I learned how to ride a unicycle when I was 12 years old (45 years ago). I’ve had a unicycle since then, and every few years I’d put some air in the tire and see if I remembered how to ride. Then, about five years ago, I rode it for several miles and realized what a great form of exercise it was. I was an avid cyclist for many years, but a neck injury sustained in a vehicle accident caused discomfort when riding a bicycle for long distances (like in the Police Unity Tour, which I’ve had the honor of participating in for the past five years). The upright position when riding a unicycle is perfect.
My then-40-year-old unicycle (with a 24-inch wheel) just wasn’t going to cut it if I was going to spend time on it. At the recommendation of a local unicyclist, I upgraded to a 29-inch mountain unicycle, or “muni.” I enjoy riding on streets and paved trails more than off-road, so I recently upgraded again to a 36-inch road unicycle. No matter which one I’m riding, it’s a great source of stress relief. Concentrating on my balance, choosing how I’m going to navigate an upcoming pothole and finding my place between runners (who are slower than me) and bicyclists (who ride at a faster speed) ensures that I am not thinking about work while I’m riding. The comments and thumbs-up that I receive while riding adds to the fun.
I’m in my 36th year of law enforcement. I spent a career with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, and I’ve been the chief of police in Lincoln, California, for almost four years. My goal is to stay healthy (physically, mentally and emotionally) so that I can enjoy many years of retirement. My unicycle is helping me do that!
My longest ride so far is 30 miles, but I plan to keep increasing that number.
Douglas R. Lee
Chief, Lincoln Police Department