Mophe’s Journal Mar 2009

3/27/09 Newark, OH — Longest ride to date, around Newark

This was the longest ride I’ve taken at one time to date — 8.5 miles. I did take a mini-break to eat a couple sandwiches and drink water. You’ve got to take care of yourself during long exercise events so you don’t dehydrate or get low blood sugar. I am starting to get a little saddle sore though and got a blister on my little toe — ouchy!

I saw Mr. Thorn, the Director of Services driving down Church Street. I’m wondering if they are checking up on me to make sure I’m doing the miles. He was nice enough to ask if I wanted anything and I shook my head no.

I had one of the biggest crashes yet. I tried to ride Uni through mud, she got stuck and I flew forward. Both of us were OK, though Uni is going to need a new seat after awhile, the way things are going.

I stopped at the Salvation Army. I walked in the office door and the Administrative Assistant asked if she could help me. She was a really nice lady. I handed her a “Mophe” card that she read. She really lit up with a broad smile and gave me the thumbs up when she learned I was riding 1,000 miles for charities. I just love the walkway across their lawn. It has a circle in the middle – I just had to ride a couple laps around the circle. There are some things a clown just can’t resist!

There was one boy that asked me how much the unicycle cost and that he really needed to know. I think he’s going to save up to buy one and learn how to ride. Good for him.

There were so many really great people in Newark. It is amazing how their faces lit up when they saw a clown. It doesn’t matter if you are big or small, young or old, have blue hair (oh, wait – that’s me!), are dressed in a suit or blue jeans, ride a bike or drive the greatest car — most people still love to laugh at a clown. Of course there was this one girl riding in a car that was going hysterical — I thought she was going to hurt herself. Be careful out there! Extreme laughter may have severe side effects such as snorting through your nose, a sore belly, or even wet pants. Nah – really, just enjoy yourself! It can’t get that bad – I think?

3/24/09 Whitehall, OH — Ride down Broad Street

I didn’t cover many miles in Gahanna so I decided to go down the road to Whitehall for another 2-mile ride. The sidewalks were a little bumpy and I lost Uni three times. I was waving to two guys across the street and lost Uni. I decided to stage a fall to the ground too. They didn’t think that was too cool. You never know what will tickle someone’s funny bone.

Most people were very friendly and waved or honked. One woman riding in the passenger seat while stopped at the light at Yearling asked if I was riding for the library, which was across the street. Some days I wonder if I should start talking so I can tell people that I’m trying to raise awareness for the Gift Card Donor program where you can donate gift cards to charities like the Buckeye Ranch, Central Ohio Diabetes, LifeCare Alliance (provides Meals-on-Wheels) and Operation Smile. I’ve decided to remain a mine – for now!

Two senior guys from Whitehall Yearling High School stopped me for pictures. Everyone loves getting pictures with the clown. Be sure to email me a copy or post one on Facebook — search for Mophe!

3/24/09 Gahanna, OH — Ride by Creekside

I took a ride in downtown Gahanna by Creekside. The buildings were just beautiful and the people were very friendly — waving and honking as I rode by. We went by Bicycle One on Mill Street. Uni wanted to stop in but I decided to roll on — we’ll have to go back sometime.

I rode up Granville Street and ran into four Lincoln High School girls. They yelled, “Hey clown. Come here.” As I slowly approached they asked if I was crazy and I shook my head no. They asked if I could talk and I shook my head no. Then the main person talking said, “I’m starting to think you are a crazy.” So, Uni and I started to ride around in circles. They all laughed. I gave them a “I am Mophe” card that tells about my 1,000-mile journey.

I’m glad that you girls were walking in a group of four and you approached a clown on the street cautiously. As I’m sure your parents have taught you, NEVER approach anyone (dressed like a clown or not) when you are walking alone! I’d even suggest steering clear unless there are three or more of you.

3/21/09 Cincinnati, OH — Ride near Kenwood Towne Centre Mall

I had a few minutes before leaving Cincinnati, so I rode Uni for another mile down Montgomery Road by the Kenwood Town Centre Mall. I just love to see the looks on peoples’ faces when I go by waving. I’d guess that at least 80% of them waved back. Parents slowed down so their kids can “see the clown on the unicycle” and many honked.

SAFETY TIP: please make it a quick wave ad then keep your eyes on the road ahead of you. I don’t want to cause an accident. And by all means, please nod your head instead of trying to wave while you are driving AND talking on the phone. Life is precious, so be careful with yours!

3/21/09 Loveland, OH — Alzheimer’s March Madness 5K Fun Run

It was much cooler today, in the 40’s. Loveland is truly a beautiful city tucked into the northeastern part of Cincinnati – just outside I275. Uni and I waited for the other runners/walkers to start before we began our first “race”. A few people said that we were cheating — they were just joking. I guess they have never ridden a unicycle before — you can’t coast! I had to pump my legs probably as often as someone taking a stride so I think it was fair.

I really enjoyed seeing the initial looks of the runners coming back our way and giving the “high 5s”. Uni and I finished in a little over 32 minutes, which I think is respectable since we were horsing around some along the way. I remember passing one woman runner with about a half mile to go. I gave her a “thumbs up” and she really appreciated that.

I cheered the next finishers for a while and then hopped on Uni again for another mile ride. Coming back toward the finish line, I didn’t want people to applaud me coming through again so I veered off and went around the building with the restrooms. I hopped off Uni and walk around a corner to find two girls anxious to give me “high fives” for finishing the race. Even the local policemen that rode bikes to be sure everyone was safe around the course got a chuckle when they saw me coming.

3/19/09 Extra Thought

I have really been humbled by the mime experience. There are many times that people treat me different because I don’t speak. Not big things — mostly they just don’t know what to do since they cannot communicate with me in the normal way. They don’t know I am a mime and think I just can’t speak or at least can’t speak English. In those moments I get to feel what disabled folks must experience every day and it hurts. I sure wish they didn’t act that way, but I’m starting to get used to it. I guess that is probably the normal progression to acceptance. I just have to remember that who I am is based on what I believe and not on how others act or in what they say. I also aware that most people have never been around a mime so they don’t know how to act and communicate with me — outside of waving and giving me high fives as a clown! I’ve started to carry a journal so they can write who they are and where we met. So if you’ve read this, please stop me and ask to write something in my journal.

3/18/09 Columbus, OH — Ride from Downtown up to Ohio State Campus

It was a really nice day – high of 74 degrees and sunny so it seemed like everyone was outside. I started downtown at lunchtime so there were many people walking around. It is really neat to see the reactions of someone for the first time when they see you. Some are hesitant to wave back. Some wave before I do. Some give you the head nod. Some give the thumbs up. Many people seem to be cruising along think of other things until I jolt them into a smile. I just love that feeling when people smile. I feel like it gives them that one little bit of time to forget about all their worries.

So, I’m cycling along and all of a sudden I hear, “Clown! Clown!” and this woman comes running up to me. She asks if I would go visit someone. As we’re walking back down the street, I realized that she had run after me for a block and half – wow! She slipped and told me that the person she wanted me to visit is afraid of clowns so I didn’t want to go. She tried to cover it up and said the person likes clown. I went along with the gag. We went to see Pia the owner of Europia on High street in Columbus. She was flabbergasted and asked, “Where did you find this clown.” Pia ended up being a really good sport about it and took some pictures. Pia even got my name right! Carly was the name of the joker from Chase across the street who put me up to it. It was all in good fun. Pia even “play” chased me out of her store and down the street to the laughter of the folks at Europia and Chase. All in all we had a good time.

3/14/09 Memphis, TN — St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Wow – what a great day! I’ve clowned around before — dressed up and road my unicycle (“Uni”) — but I’ve never been a mime. It adds a whole new dimension to clowning.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. On the way to the parade there was this car zooming passed me on the highway. All of a sudden it slowed down to be right next to me. The two ladies in the car were laughing hysterically at the clown driving a car.

Before the parade started I had a great time with the people who were waiting to be in the parade. Several asked if they could ride Uni but I declined. Some had pictures taken with me. Uni and I gave a real show to a group of majorettes — the old “acting like I can’t ride a unicycle”. It was a blast. They were encouraging me to keep trying until I succeeded. There was also a group of leprechauns trying to pelt me with bouncy balls. Be nice guys!

The best time was with a couple of girls who were around 10 and 12 years old. The older one did all the talking and she was amazed that I did speak a word. She said she could never do it. Later they came with their Mom and other young ladies to where I was waiting to start. They were all trying to get me to talk. It was a riot. They thought they had me when they asked my name, but I didn’t speak. I spelled out “MOPHE” on my shirt but that didn’t completely work. They called me “mop”, “mop head”, “Moephee”, Maaph”, and many other things until their Mom got it right — Mophe (it rhymes with loaf).

The parade started and I followed a row of Cooper cars. I was going from one side of the street to the other giving “high fives”. One guy said he wanted me to teach him how to ride. I took a spill on purpose and looked back at him. He said, “maybe not!” Further down the street I walked Uni for a little way and then acted like I couldn’t ride her. I got to the point where I was riding erratically and all of a sudden a guy ran onto the street saying, “I’ll save him”. I cut to the right and left again and just missed him. Whew! With all the playing around, I fell behind the Coopers by at least a half a block so I sprinted to catch-up. To those of you watching the parade during the sprint, I’m sorry you didn’t get to see much of the performance. Next time I’ll keep my own pace. Everyone really enjoyed the clown on the unicycle and got many pictures. If you find your way to my Gift Card Donor page, please send me a couple of your pics.

I really had a great time in Memphis and hope to return there someday.