Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way

Ferris student chooses to ride unicycle to class

Juggling Tasks: Marshall Torsch, a senior in electrical engineering technology, was inspired to learn to unicycle by his uncle, who used the skill as a method to impress. Photo By: Kristyn Sonnenberg | Photo Editor

While most Ferris students ride two wheels to class, unicyclist Marshall Torsch needs only one. Known by Ferris students as “the unicyclist,” Torsch has gained a reputation for the seemingly impossible act of balancing on one wheel.

An electrical engineering technology senior, Torsch has been practicing riding the unicycle since August 2009. Unlike many trained unicyclists, Torsch said his ability to balance on a single wheel has been self-taught.

“As for learning, I did it all myself,” said Torsch. “I started off holding onto a wall and trying to keep my balance, and then used a pole after my cousin told me a trick to learning.”

Torsch admits learning to ride the unicycle was no easy challenge. He said he recalls falling numerous times before finding a technique to keeping his balance while peddling.

“After a lot of falls, I finally got to be able to pedal a few times,” said Torsch. “Then it was just keeping the rhythm and balance going.”

Still, Torsch’s interests in mastering the unicycle kept him trying to acquire new methods of riding it. He said his intrigue in learning the complex cycle came from seeing his own uncle’s skills atop its single wheel. Believing it couldn’t pose that tough of a challenge, Torsch began practicing. He said most of the fun of riding the unicycle comes from the challenge of keeping his balance.

“What interests me the most is the fun of just riding it,” said Torsch. “It takes more work than a bike and that’s what makes it fun.”

Seen riding through the quad and other various locations at Ferris, Torsch said he receives many different reactions from students who catch him cycling to class. Occasionally, Torsch said he also experiences students interested in wanting to attempt a ride on his unicycle.

“Reactions differ according to the type of person,” said Torsch. “I have had people go out of their way to come talk to me and tell me how awesome it was that I was so good at riding it.”

Assistant Professor Luiz Costa said he was stunned the first time he saw Torsch’s riding ability. He said seeing someone ride the unicycle to class is very uncommon.

“The first time I saw it, I thought it was something admirable,” said Costa. “It’s not easy to find folks that can do that.”

Unlike riding a bike to class, Torsch’s unicycle is simply taken with him wherever he goes. Torsch admits to even carrying it alongside him into his professor’s classrooms.

Not limiting himself to the unicycle, Torsch has another skill he pairs with riding a single wheel.

“I can also juggle while on the unicycle,” said Torsche. “It’s a little tricky on sidewalks that are uneven, but it’s doable.”

Look for Torsche and his unique ability on the Ferris campus. You might catch a glimpse of this man on one wheel.

Check out Torsche on his unicycle at https://fsutorch.com/2010/04/21/web-exclusive/unicycler-at-fsu/