Not Too Old To …ride a unicycle
This is Chris’s story of how at 41 he decided to learn how to ride a unicycle and 12 years later he is still riding and still learning new tricks !
“I was inspired to learn after a friend bought a unicycle for his son at Christmas in 2003 and he’d lost interest in it. I’d seen them on TV in the circus and it looked funny and fun at the same time!.
Fast forward to Summer 2004 and I was in a traction kiting club at the time and one day there was no breeze, so we all sat there drinking tea and I said to a friend. ‘have you still got that unicycle in your van?’ We all tried and it was totally impossible for all of us. But every week I tried for another 20 mins and after a few weeks I managed to ride it a few feet, I remember. I held onto the Heath lamppost and then tried to cycle across the grass. It just went from there. I was looking for a new hobby that involved sport of some sort – I’m office bound all day- and It was something that I could practise at lunchtime, as at work at the time we had access to an indoor sports hall. It does teach you determination, perseverance, humility (you fall off and have to laugh) and a sense of achievement when you master a skill. But you can practise anywhere that is flat and off road. In fact you don’t need much room as you only go slowly. Its not a fast contraption, in fact trying to stand still on it is the hardest skill of all I find.
Reaching for handlebars that aren’t there is very strange. But at least you can’t go over the handlebars! After years of riding a bicycle, this feels totally alien. But its amazing that what you think is impossible initially, becomes easy with practise. You just have to practise and within reason, don’t give up. It can take a few months to master each trick or skill. But even just basic riding is fun and there are all sizes of wheel to try. I ride a 20" wheel as this is easiest to start with, but they go up to 36" for long distance! Unicycle.com is all you need to know if you are interested further. Its actually run by unicyclists and provides a first class help line and mail order service.
I just go through a routine now and haven’t really learned anything new on it for years. I love it as it is great for fitness and still gives me an adrenaline buzz, but I make sure that I wear all the protective gear just in case!. “
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