In the video “Rough Terrain Unicycling” George Peck described unicycling as a
“Grabber sport: once you get into it, it won’t let you go”. Well I’m definitely
addicted…I try to find time to ride every day, usually in the morning before
work. If I don’t, I find myself scowling and inwardly scolding myself for being
lazy and sleeping in.
I didn’t sleep in on July 3rd, but when I went outside to ride to the local park
it looked like rain was moving in and I heard thunder in the distance. I don’t
mind getting rained on, but trying to ride home during a thunderstorm isn’t much
fun and can be dangerous so I decided to go back to bed.
Later that afternoon as I was mowing the lawn under a hazy sky (it never rained)
I was feeling bad about missing probably the only opportunity of the day to ride
my unicycle. I finished and shoved the mower back into the garage. There was my
unicycle, hanging from the wall, smiling at me: “RIDE ME!”
Well… a quick spin around the cul-de-sac before lighting the grill for dinner
would be better than nothing - right? I took down the uni, hopped on, and
started riding. I was halfway down the driveway when I heard the rumble of a hot
car coming down the street. I looked to my right and saw a white Corvette on its
way past my house. Somehow, instinctively, I knew that there would be a couple
of wild guys in that car and that I was going to get a comment. Probably not a
nice one. I’ve been lucky I guess, I’ve never really had a serious insult hurled
at me while on the unicycle, but I guess I kind of expect to get one at some
point, you know?
Sure enough, as the car passed in front of my house I heard yelling.
“HEY!” I couldn’t make out exactly what was said, I guess my ears locked up in a
measure of self preservation of my dignity, but I did hear “UNICYCLE” and I
could swear that the last three words were “LETS GET HIM!”
“Hmmm. That didn’t sound too nice…” I thought, but I wasn’t really worried –
I’d probably misheard them, and besides that, they had already passed by the
house and I was on the sidewalk now heading in the opposite direction. As I
rounded the corner to head down to the cul-de-sac on Barnaby Street I looked
back and saw that the car had stopped at a stop sign and paused. I could sense
their eyes upon me. “Hmmm…I’m sure that they won’t bother to turn around and
come back and harass me” I thought, so I kept riding, heading down sidewalk to
the cul-de-sac about a quarter mile from my house.
I was almost there when I heard a rumble in the distance. It sounded
familiar. “I don’t believe this!” I thought with astonishment, “what are
these guys… CRAZY?” I scanned the view around me: there were at least three
people out in their lawns… watering… weeding… washing a car… were
these guys going to do something to me in broad daylight in front of
witnesses? That would be insane!
The rumbling got louder and I heard the car turn onto Barnaby. I looked back
over my shoulder. Yep, it was them. My astonishment turned to a numb resignation
that something indeed was going to come down. “Okay” I thought, a unicycle makes
a great weapon. Hop off, grab it by the seat, and swing it around like a crazed
lumberjack looking to decapitate someone. Yeah. That should scare them. And get
the license plate number - don’t forget to get the license plate number!
I kept riding, the car came closer. I heard, “There he is, Mike!”. I looked at
the people out in their lawns – oblivious as to what was about to happen. I
sure hoped that those crazy guys had spotted them by now. The car was just
behind me …
“QUICK, GET HIM MIKE!”. I looked to my left just as the car came up even with
me, expecting anything – except for what happened. Mike leaned way out of his
window and held a camera to his face, and took my picture. “DID YA GET HIM?”
“Yeah, I got him!!”. He waved at me, I waved at him, and they squealed around
the cul-de-sac and drove away.
I would give anything to see the expression on my face in that photograph.
- Rick Bissell