| Akron Beacon Journal
When little youngsters see him whizzing by, they assume he’s a Energy Ranger.
Adults don’t know what to assume. They need him to cease and clarify himself, however he likes to maintain transferring — on his one motorized wheel.
Meet Tony Roberson, a personable, 68-year-old from Twinsburg who rides an electrical unicycle.
The place does he trip it? In every single place. Western Cleveland suburbs like Rocky River. Jap exurbs like Chardon. In Creston in Wayne County. On highways via parks. On the Ohio& Erie Canal Towpath.
On one journey, he rode all the best way from his Twinsburg residence to downtown Cleveland and again.
Roberson is a diminutive with an enormous white beard. However when he fits up, it’s laborious to inform what he seems like, as a result of he discovered the laborious approach that sporting a full helmet and padding makes a whole lot of sense.
When he began using 10 months in the past on a less expensive, smaller unicycle, he was sporting solely a bicycle helmet when he went down laborious. He didn’t break any bones, however he did a face-plant that required stitches above his eye.
Lately he wears a full face helmet, together with elbow pads, knee pads, hip pads and shoulder pads.
“In case you’re using, you’re going to fall,” he says. “Even one of the best fall. It’s just one wheel. You don’t have the luxurious of constructing a mistake.”
Roberson knew nothing about electrical unicycles till he occurred throughout them whereas looking on-line for a trike so as to add to his assortment. When he noticed a video of children using unicycles, he mentioned to himself, “Wow, that’s one thing else! I’m wondering if I can try this.”
He determined to purchase one on the decrease finish of the value spectrum, $600, to check whether or not he would benefit from the sport. They vary in worth from $500 to $3,000.
As soon as he was hooked, he forked out $2,150 for a Kingsong 18XL.
The slower you go, the farther you may go on one cost. At 15 to twenty mph, Roberson can cowl about 70 miles.
Prime pace for his bike is 31. Some bikes can go 45. Are you able to think about 45 mph on one little wheel?
He enjoys his wheel a lot that, if he had been nonetheless working, he says, he’d use it for his day by day commute.
That wasn’t an possibility throughout Roberson’s three a long time at Atlantic Metal in Twinsburg. He operated a crane, transferring round gigantic coils and loading them in vehicles.
He was born in Arkansas however as an toddler his mother and father moved to the Mount Nice neighborhood of Cleveland, simply west of Shaker Heights, and he finally graduated from JFK Excessive College.
Roberson and his spouse are approaching their fortieth wedding ceremony anniversary. They’ve two youngsters (one among whom was gifted Tony’s first unicycle) and 6 grandkids.
Till the pandemic hit, Roberson’s new pastime was making him quick associates. He joined a bunch known as the Cleveland E-Ryders, who trip within the parks … within the cities … virtually anyplace with a paved street.
“I’m actually bummed out that I can’t trip with these guys,” he says. “We had simply been collectively for just a few weeks when the pandemic hit ….
“It’s an excessive amount of of a danger issue. However every time it’s over, we’ll get collectively once more.”
One factor COVID-19 hasn’t affected: his skill to develop facial hair. He’s sporting a world-class beard.
When requested how lengthy he has been rising it, he laughs. “I’ve at all times had some type of hair on my face. After which two years in the past, I mentioned, ‘What would occur if I simply let it develop?’”
Now he is aware of.
Look, youngsters — a Energy Ranger with a beard!
Bob Dyer might be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is also on Fb at www.fb.com/bob.dyer.31.