Two innovative students have taken the monotonous task of commuting around UCF’s campus to a whole new level: Sophomore advertising and public relations student Alfredo Salkeld and junior film student Ray Cartagena ride unicycles.
In 2013, Salkeld received a unicycle for Christmas. Both he and Cartagena, who had met through prior classes together, wanted to learn how to ride, so once Salkeld returned to campus, they did just that. For several weeks, they practiced on top of Garage B.
An incentive to learning was competition, as Cartagena and Salkeld would see who could go the furthest. They remember feeling the excitement of when they could both go just a couple of feet.
"Ray, I’m going to ride past more parking spaces then you," Salkeld would say.
As they continued to learn, and even try out some tricks, they made an interesting discovery. Salkeld said they were able to ride further if they sang a song in their head.
"We’d sing, ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire.’ It was exciting once we were able to finish the song and make it around the garage," Salkeld said.
Even though they enjoy riding unicycles, they didn’t intend on using them as a mode of transportation, until one day Cartagena had no choice. After missing the shuttle from Sterling Apartments, and discovering his bicycle had a flat tire, Cartagena turned to his unicycle.
"I was drenched in sweat and about five minutes late, but the quiz hadn’t started yet," Cartagena said as he laughed at the memory. "I went as fast as you can on one of these things, maybe breaking 5 miles per hour."
Salkeld said it’s exciting when other students stop them, tell of their own stories and even show interest in learning. Cartagena has even given lessons to a few students.
Even though commuting around campus on a unicycle hasn’t been a flawless mode of transportation for these two students — falls, even a broken unicycle are challenges to be faced — they continue to showcase their unique skills.
"It’s great exercise, and it’s a lot of fun," Cartagena said.