What got you here...

Hello everyone, Just wanted to know what exactly got you into unicycling
in the first place… Any weird stories are surely welcome. I’ve been a
juggler for most of my life and there is a meeting down on UT campus
everyweek and during the summer we meet outside until dark. One day this
guy rides by us on a bike and asked if anyone wanted to buy a used uni. I
said sure, how much? Forty bucks. No problem. The next week I picked it up
and I started off in my mom’s kitchen. The walls still have tire marks to
prove it. I laugh at that everytime I go visit her. Hahaha. Not that
exciting but it’s a good start anyway. Who’s next?

Aj

In the 1960’s there was a local show here in Tulsa, OK. USA called “Mr.
Zing & Tuffy”. It was a “cartoon camp” where they showed cartoons & had
kids on the show celebrating their birthdays. “Mr. Zing” was a recent
immigrant & later became somewhat of a local celebrity. I’m sorry to
say I don’t recall his real name. He would ride a unicycle on stage for
a little bit on every show & usually chase “Tuffy” around until time
for the next commercial/cartoon. “Tuffy” was dressed as a large cat. On
my 6th or 7th? birthday, I was on the show. All I really remember about
the show was that while everyone at home was watching commercials, the
kids on the show (us), got to see extra cartoons, & I remember that
unicycle too. Also, I went to the circus a lot as a kid & saw
unicycling there too. When I was about 10, I started begging my parents
until they finally bought me my first one-wheeler at age 11.

-Mark

All right, I think my story is somewhat interesting…

I took a juggling class at college (yes, at RIT, juggling has been an
official class for 25 years now.) That fall (a year and a half ago), a
fellow in my physics class was also a juggler, and he later taught me how
to pass clubs. I do not remember how, but unicycling came up in
conversation once, and he mentioned that he had one, and could ride it. I
spent an afternoon attempting to learn. By the end of the day, I could
ride in a direction which resembles forward if I started from a wall.

One night that week, I was riding my bike on somewhat rough terrain. The
dark hid a ditch from me, which I soon ended up in. I bled a bit, and my
bike was not exactly rideable after that. After I got back from the
hospital, I decided that I would try to turn the remaining parts of my
bike into a unicycle.

I went around to a few bike shops. The people there were very nice to me.
I got two used left crank arms for free. I picked up a hub and bearings
from the unicycle source. I re-spoked the only non-bent wheel I had with
the unicycle hub, and eventually had a working unicycle.

Since then, I’ve bought a few professionally manufactured unicycles (5, I
think) and don’t ride the homemade much anymore. (I’ve also invested well
over $100 on safety gear)

So to summarize, a head injury got me into unicycling.

Jeff Lutkus

jugglerjoe@webtv.net (Aj)
> wrote:
>
>Hello everyone, Just wanted to know what exactly got you into unicycling
>in the first place… Any weird stories are surely welcome. I’ve been a
>juggler for most of my life and there is a meeting down on UT campus
>everyweek and during the summer we meet outside until dark. One day this
>guy rides by us on a bike and asked if anyone wanted to buy a used uni. I
>said sure, how much? Forty bucks. No problem. The next week I picked it
>up and I started off in my mom’s kitchen. The walls still have tire marks
>to prove it. I laugh at that everytime I go visit her. Hahaha. Not that
>exciting but it’s a good start anyway. Who’s next?
>
>Aj


Free e-Mail and Webspace - http://Unicyclist.com

I got “grounded”. :wink:

About 23 years ago (I’m 36, now), I was grounded for about a week. I
wasn’t allowed to go off our property or meet up with friends. So, in the
garage I went. I soon found my older brother’s 24" K-Mart special uni. My
garage had two 4"x4" wooden support down posts into our flat driveway. I
hung for dear life and went around and around and around for days until I
eventually learned how to ride away from it.

My brother never showed any interest in it, so he formally gave it to me.
Good thing too, because the welds soon broke all over the thing. I
replaced it with a 24" Schwinn I still own today. I also have a generic
20" standard height unit, as well as a 20" giraffe by Bill Matthews Co. in
Laguna Hills,
CA.


Best,

Mead “Aj” <jugglerjoe@webtv.net> wrote in message
news:10469-3AEF40BC-1848@storefull-105.iap.bryant.webtv.net
>
> Hello everyone, Just wanted to know what exactly got you into unicycling
> in the first place… Any weird stories are surely welcome. I’ve been a
> juggler for most of my life and there is a meeting down on UT campus
> everyweek and during the summer we meet outside until dark. One day this
> guy rides by us on a bike and asked if anyone wanted to buy a used uni.
> I said sure, how much? Forty bucks. No problem. The next week I picked
> it up and I started off in my mom’s kitchen. The walls still have tire
> marks to prove it. I laugh at that everytime I go visit her. Hahaha. Not
> that exciting but it’s a good start anyway. Who’s next?
>
> Aj

<!doctype html public “-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en”> <html> Late
last year, my wife and I were trying to come up with a fun way to enhance
our boys soccer play by providing a means of developing body balance and
leg strength. We came up with the crazy idea of a unicycle for
Christmas and purchased an 18" Jugglebug from the good folks at
Unicycle.com. At first we thought it might be a $100 chance but they
took to the unicycle like I take to coffee. When they both learned
to ride the one, we purchased a second (20" Jugglebug) so they each had
their own. I turned 40 in January of this year and thought that the
boys looked like they were having so much fun that I bought one as my
birthday gift to me. My wife mentioned something about mid-life
crisis but I assured her that I had purchased the sexy red convertible
unicycle and everything was right with the world. In the spirit of
Muni, my boys like to say that we have 1x1 All-Wheel Drive
unicycles. We learned to ride in the living room by holding on to
the piano and a kitchen chair and kept track of new distance achievements
across the living room floor and number of attempts before a successful
free mount. Many thanks to my wife, Mary, for putting up with carpet
marks, broken shelving, and other incidents! We practiced almost every
night until we felt good enough to go public and then moved to the
driveway (also had to wait for the northern Illinois snow and ice to
clear). Nowadays, we cruise the neighborhoods, practice skills in
the parking lot after church, and generally take our unicycles everywhere
we go that we suspect may provide a chance to ride (soccer practice,
camping, etc.). Upon our introduction into the world of unicycling,
we found a unicycling community of folks who seem to be a “cut
above”. We also found that unicycling is quite addictive and have
purchased a (used) 5’ giraffe and are considering starting up a unicycle
club in our community.
<p>Bruce <br><A HREF=“http://move.to/daup”>http://move.to/daup</A>
<br>
<q>Aj wrote: <blockquote TYPE=CITE>Hello everyone,
<br> Just wanted to know what exactly got you
into unicycling in the <br>first place… Any weird stories are surely
welcome. <br> I’ve been a juggler for most of
my life and there is a meeting down <br>on UT campus everyweek and
during the summer we meet outside until dark. <br>One day this guy
rides by us on a bike and asked if anyone wanted to buy <br>a used
uni. I said sure, how much? Forty bucks. No problem. The next <br>week
I picked it up and I started off in my mom’s kitchen. The walls
<br>still have tire marks to prove it. I laugh at that everytime I go
visit <br>her. Hahaha. Not that exciting but it’s a good start anyway.
Who’s next?
<r>Aj</blockquote> </html

Growing up in NYC, I was exposed to a number of unicyclists in different
venues. The first were probably the King Charles Troupe performing in the
Ringling Bros. Circus. I saw them for a few years and was always
impressed.

Across town from chez moi is the Metropolitan Museum, which used to have a
great policy about street performers (since changed, sadly). A guy named
Chuckster rode a uni and juggled with his wife, Nellster. After I got my
uni, I’d ride over to the museum and watch him, and before long I could do
all of his tricks. [Unfortunately, he didn’t walk the wheel, so I didn’t
learn that until this year.]

But what may have clinched my getting a unicycle were a few things
happening at the same time: I noticed the guy shown during the end
credits of “Welcome Back Kotter” riding on a uni thru a Brooklyn street.
That made it seem like it wasn’t only for the circus. And I was
approaching adolescence, a good time to forge one’s own identity. So I
decided to spend the last of my bar mitzvah money on a Schwinn 20"er. It
took me three days of 3-hour practices but before long I had mastered the
basics. Within a year, my brother had learned, and soon many of our
friends had too. But he and I are the only ones who still do it
regularyly, 20 years later.

David Stone Co-founder of the NYC Unatics Club

On 1 May 2001 16:08:18 -0700, jugglerjoe@webtv.net (Aj) wrote:

>
>Hello everyone, Just wanted to know what exactly got you into unicycling
>in the first place…

(Prologue) In the 1980’s I did an acrobatics workshop (one year) and one
night we had unicycles available. While quite some of my fellows could
wobble for 5 or 10 feet after an hour of practicing, I only made a fool of
myself and decided this was definitely not for me. Never thought of
unicycling again until…

(Main story) Last year, my daughter Jorga got a unicycle for her 11th
birthday (she wanted one very badly). I enjoyed teaching her how to ride
and freemount. I was a non-rider at the time but I quickly found this
newsgroup and other internet resources. When I saw her picking it up I
noticed a slowly-emerging itch to try again and learn myself as well. Many
people here were very helpful and several also advised like: scratch that
itch - learn to ride too - why let her have all the fun.

Then we discovered a unicycle club not very far away (BTW also via this
newsgroup). They were very open to beginners and I started riding in
September last year. I bought a 24" Semcycle a few months later
i.e. as soon as I knew I liked it. In the meantime my other (younger)
daughter also got infected and now owns a uni too. My wife briefly
tried but she’s given up. (Hmm, maybe she needs another 15 years to
let it sink in - like me.)

Klaas Bil


“To trigger/fool/saturate/overload Echelon, the following has been picked
automagically from a database:” “anonymous remailer, Air Force 1,
encryption”

Our Story: My daughter got me into it through her school club. She was 8.
I found that we, the Parents and teachers were all crediting the
unicycling for the positive results we were seeing in the kids. Improved
academics, confidence, decrease in behavioral problems, reading
improvements and physical fitness gains. We started a business to help
other schools get Unicycling programs off the ground you can find us at
UnicycleClub.com . Now I can ride a little, and Parents come over during
the lunch break for unicycling practice. Most of them want to learn to
surprise their kids. We’re having a lot of fun, while helping to spread
youth unicyling across the US. Thanks for asking AJ Patty Loeffler

Aj wrote:

> Hello everyone, Just wanted to know what exactly got you into unicycling
> in the first place… Any weird stories are surely welcome. I’ve been a
> juggler for most of my life and there is a meeting down on UT campus
> everyweek and during the summer we meet outside until dark. One day this
> guy rides by us on a bike and asked if anyone wanted to buy a used uni.
> I said sure, how much? Forty bucks. No problem. The next week I picked
> it up and I started off in my mom’s kitchen. The walls still have tire
> marks to prove it. I laugh at that everytime I go visit her. Hahaha. Not
> that exciting but it’s a good start anyway. Who’s next?
>
> Aj

Here is my (our) story… I was walking down a street in York when I saw
a unicycle in a Kite shop window I looked at my friend “Nobby” and
laughing said I’d love to learn to ride that … Next thing I know he has
walked into the shop and bought the thing… with a grin he said “That’s
£60.00 you owe me.” and left holding the uni.

Well I was gutted at first. We tried all ways to ride it (Bloody thing)
after a few weeks of grazes and falls and too much laughing for a pair of
38 year old men. we did manage to gat a few yards on it.

That was 3 years back now I love my Muni and we ride all over the place.
My pal has just got himself a Coker and the learning curve starts
anew…

Hope you like my tale…!!!

My story isn’t very interesting. A frend of my much older brother (he is 29 and I am 18) had learned to ride when he an my brother were growing up together. I decided many years later after hearing about Nick riding that I wanted to learn to ride also. I think that it appealed to my sence of weirdness and was a way for me to overcome my nerdieness by doing something no one else I knew could do. So I asked for and got a unicycle for my 16th birthday and have learned to ride through off and on practices when I could fit them into my busy schedule.

George Peck got me here. In 1997 I saw his Rough Terrain Unicycling video,
and here I am - simple as that.

—Nathan

“Aj” <jugglerjoe@webtv.net> wrote in message
news:10469-3AEF40BC-1848@storefull-105.iap.bryant.webtv.net
>
> Hello everyone, Just wanted to know what exactly got you into unicycling
> in the first place… Any weird stories are surely welcome. I’ve been a
> juggler for most of my life and there is a meeting down on UT campus
> everyweek and during the summer we meet outside until dark. One day this
> guy rides by us on a bike and asked if anyone wanted to buy a used uni.
> I said sure, how much? Forty bucks. No problem. The next week I picked
> it up and I started off in my mom’s kitchen. The walls still have tire
> marks to prove it. I laugh at that everytime I go visit her. Hahaha. Not
> that exciting but it’s a good start anyway. Who’s next?
>
> Aj

Aj wrote:

> Just wanted to know what exactly got you into unicycling in the
> first place…

I started two years ago at 38 years old. My two older daughters were
learning to ride their bikes and we’d go for rides together. But when I
rode an adult sized bike, I’d get about two strokes of the pedals and I’d
be halfway down the block from them. I kept thinking that I needed
something to slow me down…

One day the thought popped into my head that a unicycle would probably be
about the right speed. I don’t know why I thought that, as I never knew
anyone who’d ridden before, didn’t know where to get one, etc. Finally I
stopped at a local bike shop and asked if they had any unicycles. The guy
who helped me also unicycled, so when he heard why I wanted it, he
recommended a 24" instead of the 20" he had in stock. I had to wait a week
after ordering it, but it finally arrived.

I spent the next couple of weeks on the driveway next to the house, or
riding around my old VW van. Finally at about 3 weeks something clicked
and I was able to ride down the block. Took longer learning how to turn,
freemount, etc.

As it turned out, my prediction was exactly right. The 24" unicycle was
about the right speed to ride with the kids on their bikes…well, until
they shed their training wheels, then they got faster. I got a Coker
though and that lets me keep up to speed with them. <grin>

Since I got that first unicycle, I’ve ridden a bicycle maybe 5 minutes. I
hopped on it and went down the block. It felt so boring that I put it away
and got my uni. The bike hasn’t been out since then.

It’s definitely infectious. Since I learned to ride, my good friend bought
my 24" and learned to ride. Since Christmas, my neighbor across the street
got one. Then another friend and his 13 year old son both got unis.
Another good friend got one about two weeks ago. So I’ve inspired 5 new
riders so far.

Greg

When I was about 13, my parents gave my three younger brothers a
mini-bike for Christmas. Already a budding feminist, I was very
aggravated that I’d been left out of the mini-bike ownership just because
I was a girl and was further aggravated by my brothers’ constant
reminders that it was their mini-bike and not mine. I had to beg and
bribe them to let me ride it even occasionally. My “consolation” present
that Christmas was a Raleigh unicycle. I remember being very
disappointed. I half-heartedly tried to learn to ride it and it ended up
in a closet until I began dating a unicyclist in college. Motivated by
love and hampered by a heavy academic load, I managed to learn to ride
forwards for short distances. After several years, that relationship
ended and the unicycle went back in the closet.

Fast forward 20 years: Last July, Jacob, my 12 year old son, discovered
circus arts and attended a two week circus camp in Vermont run by former
Barnum and Bailey performers. He had a blast. I told him that if he
learned to ride the unicycle during the camp that he could have it. He
began making short solo runs after 3 days and was quite proficient by the
end of camp. My husband and I helped him learn to balance by walking on
either side of him and when he’d get tired, we’d take turns trying. I
could ride 10 feet by the end of his circus camp. When we got home in
September, Jacob began to give his “new” unicycle a serious work out. His
sister joined him and she picked it up quite quickly. It was
irresistable, and my husband and I began practicing with them. When Jacob
wore out the Raleigh (the wheel/hub connection loosened up so that there
was play between the cranks and the wheel), and as competition for time
on the unicycle grew, we got each of the kids a 20" from Unicycle.com.
Jacob began making serious progress on his uni and received a giraffe for
his birthday.

When my father visited me last fall, he couldn’t believe that I still had
my childhood uni and got a big kick out of spending many hours helping me
find my balance as I finally learned to ride it at age 45. Tom (my hubby)
and I each got 24" unis for our birthdays, and now we all not only ride
regularly together, but have co-founded the New Orleans Unicycle Club (16+
members) and play 2-3 hours of intense Unicycle Polo with the club each
Sunday afternoon.

Most of our friends and colleagues think we’re insane (undoubtedly a
mid-life crisis symptom and all that), but in truth, unicycling has been a
real gift to our family…It gives us a great physical work out, a mental
and physical challenge, made us some wonderful new friends and has
provided our kids the opportunity to be our mentors, rather than the usual
other way around. Our kids have learned yet again that you can accomplish
what at first seems impossible through perseverance and practice. Perhaps
most importantly however, unicycling is something that we AND our teens
love to do together as a family.

The past year has certainly been quite a ride! We certainly would have
been incredulous if you’d told us last year at this time that we’d all be
this involved with unicycling. What a gas!


Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com

When I was about 5 I found an old tricycle front wheel in my Grandpa’s
yard. (Looking back, I just realized it was an ultimate wheel!) I was
trying damned hard to ride the thing. About ten years later, my Grandpa
bought me a Schwinn 24" I rode the thing through high school and college
to get around, then dropped it for 15 years.

Ran into David Stone at my daughter’s gymnastics class and tried his uni.
Realized what I had been missing. Dug out the old Schwinn. Made repeated
attempts to rejuvenate it, then discovered unicycle.com. Ouch. Plastic
shock! 10 months and 5 new unicycles later, I can safely be certified a
fanatic. David said it was due to 15 years of unicycle repression. David
and I started the New York unicycle club. We’ve got about 20 active
members since January, and probably a lot more to come.

I also discovered that dogwalking is a heck of a lot more interesting from
a unicycle. I now look forward to those walks more than the dogs! Well,
many people probably thought I was going through a mid-life crisis too,
but everyone’s used to me now!

Joe Merrill

>
> Hello everyone, Just wanted to know what exactly got you into unicycling
> in the first place… Any weird stories are surely welcome.
>

My story is not nearly as exciting as some of the others.

I started when I was 13 by watching this juggler walking around on one of
those huge rolling globes while juggling. I had learned to juggle two
years previously. (I’m now 16.) When I saw this guy, instantly I wanted
one of those rolling globes.

I talked myself out of it because I thought the globe wouldn’t be too
portable. (This guy was at the top of Whistler Mountain in BC. To my
knowledge there were only two ways up to the spot where we were:
helecopter or ski lift. To this day I have no idea how he got it up
there.) Anyway, I said to myself, well, if I don’t get a globe I think
I’ll get me a unicycle. I don’t know what popped that into my head but I’m
sure glad it did!

The day we returned home to Vancouver I looked on the Internet at my
trusty BuySell.com…whaddya know, they have a listing for a unicycle! I
found later this was fantastic luck as I have been looking for another one
for a friend for about five months and haven’t seen a single one. Anyone
have one for sale in the Van area?

I went out the same day and the unicycle was in remarkably good shape. $35
or $45 later (I can’t quite remember) I owned my first unicycle.

It took me about two weeks to learn to ride without holding on to a
railing, and another week to figure out turning corners. I thought this
was pretty good. I later found out that it wasn’t. I taught a small
unicycling class near UBC and had this one guy riding inside fifteen
minutes. Ouch.

I have since inspired about 2 1/2 riders: a 12-year-old neighbor a couple
of blocks away, my 13-year-old cousin from Ontario (it was FANTASTIC luck
we found one for sale as she was only here ten days) and the son of a
friend of my mother’s. Actually this last one was in part due to CirKids,
a circus shcool around here, but that’s another story.

I have also since bought myself a Coker which is A LOT of fun to ride! You
must beg, borrow, or steal one just for a few hours if you haven’t ever
tried one.

'Night, Graham W. Boyes

“Aj” <jugglerjoe@webtv.net> wrote in message
news:10469-3AEF40BC-1848@storefull-105.iap.bryant.webtv.net
>
> Hello everyone, Just wanted to know what exactly got you into unicycling
> in the first place… Any weird stories are surely welcome. I’ve been a
> juggler for most of my life and there is a meeting down on UT campus
> everyweek and during the summer we meet outside until dark. One day this
> guy rides by us on a bike and asked if anyone wanted to buy a used uni.
> I said sure, how much? Forty bucks. No problem. The next week I picked
> it up and I started off in my mom’s kitchen. The walls still have tire
> marks to prove it. I laugh at that everytime I go visit her. Hahaha. Not
> that exciting but it’s a good start anyway. Who’s next?
>
> Aj

I was inspired by the french artiste Philippe Petite who I used to watch
perform in the mid-late 70s. He was regular in Washington Square Park
(which during my teens and early twenties I believed to be the center of
the universe) in lower Manhattan.

He did simple but perfect 3 ball, unicycle and tight-rope routines. I’m
sure I’ve idealized his performances by now, but I can’t not remember him
dropping a ball or in any other way being other than God-like. He mixed
his technical and comedic skills beautifully.

I rarely missed his shows, watching from above in a perch in a tree below
which he did his thing.

He inspired me to take up juggling and unicycling.

(It was around this same time, by the way, that he crossed the towers of
the World Trade Center on a tight-rope).

Raphael Lasar Matawan, NJ

On 2/5/01 12:08 am, Aj posted:

> Hello everyone, Just wanted to know what exactly got you into unicycling
> in the first place…

Can’t remember how far back it started, but it feels like I’ve always
wanted to be able to ride, so finally learning last year (aged 32) has
realised a life-long ambition.

I had previously had an attempt at learning, on a borrowed uni (a very old
Pashley 20", IIRC), but failed miserable. Mind you, I had no help or
advice back then. This time (having discovered a 20" unbranded uni in a
store cupboard at my church) I had the internet! This group, along with
many, many websites, has been a fantastic source of assistance and
encouragement - I thank you all.

I’m still riding that 20" from the church cupboard (and I’ve finally found
out who it belongs to), but am saving up to buy a 26" of my very own. Any
second-hand ones out there? (south east England, preferably!)


Trevor Coultart (Anecdotal and/or amusing quotation currently unavailable)

I first met a uni aged 16 or so at a community centre fete, and failed to
ride it in the 5 minutes I spent trying. Then forgot about it .

fast forward a couple of years, I’m 18 working for a summer with a tent
theatre company touring the parks of London that other theatres do not
reach. The locals always think we are a circus coz we have a two king pole
top and a little top ( the bar). That summer of 1991 the juggle craze was
huge in England and most of my colleges could juggle, one of them had a
unicycle and yet another one could actully ride the thing. Being an
impressionable young person I wanted in on the fun and desperatly tryed to
get the hang of juggling, and failed miserably. Being a bike nut I then
tried the unicycle , gained LOTS of bruises and shindentations.

Then on my 19th Birthday I learnt to ride. I actully got 10meters away
from the fence over the lumpy grass and got off before I fell , so you
might say I’ve been a munier since the word go. I lost contact with that
first uni ( a 24inch T-cycle) pretty soon when the summer ended and I
went off to College , during the first term I found a fellow student with
a 24 inch Pashly that they were happy to loan me for a few weeks, whilst
I had that one I found a friend from the Canoe club had one, and before
Christmas I was part of the Bristol Unicycle scene. I got a 24 inch
T-cycle of my own for Christmas ( thanks Grand-dad) learnt to free mount
on cobbles so i could ride it home from the market stall and in the first
week of the new term had played my first Game of Uni hockey and met Paul.
I’m still very keen on both.

sarah who is now married to Paul

Euro-cycle 2001 20 - 22 July Plymouth UK A european unicycle convention
http://www.eurocycle.org

I rowed at Vesper Boat Club in Philadelphia until I moved to California 16
years ago. While I was in college the head coach of the club started to
groom me as a coach and gave me a couple crews of my own to coach. I took
the responsibility rather seriously. Too seriously at times. I found that
I spent most of my time away from the boathouse obsessing about my
program. Constantly working and reworking line-ups, workouts and
strategies. I decided I needed something to distract myself so that I
would be able relax ( I was still racing myself and needed the rest). I
saw a one page article in Esquire magazine on how to roll a coin on your
knuckles. That worked pretty well and I can still do it today. After I had
coin rolling out down I decided to teach myself how to juggle. My friends
thought this was fairly comical, but interesting. During one of those
early years in my coaching career (1971, I think) a friend from my
neighborhood told me about a friend of his from his university who had a
unicycle he was looking to sell. He thought that since I was teaching
myself to juggle I might be interested in the unicycle as well. I said
sure, plunked down $35 (probably over paid) and took possession of a
nearly new 24" Schwinn unicycle. I didn’t know anyone who could ride a
unicycle, and I can’t honestly say that I had ever even seen anyone ride
one, even on television. I learned in the alley behind my parents house,
holding onto a pole and trying to pedal away as far as I could. It was a
fairly tedious process, much more difficult than I had anticipated, but I
could ride in a more or less straight line after a few days. I stored the
unicycle in the trunk of my car and would bring it out for a laugh every
once in a while. At races and on some rivers coaches don’t follow their
crews in motor boats, but coached from bicycles on paved tow paths on the
banks of the river. I couldn’t hope to keep up on a unicycle, and it would
be rather difficult trying to divide my attention between a boat on the
water and balancing a unicycle on the bike path. But, I would occasionally
set out on my unicycle with a megaphone in one hand and a stop watch in
the other, flailing along on my unicycle while my crews were out for an
easy row. It always helped keep the rowers loose, and I don’t think I
embarrassed them too badly.

Years passed, I got married, started a family, retired from coaching,
moved to California and kept the unicycle, still never having met anyone
else who could ride a unicycle. I didn’t ride regularly, but I would take
it out a couple times a year and ride around the neighborhood to amuse
myself. At our first residence in Southern California one of our neighbors
was fairly reclusive and had gone a rather tragic stretch of years. She
was divorced from her husband and a couple years earlier all three of her
sons had died in a traffic accident. They were coming home from a weekend
of skiing, the oldest brother was driving, he fell asleep at the wheel and
ran off the highway. On one of my bi-annual unicycle rides around the
neighborhood, the reclusive neighbor came out and struck up a conversation
with me. Among her son’s hobbies was uni cycling. She told me all about
her boys and ended by asking me if I would be interested in acquiring any
more unicycles. She gave me their 6’ Schwinn giraffe and a 20" Matthews
with a curved rectangular seat. In return I made a donation to their
Memorial Scholarship fund.

A few more years passed, we moved to Northern California with our fleet of
3 unicycles (they were all still too big for any of my children to even
think about riding) and I still have never met another rider. The guy who
moved our furniture was amazed. He said he had moved a couple unicycles
every once in a while but he couldn’t believe anyone would own so many. Of
course, he wanted to know if I was in the circus. The first day in our new
home we drove our kids to their new school to enroll them for class. Just
as we pulled up in the parking lot a kid rode around the corner on a
unicycle. My wife and I looked at the uni and then at one another. Right
after that another kid rides around the same corner on a giraffe uni. My
wife said, “well, it looks as if we moved to the right place.” Our kid’s
new school sponsored a 4H club which had among it’s interests a
Clown/Unicycle project. It took a couple years, but Woody (my son) joined
the 4H as a mini member as soon as he turned 7 (the minimum age). I cut
down the seat post on the Matthews and he just barely fit. Woody learned
much faster than I did, and learned much more. The riders in the 4H group
were fairly basic, level 2 at beast, but we were all excited.

The first thing I ever did on the internet was to do a search on
unicycles. The first pageI went to was a web page on Mountain
Unicycling. It was in England and the server was down for the night
(this was quite some time ago) so we didn’t get through. The first
e-mail I sent was to a guy named John Foss who seemed to have an opinion
on everything having t do with unicycling. I asked John if he could
recommend a good unicycle to buy for Woody who was bending and breaking
the unicycles that we had. As it turns out, John had just moved here
from New York , didn’t know any uni local unicyclists, and lived less
than 10 miles away and . A couple e-mails and a phone call later, John
showed up at a practice (that same day) with a van loaded with unicycles
and proceeded to knock us off of our feet.

I still have my 24" Schwinn (it now has a Monty wheel), the 20" Matthews
(with a new seat, pedals, tire, and cranks - a couple dozen kids have
learned to ride on that particular unicycle) and the Schwinn Giraffe
(which we drag out for parades). We have no plans to move in the near
future, but I often wonder what the mover would think about moving our
current fleet of unicycles. 3 unicycles is nothing.

All the best,

John Hooten

Aj wrote:

> Hello everyone, Just wanted to know what exactly got you into unicycling
> in the first place… Any weird stories are surely welcome. I’ve been a
> juggler for most of my life and there is a meeting down on UT campus
> everyweek and during the summer we meet outside until dark. One day this
> guy rides by us on a bike and asked if anyone wanted to buy a used uni.
> I said sure, how much? Forty bucks. No problem. The next week I picked
> it up and I started off in my mom’s kitchen. The walls still have tire
> marks to prove it. I laugh at that everytime I go visit her. Hahaha. Not
> that exciting but it’s a good start anyway. Who’s next?
>
> Aj

> The day we returned home to Vancouver I looked on the Internet at my
> trusty BuySell.com…whaddya know, they have a listing for a unicycle! I
> found later this was fantastic luck as I have been looking for another
> one for a friend for about five months and haven’t seen a single one.
> Anyone have one for sale in the Van area?

I don’t know what hassles are involved with shopping on eBay, but they
always have several unicycles for sale.

Good luck, JF