Despite the advent of Segways, Zipcars and other technologically complex forms of short-distance transportation, Richard C. Cozzens ’07 remains loyal to a classic, time-tested vehicle: the unicycle. Though he admits that the two-wheel bicycle is a bit more practical, Cozzens prefers his lime-green unicycle to more common modes of transportation because, well—it’s a unicycle.
He first mounted the one-wheeler when he was in eighth grade. “My uncle, who is crazy, decided, at age 50 or something like that, he wanted to ride the unicycle,” Cozzens says. “So he bought one and started teaching himself. He then bought some more and gave them to his interested nieces and nephews, so there are a bunch of us who can ride.” To make the sport—or art—all the more tempting to his young relatives, his uncle formed a family club and naming it the “Quantum Unicycle Club.” Joining even comes with its own membership card.
Cozzens recalls riding with the Quantum Unicycle Club, on a street that had been closed off for bikes on a Sunday in his native Philadelphia. “Some kids on their tiny stunt bikes saw us and were like, ‘We can do that too.’ They did that pop-a-wheelie thing and said something about how they were all on one wheel,” he says.
His unique skill has the advantage of standing out, even in the sea of unique talent at fair Harvard. He will contribute his ability to the play Venus, which will run at the Loeb Experimental Theater. Incidentally, Cozzens rides his unicycle from Wigglesworth, his residence, to practice at the Ex. “It is the perfect distance because it isn’t too long.”
Cozzens is teaching his roommate, Dobromir A. Rahnev ’07, to ride as well. “The first time, [Rich] held me up,” Rahnev says. “Then I continued without him and fell.” In exchange for his master instruction, Rahnev is teaching Cozzens to juggle.
Katy R. Mahraj ’07, another member of Cozzens’ proctor group, views her neighbor’s hobby as evidence of a character that is upstanding, so to speak. “I think it’s very courageous,” she says. “It’s a true sign of masculinity.” Her roommate, Cecilia Castillo ’07, believes that Cozzens’ unicycling is a statement of personal individuality—or someone who bikes to his own drumbeat. “The unicycle is pastel lime green. That makes it more unusual, especially with all these people walking by,” she says. Mahraj replies, “[The unicycle] would be more serious if it were black, but at lime green it’s like a clown.”
Cozzens admits that unicycling is truly a great passion. However, he emphasizes limits as well. “I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ who rides the unicycle everywhere because everyone would hate ‘that guy,’” he says. Ultimately, Cozzens’ relationship with the unicycle is fairly straightforward. “There aren’t too many deep unicycle thoughts,” he says. “Just ride it.”