Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

July 9, 2014

Unicycling: All in the family

The Gipson kids have been riding 1-wheelers together for years

It didn’t take 12-year-old Emily Gipson too long to learn how to ride a unicycle. Less than three weeks, in fact.

But riding a bicycle? That was a different story.

“She told us riding a bicycle was too hard,” said her mom, Wendy. “She said she wasn’t going to even try it. We all just laughed and said, ‘OK.’”

But that’s what happens when you start riding a one-wheeler when you’re 7 years old, and your three older siblings are all unicycle pros.

“For me, it’s pretty simple to ride a unicycle because I’m used to it,” Emily said. “A bicycle was a lot harder to pick up because I couldn’t get used to two wheels.”

But then again, the Gipson family isn’t a bicycle family. They’re a unicycle family.

The four kids — Gideon, Abigail, Caleb and Emily — have all been riding one-wheelers since they were 7 years old, and for the last three years, they’ve all been performing together in the 5-foot unicycle act in the Peru Amateur Circus.

That’s right.The 5-foot unicycle act. The Gipson kids are way past the little 3-foot, standard-sized cycles.

Gideon, 18, was the first to pick it up after his mom decided to enroll him in a cycling camp. He said it took him about a month-and-a-half to get the hang of it.

The three other siblings followed suit, each learning the ins and outs a little faster than the previous one.

Now, riding a 5-foot one-wheeler is a breeze for all of them. Wendy said she’ll even catch them eating pizza, texting or doing their hair while idling around on top of the unicycle during circus practice.

“It’s bizarre the stuff they do on them,” she said with a laugh. “But you can see how nonchalant they ride. It’s just second nature to them.”

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