Mophe’s Journal May 2009

5/30/09-5/31/09 Hilliard, OH — Relay for Life

A record ride of 10 miles! Riding the track was nice compared to sidewalks – no bumps! I arrived very late at 9:45pm but relays are an all night event so it worked out well. I arrived during the remembrance ceremony and tried to stay low key but some kids saw me and they kept whispering.

I had the “posse” (three very young kids) chase me half of the night. They were really nice. I showed them how to ride a unicycle and they tried to get the “police” to lock me up. They boy was trying to catch me with his Spiderman web. We also did “na, na, na, na, na, na, na – Batman!” while going around the track. The little girl said they were there because their grandma has cancer.

At midnight, they had a fundraiser skit where men dressed as women and collected money. It was hilarious! I thought for sure that “Michelle” was going to win; she/he looked like the favorite of the crowd. But Michaela raised the most money, though an anonymous source said she/he had a hidden stash of cash to pull out the win. Anyway, the money goes toward a great cause! I was pulling for Michelle because we were talking earlier with his friend around the track (before he got dressed up). I even shared my BAYCDA philosophy with them. That is “Believe and you can do anything!” We were talking about how different people respond to finding out they have cancer and that the positive thinkers normally live a lot longer.

There was a young guy that gave me a rough time early on, that I was cheating on the unicycle and should ride backwards around (I rode for about 50 feet backward and then turned around). After about 7 miles, I gave him a Mophe racing picture and said, “Does it make a difference that I’m riding 1000 miles for charities?” His whole demeanor changed. He even somewhat apologized later since he didn’t know what I was doing. He was a really nice guy. I guess you should never judge a book (or clown) by its cover.

I’m really concerned about the Tour de Cure next week. The shortest distance is 12 miles! The 10 miles took me roughly 2 hour and 45 minutes to complete, so 12 miles would take almost 3.5 hours! What will be great is that I should cross the 100-mile mark soon — yea!

5/25/09 Blue Ash, OH — Memorial Day Parade

Wow – what a day! I had a great time with the people who were waiting to be in the parade. I arrived over an hour before the parade started and had a chance to play around with everyone while we waited. There was a guy with a big hat riding in the back of a Mustang. He told me that he had created three big hats before — two that were signed by Browns and Bengal players separately and then he sold for charity. What a great man!

There were two boys riding unicycles too. They put red, white and blue ribbons in the spokes in honor of Memorial Day. I told them I like their unicycles and wish I had thought of doing that to Uni. I saw later as the parade started that one of the boys was juggling while riding. I need to learn how to do that!

There were a couple boys and girls with their parents that I was talking to and telling knock-knock jokes. They really enjoyed that! There were two little girls sitting in a car waiting. I talked to them earlier and decided to stop again. We talked a little and then I asked if they wanted me to sing a song. I sang “Down by the Bay” and you should have seen the look of shock on the face of the woman sitting in the front seat. I’m not sure if it was because she didn’t expect a clown riding a unicycle to be able to sing OR if I was that bad. The girls really liked it though!

Everyone had a great time from the girl scouts, kids riding with their parents in camouflage army vehicles, and the older vets. The Boy Scouts gave me a rough time! They wanted me to juggle or do magic tricks. I really need to learn how to do something else. They were going to chase me. I said they were supposed to help people. They said they weren’t that kind of scout. We had a really good time!

I had the best time with a group of Shrine clowns. I talked to one for a while about how their clown organization worked. I was jealous that their clown makeup was on so much better than mine, but of course they are professionals! I told him I felt bad that a couple of the Shrine hospitals might close since their costs have gone up and donations have stayed the same. He said they take care of burn victims and accept no health insurance or federal aid. That is amazing what they do! The best thing that happened is one clown had a make-believe gun. He “shot” me earlier and I just grabbed my shoulder. Later, I saw him again and he started “stalking” me with the gun. I moved cautiously backwards and then he acted like he shot me. I grabbed my chest and fell to the ground. He came over and said, “Perfect! I give you a 10!” That meant a lot to me.

Everyone was really nice to me. They were lining up all the groups in a certain order, but the guy on the golf cart said that I could line up anywhere I wanted! Oh yea! I almost forgot. I also got to give out my first autograph! I’m glad I could make someone happy enough to ask for one!


The actual parade was really great too. Someone gave me advice to ride in front of the cars “so I didn’t have to smell the exhaust”. I’m not sure if this was good idea. I always feel like I’m holding vehicles up since I circle from side-to-side to wave, say “Hi” and give out some high fives!

I followed a guy walking (or should I say sauntering) across the street WHILE the parade was going on. He was OK about it. People just love the “can’t ride the unicycle” bit. I did that 3-4 times during the parade. It was really incredible. People just love to see a clown and I’m so happy when they are happy. Thank you friends of Blue Ash for such a great day!

5/16/09 Columbus, OH — Race for the Cure

This was the most awesome day ever! As I approached the corner of Broad and High Streets I saw more and more people. I thought I understood the number of people in the Race for the Cure when I was at the corner of Broad and Front waiting to start the race. But, I finally understood when I was finally in the race and all you could see was a river of people that filled the whole road from side-to-side and for as far ahead as you could see. I completed the race in over 40 minutes – slower than the Alzheimer’s 5K but that was mainly because it took me the extra time to get to the starting line!

I drank a bottle of water and went back to the corner of Broad and Front to ride with the walkers. This is when the Race for the Cure hit me hard! During the race, I mostly saw people with running numbers. Note: I didn’t receive one since I registered late on race day and they had run out of numbers and shirts well before I arrived! During the walk, the walkers had numbers but also they wore pink papers pinned to their backs saying, “In celebration of my mother”, “In celebration of my sister-in-law”, and “In memory of my aunt”. The one that got me the most was a young woman carrying her daughter who couldn’t have been more than 2 years old and her paper said, “In celebration of Me!” I’m learning from these events that cancer (arthritis or any other medical condition) can strike any one at any age, no matter who you are or what you do!

I saw several other women that had the telltale thin hair as a result of chemotherapy. My heart was aching but was also very hopeful. Hopeful, because at the beginning of the walk, the speaker was honoring survivors of “6 years”, “17 years’, and even “30 years”. She also talked about looking forward to the day when we can all meet again for the last Race to celebrate the fact that everyone has been cured! I sure hope that day comes in my lifetime!

I found out later that over 45,000 people participated. It was amazing how the whole event worked. There were several bands playing for over 2-hours along the course plus almost a whole block of bikers revving their engines on the sidewalk and giving people high fives! On the second time around I was dancing (as best you can on a unicycle) and singing as I came up to the first band singing Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker”. Luckily the lead singer got to a stopping point (guitar/drum solo) because she started busting out laughing when I got closer! I also had a great time with the kids. Many were riding on shoulders of parents and I asked them, “How did you get to be so tall?” They had a great time with that. All in all I had a pretty good time and many pictures were taken with individuals and groups. Hopefully they can share the pictures with me on Facebook!

I ended the day with a mob (okay maybe just a pack) of girls circling me and asking a ton of questions about Uni and me. They got some group pictures and I handed them each a Mophe racing picture. These were girls that had worked the whole day as volunteers handing out bananas and water to runners and walkers. It is volunteers like these, and all the ones along the route, that make a huge difference in how much more charities can do within their limited budgets. I try to make sure to spend time with these unsung heros!

5/12/09 Mansfield, OH — Up and Down a Great Big Hill

I was headed back home to Columbus and decided to stop in Mansfield to do another hour of riding. I guess people don’t really understand that these rides that last from 2-3 hours are almost like running for that long — similar to running at least a half marathon!

I made the classic mistake — I rode all the way “down” a hill and then had to ride back “up”. Ouch! Boy did that hurt after riding all that time in Cleveland first. I didn’t realize that I went 3 miles until I mapped it on Google when I got back. Mansfield was really nice otherwise. The churches were incredible — tall and made of stone.

Everyone seemed REALLY surprised to see me. I got more than the usual honks and smiles! I even got applause at the end of my ride. I was nearing my car in a parking lot on a corner of an intersection. Someone yelled out, “Yoo-hoo”. I rode toward them and they were stopped at the intersection with several other cars. I did a few spins, rode backwards, and then took a bow, while on Uni, and two of the cars broke out in applause. The first I’ve heard on my rides — excluding parades.

Another guy wanted to hire me for the opening of his ice cream shop this summer. I’m getting a lot of offers, but I truly want to make a difference and that is what Gift Card Donor is doing. They are turning unwanted gift cards into funds for charities. They are giving as much as possible from reselling the cards — 75% of the revenue right now with plans to provide more in the future. Please help me in this cause and donate your gift cards to charities on or ask your favorite charity to join so we can help them too!

Take care. Love, Mophe

5/12/09 Cleveland, OH — Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western U

It was another beautiful sunny day, this time in Cleveland. I met several vets outside of the VA hospital. They were very glad to see me and asked a lot of questions, like how long it took to learn to ride a unicycle. I had a woman from the hospital ask if I could do their employee picnic in July. I’m still thinking about that one.

Well, it wasn’t all good today. I got lost on the way to the Cleveland Museum of Art. I was headed there to register for the Parade the Circle on June 13th. To top it off, I shouldn’t have had Uni in the Museum either. Oh well, everything worked out and I took care of everything for the parade. It looks like it is really going to be fun!

I took a ride down Euclid Avenue and through Case Western Reserve University. Many of the students really had a good laugh! They sure have some long buses to transport people. There is even an accordion thing in the middle that I’m guessing helps the bus make it around corners, but looks like you can make the bus longer or shorter. Well, I hope to see some of the same people watching the parade!

5/3/09 Westerville, OH — Arthritis 5K Run

What an excellent day. It was supposed to rain all weekend in central Ohio and we ended up with a sunny and warm day for the Arthritis Walk and 5K Run. I felt a little weird coming up to the registration area only to find the Clippers mascot, “Krash”. I tried to steer clear since I don’t like to step over someone else’s gig. The registration folks and several people there were surprised that I was going to “race” the 5K. I finished the race acting like I wasn’t going to make it – swerving and brushing fake sweat off my brow (really helmet). After I crossed the finish line they were handing me bottles of water and apples — while I was still unicycling! Boy that was difficult. I went to the play area, jumped off Uni and acted like I was passing out on the ground! They all just loved it.

I drank a bottle of water and then went backward along to course to encourage the walkers that were still out there — so that is how I ended up with 5 miles today instead of just the 5 kilometers. The coolest thing is that I handed out baseball card size pictures of myself to many of the kids. They just loved it. One kid asked for my autograph but I didn’t have anything to write with. I’ll have to bring something next time. So, we’re back at the finish and this woman grabs my arm and says, “You need to come over here!” I acted like she was dragging me away to prison and everyone enjoyed that. She brought me over to a chiropractic table and they took a scan of the back of my neck. They said I was a little off on the right. I’m surprised I wasn’t “off” a lot.

The funniest thing happened at the very end of the event. There were two people from Channel 4 TV announcing the winners of the raffle. I’m not going to name names! One was in the middle of saying something and said “fart” instead of another word. Everyone was laughing. The other announcer was having fun with it. I was just doubling over since it was so funny. She was having a hard time gaining her composure but finally did. I’m sorry if I made her laugh longer. It was just too funny.