Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Monday night I went to the unicycle club again. I was totally psyched to see how far I could take it this time. I showed up to find even more kids than normal, which is a bit intimidating. You see, the kids zip around like little remote-controlled cars - constantly dodging and weaving with no discernible pattern. This makes it very difficult to navigate for fear of crushing one of them under the my wobbly wheel. The session before, I took out a kid when my unicycle shot out behind me right in front of one of the kids.

The club organizer (Angela?) had a bunch of the kids in a circle, showing them the two basic free-mounts. Oh, how I wished to be in that circle. All in due time. It just didn't make sense to learn how to mount if I couldn't stay on the unicycle.

After letting the butterflies settle, I mounted the unicycle and pushed off the wall. 10 feet. hmmmm.... I'd hoped to ride in circles, wishful thinking. The second time I made it nearly half way across the gym. A few tries later, all the way across. Whew, I just might get the hang of it.

One of the kids (Stephen, I later found out) came over and asked if I could free-mount. I don't quite get it. The kids can see me flailing around, and yet they ask if I can do advanced tasks. I responded, "No, I can't even really ride yet." He said he thought I looked pretty good. Wow, a compliment. Little did I know, he was buttering me up for later.

Sure enough, I was getting better. I crossed the gym several times, getting more and more consistent each time. I got to the point where one out of every other start resulted in a trip across the gym. Yay!

Then Stephen swooped in for the kill.

"I'll race you."

eh? One of the zippy kids was going to race me? I must be moving up in the world.

I have to admit, my wheel is larger than his (means less revolutions), and I probably outweighed him by 5X. But I felt up for the task.


We lined up on the wall, he said, "on your mark, set, go!" And off we sped. It was neck and neck all the way to the end, both of us tapping the far wall at the same time. I wasn't exactly in control at that point, but I'd tied him.

So, we raced again. The second time I was going too fast and lost control, he made it to the wall, I didn't.

The third race he said he'd spot me two seconds. I said I didn't need it, so we split the difference. 1 second. We raced and I bailed out on the account of a little girl who peddled into my path, risking life and limb. I bailed out and demanded a rematch. He gave me the rematch, and still gave me the 1 second start, and I crushed him. No, not literally, but I beat him by several seconds. Victory was mine.

At the end of the night (I was one of the last to leave), I was crossing the gym almost every time I got on the unicycle. I now consider myself a unicyclist. One that needs a support to start, and one that can only go (sort of) straight, but a bone fide unicyclist.

Next time, the free mount.

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