If you've ever passed the corner of South Person Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, you've seen the No-Hand King, riding endless wheelies on kids' bicycles, hands in the air, a pair of American flags attached to the banana seat.
For years now, Rodney Hines has been obsessed with becoming the greatest wheelie rider in the world, boasting that he's better than the current record-holder, offering to ride to California on one wheel in support of U.S. troops, if only somebody will give him $5,000.
But now the No-Hand King has a new trick: unicycling.
About a week ago, Hines said, a frustrated unicycle rider pulled up to his house and offered him the cursed one-wheeled bike for free. He'd seen Hines perform his no-hand tricks, seen the array of flag-draped Huffy bikes in his front yard, and figured the contraption was better off in the hands of the No-Hand King. Hines got the bike for free.
It took about 24 hours to learn, he reports. It was hard at first. He was going at it with too much intensity. He had to come out at 3 in the morning to practice, when he could relax.
Now, perched on one wheel, he gets more oh-wow looks than ever.
"You only see these in the circus," Hines explains. "You never see a black man on a unicycle."
He rides 18 miles a day without stopping, from Southeast Raleigh past Cameron Village and back. "You can see what it's done to my thigh muscles," he boasts.
He's offering to teach unicycling, and he's developing a line of No-Hand King T-shirts, which you can see hanging in the front yard. The No-Hand King predicts they'll be huge sellers.
"When people see me carrying the POW flag in one hand and the American flag in the other," he promises, "and they see my definition, they'll be buying these all day."