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Have a Back-up Plan

2009-11-10Where in the world am I today?: Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA aboard the ISLAND Princess

When I travel I pull my unicycle apart so it will pack smaller. This is both a good and a bad thing… Good because I make a regular practice of checking the mechanical parts to ensure that everything is in good working order, bad because the process of disassembling my uni so frequently puts added wear and tear on some of the components that I tweak the most often.

The picture that accompanies this post shows an inner-tube the exact size that fits into the unicycle that I most frequently travel with. I keep a spare with me when I travel because I’ve had these tubes spring a leak on me at the most inopportune times… During the winter months I seem to do a fair amount of work on cruise ships and quite often the availability of things like inner-tubes for 12 ½ inch-tired unicycles is rather sparce.

The first time I had a tube go on me I was working in Winnipeg and running to Canadian Tire for a replacement was easy, but it got me to thinking that had I been out at sea when this had happened I would have been screwed! I promptly went out and got a couple of spares as back-ups and always carry one with me.

I’ve actually had a couple of instances when I suffered from equipment failure and have learned from experience to carry back-ups of anything that can fail. I’ve also learned to take mental note of things during shows that aren’t in perfect condition and make every attempt to stay on top of regular maintenance of props so that things don’t go sideways unexpectedly.

Inevitably due to normal wear and tear props need to be replaced from time to time, but by  periodically spending time checking things over and replacing things before they’re entirely worn out you can avoid the embarrassing situation of having that critical part that can make or break your finale.

2 Responses to “Have a Back-up Plan”

  1. john park says:

    good post. I remember hearing a story along similar lines from another esteemed canadian performer. He was performing in south america and needed to make a repair on one of his props. But in all of south america he couldn’t find one of those funny square screwdrivers you canadians love, and that is what he desparately needed to make the repair.
    I was doing a show in germany, and I use marshmallows in my act. Guess what? Germany doesn’t have marshmallows. Bring everything with you.

  2. cbg says:

    They’re called Robertson Screwdrivers… And they’re great because you can put a screw on the end of the screwdriver itself and it doesn’t fall off as easily as a flat head screwdriver or a philips screwdriver… Another one that I ran into was Masking Tape… Such an easily available commodity in North America, but when I went to Japan I couldn’t find it anywhere… The one good thing about running into situations like this is you tend to adapt your act and grow from the experience.

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