Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You Say Unicycle, I say...

Pain. In the groin area.

Day two of the quest for unicycle mastery has yielded some sore inner thighs this am. Chafed if you will. The banana seat with the handle on the front is not the most comfortable thing for repeated fails to the pavement--but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Yesterday at Anna & Darren's house Dave, Dan & I played with our nephew Blair's unicycle. Long enough to get sunburned outside while doing it. It is a kids size, 18" wheel, doesn't extend real far, a cottered crank, and pretty heavy. But we caught the bug. Enough that when Dave found one on the local CraigsList, he called me up this afternoon and got me to come with him to Provo to check one out. With my 3 kids mind you, that's no small feat. He ended up buying one (a glittery black model) from a BYU student who'd tried for a month to master the thing and failed. Poor college kid, stick to the studies. Better to have tried and failed than to not have unicycled at all.

His loss was our gain. When we got back to Dave's house, he set to work trimming the exorbitantly long seat post to a size more fitting for the inseam of moderate height we Blairs possess. A little more air in the tire, and we were off--falling with greater ease than we'd ever thought possible yesterday. The new unicycle, a Torker, is aluminum, has a cotter-less crank, and a BMX style sealed-bearings wheel. Talk about smooth. It has a certain grace about it as it tosses one to the pavement repeatedly.

We must have fussed with it for about two hours in the street, Dave's neighbors came out to hang out with us and even give it a shot in the gathering dusk. Toma, amazing sport that she is, happily held my youngest son while we big kids played. My two other babies were camped indoors, festooning paper with faces and colors. They missed it entirely when my two brothers and I watched, drop jawed, Dave's neighbor Keith step right on the unicycle after not riding one in thirty years. He calmly and smoothly pedaled up and down the street. No flailing of the arms, no jerky movement, no sudden loss of locomotion with an abrupt voilent toss tot he ground. Truly amazing.

My kids also missed the whooping and hollering when we figured out that the best way was to sit loosely on the seat and balance with the feet instead. I kept thinking of Chubby Checker and the lyrics of The Twist echoed as I swiveled my hips to keep pedaling. It worked.

Unicycling, it seems is a love/hate sort of thing. We had several of Dave's neighbors stop by and mention how much they liked them, but never rode them. They mentioned they'd lilke to try and did try a few times, brave souls. There were others who saw the unicycle, even enjoyed the spectacle of several adult males flailing like marionettes in the street. But they ran away screaming, elbows akimboo and aloft above their heads, at the mere mention of them trying it.

Dan, Dave & I were determined to master it, and I can see how a few more weeks of trying we'll be there. I just hope the soreness factor wears off, as bruised inner thighs from trying to stop the the rough forward pitching motion aren't the most comfortable.

But hey, at least we're getting marginally closer to to figuring out the unicycle. And such innate skills are the things I can really fall back on when the resume just doesn't seperate me out from the crowd. "Hey, I can ride a unicycle! You think your workload balance is heavy? Watch this!" And if I can just add juggling to the act, man... we're talking definate President of something...



Paul M. said...

I temporarily caught the unicycle bug last summer, borrowing one from a neighbor. It didn't stick. I really expected it to be easier for someone who spends so much time balanced on two wheels, and as you certainly know, mine is not a character of perseverance. Good luck!

ANDREA said...

"A little more air in the tire, and we were off--falling with greater ease than we'd ever thought possible yesterday."

THEEEEE FUNNNIEST SENTENCE IN HISTORY!! i laughed so hard this entire post... ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS!! good luck with that

Michelle said...

you guys are crazy...the smart brother didn't become involved when it all started on sunday, i'll have to tell him how out of hand his brothers have become!!! :)

ANDREA said...

oh...and i think you need to post some unicycle action shots. it will make this all a little more real for us readers. but just a thought :)

Lara said...

you would.

J had a best friend back in the day who used to get ontop of his van to mount his 8 ft unicycle, then proceed to ride around the block. I die just imagining it. I would SO stick my foot out infront of that thing!!

Best post ever. And I agree with Andrea. We need some cold hard proof here. Provide some pics. Preferably with you straightaway falling towards the cold hard pavement.