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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

"Unigeezer" Takes Extreme Sports to a New Level

The Unigeezer brings a new meaning to the word "legwork."


Terry “Unigeezer” Peterson, 58,  isn’t your average trail rider. He rides mountain unicycles all over Los Angeles looking for the next trail to conquer.

“For every one unicyclist there’s probably 10,000 bikes and we’ll never be mainstream but we don’t care because we like the uniqueness of the sport,” says Peterson.

The extreme sport gives him a unique and ultra-challenging workout, explaining that “on a unicycle every inch that you’re moving you’re pedaling, Even the smallest little bump can throw you if you’re not completely in tune with what you’re doing so you have to kind of like chess you gotta see the moves ahead of you in advance.”

He started unicycling back in 1967 for a brief time. 

“I got my first unicycle when I was about 11. And after a year or two I kinda learned everything I could and I quit.”

It wasn’t until 40 years later that he re-discovered unicycles online, but this time with a twist since they were built for going off-road. 

“I ordered one, took it out of the box, took it out in my backyard because I didn’t want to be embarrassed if people saw me fall on my face. And I was surprised and shocked. I got right up and rode.”

He remembered his basic skills but says, “Going off-road riding on trails riding on uneven terrain and rocky stuff would get me winded. I’d have to stop every 100 feet or so and catch my breath.”

He kept at it, labeling it a unique lifestyle change.

“I started losing weight, getting in shape, I dropped 4 inches off my waist I lost about 25 pounds of fat, and I said, ‘Wow this is awesome.’”

Now he calls it his personal fountain of youth saying most people guess him to be in his thirties. He acknowledges his real age with his motto “Not 2 Tired.”

“I thought it could have a double meaning. Like not two tired. Like I only have one wheel!”

Peterson has done everything from a 120-mile ride for leukemia awareness to being the first unicyclist to successfully make it up the annual climb at Fargo Street. He says there’s no time for boredom and always room for improvement.

“There was that 40 year gap between 1966 and 2006 where I quit riding and didn’t ride. I’ve been riding eight years so I’ve got about 32 years to make up for all those years I missed.”

He continually sets lofty goals for himself and says all of the legwork is worth it in the end.

“As long as I can walk I think I can ride. My goal to be able to ride when I’m 100.”

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