Occasionally during low tide at the Pacific Beach shoreline, you may spot Cody Chadwick riding his One Wheel on the sand.
“Only when it’s packed sand,” he said, “not with sugary soft sand. I ride with caution because kids and adults are not used to semi-fast objects moving horizontally across the beach.”
Chadwick’s second generation One Wheel, which resembles a skateboard from a distance, can scoot up to 24 mph via its hypercore brushless motor.
The One Wheel, which is made by Future Motion Inc. in Santa Cruz, is exactly what the name implies. It’s got one 11 inch tall by 9 inch wide inflatable tire protruding through the middle section of what appears to be a skateboard deck about 30 inches long. The rider’s feet are positioned on the front and back of the board while the tire spins in the middle. “Lock your knees, look at the direction you want to go and lean your body weight in that direction.” Chadwick said. “It’s similar to a Segway because it will accelerate in the direction of the lean and the more you lean the faster it goes — it does so to keep itself on a horizontal plane. Then to stop: lean back to slow down.”
On September 6, when I was skateboarding on the sidewalk across the street from the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster: I saw another dude cruising a One Wheel. I tried to chase him down for an interview, but I couldn’t keep up.
“I like to off-road by the cliffs and grass where it can get squirrely,” Chadwick said. “But acting like I’m flying during a clear boardwalk and giving high-fives like Slomo does, is the top of my riding list.”
Chadwick, from Ocean Beach works in the commercial door and gate industry. He purchased his unit for $1608 which includes an app where it shows the diagnostics of the board: including the battery charge, odometer reading, lights on/off indicator and speed and angles (pitch, roll and yaw) of the last ride.
“The learning curve is like five seconds.” he said. “It has a built in gyroscope motor wheel with a Vega go-kart tire.”
During Chadwick’s recent One Wheel excursion he was stopped by a 75-year-old grandfather and his family. “I told the grandparents that their grandson is welcome to try it with their permission; they agreed and the kid rode it within seconds with no assistance.”
The 25-pound version of the One Wheel takes "about 30 minutes to charge" and will get between 5-8 miles when fully charged; its younger brother the XR model will travel up to 18 miles.
Chadwick has admitted to falling off of his One Wheel “usually from overconfidence or bad roads.”
In San Diego, I found (via a google search) only one company, San Diego Onewheel Rentals, that rented out the One Wheels.