my unicycling story

About 15 years ago I was driving along the street and I happened to notice a
unicycle laying partially disasembled in someone’s yard. I hadn’t thought much
about unicycles before and without thinking then I stopped and asked the man and
boy standing there if they wanted to sell it. They confered briefl;y and said
yes (to this day I wonder if it was theirs to sell) and announce the startlingly
low price of either five or fifteen dollars. I snatched it up.

It was a 20" of unknown origfen. I got a long piece of rusty water pipe for a
seat post and a pedal (interestingly it has two left crank arms so unlike a
regular unicycle it doesn’t have a front, back or right side. I suppose one
should have two left feet ideally). I eventually managed to stay up.

My biggest problem was that I kept scraping the skin off my ankles. The bony
bumps would hit the crank arms as I pedaled causing considerable discomfort. I
figured it was because it was too small so I bought a 24" cycle-pro but I kept
on scraping my ankles. This dampened my enthusiasm and I laid it aside.

I started wearing high topped sneakers figuring I would get back to unicycling
someday but, as the years rolled by, it didn’t look like it was going to happen.

Then a couple of months ago I got this job as a night-watchman at a summer day
camp. It’s like a smorgasbord of art activities for kids–very cool. My job
consists of…well, nothing. I just have to be here and be visible. I have a
phone, TV, internet, stereo and lots of time on my hands–a perfect time to
bring out the old cycle-pro.

The program takes place in a park along a river. The city puts a temporary chain
link fence around half the park and immediatly outside the fence there’s a half
mile long paved 12 foot wide bike path.

Two months ago, when I started, people would see me coming and, quite wisely,
scurry out of my way in fear for their lives. About a week later I celebrated
my 44th birthday by free mounting and making it all the way around trhge park.
I have probably ridden 2 to 3 hours a day everyday for the past two months. I
wore out my rear end and I wore out the cycle-pro. I had the extereme good
fortune of finding a used sem and (better late than never) the good sense to
get some bike shorts.

Now the camp is mostly broken down and today is my last night. It’s hard to
express what this has meant to me. I feel and look great. Several pairs of pants
that had gone into retirement because I literally popped the buttons off of them
now just hang on me. My resting pulse is around 55 and my blood is 98% saturated
with oxygen (the nurse who tes this the other day did a double-take and said
“wow”.) There are so many benefits that listing them all would be a major
undertaking but you all already know.

I didn’t expect much at first but I’ve improved so much more rapidly than I ever
imagined that I’ve stopped limiting my vision of how far I can go. I’m solidly
into level 3 skills now, and juggling. Maybe someday I too will be one footing
in backwards figure eights. You just never can tell.

I just LOVE riding my unicycle!!

So that’s my story. My 11 year old son just called me and told me he just rode
the cycle-pro a mile on the high school running track and he can’t wait till he
can join the circus.

John hoy, the unibum