#239: An $1,800 Unicycle

November 6th, 2013

“Now watch as I zoom through the crowd,” the man with the motorized unicycle said before doing just that.

Occasionally train stations have tents. And those tents sell things sometimes. They sell terrible beaded necklaces and pyramid scheme cosmetics in jars.

Or $1,800 gyroscopic self-balancing motorized unicycles for the next stage in commuter travel.

Outside the lower level of Ogilvie Transportation Center, the man zipped in, through and between commuters striding from a supposed French market into the neon dark of a city night. He pulled up with a flourish in the protected bus lane and started to give me the hard sell.

The unicycle was bulky, with flip-out stands in place of pedals. You leaned forward to go, back to brake. No pedaling needed. Just like a Segway except for all the reasons the man was now enumerating.

He talked about gyroscopes, weight, heft, plans for the future and how far is your commute, that seems far, maybe you need a unicycle.

Yes, a unicycle.

A genuine, certified, bonafide, electrified unicycle.

Not a bike or a trike from a swell named Mike, but one round wheel will take you where you like with this beautiful, balancing, 27 pounds of electrified … unicycle.

Oh, we got bikers. Right here in Chi-city. One wheel too much is a dirty crutch, like low-tech Amish speaking Pennsylvania Dutch when your ride could glide with a simple touch on a … unicycle.

No handles, no steering, no need for that. It holds 325 so even the fat can take a hill grade of 30 like the road is flat — and that, my friend, I wouldn’t sneer at.

On a unicycle.

Oh, we got walkers. Right here in Chicago. Duped by an Iago lying doggo, the gents think they’re as prim as Dr. Zhivago when really they look like a snotty virago in their New Balance, Docs and boat shoes by Sebago when they could be on a … unicycle!

Unicycle.

Unicycle.

Unicycle.

OH, WE GOT TROUBLE!

(Editor’s note: I did not end up purchasing the $1,800 unicycle from the man selling them out of a tent on the lower level of Ogilvie Transportation Center. Thank you for your time.)

Comment on this story

You know you want to hear the “Music Man” song now

Or the Monorail song

A more serious story

OK, the unicycle was pretty cool

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You are currently reading #239: An $1,800 Unicycle by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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