This is a story about me, that i like to share with you. This article is from
Oakland Tribune 12/02/99. Today our child Sofia ride a 12 inchs Semycicle Deluxe
and she loves!!! Ciao from Pietro and Family. Soon to be the Unicyclist
Unicyclist prefers one-wheel commuting December 02, 1999
By Jeanie R. Wakeland STAFF WRITER
Some people drive their cars to work.
Some people take BART.
Pietro Ippolito commutes on his unicycle.
The San Leandro resident can be seen six days a week wheeling the two miles to
his two jobs on a vehicle most people see only at fairs or circuses.
Ippolito isn’t a clown — he works as part-time manager of Sergio’s Pizza in the
Plaza shopping center and as a full-time waiter at Paradiso Restaurant on
Bancroft Avenue. But he doesn’t mind showing off for passers-by as he rides
“The best thing is that people look at you and smile,” he said. “When you ride a
bike, nobody looks at you.”
He got the bug to try this one-wheeled way to work about a year ago, after
meeting a man in a hardware store who was buying a tire for his unicycle. They
got to talking about the fun and challenge of riding one.
“Something about it just clicked for me,” he said. “It’s the best exercise. I’ve
lost 11 pounds.”
He started by practicing on a unicycle with a 20-inch wheel.
“I learned by myself,” said the 38-year-old Italian immigrant. “I thought I
would need a lot of courage and balance. I thought I’d be too old.”
The secret to riding a unicycle, he said, is to look forward, keep the back
straight and go.
“And hope you don’t fall,” he laughed.
Ippolito began unicycling to work in July. He can keep the simple, no-chain,
no-hands cycle moving forward without difficulty, but hasn’t learned yet how to
keep it balanced while waiting at a red light. If he has to stop, he jumps off
lightly or holds onto a pole until the light changes.
“Every time I ride it, I feel like I’m on a roller coaster,” he said.
Soon after mastering his first unicycle, he began buying ones with larger and
larger wheels at garage sales, flea markets and on the Internet. His commuter
wheel, called “The Big One,” sports a 36-inch tire — the largest cycle tire
available with an inner tube, he said.
The larger wheel covers ground more efficiently, he said.
“When you ride the smaller ones, it takes more energy,” he said. “I can get up
to 23 mph on this — when I get good.”
He’s already dreaming of a long-distance trip, after learning that a man once
rode his unicycle from Las Vegas to Florida.
“I don’t want to go that far, but maybe from San Francisco to Los
Angeles,” he said.
His only complaint is that he has no one to ride with. He’d like to form a
Ippolito is likely to gain at least one unicycling companion after Christmas Day
— his 51/2-year-old daughter, Sofia.
“I asked her if she’d like a Barbie or a unicycle for Christmas,” he said. “She
said she wants a unicycle.”
Ippolito can be reached at PIETROUNICYCLE99@cs.com.