“At first, I travelled on four wheels. Then three. Then, for a long time, two. Now: one.
A reduction is under way.
In the end, in some years’ time – nobody knows how many – I’ll have no wheels. And will return to the earth I’ve loved cycling on.
I never would have believed I could do it, but now I fly low across the landscape. My eyes are 220cm above the earth and the trees whizz by. The path beneath me is soft, everything is soft, even if, now and then, it is also stony and uneven. Sometimes it is wet and slippery. Regardless, I must be fully in control, from second to second. An elevation there, a stone, a root, a puddle that may be deeper than it appears to me. I could fall at any moment. But I don’t fall. Because I can fly. But now and then I do fall all the same. Or jump off to avoid falling.”
For much of his life, Erlend Loe has cycled. A year ago, he decided to try out a unicycle and was instantly converted.
What persuades an almost two-metre tall fifty-year-old who claims not to like standing out from the crowd to cycle through the city on a unicycle? What is so attractive about that? There must be more practical means of transport?
With enthusiasm and sharp observational skill, Erlend Loe takes us on a unicycle odyssey over the course of a year – full of free association and playfulness, but always in balance, always leaning forward, always conducting negotiations with reality. And by negotiating with reality, he puts it into words in new and unexpected ways.
A riveting personal essay in the vein of On Being John McEnroe and Murakami’s What I Talk about When I Talk about Running.
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