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Press Releases for Cycle Clubs, 200 Words and 875 Words

PRESS RELEASE---200 Words

For many bicyclists, riding across the United States is the dream of a lifetime. Lars Clausen accomplished that dream on a unicycle. Clausen's 9,136 mile, double Guinness World Record setting ride, was the first ever 50-state unicycle tour.

Why did Clausen do this ride? A fund-raiser in support of Inupiat Eskimo people in Alaska, it was a huge adventure of people and place. Says Clausen, "I belong on the shoulder of the road."

Touring by unicycle is a lot like bicycling, but there are no gears, and no coasting. On his 36-inch Coker unicycle Clausen rode 10 miles-per-hour, his head was eight feet above the ground, the tour entailed 5,118,000 pedals in all.

This summer Clausen will unicycle the author tour of his new book, ONE WHEEL - MANY SPOKES: USA by Unicycle. His route, on-line at www.onewheel.org, will cover the West Coast, from Canada to Mexico, and Clausen hopes bicyclists will come out to join him. "Riding. Writing. I love them both. There are many more topics to explore by unicycle. I hope this is just the beginning."

What a beginning! As Senator Bob Kerrey says, Lars Clausen, "has accomplished an adventure that will inspire us for generations."

ONE WHEEL - MANY SPOKES: USA by Unicycle
---available in
· Bookstores
· Bicycles shops
· on-line at www.onewheel.org,
· toll-free at 1-888-281-5170.

For more information,
including 300 dpi publication photos,
please see www.onewheel.org

 

PRESS RELEASE-875 Words

For many bicyclists, riding across the United States is the dream of a lifetime. Lars Clausen accomplished that dream on a unicycle. It was such a good time that when he reached the Statue of Liberty he turned around and pedaled back to Los Angeles. By the time Clausen finished his half-year ride, he became the first person ever to complete a 50-state unicycle tour.

Guinness World Records awarded Clausen two records for his ride. His 9,136 mile total mileage more than doubled the previous 3,876 mile record. The second Guinness achievement came in South Dakota, when he established a new record by unicycling 202.78 miles in 24-hours. "It was a perfect day," Clausen recalls. "No traffic, not too hot, a slight breeze, and flat country compared to the Rocky Mountains and Black Hills that I'd already come through." Clausen is quick to point out, "I did the pedaling that day, but it was a team effort." His family (wife Anne, and children KariAnna (1994) and Kai (1996)) supported the entire ride from their temperamental old motor home. And friend Robert Martin bicycled alongside Clausen for the first half of his ride, all the way from Washington State to New York.

"The Guinness Records are fun to have," says Clausen. "Like most other 12-year-olds, I was fascinated by the Guinness World Record Book as a kid. But the real story of a cross-country ride is the people and the places."

Tim on the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington gave Clausen a beaded necklace pouch with a special root inside. "This is the soul of Mother Earth," he told Clausen. "And you are riding over Mother Earth this summer. When you get to the other water's edge, kneel down and say the prayers you have been praying all during your ride."

In Virginia, Clausen met Thomas Beasley on his 48th crossing of the United States, almost 12 years into Beasley's tour. Beasley had once trained for the Tour de France. When his mentor died of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), he changed to bicycle touring and fundraising for the cause of MS. When Clausen asked how far he had ridden, Beasley stunned him with his reply, "One hundred and sixty thousand miles."

People constantly ask Clausen why he did this ride. "Our family got to spend half-a-year together with new adventures every day." Together, they also helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Inupiat Eskimo people in Alaska. But whenever Clausen gets started talking, the topic always comes back to people and places, and the experience of riding down the road and around the next corner. Says Clausen, "I belong on the shoulder of the road."

To that end Clausen will ride the unicycle again this summer, pedaling from Canada to Mexico to promote his new book, ONE WHEEL - MANY SPOKES: USA by Unicycle.

Clausen is contacting bicycle clubs along the West Coast to alert cyclists to come out and pedal alongside. The ride itinerary is posted at www.onewheel.org. "It will be easy to keep up with me," Clausen encourages, "I only ride 10 or 11 miles-per-hour."

What's it like to tour by unicycle? A lot like bicycle touring, but the details are different. First, there are no gears. The pedals connect directly to the axle of the wheel. The only way to "change gears," is to physically remove the cranks and put on longer or shorter ones. "One gear change takes about ten minutes, so I only changed cranks for the steepest mountain passes." That's also why Clausen rode a 36-inch Coker Unicycle-with every pedal he moved more than nine feet down the road. You can't coast on a unicycle, so Clausen could calculate that he pedaled 5,118,000 turns of the wheel on his journey.

Improvements to the unicycle included handlebars, a brake, and an air seat. The handlebars, from an old children's bike, are mounted from the rear of the unicycle. "You always fall forwards and you don't want anything in your way when it happens." The bars provided stability in heavy winds, as well as something to grab onto when cranking up grades. The brake helped save the knees on long descents, but the biggest improvement was the seat. Clausen's mother sewed a special seat cover and inside of it he inflated a 12-inch inner tube. "I was riding on air!" Clausen exults.

Clausen was 40 when he began his ride. "People kept asking my age," he smiles, and then adds, "Old enough to know how much I love cycling, and old enough to know the importance of following dreams."

Will there be more rides? Clausen answers "yes." On his recent journey he pedaled through as many Native American lands as possible. Publishers Weekly, in their review of ONE WHEEL - MANY SPOKES, noted that Clausen's "true passion lies in traveling and his deep connection with and empathy for native peoples." As Clausen tells it, "I love to ride. I love to write. And there are many more topics to explore by unicycle. I hope this is just the beginning." What a beginning! As Senator Bob Kerrey writes in the foreword, Lars Clausen, "has accomplished an adventure that will inspire us for generations."

 

 

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