Supporting and promoting international sport worldwide

Spotlight on Unicycling

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  

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