Unicyclists get new perspective on sightseeing

Unicyclists (from left) Nicola Cassanelli, of Italy, Tomas Nemecek, of Arizona, Jaco Wood, of...
Unicyclists (from left) Nicola Cassanelli, of Italy, Tomas Nemecek, of Arizona, Jaco Wood, of Brisbane, Genevieve Nawrot, of Newcastle, Australia, Ken Looi and Anna Bailey, of Wellington, Daniela Ruedel, of Germany, Chris Smith, of Newcastle, and Gaetano Peuluso, of Italy, at the start of the Roxburgh Gorge trail in Alexandra. Photo: Simon Henderson
Beautifully balanced on a single wheel, a group of international travellers have been enjoying the wonders of the South Island from the seat of a unicycle.

Yesterday they passed through the Roxburgh Gorge trail.

The unicycle tour is the brainchild of Ken Looi, of Wellington.

"It started off about 10 years ago, when I went on a bike tour on my unicycle.

"I thought it was pretty cool to do so I decided to get together a group, and I have been organising tours since 2006," Mr Looi said.

There were some people who came on each trip, plus new people from across the globe on each trip.

"This tour we’ve got Italians, a few from Australia, Germany, and South Africa."

Trips were organised every couple of years, including tours to Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia and the Himalayas.

The last tour was to Nepal and the one before was to Uzbekistan.

Cycling through the Swiss Alps was a particularly good adventure for the group.

"It was hilly, very hilly, but very pretty and good food."

Travelling on a unicycle was an enjoyable way to tour a country.

"You are upright so you can see the view, and you are going at a nice pace."

"You are probably cruising about 20-25kmh along the flat, but some of the guys do race ahead."

A bit of posterior ache was the the only downside.

"Your bum gets sore ... but you can stop lots and have a break. We stop to take photos as well."

The reaction from people was very positive.

"Everyone says ‘hi’ as we go past, and when we stop they come to greet us. I think it’s a nice way to get to meet people."

This trip began with the Alps 2 Ocean trail from Aoraki Mt Cook to Oamaru, followed by the Otago Central Rail Trail from Hyde.

The Roxburgh rail trail was a favourite part of the journey for Mr Looi.

"It is a really awesome section of the trail. The Clutha River and the Roxburgh Gorge is just so beautiful."

A jet-boat trip on the Clutha River was another highlight.

"The jet-boat was really fun. A few of us hadn’t been on a jet-boat before, so that was a great experience."

"We were shown some of the gold-mining cottages along the way, which was really interesting."

The group would complete the rail trail before progressing  to Dunedin.

simon.henderson@odt.co.nz 

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