One man, one hobby

Sophomore shares love of unicycling


Photo by Megan Brandon

Story by Dewitt Fortenberry, staff writer

A few months ago, I was starting to get bored with my normal weekend antics, so I looked around the garage for my bike. That was when I found something that I hadn’t seen since my thirteenth birthday. Something I was scared to use for fear of death. Something that sparked weeks of falling, band aids, and learning.

When I saw it, I immediately remembered the story behind it. It was my birthday and I had been asking my dad for a bike that I really wanted, even though I already had a perfectly functioning one. On that glorious day, my dad gave me a large, bicycle sized box.

After opening the box and seeing a wheel, I started to get really excited. But by the time  I got to the bottom and realized that it only had one wheel, I felt a rush of emotions, both confused, excited, and angry. “How would they forget to put the other wheel in the box?”

In that confusing moment, I realized what my dad had really bought for my thirteenth birthday: a unicycle.

Being a 13 year old with a short attention span, there was no way I was about to spend the time it took to learn how to ride it. It turned out to be easier than I first pictured, but it still took time. I had to learn the art of balance.

So I tried to ride it once or twice, and studied the unicycling book my dad got me for a while. A few days later, I gave up and left it in my garage, where it sat hidden out of sight, collecting dust. I found riding my old bike to be easier, and a lot less painful.

When I rediscovered it a few months ago while cleaning out the trainwreck that I call my garage. I figured I’d give it a shot- I didn’t have much else to do that day. Eventually I found a sense of achievement by staying on it for longer, so I stuck with it. I started out always falling forwards after getting on, so I tried straightening up my back more and leaning back some. Every time I fell off, I had to find out what I was doing wrong, and made improvements.
Now I have gotten to the point where I can cruise up and down hills in my neighborhood. Recently I haven’t had as much time to work on my skills, but it isn’t something that you forget how to do.