Does anyone else feel really bad about unicycling past people in a wheelchair?

Every time I uni past a wheelchair, or even just someone walking with a cane, I feel really guilty, like I might as well just be pointing and laughing at them.

I don’t know what to do…it just seems mean to uni by disabled people.

But, they’re seem to be a lot of them around, so I can’t really avoid them.

Anyone else feel like this?

I rode past a lady in a wheelchair on a park trail. I didn’t think about it till I was past, but I did feel kinda bad. but eh? what can ya do? maybe she could learn to Hand Wheel walk?

I’m actually more temped to ask them (wheelchair folk) if they want to race. See, we’re both in unusual situations, and it’s hard to say who would win in a race.

My point of view is that people shouldn’t pitty themselves; they should have fun with what they have. I bet that many people in wheelchairs feel isolated from competitive activity, and a race is a way that they could participate in a competitive activity. Maybe even laugh about it.

On the other hand, it’s hard to say whether they’d be offended or not. I wouldn’t want them to think that i’m making fun of them, when really i’m more interested in making fun with them. So, in the end i just ride by them and don’t say anything. Maybe one day i’ll pass by some enthusiastic kid, and i’ll ask him to race, but i’ll have to play it by ear.

As for people with canes, etc., they were once in our situation, and soon we’ll all be in their situation. That’s life. No need to pitty or feel bad. Again, just have fun with whatever situation you’re in.

They’re just people too!

I have a brother-in-law in a wheelchair, and he would probably love to race a unicycle. In his new chair, he would almost certainly win. I had to move it into the garage the other night and it was quick! :stuck_out_tongue:

I wouldn’t worry about riding past them on a unicycle anymore than I would “walking” past them. If you were in their place, wouldn’t you just want to be treated normally as well???

Who knows, you might find a riding partner. :smiley:

My $.02,


There are two kinds of people in wheelchairs or using canes or crutches. One kind is healing, and only needs them temporarily. The other kind is basically stuck with them. In either case, it’s not your fault they have physical problems. They would ride a unicycle if they could.

A good friend of my wife’s has really bad CP. She’s confined to a wheelchair, and can barely move or speak. She likes to see me ride. She would if she could, but she doesn’t have a choice and she’s over that.

It’s nice of Hecklar to suggest a race against a wheelchair, but I can’t imagine a unicycle losing against a “regular” wheelchair. Only an athlete in a “road” chair should be able to beat a unicycle…

I too feel embarrassed about riding past people in wheel chairs. It feels like mocking them, like shoving in their face that I can do something you won’t be able too.

One time a friend and I were riding a skinny in town, and two women were watching from a distance. Then their friend in a wheel chair came out, and they all applauded our effort. This and another time when a woman in a wheelchair complimented my riding, made me feel like I shouldn’t feel bad and like they appreciate us riding instead of feeling intimidated.

Also, I read a story on this forum about a girl with a prostaetic leg who learned to ride a unicycle, so instead of feeling bad about their handicaps, you can realize that some can be overcome :wink:

Re: Does anyone else feel really bad about unicycling past people in a wheelchair?

I know exactly what you mean.

I think that’s part of why I feel a little bad- they probably would love to have a go… but can’t.

I guess it’s partly cos unicyclists in public are so rare- you can imagine that someone in a wheelchair is so used to seeing people walking that they don’t feel anything about it, but, seeing a unicycle you can imagine them thinking ‘hey, that looks cool, I’ll give that a go…’ and then realising that they can’t.

I know that whenever I see a kid being pushed in a wheelchair, i always make eye contact and give them a smile, not sure why, but it seems like a good thing to do.

Re: Re: Does anyone else feel really bad about unicycling past people in a wheelchair

Having felt this myself, I think it might be that we feel guilty ourselves. We have the healthy bodies and freedom to be able to unicycle, while this person can’t. In that case, we are no different from people walking around. We just stand out more.

Dinmamma mentioned how he felt he might be perceived as mocking the folks in wheelchairs. I doubt this is true. On the contrary, permanent wheelchair people probably don’t even think about themselves unicycling, at least not in comparison to the ambulatory people we see all the time. They are often the ones feeling mocked; the ones who say rude things or attempt clever remarks we’ve heard a thousand times. Hey, that guy can do something that I know I never could. Therefore, he sucks!

The difference is, these people suspect they probably could unicycle if they wanted to apply themselves, but for some reason they plant themselves on the other side of the “can’t” line.

From unicycling I have learned there is no “can’t.” I can B.A.S.E. jump off a cliff, or my local Foresthill bridge (a famous spot for this). I don’t say I can’t, I just don’t plan on doing it. Big difference.

Even with a 20" wheel? Even against a well experienced, Hulkster-armed guy? Hmm, maybe you’re right. I’ve never actually seen anyone go full out in a wheelchair. That would be a cool sight to see someone go full out on a regular wheelchair.

you read my mind with this thread. i was unicycling at the board walk the other day when i saw 3 diffrent people in wheel chairs, and on looked like a mon in his early 20’s. and i was comming toward him and he was comming towards me and je just looked and kept talking to the man pushing him. and i smiled at him and said ‘its a really beautiful day:)’ and the man pushing agreed and said im doing a good job. and i feel really bad afterwards. if i was in a wheelchair, i dont know what i would do.

I was unaware that riding a unicycle made someone else disabled. Interesting.

Re: Re: Re: Does anyone else feel really bad about unicycling past people in a wheelc

Damn! I never thought of it that way. That’s kinda deep.
Unfortunately, you have primed me to reply to some with:

“Yeah. You could never do this!”

(Not for all that comment, but, it’s appropriate at times).

Originally posted by Skipii

You may being sarcastic, but riding a unicycle, or having vision, or being able to swim, or having any mainstream ability makes those who can’t meet the standard “disabled.”

Just like with A.D.D. Those that cannot focus low levels of concentration for the “standard time” are considered “disabled” (or “not” abled to do X).

Thus, demonstrating an ability (that is common) “causes” the people without the ability to be “un/dis/not”-abled.

I’ve had similar thoughts while passing people in wheelchairs. I think, however, that they probably don’t see us differently then they see people who riding bikes, run, or walk.

There’s really two ways of looking at the world.

One way is to think about all the things you don’t have and can’t do.

They other way is to enjoy what you do have and what you are capable of.

I’ll never be a virtuoso violin player, or a famous basketball player. I’ll never have the body of an underwear model. I’ll never be a top-tier unicyclist either. However, I DO really enjoy all the things I can do.

The only people that will envy you are in the first group. They may or may not be in wheelchairs. I’m sure if I wound up in a wheelchair, I would have great difficulty coming to terms with it, but you do get to choose how you view your situation.

The people that truly inspire me are people that are disadvantaged, yet find a way to EXCEED what “normal” people can do.

Wheelchair and prostetic marathoners and other athletes. Blind musicans and scholars. One-armed drummers. Unicyclists with one leg. These people don’t stop and think to envy you.

My thought on this is that if I ever ended up in a wheel chair I’d much rather see people using the gifts they’ve got while they have them, rather than people who are theoretically able bodied sitting around doing nothing. But then it’s always difficult to say how you would feel in a situation which you have never been in.


They would… no problem. The racing wheelchairs are fast… really fast!

They enter the Manchester to Blackpool run and last year we set off about the same time as a couple of them. I could just hold them on the flat cruising at 16 to 17 mph. They slowed on the long hills down to 8 or 9 mph and I could catch and pass them, but on the down hills they were doing I would guess over 30 mph.


They would be more offended by you feeling bad about it than anything else.

Re: Does anyone else feel really bad about unicycling past people in a wheelchair?

NO! well, not anymore

I really use to have that feeling.
But after I had some women in wheelchair starting conversations with me, I just told them about it. That I feel kind of guilty.

Both said I had the wrong point of view. They see someone who’s using his gifts, and enjoying his health. They enjoy to see that much more than people who don’t do that.

So now when I see someone in wheelchair I’m still sorry for them, but don’t feel so uncomfortable anymore.

That must be why I always feel like crap after a visit to the circus, or watching Jeopardy, or going to a concert, etc. :roll_eyes:

In other words, I don’t agree. When we ride, we are exhibiting a skill most people don’t have, but that most can learn if they want. It’s not our fault that we can do it while others can’t.

Something tells me that people in wheelchairs are no different than anyone else we might pass by.

We are sort of assuming that they might feel bad about not being able to uni–but that is only because WE love to uni, and so naturally we assume that everyone must secretly have the same desire, even the ones who make the dumb jokes like “hey, where’s your other wheel.”

The difference is only for ourselves–when we see someone in a wheelchair, we naturally assume that they will be forever barred from the unicycle and thus we pity them because as unicyclists, they have become hopeless, unlike all the other bipeds walking around and shouting silly jokes at us.

But they are no different from anyone else. Whatever issues they have had with their own bodies has probebly been hashed out and resolved by the time they are out in public. They probebly think the exact same things that walking people think when they see us one-wheelers zooming by–envy, indifference, contempt, laughter, and of course, the circus song…

I ride past people in wheelchairs every day. I don’t feel any worse for them when I’m on a uni than I would if I were walking. They’re human beings–they don’t want our pity, and it is not nice to give them any–people hate to be condescended to, and I know that if I started to “feel sorry” for people in wheelchairs simply because I am riding past them on a one-wheel would be condescending and it just leads to a lot of awkwardness and embarressment where there shouldn’t be any at all.

The sight of a person in a wheelchair DOES remind me to be careful in traffic. And to wear a helmet.

The odd thing is this:

I am sure that somewhere, someplace, there was a unicycler riding by a person in a wheelchair, and that person in the wheelchair yelled out, “Hey! Where’s your other wheel?!”
How would you answer THAT?

Instead of racing a person on a wheelchair, how about a basketball game…between…you guessed it…a unicycle basketball team VS a wheelchair basketball team!
Now that would be something! A lot of crashing chrome!