‘The old one’ and ‘the good one’
Appeal Staff Writer
Pallets are piled in short stacks behind a house on South Edmonds Drive where Kelly Dodge and his 12-year-old son, Brandon, practice jumping, riding, and balancing on their unicycles.
Brandon works on rolling across a plank laid out like a tight rope between two pallets. Kelly bounces from stack to stack, occasionally crashing through a set of beams.
He says he’s better at mountain riding.
Over the past few months, Brandon, Kelly and Brandon’s friend C.J. Hupal have built the course over sand and sagebrush where they practice between weekend trail rides.
Brandon’s gotten a few scrapes as he’s learned. Kelly’s sprained an ankle. C.J., who starting learning after Brandon got a unicycle in December, said it can be annoying learning how to ride because not all he and Brandon’s friends understand what they’re doing.
“Some people look at you like you’re a freak,” he said, “(but) some people think it’s cool.”
Kelly was the first to get one. He said he doesn’t know why he wanted to. He just asked his wife for one for Christmas and got it.
His learning over the three weeks was “linear,” he said.
“You go one day and you can’t do anything. You take one pedal and fall, two pedals and fall. And a week later, you’re doing five and 10. And two weeks later, you’re doing 12 and 15. And, finally, you hit 20, 25 pedals and you can go forever.”
He said he can’t do the tricks his son can, but Brandon said that’s only because his dad, who works for a construction company in Reno, hasn’t had as much time to practice.
Brandon said he practices a lot, but isn’t allowed to ride his bike to school, Eagle Valley Middle, because of traffic.
When he does get to leave his house to ride, though, “everyone starts staring at you for no good reason.”
Two days after Kelly got a unicycle, his son got one. Brandon said he thought they looked cool after seeing them in cartoons and Internet videos and knowing his dad had one.
He said he likes riding because it’s different and he’s good at it.
“I can’t really do much on a bike. Even if I tried, I probably couldn’t do as much as I can on a unicycle,” he said.
Since they’re both getting better, Kelly said, he was thinking about going to the unicycling national championships next year where there are speed, jump and trick competitions – where Brandon and maybe he could do well.
“But he’s the good one,” said Kelly, 37. “And I’m the old one.”
Besides Brandon, Kelly has three daughters. None of them are interested in unicycles, though, he said.
Kelly said he likes riding because it’s unique, fun and good exercise. People stop and talk to him when he’s on his unicycle, too, and that wouldn’t happen on a mountain bike.
When people drive by them, Brandon said, “sometimes they’re like ‘woo-hoo!'”
But not all comments are compliments, Kelly said.
“You hear a few jokes all the time. They’ll say ‘Where’s the other wheel?’ or ‘Where’s the rest of your bike?’ You hear that over and over.”
When he’s riding with his son, though, he always has a response.
“Someone will say, ‘Where’s your other wheel?’ And I’ll say ‘I got it – right here.'”
• Contact reporter Dave Frank at email@example.com or 881-1212.