RE: Who is the oldest unicyclist?
> I spoke to Greg from the National Circus Project the other
> night about volunteering,
Volunteering for what?
> and we got to talking about a bling unicyclist
> by the name of John Litza(sp?).
Lizza. Yes, he was bling-bling!
Also possibly the world’s first non-sighted unicyclist.
> I think he said that now he’d be about 90 if he’s
> still alive. I believe that this man was about 70
> when he learned to ride. John, any info on this?
That estimate sounds way high. I think he learned to ride around 1967 or so,
with the aid of Bill Jenack. At that time, he might have been 40 or so. I
met him at Bill Jenack’s memorial service in 1982, at which time I’d guess
him to be no older than 60 or so. That would put my guess at his age around
the mid-70s or so.
The question is, when’s the last time he rode? I don’t know. I used to work
at a one hour photo a few blocks from his house (1985). I remember a
customer coming in, seeing one of my unicycle pictures in there, and saying
something about this guy on his street, a blind guy who rode one. Now from
what I’d read and heard and seen, John Lizza always rode with or near a
spotter, to help him know where to go. But this guy said he’d seen John walk
up and down his street (a cul-de-sac with the very busy Glen Cove Road at
the end), with his cane, checking the locations of all parked cars and
obstacles. Then he’d go back and get the unicycle, and ride it around.
The last time I saw Mr. Lizza I was driving up Glen Cove Road, I don’t
remember what year but somewhere before 1994, and he was at the bus stop. I
didn’t figure out who it was until long after I’d passed, but I remember him
looking old. I hope he’s doing well, and maybe even still rides, though I
have a feeling his interest may have dropped off when Bill Jenack passed
Oddly enough, John Lizza already got mentioned on this thread, before Jack
Halpern made it public. He said he wanted to “reserve me” for a pairs
performance on the year of my 100th birthday. I said “Eew.” and described
how John Lizza did a little demo ride at the 1983 USA Nationals, without
taking up the judges time and trying to “compete” with others.
Say hi to Greg for me. I need to give him a call!
Stay on top,
John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone
IF IT DAMAGES PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PROPERTY,
IS A CRIME
(Mind where you grind)