Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 9, 2022


Meet Matt, the director of the Expository Writing Program.

“I’m a big cyclist. I got into cycling when I was living in Chicago, starting about 2005 or so. In my 20s, I was mostly riding a single-speed track bike, commuting in the city. It wasn’t a fixed gear; I wasn’t one of those totally crazy people who ride around without brakes in the city. I still have it. It’s a beautiful steel frame Bianchi track frame. I lived pretty far north of Chicago at the time, and I was riding down to the University of Illinois Chicago, where I did my PhD work. I had a 20-mile round-trip commute. I just loved it, and I eventually got another bike with gears and would do longer rides, do charity rides. It wasn’t until I got to D.C. that I got sucked in. There’s such a vibrant road cycling community here in D.C. with all kinds of shop rides, races, stuff like that.”

“It’s interesting; [Chicago] is totally spread out. The distances are longer, but it’s also really flat. Traffic is pretty accommodating; even back then in 2005, there were already bike lanes. D.C. is a very bike-friendly city, and I’m getting the sense that Baltimore is, too.”

“I do longer rides. There’s a bike company called Rapha in D.C., and I was doing the Rapha rides. I did my first race the year I turned 40. It’s unlikely; I had played basketball for years and years and years and just decided to hang up my sneakers when I turned 40. I was like, ‘Hmm, this is destructive to your body, and I want to preserve it.’”

“There’s a couple of things I really like about cycling, about road cycling specifically. One is that there’s this long history of style. Actually, I think cycling is an incredibly stylish sport. If you look back at the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, the bikes are these gorgeous aesthetic objects with incredibly ornate components. There are these great flashes of mid-20th century aesthetics. It’s a treasure trove of material culture, I think. The other thing, for me — there’s something about being out on the road for 20, 30, 40 50, 60 miles where you’re in between cruising and fully going for it, where you’re working hard but not so hard that you can’t think and feel. It’s this great in-between zen or meditative space for me.”

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