I would like to offer up a challenge to uni riders out there that react negatively to the “Where’s your other wheel” question. Instead of getting p#%$ed off because you think that the non-uni rider is being a jerk, try a different approach. This idea comes from recent experiences that I’ve had. Here’s the most recent.
I had been riding my Muni on a rocky trail for a while and decided to take a break. While I was resting, a family came climbing up the trail towards me. The father, seeing that I had a unicycle, asked me the question that so many of you dispise. “Did you lose a wheel?” I looked over at him, and said," You know, I’ve been all over this park and I have know idea what happened to it." He and his family had big smiles on their faces, and it turned into a great opportunity to talk about unicycling. Then they asked if they could watch me ride down the rocky trail.
I usually respond in a similar manner, and have had many opportunities to talk with strangers about this unusual sport that they didn’t know existed.
So if anyone is willing to let their guard down and try a different approach, I’d be interested in hearing about their experiences.
That’s funny because it’s similar to my comeback: “Oh my GOD! It was here a minute ago! Would you mind helping me look for it? Oh…never mind, it’s time I lost the training wheel anyway and really challenge myself!”
At the time I made that post I had not yet picked up on the fact that the “circus” remark and my “other wheel” remark are to be considered annoying. Good thing, because those encounters were positive ones. Thanks for the reminder that we don’t really have to answer a (percieved) negative with another negative.
About 25 years ago I compiled a list of responses to the classic “Where’s your other wheel” and several other common remarks people make. It was in the USA Newsletter at that time. One of these days I’ve got to dig that up and post it here… I think there’s also a version of it somewhere on unicycling.org.
In my experience that sort of approach will generate three possible responses - either the person will look annoyed and walk away (because they were supposed to be the funny ones and indeed it was said as a put down), they will look embarrassed (either cos you’re funnier than them or they feel put down because indeed it was said as a put down) or they will be amused (because they only wanted to join in really) and social interaction can thus ensue.
I always try to say something slightly amusing in return (although by the seventh such comment on a single ride all people may get in return is a tight smile). My favourite one so far was when I was on holiday in Turkey last week and I’d taken along my 20" freestyle for a change from swimming. Some Brit holidaymaker asked the question and I said “I couldn’t fit the other one in my suitcase” (because if I could I would have taken the semi-coker ). The chappie seemed amused (although ofcourse he didn’t understand the double meaning).
Very kewl thread. Thanx for starting it.
Anything that increases the peace is a good thing and if it gets people talking as well, it’s an excellent thing.
Summer is a coming so I’ll probably be out more, I’m also looking at buying me a muni (Alan is importing them now and he’s beginning to twist my arm), so I’ll probably be running into more passers-by.
I’ll respond to your challenge with this undertaking.
However, I have found it quite difficult to engage in a lengthy conversation with pedestrians as I wizz ( ) past them at great speed. (or at least faster than them, and usually in the opposite direction)