Unicycle Article!-The Oregonian-

This an article my Dad found for me and I have found it online for you amusement.

The web address is below:

If you can’t go to the website or don’t want to I copied and pasted it below:

Futility and face-plants part of learning to unicycle
by Peter Frick-Wright, special to The Oregonian
Saturday June 20, 2009, 9:00 AM

Benjamin BrayfieldPeter Frick-Wright counted his ride duration in seconds.
I took up unicycling because I needed to maintain my capacity to persevere. As adults we stop flexing that muscle, abandoning new things to save our egos. We forget how often persistence is mistaken for talent. With the unicycle, I had the perfect tool with which to practice public failure.

I would also get to count hours spent playing in the driveway as work.

It turned out to be even harder than I thought. After several futile attempts, I tried to convince myself that my extra-tall, top-heavy body type made it simply impossible, like sleeping on an airplane.

But then after an hour of trying and failing, I stood on the pedals and braced against a brick wall for support. I leaned forward, I moved forward. I felt balanced, let go of the wall and maintained control, all parts of my body working together for nearly two seconds of harmonized thrill.

“Did you SEE that!?” I yelled at my dog, Halifax. He had, and we were hooked.

Weeks passed; two seconds remained my longest ride.

My new balancing skills allowed for remarkable improvement on my mountain bike – I could ride 30 yards on my back wheel and track-stand through entire red lights – but I couldn’t quite make the transition from two wheels to one.

More weeks passed.

Needing encouragement, I talked with balancing expert Sam Salwei, who has some unicycle experience and travels the country doing headstands on ropes with a team called the Yoga Slackers. I needed to hear that I should stick with it, that finding balance always takes time but that it would happen.

“I can’t unicycle,” he said.


Other unicyclists’ stories of learning to ride generally go like this:

“I tried and tried and finally something magical happened and I could just ride.”

So with renewed dedication, I started a routine. If this were a sports movie, it would be the rock-music montage before the big game.

I practiced, I watched instructional videos on YouTube, I looked at pictures of Japanese unicycle hottie Kaori Matsuzawa; such was my dedication.

It helped.

But nothing magical happened.

However, one night as the sun went down, I hopped onto the unicycle next to my car, holding the roof for balance. Between rides, I visualized myself letting go and cruising around, envy of the neighborhood. When I tried it, though, I landed in push-up position, nose inches from the ground. I could quit and call it “saving face.”

But for once my ego wasn’t calling the shots, and I got up and tried again. I made it a little farther.

Reach Peter Frick-Wright at travel@news.oregonian.com

Getting started

Unicycle.com is a good Web site to browse through, with technique tips and descriptions that will help you decide what size wheel and type of unicycle are best for you.

Locally, Serious Juggling at 1532 N.E. 37th Ave., Suite A (near Sandy Boulevard) carries a lot of unicycles and can give advice; 503-233-2577.

A decent all-around, entry-level unicycle can range from about $125 to $250, and prices go up to about $600 or more for a high-quality burly mountain unicycle.

Unicycle.com says the average time needed to learn is 10 to 15 hours; I’ve seen other estimates as long as 36 hours. I’ve also watched a talented Portland rock climber learn in an utterly aggressive half-hour of fearless crashing and burning (though I like the gentler baby-step approach, and, don’t worry, you can quickly get the hang of landing on your feet when you fall off).

The easiest way to learn is to have someone hold your hand and walk down the street with you till you can put less and less pressure on them, but you also can learn by riding forward and backward next to your parked car or a wall. If you can find a fence next to a good dirt or grass surface, that’s even better. Your body tends to teach itself the necessary adjustments as you practice, but one key that doesn’t come naturally is having most of your weight on the saddle rather than on the pedals.

Once you learn to ride down the street, you can spend endless time on acquiring flashy new skills: idling in place, riding backward, hopping up curbs and steps and over roots on trails, etc. Or (like me), you can be happy with cruising around your block.
– Laurie Robinson