Unicycle Elise

Three, two, one… Go! That’s not just how the start was announced at the World Championships Unicycling Elise participated in this year, it’s also the order of the number of wheels Elise learned cycling with. From a tricycle to a regular bike, ending up being a world champion in unicycling!

USC member Elise Blad (21) started her master’s in Actuarial Science at the University of Amsterdam this year and will soon start teaching at USC. Not a unicycle course, but a cycle class on a spinning bike you couldn’t even fall off if you were the most unbalanced person ever 😄.

In what discipline did you win the world title in Grenoble?

“The marathon (42 km of unicycling…), which is my favorite one! Apart from the marathon, there are also a lot of other disciplines out there. I, for example, also did all the track disciplines: 100, 400 and 800 meter on the running track, and a 50 meter race with one leg.”

How did you start riding a unicycle?

“When I was ten years old, I got a unicycle as a gift for Sinterklaas. I really wanted to learn it, but I think it lasted five months until I could ride all by myself. After that, the girl that lived next door wanted to learn it too, and we ended up doing it together.”

Some professional cyclists can do all sorts of tricks on their bikes. Can you do a cool trick on your unicycle too?

“Yes, every Friday evening I go to a unicycle club in Almere and there we mainly practice tricks. Like jumping on a unicycle and a wheel walk, where you ride the unicycle by running your feet over the tire. But the tricks I mostly just do for fun. I mainly focus on racing!”

In the YouTube series Tour de Tietema, professional cyclist Bas once climbed the Col du Galibier on a folding bike. Do you think you can ride a steep climb on a unicycle?

“At the World Championships this year, there was a mountain climbing race for the first time. You had to ride a climb for 15 km straight, with a 7% slope! So I do think it’s possible. But it’s very, very hard.”

And lastly: did you ever ride your unicycle to a lecture at the UvA?

“For a lecture I prefer just riding my regular bike 😉. I usually have a pretty heavy backpack, which is not too handy when riding a unicycle… And I think I would also attract a lot of attention, and I don’t really like people looking at me, haha.”

Check out this cool video that Folia – the news medium of UvA – made about Elise.