Whether you are staring and pointing from across the street with a look of confusion, pretending to read a text to avoid eye contact or saying “Hi” as he rides past, Unicycle Guy is always happy to respond to his friendly peers.
Plattsburgh State sophomore Zander Connor said he worked all summer to save for a mountain bike, but he ended up not having enough money. So he decided to get one wheel instead. Three and a half years later, he is still happy with his decision.
“The first month or two (I) was learning how to get on the seat and stay upright,” the 19-year-old Expeditionary Studies major said. “It was ten yards then 20 yards — all downhill.”
Connor taught himself how to ride on grass and dirt driveways, but he said it would have been a lot easier with pavement. With more experience he has begun to challenge himself more by trail-riding on single track dirt trails. This presents a harder obstacle than riding up and down staircases.
“I like to let my mind go and not think about too much while I ride and just relax and go with it,” he said.
While he is riding he listens to a wide variety of music from “fun hip-hop,” to metal, to just about everything in between.
“I thought I knew a lot (about music), and then I met Zander,” said Connor’s best friend Tyler Ellis.
“He has an infectious personality and an obnoxiously contagious laugh,” Ellis said. “He is always happy. If you’re with him you’re bound to have a good time.”
He said hanging out with Connor helps him get over a bad day.
As an EXP student, Connor has had many opportunities to travel. During his freshman year, Connor got the opportunity to go on a ski-trip to Utah with his class. And months before, he journeyed to Nepal and trekked through the Himalayas for two weeks where he viewed high peaks, like Mt. Everest.
“I had an absolute blast while I was there,” Connor said. “I would love to go back and try to find the Sherpas (natives) that I was with because they were just so fun, and it was really incredible how they live.”
Ellis said Connor is a “play first, catch up later” kind of student, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have big plans for the future. For his three to four months long senior expedition, Connor hopes to ski in the Alps, unicycle to the Mediterranean and sea kayak once he gets there.
Before he graduates, Connor wants to take a sea kayaking course that will take him along the northern half of the east coast.
“You get such a perspective on things when you travel to other countries,” Ellis said. “Even moving from a small town to Plattsburgh where there are a lot of people, you get a different perspective.”
“You don’t like seeing strangers on the street. You like seeing people you know that you can say ‘Hi’ to,” Connor said.
Freshman Ali Shaffer, known as “Unicycle Girl”, recalls the first time she met Connor.
“He was riding across the street from me one night, and he was like “Hey,” waving me down.”
Shaffer convinced her parents to bring up her unicycle for parents weekend. Since then she has been taking the lead from Connor, riding it to and from class and to other places around campus.
“He’s a really cool guy and super friendly,” she said. “Everyone loves him on campus. He definitely gives unicycling a good name,” she said.
Connor is interested in starting a unicycling club on campus. He said he wants to get other people interested and teach them how to ride.
“It’s weird being the unicycle guy,” Connor said. “I’m just out here doing my thing, but I love it when people get excited about it.
Email Lisa Scivolette at email@example.com.
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