Unicycling up and down the BC campus

Unicycling up and down the BC campus

Mike Taylor rides his unicycle on Feb. 23 down the stairs of the Math and Science Building. He has been riding for six years.

Nicholas Sparling, Reporter

Many students around Bakersfield College have seen a gentleman riding around campus on his unicycle, dawned with a large afro and sporting his Bob Marley leather jacket.

Mike Taylor is a 21-year-old mathematics major at BC. He has been using his unicycle as a form of transportation since around 2005.

“[It’s] something to get around and it fits in small places,” he said.

He doesn’t ride for the unique factor. Though it is rare to see people riding around on unicycles, for him it is more something so he “wouldn’t have to ride a bike somewhere where it could get stolen.”

When he first started riding around seven years ago, it took him about a week to pick it up without having to worry about falling.

“[It] requires forward and backwards balance more than left to right,” he said.

Taylor likes to collect and find the most comfortable unicycle for him. Although he only has one that works right now, he has many pieces that he trades out. He gets his unicycles at Snyder’s Cyclery on Union Avenue and rides back and forth from home to school.

Although Taylor seems to be a normal BC student who likes to ride his unicycle to class, according to Taylor, he has autism.

“It’s like you can’t do everyday normal activities like everyone else. [I] can’t do things without thinking about them,” he said. “When you’re autistic, you’re conscious of every single move that you make. It makes it really stressful to make it through a normal day.”

Still, Taylor doesn’t let this discourage him from doing the things that he loves to do. He likes to build calculators for chess positions, which Taylor calls “bots,” where moves could be solved using math and pure calculation.

Taylor makes these bots for chess, he said, “but not regular chess. There [are] too many people that make those so [I] make bots for chess variants.”

He cites tempestchess.com as a place to test his bots.

“It’s chess without turns, like you don’t have to wait for your turn to play.”

Taylor wants to make bots for that form of chess because there hasn’t been bots made that can beat humans consistently.

The future holds more programming for Taylor as he continues with his study of mathematics.

“Like right now, [I] can’t program that much with the math that [I] know.”

He says by learning more math, he could probably build more powerful programs.