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Retired professor's passion is the wheel deal

Saving money by riding a bike is nothing new to Richard Uschold, who has pedaled enough miles to circle the earth more than four times over.

And that's just since 1992, when he started keeping track.

A lifelong bicyclist, Uschold recently celebrated his 80th birthday by putting in 100 miles on that day.

At age 70, he cycled over 10,500 miles in a single year. Now entering his ninth decade, he also has the distinction of having bicycled in all 50 states. He completed his goal by cycling in Idaho in 2005.

"I enjoy riding, it's an easy way to get good exercise," said Uschold, who believes he may be the oldest member of Big Wheels and Niagara Frontier Bicycle clubs and the Daytona Bike Club in Florida. "I frequently use the bike as nothing more than a means of transportation. I like the fact that it not only saves money, but is also good for the environment, as well as my health."

He occasionally prodded with questions like, "What kind of mileage do you get on that thing?"

"I get about 10 miles on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I'm a tightwad," said Uschold, a Canisius College math professor emeritus.

This summer, he cycled 52 miles round trip to Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park from his Town of Tonawanda home for the 62-year reunion of his Buffalo Technical High School class.

And back when he was solving algebra problems with those classmates, Uschold biked his way through Buffalo, delivering the Courier-Express and packages for Hoeflich Brothers meat market on East Ferry Street.

After finishing high school, Uschold enlisted in the Army Air Forces and served 2 1/2 years with the occupation in Japan. He then studied at Canisius College, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Buffalo, where he earned his doctorate in mathematics in 1963.

It was while teaching mathematics at Canisius in the early 1970s that he began riding his bicycle regularly to work -- a 15-mile round trip over Niagara Falls Boulevard and Main Street from his home.

"Many people thought I was crazy," said Uschold, "but I've never had a really serious accident.

"On at least two occasions, one very recently, my helmet saved me from very serious injury -- or maybe worse. I never ride without a helmet. I find it distressing to see parents riding with their children with no helmets for themselves, and occasionally not even for the children."

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