ASHEBORO — Anybody who spends much time in downtown Asheboro recently has noticed a guy zipping around on one wheel. His name is Justin Hazelwood and he’s been riding his one-wheel about three-and-a-half months.
“It’s good for exercise,” he said one day when he was coaxed to take a break. “I’ve lost 14 and a half pounds so far. And it gets me out of the house.”
His means of transportation has a wheel between two foot pads. That means he kind of rides sideways. But he can shift his weight with one foot forward with the other at the rear so that he’s actually facing the direction he’s going. That takes some getting used to.
Building up confidence takes a week or so but Hazelwood thinks just about anyone can learn to master a one-wheel. “I know an 80-year-old who rides,” he said.
Hazelwood said he’s had “a lot of good response” from folks. And he takes his responsibility on sidewalks seriously.
“I’m always courteous,” he said. “I’ve run off the sidewalk a few times to avoid pedestrians. That’s why I wear knee pads.”
Hazelwood said his one-wheel, which runs on a battery, will go seven miles on a charge. It requires about 40 minutes to fully recharge the battery.
Hazelwood has to be careful where he chooses to go on his one-wheel, looking for good sidewalks. “Some are dangerous.”
While he currently one-wheels alone, Hazelwood said he would “like to get up a group ride.”
If you’re interested in joining him on the sidewalks of Asheboro, you’d better have your checkbook handy. A new one-wheel can run into the hundreds of dollars.