When your school is literally a city on a hill, innovative transportation is essential. Scooters, bicycles, and skateboards are hard to miss, but there is another set of wheeled Warriors on Corban’s campus. Unicycles, while difficult to master, are used by a handful of Corban students for a unique mode of transportation.
Mara McKinney, a senior majoring in Philosophy-History, had early experience on her unicycle through the performing group One Wheeled Wonders. Beginning at age six, she participated in events varying from OSU halftimes to the Portland Juggling Festival.
Senior Brandon Corcoran also started early in an elementary school club. He brought his unicycle to Corban because “it was much faster than walking, much less bulky than a bicycle, and way cooler than a scooter.”
Hills slick with rain present a unique challenge to unicyclists. In order to move on one wheel, it is necessary to pedal.
McKinney explained that most unicycles do not have gears for climbing hills, and “you cannot cruise downhill like a bike.”
“So if you see someone on a unicycle falling on their face on Warrior Drive, it doesn’t mean they are not good,” McKinney said. “It means that big hills are very difficult for even for the best riders.”
Eli Kaspari, a campus security officer, agreed. “It is extremely difficult to ride uphill,” Kaspari said. “Also, it is a blast and worth all the effort.”
Kaspari came into this sport last year when McKinney introduced him to the wonders of one wheel. He slowly gained confidence over several weeks of practicing in the hallway of the Aagard basement.
“Some essential advice for budding unicyclists is that it’s extremely difficult, and it takes a very long time to master,” Kaspari said. “Riding a unicycle is not something you can learn in a week, or even a month.”
For those who take the challenge to master the wheel, there is a world of opportunities. McKinney still enjoys performing tricks like one-foot riding on her unicycle, which uses many muscles for a good workout.
Unicycles also take sports to a new level. McKinney’s favorite activity is unicycle hockey with a group of her former teammates. Here, unicyclists dodge, weave, and backpedal as they fight for control of a ball using only their speed, agility, and wooden hockey sticks. Speed happens off the court, too.
“I could probably hit 10 miles per hour.” Corcoran said. “There are some that can get up to 20.”
Perhaps the most common element of unicycling, though, is the public curiosity. Although relatively new to the sport, Kaspari has already heard standard jokes like, “Where’s the rest of your bike?” McKinney offers a veteran retort; “I got it on a half-off sale.”