Monday, December 16, 2013

The God of Thunder

So last year, when my foot was not operational for running, I found myself at loose ends.  Bored.  Out of sorts.  I needed something to fill the void, and it turned out what I needed was. . . a unicycle.  I've always liked the idea of them - I mean, they look fun, right?  If also a little strange.

Unicycles have been floating around in my mind for a long time, and then one day last year I just did it - walked into Second Gear and bought a starter one.  And then the fun started.  If you call crashing into things for weeks and weeks fun.  It was seriously like watching a baby learn to walk.  If the person doing the watching was a dog walker at Weaver Park, and I was the baby.  It was *weeks* of getting on and jumping off, and getting on and falling off, and getting back on.  The crucial part for learning to ride a unicycle (and anything else, I suppose):  the getting back on.  And of course I looked like a complete lunatic - a 40 year old woman in full knee and shin guards learning to ride a unicycle in a public park.  So the dog walkers started by just observing in silence, while their thoughts echoed loudly (WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OVER THERE???)  But eventually familiarity breeds contempt, or at least familiarity, so as the days wore on they started commenting as well "hey you almost made it that time!  Good job!  I think you're looking better!"  Seriously, the whole situation was comical.

But eventually I started to get a tiny glimmer that it might work.  Holy shit I made it halfway across the basketball court!  Omigod I almost made it around the baseball field!

So then, of course, I started to want a bigger, more adventuresome steed.  My starter uni had served me well (and been blessedly close to the ground when things went awry), but what I *really* wanted was not to entertain the dog walkers, but to head out into the woods.  So my bemused but supportive parents got me a mountain uni for Christmas last year.

Meet Thor:  The God of Thunder.  Here we are on Christmas Eve.

Why is he named Thor you might ask?  Because look at that tire.  It's huge. Much bigger than anything I've ever run on my mountain bike.  Thor is ready to kick some ass.

On Friday Thor and I headed out to Richmond Hill.   I still spend a fair amount of time on paved bike paths, because it's convenient and easy, but Thor and I keep venturing out a little further into the woods too.

At Richmond Hill I do a lot of riding on the old road beds, but Thor and I are starting to get our shizz together.  Yes, we're on the trail marked "beginners and kids", but I keep telling him that the important thing is that we're on a trail at all.  I mean, it's a freaking unicycle.

Although. . . roots and rocks are starting to be a little less intimidating, and I'm getting the hang of holding the seat to stay in one unit through deep mud puddles and unexpected bumps.  (my previous strategy for these obstacles - shooting through the air like a lawn dart as Thor remained at the obstacle and I remained at our previous speed.  Usually I land on my feet from these dismounts.  Usually.)

There's pretty much nothing more fun than a uni in the woods.  You're going slow enough to really see what's going on, but it's still interesting enough to be entertaining.

Here's the obligatory forest selfie from Friday.

Let's be honest though, this picture came while Thor and I were stopped and taking in the scenery.  My skills definitely do not yet extend to riding and picture taking at the same time.

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