Just before my twelfth birthday, my sister and I received a unicycle from our mother as a Christmas present. When our mom was younger, she had a friend who would unicycle every day to class on an old 36” solid rubber tire unicycle. Her friend always left her with a good impression of the sport and she thought it would be a great thing to get her two high-energy kids. At first, I didn’t have much success learning to ride. Later that year, a friend of mine from school also got a unicycle and we started learning together. I can’t really remember too much about why I learned to ride but I distinctly remember the frustration of failure combined with the feeling of success when something finally worked.
I like the feeling of success when I learn something new is still a large part of why I unicycle. With unicycling there’s always something new to learn and accomplish, be it a technical muni trial, a difficult freestyle trick, or a new personal best in a road race.
I especially like long distance and road riding. Some days I will go out for a really hard, fast training ride. When I’m in this mode, I forget everything that I’m worrying about and just push myself to see what I can do. I can really get into a rhythm riding sometimes and it’s very meditative. Other times, I ride more leisurely and really enjoy taking in everything the landscape around me has to offer.
However, without a doubt I would list the unicycling community as the top reason why I like to ride. I don’t know any other community that is this supportive, fun, intelligent, and adventurous. And above all, welcoming. I have been extremely fortunate to be able to travel through unicycling, and wherever I go, people from the community are there to welcome me and enrich my time there.
Giving back to this amazing community is also an important goal for me, which I can do by teaching kids (ages 3 to 80) new skills and by working with the International Unicycling Federation.
Off the unicycle, I enjoy many outdoor sports such as rock climbing, road cycling, running, slacklining and backpacking. Indoors, reading, building unicycles and bikes, computers, and general geekiness are all passions of mine. I also enjoy traveling and learning about new cultures.
Words of wisdom: When I was on my solo unicycle tour in Norway this past year I realized that despite the amazingness of the unicyclist community, sometimes riding alone is really what you need. For the rest of the time, make sure you always have a good riding playlist ready to jam to. Oh, and sometimes you just gotta kick it into high gear, Schlumpf style.