A unique aspect of 24 Hours of Booty is the poignant moments that riders experience, whether it’s hitting a new distance goal, meeting new friends or even a future spouse, or being inspired by cancer survivors. For Dave Turpin, his inspiration came during his first event in 2009. While cycling the Charlotte “Booty Loop” on his “beat-up” mountain bike, he noticed a unicyclist riding the course. It was his introduction into unicycling, which left such an impression on him he decided to try it when he needed a substitute for running.
An avid runner, Dave needed other exercise options after experiencing ongoing knee problems. In early 2011, he hung up his running shoes and turned to unicycling at the age of 53. He bought his first unicycle, complete with a flat tire, on Craigslist for $50. And so the slow and patient process of learning to ride on one wheel, mastering “free mounts” and avoiding unplanned dismounts (UPDs) began.
He spent the first month at the Morrison YMCA clinging to a fence doing two rotations at a time. It took him three months to ride his first 50 feet. After much patience practicing in parking lots, his neighborhood and greenways for a year, he took to the roads in preparation for the 2012 24 Hours of Booty. With only 18 months of unicycling experience, not only did Dave ride 25 miles at the Charlotte event, but also 35 miles at 24 Hours of Booty of Atlanta… with a few TV appearances along the way.
“Being on a unicycle adds an unusual spin to the event the kids love it,” says Dave who rides in honor of his dad who is a colon and lung cancer survivor and living cancer-free today.
This year, Dave is co-leading the BLACKLION team with company president Robert Emory and fellow unicyclist Nimish Nimish and plans on riding in all four events. Last year, Dave sported a Mohawk after hitting the $2,500 mark. This year he’s upped the ante to $5,000. If he hits his goal, he’ll wear a pink Mohawk and take it a “spin” further by donning a pink skirt during the celebration lap.
“24 Hours of Booty is more than just a fundraiser. It is an event – an epic thing that happens once a year. Nothing else to compare to it,” says Dave. “When you participate you are immediately helping people going through the cancer process right now. It touches everyone. It’s relevant. It’s just a lot of fun.”
When he’s not trying out his new 36-inch wheel unicycle – he previously rode a 29-inch wheel – or learning to ride dirt trails, Dave is a database administrator for Quaero in Charlotte. He resides in the Ballantyne area with his wife, Linda, of 27 years.