Most college students choose to get to their classes either by walking, biking, skateboarding or taking the Wolfline. Parker Klinck, however, prefers a different option: his unicycle.
Rain or shine, one can always expect to see Klinck riding around campus on his eye-catching unicycle. Whether it be to class, a restaurant on Hillsborough Street or a career fair, Klinck utilizes a method of transportation that is not only unique, but environmentally friendly as well.
As a first-year student in the College of Engineering, Klinck has been unicycling long before he came
to NC State. He first learned about the sport from one of his neighbors in his hometown of Durham, who would give Klinck his smaller wheels to practice on after he moved up to a bigger size. Currently Klinck uses a 29-inch wheel, which he says is mainly made for riding on the road. “The one I ride is a commuter unicycle,” he added. “It’s built for both on-road and off-road routes.”
Although riding a unicycle can put a lot of stress on your knees, he noted that it is a very good method for exercising one’s core, especially when carrying a bookbag. However, Klinck admits he does not even think of unicycling as exercise because he has so much fun while riding.
In order to get the hang of riding as a beginner, Klinck practiced every other day for three months straight. He initially started practicing on his driveway, using either his siblings or two sticks to help him balance. “The hardest part of learning to unicycle is learning what you need to do with your body to make the wheel do what you want it to do,” says Klinck. When riding, your legs and core play a major role in determining the direction and speed of the unicycle.
One can see Klinck riding his unicycle every day around NC State from his residence at Sullivan Hall to his classes on main campus. “The great thing about the unicycle is that I can get up for my class at 8:20 a.m. and be there at 8:30 a.m.”
He says that he participates in the activity solely because it is something he enjoys doing and not for any attention. Klinck also added, however, that he loves it when people call out to him from their cars and compliment him on how they think that unicycling is so cool. “Yesterday, I was sitting in the Sullivan lobby and a man came up to me and said, ‘I just wanted to let you know that you’re an absolute legend.’ Or some people will just shout ‘nice unicycle!’”
When asked if he plans to continue unicycling after college, Klinck said that it depends on the career path he chooses and the amount of leisure time that a career will grant him. Currently, Klinck is practicing for a mountain unicycling competition, hosted by a local cycling club in Tennessee.
When he is not on his unicycle, Klinck enjoys being involved with the NC State community in other ways. He works as an assistant layout designer for the student newspaper Technician and is also a member of the men’s choir on campus, the NCSU Singing Statesmen. At Carmichael Complex, Klinck enjoys his ultimate frisbee class and engages in a combination of cardiovascular and strength training exercises. As a part of the University Scholars program, Klinck has also completed the high ropes course at Schenck Forest.
For anyone who wants to begin unicycling, Klinck suggests that it would be best to start out training with a smaller wheel, preferably with a 20 or 26-inch diameter, so the rider can learn the basics of the bike before moving onto the bigger tricks. He adds that there are also numerous instructional videos on YouTube that anyone can access. Additionally, Klinck is willing to help anyone interested in learning how to ride.