Todd Rayne, associate professor of geosciences, knows a lot about Hamilton’s geologic setting. He also has an intimate knowledge of the surrounding topography and of the local roadways that overlay the bedrock. An avid cyclist since high school, Rayne chose to purchase a first road bike instead of a first car — and now, along with the Bike Coop, has introduced many Hamilton students to the excellent cycling terrain surrounding campus. Says Rayne, “The combination of minimal traffic, well-paved roads and spectacular, as well as challenging, terrain makes the area one of the nicest to cycle.”
For Rayne, there is an important social aspect to cycling. He regularly bikes with fellow faculty members, staff and even some alumni, but he especially values the chance to interact with students outside of class through cycling. Between the Bike Coop and the Cycling Team, Rayne has met numerous students he would not normally have had the chance to encounter. The Bike Coop afternoon rides are open to all students, while the Cycling Team that practices three or four times a week is for more serious riders. And even though Rayne frequently rides with some of his own geoscience students as well, he explains, “Cycling presents a different level of interaction — an interaction of equals, not professor to student.”
Rayne recognizes the constant feeling of power involved in a typical student-professor relationship, but while riding alongside students — and occasionally adding a geologic history of the landscape along the way — the group is always, as Rayne says, “united by a common interest for the sport of cycling” and its nearby topography.