Events Reports

Simon Berry’s 2016 Part 3

Last time on the blog, we’d just broken our own world record, and Mike and myself had left Team Voodoo to concentrate on new projects. We pick up just a couple of days after that!

Qatar, The Magical Festival Village

Just two days after performing at Sport Relief, Sam Goodburn, who i’m sure you know, came to stay with me in London after having flown back from 5 weeks performing in Asia. He was just to stay for a night or two as he had commitments at home, and I had multiple university deadlines. But no good story starts with two young people being responsible, does it?

After Sam’s first night at my place, he woke up to a call from a stressed-out Romanian Magician, who had added him on Facebook the previous evening. He was searching for performers for a month of parades and shows, starting TOMORROW.

We said maybe, noncommittally, assuming that arrangements would fall through, as so often happens with last minute booking.

This time, however, that was not the case, and just a few hours later we were on the next available flight to Qatar. We had so little time to prepare that I ended up hopping on the tube to the nearest shopping centre to buy new clothes and underwear, as I wouldn’t have had time to wash my clothes…

What event were we performing at? We didn’t know.

Why hadn’t the organisers found talent sooner? We didn’t know.

What would our mothers think to such reckless decision making? We didn’t know.

Was this strange magician really some sort of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-esque child catcher? We just didn’t know.

After arriving at Hamad international airport, relaxed from the plane’s free beer, we were met by Cezar, the Magician. (Disclaimer: Cezar is not in fact a child catcher. He’s a cool person and a great performer!) We were taken straight to the hotel, but didn’t have time to rest, as the first day of performances was due to start in just a couple of hours!

We met our fellow performers; an international group from Romania, Italy, Germany, the USA, and UK. From then on, the format was less spontaneous, but still great fun. We did a parade 2-3 times a day, as well as 1 or 2 shows. The event itself was a new venue that had just been launched, and targeted local families. This was a contrast to my last trip to Qatar where I had been performing at the very westernized Qatar Open Tennis Tournament. The attendees had certainly never seen unicycles before, let alone a parade full of unicyclists, stilt walkers, jugglers and dancers!

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We were performing 6 days per week, which was intense, but managed to have some great experiences on our days off! The highlight for me was riding quad bikes in the Qatari desert, before relaxing on a beach overlooking the Persian Gulf, just a few miles from the Saudi border.

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I had to fly back after 2 weeks as I had an essay deadline and a French oral exam. (Thankfully i did well in both, despite the trip getting in the way!) Sam stayed for the rest of the month and I was replaced by Esther, Sam’s performance partner who specialises in Cyr Wheel!

 

New Impact Unicycle!

After just over 2 weeks of riding all day, every day, my unicycle was looking and feeling a bit worse for wear. Usually, I end up replacing individual parts as I break them, so never get the Boy-who-got-a-nintendo-64-on-Christmas-day levels of excitement.

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This time though, as so much of my unicycle was dying, I phoned unicycle.com and they helped hook me up with a brand new Impact Gravity Unicycle! Thanks guys!

At first, I customised it with my Carbon Fibre seat and Kris Holm Cranks, but have since changed the cranks for brand new Impact Groovys which feel AMAZING.

 

Officially ‘Officially Amazing’, again!

Last Summer, Mike Taylor and myself were invited back to CBBC’s Officially Amazing to attempt to break another world record on TV!  This time, were were battling head to head to beat the record for then 100m unicycle hurdles!

Lutz Eicholz, a well known KH Sponsored rider from Germany held the record at 1:46.44, so Mike and I were trying to beat that time, as well as going head to head to be THE fastest. Click on Simon Below to see what happened.

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It was a great day of filming, and as you can see it was so close! Some of our new projects involve myself and Mike working as a duo a lot, so we hope you enjoyed the formula!

 

The Westminster Mile

At the end of May, Flatland BMXer Keelan Phillips called me in for another show as he wasn’t able to, having injured himself beforehand. I spent the day riding flatland and giving riding workshops with two flatland BMXers at the Westminster Mile Vitality run! As it was a sports event, everyone was very keen to watch, and even more excited to have a go!

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That’s all for now! Stay tuned for Part 4 where Mike Taylor and myself have a very special announcement!

Simon Berry’s 2016 Part 2

We asked our friend Simon Berry what he has been up to recently in his unicycle life.  He has been very busy as part of Voodoo and with his budding TV career!

Officially ‘Officially Amazing!’!

Although technically we did this in 2015, it was only broadcast in March! In late Summer 2015, Mike, Rob, Jason and Myself traveled up to Sheffield to film for CBBC’s Officially Amazing, a show which features a wide variety of world record attempts from across the world!

Our attempt was for the 4x50m hurdles relay. This had never been done before so all we had to do was beat an arbitrary time set by Guinness, based on Lutz Eicholz’ standing 100m hurdles record! The show makes much more interesting viewing if I don’t tell you what happens, so here it is! Click on Team Voodoo Below to see the video.

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The Extreme Mountain Bike Show

Again in March, I was asked by British Bike Trials legend Danny Butler to come and do a demo for his team, ‘The Extreme Mountain Bike Show’. It was short notice and a massive hassle to get to Manchester in time, but no good things are easy, are they?

I woke up the next day at 4am, took the night bus to the train station and hopped on the first train from London to Manchester! From there Joe Oakley, ex-world champion picked me up and we headed to Manchester Communications Academy to do some demos as part of a launch event for the school’s new mountain bike track. Unfortunately, as the gig was at a school I couldn’t film and take pictures much, but here’s a couple from the day!

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It was a great day and a great event. It’s comforting to see cycling being adopted by so many local authorities to get kids active! Combining trials biking and unicycling also made for a really cool performance, look out for more of myself and The Extreme Mountain Bike Show over the Summer months!

 

Sport Relief 2016

On the 20th of March, Sport Relief invited Voodoo back for yet another year to perform!

Sport Relief is an amazing opportunity to use sport as a catalyst for raising funds and awareness for those in poverty around the world.

This year, we were challenged with breaking our recently set world record, in front of a live audience at the Sport Relief Games! The atmosphere on the day was great and we had amazing support from the crowd, leading us to shave ~10 seconds from our previous record! Click on Simon to see the Video

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Beating our world record was, sadly, the last adventure for myself and Mike with Voodoo.

After 5 years with the team, we’re moving on to pursue some new, exciting projects which you’ll see more of soon on this blog! We can’t wait to share them with you!

Penny farthing racing

This weekend their was 2 Penny farthing races.  Nocturne in London on Saturday Evening and the Eastbourne Cycle Festival on Sunday.  Unicycle.com had lots of Penny Farthings at the events and also had Roger Davies racing for the staff team.

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Nocturne:

The race was meant to be a 20 minute then 2 laps.  Just before the race they announced that the race was going to be cut down to 15 minute race and then 2 laps... then as we were on the start line they announced that it would only be a 2 lap race.   Several riders walked off in protest.  Unfortunately the organisers of the Nocturne have done them selves and London a big disservice.  Had it not been for the spectators who had came especially to see the penny farthing racing a lot more riders would have walked off in protest. The sprint was won by Gerald Minichofer closely followed by Alexander Voisine and Arie Leifhebber.  Roger came 5th.

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Eastbourne:

On a bright sunny day along the front at Eastbourne was set out a basic L shaped course with only one really technical tight U turn.  The race was 30 minutes (no messing here!).  The atmosphere was totally different from the Nocturne it was organised and respectful.  The race was fantastic and went a long way to making up for the farce which was the Nocturne this year.

The race was a proper battle between Gerald Minichofer, Richard Thoday, Joff Sommerfield and Unicycle.com rider Roger Davies.  They finished in this order but there was many times when each of the riders where battling for the front.

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A Guy who Unicycles to South America. And Back.

In 2013, Cary Gray applied for Kris Holm's Evolution of Balance Award with an application that frankly would have sounded unbelievable if not for his already impressive record of self-supported unicycle rides. Cary had proposed a convoluted, 24,000 km route along roads and trails through every single land-based country in North and South America.

Two and a Half years later Kris has caught up with Cary to ask him a few questions, read about it here.

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Are you planning a Unicycle adventure? Then maybe you should apply for the 2016 Evolution of Balance Award.

Simon Berry's 2016

Simon Berry's 2016.

Unfortunately, the Winter months are usually the quietest part of the year for people like myself. Most of our work is at summer events and festivals, which are all things that take place almost exclusively in the Summer.

Luckily though, 2016 is off to a great start!

After riding into the New Year with some of my best friends (video below), Mike Taylor, Sam Goodburn and I set off for a week of shows at the ExxonMobil Qatar Open in Doha.

We met early on the day of the flight to plan our shows for the week, designing a 5 minute performance that featured both Extreme Unicycling with an underlying theme of tennis.

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Our first day was spent setting up the demo rig, and rehearsing our show, before starting 6 days straight of performances, doing between 3 and 5 shows per day, in between Tennis matches. The event itself was great place to be, and the crowds were even better. On the last day, where Novak Djokovic took his first grand slam title, our crowds were huge and had a great time! ...

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Our schedule over the week was packed, but we still managed to take some free time to explore historic Doha! I hope we'll be there again soon to continue our adventures there!

Check our our Qatar Vlog on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/223313725448/videos/10153805802055449/

 

Two weeks later came EUC in Cologne. If you didn't already know, EUC is the Extreme Unicycling Championship, which has been held every year in the same location since 2009! EUC is one the the most intense, and competition packed events on the unicycle calendar, and is a must for anyone who's even remotely into Extreme Unicycling!

Myself, Mike Taylor, Hockey legend Gareth Walkom and Tirryn Nankivel arrived a day early, and were put up thanks to the kindness of Olaf Schote!

Friday began with the flatland competition. I had volunteered to commentate for the first time, which made a change from competing and was great fun.

Impact and Voodoo team member Mike Taylor took second place in Intermediate Flatland, behind Mimo Seedler (A German rider who's one to watch. He's CRAZY) Voodoo's own Rob Terry took the third place on the flatland podium too!

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Photo: Winter EUC (Facebook)

Elite flatland led to some of the closest battles I've ever seen! Lorenz Poham took first place, Kornel Auth second, and Pierre Sturney third. It really was a pleasure to commentate such a tense competition.

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Photo: Winter EUC (Facebook)

Saturday is the busiest day of EUC, with both Trials, High Jump, and Slopestyle Street taking place.

Mike Taylor once again took another podium, with a joint first place in high jump! Both Mike and Aidan Teleki landed 138cm to pallets, setting a new IUF world record!

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Photo: Winter EUC (Facebook)

Trials ran in two phases throughout the day, with some really imaginative and well built lines! Mark Fabian stormed both the qualifiers and the finals, landing 6/7 of the lines in the finals!

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Photo: Winter EUC (Facebook)

After the trials finals was street, which took place in the Slopestyle format for EUC. In Slopestyle, each rider has two attempts to qualify by riding a linear course, much like Slopestyle ski/snowboarding. The emphasis is heavily on style and linking tricks together smoothly.

As a result, it's no surprise that Josef Sjonneby sailed into first place! Closely followed by Pierre Sturney and Kornel Auth

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Photo: Winter EUC (Facebook)

After the street final, it was time to socialise and enjoy good food, great beer, and the best community in the world! (what unicycle convention would be complete without a Beer Pong competition, too?)

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On the Sunday, we were up early to travel back to the UK, we took the bus from Cologne to London, but luckily were so tired we all managed to sleep most of the way!

and now less than a week later, I'm writing this blog post waiting to board my flight to Minnesota, where I've been honoured (or should I say 'honored') to be offered the opportunity to fly out to lead some flatland workshops at Mondo, a Unicycling and Juggling event organised in part by the Twin Cities Unicycle Club.

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Photo: Rachel Sindelar

UPDATE:

Mondo was a great event! This was my first time in the USA outside of New York, and I had an awesome time. I need to thank the Twin Cities Unicycle Club, especially the Sindelar and Koehler family, as well as Lars Anderson for their generosity and hospitality over the week, you really made me feel welcome and at home.

Over the 3 day event, I taught a few Unicycling workshops, and participated in the gala show, where we staged a flatland competition. Hopefully there’ll be some video of this soon! In my free time there I went to ride with the Twin Cities Unicycle Club, learnt to ice skate, and spent president’s day in an indoor water park (which is possibly the most American thing conceivable)

To see some more of Mondo, check out this video that Kyle Alviani put together:

https://youtu.be/tNyE8comso4

I’m going to try and make Simon Berry’s 2016 a ‘thing’, so check back on the UDC blog soon for more Unicycling and adventures!
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