Unicyclists take the trails at OMSP

Unicyclists gathered at Oak Mountain State Park for the second annual STOMP MUni Fest over Columbus Day weekend. (Contributed)

Unicyclists gathered at Oak Mountain State Park for the second annual STOMP MUni Fest over Columbus Day weekend. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Imagine riding a unicycle through the trails of Oak Mountain State Park. Twenty-one unicyclists spent their Columbus Day Weekend doing just that at the second annual Southern Trails of Oak Mountain Park Mountain Unicycle Festival.

The STOMP MUni Fest drew riders from across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee, and at 21 active riders, attendance at this year’s edition was “up more than 100 percent,” Geoffrey Wymer, an organizer of the event, said.

The three-day event consisted of camping, cookouts and, of course, unicycling. On average, the riders covered around 25 miles over the weekend and road five different trails, the Lake Trail, the Family Trail, Mr. Toad, Rattlesnake Ridge and Jekyll and Hyde.

Mountain unicycling is very different from unicycling on a paved surface, Wymer explained. “Obviously the terrain changes… it becomes much more technical,” he said, noting riders have to “roll over or hop over” roots, rocks and other obstacles in their path.

Although weekend rain made trails slick and muddy, it didn’t slow the riders down.

“With us, it really makes it more fun,” Wymer said of the rain and mud. “It does make it a little more slippery… you definitely do have to (be careful). It’s just kind of (about) bragging rights and fun coming back all muddy.”

STOMP MUni Fest attendants also got the chance to try out different unicycles. Wymer estimated there were more than 35 different unicycles at the event, including an Oregon, a specialized off-road unicycle with a four-inch tire, a five-foot giraffe, a taller unicycle, and an ultimate wheel, a unicycle without a seat.

“The only thing you have is a wheel with two pedals,” Wymer said of the ultimate wheel. “Without the seat, you have to keep equal pressure (on the pedals), both up stroke and down stroke.”

For some of the riders in attendance, this was their first experience riding alongside fellow unicyclists.

“We had a 12-year-old boy (from Tennessee) whose dad started teaching him a year and a half ago,” Wymer said. “He’s the only person in their town that rides that they know of.”

Wymer said there are “definitely” plans for a third annual STOMP MUni Fest next year. For more information about the event, visit Stompmunifest.blogspot.com.