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Old 2003-06-30, 04:06 PM   #46
JJuggle
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Body Language | Making the wheel go round

By Art Carey
Inquirer Columnist
913 words
30 June 2003
The Philadelphia Inquirer
CITY-D
F01
English
(c) Copyright 2003, The Philadelphia Inquirer. All Rights Reserved.

As a proud voice of male exuberance, I run an outpatient psychiatric clinic for all manner of manly men suffering from acute testosterone poisoning.

Case in point: Norris Childs. A while back, he sent me an e-mail message in which he described himself as a "blockhead" and told me about his latest midlife passion.

I had a feeling we'd hit it off; I was right. In his garage, he has a funky '65 Land Rover (almost as gorgeous as a Willys jeep). He can handle a wrench and a welding torch and knows his way around an engine. In his basement, he keeps a low-slung, single-cylinder '42 Triumph motorcycle, a comely classic.

In the carriage house behind his house in Germantown, he built a squash court. Last year, he and his brother crafted a beautiful wood and canvas canoe. Childs is what writer John McPhee would call "a man of maximum practical application." He does his own carpentry, plumbing and electrical work.

Childs keeps bees, but earns his living as a surgeon. A Germantown Friends School alum, he's a Quaker who was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. He dropped out of Harvard for a couple of years to serve in the Peace Corps. At age 42, he joined the Navy, partly to give something back to his country, partly to get to know the men and women of the military. (His take: They do what needs to be done and do it well.)

He's the father of three grown children and the grandfather of two. At age 56, he's trim and fit. Every morning, he does 60 sit-ups, 60 push-ups, 60 squats, and 240 arm circles. But that's maintenance stuff. The exercise he really loves is unicycling.

Blame it on Harrie Price 4th, who used to unicycle to Moorestown Friends School. Harrie was Norris Childs' cousin, and Childs always admired Harrie's wonderfully insouciant mode of transportation.

So one day in 1988, when Childs was 41 and should have known better, he went to a bike shop and bought a unicycle. After numerous attempts at riding it, he quit in frustration and threw the unicycle in a closet.

Ten years later, Childs was cleaning the closet and found the dusty unicycle. At 51, he was in the throes of male menopause, vulnerable to lunatic impulses. He decided he was going to ride the contraption, no matter what.

He practiced every day for an hour. He balanced himself against a deck rail next to his driveway and tried to move without falling. He fell hundreds of times. Finally, after a full month, he was able to stay on the unicycle long enough to turn the wheel one revolution. After another month, he was able to pedal the length of his driveway.

But he paid a price. By month three, his left knee - the leg he usually landed on when he fell - was swollen and painful. Being a doctor, Childs did the natural thing: He denied he had a problem. A year later, when his knee locked up, he went under the knife. Diagnosis: torn meniscus.

Once repaired, Childs was back on his unicycle, cruising the streets of Germantown and Mount Airy, the trails along the Wissahickon in Fairmount Park. As his confidence grew, he undertook longer rides: the river drive loop, the bike path to Valley Forge.

Needless to say, he attracts plenty of attention. Women smile, and kids wisecrack. "Hey, mister, did you escape from the circus?" And, "Hey, mister, can you do a trick?" Childs' standard reply: "Hey, kid, this is a trick!"

Indeed it is. The challenge of unicycling is not keeping your balance side to side but keeping your balance front to back. "The hardest part for beginners is learning to lean forward," Childs says. "You pedal to catch yourself as you fall forward."

He has five unicycles of different sizes, including a 5-foot "giraffe." When he rides, he offers a double-barrel spectacle. There is the drama of his feet and what's happening to the wheel, and the ungainly ballet of his arms. With his arms flapping and slicing, Childs resembles a spastic orchestra conductor throwing a temper tantrum against gravity.

One of his heroes is a judge in Alaska who unicycles on rough terrain, including boulder-strewn beaches. The other night, Childs showed his stuff, plunging down a steep and rocky path in his backyard. "The secret is you have to believe," he says. "Once you lose your confidence, it's all over."

In unicycling, the intensity of concentration, paradoxically, is what makes it relaxing. "You can't think too much about riding," Childs says. "You have to let your body ride automatically. You have to concentrate on letting go."

As aerobic exercise, unicycling is comparable to jogging. Pedaling up hills is "a real quad burner." But the greatest benefit is what it does for your sense of balance. It utilizes a host of stabilizing muscles around your hips and abdominal core.

"Whenever I feel things are out of balance in my life, I ride my unicycle and it always helps me," Childs says. "Physical balance is part and parcel of psychological and spiritual balance."
==============================================

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ
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Old 2003-06-30, 04:09 PM   #47
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Here is the bit from the Canadian magazine Maclean's on Kris Holm. Others are discussed, but I edited that out.

BORN TO BE HIGH AND WILD: Whether from cities or plains, some feel at home only among soaring peaks.

BRIAN BERGMAN
2,115 words
23 June 2003
Maclean's
48
ISSN: 0024-9262
English
Copyright 2003 Gale Group Inc. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT 2003 Maclean Hunter Canadian Publishing Ltd.

LIVING IN CALGARY, the mountains are never far from view. On a clear day (and in Alberta, after all, most days are clear), I can see the snow-capped Rockies shimmering to the west. For me, it's a constant reminder of a majestic landscape only an hour's drive away, one I have the good fortune of visiting frequently. And, as is often the case, I've learned it's the people, as much as the peaks, that make the place.

Mountain people, to borrow a phrase, are different than you and me. Typically, they've heeded a call: though born and raised in cities, on the prairies or by the sea, they feel most at home surrounded by peaks thousands of metres high. Many make an economic sacrifice to live where they do, working a variety of jobs to pay the bills. The most obvious common denominator, though, is a love of the outdoors -- and, in many cases, of pitting themselves, at great risk, against nature. These are people who, in the words of the 1960s chestnut, "take the world in a love embrace." Here are the stories of six who were born to be wild.


KRIS HOLM, 29, MOUNTAIN UNICYCLIST

The images are stunning. Legs spinning and arms outstretched, this Victoria native can be seen in a pair of recent documentaries as he careens down the side of Pico de Orizaba, Mexico's highest peak, and negotiates thousands of ancient stairs cut into a mountain pass in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. All in a day's work for Holm, who is something of a cult hero in mountain unicycling. Holm, who now lives in Vancouver, where he works part-time as a geology researcher and lecturer at the University of British Columbia, says there's nothing all that intimidating about what he does. "It's really not as dangerous," he insists, "as it looks."

OK, if you say so. Holm got his first unicycle for his 12th birthday, after seeing a local street performer ride one while playing a violin. An avid rock climber, Holm was soon testing his toy on some of his favourite terrain. But it wasn't until 1998 that he learned, via the Internet, that mountain unicycling was an emerging sport. After winning several North American titles, Holm last year earned the top technical mountain unicyclist award at the World Unicycling Championships held in Seattle.

For Holm, unicycling is more than a sport. "It's about taking this crazy thing and riding it in some amazing places," he says. To Bhutan, for example. Few foreigners are allowed into the kingdom and Holm wondered how he and fellow rider Nathan Hoover, of California, would be received. Not to worry. Schoolchildren swarmed them in villages, and some monks in traditional garb took the curious vehicles for a spin. "There's something about a unicycle," muses Holm, "that makes people smile."
==============================================

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Matawan, NJ
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Old 2003-07-14, 01:26 PM   #48
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RIDING HIGH

AP
64 words
12 July 2003
The Commercial Appeal
Final
DS4
English
Copyright (c) 2003 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

Mississippi State University employee Jim Schrock was riding high Friday as he negotiated his way across the Starkville campus on his 6-foot Schwinn unicycle. Schrock is lab operations superintendent for MSU's Department of Aerospace Engineering, which is part of the Bagley College of Engineering. He also is a member of the local unicycle club.
==============================================

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Old 2003-07-14, 01:28 PM   #49
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Police hunt unicycle thief

107 words
11 July 2003
Newsquest Media Group Newspapers: This is the North East
English
c Copyright 2003 Newsquest Digital Media.

POLICE are looking for a thief who stole a unicycle from a shed.

The silver machine, with a red-and-black seat, was taken, along with an old air rifle, from the house in Eppleby, near Richmond.

The owner is a member of a local circus troupe and, although the burglary took place on June 30, details were only released yesterday.

"The thief would probably be a tad conspicuous if he used the unicycle himself," said a police spokesman.

Anyone who knows anything about the raid or may have been offered such a bike is asked to contact police on (01609) 783131.
==============================================

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Old 2003-07-14, 01:51 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally posted by JJuggle
RIDING HIGH

AP
64 words
12 July 2003
The Commercial Appeal
Final
DS4
English
Copyright (c) 2003 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

Mississippi State University employee Jim Schrock was riding high Friday as he negotiated his way across the Starkville campus on his 6-foot Schwinn unicycle. Schrock is lab operations superintendent for MSU's Department of Aerospace Engineering, which is part of the Bagley College of Engineering. He also is a member of the local unicycle club.
==============================================

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ
The neat thing that the link brings out is that Jim Schrock helps build experimental aircraft and is a tenor, which is the highest male vocal range; by adding riding a giraffe he's an all-round high guy.
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Old 2003-07-14, 02:03 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally posted by U-Turn
and is a tenor, which is the highest male vocal range
You mean you've never heard of Michael Aspinall, the Surprising Soprano?



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Old 2003-07-14, 02:11 PM   #52
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No, I haven't.

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Old 2003-07-15, 12:43 AM   #53
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Re: Unicycle articles (but wait there's more...)

In article <U-Turn.qk7mb@timelimit.unicyclist.com>,
U-Turn <U-Turn.qk7mb@timelimit.unicyclist.com> writes:

> a tenor, which is the highest male vocal range
>


....apart from countertenor and castrato... and if you
have a viscount saddle, you know that the last one is no
joke.

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Ottawa, ON FreeBSD: Where you want to go. Today.
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Old 2003-07-16, 07:09 PM   #54
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Nice one:

One wheel is enough.

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Matawan, NJ
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Old 2003-07-16, 07:48 PM   #55
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Re: Nice one:

Quote:
Originally posted by JJuggle
One wheel is enough.
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Awesome Article Raphael. Great looking kid too. He has "confident" written all over him. --chirokid--
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Old 2003-07-21, 08:10 PM   #56
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Mountain Madness

Andrew Bain
899 words
20 July 2003
Sunday Age
15
English
(c) 2003 Copyright John Fairfax Holdings Limited. www.theage.com.au. Not available for re-distribution.

Skiing and climbing are passe when it comes to getting a rocky mountain high. By Andrew Bain.

ONCE, people simply walked in the mountains. But alpine recreation is an evolutionary beast. After walking came climbing and skiing, followed by parasailing, mountain biking and snowboarding. And just when you thought the options were exhausted, along comes a new range of activities, far more eccentric than any of their predecessors.

EXTREME IRONING

You have to love an activity that bills itself as combining the "thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt". Extreme ironing is a bit like an internet fridge, a combination of two things you'd never dream belonged together - rock climbing and ironing clothes.

In extreme ironing, climbers scale rock faces or slog towards summits with an ironing board and iron on their back. They then, quite naturally, press a shirt. Mothers who once fretted about their children climbing can now take solace in the fact that they're no longer ignoring their domestic duties.

Extreme ironing began in 1997 in Leicester when a climber who now calls himself Steam was confronted by a sunny-afternoon quandary. He should have been ironing his clothes but he wanted to climb. So he took the ironing with him. Quickly it evolved into what UK newspaper The Independent called the "trendiest sport around".

The Extreme Ironing Bureau, the ruling body of extreme ironing, estimates about 200 people around the world taking part in extreme ironing, and the first world championships near Munich last year attracted 80 competitors, including Australians. Competition was stiff (or starched), won by a German called Hot Pants.

Early ironists relied on generators and long extension cords, but battery-operated irons have since revolutionised the sport. Irons are now travelling where they've never been before. Last April, two English ironists set a world record by pressing a Union Jack 5440 metres up Mount Everest, breaking the previous ironing altitude record by around 1300 metres. It's only a question of time before the first steam-iron summits on Everest, thus creating another pointless first on the world's highest mountain.

MOUNTAIN UNICYCLING

Take a mountain bike, fold it in half, remove one wheel and discard the frame. What's left is a mountain unicycle.

MUni, as those in the know call mountain unicycling, doesn't seem like advancement, going from the technology of the modern, multi-springed, disc-braked mountain bike to the single-wheeled vehicle of clowns. But the challenge of heading off-road on an innately unstable unicycle far exceeds that of the bicycle, and it's in this regard that it might be seen to be progressing the challenge of rough-terrain cycling.

Mountain unicycling was one of the big hits of recent Banff Mountain Film Festival, where men on unicycles pedalled along narrow roof ledges or careered past the glaciers of Citlaltepetl, Mexico's highest mountain, with legs turning like the roadrunner. It drew laughs but the filmmaker was serious when he talked of his excitement about the sport's future.

Unicyclers claim that they can take their single-wheelers anywhere a mountain bike can go, with the benefit of greater manoeuvrability - they are able to turn more sharply and fit through narrower spaces. And they are, by nature, the ultimate fitness bike, operating on a direct-drive pedal system so that, unlike a mountain bike, you have to pedal continuously, uphill or downhill - freewheeling doesn't exist on a unicycle. Your legs will never have moved so fast.

So what next? Mountain penny-farthings?

MOUNTAIN RUNNING

Any one of the thousands of trekkers who've been to Everest Base Camp can tell you about the effects of altitude around the Khumbu. It's difficult enough to breathe the thin oxygen without adding to your woes by running along the tracks. But, each 18 months, including this November, that's exactly what happens with the Everest Marathon, officially listed as the world's highest marathon. The marathon begins 5000 metres above sea level, at Gorak Shep in the shadow of Everest, and follows trekkers' routes down into Namche Bazaar. Forty-two kilometres of Himalayan hardship that takes even the best and fittest about four hours.

The Everest Marathon is a high point - literally - of the world of mountain running, but it's far from unique. The Brits have been mountain running - or "fell running" as they call it - for years, and now the great adventure-racing nation of New Zealand has taken wholeheartedly to the high sport. Across the Tasman, there are dozens of events each year, some along New Zealand's most famous walking routes, such as the Abel Tasman and Kepler Track. Indeed, New Zealand's Jonathon Wyatt has won three of the last five World Mountain Running Championships, an annual title "run" since 1985. The championships will be held this year in Alaska in September.

Australians are also now moving faster through their mountains - no more stopping to smell the wildflowers, they're more a blur as you stomp past. The Australian Mountain Running Association ( www.coolrunning.com.au/mountainrunning) was formed in 1997 and lists more than 40 events around the country for 2003, including the Australian Mountain Running Championships, which were held on Mount Burelli, Wollongong, in June.
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Old 2003-07-21, 08:18 PM   #57
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UNICYCLE UNITY DRAWS MEMBERS OF NEW VISION

SHIRLEY DANG - The Oregonian
757 words
17 July 2003
The Oregonian
SUNRISE
10
English
Copyright (c) 2003 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

BEAVERTON

Summary: The One-Wheeled Wonders come together for practice before their performance in a Beaverton parade

The church that prays together, unicycles together.

That philosophy led 11-year-old Laura and 9-year-old Allison Millar to the One-Wheeled Wonders, a unicycling group from the New Vision Fellowship church that will take its place July 19 in the Beaverton SummerFest Parade.

The group debuted at the event two summers ago, a trail of streamers fluttering from the cycles' spokes. Laura recalls falling off her yellow Jugglebug model nearly 10 times last year when she tackled the 2-mile route for her inaugural ride.

"You definitely get tired after a 2-mile parade," Laura said.

They meet regularly

The Wonders count about 25 members, many of them groups of young siblings or whole families. They meet regularly at 3:30 p.m. each Sunday to practice.

Pastor Gene Grass started the group four years ago, channeling his love of the unicycle to his parish: one wheel, under God.

Occasionally, Grass delivers sermons while idling on his unicycle and juggling balls. He uses his props to demonstrate various life lessons: balancing one's responsibilities or having patience.

"I just did it a few weeks ago on endurance," Grass said. "The unicycle isn't something you learn overnight. It takes endurance."

Laura learned to ride from Grass two years ago on a church loaner. The seat is swathed in the requisite towel, for comfort, and wound with duct tape.

Each week, Grass came to the Millar driveway in Hyland Hills. Eventually, Laura started holding on to her father's car as he chugged slowly down the street. At the end of her journey, she marked the curb with chalk, leaving a series of tick marks on the street.

"Every day would be a new record," Laura said.

Stopping takes skill

After learning the crucial skill of stopping -- which essentially consists of falling forward and catching the seat before it hits the ground -- Laura is learning to turn, idle and pedal backward.

On a side street near the Millar house, the girls' mother, Anne, holds out one hand. Laura grasps it, tucks the seat under her blue stretch pants and pedals haltingly in reverse.

"If you've been unicycling forward for a long time, it feels really weird going backwards," she said.

Many church members live near the Millars, bringing a whole fleet of unicycles to the quiet suburban streets.

"It's not unusual to see a one-wheeled rider in this neighborhood," Anne Millar said. "We're just infested with unicycles."

Friend Julie Liggins counts three boys out of her five children as unicyclers, with another rider on the way.

"My daughter, who's 6, said she wants a unicycle for Christmas," Liggins said.

Her son R.J., 13, pioneered the family's obsession four years ago when he started his one-wheeled hobby. He has mastered the skill so well he can play saxophone at the same time, as he did in last year's parade. His 11-year-old brother, Rob, picked up the unicycle soon after, and 8-year-old Alex began in kindergarten.

Rob, an athlete, said unicycling does not compete with his love of other sports. In fact, he likes to combine them.

"I play basketball and football," Rob said. "I've played both on a unicycle."

Grass said unicycling helps give families time together to learn something new, sometimes about each other. And mastering an obscure skill can be great for kids.

"It's a confidence booster," Grass said. "Maybe they haven't excelled at something, or maybe they're real studious and kids make fun of them."

All that disappears when the congregation pedals duct-taped vehicles behind the church each Sunday afternoon, he said.

"One of the neat things is I've got people at all different levels," Grass said. "The others encourage them and say, 'I've been there.' "

Laura loves unicycling in a group, to pick up tips or see who's learning to do tricks such as the bunny hop. It's nice that just being on one wheel can get you attention, she said.

But she takes an almost Zen view of riding mono.

"I don't think there's a best or worst thing," she said. "You just get up and go."
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Old 2003-07-23, 05:51 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally posted by JJuggle


MOUNTAIN RUNNING

Any one of the thousands of trekkers who've been to Everest Base Camp can tell you about the effects of altitude around the Khumbu. It's difficult enough to breathe the thin oxygen without adding to your woes by running along the tracks. But, each 18 months, including this November, that's exactly what happens with the Everest Marathon, officially listed as the world's highest marathon. The marathon begins 5000 metres above sea level, at Gorak Shep in the shadow of Everest, and follows trekkers' routes down into Namche Bazaar. Forty-two kilometres of Himalayan hardship that takes even the best and fittest about four hours.

The Everest Marathon is a high point - literally - of the world of mountain running, but it's far from unique. The Brits have been mountain running - or "fell running" as they call it - for years, and now the great adventure-racing nation of New Zealand has taken wholeheartedly to the high sport. Across the Tasman, there are dozens of events each year, some along New Zealand's most famous walking routes, such as the Abel Tasman and Kepler Track. Indeed, New Zealand's Jonathon Wyatt has won three of the last five World Mountain Running Championships, an annual title "run" since 1985. The championships will be held this year in Alaska in September.

[/B]
Yeah, go Jonathan- he's our local hero.

And I would love to do the Everest Marathon on a MUni. I'm not sure how much of the Everest Trek is rideable though. Does anyone know? I spent most of the time carrying my MUni along the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal last year.
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Old 2003-08-11, 01:20 PM   #59
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Amusing if not complimentary.

SCRAP THE SCOOTER

Johanna Huden
397 words
3 August 2003
New York Post
23
English
(c) 2003 N.Y.P. Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

IF I got a free Segway trial, I'd probably give it a scoot, too. But is the NYPD serious about the "human transport system"?

You have to wonder what Mayor Mike's smoking if he plans on paying money for yet another annoying, traffic-impeding, unnecessary and just plain weird mode of transportation on New York's congested streets.

Midtown seems to be overrun with pedicabs this summer. But the smiling, fresh-faced college students who pull them can't be chatting with any real New Yorkers, because you won't catch one taking this touristy, uncool ride.

And you have to laugh when you see a grown man in a suit weaving one of those ridiculous personal scooters up Sixth Avenue.

Are our tough men and women in blue really going to hop on one of these 12 mph silly-looking Segways?

Not if they hope to intimidate the bad guys. These contraptions look like they should have pink streamers and Hello Kitty stickers on them, not our big, brave keepers-of-the-peace.

Could you imagine the jeers from a street crowd in The Bronx if an officer pulled a President Bush and went toppling head-first to the ground while pursuing a gangmember?

Officer Chintua Alozie of the Manhattan Traffic Task Force told The Post, "You park it and go after the criminal." Then what's the point?

"It has a bicycle lock if necessary." You stop it, lock it and then chase?

Even locked, the Segway only weighs 90 pounds, so you can bet that some enterprising thief will steal it, leaving the tired officer flat-footing it back to the precinct.

And can the Segway handle city potholes, metal grates and plates, horse dung and slow tourists? Some cars, even SUVs, can't, so how is this elongated tricycle (which doesn't meet state safety standards) supposed to tackle our rugged roads?

Its job is to reach off-road areas and maneuver in heavy traffic.

Um, that would describe the bicycle. Which is faster, cheaper, available and doesn't make our police force look like they're: a) lazy, b) physically (even mentally!) challenged, or c) as Hans and Franz would say, "big sissy man on zer big girly unicycle."

==============================================

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Old 2003-08-11, 01:55 PM   #60
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Quote:
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Amusing if not complimentary.

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or accurate!!!
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