By JEANNIE WILEY WOLF
Jenni Staude sees a lot of appeal when it comes to riding on one wheel, so she’s starting a unicycle club.
“I’m really excited to see where we’ll go with this,” the Findlay woman said.
Staude recently started a Facebook page for the Unicyclists of Findlay Ohio — UFO for short — and is looking for others who share her enthusiasm.
Staude credits her dad, John Snyder, with getting the family started on unicycles. She said back when she was 4 or 5 years old, a few girls riding unicycles came by, selling candy as a fundraiser.
“My dad said, ‘I’ll buy the whole box if you teach my boys to ride,'” Staude said. They directed him to unicycle lessons with Smiling Faces 4-H Club in Findlay. “And so they (Staude’s brothers) learned to ride. And then when I was a little bit older, I learned to ride. My mom ended up learning how to ride.”
They joined the Smiling Faces club, and when that group disbanded, the family transitioned over to Wood One Wheelers in Bowling Green.
Jan and Emil Layne of Findlay were the advisers. Smiling Faces had been a traditional 4-H club until one of its members got a unicycle for his birthday, Jan Layne said in a 2010 story in The Courier. Several of the members learned to ride after that. Their public debut was an appearance in a Findlay College parade.
“I always liked the Halloween parade because Jan let us wear our costumes,” said Staude. “When I was a teenager, I really didn’t want to be seen in the jumpsuit uniform.”
Staude said starting a unicycle club is something she’s been thinking about for a long time. “And right before coronavirus hit, I was like, ‘I’m going to do it.’ I was contacting people that are in different states, people I used to know because we used to do national competition and everything, just getting info on how do I get this going.”
She thought she’d have to put those plans on hold because of the pandemic, but then decided this might be the perfect time to offer people a distraction.
Staude has taught her daughters, 8-year-old Veda and 11-year-old Macy, how to ride. Unicycling appeals to all ages, she said.
“My 8-year-old daughter, she does not know how to ride a bike without training wheels yet. She can ride a unicycle,” said Staude. “And my mom is 71 years old and she quit riding a few years ago, but she thinks she could still get on it. And we’re going to try that out here soon.”
She said there are probably members of the two clubs who might be interested.
“Maybe I can just plant the seed and get people to get their unicycles out and pick it up again,” she said.
Staude said she’s not sure what direction the newly formed club will take. It could become a traditional club that performs in parades, or maybe members will just get together for rides.
Her daughters are definitely interested. “She even wants to ride when we walk the dog,” Staude said about Macy.
Anyone interested in participating can contact Staude through the Facebook page. She’d also like to hear from people who have unicycles they’d be willing to donate or sell to help the club get started.