Oregon native Mike Leahy blew up the internet sending bike parks on his electric unicycle. Now he makes a living at it. By David Gladish. Feature photo by Nick Brown.

The dirt jump boasts a perfectly raked transition to a two-metre-high apex. A six-metre-long gap separates it from the down ramp, making it the type of stunt only expert mountain bikers would attempt. Suddenly, 32-year-old Mike Leahy hurtles toward it on what looks to be a burly unicycle, his dark-blue hoodie rippling in the wind. He stands on two small platforms on either side of a 50-centimetre-wide rubber wheel with an electric motor housed in red plastic above it. He bends his knees and then launches off the jump, soaring through the air at a ridiculous height before landing deep on the exit ramp and riding away.

Leahy is a native of Portland, Oregon, and he wants you to know he doesn’t ride a Onewheel, the electric skateboard popular with kids and hipster commuters. He makes his living as a sponsored rider of electric unicycles (EUCs), a relatively new entrant in the growing “micro-mobility” market. The difference between the two is that EUCs have a lot more power and a nose-less design, which allows for fast uphill climbing. “They have potential to send it” Leahy says. And send it he does, off huge gap jumps at mountain biking zones such as Post Canyon in the nearby city of Hood River and Summit Ridge near Maple Valley, Washington.

Skateboarding was Leahy’s passion when he was younger, then downhill mountain biking, electric skateboarding, and now powerful EUCs, which have been commercially available since 2009. Leahy says EUCs have caught on in the last few years, partly because they are easy to carry and store; however, he’s one of only a few who ride off-road and at bike parks. This exclusivity has earned him a sponsorship by EUC manufacturer REV Rides, based in Vancouver, Washington. The model he currently rides, the King Song S22 Eagle, costs about $3,000, has two battery packs that output 2,200 watts, reaches a top speed of 70 kilometres per hour, and boasts 130 millimetres of suspension travel, the largest of any EUC on the market.

Leahy’s jumping prowess also earned him an invite to the first-ever International Electric Unicycle Games in Bentonville, Arkansas, last September. One event had EUC riders race each other at speeds up to 90 kilometres per hour. Another had them jump over a seven-metre-long yellow school bus, which Leahy performed to perfection. So, what’s next for him? Bigger tricks, he says.