Neighborhood kids want to learn to uni

Whats a matter with kids, nothing I’m sure.

Tonight 5 neighborhood kids stopped by the house wanting to try my unicycle. These are little grade school kids, 2 of them just tall enough to try the uni with the seat lowered.

Me, I’m married 25 years without kids, never been around little kids much. They seem like smart little aliens to me. I worry about what their parents may think and that they could get hurt.

The tallest 2 kids want to learn to uni. I’m thinking if they come back, I’ll bring it over to his parents house and ask them if they would want to borrow it for a few days. At least the kids can try it that way.

While I want to promote uni’ing, I’m not that comfortable around strange neighborhood kids.

Still I’m not sure how to deal with this, any suggestions?

Well, that’s kinda funny. Reverse style stranger fear…

I would ask their parents/maybe ask them to ask their parents. I can see how this is kind of an awkward situation, though.

They should learn, though. If they do, they’ll be beating you in no time! (little kids are like that. I know at least 3 riders who learned because my freind didn’t ever lock his uni at school. they would run out after school and ride. One has bought his own, now.)

Yeah, get them to talk to their parents… Our University club has 4 kids between the ages of 10 and 15 in it, which is sometimes kind of odd, but yeah… they’re damn good compared to us older guys… Really annoying sometimes :wink:

Yep, get them to talk to their parents, but also try to speak to their parents yourself. You need to know for yourself that their parents know about this - don’t trust the kids’ word on this. The parents are likely to feel better that you’ve spoken to them too.

Let them know that the kids approached you first, and that you wouldn’t get involved in teaching them, nor let them come round yours without the parents’ permission.

And obviously, do all your teaching outside where everyone can see you - bring drinks outside too.

It’s sad, but you can’t be too careful.

yea neighbor kids have tried mine like a bunch too. i dont think of them as aliens so much as neanderthals. a lot of their parents get mad and yell,“get off that thing.” good times.

kids come under different flavours: from shy guy to lousy brat.
You’ve got to feel quickly how he/she is going to behave and be both relaxed and firm.
They can “smell” your own temperament and so you’ve got to be a competent actor to be felt as “master instructor” (even if you are not an expert unicyclist).

being a grandfatherly figure both young and old helps me a lot to gain parents (often tacit ) approval. The only thing I am afraid of is someone getting hurt … (fingers crossed)


If you want to have a lot more fun on the uni, then teach those kids how to ride! I’ve taught a few already and can tell you that it’s extremely rewarding.

I’m 34 and got my first uni almost exactly one year ago to the day. Since then, I have taught 6 neighborhood kids to ride, ranging in age from 10 to 13, not including my then 12 year old nephew (my 10 year old nephew has also since learned and is now riding a 5 foot giraffe). Within the past week (in fact, withint the last 3 days), no less than four more kids (3 of whom are new to the neighborhood) have come over wanting me to teach them, and two others are in the process of learning. By my count, that makes for a total of 13 kids whom I have taught, am teaching, or have been influenced by watching me ride, and it is a great feeling! Three of them have gone on to learn to ride backwards, while two of them can idle and ride on their stomach. We have so much fun riding, and I’m looking forward to this summer when we all have our own unis and ride around the neighborhood (last summer, when it was just my nephew and I, we got a few honks from drivers, lots of claps and cheers, a couple jeers, and lots of stares!) It’s just amazing watching kids learn something like this, as they start out barely even being able to sit still on the thing to taking their very first wobbly pedals to riding down the street without falling to trying new tricks like riding backwards. If you have the opportunity to teach them, don’t pass it up. See the smiles on their faces is priceless!

Of all those kids, I’ve only talked with the parents of two or three of them, and never was it my asking if it’d be okay if I teach them (some of the parents would be outside watching me as I learned, so when their kids wandered over and asked if they could try, they let them, so I did, too). I feel the parents trust me (one pair of parents in particular as they let me ride with their 7 year old son (who’s also learning) ride on my shoulders. And since the parents have bought unicycles for 5 of the kids (I bought one for another), they’re obviously supportive of their kids.

So, if you have any curious kids coming up to you and asking if you can teach them how to ride, go for it! If you feel that you should talk to the parents first, then definitely do, but please don’t turn them away just because they’re kids, or little ‘neanderthals’. They’re great fun to be around, and they help keep you young (while at the same time giving you a few gray hairs). Since I’m single and don’t have any kids of my own, this is a great way to have fun with them but not having to deal with them 24 hours a day. :slight_smile:


I’ve been glad that I’ve been too busy for 2 days to get out on the uni, putting off dealing with those kids. But I agree perfectly with s7ev0 and especially the quote from GILD in his signature about ‘Remember accidents?’

Mark, you sound like a great neighbor, and I like what your doing. I worry that even with the permissions, if one of those kids get hurt, the parents are going to blame me.

What I’m thinking:
I will suggest they ask their parents to get them a uni. This way it is only between the parents and the kids, the parent makes the commitment. I’m not going to loan them my unicycle before the parent provides one. If they get a uni, I can help to encourage them, and provide pointers.

Thank you all for the suggestions :sunglasses:

We’ll I don’t need to worry about those neighborhood kids anymore.

They must have talked to their parents about riding the uni. Now the kids don’t talk to me, and today when I rode by their house, their father came outside and warned them that they don’t need to say “hi” to me. What a creepy feeling that was.

OK, the problem of how to deal with these kids is solved. I can’t blame the parents for being protective, even if it is unwarranted in this case.

Presently I’m left with wanting to defend myself to the parents who are making me out to be a creep. I do know not to take it personally. I’ll have just write them off as looking out for their family, which can not be argued with. I’ll get over it, it’s their loss that they never will.

This or injury was very thing I wanted to avoid. Guess these things come with the neighborhood.

That’s horrible. I can only imagine what this father thinks of you. I wonder what he told the kids. Just hope that he doesn’t pass on his ill feelings to other neighbors. Good luck!

Is it worth trying to open a dialogue with this father?

If he’s a neighbour (not sure how close he is to you) just getting to know you might help alleviate some of whatever his fears may be.

Funnily enough, I wasn’t thinking about the physical injury potential of unicycling when I wrote my original response, more the (normally unfounded) “stranger danger” fear that seems to have arisen in this case. That’s why I suggested doing all your teaching out in the open street in full view of everyone.

I hope it all works out, and these families get to know you so their kids can experience the unparalled joy of their first unicycle ride!

My 2 cents would be not to do anything. Defending oneself usually involves our egos and leads nowhere fast. Try to be cordial, wave and smile as you pass by. They are your neighbors and you might need them someday.

It took awhile for my neighbors to open up as well. Then I realized I had to change not them. So, if I was mowing my lawn and I saw my neighbors grass was high I did theirs also - same with shoveling snow in the winter. I never mentioned that it was me doing these few small things, (and it took awhile for some of them to figure-out who was so helpful) but they soon realized it was me.

Now the same ones who gave me a cold shoulder before, may be found raking leaves in my yard, one even brought a pie over for me (blueberry - YUM !) ; another recently put a card in my mailbox with a gift certificate to home-depot for $50.-

So you never know how things can change through gratitude and kindness.

Remember, ice may take time to melt…but it doesn’t have a chance against warmth.

Well of course anyone would realise that’s exactly what I meant to write…

Seriously, though, that’s pretty much spot-on thinking from roadkill.