This weekend I completed my longest unicycle ride ever … Five miles! (Yes, I wore my sparkly, dorky helmet). I left nice and early at 7am, on Saturday morning, before it got too hot. I needed an early start because I had things to do and it was going to be a balmy scorcher; icky unicycle-riding weather. Icky anything weather.
Along my ride, I approached three female walkers and one said, “That looks hard!”
“It is.” I shouted back, teetering nervously. I mentally asked myself, “Why am I doing this? Can’t I just get up early for a brisk walk like a normal person? This is crazy. Why is unicycle riding so hard?”
While cruising that morning I decided to answer those very questions. This is what I came up with…
Why am I doing this?
Because I can. I am not talented in many ways, just a regular married gal with two sons and two wiener dogs. Riding Blanche is really all I have that sets me apart. It makes me happy to hone some sort of unique skill and it feels really good once I get my gumption up and go for a ride. Honestly, it feels quite free, challenging and side-show-like … all at the same time. Sort of a natural high. If you have lived long enough, you know that those are priceless. Yes, a natural high.
Why is it so hard?
First, the single wheel and general construction of a unicycle means it can’t have much in the way of suspension (other than the buffer created by the air in the tires that I have already popped twice this summer). So the ride can be uncomfortable at times. I have come to accept this and know how to work around the bumps. Honestly, I will be looking into buying a pair of those cushiony, crotch-puffy-cycle-riding shorts real soon.
Second, my position relative to the wheel makes for a high center of gravity, which in turn makes for an unstable platform. We all know balance is everything in life, but even more so when I hop on Blanche.
Third, the drive train itself is the direct drive. This means that for every turn of the pedals, the wheel turns once. As in, there in no coasting. Zero breaks. On a unicycle, you are constantly working. So reversing foot direction is the only way to stop or back up … short of jumping off the unicycle. And, I might add here, that I have not mastered treading on the unicycle. I can go reallllly slow and am close to the goal, but cannot claim the idle prize yet … yet!
Life is too short not to ride my unicycle around town in an dorky helmet and savor the natural high. Everybody needs a hobby...