Ask Me Anything: Raj Danala

Look for this cool unicyclist slinking around downtown.

Who can afford an $1,800 Solowheel as an impulse buy? Someone like Danala, a 30-year-old software engineer and two-time cancer survivor. His commitment to making the most of every moment includes joyriding to work on this Segway-like electric cycle.

How does this thing work?
There’s a gyroscope in it that balances for you. To maneuver, you lean side to side.

Do you ever crash?
No, you can just hop off. It’s not difficult to ride. It took me five hours to get the basics.

Why this instead of a bike?
I’m a triathlete and a cyclist. I found myself not using my hands on my bike, on the sidewalk, just trying to balance. So I was looking for a real unicycle for fun.

Where do you go on it?
City Market. I’ve taken my cat there.

On the Solowheel?
I bought a baby-carrier thing.

Is your cancer in remission?
Yes. It took me a while to bounce back. [Danala moved to Indianapolis in 2009, after receiving cancer treatment for a second time.] The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society here will train you for a triathlon. I did my first one in D.C., and after that, I felt so good I did an Ironman. I started speed skating this winter.

You’ve become healthier here? Often it’s the other way around.
Indy changed my life in every way. I got into an active lifestyle here. Cancer was the worst thing that ever happened, but it brought the best out of me.


Photo by Tony Valainis

This article appeared in the May 2014 issue.