Honouring the Past, the Future & the Present
Written by Donna Kisogloo (GirleeRyder)
Unicycles have been in South Africa for over 15 years but it really started its insertion in the country when a small business was formed in 2006 called ‘OddWheel Unicycles’.
It takes a special person to pour their hard earned money into something as niche as Unicycling. This person is Alan Read. An amazing individual who some of us know closely, or may never have heard of before.
In the late 90’s / early 2000’s there was a very small but dedicated Juggling Club that met weekly at the Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre in Johannesburg. My Juggling father, Garth Van Vliet, established this club and ensured that it remained active for a period of 12 years. This club was known as the Balls Up Juggling Club and it is the birthplace of South African Unicycling.
There are many key figures in our community that have hugely contributed to South African Unicycling history but the contribution that had the largest impact was Alan’s. He gave us the toys to pursue the sport to the levels it is at today. With the formation of the Unicycling Community SA website we thought it appropriate to honour Alan and what he has given us!
Obviously Alan had a path that led him into Unicycling. So let’s turn our dial back to the Balls Up Juggling Club where Shaun Devenish had got a Unicycle through a local cycling shop and beefed it up to a Trials Uni. This Uni caught the attention of Al and inspired him to go online and find, knowing Alan, probably the best bad-ass Uni he could afford… and so the start of Unicycling in South Africa began.
Slowly and steadily Alan started importing unicycles for fellow Jugglers and other people that became fascinated with our sport. Alan continued to grow OddWheel’s stock and very small community to the point that he had made an impact in the country. OddWheel transformed into an online business which meant that a wider pool of South Africans could locally purchase Uni's. This translated into pockets of riders forming country wide in the various disciplines and so Unicyling grew and grew and grew.
There is a span of things that have happened to make up South African Unicycling history. One of those things that must be mentioned is that Alan released OddWheel into my hands 2 years ago as we worked together at and on OddWheel for 4 years. Alan handled imports, sales and service and I focused on connecting the community.
Today I sit nurturing OddWheel so that our community will continue to expand, grow and unite. I finally feel that it happened when Kenton Smith gifted us this beautiful platform that is run by Unicyclists for Unicyclists in South Africa.
Al, at some point you will read this…
Thank you for what you have given us! This page is dedicated to YOU for your integral role in our community.
My soul honours your soul.
I honour the place in you where the entire universe resides.
I honour the light, love, truth, beauty & peace within you,
because it is also within me.
In sharing these things we are united,
We are the same,
We are one.