Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Unicycle: A Brutal Introduction To The World Of Circus Folk

The unicycle club at Eli 7.7's school met for the first time last Friday.

I ordered unicycles for us last week, but they hadn't arrived yet. Eli's teacher brought his "commuter" unicycle (with a freaking gigantic 29" wheel) and said I could practice with it. Eli's friend Chloe let him share her unicycle.

It's hard for me to explain what a shock it is to get on a unicycle. It was a miracle that I got on it at all, because the wheel is so high that I fully expected to fall on my ass, even though I was holding on to a metal bar that was next to the wall. In some kind of miraculous bit of luck, I did actually get up, and managed to get the pedals even, which let me sort of rock back and forth with little 1/4 turns of the pedals.

The biggest surprise, and it was a major one, is just how much effort it takes to stay balanced, and remember, I was hanging on to to a bar with one hand. I felt like my legs were trying to lift a car. It was such a complete overload in a muscular sense that it was like sprinting. For a mile.

When you go to a circus, the strongman always looks like the badass, but believe me, that little skinny guy doing tricks on the unicyle is the real badass.

I stayed on for about ten minutes, after which my legs were screaming so much that I stopped. Ten minutes and I was sweating, and not a little bit.

Eli doesn't really know what hard feels like, if that makes any sense, so I'm very curious to see what happens when he realizes that learning is going to be hard work.

Oh, and our unicycles did arrive today, and I've put them together. Expect a post about a trip to the emergency room for a broken elbow/wrist/concussion soon. I mean, I tore a meniscus once while bowling.

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