Electric unicycles, or EUCs, are a unique and fun way to get around. But is riding an EUC considered a hobby or sport? It’s a question I asked myself on a EUC ride through my neighborhood. When I was younger, I played a lot of sports and of course engaged in many hobbies. The difference between the two were pretty clear for me. One was done outdoors and required a lot of physical activity; while the other was mostly indoors and was mostly a sedentary past time.
In this article, I’ll explore whether riding an EUC can be considered a hobby or sport, and I’ll also share my own opinion on the matter.
Introduction: Is Riding an Electric Unicycle a Hobby or Sport?
Riding an electric unicycle is undoubtedly a fun activity. It’s a great way to get around, and it’s a great workout. However, there are some key differences between hobbies and sports. For one, hobbies are typically done in leisure, while sports are often done in competition. Sports also require a certain level of skill and athleticism, whereas hobbies can be enjoyed by people of all skill levels.
READ MORE: FINDING THE BEST ELECTRIC UNICYCLE: A PERSONAL JOURNEY
What is a Hobby, and What is a Sport?
Hobbies are activities that people do for pleasure. They can be indoors or outdoors, and they can require a lot of physical activity or very little. Sports, on the other hand, are activities that are typically done in competitions and require a certain level of skill and athleticism (source).
Now what is interesting–if you haven’t figured it out already–is that the term “hobby” encompasses a much broader set of activities than the term “sport.” In fact, many sports can also be considered hobbies (e.g., fishing, hiking, etc.). So, if we consider electric unicycling to be a hobby, then it is certainly possible for it to also be considered a sport.
How Do Electric Unicycles Fit Into the Hobby or Sport Category
Are electric unicycles part of a sport activity or a hobby? Well, in the early days when EUCs weren’t very powerful, I’m thinking the Kingsong 14D and similar models. While these are perfect for beginner EUC riders, these electric unicycles limited how much skill you could leverage into them.
Even if you had amazing balance and stamina, you could only take these entry and mid-level EUCs only so far and so fast. In my opinion, riding one of these electric unicycles would have been classified as a hobby. You could do some tricks on them and have some races with your friends. But for the most part, you were limited in how much you could do with them.
Oh, and some EUC models tended to require some tinkering to keep working. And, just like with any hobby, part of the fun was in the tinkering itself.
But as electric unicycles got more powerful–I’m thinking Inmotion V10F and similar models–they became capable of much more. Take a look at my experience with the Veteran Sherman! Now you could really leverage your skill and athleticism to go fast and do some sporty things. Racing became a real thing with EUCs!
Tricks also became more extreme. Jumps that were once impossible became possible. Single track, jump track riding is now nearly commonplace in some parts of the country. Suspension electric unicycles make off road rides more feasible, and I expect racing off-road will emerge as an EUC sport, too.
So, in my opinion, as electric unicycles got more powerful and capable, they made the transition from hobby to sport.
From a Different Angle: Sports Have Legal Issues Connected to Them
There’s another way to look at whether electric unicycling is a hobby or sport: the legal system. In the United States, there are laws and regulations that pertain to sports but not hobbies. For example, there are age limits for certain sports, such as boxing. There are also drug testing requirements for athletes in some sports.
If you’re into motorsports, like race car driving or motorcycle racing, there are also laws and other regulations that you must follow within these closed circuits. And, of course, there are rules that govern how sports can be played–rules that aren’t necessarily applicable to when you take your motorbike or e-bike onto a road or trail, respectively.
Do any of these laws and regulations apply to electric unicycling? Not that I’m aware of. There are no age limits or drug testing requirements for an EUC activity, e.g., sponsored, sanctioned by a related authoritative association, or otherwise. This, in my opinion, is another indication that electric unicycling continues to be more of a hobby than a “sport”.
An Optics Reason for Identifying “Electric Unicycle Riding” as a Hobby
What if you’re stopped by a police officer or other authority in your locale? Do you identify your EUC as part of your “hobby”, something you tinker within your free time, or as a sport you engage with to improve your skill and performance?
If you’re like me, and you’ve been hassled before for riding your electric unicycle in public, then you know how important it is to have some sense of what you’re doing.
I prefer to continue applying the idea of the EUC as a hobby only to keep avoiding the connotation of breaking any rules or regulations. Maybe it’s a good idea: Let’s keep the light and fun EUC optics away from the serious and dangerous stereotypes of motorcycles and other “fast” motorized activities.
Plus, it sounds like less of a hassle to say “I was just riding my electric unicycle as part of my hobby” rather than “I was out doing some high speed runs on my performance EUC and I got stopped”.
The first statement is likely to get less attention from legal experts, or the busy-body types in general. People may look at you funny, giving you that side commentary in their head: “oh, a geeky nerd on a Onewheel”.
The second could get you a date in court! Or, put you and other EUC riders on their apprehensive “watch-out for these gang-type hooligans” radar.
In the end, whether you term your electric unicycle as part of a hobby or sport is up to you. I don’t think there’s a correct answer, at least not in the absolute sense. But, I do think it’s useful to have some perspective on how you want to present your electric unicycle riding activity to others.
A List of Reasons Our Community Rides Electric Unicycles
- Sport (e.g., competition, performance, stunt)
- Hobby (e.g., leisure, casual “walk in the park”)
- Transport (e.g., commuting to work/home)
- Lifestyle (e.g., defining a self-identity, a unique way to live daily)
- A combination of the above!
So, is riding an EUC a hobby or sport? I would say it depends on how you approach it. If you’re just riding for fun, then it’s definitely a hobby. But if you’re riding to compete or to challenge yourself, then it could be considered a sport. Ultimately, it’s up to you how you want to define it.
Do you think electric unicycling is a hobby or sport? Let us know in the comments below!
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