Uni-fred riding a unicycle playing a guitar. Shot on State Street in Santa Barbara, CA.

Uni-fred riding a unicycle playing a guitar.
Shot on State Street in Santa Barbara, CA.


The cycling world is filled with some pretty annoying things. Drugs, recumbents, Freds, fat bikes, weight weenies, embrocation, spandex, the list is long. But there is one thing that has been link sandpaper on my brain ever since I saw one lumber awkwardly past me in college: unicycles. To me, they are not just half a bike. To me they represent everything that is wrong with America.

You see, in America, we have this “look at me” culture. We are dying to get noticed. Oh hey, I play guitar pretty well. But so do about a million others around me. How can I stand out? I know! I can play guitar while balancing on some half a contraption usually reserved for clowns and jugglers! Look. I’m not denying that Uni-Fred here has skills. He’s got sweet balancing skills, but his guitar playing leaves little to be desired. So to me, he’s nothing more than a de-frocked clown on a wheel. Did I forget to mention that I hate clowns? Look at me!

5 thoughts on “Uni-Fred

  1. That’s Phil from Oso. All around great guy and an incredible guitar player. He was a bike messenger in Chicago for many years, and a great rider. I tailed him down from the Riviera a few times on my way to work and there is no way I could keep up. I don’t know what a Fred is, but Phil is not one:


    • I agree that he is a very talented person. But street performers rank pretty high in my order of people deserving of criticism. Unicyclists are right up there as well. So the combination just begs for comment. Sorry. Talent and love of bikes notwithstanding, Fred of the highest order. Thanks for your comment and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

  2. I agree with the “everything wrong with America” comment. Too many politicians running for office with unicycle lapel pins. Try running for office without one, I say.

    Better to be the solitary monk drawing a unicycle in the sand–only to witness its destruction by the incoming tide. Or, if the sand is by a lake, erasing that same unicycle with a vigorously applied guitar.

    And then, walking back to monk school on your hands to write a book about the experience. Which you immediately burn.

    The fire warms your heart. The flames consume you.

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