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APRIL 24, 2004, 6:30 p.m.


Guinness-record-holding unicyclist
Will give public talk about his epic ride

Remember a couple of years ago; a guy came through Lansing riding a unicycle? Said he had started out in Washington State and was going to the Statue of Liberty?

Well, he did it. And he set two Guinness world records in the process. What's more, he rode back too, traveled down the East Coast and headed back west. The round trip took him to all the 48 contiguous states. For good measure, he rode in Hawaii and Alaska too.

Now, the Rev. Lars Clausen is returning to Lansing in April and will be talking about his great adventure at 6:30 Saturday evening, April 24, at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing (819 Abbot Rd.). He will also be autographing his brand new book about the trip, One Wheel, Many Spokes.

The event is being put on by friends at University Lutheran Church, where Lars was formerly the campus pastor, to raise funds for Lutheran ministries at Michigan campuses. Adam Heinlein, representing Lutheran Financial Services is lead sponsor for the event. The Velocipede Peddler is also sponsoring the evening.

In addition to hearing the talk attendees will have a chance to win a unicycle and get lessons from Lars. Beverages and desserts will be included in the price of $10 each. Children under 12 can come for free. For ticket and book information, call (517) 332-2559 or e-mail

A former Dalmac bicyclist, Lars says he would enjoy doing it again sometime but on a unicycle.

Riding on a 36-inch Coker Lars established his first Guinness record - most miles in a 24-hour period, a new category - in South Dakota. Traveling from 4:45 a.m. on June 5, 2002, to 4:45 a.m. the following morning, he covered 202.78 miles. You can look it up.

His other Guinness record is for the longest trip on a unicycle - 9,136 miles in 205 days - was established Nov. 12, 2004 at the end of his 50-state journey. That adds up to 5,188,000 turns of the wheel - every one cranked because there's no coasting on a unicycle.

The previous longest trip record was 3,876.1 miles established by Hans Peter Beck on a transcontinental trip across Australia. Lars broke that mark on July 17, 2002 on Ohio Route 2 east of Toledo.

During the trip, he crossed the Cascades, the Rockies, and the Appalachians. He rode on days when gusty wins literally knocked him off his unicycle. And he rode in all kinds of weather -- light snow, blistering temperatures, rain, and humid heat -- traveling 50 to 100 miles on a typical day.

Lars learned to unicycle as a child in Los Angeles. Later he attended the Air Force Academy but transferred to the University of California at Berkeley to study mechanical engineering. He earned a bachelors degree and moved on to Northwestern University for a master's degree and then began studies for a Ph.D. at the University of California at Davis.

After starting to question his life trajectory, he took some time off to think things over as he rode across the U.S. on a bicycle. By the end of the trip he had decided to attend Pacific Lutheran Seminary, where he later received a master's in theology.

He was ordained and had his first ministry with an Eskimo parish in Nome Alaska. His 50-state-unicycle ride was dedicated to raising funds for the Inupiat people that he served there.

While at seminary he married Anne Jacobsen. Predictably, the couple biked across Europe for their honeymoon. Anne and their children, KariAnna and Kai accompanied him on unicycle ride in an old R.V. known as Harvey. KariAnna, then 8, and Kai, then 6, learned to unicycle during the trip.



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