Terry Peterson’s universe is filled with uni-jumps, uni-spins and uni-drops. An acclaimed mountain unicyclist, he’s pedaled up Iron Mountain in Poway and down Mammoth Mountain on his $750 Kris Holm 24-inch unicycle – with no gears and no suspension. We recently caught up with Peterson, 67, at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park to ask what drives him and his unicycle.
Why mountain unicycling? Why not a regular mountain bike?
It offers a far greater challenge since there are no low gears to assist in climbing, no second wheel and frame to stabilize your balance, and it requires constant focus and continual pedaling without coasting. Plus, I love all the comments from people.
What might surprise people about the sport?
It’s not as hard to learn as people think. And there are hundreds of organized unicycling events happening several times per year – all across the world.
How long does it take to learn?
For most people, especially younger riders, it can take as little as one day to a week or two, depending on how much time you put into it.
Would you encourage someone to try it?
That would be a resounding YES! Unicycling has come a long way since the 1960s, when I first learned to ride, evolving into the legitimate sport it is today. It’s one of the most efficient, effective ways to lose weight, get in great shape and have a blast doing it.
Where are the best places to unicycle in the area?
There are so many great trails on The Irvine Ranch, including Crystal Cove State Park and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. The terrain is varied and challenging, it’s not overly crowded, and the views are spectacular.
What’s next for you?
I still ride daily and love it more than ever. I go to bed each night thinking about the next day’s uni adventure! One of my goals is to travel to Europe to ride the Eurovelo 6 route, which runs 2,764 miles and follows three of Europe’s major rivers – the Loire, the Rhine and the Danube.