Steady student

Whether on a bike, baseball field or a unicycle, 9-year-old Nate McLennan likes to move. The oldest of five children, he's a role model for his siblings.

"Nate is a good brother," McLennan's brother Evan said. "I just got a unicycle, too. I wanted one because he got one."

Mark D., a unicycle rider in Ashland, was impressed with McLennan's drive and skill.

"I can't remember seeing anyone learn to ride so quickly," he said. "Nate works hard and is gifted with natural agility."

The active boy took some time to talk with the Daily Tidings about his life at home and his life on wheels.

DT: Where do you go to school?

McLennan: I'm home-schooled.

DT: How do you like it?

McLennan: It's pretty fun. I get to take a lot more days off. And I get to go to more places, do a lot of different things.

DT: Is there anything you don't like about it?

McLennan: Probably being at home because I don't get to go to school and see my friends and stuff. That can be frustrating.

DT: What grade level will you be studying in the fall?

McLennan: I'll be in fourth grade, and advanced-placement math because I'm pretty smart in math.

DT: What's your favorite subject?

McLennan: Science, especially the chemicals. I like chemistry.

DT: What's your least favorite subject?

McLennan: Writing. I don't like writing essays and stuff.

DT: What do you want to do when you grow up?

McLennan: Well, it's between being a veterinarian or being a professional BMX biker or a professional baseball player.

DT: Do you ride your BMX bike a lot?

McLennan: Yes, I've liked biking since I was little.

DT: Do you do tricks or stunts?

McLennan: Yes, I can do some. We built a ramp and I do jumps.

DT: How long have you been unicycling?

McLennan: One or two months.

DT: How did you learn?

McLennan: I got tips from an old clown and then learned on my own.

DT: How does one start off on a unicycle?

McLennan: I started off balancing against a wall or a basketball pole &

find your balance while holding on to something, and just go back and forth until you feel steady. Then push off and see what happens.

DT: Do you fall a lot?

McLennan: Oh, yes.

DT: Have you ever been injured?

McLennan: Not too much. I have a scar on my elbow and some scrapes, but nothing big.

DT: What's the hardest thing about riding a unicycle?

McLennan: Balance. On a bike, you're balancing front and back. On a unicycle, you're balancing front, back, and left and right.

DT: What hurts the most after riding a unicycle?

McLennan: I'd have to say my butt.

DT: What's your favorite thing about riding a unicycle?

McLennan: Everything. I can bunny-hop on one and ride down stairs. The whole thing is fun; it's a unicycle.

DT: Where do you practice?

McLennan: Sometimes I go to the skate park in town and ride up and down hills. I also practice at home outside my house. I just self-mount so I can start without leaning on a pole, and ride up and down the road. There's a juggling club that meets at Talent Elementary School on Tuesday nights. People can practice unicycling, Yo-Yoing, juggling or whatever they want.

DT: Do you plan to have any demonstrations or performances?

McLennan: Not right now, but I hope to in the future. I was going to sign up for the July Fourth parade, but it was too late and I couldn't.

DT: You come from a large family. Tell us about that.

McLennan: Yeah. I have two brothers and three sisters. It's neat. There's always someone to play with.

DT: Tell me something about your family that makes you proud.

McLennan: My brother Evan makes me proud. He works hard at baseball, he wants to learn to unicycle and he tries to be as good as I am.

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