A Dream Come True

IMG_0580.JPGWhen I first started learning to unicycle (in February 2016) my only goal was to be able to ride consistently.  After visiting my Great Uncle David in Toronto – who owns a collection of unicycles of various sizes and descriptions – and trying out some of his unicycles I began to realize how many possibilities there are with unicycling. I tried his five foot tall ‘giraffe,’ and the big ‘36er’ which has a wheel diameter of 3’. You can get going really fast on the 36er, so once you get one of those you don’t ever have to ride a bike again, unless of course, you want to…

Later that summer, after I was feeling more comfortable on my 20” trainer, I decided I was ready for an upgrade of some sort. The only one I found that was relatively within my price range was a used five foot tall giraffe that was a 2 hour drive away, and not on the way to anywhere I or my family really ever goes. I was also a little hesitant to pay the price they where asking, as I didn’t know what shape the unicycle was in. I was about to buy it, but prayed first.

I decided to wait a little longer, and literally the next day I found another ad in Toronto for a giraffe that was half the price of the other one, and it came with another 20” trainer as well! The seller was just trying to get rid of them. And, since I know people who go to Toronto fairly often, this was the perfect opportunity. My very kind Uncle David generously went out of his way to pick it up for me, and my Dad later picked it up while in Toronto for another reason.

Dad got back late, and the next morning told me to go look in the back of the van. I opened the van door, and pulled out a Norco Giraffe and a 20” trainer. I found that neither of them needed a new tube despite the seller saying they did, so I was able to start riding the giraffe right away. The whole story is an example of how God loves to give us good things. We can learn to wait on the LORD for some things instead of trying to figure out everything by ourselves. As the bible says:

Delight yourself also in the LORD: and he shall give you the desires of your heart.

That summer I posted a WANTED: UNICYCLES ad online, and started buying used unicycles, and selling some of them to friends after I had taught them how to ride. I was able to find a 24” uni (unicycle), which was fun because you can go a little faster than on a 20” uni (larger diameter = larger circumference = more SPEED).

Ever since I had ridden Uncle David’s 36er in Toronto, I had dreamed of getting one of my own. 36ers just fly! A 36er’s wheel is large enough that it is almost as fast as a bike. I looked all over Canada and the US for a used or new 36er at a good price, but could hardly find any that where affordable, or located somewhere I would be able to pick it up. I looked on UDC, Creigslist, Kijiji, and even considered buying all the components and building my own (which would have been pretty cool, but was also pretty expensive). I really wanted to get one but just couldn’t seem to find one that would be the right fit, so I talked to the LORD about it.

One day in March (of 2017) I was (half jokingly) trying to convince my Mom to buy one for me. She told me to talk to Jesus about it, because he loves to give us good things.

Literally ten minutes later I got an email from a guy named ‘Mike’ who was replying to the wanted ad for unicycles I had posted months ago. I could hardly believe my eyes as I read the message. He was selling his Qu-Ax 36er with some KH accesories on it, and it was for less than any of the unicycles I had previously looked at. And, it was only a 30 minute drive from my place!

I took this as a clear sign from God that this was the unicycle for me, and in less than two hours I was back home inspecting my very own 36er! After tinkering around and changing a few things on it, the next day I was happily riding around the tennis court. It was amazing to realize that God had just provided something I had been looking for for the past year. God loves to make dreams realities for his children, and for me, He had just made a Dream Come True.

I Got a GoPro!

I first heard about GoPro action cameras this spring.  A friend of my Mom was telling us about a cool video she had seen that had been made with a GoPro.  Later on I looked them up on the internet, and found the GoPro website.

If you have not heard of GoPros, here is a quick intro:

GoPro action cameras are small lightweight cameras that have three modes:  multi-shot, video, and single photo, with many settings and options for each.  You can use them to capture top quality video and photo footage, in a variety of different settings.  GoPros come with a protective housing that protects them from dirt, dust, snow, water, and other conditions that might damage the camera.  The housing also allows you to attach the camera to all the compatible mounts and harnesses so you can film from your head, chest, wrist, bicycle (or unicycle), surfboard, or even your dog!  Click here to see all the different mounts and accessories.

After using a friend’s GoPro to make a video – that I posted here called Off-Road Unicycling – and researching a little more, I decided it would be a good investment to make.  I just needed to decide which one to get!  At the time I was looking there were three available:  the Hero4 Black, the Hero4 Silver, and the Hero Session.  I decided to get the Hero4 Silver because, even though the Hero4 Black has a few better video quality features, the Hero4 Silver has some things I liked more, such as a built-in touch screen.  I got it in the mail a couple weeks after ordering.

I am very happy with the GoPro I bought, and definitely recommend it.  The video above is my first video made with it, and hopefully there will be lots more to come!

img_5479Here is a photo of my GoPro attached to a floating handle.

 

 

Off-Road Unicycling

While visiting some friends nearby I had the opportunity to try to unicycle down a very steep hill.  It is the biggest hill I have gone down so far on my unicycle.  My friend lent me his GoPro camera and we made the video above.

Lately, I have been getting much more comfortable on my unicycle.  It has a 20” wheel.  A 20” unicycle wheel is best for training on, but they aren’t really super great to use for “Muni” (mountain unicycling) unless it is a very thick tire, or for ridding long distances.  The smaller the wheel, the more you have to pedal.  The one big advantage of a smaller wheel is that it is much more maneuverable.  With my 20” unicycle I can turn a full circle in a small area that would be very difficult for a bigger unicycle wheel to do.

Like almost everything in the world, there are both advantages and disadvantages.

Learning To Unicycle

My great uncle has a bunch of unicycles he rides, and so last summer I had asked if he could bring one to a family gathering.  I thought unicycling was a pretty cool sport so I wanted to give it a try.  He brought a unicycle and got me started holding onto a porch railing and using a brick as a chock behind the wheel.  He lent me the unicycle until the fall, and although I was unable to master it, having it for that amount of time confirmed my interest in “one-wheel bike”.

Late this winter I was given a unicycle and I started practicing indoors.  I got more and more comfortable, until I was able to get on and peddle a couple of meters before falling off.  In the past week or two I have been practicing seriously and am now able to mount the unicycle without any thing behind the wheel, and peddle consistently for quite a distance.

You can teach yourself unicycling easily with the help of a Youtube tutorial or a friend who owns a unicycle.  To find a unicycle look up unicycles in your area, or buy it online at a place like Amazon.  For starting, a 20 inch wheel is great or anything around that size.  You can pretty much learn on any unicycle you find, but the twenty inch is my recommendation.  You should raise the seat to about the height of your belly-button before starting.  After learning the basics, you’ll be able to pick up a specialty, or do them all.  Some of these include mountain unicycling, long distance unicycling, riding a “giraffe”, and so much more.  There are many things you can do with unicycling.

One thing learning to unicycle gives you is a great sense of balance with your body.  Instead of only being able to fall right of left, you can fall any direction,  Fortunately while learning basic unicycling you will usually land on your feet because there’s no cross-bar blocking your leg, like on a regular bike.

I highly recommend the sport of unicycling and hope this video and article inspire you to get outside and hop on a one-wheeler.  Please take some time to research unicycling and see if it’s something you think you would be interested in pursuing.

Have lots of one wheeled fun, and don’t forget your helmet!

Scout Uniform

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If you are signed up as a Scout already, than you should already have your scout uniform, which you can order from your country’s scouting website.  If not, it can still be fun to have your own uniform.  You could either put together your own, or order the official scouter’s uniform.

What Robert Baden-Powell originally meant for uniforms was whatever the scout himself could buy or make.  Here is a quote from Baden-Powell’s book, Souting for Boys:

“Flat brimmed hat if possible, or wide-awake hat.

Coloured handkerchief tied loosely round the neck.

Shirt:  Flannel

Colours: a bunch of ribbons of patrol colour on left shoulder.

Belt, with coat rolled tight and strapped or tied behind.

Haversack, to carry food, etc., slung on back across the shoulders.

Shorts: cut short at knee.  A kilt if you are a Scotsman.

Stockings, with garters made of green, with one end hanging down one inch.

Boots or shoes.”

The shorts and shirt should be of light brown or beige colour.  Of course, you need not use shorts during the winter, nor do you have to wear stockings if you would rather wear regular socks.  The colours are only necessary if you belong to a scout patrol, in which case the scoutmaster will probably explain what the patrol’s uniform looks like.  Try to copy the above list as closely as possible, and start making your own uniform.

With some guidance and help from a friend, I made my own camouflage vest using different fabrics I picked out.  I wanted lots of pockets so that’s how I made it.  It is really quite cool and I also have the satisfaction of knowing that I made a part of my uniform!

I encourage you to put together your own uniform; whether you order it or make it is entirely up to you.

 

 

Knives

IMG_8834If you do a lot outdoors, having the right equipment is essential to your own safety, and to accomplishing the task you set out to do.  For example, supposing you are using a cheap, breakable hatchet that you found for a great deal (because no one else wanted it!).  If a part of the axe broke, it could hurt you, or someone else standing near by.

A good all around tool for anyone, whether you live in the city or the country, and whether you have been a logger way up North for twenty years, or have lived in the city all your life and are just a kid, is a knife.  I don’t mean a huge machete hanging in a gigantic sheath from your belt (although some people do have them, they are not very practical for everyday use)!  I mean something small with a two or three inch blade.  Something that you could carry in your pocket, or on your belt.

The reason a knife is such a good all around tool, is because you can use it in lots of different situations.  If you’re trying to clean something out of a very thin crack, just use the blade of your knife.  If you are opening a box or package sometimes you need a blade to tare through some tape or something.  Or you might use it to cut the string of a straw bale.  There are countless other reasons and situations where you could use a knife, which is why you should not just go grab the first cheap knife you see.

Depending on what you are using it for, you will want different kinds of knives.  A good one for a lot of people is a two or three inch long folding blade knife.  Of course some people will prefer a fixed blade knife (stored in a sheath at your belt).  A fixed blade knife is usually stronger, because it does not fold in the middle.  However, they are a little less handy to carry around, and sometimes can make it hard to run if they bang against your leg.  In my opinion, probably the most handy option for a knife is a multi-tool.  A multi-tool usually has a knife blade, plus all the extra tools, sometimes including a screwdriver, pliers, bottle opener, saw, file, scissors, wire cutters, and lots of other things.  I have a multi-tool in a case on my belt that I carry around all day, and I never have to worry about it falling out of my pocket or rubbing against my leg.  You could also use a utility knife.  They are sharp but very breakable so I don’t recommend using one.

I have a friend who has collected over thirty knives of every shape and size!  This is really handy for him, because whenever he is going outside, he can grab whatever knife best suits the job he is going to work on.

The more expensive a knife is, probably the better quality it is.  Before you buy your knife, it is a good idea to look up reviews about the knife you are thinking about, or to ask someone you know who has bought something with the same brand name.

Remember, a knife is a blade and you have to be careful when using it.  A dull knife will more likely slip from whatever you are cutting, which could cut you.  So it is generally better to have a good sharp knife.

Make sure you know what kinds of knives are allowed in your area, and if there are knives that are not legal, don’t buy it if you are offered one!