Hannah Caller: unicyclist
A 12 year old inspired Hannah to learn unicycling
Hannah started cycling a two wheeler when she was a child. She used to cycle to school and she has never had a car so has continued to cycle throughout her life. Cycling has always been Hannah's main mode of transport. Hannah also rides a tandem with blind back rider.
Not satisfied with her range of trailers, bike and tandem, Hannah wanted to learn a new cycling skill, so she decided to ask for a unicycle for her birthday. However, it wasn’t very easy to get the hang of, so she did not really use her new toy until she met a 12 year old unicyclist in Victoria Park.
The boy was doing all sorts of hops and jumps. Hannah got excited and started talking to him about unicycling. She explained that although she had a unicycle she wasn’t very good at it. The boy told her about a unicycle hockey club in Hackney that was free to go to and open to anyone.
Learning a new skill as an adult can be extremely exhilarating
Although the club was very male dominated and mostly attended by youngsters, Hannah felt the atmosphere was welcoming and supportive. She thinks the club is a great community resource and goes a long way to helping community cohesion in Hackney. Some say that people don't respect things that are free, but the club is well attended and very important to the participants. It is a great club in terms of intergenerational interaction.
The older teenagers help the youngsters and everybody is very encouraging. Seeing children pick it up really quickly was motivating, even though it took her a while to learn. Getting involved with the club made Hannah feel like less of an eccentric. She realised that there was a whole secret world of unicyclists and it was not as rare as she though.
Hannah thinks that all people can be put off cycling because of the fear of accidents or traffic, but if you can become a part of a group and get a sense of community, it can be empowering. Learning a new skill as an adult can be extremely exhilarating and you get a sense of achieving something new.
With unicycling it is all about balance and it is challenging. The first few times Hannah fell flat on her face. She used to practice late at night in her street so that other people wouldn’t be able to see her. The most important aspect of unicycling for Hannah is taking part in an unusual and exciting sport with young people in a collective atmosphere that is motivating and supportive.