This year has seen two organised group unicycle tours. One to Nepal and one to Skye. Both of these have been acclaimed a great success, but it does not really answer the question, why would anyone want to go touring on a unicycle when a bike is so much easier?
The answer is not simple. At the end of the tour one of the bike riders, Nick, asked people what they enjoyed about the tour and why. Here are some of the answers:
- - The tours was well organised and takes care of everything for the riders. The only thing you needed to spend any money on was your evening drinks.
- - There was great company, many of the riders have met before and tend to be a relaxed group who get on.
- - The tours are not big so it is easy to feel part of a big family when riding.
- - The tours are always in interesting places. Skye might not have been exotic, but was certainly interesting and had absolutely stunning scenery.
All of these things could easily be said of bike tours and does not say why unicycles are the way to go. The secondary answers and incite from the riders I think tells why.
- - When you ride a unicycle you are going at a more pedestrian speed than on a bicycle. You are also something that many people don't see very often. This combination allows you to interact with the locals you ride past or see. It puts a smile on many faces.
- - For those who already ride a unicycle, you will know there is something else that draws you to riding a big wheel for many miles. They are pure and simple. You only have the hum of the tyre and your huffing and puffing as background noise.
The Skye Tour was organised by Alan and Lori Hogan. Both Alan and Lori are known in the unicycle community as they have ridden on many unicycle tours themselves. They also run a company renting out large motor homes in Inverness.
Alan used his motor homes not only as support, but kitchen and sleeping facilities. This gave the tour a feel of glamping.
They hired 3 support people to drive the vans and also a professional cook. Along with driving them selves this meant that there was always a broom waggon and a food wagon within 10 miles of you.
A packed lunch was provided, this was often a massive tub of salad. No one went hungry on this trip and it was more likely you would end up putting weight on!
Alison the cook not only good but also creative. She baked bread every day and one day brought out an hoderve she was particularly proud of. A Scottish cream cheese dressed with local reddish, chives and gorse petals collected during the journey that day.
We slept in the campervans sharing 4 or 5 per van. This was a little bit snug, but it was dry and warm (once we worked out how to work the heating system).
Our evenings were spent appreciating the absolutely outstanding beauty of the west of Scotland, eating, drinking, socialising and of course washing clothes in preparation for the next day's riding.
All told... it was a well organised fun holiday.