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A couple of days back, on our way to California (in a car), my wife and I passed a unicyclist going the other direction, uphill, on a fairly challenging section of Route 66. (I think we were in Arizona.) The guy had on his back a LARGE backpack that, based on my experiences Scouting, probably weighed 40-60 pounds, maybe more. No idea how far he had traveled so far, but presumably he was out for a multi-day trip (on roads that would exceed 6% grade for miles at a time).

What are the records for unicycle travel? Are there any unsupported cross-country trips on record? How common is unicycle touring?

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Guinness records states the longest journey was a double cross USA tour. However, this was done as a fundraiser, so it probably doesn't qualify as unsupported. –  Kibbee Apr 26 at 13:52
    
@Kibbee it definitely was supported, the rider barely carried a water bottle. –  Mσᶎ Apr 27 at 23:01
    
A handful of unicyclists participate in the fully supported Great Victorian Bike Ride, and it's sister events in other states, each year. It's usually 9 days, covering 500-600 km, with a max of about 100 km in one day. –  andy256 Apr 28 at 5:24

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Unsupported unicycle touring is not very common because it doesn't work very well - you really need to carry more stuff than can comfortably be carried in a backpack while unicycling, which limits the amount of time on the uni, which in turn limits how far you can go. As well, unis are slower than bikes which further limits distances. Towing a trailer kind of defeats the point of a uni, and makes the whole process very difficult. But that's what you need if you want to carry more than a days food and water. That said, people regularly manage 50-60km a day, so it is possible to tour.

These two managed 3500km across Australia, and unicycle forums are where you'll find most of the details.

Lots of the "unicycle touring" I've been able to find is fully supported - it's one or two people on unicycles, followed by at least one motor vehicle carrying all their gear. This guy rode 15,478km across Australia and also claims to hold the Guinness world record (that site is all about the fundraising effort).

(edit) Also, the legalities can be difficult - in many countries unicycles are technically not allowed on the road, or the rules are bizarre (unicycles are bicycles, so riders must keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times, for example, or must have two brakes). In Australia and New Zealand, for example, they are sometimes "bicycles" and other times "wheeled recreational devices" which must be ridden on the footpath. I've not seen those rules enforced in either country, but they exist. I suspect if a unicyclist was hit by a car they'd be treated even worse than a cyclist in the same position.

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From the size of the pack this guy was carrying (and based on my experiences with camping), he was good for at least 3 days, maybe a week, if he bought food along the way (which is practical to do along that stretch of the highway). –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 28 at 3:48
    
I assume 3 days not carrying water, though, which rules out a lot of places. Once you get into "buy food and water at least once a day" it's much easier to tour unsupported, but it's quite restrictive in terms of where you can go. –  Mσᶎ Apr 28 at 4:55
    
I'm not sure how far a unicyclist can go in one day, but along most of Route 66 there is some sort of "civilization" every 50 miles or less. (A few stretches maybe 75-100.) I would guess that the guy could have carried enough food and water for 2-3 days, depending on how much of a nutcase... uh, I mean depending on how Spartan his style. –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 28 at 5:07
    
Skimming a few blogs 50-80km/30-50 miles seems to be common, with very few days over 100km/60 miles, even for fully supported riders. I have not seen any 160km/100 mile days recorded. –  Mσᶎ Apr 28 at 5:11
    
So with careful planning one might need to carry food/water for 2-3 days. For the flatter sections, that is -- no idea what would needed for the 10 mile 6% upgrades. If indeed the guy was intending to cross at least that general section of the route unsupported it was a fairly extreme venture. –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 28 at 14:21

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