Featured Org: Mac UNI

By Tressa Versteeg

Formed only a month ago, Mac UNI is a student org fresh out of the gates. The Mac Weekly sat down with one of these unicyclists, Lloyd Vogel ’11, to see what the new organization is all about.The Mac Weekly: Why was Mac UNI started?
Lloyd Vogel: I’ve unicycled for about six years. I hadn’t unicycled for a while, but this summer rejuvenated my desire to unicycle. I knew that a good friend of mine, Leif Johnson ’11, also unicycles and that he did some off-road unicycling and so we went out for a few rides. And I also knew a friend of mine from high school, Keith Armstrong ’12 unicycled because we used to unicycle together. The three of us got together and said, you know what, let’s go for rides and start a club.

We’ve been going for rides every weekend at Battle Creek Park in East St. Paul and at some of the local skate parks. We meet Mondays at nine, by the ‘Nard, and from there we sometimes just go up to the field house and just unicycle in circles but sometimes we go around Macalester. We also have a facebook group with some sweet albums of us just ripping it up at Battle Creek.

TMW: How many members do you have?
LV: We have over a dozen members. For our weekend rides, we have four or five people. It’s a good number of people for rides. We currently have the problem of not having enough unicycles. A lot of people have unicycles, but it’s not one of those things that when you’re packing away for college you say, “Hey Mom, I need to bring my unicycle.” That isn’t the most normal reaction. It was my reaction, but we have a lot of people who want to learn how to unicycle and don’t have unicycles, and a lot of people who do unicycle, but just don’t have theirs here. Fortunately, I have five unicycles, and I brought four of them. We’re definitely a club you’ll be hearing more about.

We also have connections with TCUC, Twin Cities Unicycle Club, one of the largest unicycle clubs in the world. It has a handful of professional unicyclists that are all really baller.

TMW: What is main difference between off-roading and street riding?
LV: Off-road unicycling usually involves a 24-inch wheel, which has a thicker tire and sturdier frame, so it can travel larger distances faster and go over rough terrain. Off-road unicycling doesn’t really involve anything besides jumping. Street riding is mostly done in urban areas, done with a 20-inch wheel, which is smaller, but its lighter and you’re able to jump higher, do spins on it, do drives on it. Basically if you’ve seen extreme skateboarding or BMX, picture that but on a unicycle. There’s a lot of similar stuff to BMX.

TMW: Do you have any events coming up?
LV:?We’re doing some stuff with Mac Bike. We are joining in a race with the Beast, the St. Thomas bike club. Our two wheeled friends can go fast and do it quickly, while we will go slowly. There will be some riding, some trick competition. We do rides every single weekend-every Saturday morning we jump on the 63 and go somewhere.

TMW: Is unicycling dangerous?
LV: Unicycling is extremely dangerous. If you want to have children, like really want to have children, you probably shouldn’t unicycle.

TMW: Really?
LV: Just kidding. It’s not that hard to learn. And once you learn you can do any kind you want-street riding, trials, free style, off-roading. There are a lot of types of riding.

TMW: Anything you would like to ad?
LV:?You don’t have to know how to ride. Just come to our meetings and we’ll have unicycles there and people willing to teach you. I do a lot of street riding and Leif does a lot of off-road unicycling, also known as muni riding, like mountain unicycling.

We’re very inclusive; we’re very nice people. We like people who don’t know how to unicycle and who do know how to unicycle, but it’s still really fun. And we’ll find a way to get you a unicycle. Hopefully we’ll get some funding eventually.