Getting in Gear, Again
MUNIs: Slow Ridin'
For much of this 'school year,' I brought my new muni on the bus to NYC and then rode the 2 miles to my mom's place (my office). Initially I'd used my guni, but when it jammed back in the fall, I discovered the joys of muni'ing in Manhattan. It took months for Florian to get my geared unicycle hub back to me ... and a few more weeks before the local bicycle mechanic (Mike the Bike) could put the wheel together for me. In the meantime, I discovered that munis are great for navigating the busy sidewalks of NYC. The only problem is that the ride is rather poky.
A few weeks ago, two things happened to change my routine. Most importantly, I finally had the guni back in action. I rode it around a parking lot her in the Noop and discovered that changing gears was as easy as ever. That is one amazing machine. At the same time, a second factor weighed in: I was in a rush. The muni is a 24" uni with huge cranks. It's not meant for speed. [It's great for going up huge curbs, tho!] Looking at my schedule one day, I realized that I only had 20 minutes from my last student until the bus departure. I decided to try the guni instead. It's a speed machine [not so great on curbs, tho].
I have this cool GPS watch from Gorman that has been languishing in my backpack for months. I wasn't even sure it was charged. The watch relies on satellite links, and if you're among tall buildings, it can take a long time to find the proper signal. Once it does, tho, it's very accurate, and even without the satellite hook-up, you can always just use it as a stopwatch. I decided to see how fast I could make my ride. From 81st and CPW to 41st and 8th Ave (almost exactly 2 miles), my time was under 13 minutes. The ride in the opposite direction was even faster, since I wasn't going against traffic the whole time. I think I made it in about 9 or 10 minutes.
I also found that the ride from my house to the New Paltz bus station was much quicker with the guni than without. The few times I rode there on the muni, the ride was a tiring 20 minutes or a boring 25. Today I made it home from the station in 16 minutes. In fact, the 3 miles until my dirt road clocked in at 12 minutes, meaning that I was averaging 15 mph+. I rode most of my dirt road in high gear, but near the end it gets pretty hilly (pretty up-hilly!), so I switched down and cruised at regular mode. The road is really pitted about now, so the geared-up setting is really difficult because it's very hard to go over the big bumps with so much less torque.
I'm also going to keep the guni going for now because it'll help me with the 10k race this summer at the NAUCC in Michigan. I'm hoping to win that race not only for my age division but over all. We'll see!