaking traction, as the braking ordinances require, are even less likely on a unicycle than on a fixed gear.
    This clearly shows that a unicycle, due to the braking ordinance, does not meet the braking requirements anymore, or even as much as, a fixed gear bicycle.
    Therefore, logically, rendering the unicycle technically illegal to ride.
    Got it?

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  • Dabby February 1, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    And by the way,
    My stating this is not being negative, but just another attempt to further point out the need for change in our ” braking” ordinance, for, as you read above, the problem can be applied to much more than just fixed gear bicycles.

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  • Carl February 1, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    “A unicycle is considered a bicycle, right?”

    I’m not so sure that it is, Dabby. Does anyone know? My neighbor and I had this discussion last night after watching a unicyclist careen down our street. I’d be surprised if they weren’t in the same weird limbo as skateboards, scooters, rollerblades…

    Perhaps the owner of this shop knows?

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  • MJ February 1, 2007 at 3:14 pm


    No, I would not consider a unicycle a bicycle. I’m sure the definition of a bicycle is out on the web somewhere we should examine it.

    Yes, I agree the braking mechanism on a unicycle is like that of a fixed gear however, there is no skid-stopping a unicycle if you tried the only thing that would be skidding is your face when you stopped pedaling and got launched foward.

    BTW: Some unicycles do have brakes. They help save your knees on long steep decents.


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  • organic brian February 1, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Hey, there’s no reason to speculate and debate when the law is so accessible. ODOT has created a doc that sums up bike/ped statutes, and it’s posted on their site:

    Also, the full statutes are here but distributed among several chapters:

    Technically, a unicycle is a “bicycle” if it has a wheel larger than 14″ in diameter. Oddly, a four-wheeled pedal cycle would not be a “bicycle” according to this, but a three-wheeled cycle would be:

    801.150 “Bicycle.” “Bicycle” means a vehicle that:
    (1) Is designed to be operated on the ground on wheels;
    (2) Has a seat or saddle for use of the rider;
    (3) Is designed to travel with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground;
    (4) Is propelled exclusively by human power; and
    (5) Has every wheel more than 14 inches in diameter or two tandem wheels either of which is more than 14 inches in diameter. [1983 c.338 §22]

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  • Dabby February 1, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    Well MJ,
    I really was not asking if you considered a unicycle a bicyle.
    I already know it is a bicycle, which is proven by the wording of the statute above.

    And, since in your own wording, a unicycle without a mechanical brake is impossible to skid, makes them very illegal. (I of course know some unicycles have brakes, I have ridden one.)
    They would not even be considered legal if a new ordinance was worded to include a fixed gear drive train, as was done in Washington DC.
    My point of all this was to say that if we had a proper braking ordinance, that properly dealt with bicycle braking instead of car braking, the unicycles and fixed gears would be legal to ride, as they should be.
    Thank you for helping prove my point though……

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  • Lilly (age 12) March 23, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I would love to join a uni hockey muni, b ball on wheel, or jousting!

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