Nope, she didn’t want to join the circus as a kid.
But, as an adult, Corey Kidd decided to take up the “super fun skill” of learning to ride a unicycle.
“[It] looked like a challenge, and I love a challenge,” said the 30-something mother of two and owner of Bakery 49. “I had looked them up online before but never took it any further than that, but I guess quarantine does funny things to you!”
So, what every inquiring mind does these days, she went to Facebook for help.
Kidd found a post on Facebook Marketplace, then found a unicycle chat group on Facebook, along with “TONS of videos on YouTube.”
“After making a ridiculous post on my own Facebook page, someone informed me that there are a few local people that ride.” She found a contact at Quick Service Bicycle Shop in Bridgeport; they ordered her the unicycle and it was all put together and in hand in just a couple of days, Kidd said.
“Apparently the daughter of the people that own [Quick Service Bicycle Shop] can ride one! She was able to answer all of my questions and give me some good advice to get me started,” Kidd noted.
NOT JUST SPINNING HER WHEELS
Kidd decided on a Sun 24-inch flat top unicycle, a good one to learn on, she was advised. “The smaller the wheel, the easier to balance, but the shorter the rotation so to go farther you have to pedal more. Which is why people commute using a much larger wheel like a 36-inch! Crazy the nerdy unicycle facts you learn!”
So, after watching the videos and reading the unicycle Facebook group posts, Kidd took to the streets. Well — to be more exact — she took to the shelter wall at the Dimmeydale playground in her neighborhood.
“Holy s*** — was it hard to even sit on for the first time!” she said.
“I would like to consider myself to be pretty athletic, and I really expected to only struggle for a few minutes finding my balance before being able to actually ride. But, I was SOOOOOO wrong about that!”
It’s nothing like riding a bike, she shared.
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“There are so many variables that go into it. There is no brake. When the wheel moves, so do the pedals so there is no coasting … you always have to be pedaling. Basically, to get going you have to lean forward and find the balance between staying upright and smashing your face off of the ground, and you do that by pedaling. But after a few days of pedaling alongside a fence and using my husband as a crutch, I decided it was time to let go. I used our cars out front to help me mount the unicycle and began attempting to ride without help. I had read that all of a sudden it would just ‘click’ and you’d be able to ride but it wasn’t happening,” she explained.
OFF SHE GOES
Finally on day No. 10, she took to a neighbor’s driveway. And then …
“… after MANY failed attempts, I was able to ride down the driveway, into the street and to the other side! I went back to the street again and within a few minutes I was making it two to three houses down the street. By the end of the day I was able to ride about 100 yards! I’m almost 40 so it seems silly to get so excited, but it was actually a super cool feeling to accomplish that.”
Kidd’s kids, Carter, 9, and Carson, 4, and her husband, Donnie, have enjoyed the show … cheering her on. Carter wants to learn how to ride, and “I even catch my husband getting on it from to time to time … then getting right back off.”
What’s next? Kidd says she hasn’t even “scratched the surface” of what there is to learn.
“It was amazing for me to find out all of the things that people are doing with unicycles that are not circus related at all. People are commuting to work, doing tricks and even mountain unicycling! … My goal by the end of this quarantine, or the end of summer, whichever comes first, is to be able to free-mount and ride both forward and backward for longer distances so that I can ride alongside of my kiddos!”
Her parents and other neighbors expect her to ride in the annual Dimmeydale Fourth of July parade.
An optimist, Kidd said, “You never know … it could happen!”
• Having spent nearly 38 years as reporter, bureau chief, lifestyles editor and managing editor at The Times Leader, and design editor at The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, Phyllis Sigal now serves as Weelunk’s managing editor. She lives in Wheeling with her husband Bruce Wheeler. Along with their two children, son-in-law and two grandchildren, food, wine, travel, theater and music are close to their hearts.