What a journey the past decade has been!
This small niche business you all know as OddWheel Unicycles was started 16-years ago by Alan Read. It was a hobbyist endeavor and never needed to be a successful business. It existed.
I worked along side Alan from 2009 until I took full ownership in February 2014. OddWheel Unicycles then needed to become a business and so it did – in the most Donna like manner. There was a lot to correct and introduce and so I chipped away at it with the perseverance that Unicyclists all have.
What is success and how do we define it? Google says:
- the accomplishment of an aim or purpose
- the good or bad outcome of an undertaking.
Let’s look at the first point – my purpose for OddWheel was to see the growth of the community and to remove myself from my first adulthood career within the film industry. My aim was to indefinitely run my business and keep creating Unicyclists. My accomplishments are small and bite sized held in the space of being South Africa’s only specialist unicycle outlet. I carved a niche title for myself.
Now the second point and the primary reason for this post – is the outcome of my undertaking good or bad? The word outcome suggests an end or finish. Is it good or bad? I would say yes to both. Let me shed some light… the business of Unicycling is challenging. It mirrors the activity. I have been navigating this world for over a decade and am now in need of a change. To make mental and physical space for my personal development I have decided to stop ocean freight orders from manufacturers. The Shop of OddWheel Unicycles will not be replenishing it’s stock. There is a small collection of remaining unicycles and components, it will sell and move on, eventually.
The potential and perhaps eventual closure of the shop sucks for the existing community. I can’t just pull the rug from under the local Unicycling community. I would like to honour my position in our community and continue to offer you the best service and advice in true OddWheel style. Starting 2023 the plan is to facilitate two air freight shared group orders per year with suppliers who offer OddWheel variety and wholesale pricing. Due to the Covid pandemic and the formation of Brexit the purchase and import of unicycles and components has become more complicated. OddWheel has established relationships with selected suppliers.
These shared group orders support Unicyclists in the following ways:
- reduce air freight cost
- reduce local shipping companies fee’s
- replace components on your existing unicycles
- upgrade your Unicycles and components
- continue with your Unicycle journey
- with the expert advice and technical knowledge of OddWheel Unicycles
I suggest these 2 periods based on the group majority:
- March/ April/ May
- August/ September/ October
Let’s bounce back to point one – my aim was to indefinitely run my business and keep creating Unicyclists. How does this creation happen? Through making the activity accessible without initial investment, a space for someone to experience the complexity of the Unicycle, safely and with real-time corrections. Through the need to create Unicyclists I started gifting lessons in 2015 at a community gathering called Park Play Sessions. Through the years I have developed a one-on-one base skills lesson which I have taught countless times. More recently I have been teaching bigger groups. I’m a great teacher. I would like to shift my focus back to riding Unicycles vs selling Unicycles.
There are always going to be pre-loved wheels that you can start your Unicycling journey on – an OddWheel rental, hand-me-down’s, a loaner, a used buy, a cheapie found at a cycling shop, a unicycle someone made. There are wheels. Once the proverbial Unicycle bug has bitten then you can invest in the new. I have always been quite insistent about doing a lesson before buying anything. Unfortunately not a great business model… and now OddWheel shift’s.
I look back at my 10+ years with OddWheel. I’ve gained insight for the sports future in South Africa albeit late. For our sport to grow it needs an abundance of teaching done countrywide at child level. Peer-to-peer interaction which leads to growth. I work with children and witness their fascination with the Unicycle and desire to try it. South Africa needs more Unicycle spaces in areas that have a high flow of children. Anyhoo… if you keen to teach let me know.
As I spread my wings,
into the unknown,
I thank you for being my extended family,
for keeping it wheel,
and sharing in my love of Unicycling.
Moving into 2023 with the perseverance, dedication, balance and heart of a true Unicyclist.