MASERU — It is an extreme challenge riding a bicycle, let alone a unicycle. Hard as it is to balance on a unicycle, consider performing circus tricks on it.
Whenever Mohau Mosaase goes for a ride in town, he stops traffic.
Drivers pull over and hoot.
But when he performs astounding tricks (which he calls chuckling) on it, people get truly dumbstruck — “You simply cause this overwhelming scene when chuckling on a unicycle,” he said.
Having noticed this, the Weekender caught up with him to find out how he actually does it.
First, we had to get the nomenclature right — if it has got one wheel it is not a bicycle but a “unicycle”.
“One can achieve stability of slow, steady motions by imposing a feedback control force on the limb. The basic technique involves keeping the seat post as vertical as possible, which is achieved by a slight shift in weight and by modulating your cadence,” he explained.
The Butha-Buthe-born one-wheel enthusiast was hooked to the quirky machine in 2007 when he was taken off the streets of Gauteng into a children’s home Kids’ Heaven.
“I was taught to ride and perform these manoeuvres on a unicycle by Freddy who took care of us at the shelter. It was during the three years that I stayed there that I fell hook, line and sinker into chuckling.
The perception is it is dangerous, but a rider like Mosaase discards helmets and knee-shin guards.
He says it just requires lot of practice, dedication and a sober mind.
“I love ‘chuckling’ because it has taken me off the streets and given me something to look forward to in life. I would also like to help other children here in Lesotho find careers in this sport; maybe have a recreation centre where I can pass on the talent to them.
“To my knowledge, I am the only person who does chuckling here at home and I believe we need more to spread the love of this game.
“People stand and stare because they cannot believe that a Mosotho child can actually do this,” he said.
Mosaase said he does a lot of practice which has made him more skillful and he has reached the level where he can compose his own unique tricks.