Different sort of tricycle

23:40, Jun 27 2012
Tom McKeown
DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME: Geraldine High School student Tom McKeown, 16, has yet to master the art of riding his tri-unicycle. He built the creation during his Tools for Work classes.

Geraldine High School student Tom McKeown is taking his love of engineering to the extreme.

The 16-year-old has completed his latest project – a tri-unicycle, towering 2.5 metres high.

He started building the three-wheeled creation in term one, through his Tools for Work class, after seeing a similar project on YouTube.

"I saw one that had four wheels – you had to pedal backwards to go forwards."

Tom said his modified version of the four-wheeler was a challenge, but one he has enjoyed.

"The hardest part was trying to get all the wheels lined up and having the right tyre pressure so they didn't slip."


He "pulled apart" another unicycle to get the top wheel, the wheel's mechanisms and seat. He used a further two wheels from a BMX bike and has built the framework.

However, riding his creation is proving more difficult than building it, he said.

"I went about three metres and then I face-planted," he said of his first attempt.

Tom, who owns a range of unicycles, has mastered the art of riding the one-wheeled variety. He successfully cycled one of them down the world's steepest street in Dunedin.

His teacher, Alan Minnear, is impressed with Tom's latest creation.

"Back when he was preparing it all, I said `this is scary, because it's so high off the ground', but he got his parents' permission. They signed a disclaimer so we're not going to be sued [if he injures himself]."

The Timaru Herald