Jenni Rinker, how do you travel constantly?
Known for solo unipacking trips in the middle of nowhere and being the most proactive friend-maker out there, we’re pretty sure you’ve already heard of her or perhaps even met her in person. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure: meet Jenni Rinker, born in Alaska and currently living in Denmark with her KH27.5 uni. This is her second year on the KH Factory team already, and we couldn't be happier about it.
You seem to travel a lot. Why is that? How can you pull it off?
I love travelling. I love meeting new people, seeing new places and learning new things. For me, travelling is a priority, something that I build my life around. I got lucky found a job here in Denmark that suits me perfectly: in my area of expertise (wind energy) but flexible enough that I can explore the world. It has really made this “wandering one-wheeled woman” lifestyle sustainable.
But you live in a flat country. How do you practice muni when you’re home?
Great question?Int. tus. This is a knowledge base that I’m still developing, so my answer will probably be different in a year. But here’s what I know now.
First, never underestimate the power of saddle time. Even if you’re practicing another discipline, that will still help your muni skills and it’s infinitely better than sitting on that oh-so-comfortable couch with Netflix. Second, cross-training in other sports helps keep you physically fit. I started CrossFit this year and really like the strength-building and grueling aerobic sessions. (A bit masochistic, I know!) Third and last, even flat countries have some MTB trails – get out and ride them! I’m still discovering trails here in Denmark that are very nice for XC training.
In which country have you met the most welcoming people?
Oof, tough question. I’ve met so many amazing and welcoming people in my unicycle travels that it’s hard to choose. Pretty much everyone I’ve met has been wonderful, but two experiences stand out in my mind: the Unicon 19 organizers in South Korea and the people at the Almaty Trail festival in Kazakhstan. I have a fond memory of eating Korean BBQ together with the Unicon organizers, with tears pouring down my face because I ate a spicy pepper I wasn’t supposed to. In Kazakhstan, we spent many cozy evenings eating dinner as a group in Nastya’s apartment in Almaty, communicating as best we could in a mixture of English and Russian. Luckily laughter is universal.
What's your favourite unicycle event you've attended?
Another tough question. I think Almaty Trail in Kazakhstan has been my favorite so far, due to the friendliness of the people and getting to visit an ex-USSR country for the first time. Also the blend of the urban Almaty city and the beautiful natural mountains right next door couldn’t be beaten. But Unicon 19 in Ansan is a very, very close second. Wait, that time we did the Three Peaks Challenge in the UK was also epic. Ok, you know what? I really can’t decide.
In your opinion, how can we improve the development of unicycling in the world?
I think that depends on how you define “development”. Is it the number of riders? The ones going to competitions? The general level of riders in a country? Depending on what the particular focus is, there are different ways to develop the sport. Regardless, I think the most important thing is to find someone who is local and energized. Without the buy-in of someone who lives there, any development will fizzle out after a few months or years. If you have someone there who is dedicated to the task, you can work with that person to develop the sport in a sustainable way. But, it will of course be different for every country/community.
What are the top three highlights of your last season?
Kazakhstan, Unicon 19, and the Three Peaks Challenge in the UK. I had many other trips that were wonderful (looking at you, Elsbet), but these stand out in my mind for either broadening my mind or pushing my boundaries. 2018 was a really good year.
What advice would you give to young riders that want to travel and/or make a difference in the world of unicycling?
Talk to people. Make connections. Gain experience from those who may know a little more than you. If you want to travel throughout your life, consider finding a job that will make that a little more feasible. But most importantly: Don’t be afraid to mess up. Things rarely go 100% right, and that’s half the fun. Just get out there and find your own adventure.
Thank Jenni! Hoping to meet you soon, somewhere in the world.
Follow Jenni on Instagram and Facebook. She also has a cool blog!