I don’t know how I let time slip by. Months have passed since I was officially announced as a member of the Kris Holm factory team, yet I haven’t made a single comment about it here. Unacceptable! Am I a team member, or not!? I need to give back to the community more, so it’s finally time to get back to writing about my unicycling adventures. But before I do…today I took my new Kris Holm muni out for its first spin. Let me tell you that story.
Fun fact: I’ve never owned a new, sent-to-my-house, fresh-out-of-the-box muni. So when it came time to assemble my new 27.5” Kris Holm mountain unicycle…there were a few hiccups. For example, I needed to cut the seat-post…but didn’t own a pipe cutter or metal file. But hey, that’s easy enough to fix. A quick run with my friend Emma to Bauhaus (Europe’s version of The Home Depot) solved that right away. Soon my seat-post was acceptably shortened and the rough edges filed down so it would fit into the frame without problems. (Props to Steffi Dietze for teaching me that trick.)
Then it came time to assemble the brake. Actually, you know what, this step went really well. Since Emma was visiting when I was putting it together, she was able to point to the right adaptor and give me a few tips on mounting it. She also was kind enough to “read” the instructions in German. I definitely would not have been able to finish the assembly without that excellent German pronunciation. (Insert a friendly but sarcastic wink here.)
After finishing with the seat-post and brake, I quickly threw on the pedals and pumped up the tire. I used to never remember which threading was which on pedals, but I finally came up with a rule of thumb that always works for me: “right is right.” In other words, the right crank/pedal has the correct threading, i.e., the one you would normally expect. (Righty-tight-y, lefty loose-y.) Then, of course, the left side has the reverse threading. I’m sure there are smarter ways to remember the threading, but this works for me so I’m just gonna stick with it.
For the tire, I was happy to see that the tube placed inside the 3.25-inch-wide Duro Crux tire featured a Presta valve. My old muni ran a Schrader but after using Presta with my bike I’ve really become a fan of the Presta valves. They seem to be more reliable, the lock nut up top prevents air from escaping when you’re not inflating it, and (best of all) my set-up came with an extra lock nut at the bottom of the valve that prevented it from slipping into the rim when I was inflating the almost-empty tube. Gone are the days when I cursed my old muni’s Schrader valve as I tried to force my pump onto the valve, just pushing it further into the rim. Huzzah, and good riddance!
The final stage was to attach my t-bar to the saddle. I’ve ridden with handlebars since my foray to Iceland in 2017, and after switching to them I’ve never looked back. My physical oddities (extremely long back but normal-length arms) coupled with my relatively lower skill level makes riding long distances with no support intolerable. Luckily, my preference for handlebars is aligned with the recommendations on the Kris Holm website for riders with the Fusion One saddle (which I now have). Unfortunately for me, my support plate for my handlebars is not compatible with the new Fusion One, so I’m going to have to either get a new support plate or jury-rig my current one to work. (Let’s be real, I’m probably going to do the latter.) For today’s ride, though, I just left out the support plate and attached the handle directly to the saddle. In hindsight, though, I wouldn’t recommend this. There was a dangerous amount of flex to the set-up when I rode it.
All in all, putting the darn uni together probably took over an hour. But this is often how it goes when I’m working with new gear.
And then it was time to ride. Unfortunately for me, this step was not all rainbows and roses either. I’m never good at switching setups (not enough hours riding in general and too few of them on the same uni), so adding Q-factor, a Fusion One saddle, and a super bouncy tire left me falling off way more than I would have liked. Or perhaps it was the few weeks beforehand where I hadn’t ridden my muni once that caused me to fall so much.
Either way, the ride was a struggle. I felt like I was fighting myself, fighting the uni, fighting gravity, fighting the wind, fighting to hold my frustration at bay, basically fighting everything and everyone. More than once, the thought I should be better flickered through my mind. I fell. I fell. I fell again. And just when I was about to scream my frustration (in words that are really not so polite), I felt something brush the back of my left arm.
A little charm attached to my riding pack. A tassel of yarn, handmade for me by my good friend and fellow unicyclist Liz Wilson. Just like that, my fury disappeared. I don’t need to hold myself to higher standards than I can achieve. My friends acknowledge me for who I am. I’m not someone who can ride the super steep uphill or clear every technical line, but someone who gets up every time she falls. Who has a good time even when a ride isn’t going well.
That is the person I truly want to be. That is the inspiration I want to provide. You don’t need to be an amazing rider, you don’t even need to be half-decent. Just get out there and try. Get up every time you fall. And if sometimes you realize that today is perhaps not your day, don’t go home and put that uni on the shelf. Leave it in front of your door, so you grab it on the way out tomorrow. The falls are just the beginning.
Adventure awaits. Get after it. ❤