DC rapper embarks across country after breaking OneWheel riding record

Javier Starks shows off his world record-breaking OneWheel device. (Photo by @FollowDon)
WTOP's Jason Fraley salutes Javier Starks (Part 1)

Javier Starks is a D.C. renaissance man, recording curse-free rap records and performing a concert series on the National Mall called “Music at the Monument.”

So it’s no surprise that he also broke a world record for riding a OneWheel device.

“This magical device is called a OneWheel,” Starks told WTOP. “It looks like a skateboard with one gigantic, go-kart sized wheel. It’s self-balancing and electric. … Most electric skateboards have a remote control, but this one is just based on sensitivity and physical tact. You just tilt it to go. To stop, you lean back.”

The OneWheel was designed by Future Motion CEO Kyle Doerksen. Starks was introduced to the device by his friend Federico Garay, who rolled up on one.

“When he showed up, he was riding this thing and it looked like he was floating,” Starks said. “I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, before you start talking to me, what is that?’ He’s like, ‘It’s a OneWheel, do you want to try?’ ‘Of course I want to try it, are you crazy?’ … I tried it that day and just fell in love with it like, ‘Dude, this is next level.”

He was instantly hooked, both for recreation and practical purposes.

“I have done campaigns with Capital Bikeshare and other companies, [but] I had been looking for a solution for getting to work without arriving sweaty or relying on the availability of something. … When Cherry Blossoms are happening, bikes are hard to come by, buses get delayed. … It’s been a godsend through the pandemic.”

He’s already ridden enough to lap the planet Earth, riding 25,974 miles and counting, easily shattering the previous world record by more than 10,000 miles.

“Every mile I ride is the new world record,” Starks said. “The tire needs to be replaced every 1,700 or 1,800 miles, but the average person may [ride] for a year and still have not broken the 2,000 mark. … I’m logging 1,100 miles a month. … 40 miles a day.”

Just like Forrest Gump ran coast to coast, Starks is now taking his show on the road.

“I want to take the OneWheel across country,” Starks said. “I want to show the world that electric is a feasible mode of transportation, raise awareness for green initiatives and push the world in a positive direction with how we use our resources, lowering our carbon footprint. … Why not take it to the next level for a cause that rings true in my heart?”

He hopes to bring a camera crew to film the entire experience.

“I was thinking, ‘Why not tell my story from start to finish while traveling across country?'” Starks said. “The idea is to create a documentary. … I’m hoping some sponsors, specifically Tesla, Red Bull, Nike, Off-White, Under Armour … making sure this story is told in a grand way.”

He hopes to embark on the four-month journey starting in June.

“I want to go and come back before it starts getting cold,” Starks said. “The OneWheel is tough, I’ve ridden it in both winters now since I received it in 2019, but at certain temperatures it just becomes tough to enjoy the ride. If it’s 20 degrees outside, I can still ride, it’s just painful.”

Until then, he’ll host weekly demonstrations at Hains Point from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“People can come out and test drive them,” Starks said. “We literally teach people how to ride from scratch. The average rider is probably riding by themselves in about six to seven minutes. My youngest student is 5 and my oldest student is 60.”

By now, the OneWheel is more than just a hobby for Starks.

“It’s a lifestyle,” Starks said. “I can not remember a day since May 24, 2019 after receiving my OnWheel that I woke up and didn’t think about going to ride [or] thought, ‘Ugh, I gotta ride to keep my record going.’ Not once. It’s an absolute joy every time.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley salutes Javier Starks (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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