By Joshua Weinstein, President of the Employee Benefits & Employer Services Division
My daughter was married in the fall of 2019, and my gift to the newlywed couple was a family trip to Europe in 2020. COVID-19 hit, so the trip is on pause. So, I decided to dip into the trip savings fund and start a new hobby. I landed on personal electric vehicles (PEVs), and most specifically, an electric unicycle (EUC). EUCs are what they sound like, a battery-powered, motorized monowheel.
Wikipedia defines EUCs as: a self-balancing personal transporter with a single wheel. The rider controls the speed by leaning forwards or backwards, and steers by twisting the unit using their feet. The self-balancing mechanism uses gyroscopes and accelerometers in a similar way to that used by the Segway PT.
There’s a learning curve involved, but with the proper safety precautions, and lots of practice, riding an EUC can become an obsessive and fun hobby. They’re even a method of commutation to and from the office, the store, and more. The only thing is… I haven’t started riding yet. My “wheel” is on order, so I’ll owe you all an update in a few weeks.
EUCs are gaining in popularity throughout the world as a low-cost, fun, and zero-emission way of getting around. Enhancements in battery, mechanical, and computer technology allow these wheels to have ranges of 30+ miles on a charge, Bluetooth connectivity to a mobile phone (to adjust settings and preferences), lighting, speakers, and even suspension on the latest models. Top speeds on higher-end units top 40 miles per hour, although I’m preferring a slower pace. Many experts ride off-road, travel up and down stairs, and jump various obstacles and street curbs.
As I await my new EUC, I’ve been researching and ordering the appropriate safety equipment, and I’ll be donned up like a motocross rider before long.
Watch an expert ride off-road: