20150731_120437The Twin Cities Unicycle Club has a group of people that do indeed enjoy riding their unicycles on the mountain bike trails! No, we probably can’t claim to be the “extreme mountain unicyclists” that one sees in various YouTube videos (like the infamous Scott Wilton ride) but it is still a significantly different experience than riding in a gym or around the neighborhood. Most significantly, rocks, roots, trees, as well as the wide range of talent within the community riders all contribute to an environment where people need to be responsible enough to understand their own limits and be mature enough to make good decisions. With this in mind, here is some information so that members can decide if they have an interest in exploring this aspect of the sport. As with all club activities the decision to participate is up to the individual, an to their parents if they are a minor.

Most of the trails are hard packed dirt and actually can be ridden on a standard unicycle. That said, a fatter tire kept at a lower pressure and a setup that is a bit sturdier than a gym unicycle is probably a good idea. On the trails we typically ride, it is common for folks to just walk around or over any obstacle that they are not comfortable trying to ride. None of the trails is so obstacle laden that one would feel that they were walking more than riding.

Basic Equipment:

  • Helmet (rocks, roots, trees, … enough said).
  • Knee Pads (see above)
  • Gloves
  • Phone (or riding buddy with phone)
  • Basic tools – optional (pump, ability to tighten pedals, ability to adjust seat height)
  • Water / Snack (facilities/water usually available at trail head but not on trail itself unless you bring it).

The club does own a couple of actual mountain unicycles that are available for member use. These are not brought to rides as a routine practice. Arrangements to use need to occur in advance.


Img_5728People ride at a wide range of speeds. Some folks have been known to ride two circuits during rides in which others are only doing one. This means that if you aren’t comfortable riding by yourself (and I would suggest that most of us shouldn’t be) some planning is needed. At most rides we usually have a faster group and a slower group. These groups generally self organize.

We were all beginners at one point in time, thus folks are usually happy to stick with another rider but this doesn’t necessarily happen if folks don’t ask for it to happen. The club will occasionally have rides that are labeled “Novice”. At these rides some of the more experienced riders have already committed to ride with those that are just starting.

Aside from trails closing due to weather on a moment’s notice this is one of the reasons a separate Muni mailing list is maintained by the club. The group tries to wait for folks that indicate they will be attending a given ride and we want to know who will be in the mix of riders. If you are a beginner or if you are a minor, make sure to arrange for a responsible party to be on hand. In the past parents have joined us on bicycle, jogged, or entrusted their munchkin to another club member.


Historically the best day of the week for the current crop of Muni riders has been Tuesday evenings and depending on daylight usually starting at around 6PM.  Occasionally there are spur of the moment rides on the weekends. If you want to ride at different times, feel free to reach out as many of us enjoy having any excuse to go out and get some exercise.


Carver Lake Off-road Cycling Trail (Carver)

Lebanon Hills (Leb)

  • Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Information Site: Lebanon Hills
  • Trail map: Trail Map
  • Parking Lot: Map to Trail Head
  • A third party blurb
  • Features: 10 miles of trails but typically a ride is ~7. There is a very nice beginner loop that is probably only about 1.5 miles, but this is usually not the focus of the bulk of the group that rides at Leb. There is a nice obstacle park attached to the parking lot that doesn’t require any trail riding to reach.

Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists

These trails are just two of a system of trails that are cared for by MORC. Two important things to know about Minnesota and the MORC trails:

  1. Trails close when they are WET. Even if the gates aren’t in place, if there is risk of rutting stay off the trails. In addition to the specific websites and facebook pages there is a MORC link that attempts to track current conditions: MORC Trail Condition
  2. The trails are maintained by volunteers. These folks typically have a work day scheduled each week to perform basic grooming and maintenance. Help is always appreciated.
  3. There are some very basic trail rules and etiquette. Know them. Availability of trails is a privilege and not a right, be good community members.