<excerpt>I looked at some of those pictures. Wow! (Even with my 128 ISDN
cnnectin it takes
ages...***space is too crowded. The entire unicycling community should
be grateful to John Foss, who has been working hard to organize such
events. I almost atended...I was in San Francisco about three days
before the event. Unfortunately, I had to return to Japan because of work
Bummer! Too bad we didn't at least get to say 'Hi' on the phone.
BTW, there was a "vague" kind of UMX/Muni event in Japan, but I don't the
details. I have been encouraging club leaders to take up mountain
unicycling, and have published various article in the JUA New, but it
hasn't caught on here yet.
When it does, I wonder if the people down at the JUA will remember later
where they got the idea from?
BTW, can some one give a more or less precise definition that shows the
difference betwee UMX and mountain unicycling? It is confusing even to
me, not speak of the uninitiated.
You, a guy who writes dictonaries? But I digress. Here are two answers.
Marketing. Mountain biking is way popular and cool. BMX, though enjoying
a comeback, is not nearly as cool, and is associated mainly with kids.
Therefore, we name our sport after the sport that is cool!
Long boring answer:
I came up with the name UMX back in 1981, when BMX was very popular. The
BMX industry supplied us with a lot of the pedals and other accessories
we were able to use on our unicycles. BMX is racing on a closed circuit,
in heats. Tracks are short and very hilly. The sport is still primarily
played by kids and it's a family event, like little league baseball.
Mountain biking, which started in the 1970's here in California,
revolutionized the entire bicycling industry. Before mountain biking was
popular, road bikes were the main part of the bicycle market. But mt.
bikes were more upright, comfortable, and rugged than those bikes, making
them better suited for all but long distance road riding. In the US, mt.
bikes rose to claim 60% of the bicycling market at their peak. Mountain
biking is big stuff, and big bucks. The actual activity is much less
structured (outside of racing), and is generally any form of riding off
road. Still, the vast majority of mountain bikes in the US never go on
dirt at all.
What we do at the MUni Weekend is definitely MUni, because we are riding
unicycles on mountain bike trails. Some of the races that have been done
at the USA Nationals or UNICONs in the past were probably more like what
one would call UMX, because it's a head to head race on a course with a
start and a finish. But if we did exactly the same race today, we would
probably call it MUni.
We have done other events. At the last UNICON we did an orienteering
event (or MUni/orienteering). Not a race, but more of a hunt. At this
year's Nationals, we did an orienteering event, but it was hardly a MUni.
We called it MUni because we like the name, even though it was on grass
and pavement on the few square blocks of the campus. The original plan
was to use a nearby park with actual trails and hills, but permission to
ride there could not be gotten.
Therefore, the name is not really important. What is important is that
people get interested, and maybe join us. For that reason, it's important
to not use acronyms or other meaningless words when announcing things for
the general public. Among us here on the newsgroup, the name of my event
is MUni Weekend. But you will notice that on my web page, on T-shirts and
anywhere that I want the general public to be informed, it's always
called the "California Mountain Unicycle Weekend".
That's true for everything else we do as well, though. The terms NUC,
UNICON, IUF, etc. should only be used amongst ourselves. They should
always be spelled out when non-involved people are about. Believe me,
working in the computer industry, as many of us know, acronyms are
everywhere, but you only know what you stand for if someone has told you
first. Otherwise they are gibberish!
If I may continue that tirade for one further paragraph, the same applies
to college names. Where is U of M? How about UOP? If you don't live near
them (and the right one), you have no way of knowing. So, college
students, remember you are writing to a global audience that does not
necessarily know that U of M is the University of Madison, or the
University of Michigan, or one of many others!
Enough for now.
Stay on top,
John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone
"Never two tired"