- A Brief History -
    Unicycles aren't just for clowns anymore. In fact, many people today are learning to love and ride unicycles. From a new medium for extreme sport enthusiasts to a vehicle for commuting, unicycles are becoming an exciting piece of modern culture.
traditional penny farthing
    The origins of the unicycle are most commonly believed to stem from the penny-farthing, one of those big-wheeled bicycles popular in the late 1800s. Considering the penny-farthing was direct drive, meaning the pedals and cranks were connected directly to the wheel hub, riders would notice the rear wheel going up in the air when leaning slightly forward. After a time, people realized they could lose the back wheel and handlebars and just ride using the seat (or saddle) and the large front wheel. The evidence for this is found in pictures of early unicycles, as they often had the large 36 inch wheel like those of a penny-farthing.
    As time passed on, more varieties of this one-wheeled design were invented, featuring unicycles of varying sizes and constructions. Today, a unicycle's wheel size can range from diameters of 12 to 36 inches, with an unbelievably small world record of 16.5 mm (0.64 inches). Apart from the wheel diameter, unicycles also vary in the height of their frames and seatposts. The giraffe unicycle was conceptualized for its significant height, as the seat can be anywhere from 5 feet to 115 feet off the ground, and the rider propels himself using a chain attached to the wheel and raised pedals.
    However, since its assumed birth in the late 1800s, unicycles have ultimately remained unchanged until the the late 1980s, when a group of pioneering sports enthusiasts took unicycles off the stage and into the woods, beginning the advent of extreme unicycling. Like many obscure niche sports, this extreme style of unicycling would not have reached the success it holds today if not for the enthusiastic popularity it had with the public. Due to this support, a number of companies and manufacturers started creating new designs to cater to this rising sport. Sturdier frames and thicker tires were incorporated into unicycles for the popularity of off-road mountain unicycling (termed "MUni"). Before long, people took unicycles to the street and skateparks, developing more styles of riding, such as street and trials. These unicycles are much stronger than a standard unicycle and often have a nubbed tire to withstand the greater stresses of jumping, dropping, and supporting the weight of the unicycle and rider during unicycle trials.
    To showcase varieties of unicycling styles and skills, competitions and events have even been developed.