OneWheel Pic


Yeah, so I bought a OneWheel the other day.

What’s a OneWheel? It’s basically an electric-powered skateboard (see above). It charges off a standard wall outlet with a battery pack, similar to laptop computer. A full charge seems to take about twenty minutes. A standard OneWheel gets about 12 miles in range and reaches top speeds of fifteen miles per hour. I, of course, bought the premium model – 18 miles of range and tops out at 21 miles per hour.

I don’t see myself approaching 21 miles per hour anytime soon.

I have about as much acuity with this instrument as those two guitars in the background. I refer you to my aforementioned post detailing my barrage on my neighbors’ eardrums (they actually prefer my dogs barking and howling when I’m away). Just like with the guitars, lack of skill has done nothing to sway my indulgence.

It seems like it’s built off the same technology as a Segway except there aren’t any handlebars and you assume a boarding stance. It’s very intuitive. My test drive in the parking lot of Cumberland Transit was real shaky. But then I realized the key was not to look down at your feet. That just brings on stress, anxiety, and constant second-guessing. You have to look at where you’re going – then everything gets smooth. That, and like Mr. Miyagi instructed Daniel-san – don’t forget to breathe.

Going is real easy; stopping not so much.

Riding a OneWheel is revealing. It reveals the character of the passersby (passedby?). I’ve never been big on ethnic stereotypes but, when it comes to OneWheeling, some things are self-evident. 90% of the black guys can’t contain themselves when they see me coming (“It’s a bird…it’s a plane…what the f is that thing, yo?!). 90% of the white guys (100% of the hipster demographic) screw up their poker faces as tight as they can when I’m coming {Desperately trying to send me nonverbal cues that they see shit cool as this at least three times a day [they’ve never seen nothing like this (I can’t pin down exactly what this says about them)!!!]}

I will resist making similar inferences along gender lines. It’s true that not a single lady has ever made a comment while getting passed by. In fact, they all screw on their poker faces tighter even than the hipsters. I honestly don’t feel this reveals character flaws about them the way it does said hipsters. I’m pretty sure this data is polluted. Although the OneWheel is unique and provocative, it is still me riding on top of it. As magnetized as their curiosity may be, they are no doubt cornered into resisting their urges because they are being drawn into an interaction with me. The female gender has described interactions with me via employing various expressions. “Objectionable” is as revealing as I care to be w/r/t this matter.

Homeless people also love the OneWheel. Rich guys do not care to comment on the OneWheel [exception – some rich guys are willing to comment freely on my degree (lack thereof) of efficacy (usage of ‘efficacy’ in homage to Red Gendron) with said OneWheel].

I was wheeling [pretty sure that’s what they call it (“happy wheeling” and shit like that)] over the pedestrian bridge when I came across a fellow Nashville OneWheeler rolling [Maybe it’s rolling they call it (“Happy rolling” and shit like that)] from the other direction. I gave him a wave, fully intending to roll (or wheel) right by (like the Jeep guys do). He wheeled {rolled? [I know it’s getting annoying already (I’ll pick and stick)!]} around and started talking me up.

He had six months in the game. He was all geared-up with elbow pads, wrist guards, and an actual helmet. I roll with shorts and a t-shirt. He made that observation in the form of a declarative which obviously insinuated something but I resisted any attempt at interpretation out of pure spite. He suggested we should do some rolling. It felt a little too much like seduction (is that what turns off those aforementioned ladies?) so I resisted that as well, telling him I had plans to cruise around Nissan Stadium and check out what was going on by the Cumberland River.

Still, he persisted.

He made some derisive statement about the activities by the Cumberland {can’t remember the exact phrase [something California hipster-ish (he was also inclined to throw out “boo-yeah” free of any trace of sarcasm)]}. He convinced me into rolling back toward downtown with the Gulch as a vague bearing.

However, once Todd saw how I rolled, he quickly re-calibrated our course to a mostly vacant parking lot. There, he ran me through a basic training. First of all, I was standing on my board backwards. That was giving me all kinds of problems on my dismount. He also advised me to download the app which would provide me the ability to change the board into different rolling modes [I’m not too sure but I think it basically changes the “gearing” of the board (not tech-savvy)]. I pulled out my old-school flip phone and told him how I was having commitment issues with a data plan and I found the detachment from the internet therapeutic.

Todd did not offer a follow up.

He showed me different drills I could practice in order to improve my balance and general ability to manipulate the board, broad and tight figure-8’s and slaloms using the lines of the parking spots [sparking stalls as Nashvillians (and one real special individual) are fond of calling them]. He instructed me to stay off crowded sidewalks and busy streets until I got better at handling the OneWheel. He told me to keep practicing in the parking lots, that it would feel natural at around 100 miles.

He finished off my lesson by advising me to go out and spend more money. His board had a plastic covering over the top wheel which prevented water, dirt, and other debris from kicking up topside. He had protective molding along the sides and undercarriage as well as a rubberized cover for the back deck which provided foot comfort and a lip for added control. He said to buy all that stuff as well as protective gear for my own person because crashes and spills were inevitable.

Then he rolled off into the sunset.

I reconsidered what I had initially perceived as seduction when we met. I constructed a hypothesis. There are about a dozen OneWheelers currently active in Nashville. We operate within the gray areas of law enforcement and rules of the road. We’re not skateboards. We’re not scooters. We’re not bicycles either. We’re definitely not pedestrians. Because were so new, there’s no standard etiquette for where we’re supposed to be – the sidewalk, the road, or what.

As a newb I definitely prefer the sidewalk. The road is too close for comfort to cars and their drivers with their cellphones they’re texting on. The camber has an odd pulling effect which has me constantly adjusting my tack. Bike lanes are sometimes alright but, often, they’re rampant with transitional terrain which is tricky to negotiate. Sidewalks tend to be well-maintained, free of potholes, speed-bumps, and other hazards.

The biggest problem with sidewalks is the damn pedestrians. I’m just barely realizing how many people wander with exactly zero regard for where they’re going. A lot of times it’s the cellphones they’re always fiddling with but many of them are simply aimless. They’ll randomly break into a right-angle cut to cross to the other half of the sidewalk – for no apparent reason. Bouquets of people will break off their conversation and scatter across a sidewalk, a bomb of humanity with little or no warning. I’ve had a couple near-misses {“It’s a near-fucking-hit is what it is” [George Carlin (RIP)]}.

I’m thinking a couple of these seasoned OneWheelers spotted me off in the distance, wobbling around town. They probably talked amongst themselves. They agreed it was only a matter of time before I rolled over some little old lady setting off a civic incident that would culminate in some aggressive posturing by a hastily arranged coalition (The Nonpartisan Anti-OneWheel League?) blowing up the agenda of a zoning board meeting or some other affair that’s meant to stay yawn-inducing and anonymous. That would result in a scroll of local ordinances hampering our freedom to roll wherever we damn well please.

So the OneWheelers all scattered to different sectors of Nashville. I ran into Todd on the pedestrian bridge but if I’d have rolled to Germantown I might have run into some dude named Dexter. And he would have been the one to put me through my paces.

I don’t mind. I was happy for the tips. I’ll probably even buy some of that crap to mod up my board. I’m not getting a damn helmet though – purely out of spite.


PK still hasn’t managed to get past his anxiety and reach out to me. When he does, I will advise him to buy a OneWheel for himself. It will help him develop his balance. He posted a video on social media the other day of him practicing cross-overs. He was falling all over the ice. This wasn’t him practicing his flopping that he likes so much, either. There were no refs out there. These were legit falls.


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