Need advice on how to respond to people

I’m a shy person that likes to keep to himself in real life so I was wondering for those of you that are socially adept and long time unicyclist, how would you respond to these quotes in what would be considered gentle, helpful (even informative), charming, cool, and/or witty? Emphasis on gentle since most of them are within several blocks of me and I see them from time to time.

“Do you go to clown school for this or something?”

“Is it harder to ride than a bike?”
(I once said yes to hopefully lure people into our evil circle…uh…I mean our unique extracurricular activity, but not sure if it’s the right thing to do)

“Is that hard to ride?”

“Hey, let me ride your unicycle” or “Can I try your unicycle please?” (A nicer way of saying “Hell no” :D, I’ve always found these kinds of questions awkward to answer to)

“How much does your unicycle cost?”
(I’m tempted to say “none of your bleeping business” but have been trying to say “sorry, I can’t say”, I was wonder if there’s any other better response?)

“Where do you buy your unicycle?”
(One side of me wants to say “ever heard of the internet?”)

“I think if you want exercise, you should just jog”

“Watch out for your crotch man!”
(I’ve had one guy do that, every time I see him, I know I have to watch out for them but tell the world too please?)

“Oh look, it’s a tricycle” or “That’s a cool tricycle!”
(Yep, surprisingly I’ve heard it almost half a dozen times so far. Two times I actually yell out “thanks!” because I was concentrating on the road and didn’t really pay it any mind until later when I’m like “wait a minute…”, and then there was a time where I said “no, it’s a unicycle”. I was wondering if there’s a smoother response to that)

There are some topics on that already, but we can try once more :slight_smile: I generally try to be polite and tell people the truth. It is a dozen times a day for you to hear such things, but for them it is the only time in a longer time they see an unicyclist. Try to remember that.

Unicycle is a bad choice to keeping anything to yourself. It is outstanding :slight_smile:

Here I got more questions about circus, but anyway I admit to them that I am not good enough for circus. Which is really what I think.

I always say that it is not that hard to ride, but learning is. Also for comparison to bike I sometimes state that it is neither faster, nor more comfortable but so much fun.

Why no? If I have time I always stop and offer them a try. Usually the boldest one who said that is not bold enough and gets lots of laugh from his companions. But on some occassions people really do try. And after such a try they won’t shout nothing but admire at any unicyclist.

Half a bike is my response. Then you can explain that it depends what bike one wants to compare.

That depends on local situation, but many people are really interested in that, even if they won’t buy any. Just explain them how it is.

But it’s so much fun.

I would just thank him for worrying. Or you want to mention your balls of steel :wink:

If you have time, just correct them. If not, don’t pay attention. Tricycle is probably a first word that is not a regular bike, that comes to their minds. I’m also surprised how many people tell me that I have no handlebars, but they seem not to see that I’m missing one wheel :wink:

Well I’m sort of looking for a quick response because usually the question or comments come while I ride. I usually have 5 seconds up to 30 seconds to have a clear comment so I’m trying to have one that won’t have the person asking to react in a

“Uh…okay?”

"Is that so :roll_eyes: "

kind of after response.

Also note that sometimes they’re little kids. So if I say or respond in the sense of :

They’re going to be like :thinking: and be like “I dunno…just any bike I guess”.

Like, little kids ask just because they can sometimes and they don’t really care for an actual real answer and some adults are also like that so I was wondering if you put that into consideration, what kind of response would you really give?

Yeah I don’t know how to word that out and make it sound cool. It probably sounds okay on the internet but in real life, especially in public, screaming back about having balls of steel to my neighbors…

What about a nice response that will get him to stop commenting on watching out for my crotch?

That’s why I’m interested in actual dialogue responses instead of a basic idea on a response.

Because we’re in a sue-crazy world and the last thing I need for them to crack themselves on the pavement or something and make a big scene and blaming it on me. I also try hard to keep my unicycle in good shape, it would suck if a stranger wrecks it on my behalf. And in my neighborhood they just might try to run off with it, sorry for being on the negative side but I’ve lived here for awhile and while I think it’s fine, there are many bad incidents that happened to my neighbors that would make anyone think twice.

Take note that I do not live in a nice middle class neighborhood and we have barbecue cookouts every weekend. More like shootouts LOL…

Edit: I joke about the shootouts, we’ve never had any…excluding those odd out of season firecracker popping in the distance in the middle of the night events …

Most people seem satisfied with ‘Half a bike price’ response.

Sure, it depends on people around. But uni makes people tolerate you more. Once I went out of a train and I realized that I was in a crowd of football (soccer) fans going to a match. Normally I would be very scared, but they were very amused with a sight of my uni.

There yah go!

Usually only drunk people ask to ride my uni, and even then it’s extremely rare. So far I have always said yes. One guy bloodied himself a tiny bit, but then he just thanked me and I went on my way.

There are a couple of people in my neighborhood who ride my uni pretty much whenever we run into each other. One is a college student who has pretty good skills and says he’ll try to get me hired to teach unicycling on his campus for a day, and the other is a homeless book vendor who says he hasn’t ridden in 30 years.

I knew a little kid who couldn’t figure out the difference between a trike and a uni…

I think to most people, Stilts - Juggling - Unicycling are looked at the same.
Odd novelty skills that throughout history have been used to entertain a group of onlookers. Walking down the street wearing stilts, without a parade, would draw all the same type of comments. Expecting people to look at a Uni the same as they would a bike is silly and is setting yourself up for bad feelings that don’t need to be. There are only so many questions a bystander can ask, so to us they all sound the same. Very few people are A**holes and to those there is probably no good response, but to the others be cool. Remember if you’re the only Uni rider they know, and you’re a butthead, then 100% of Uni riders are buttheads in their eyes.

I’m shy too. To me the most unfortunate things about unicycles is the attention it garners. I learned and started riding on a college campus, I never got constructive comments in those days, mostly jeers. I quickly learned that a pair of headphones (whether listening to any music or not) quickly dried up the comments. Just remember that blaring music isn’t a safe thing to do, always make sure your surroundings permit safe riding with headphones and never have it loud enough to not be able to hear things in your surroundings. The disclaimer for the headphone nazis. :wink:

“Do you go to clown school for this or something?”
I once heard someone say this in Spanish. Unfortunately for them I’m fluent. I went up a steep hill that bikes were struggling to get up did a 180 hop at the top, rode down, looked back at them and told them “un payaso no puede hacer eso.” :wink:

“Is it harder to ride than a bike?”
If people seem genuine and take the time to ask I’ll take the time to give a genuine answer. I usually tell them it’s just as easy as a bike once you get going, the hardest bit is to learn how to do the first few revolutions. Once you’re up to speed the rotational inertia takes care of things.

“Hey, let me ride your unicycle” or “Can I try your unicycle please?”
I only got that once. People seem to know better than to ask because I might actually let them try ;). Call their bluff. Anyway, I let them try but while they were trying I kind of regretted it. They wanted to do their own thing rather than listen to any suggestions and the #1 worry - what if they got hurt trying? I had some razor pins on the pedals of that uni. Plus the whole falling on your head thing. I’m not sure what the best approach is there, personal liability and all.

I’ve been in groups where someone else from the group was asked, they let the person try and they almost got a full rotation. You never know when you might gain a convert.

“How much does your unicycle cost?”
Again, if they are genuine I give a genuine answer. I give price ranges depending on quality and if I’m riding a relatively expensive one I always take that extra step to say that it’s the most expensive a uni can ever get, how it is made from all the best parts, and how much cheaper it is when compared with even a lower mid-range bike. I qualify and justify the price.

“Where do you buy your unicycle?”
UDC. Easy answer.

“I think if you want exercise, you should just jog”
Ha. Maybe they can get into a console war, argue about coke vs. pepsi, or try to change your mind about your favorite color while they are at it. The answer to that one: I hate running and it’s bad for my knees.

“Oh look, it’s a tricycle” or “That’s a cool tricycle!”
That’s one of those that’s easy to ignore. Either they are intentionally being obtuse or they are just making a comment in passing. I don’t feel the need to respond or acknowledge.


In the past I’m sure my shyness could be interpreted as “aloof ass.” I’ve gotten better with time. It’s still tough because now I don’t see unicycling as unique or unusual, it’s easy to forget how a uni looks to other people. Also I find the exercise crowd is a lot friendlier and more genuine than the general public. I enjoy many of the interactions I have with our mountain biking cousins.

when someone asks if its hard to ride I just tell them if you can stand upright you can learn to ride one, unless you are in a wheelchair, I wouldn’t advise any quadriplegics to ride unicyles, unless of course it has hand operated cranks.

They really need to make a unicycle that is hand driven, cuz one day I could end up in a wheelchair :frowning:

“Do you go to clown school for this or something?”

I’m not currently enrolled, but thanks for the idea!

“Is it harder to ride than a bike?”

No. Much easier. You have less weight to balance.

“Is that hard to ride?”

You flirting with me?

“Hey, let me ride your unicycle” or “Can I try your unicycle please?”

Let them. See them fall. Always ask for their cellphone first so you can take pictures and sync them to their Facebook account.

“How much does your unicycle cost?”

Several dollars that I no longer have.

“Where do you buy your unicycle?”

K-Mart. Several on special right now, you should get there quick. There like $20.

“I think if you want exercise, you should just jog”

I think you should jog more. You’re looking puffy.

“Watch out for your crotch man!”

Thanks for the advice about protecting my testicles! That is very thoughtful!

“Oh look, it’s a tricycle” or “That’s a cool tricycle!”

Listen you dumb redneck, this may look like a butterbean to you, but its a seat I just removed from my tricycle and I’m going to beat your azz with it.(I would never do this, LOL, but I can dream).

Yeah and this is exactly why I made this thread as well. Wanted to socialize in a way that would leave people with a positive thought about unicycle riders overall.

Like how people have such negative thoughts about motorcyclists even though a lot of them are actually very nice and I come from a country that mostly bikes and motorcycles. I do notice that they tend to ride faster than the average car though.

I know unicycling draws attention, I was use to that in the beginning, but I just wanted a better response when people ask me stuff. So far I felt my response to be a bit lacking a strong answer or it’s okay and I’d like to be better than that.

Well yeah but I try to avoid saying prices out loud. I sort of feel like it’s a bad draw of attention, like being at the store and about to pay for your item and whipping out a roll of $20s and showing them off so that everyone behind you could see. And then later you get mugged while walking back to the car and wonder why. That’s sort of my situation and what I’m trying to avoid.

Hmm…maybe I’ll put it like

[B]“Believe it or not, there’s an online unicycle store that’s literally called just that, unicycle dot com.”

or

“Just google unicycle and you should find a store online”[/B]

Does that sound like a smooth cool response? I’m sort of leaning to the second response as indeed there are other stores other than unicycle.com

I’ll consider the spokes response I like the one wheel response, it does cause them to rethink it and is a quick to the point obvious response.

What about instead of the spokes response, maybe something like:

“That’s why I unicycle, to work them out”
“Unicycle is good for them, you don’t have to worry about my crotch, bro”

:thinking: Any good? I’m leaning for the cool/funny response haha…

Drunk homeless people? Hope you brought disinfectants. In my area, the drunks that walk around publicly are usually homeless or drifters. I treat them with respect but I stay my distance.

Haha, I had to google the translation to what you said but yeah that’s neat. It’s always nice to have enough skills to put someone in their place. I think no matter what you do, if you’re good at it, people will still admire you for it.

I’ve been riding for almost four months and I don’t get it too often either. Most people are nervous to see me on a unicycle. I’ve even had a black dude run out into the street and his friends were like “what are you doing dude?” and the guy is like “dude there’s a guy on a freakin’ giant unicycle, what the f?”

But I’ve had it asked about 4 times or so. I just say “sorry, you can’t” but again it just sounds a bit…rough. Just wish there was a cunning way of saying it where you’ll get the person to understand but at the same time let them know that you don’t really want to. A smooth talker’s way out of it.

I also don’t want the liability issue. There was one time when I let a girl try it. I moved her to the fence and I also said “I’m not responsible for anything that happens though” saying that in a slightly awkward tone. A quick try and she gave up.

Maybe I will let them try it on the grass or something next time. I might just say

“How about you get a cheap unicycle on ebay or craigslist and we’ll ride together”

or something like that? Good response for “can I ride your unicycle?” :thinking:

The answer is obvious: Coke :wink:

Would that be the best answer? Because I also said “no it’s easy as riding a bike” but then I think about it and it’s sorta not. Like for a the commuting aspect I find commuting with a unicycle significantly harder than on a bike (well of course it depends on where you are, if there’s a lot of traffic lights, cars, etc) but where I am it definitely requires more thought and concentration. On a bike you don’t have to pedal all the time and you don’t have to worry about all the bumps and balancing and such.

Maybe a bit of both in a response like

Something like that?

I brought up basic riding on a bike because I can’t fully judge the difficulty of riding on a bike because I’ve never tried doing any BMXing etc. (Oh those youtube fail videos, ugh…the skateboard ones are the most violent)

I did cross two skateboarders and they ask me if it’s hard and I half jokingly said “it’s actually easier than what you guys are doing”

Which I think is somewhat true. I’m okay with unicycling but those skateboard fail videos really make me think several times.

Electric powered unicycle? There’s also the RYNO.

If someone tries to steal your unicycle, it’s not like they will be able to ride away on it… ever try sprinting while holding a unicycle? Not the easiest thing to do.

I lean more toward something like, “I got it online. I wish we could just walk into a store and get one but they aren’t that popular.” A mild complaint gives the other person a chance to be sympathetic.

I usually have my 20" Avenir on hand in case someone asks to try to ride. I’ll throw it in the trunk if I’m going somewhere to ride just in case for just that reason. Then I can say, “Here, try this one. You don’t stand a chance on that big wheel.” No one’s been able to ride it yet but I’ve never turned down anyone who was genuinely interested. It’s PR, or community service if you like. And I always tell them how well they did, a lot better than I did on my first try.

“Yes, it’s really hard, and I wish I was a better at it!” Or, “Incredibly hard at first but you just have to keep practicing, like anything.”

Mainly I think stay away from anything that comes across as, “I think less of you because I’m riding a unicycle and you’re not.” That’s the stereotype of the show-off or street performer that strangers might assume and rightfully resent.

Don’t worry about being cool, just try and shoot the breeze with people if you can. It is disarming and turns what could be harassment(and may very well have been at first) in to a potential friend. Also, not every person that you think is a heckler is really a true heckler at heart. They may lack perspective about something they observe and rather than non-intervene, choose to make an outward display of confusion by heckling, harassing, or even threatening. If you can respond with friendliness and humor it really helps.

That’s great advice – I have to agree 100%. For comments that I don’t care for (like “where’s your other wheel”), I just smile and wave, maybe say a quick hello, and then keep on pedaling along. I’m having too much fun to be bothered by these people. You don’t need to stop and strike up a conversation with every bozo who makes some silly comment towards you.

I guess I’m lucky since I live in an area where I rarely receive rude or condescending comments. Almost everyone I meet thinks it’s pretty cool, or they just ignore me and I’m fine with that too. People in Austin are very accepting of differences, so I tend not to face harassment when riding.

No, the homeless guy who sometimes rides my uni doesn’t drink, he just sells books. He has a family, is very clean and knows how to ride. I live in a city that has over 50,000 homeless, so there’s a huge variety. Many of them have at least one full-time job. The drunk people who ask to ride are usually partiers who made a bet with their friends, but again, it’s extremely rare that anyone asks.

Speaking of comments from non-riders, a while back another homeless guy said “I bet you can’t do a wheelie on that thing!” so I better go work on my bunny hops. Seems like I can never get more than an inch or two into the air…

More like throw it on the back of their truck and drive off with it. 15 lb unicycle isn’t exact a lot of weight, especially to a 6’5 dude. I just don’t like saying prices. Like if someone ask you how much you paid for your house or car, rarely would anyone ask that because most people have enough common sense to know it’s not a question a stranger should ask another stranger.

Yeah that’s my main goal, that’s why I’m working on these responses. I’m just listing them in categories for the hell of it. I’m working on it because I can’t help but feel like what comes out of my mouth is incomplete or not socially smooth. Like, it sounds awkward and choppy and maybe even unfriendly. Like I said I’m not good socially and it’s probably because of stuff like that so that’s why I want to work on it.

I’m riding a unicycle, I think most of us already acknowledge it’s not exactly a chick magnet. I’ve yet to be invited to a party while riding it.

I don’t either, most of the time I’m zoned out concentrating on the road. I just want to be able to respond to people in a more complete and satisfying fashion than something like

“uh yeah, later”

or

“I don’t know, look it up yourself”

kind of way. Just want to make friends instead of brushing people off. Or in a case like Wilsonov7 said, make a potential harasser into a friend. I’m bad at that, I’d like to do that whenever I’m able to.

Haha sounds like you took some lesson in human psychology. That is a nice thought in a response.

I agree, but some things drop that barrier it seems. I have a Jeep on military axles and 53" tires. Everytime I drive it, it draws people to it. Like the Uni it gets all the same questions. Why? How do you get in? Hard to drive? Are you compensating for something? And almost everybody asks How much? People act different around what they perceive as “odd”. It’s like anything is ok to ask. Folks are strange, better get used to it, riding will be more fun when you do.:smiley: