When it comes to traveling around Rexburg, students have several options. Walking, driving, biking and riding the bus are all common methods of transportation. However, Collin Hoeft, a senior studying art, prefers the liberating feeling that comes with riding a unicycle.
Hoeft said his interest in unicycling began while watching Cirque du Soleil in his sixth-grade French class.
“I was really inspired,” Hoeft said. “It was these two dancers. One was a guy on a unicycle and the other was this lady doing ballet, and the fact that the guy could keep up with the ballet because he was so skilled and adept at riding a unicycle made me think ‘wow, that actually looks like fun.’”
His parents bought him his first unicycle when he was 14, and he spent the summer learning to ride it. He’s been enjoying it ever since.
“The thing I love most about unicycles is it’s liberating,” Hoeft said. “It’s the feeling, but also the experience because you’re hands are free to do whatever you want. You can give someone finger guns, you can juggle, you can read a book or carry something. Things you’re not as free to do on a bicycle.”
Though Hoeft doesn’t consider himself a performance artist and doesn’t have any circus dreams, he considers unicycling more than a hobby.
“I think it’s more like a way of life,” Hoeft said. “Once you start riding a unicycle you start doing other weird things. It’s like, if I have the audacity to ride one wheel to get around, what other weird things could I do? That’s inspired me to do other things off the beaten path.”
Hoeft doesn’t think riding a unicycle is any weirder than riding a bicycle. He argued that the two concepts are the same, and a unicycle just has one less wheel.
“I’ve actually hurt myself less unicycling than riding a bike,” Hoeft said. “If you do fall off you just land on your feet. There’s nothing in front of you to stop you like with a bike.”
When it comes to the way people react when they see him, Hoeft said 90% of people seem to think he could fall at any second and will step to the side to give him room.
“It makes no difference,” Hoeft said. “I can maneuver very well so it’s kind of silly how they have this bias toward unicycles and how they’re dangerous when really they’re less dangerous.”
However, Hoeft enjoys the reactions of the other 10% of people who get excited about his unicycle, especially kids.
“If I’m not in any rush… I can kind of give them the first steps of how to ride,” Hoeft said. “It’s really fun, because they almost get the hang of it. It’s those sort of moments where I get to share the unicycling experience.”
He recommends that people should give unicycling a chance.
“If you can, why stop yourself?” Hoeft said.