People Pour on the Love for the UniMan

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Cycle America, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. Max Chen delivered the goods to us once again. Here, I present to U the
    beautifully written account that Max transcribed from a fax he received
    from one most remarkable man indeed, Unicyclist Patrick Thomas. As U
    have seen in here, the UniMan is almost in Colorado now, but here is
    what his ride looked like after he left us in Folsom:


    Day 5 Folsom to Placerville
    Tuesday, June 15
    20 plus miles

    This trip will end up being an affirmation of my
    profound belief in the genuine goodness of human
    beings as a whole, or a partial or complete
    repudiation of this very conviction. I believe that
    the people, with whom I share this country and planet,
    for the most part, are kind, caring and giving toward
    their fellow homo-sapiens. During my two month
    odyssey, I look forward to putting my principles to
    the test.

    Dinner with Don, my recumbent cyclist companion and
    fellow cross-country road warrior, was superb. I
    thanked him, profusely, for having the courtesy to
    wait for me to eat. I had survived the extreme
    ravages of the Davis, Sacramento, Rancho Cordova and
    Folsom heat, as well as the wounds inflicted by my
    unicycle seat. After pizza, salad and drinks, I was
    born again. Though you could not tell by my account
    of the unicycling journey from Davis to Folsom, the
    path along the American River Parkway is beautifully
    designed, lush with nature and spectacular views
    throughout. One of my most enduring impressions of
    this route is the dozens upon hundreds of gophers
    (maybe, they were ground hogs) who, upon seeing
    anything or anyone pass by, would retreat, in a flash,
    to the safety and inner sanctum of their underground

    After dinner, Don and I pedaled through the streets of
    Folsom and made our way to Jack Martin's lovely,
    spacious home. Jack is a cyclist, software engineer,
    inventor, husband and father of five. He has created
    an ingenious system that allows cyclists to replenish
    lost liquids, without having to wear anything on their
    back (check it out at

    In light of the juggling that Jack has to do in his
    multiple roles, it was pretty amazing just how
    gracious he was as a host. Don and I failed to meet
    Jack's wife, who was sleeping when we arrived and off
    to work when we awoke. Nevertheless, Jack opened his
    entire family and home to us. Don, I, Jack and his
    oldest son talked in the kitchen, deep into the
    northern edges of the evening hours while I, almost
    single-handedly, drained a pitcher of fabulous
    lemonade. Following a rejuvenating shower, I could
    not have hoped for a better conclusion to a day that
    thoroughly tested my commitment to this ride. Sweet,
    luscious slumber overcame me with the quickness of a

    A glorious, sunny and scalding day awaited me the
    following morning. Jack, without missing a beat, had
    a full spread of pancakes, juice, fruit, and coffee.
    I enjoyed hanging out with his kids most of the
    morning (my sincerest apologies to his middle son,
    with whom I never managed to play computer games) and
    then it was time to go. Jack's daughter, Rachel, was
    kind enough to give me a royal escort, on her bike, to
    the corner and I was off. I would miss the warmth and
    comforts of the Martin home, especially during the
    challenges I faced the following day along the Mormon
    Emigrant Trail.

    Natoma Street led me past the infamous Folsom State
    Prison (why are prisons, so often, built on some of
    the most incredibly scenic spots? Some examples are:
    San Quentin (near Larkspur, Calif) and a Nevada State
    Prison, near Connor's Summit, to mention a couple) to
    Green Valley Road. Along the rolls, twists, climbs
    and descents of Green Valley Road, I steadily advanced
    toward Placerville, at a blistering speed of 6 to 7
    miles per hour. Somehow, somewhere, I strayed off
    Green Valley and ended up on Lode Road (in a town
    neighboring Placerville), which is where I met Miriam.

    She was getting the mail from her box, at the side of
    the road, as I pedaled up. I was lost and bewildered,
    at this point, and upon seeing Miriam, I was relieved
    to encounter a soul from whom I could seek guidance.
    It seemed that she was no less surprised to see
    someone, like me, riding a unicycle on a rural road.
    Nonetheless, Miriam was very hospitable. First she
    offered to give me a lift and, when I politely
    declined, insisted I come up to the house, for a
    while, to rest before heading into Placerville. I
    made my way up the gravel path to her house. This
    experience has moved me deeply. Whenever I find such
    trust, such friendly treatment, from a stranger toward
    me, I am in awe, particularly in light of tragic,
    tumultuous, events that have transpired in our country
    and world over the past few years. The flicker of the
    flame of human decency and hospitality, for one
    stranger towards another, endures despite the hostile
    gusts that swirl about it. Entering Miriam's house
    was like boarding a flight in which you're traveling
    first class (I've only imagined this experience.) She
    had fruit drinks poured before I'd even walked through
    the door.

    Inside, Miriam introduced me to her housemate, Sandra,
    and I also met Sandra's mom. We chatted, for awhile,
    as I told them about the purpose of my ride. We made
    our way into the living room, just as a playoff game
    was starting between the Los Angeles Lakers and the
    Detroit Pistons. I quickly learned that the best way
    to stay on Miriam's good side was to avoid talking
    during the game. She was a Laker hater and cheered
    whenever they stumbled. The game was exciting and
    while we watched the first half., I retrieved the
    Subway Tuna sandwich which I bought hours earlier in
    Folsom. It had wilted, like a flower, under the sunĂ­s
    merciless assault, and seeped a stream of mayonnaise,
    sauce, and tuna broth into my backpack. (for days to
    come, my backpack, and everything it held, smelled of

    As I prepared to depart for Placerville, Miriam gave
    me a bag of strawberries as a parting gift. I thanked
    them all for the kindness they had bestowed upon me
    and then left to pedal the last few miles that lay
    ahead. Later that evening, I reflected upon my day's
    journey. I started to understand all too clearly,
    just how significant the weather is during a cycle
    trip. The fact that I had completed 20 to 30 miles
    was irrelevant. Obviously, depending upon the nature
    and severity prevalent during a ride, the amount of
    physical, mental and spiritual exertion required can still
    be drastically increased.