Butler Wobble to host unicycle event
Riding a unicycle is not just for circus acts or clowns.
The sport of unicycling seems to be growing both in Western Pennsylvania and nationally, said Dave Krack of Butler.
Krack, 41, and his wife, Lisa, 40, formed the unicycle group, Butler Wobble, in 2009 to bring together unicyclists in the area and to teach willing learners how to ride. The term “Wobble” refers to a group of unicyclists.
Visibility for the sport will only grow as the Butler Wobble hosts the North American Unicycling Convention and Championships in Butler July 21-27, which will bring in more than 200 unicyclists.
“We're seeing more people who are in their 20s, 30s, 40s looking to get exercise, and with a few of us just riding around, it seems to be building steam,” Dave Krack said.
He said anybody can learn to ride a unicycle, but it takes commitment and time.
“It's an investment. The average time to learn to ride is 10 hours or so,” he said. “Most of us forget that when we learned how to ride a bike, it took us a long time.”
Anne Austin, 26, of Zelienople began riding in October after watching her fiancé, Kevin Burr, 27, also of Zelienople, practice with the Wobble at the YMCA in Butler. She said Burr took up unicycle-riding a year and a half ago after he met the Kracks on a Friday night group ride in Butler.
“It's a lot of fun, just the atmosphere and the people,” Austin said. “Without the people, it wouldn't be as much fun.”
Adam Hall, 16, of Butler, said he learned to ride when he was 10 after watching Dave Krack. He's been riding with the group since its inception.
His favorite thing about riding a unicycle is the response he gets from people on the street. It's a mix of surprise, curiosity and interest.
“I like to see whenever I'm riding out in public what people say,” he said. “They're kind of shocked — it's not something they see every day.”
The Kracks picked up the sport about eight years ago because it looked like fun.
“We're like, you know, this is really fun, we should try it,” he said. “And we found that it was, so we told other people, ‘Hey, this is fun, you should try it.'”
The Butler Wobble has taught 90 people to ride; only one or two people haven't stuck with it, he said.
“You have to practice, just like anything,” he said.
Learning is all about patience and determination, Lisa Krack said. Riding a unicycle uses completely different muscle groups and requires a different type of balance than riding a bicycle. It also builds core strength and improves balance.
“It's a lot of patience because it's a learned skill,” she said.
The group practices at the Butler YMCA throughout the fall and winter. In the summer, it offers mountain unicycling Mondays at The Wheel House, an indoor mountain bike park in Pittsburgh. For more information, visit butlerwobble.com
Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- PPG regional headquarters opens in Cranberry, adds 150 jobs
- Zelienople development plans slowed by zoning