I Am A Mathematician, And I Ride

Here is another great story from our And I Ride campaign. We are seeking to put a face on cycling in support of a legislative campaign that we are working on this year. You can read the rest of these great stories here.

We are still accepting entries, so be sure to read below to find out how to send in your story.

Our next story comes from Rob.


Where I Ride: Pioneer Valley, Southeastern Pennsylvania
How Often I Ride: Daily

My Story: I began long-distance cycling as young teenager growing up in the Philadelphia area: a neighbor organized an annual Valley Forge, PA to Cape May, NJ day ride. After doing that on a $50-clunker, he persuaded me to get my first road bike, over my father's strenuous objections (so I had to foot the bill - about $500 back then - on my own). I commuted on that road bike through college, grad school, and to my first teaching jobs at Stanford and UCSantaBarbara: I'd ride right onto the lecture hall stage, take off my helmet, pick up a piece of chalk and do some math...!

When I moved to Amherst in the late 1980s, the winter snow/sand/salt forced me back onto my old $50-clunker. As I got involved more deeply in transportation planning and politics in the Pioneer Valley, I met folks who used mountain bikes to commute in all weather conditions, so I checked out what the Amherst Police Department was riding and bought a pair of Giant Iguana's: a big one for me, and a little one for my then-pre-teen son. My wife still uses the little one daily, despite having been hit by a car while riding it (that little bike is tough, and she's even tougher). The big one was stolen from me in Berkeley a decade ago, and I've been on my current wheels (a big Cannondale mountain bike, outfitted with homemade fenders, a "truck body" fashioned from a large milk-crate, and a recently rebuilt rear wheel with an internal transmission to minimize winter-time chain hassles) ever since.

My good friend and mentor, Arthur Swift, who passed away last year, was a dedicated servant to his profession (physics), to his community(Amherst) and to his passion (cycling). Art's final words to me - and he was a man of few words - neatly sum up my own public involvement with cycling: at the dedication of the Swift Connector (a 2-mile bikeway between UMassAmherst and the Norwottuck Rail Trail that he and I helped design and build), he was already quite ill, but he was able to accompany a hug with "Rob, we did a lot of work together...." And there's still a lot of work yet to be done to make cycling an integral part of our transportation future!

Thanks Rob!

We want to hear your story. Tell us about yourself and how bicycling is a part of your life. Just copy and paste the form below into an email, fill it in, and send it to [email protected]

  • Name:

  • Email:

  • Where You Ride:

  • How Often You Ride:

  • Your Profession/Relation/Title (lawyer, nurse, Grandma, son, etc):

  • A picture of you on your bicycle, or you in your daily life (be sure we can see your face):

  • A paragraph or two about your life and your bicycle:

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