The International Unicycling Federation (IUF) is the highest recognised international authority for the sport of unicycling. Currently with their headquarters based in Oakland, California, IUF is relatively new as a world governing body. The incorporation was done in 1982 after Jack Halpern, the founder of IUF, visited Japan in 1980 to propose the formation of a unicycling federation. Halpern currently lives in Japan and is best known as a lexicographer specializing in Chinese characters. He has also served as president of IUF and is an active unicyclist. The first US patents filed for a single-wheeled bicycle was done in 1869 and again in 1881. Since the invention of the Penny Farthing, the unicycle has developed into a variety of designs. For example, the ultimate wheel is a seatless unicycle and the tall version is called a ‘giraffe’. From the 1980s more extreme versions developed for mountain trails and for obstacle courses (trials). One of the key annual events IUF oversee is the Unicon, a unicycle convention and world championship. The first one was held in 1984 om Syracuse, New York. Japan was the first international nation to host in 1987.
The sport is experiencing a steady growth and IUF is responsible for the worldwide development, management of events, establishing a code of ethics, managing the national and regional membership, and maintaining the register of world records. IUF oversee 9 disciplines within the sport.
Freestyle – provides the rider an opportunity to use props, music and costumes to entertain the audience through an artistic style of riding
Flatland – anything goes in flatland and the rider does a series of creative and ever-changing performances that highlights their skill and innovation
Street – riders take to the street and perform tricks with the use of railings, stairs, drops and ledges
Trials – riders negotiate a difficult obstacle course like performing hops and riding across rails
Muni – also known as mountain unicycling where riders complete a course down mountain pathways and rocky terrains
Distance – distance racing that can be from 10km to marathon length
Race – involves short-distance racing anything between 100m to 800m on a racing track
Hockey – normally played indoors in small teams
Basketball – much the same as hockey