My first day on the job, back when I worked at an elementary school in my prefecture, and halfway through the day, I had to pop my eyes back in my head and scrape my jaw up off the floor. Peering out the staffroom window during the first break time, I could see a bunch of kids on the field riding around on unicycles! These kids were having a blast, taking turns, and even a couple teachers were getting in on the unicycle action.
First off: where did they get these unicycles from? And do ALL the kids in this community own a unicycle? Does the town have a routine they were prepping for? I had so many questions!
As it turns out, it was the school that had bought a bunch of unicycles for the kids to exercise on, and learning to ride them was just a regular part of P.E. During break times, the kids were free to use the unicycles, and they would jump on and ride around as much and as often as they would like.
Now, I wasn't accustomed to seeing unicycles outside of entertainment/ acrobatics, so needless to say, I was really intrigued! I was started to get curious about how someone actually learns to ride a unicycle. So, I asked and was shown these two metal bars on the field that I'd initially thought were some new-school low-lying jungle gym of sorts.
These were bars on which you'd learn to ride a unicycle. You'd mount the cycle and hold onto the bars and try to catch your balance as you cycled.
One day, after I'd worked up enough courage, I decided to give learning to ride a unicycle a try. During a free period when all the kids were inside in class, I grabbed one of the unicycles and headed over to the bars.
LEMME TELL YOU SOPM...
They made that ish look EASY!
Accustomed to a bicycle, for which my centre of gravity balances over TWO wheels and a frame, having to balance that over a SINGLE wheel and a seat while pedalling? Chile... no.
I kept wanting to fall backwards!
Now, I've found that one of the keys to balancing on a cycle is momentum, and one of the teachers kept encouraging me to let go of the bars and go fast, but all I could see in my mind's eye was my busted up head from a bad backward fall.
Sadly, I never did learn to ride the unicycle, but maybe one day I will.