Unicycles Rock and Roll in Our Family
At the age of ten my daughter said to me, "Mom I want to learn how to ride a unicycle." My first thought was who's going to teach her how to do that? No one in our family knew how to ride one or any of our friends. The idea came from a TV show where she saw a mailman delivering the mail on a unicycle. Thinking that looked pretty cool she wanted to learn how to ride one too. I started asking other mom's if they knew of anyone who could ride a unicycle and where I could buy one. This panned out as a friends’ cousin had one sitting in her garage collecting dust. It was in good condition and barely used so I bought it for twenty five bucks.
There was still the problem of how to teach her how to ride it or so I thought. As it turned out it wasn't a problem at all because when my daughter saw the unicycle she picked it up, put on her helmet and headed outside. She was determined to learn how to ride it and practiced for hours. She taught herself by holding onto and pushing off a tree in the backyard. You can see a well worn path next the tree as she went further and further into the yard as she learned how to do it.
When she was confident enough to try a flat surface she moved to the garage. Inside the garage she steadied herself with her right hand on the wall and pushed off. When that goal was met she moved out to the driveway. She would push off from the garage door frame and ride around on the driveway practicing her turns. After the driveway became easier she started riding up and down the street.
WOW its a New Unicycle!
Once we realized riding the unicycle was not just a passing faze we bought our daughter a new unicycle. You would have thought it was Christmas, she was so excited when she saw it and couldn't wait to ride it.
As she gained experience her confidence grew and trying tricks on the unicycle was the next step. Riding backwards became as easy as going forward, pedaling with one foot, jumping, and laying on the seat and peddling to name a few.
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The year was 2002, the event was the Rockton Lighted Christmas Parade, and the team was a father and daughter in clown costumes riding there unicycles. They had a great time impressing the crowds with their skills and tricks. The parade is part of a three day event called the Rockton Christmas Walk which has been held the first week in December since 1984.
Interview with Dad
- Why did you decide to learn how to ride a unicycle? "I thought it was amazing how my daughter could ride the unicycle and wanted to be able to ride unicycles with her instead of a bicycle."
- What made you head into the woods and more rocky terrain to ride? "I'd always been riding on flat paved streets and wanted a change of scenery. It’s much more interesting having to navigate rocks and tree roots surrounded by nature than simply cruising down a black topped street.
- Besides your daughter has anyone else inspired you to unicycle? "Yes, watching videos of unicyclist Kris Holm inspired me to try off road riding, and Terry Peterson called the UNIGEEZER."
- Why are you currently practicing jumping with your unicycle? "I want to be able to jump over the rocks, tree roots, and other obstacles on the trail."
- How many unicycles do you own? "Nine."
- Why so many? "I learned how to ride on a 20" unicycle, the 24" cycles are used for trail riding, the 26" ones are best for long trips, and my newest unicycle is a 19" that I'm learning to do jumps with."
- Do you have any advice for someone on the fence about whether to try unicycling? "I would go to www.unicycle.com to buy a good unicycle, helmet and pads. Then try to find a friend or join a unicycle club and learn from there."
UNI Man Jumping
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Learning to Ride a Unicycle
At only four years old our grandson expressed an interest in learning to ride his first unicycle. He's seen his Grandpa ride one almost every day and wants to do it too. He's learning how using a small unicycle in the same backyard where his mother taught herself.
Initially grandpa and grandson started practicing riding on the grass but it was to bumpy, so they moved onto our deck. While on the deck he practiced rocking the unicycle back and forth while holding onto the railing with both hands. This was done facing the railing. Next he was turned sideways and held on with one hand testing his balance along the railing.
This is a process and each pedal along the way helps to build balance, strength and confidence in even the smallest unicycle rider.