Unicycle articles (but wait there's more...)

Re: Unicycle articles (but wait there’s more…)

On Tue, 6 May 2003 20:04:36 -0500, samuel
<samuel.n1avb@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>then came the bombshell - he couldnt actually ride a unicycle!

Remarkable indeed. However, don’t condemn the man too hard. I’ve heard
that Alan Tepper, the main coach of the Panther Pride Demo Team, for a
long time was not capable of riding himself and I’m not sure if he is
now. The PPDT is a world-class unicycling troupe and Alan is generally
in high esteem.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

"Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them used to burn their houses down - hence the expression ““to get fired.”” "

At the risk of getting too serious, I think the “those who can’t do, teach” saying is a load of sh*t. Teacher bashing is vastly over-rated.

:roll_eyes: :angry: :slight_smile:

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

The quote from lao tzu was not intended to be teacher bashing - both my parents are teachers and I will probably end up a teacher myself.

The lao tzu quote has been taken out of context. I think the ‘those who can, do
those who can’t, teach’
mantra comes from the lao tzu quote.
To fill in the context - Tzu was talking specifically about acheiving enlightenment in a Taoism sense of the word. He did not mean it to refer to general study.

I support teachers all the way - I just feel for a teacher to be really, really effective, they must love what they are teaching, know what they love, and share that love with the students…

1 Like

That quote from Lao Tzu is a wonderful one.

Samuel, I’m familiar with the quote and I did not interpret your use of it as teacher bashing. I don’t even know why I reacted the way I did.

I went through 12 years of New York City public school and had plenty of crappy teachers. But unlike many kinds of experiences in life where despite overall success it’s the failures or negatives that stand out, with my education I can barely name the shitty teachers, but the good ones I remember perfectly well and thank them regularly, if only to myself.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Unicycles provide lessons in perseverance; EDUCATION: Kids learn a positive attitude can pay off with new skill.

Linda Shindruk
Freelance OK
838 words
13 May 2003
Bellingham Herald
© Copyright 2003, Bellingham Herald. All Rights Reserved.



LYNDEN -Cheering, clapping, “oohs” and “aahs” reverberated through the gym at Bernice Vossbeck Elementary School last week, as the Fire Wheel Unicycle Club wrapped up its first year with a performance in front of students, parents and friends.

The 45 Lynden School District students who are part of the club have worked hard to master a skill that most can only marvel at. In the process, they’ve learned a valuable lesson about perseverance.

“You have to think you can do it,” said 10-year-old Matthew Ditommaso. “It’s frustrating at the start, but you have to just keep trying.”

Since last fall, physical education teachers Shirley Lee and Ron Hanson, along with two parent helpers, have led two 10-week sessions in which they’ve taught kids age 8 through 13 to ride the one-wheeled cycles.

Lee has been riding herself since she was 11 years old. Hanson learned to ride during college, and even rode his unicycle to classes for a year.

With funding from the Lynden PTA and the schools, Lee and Hanson started the club last fall with 13 unicycles in the Bernice Vossbeck gym. In addition, each child paid $25 to take part in the program. The club now has 25 unicycles, several juggling balls and stunt ramps.

“This group has learned faster than any group I’ve coached before, and I think it’s mainly because we’ve got so many unicycles for them to practice on,” Lee said. “The support from the (school) district and the PTA has been awesome.”

Lee added that since starting the club, many of the kids have received their own unicycles as Christmas or birthday presents, so they’ve also had lots of practice time at home.

“You see them riding all over. Some kids are even riding them to school,” she said.

Lee said they plan to offer the lessons as an after-school enrichment program again next fall. Their goal is to have Dan Heaton, Western Washington University student and accomplished unicyclist, come to visit.

“We have his picture on the wall, and the kids all know who he is,” she said. “They’d be thrilled to meet him.”

The trick

Lee and Hanson started off their rookie riders by having them ride the length of the school’s gym while hanging on to the bleachers with one hand for balance. When they were ready to ride without that support, the kids started off from a wall, usually riding for two or three turns of the pedals before “bailing,” or jumping off. Gym mats covered the floor under the beginners, in case they didn’t always manage to land on their feet.

As they pedaled and bailed, over and over, many of the kids could be heard mumbling Lee’s mantra for maintaining proper balance: “sit heavy on the seat, potato chips under your feet.”

Hours, days, even weeks can pass before a new rider advances beyond two or three pedals, Hanson said.

“It’s different for every kid,” he said. “Usually, though, everybody who works at it a lot will get it eventually. It’s like a regular bike. Once you find your balance, things start clicking.”

Ten weeks after the sessions’ start, those kids who barely made two or three pedals during the first few classes were riding non-stop around the gym, riding over ramps, juggling and shooting basketballs - all on their unicycles.


Lee said the most important thing the kids learn is perseverance.

“They’ve all learned that if they stick with something and work hard at it, even when it’s frustrating, they’ll eventually get better at it,” she said.

Nine-year-old Kristen Swarth- out faced a lot of frustration at first.

“I thought I’d never be able to do it, but I practiced a lot, and a lot and a lot, and then I got it,” she said.

According to 8-year-old Tanner Clarke, mental attitude is crucial to success.

“Sometimes you don’t think you can do it, but you just have to think that you can, and then you can do it,” he said.

Hanson said the kids also benefit from learning to do something that not a lot of other people are able to do.

“It can be a real self-esteem builder, to be doing something that puts you in kind of a unique category,” he said.

Ten-year-old Tessa Fleming agreed. “When you’re riding around town people congratulate you, or they watch you and wave to you from their cars. It makes you feel proud of yourself.”

Linda Shindruk is a freelance writer.


ON A ROLL: Kevin Hanson, a seventh-grader at Lynden Middle School, juggles three balls while practicing at Bernice Vossbeck Elementary School with Fire Wheel Unicycle Club.


Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Hey, look who’s mentioned in this one!

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

7,000+ Bicycle Commuters Take to the Roads to Launch WRQ Bike to Work Month.

1,192 words
12 May 2003
Business Wire
© 2003 Business Wire

Annual Event Raises Awareness about Bicycle Commuting as a Way to Improve Traffic and Health While Having Fun.

SEATTLE-(BUSINESS WIRE)-May 12, 2003-Bicycle commuters are creating a better community through bicycling.

More than 7,000 King and Snohomish county residents will bike to work on Friday, May 16 to celebrate the 13th annual WRQ Bike to Work Day. Hosted by the Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation and sponsored by integration software company WRQ, this event is one of the nation’s largest bicycle commuting events and coincides with National Bike to Work Day/Month. WRQ Bike to Work Day raises awareness of bicycle commuting benefits, including increasing physical fitness, reducing stress, saving money, reducing traffic congestion, and simply having fun.

In addition, this year’s event kicks off the WRQ Bike to Work Month Commute Challenge, for which bicycle commuters may register and be eligible for prizes. 2003 honorary co-chairs endorsing the Commute Challenge include: Greg Nickels, mayor of Seattle; Mike McKinnon, mayor of Lynnwood; Richard Conlin, Seattle City Council; Doug Walker, chairman and CEO, WRQ Inc.; Rick Arthur, vice president of administration, Starbucks Coffee Company; Rosemarie Ives, mayor of Redmond; and Val Stouffer, Newsradio 710 KIRO host. -0-

Friday, May 16, 6 am - 9 am WRQ Bike To Work Day: Kick-off event
with 36 Commute Stations around King,
Kitsap and Snohomish Counties
Friday, May 16, 8 am - 9 am Celebration Rally: Bikestation Seattle,
311 3rd Ave S (across from King Station)
May 16 - June 15 Commute Challenge: A month-long
commuting program
Friday, May 30, 4 pm - 7 pm UW Bicycle Hubbub Rally: Burke-Gilman
Trail @ Brooklyn Ave.; music, food, fun

Today’s bicycle commuters prove that bicycle commuting is a great option for many people. “I continue to encourage employees to explore alternative transportation options,” said Doug Walker, chairman and CEO of WRQ and daily bike commuter. “Bicycle commuting can help alleviate stress, even in a fast-paced work environment. Events like this demonstrate that bicycle commuters come from a variety of different professions, but all have the same pride in the resulting benefits such as increased exercise, time savings and the opportunity to reduce traffic congestion and pollution.”


Name: Greg Harper

Profession: Research Engineer, UW Nuclear Physics Lab

Years Bicycle Commuting: 18

Age: 50

Two years ago, Greg started unicycling to work. Greg has two commuter unicycles, a geared unicycle of his own design and construction that he can modify from a 29" diameter wheel to an effective 43.5" diameter wheel, as well as his standard unicycle with a 36" diameter wheel. Greg commutes by unicycle five miles daily from Crown Hill to the University District, but he does ride his bicycle in the rain and winter dark seasons.

Name: Gary Ford

Profession: Training Manager, Nintendo

Years Bicycle Commuting: 1

Age: 35

Since selling his car in early 2002, Gary has been bussing to work and using his feet, bike, and Flexcar to get around. Gary used the $1,400 he saved on car insurance to pay for airfare to France and a week in a chalet in the French Alps. All totaled, his airfare, lodging, food, drink (including lots of good French wine, French brandy, espresso and Belgian beer, ski rental, trail passes and cross-country ski lessons), cost less than his car insurance. “I’m surprised at how little I miss my car, and my trip to France for Christmas was amazing!”

Name: Craig Smith

Profession: Software Development Manager, WRQ

Years Bicycle Commuting: 9

Age: 50

More than nine years ago, Craig began bicycle commutes six miles daily, when he was getting out of shape and could no longer schedule visits to a fitness club. Plus, he was sick of paying for two cars and trying to find parking for both of them in an urban neighborhood.

By the time he gets home, Craig has ‘decompressed,’ and his family does not notice his work-day stress. In addition, he’s realized significant health benefits. “I’m a 50-year-old male who can run up three flights of steps without having to breathe hard,” says Craig. “My resting heart rate has dropped 20 beats per minute, my chronically high blood pressure dropped 15 points, and I can fit in the same clothes I had 20 years ago.”

Name: Cyndi Robinson, MS, PT

Profession: Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education, University of Washington

Years Bicycle Commuting: 17

Age: 39

Cyndi lives in Shoreline and works part-time as a physical therapist at Harborview Medical Center. She is also a part-time physical therapy faculty-member at the University of Washington. Cyndi bikes to and from work sites nearly every day, 16 - 24 miles round trip.

As to why she commutes via bicycle, Cyndi cites the daily exercise that is built into her schedule and the benefits of a stress-relieving commute rather than a stress-producing one. She also appreciates that bike commuting is faster than driving, and is able to save money on commuting expenses and avoid parking hassles when running errands.

Commuter Stations throughout King and Snohomish counties will provide bicycling maps, prizes, small repairs, WRQ Bike To Work Day T-shirts, water bottles, and more. At the rally, commuters will enjoy food, drinks, fun and camaraderie. For a list of the stations nearest you, cycling tips, additional commuter profiles, and a full event schedule visit www.biketoworkday.org.

This free community event is made possible by contributions from sponsors including: Adobe, Bikestation Seattle, City of Seattle, Clif Bar, Community Transit, Flexcar, Greater Redmond Transportation Management Association, King County Metro Transit, 710 NewsRadio KIRO, Puget Sound Energy, Pyramid Communications, Sakson & Taylor, Starbucks, University of Washington and WRQ.

About WRQ

For 22 years, WRQ has been developing industry-leading software for simplifying host access and integration. WRQ Reflection® software connects web or Windows desktops to host applications, as well as file and print services. WRQ Verastream® software encapsulates host functionality into services for rapid reuse in web applications, packaged applications, and portals.

WRQ has the highest ratings in the technology sector for quality support and customer loyalty. With over six million users in 51 countries, it is one of the largest privately held software companies in the U.S. Four out of five Fortune 500 companies rely on WRQ daily.

About Cascade Bicycle Club

Cascade Bicycle Club is the nation’s largest bicycle club with over 4,200 members in Greater Seattle. Cascade produces eight annual events, including three marquee events: Seattle International Bicycle Expo, Bike to Work Day and Seattle To Portland Bicycle Classic. CBC promotes bicycling for transportation, recreation and health - providing over 1,000 recreational rides annually. Cascade is a non-profit organization, directed by a board of nine elected volunteer directors and seven professional staff. The Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation, a 501(c3) organization, promotes bicycling safety and skills throughout Washington State.

Hey, I’m famous. I’ve got 14 minutes left. Thanks, Raphael.

Re: Unicycle articles (but wait there’s more…)

On Fri, 16 May 2003 14:10:36 -0500, JJuggle
<JJuggle.njd3p@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>Hey, look who’s mentioned in this one!

Has it caught Greg’s attention that the article got posted here?

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

The symbol on the pound key (#) is called an octothorpe.

Brits - Watch for this kid

College degree factors into equation for boy, 16\ Math: After graduating from UMBC this summer, teen is off to study at the University of Cambridge in England.

Brendan Kearney
657 words
27 May 2003
The Baltimore Sun
Copyright 2003, The Baltimore Sun. All Rights Reserved.

Tomasz Macura, 16, who enjoys riding his unicycle at UMBC, will study computer science at University of Cambridge.

Tomasz Macura swears he is not a genius. That may be true. But he is about to graduate from college at age 16 and is about to study at one of Great Britain’s most prestigious universities.

“I think education is the most important asset,” Tomasz said. “Wealth and power come out of education.”

Through prodigious talent and hard work, Tomasz will graduate this summer from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics - with honors. Then, he will attend the University of Cambridge. He will take part in a National Institutes of Health-Cambridge research program in Bethesda for a year and then will cross the Atlantic to study computer science at the University of Cambridge for three years. According to UMBC, Tomasz will be the youngest doctoral student at Cambridge since World War I.

Tomasz’s success has garnered praise from the president of UMBC, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, who enrolled in college at age 15.

“He is exceptionally bright,” said Hrabowski, who mentors many of the young students on campus. “But he’s a very hard worker, very inquisitive, a great sense of humor, and he represents that group of children in our society who need institutions that can challenge them.”

Tomasz’s path to UMBC was somewhat unconventional. His family emigrated from Poland to Augusta, Ga., when he was 5. Finding that the local schools didn’t challenge him, his parents pulled him out of school in sixth grade. Then, they invoked the state’s “prodigy rule,” which allows any child who scores higher on the SAT than 95 percent of high school graduates - Tomasz notched a 1340 - to enroll in college.

In January 1998, Tomasz enrolled at age 11 as a freshman at Augusta State University.

The family moved north when his mother, Katarzyna, secured a job as a radiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 2000, Tomasz enrolled at UMBC.

Penny Rheingans, assistant professor of computer science at UMBC, taught Tomasz in her Introduction to Computer Graphics course.

“He’s exceptional because he’s very engaged, sees to the heart of things,” Rheingans said. “But if you walked into the class and had not known his age, you would’ve never picked up on it. He’s very poised.”

But there’s more in the teen’s life than school. He plays the flute, enjoys scuba diving and was a student of tae kwon do. He can also been seen pedaling around campus on his unicycle, which he uses to commute to UMBC from his home in Arbutus.

“It’s a very stable machine,” said Tomasz, who learned how to ride the cycle after growing bored with bicycles.

Tomasz’s 13-year-old brother, Wiktor, also attends UMBC. He is a sophomore and hasn’t declared a major. The two boys share many of the same interests.

Tomasz says his parents, each of whom has a medical degree and a doctoral degree, are largely responsible for his success.

“The idea of studying and learning was sort of normal,” he said. “I am very thankful and lucky that my parents spent so much time with me.”

His father, Robert Macura, a former researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, insists there is no miracle at work here.

“There’s nothing magical to it,” his father said. “It’s not a religion, but we hold education in high esteem.”

Tomasz agrees.

“There’s a level of brightness with which you are born, but then you have to sit down and work,” he said. “You have to read the math books and sweat out the problem sets.”

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ



Just WOW !

… and,


New Zealanders - Where to send your children!


275 words
30 May 2003
New Zealand Press Association
© 2003 New Zealand Press Association

Whangarei, May 30 - Balancing a primary school curriculum with unicycle hockey is a real juggling act for a Northland school principal.

Irish-born Paul Underwood moved to Paparoa, 45km northwest of Wellsford, about 17 months ago.

Already more than a third of the school’s 68 pupils have mastered the unicycle, and just as many are learning to juggle.

Mr Underwood is a fan of teaching methods that include juggling, unicycling, stilts and poi.

The methods harnessed students’ energy and made them less mischievous, as well as building confidence and self-esteem, he said. Other positives were less boredom and negative behaviour among students, and a big reduction in absenteeism.

"It’s a great learning experience. They learn balance, and are using the left and right-hand side of the brain.

“It also teaches children discipline. They don’t learn straight away and instead they have to practice.”

Mr Underwood is a self-taught juggler and unicyclist after being inspired 10 years ago by an English flatmate who juggled baked bean tins.

“Anyone can juggle. Some just take a bit longer than others,” he said.

Mr Underwood honed his unusual teaching methods in England, before moving to a remote school at Kakatahi, near Wanganui, and then Paparoa.

His students have formed a “juggling committee” that oversees all the circus sports, makes rules for unicycle hockey and meets regularly to approve budgets for more juggling gear.

Some pupils have bought their own unicycles and one child even unicycles to school.

The fun shows no sign of slowing: next term, Mr Underwood plans to introduce yo-yos.

Re: New Zealanders - Where to send your children!

that’s nothing new
yo-yos have been in american schools forever
two guys walking towards one another in the hallway, what are they gonna say?

sorry :roll_eyes:

Wanganui is pronounced Fah-nga-noo-ee. It’s a Maori name. The Maoris are a South Pacific race, the original settlers of the islands of New Zealand. Kiri Te Kanawa, a soprano with a fantastic voice that is so sweet you will melt when you hear it, is Maori.

Hey! Our very own Wayne van Wijk! Nice going, man!

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

good medicine.

By Lizzie Corser.
907 words
4 June 2003
Brisbane News
© 2003 Nationwide News Pty Limited

Clown doctor Wayne van Wijk injects some laughter into hospital wards Dressed in a feathered hat and an oversized white doctor’s coat adorned with colourful fabric patches and huge bright buttons, I feel like a fool.

But I guess that’s the idea.

Wayne van Wijk makes a living out of dressing like this, working as a “clown doctor” at the Royal Children’s Hospital at Herston.

Dressed similarly to myself, but with the addition of a plastic stethoscope and a bulbous red nose, he scans my appearance.

Wayne’s a more convincing clown than I.

“It’s just so that the kids don’t feel frightened of you, because you’re a stranger,” he says.

But I wonder if my appearance is really designed to tickle his mischievous sense of humour, rather than the virtuous reason given.

An unofficial “doctor”, Wayne, 30, is a children’s entertainer who performs at the hospital as part of the Clown Doctors programme, a national programme founded by the Humour Foundation, which aims to make hospital stays less stressful for children by providing them with laughter and fun.

As I follow Wayne, or should I say “Dr Bob”, into the elevator of the hospital, the faces around us break into smiles.

As the doors slide shut, the well-spoken, organised man I met moments earlier makes way for a playful, bumbling clown.

Stretching his animated face into a broad grin, Dr Bob proceeds to inform the surrounding people of elevator etiquette, turning their smiles into awkward giggles.

“Two rules are being shown well here - under no circumstances should you talk or make eye contact with anyone,” he says.

Dr Bob is demonstrating the premise of his work. “Being a clown allows adults to play again. Often, being confronting forces adults to drop their social rules. Kids respond honestly to my work. They’re not as polite as adults.”

First thing this morning, Wayne began his day in a less remarkable way, working in front of the computer at his Sandgate home, organising bookings and promotions for his other act - a unicycle-riding, stilt-walking performer called Domino the Jester. Being president of the Australian Unicycling Society, he is also busy organising the upcoming biennial convention.

But once the business behind show business is complete, Wayne takes his mini-van - more closely resembling a golf buggy than a car - to the Royal Children’s Hospital to play Dr Bob.

It all begins with putting on costumes in the hospital’s Clown Doctors’ dressing room. Stacked shelves hold boxes labelled “noses, glue etc”, “pocket props” and, a particularly curious combination, “bed pans and posters”. This is no ordinary workplace.

Once Dr Bob and myself are kitted up, it’s time to hit the oncology ward. Exiting the elevator, Dr Bob loudly greets passers-by along the way.

“Don’t worry, I don’t have SARS. I prefer Pepsi.”

Entering the ward, we are met by a bustling scene. Mothers are seated with their children on couches. There are toys and televisions and games everywhere. Our appearance automatically wins grins from the children.

Dr Bob walks up to one boy, pointing to the chemotherapy unit he wheels behind him.

“Look, someone’s been putting green cordial in your tube,” he says, prompting an outburst of giggles.

While the mothers’ smiles mask weariness, the children are excited, and I feel a lot less silly about my appearance than before.

Losing his hat, Dr Bob asks the children if he could borrow one of theirs. A little girl enthusiastically meets the request, whipping off her beanie to reveal a smooth head underneath - one of the more visible effects of chemotherapy.

Maintaining humour in such a place must be a challenge at times, but Wayne has to keep up the act every day, regardless of his mood.

“It’s very sad to see families in tears because they’ve received bad news or because they’re just not coping with the pressures of hospitalisation.”

People may wonder why Wayne doesn’t stick to the festivals, workshops and kids’ parties, or better yet, run away to join the circus - especially considering a full day’s work at the hospital pays about the same as a one-hour show.

“You would never do Clown Doctors for the money, but it’s an amazing way to give a gift that is especially mine.”

Once the 5 - hour shift is over, Dr Bob reverts back to Wayne van Wijk, and all the normal, adult activities which that entails - sort of.

Tooting the novelty horn of his bizarre mini-van - filled with juggling gear and a unicycle - gives the impression that he’s returning to a strange land, but it’s merely back to Sandgate to potter in the vegetable garden and begin dinner party preparations.

Something of the child in him remains.

“Kids draw so much more out of life than adults do. Being a clown allows me to be someone else and it makes people want to play again.”

Kids Day Charity Week, starting Sunday (1 June), raises funds for the clown doctor programme. Major toy stores, including Big W, Myer, Target, Toy Kingdom, Toys “R” Us, and Toyworld, will donate a percentage of proceeds to the charity until Saturday, 7 June. The programme is also supported by the Commonwealth Bank Staff Community Fund and the Working Wonders Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Re: Unicycle articles (but wait there’s more…)

JJuggle wrote:
> Hey! Our very own Wayne van Wijk! Nice going, man!

Maybe clowns aren’t so bad.

Good man.

Re: New Zealanders - Where to send your children!

I met Paul when I first started unicycling- at the 2001 NZ juggling festival. I was wondering what he was up to :stuck_out_tongue:

There were another two unicycle articles this week- The Wairarapa Times Age had a front page photo of Brent Hammond (a 16yr old unicyclist) on Friday and then an article on me on Saturday. Two unrelated unicycle articles on consecutive days in the same newspaper!


Just found the online version of the two front page articles:

Wairarapa Times Age:
30 May
31 May


and the south african version

garth is the de facto ‘head’ of the ‘BALLS UP!’ juggling club

Hey nice articles, guys. Thanks for sharing.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ