ESCONDIDO, Calif. — How far would you be willing to go to beat the pain at the pump? In this Zevely Zone, I met a Valley Center man taking on high gas prices sitting down.
The last time I filled up our CBS 8 news truck, we paid $120, which is why we want to introduce you to Jim Gaughan. The Valley Center man fills his rig up for $1.20.
Jim feels likes he's flying every time he takes his electric unicycle on a ride. "It's the most fun you'll have on any device," said Jim. They call him Sitting Jim because believe it or not most people ride what's called an EUC standing up. "The funny thing is anybody that can stand can ride," said Jim.
We put the theory to the test. Jim gave me my first lesson. There's no gas pedal or brakes. Electric unicycles are similar to Segways but with no handlebars. "It is a Segway with one wheel," said Jim.
To accelerate, riders lean forward. To slow down, riders lean back. "You are doing great, anybody in the world can learn in a couple of hours. Some people learn in 15 minutes," said Jim.
In the past seven years, Jim's traveled 40,000 miles on his unicycle. "I have a charging port right here, I have a double port," said Jim who can plug his unit into any wall outlet. "When I get a full charge, it's about a buck twenty and I get about a hundred miles in range," said Jim.
Three times a week, he rides it from Valley Center to downtown San Diego using the bike lanes. Jim says EUC's are the same as riding an electric bike which means no special license or registration are required. "You can pick one up for transportation for 1,200 bucks," said Jim who paid $3,600 for his then added on 700 dollars in accessories. "I got blinkers, horns, alarms, I got a cell phone holder," said Jim.
Not to mention his sound system with supersized speakers and nerve. "I can go down any flight of stairs, no matter how long," said Jim who goes on group rides with 70 of his buddies. He says unicycle stunt riding is big part of the buzz. "Mike Leahy from Seattle is going to jump a school bus," said Jim. "We do mountain rides, and beach rides and we do camping trips."
Top speed 35 miles an hour. "I just feel free," said Jim. Look mom, no hands!! "Now I can drink my drink my apple juice and eat my snacks while going down the bike trail," said Jim who looks like a motorcycle dude. "Yeah, but this is way more fun," laughed Jim.
"There are more and more of them every week," said Jim. This August, he plans on riding his electric unicycle more than a thousand miles from San Diego to Vancouver, Washington.
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