Archive for Unicycling

Hey Raymond! 

Stop fooling around and get your $%#@& Unicycle out of storage!  I started riding because of you, so hey!  What gives?

 

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I made an “outrageous” goal to obtain and ride a unicycle 5 miles this month.  Good news… I just did my 4th mile without stopping, without falling, and without losing control! My first 3 were not so smoothe, so today was a major turning point for me. 

 unicycleMaybe my goal wasn’t so outrageous after all.  Or maybe I got a little crazy and actually believed I could do this.  Whatever the reason, these days I have a feeling inside that is strong and postive.  By getting clear of all the crap inside that blocks me from doing things, actually doing them has suddenly become a breeze! 

My goal is to be the oldest person ever to ride a unicycle across the entire length of the Cherohala Skyway in TN-NC.  Since I’ll probably be the first and only person so far to do this, I could probably name my own record! 

Basically, this just means going one mile at a time, for 43 miles, so it is definitely do-able.  I just need to learn how to navigate those darn hills and build up my stamina (significantly)!  My friend Hugh told me ther are three 9-degree inclines on this highway – rough going on two wheels, much less one!

But I have a year to get ready for this, so stay tuned.  Tomorrow I’ll go for the 5th and final mile, then maybe do a victory lap around Best Friend Park for all my curious new friends…

“Hey, look.  There’s that old guy on a unicycle again!” 

Sounds just right to me. 

Categories : Goal Setting, Unicycling
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They say that you never forget how to ride a bicycle.  I guess “they” can add “Unicycling” to that list of unforgetable skills, because this 56-year-old guy apparently didn’t. 

Unicycle rideThe last time I rode a unicycle was before 1970, about 40 years ago.  I hung up my wheel after years of being labeled a weirdo and show off.  Since I don’t have any need to avoid such labels these days, I figured I’d make a go of it once again, especially since mentor Raymond Aaron gave me permission by publicly stating he was one of us weirdos.     

But this whole unicycle thing was harder than I thought.  First, I had to buy a new one because my old 24-inch Lizzie had (almost) breathed its last tire-breath.  A 29-inch one-eyed road warrior is my new ticket to adventure, and I wanted to take her out for a spin right away.  I had already made an outrageous goal of riding five miles before June 1st, and the month was almost over. 

The first thing I experienced after sharing my goal with Soma of riding the unicycle cornerCherohala Skyway on a unicycle next year was calmness.  Having spent years using the Logical Soul technique to process through all my “stuff” such as low self-esteem, fear, procrastination and other forms of self-sabotage, I felt really confident making such a bold declaration.  I know I can do it . . . and will! 

The first outing was unsensational, but rewarding.  Tuesday, May 19th I was able to keep my balance and tool on down the highway (in a local public park) with a minimum of spills.  One mile down, four to go.  So far so good. 

unicycle joyThe next day I did my second mile, although I started to feel my age on the uphill grades.  My wife Soma took these pics of me after a full day’s work on a a house renovation.  I slept well that night, despite some throbbing in the left knee. 

Two miles down, three to go…

I worked a full day on Friday, then came home and hopped on my unicycle in front of my house, just to ride to the corner of the block as I did the first day. 

Big mistake.  I immediately felt wobbly and crashed after only 200 feet downDown the Road the road, plowing my head into the asphalt.  It was REALLY good I had my helmet on . . . a blow like that would have sent me to the hospital for sure!

Needless to say, I didn’t continue the ride.  I figured out that a state of exhaustion where I can barely walk is not the best time to do a rolling balancing act!  Besides, I had quite a headache afterwards and decided to wimp out and head for the showers. I’ve got another week to log three more miles. 

Unicycle Sunset

 

I’ll be better prepared this weekend. 

Categories : Goal Setting, Unicycling
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Hi, my name is Michael and I’m a Recovering Unicyclist . . .

Old UnicycleWhile it sounds like some disease, its actually not.  I recently discovered that Unicycling is HOT these days – sort of like off-road biking became back in the 1980’s.  And the good news is I already knew how to ride . . . actually since I was a budding teenager in 1965!

But I had not been on one in over four decades.  Although I still had my old one, the seat was torn up and the wheel was flat – not exactly in mint riding condition (see pic on left).

 

So I set out to see if I could repair the old Lizzie.  Walking into the Marietta, UnicyclesGeorgia store of www.unicycle.com was like stepping into some ancient brain cells that I’d tucked away for 40 years and just dragged out.  I felt like I could finally come “out of the closet” and tell everyone the truth.  I was delighted to discover there were OTHER weird people out there just like me!

Long story short…

My father (actually Santa Claus) gave me a unicycle on Christmas Day of 1962.  I was a little tyke, not prone to ride such strange contraptions.  That changed when I turned 13 and decided to risk life and limb and either ride the darn thing or die trying.  After two weeks of scraped ankles and bruised legs and wrists, I finally rode . . . and soon got hooked.

What a thrill!  This was a skill that very few people had at the time (and still don’t) and I really reveled in being able to explore new places throughout my neighborhood in the city of Savannah, Georgia.  I even learned to climb steps and do a few other tricks and felt more at home on my “Uni” than I did on  bike. 

But along with special skills come special problems.  My Dad, you see, became head of the 1965 Arts Festival in Savannah, and I used to love riding around downtown . . . that is until one day he told me to “stop showing off.”  I guess he felt embarrassed by people’s comments and didn’t want to have to explain why his son acted like some circus clown.   

Whatever.  Deep down I was hurt, but did as he requested.  My enthusiasm became suddenly dampened and I rode very little after that. 

Fast forward to 2009.  After learning that my mentor, Raymond Aaron of www.monthlymentor.com was a unicyclist, I had a sudden urge to take it up again.  I never threw out my old unicycle, and always thought I’d give it to some kid someday – a day that never came since no kid I know wanted it.  So I set a goal to ride the 43-mile Cherohala Skyway between Tellico Plains, Tennessee and Robbinsville, North Carolina by the end of next Spring.  To do that, I needed a workable cycle and some practice! 

Josh TorransWhen I called the Unicycle shop, I talked to Josh Torrans and learned more about unicycles than I had known the entire 6 years of riding them.  After convincing me I would suffer mightily trying to cross the mountains on my little 24-inch rust bucket, he invited me to try some other models at his store.  

I went there today, and must say I had a great time!  I could actually ride the same size (24″) in a newer model, the 29-inch, and even the 36-inch “road warrior” used by tour riders.  I was again hooked.

OK, Josh, you got me.  Here’s my $300 bucks plus $30 for that weird riding helmet . . . (we didn’t need no steenking helmets in 1965!!)  Now all I need to do is practice. 

Oh, by the way, here is a picture New Unicycleof my NEW Uni – the one I will get to know intimately over the next year…

Anybody up for a little Unicycling ?

Stay tuned for updates on upcoming blogs.  I’ll probably even have a video camera with me during some trainings so you can laugh when I fall and break my 57-year-old toucous…

Categories : Goal Setting, Unicycling
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