Throwback Thursday: Pashley Unicycle

In the third of our regular series of posts about past Pashley and Moulton models, we look at the Pashley Unicycle.

My 24" Pashley Unicycle - learning to ride it has been my summer project for the last two years...

My 24" Pashley Unicycle - learning to ride it has been my summer project for the last two years...

Unicycles were an interesting side-line for Pashley in the early 1990s. Pashley's 1994 brochure lists 4 models of unicycle. Firstly, a 20" model with narrow tyres "suitable for crowded spaces and most tricks" - perhaps drunken kitchen unicycle riding at a party? Then a 24" narrow-tyred model recommended for advanced tricks such as "Walking the Wheel, Free-Wheeling and Ramp Jumping". Followed by a 28" narrow-tyred model for touring and racing! The UMX - a 20" unicycle with a wider BMX tyre was very suitable for "Bunny Hopping".

On the 1994 Pashley price list the 20" narrow tyre and UMX are listed at £89.95 and Pashley very kindly supplied an instruction sheet with each unicycle.

There was also a Muni (Mountain Unicycle) and a Giraffe Unicycle on the price list in the early 2000s. The UMX and the Muni were surprisingly successful in off-road cycle racing events and 'Muni' was to become a generic term in the unicycling world. 

I asked Adrian Williams from Pashley about his unicycle recollections: "Pashley unicycles were quite robust, so I was surprised to receive a letter in the mid-1990s from a chap called Duncan Castling (who I think was from Durham) who said that our unicycles were not strong enough, but wasn’t complaining, he just wanted to come and discuss the matter. One of the delights of Pashley is the diversity of our customer base and Duncan was one of those who took you to a new place in your mind. He explained that he wanted a stronger unicycle as he and his friend Simon Schofield had entered the Polaris Challenge and done “quite well” but needed something that could take the rigours of off-road riding. He explained that yes the Polaris Challenge was a mountain bike event, but they thought it would be fun to do it on unicycles. The conversation went along the lines of “they thought we were mad when we turned up but were not so amused when we beat about a third of the field…with the unicycle you can pick it up and run with it quickly if you have too”. He needed a stronger unicycle and so we changed the design and component spec - pretty much the whole thing – and Duncan would test it and give us feedback until we were all happy and so the Mountain Unicycle, which we called “Muni”, was born. We painted it in a steely grey colour and “crystal sea blue” I think as these colours were being used at the time on the Moulton APB range and Pashley “tube rider” bicycle. The “Muni” decal run down the fork blade and the “M” was depicted as a mountain. They were pretty bulletproof!"

Adrian went on to say: "Here’s an aside for you re Pashley unicycles… When in the mid-90s Prince Charles said that he would like a Moulton bicycle at Highgrove, we made him a Moulton APB at Pashley and when I delivered it I took along a couple of unicycles – one each for William and Harry – but was never sure they were allowed to try them."

The last unicycle went out of the door in 2007.

Fran Martin