About 12 years ago, Bruno Pape asked his daughter if she would like a unicycle for Christmas, and now he is known amongst many UNH students as the man who cycles around campus while juggling.
“It’s children that do [these] things to you,” Pape said. “I tried to ride [my daughter’s unicycle] and realized that it’s like a big person riding a really little bicycle… so I had to get myself [one].”
It used to be easy for Pape to get out for a ride around campus. From 2007 to late 2013, he worked in Morris Hall at the Space Science Center. During his time tere, he worked on satellites and developed a flight software for a satellite instrument.
During his lunch breaks, he would get out on his unicycle and go for a spin. At the time, his oldest daughter was attending UNH as well, so he said that it was a great time for him to be working there because he got to spend a lot of time with her. His younger daughter attends UNH currently and is finishing up the semester.
“At lunchtime I would ride my unicycle out of Morris Hall [and] ride around campus, and everybody kind of smiled and it seemed to brighten up people’s day… now it’s just good to get out and get some exercise and see everybody still having fun,” Pape said.
Pape added that students always react positively to his unicycling and juggling when they see him around campus.
“Sometimes they’re texting on their phones and look up at the last minute and go, ‘oh my god,’” Pape said. But most of the time, he says that people are enthusiastic about his hobby.
“It’s a great crowd,” Pape said.
You’ll probably see Pape riding around campus on days with good weather, and preferably with no wind. Wind makes juggling a bit harder for him because it is harder to tell what directions the pins will fly in after he throws them in the air.
Pape has been juggling for quite some time, as well He says that he taught himself using the Klutz Book of Juggling.
After learning to unicycle, some of Pape’s friends gave him some old juggling pins that they found in their garage and told him to learn how to juggle them while riding his unicycle, so he did.
Some students may be reminded of the UNH Joggler as they see Pape riding around campus. The Joggler was a UNH student who used to run around campus while juggling around the same time period that Pape used to unicycle frequently. Pape stated that the Joggler jokingly once referred to him as his “adversary.”
As advice for students interested in learning to unicycle or juggle, Pape said that imagining that you can do it will make it really easy. He stated that being stubborn helps, too, in addition to being just “a little bit crazy.”