Last Friday night I finally met Martin Turner after weeks of email communication. He invited me to watch his Unicycling Hockey Team during one of their regular Friday night practices at the King's Park YMCA in Kowloon. They compete bi-annually with three other countries for the Eastern Hemisphere's Unicycling Hockey Championship. If I remember correctly, those other countries are Korea, Singapore, and Australia. Hopefully he'll read this and correct me if I'm wrong. 2011 happens to be the year for the next competition, which happens this late July in Singapore I think. I did try to ride the unicycle a little bit while I was hanging out, but I didn't get any further on it than holding onto the wall while simply balancing on the pedals. I couldn't bring myself to try even at least one full revolution of the cranks. It's going to take a while for me to learn. I did enjoy watching and learning about the sport though, and as you can see there is quite a lot of skill necessary to compete. When they were done the team invited me along for their regular after practice meal at an outdoor restaurant on Temple Street. We shared some good food and Tsing Tao beer (Chinese Budweiser) along with good conversation before heading home for bed.
Martin also helps head up the Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, which has been advocating for better bicycling facilities and more recognition of cycling as a viable means of transport. Due in part to his work and leading example as a commuter over the years, cycling in Hong Kong is gaining respect and consideration. It is because of this organization that I was able to take my bike on the ferry without any problems.
Good luck to the team in this year's competition, and here's a toast of Tsing Tao to the future of cycling in Hong Kong!