Beloved unicyclist brightens community for over 40 years

ByMatteo Iadonisi via Localish logo
Friday, September 23, 2022
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When it comes to making people smile, unicyclist Bob Duffy has been on a roll for the last 44 years!

LEVITTOWN, Pennsylvania -- When he was 15 years old, Bob Duffy got a job delivering the local newspaper. But he was always inclined to do things a little differently.

"Every time I had a bike, it got stolen," he said. "I said, well, I guess I have to deliver papers on a unicycle and that's how I started it out."

Duffy fell in love with the unicycle he purchased with his paperboy money and mastered its delicate balancing act. To this day, the one-wheeled wonder is his main method of transportation.

"I got really good at it, and next thing you know, I'm trying everything on it," he said. "And I'm still riding a wheel after 44 years."

Locals in Levittown became familiar with the unicyclist clad in tie-dye pants and Philadelphia sports gear. For some, their interaction was a simple honk and wave. For others, the connection became much deeper.

"I've known Duffy since I was born," said Chris Ward, co-owner of Bailey's Bar and Grille. "My father opened this place in '91 and Duffy has been coming here ever since."

Duffy worked at Bailey's for a 10-year span and made friends with every patron who walked through its doors. Even though he has a new job now, Duffy still incorporates the restaurant into his routine.

"We see each other almost every day," said Carlos Santiago from Levittown. "He comes in and reads the paper. Crossword puzzle, he loves."

Whether it's cycling down the street, up a snowy slope, or down to the beach, Duffy finds balance in his life by taking the roads less traveled.

"Everybody should do something different, not to be like everybody else," he said. "What if you try this? What if you look at it from this angle?"

And even if his unicycle had brakes, Duffy would have no plans to use them any time soon.

"It's what I know. It's what I love. It's part of me now and that's that," he said. "So, I'm going to keep going as long as I can."