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Velo-City: Perth » hot news » Extreme unicyclist and philosopher Kris Holm

Extreme unicyclist and philosopher Kris Holm

Bicycling can be challenging, but why not up the ante by taking away one of the wheels and careening headlong down a steep, unstable mountainside? This seems to be the theory behind Mountainbike Unicycling, or Muni as it’s sometimes known. And why do they make it so hard?

Yesterday Kris Holm, a pioneer of mountain and trials unicycling and is the founder of competitive unicycle trials, explained his fascination with the sport at FEAT (Fascinating Expedition and Adventure Talks – the TED talks of the outdoor world).

“It’s the question I get asked most often .. but do mountainbikers want an engine, did snowboarders forget their other ski?” said Kris, adding “it’s a very human objective to place obstacles in your path.”

He said part of the attraction was the simplicity, which he finds compelling.

“But more importantly, it’s knowing that hard things are worth doing and they do require persistence and with that persistence if you have it and push through the sky’s the limit.”

Although his main interest is independent, exploratory riding, which has taken him down mountains across the Americas as well as more regions in Bhutan and Mongolia, Kris has also starred in some legendary videos of urban and XC unicycling near his home in Vancouver, British Columbia.

He describes how he got into the sport at age 12 because he played the violin, and one day saw a street performer playing the violin while riding a unicycle and so he decided to follow suit and was immediately hooked.

For a rider who is so gung-ho when mounted, Kris is a remarkably relaxed, funny and humble person off the bike and really makes you believe, for an instant, that you too could charge down the side of a volcano on a unicycle without killing yourself.

“Persistence is the key. It’s not about brilliance or some talent, it’s just bloody- mindedness, doing it over and over until you get it,” he said.

And his other life lesson? After facing potentially fatal situations on the side of a mountain, other things that come up in life are much easier to deal with.

“When you’re doing other stuff in life, it’s kind of comforting that at least you’re not going to physically die.”

For more about Kris Holm, visit his website or you might want to check out another professional Muni from Europe, Lutz Eichholz, who describes himself as a unicyclist and urban planner – although the mind boggles at what his idea of a bike path might be.  Here’s  the video of Lutz unicycling down the side of the Dolomites.

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