2 wheels good, but 1 is better


When Napier woman Roxanne Price said Saturday's "Prison Brake" urban mountain bike race could be "challenging" she may well have offered one of the understatements of the year.

Because she's about to hit the streets, paths, steps, tracks and alleyways which make up the 4km course on one wheel.

Her trusty unicycle.

"Yes it is going to be challenging," she said yesterday before setting out on another training session.

"I am a bit nervous, and a bit worried about my fitness," she confessed, before adding she was entering the race "because it's a fun event and I want to be part of it."

The race, split into several categories and distances, is set to kick off from the old Napier Prison grounds at 2pm, and is one of six cycling events which make up the great Ride For Your Life weekend which has been sparked by the Napier City Council as a way to fire up the mid-winter in the city, and encourage people to get pedalling.

Ms Price said she started riding the unicycle about two years ago after being intrigued by the idea.

"I was curious to see how they worked," Ms Price said.

She spotted one for sale on-line and took the plunge.

"I took it easy - one step at a time," she said.

"I got hooked."

She started out by getting aboard using a wall for balance, but gradually got the hang of free-mounting, where riders get on without using anything for balance or support.

She also learned the balancing laws of turning, and within a couple of weeks was well and truly up and cycling.

"It is like anything you want to achieve; it doesn't come without effort," Ms Price said.

She is used to the sideways glances and occasional stares she gets as she rides around the city.

"Some might think I'm a show-off or something but I'm not, I just enjoy it," she said.

While riding has become easy, parking has not.

"There's nowhere to park one because they won't stand up. That gets a bit tricky sometimes," Ms Price said.

This Saturday she won't have her mind on parking though. It will be on having fun and completing the 12km in her race section and one advantage she will have is the unicycle's lightness during stages where riders may have to dismount and carry their bikes.


  • Friday to Sunday: Pathways Passport: A fun family event for all cyclists. Stop and get the "passport" stamped at each of the 16 stops on the region's cycle paths and be in to win one of two new Hudson bicycles and two $850 TSB bank accounts.

  • Friday 6pm to 9pm: Criterium - Up to 100 road race cyclists are expected to take part in a race around the thrilling seafront Marine Parade course.

  • Saturday 9am to 3pm and Sunday 9am to 1pm: Box Espresso Bike Polo. Teams aboard bikes, not horses, in fast and colourful polo action at the Napier Sound Shell.

  • Saturday 2pm to 5pm: Napier Prison Brake Urban Mountain Bike Race: A course taking in the old prison on Coote Rd, Breakwater Rd and Sturm's Gully.

  • Saturday 11am to 2pm: Spectacular high-flying BMX stunts and skills action at Sk8Zone on Marine Parade.

  • Sunday 8am to 2pm: The 2012 Cyclocross National Championships: Staged at a course behind the EIT in Taradale - a mix of dirt trails, pavement, steep hills and obstacles.When Napier woman Roxanne Price said Saturday's "Prison Brake" urban mountain bike race could be "challenging" she may well have offered one of the understatements of the year.


- Hawkes Bay Today

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