This edition of our Member Spotlight features Charity Miles member Matt Bosswell! The Michigan native is currently training for his upcoming unicycle tour! Check it out!
“I’m from Freeland Michigan, but I’m currently a student at Northern Michigan University, so most of the year I’m in Marquette. At Northern, I’m almost done with my second year studying biochemistry and I’m also a residential advisor on campus.”
Matt got into unicycling just over a year ago. “One day I joked that I wanted a unicycle for Christmas and I got to thinking that it would actually be interesting to learn. So that year I got my first unicycle, a 24-inch. Ever since then, I’ve loved riding and I’ve done a lot of mountain unicycling or “muni” with my 24-inch. I also dabbled in a bit of distance, but with a smaller wheel which is a lot harder.”
Over the course of the summer, Matt stumbled across a YouTube series created by Ed Pratt, a well-known unicyclist who has ridden around the world on one wheel. After watching Ed’s series, Matt began to consider a unicycle tour of his own. “That series is what inspired me to do my own tour. That dream started to come to fruition when I got my 36-inch unicycle. I’ve been training on it ever since spring hit, which for Marquette can be hard to tell as it takes until May for all the snow to melt. But as long as the snow isn’t slush I still go out for a ride.”
“The fun thing about riding around town on a unicycle is that a lot of people chuckle at you and I get a good amount of people honking their horns at me. Unicycling is easier than it looks so learning to ride is kind of like learning to ride a bike. You fall for a couple of hours then something clicks and you start to get a feel for it. The main thing to focus on is monitoring your speed and how far forward you lean on the saddle. Once you get that aspect it becomes intuitive.”
Matt is currently preparing for his upcoming trip this summer. “I’m planning a unicycle tour from St Ignace, MI to Copper Harbor, MI. Overall, it’s about 300 miles. I chose to do this trip because the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is really beautiful. There are plenty of waterfalls and nice camping spots to keep me busy when I feel like exploring, not to mention I will be able to cool off in Lake Superior for a good portion of the trip. I’m really excited to see more of the U.P than just Marquette on this trip.”
“Currently, the plan for the trip is to travel 25 miles a day, which gives me an opportunity to go explore waterfalls or cool landmarks that may be on the way. Overall, I’m setting aside two weeks to make the destination and see as many sights as possible.”
Unicycling differs from traditional cycling in that it takes more time and energy to ride the same distances. “My training for the trip is generally a ten-mile ride twice a week, it kinda depends on classes and my job. I try to go whenever I have time and there’s not a lot of studying to do. These rides usually take an hour to an hour and a half depending on the trip. I usually like to end my stop at a destination, for instance, Sugarloaf Mountain in Marquette, and then hike for a bit and ride back.”
He has introduced to Charity Miles two years ago after reading about the app on a running website. “The website said you can earn money for charities by running miles and I thought “Hey, I run. Why not have my running benefit more than just my fitness?” Nowadays I log just about all of my miles through unicycling, but running is what led me to Charity Miles.”
In regard to charity, Matt has supported several organizations through the app. “I support a lot of the charities, but I have logged most of my miles for Habitat for Humanity. Currently, I’m supporting St Jude’s Children’s Hospital.”
When asked why he uses Charity Miles as opposed to other apps available to him Matt responded, “I use Charity Miles for multiple reasons. One is that it is a good incentive to go out and be active. Of course, the big reason is the miles I put in helping other people.”
“I plan on posting a lot of pictures to my Instagram @mboswelluni. I do hope to film a large part of my trip and make a video series showing my experiences. I haven’t been unicycling for long, but it has become my biggest hobby. I recommend unicycling to anyone that wants to be different or likes learning new skills. I always say once you go to one wheel it’s hard to go back to two.”
Matt, good luck on your upcoming journey! You can follow Matt’s adventure on his Instagram page @mboswelluni.
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