Shared interest in biking paves the way for friendship between math, English teachers

October 28, 2009 — by Olivia Chock

Erick Rector and PJ Yim bike several times a week.

As a first-year teacher last year, math teacher PJ Yim was trying to make connections at the school and find his place. Little did he know he would find friendship and fitness with the help from an unlikely source: English teacher Erick Rector. Every Monday and Thursday after grading essays and correcting homework, the two teachers go on exhausting 30-mile bike trips together.

“I was looking for someone to bike with after school and [Yim] said ‘Hey I bike ride!’” said Rector. “After that we’ve been going for bike rides together,” said Rector.

Since Yim has math club meetings every Tuesday and Wednesday after school, these two biking buddies can only bike Mondays and Thursdays together. Since the teachers wanted to take different routes on different days, they decided to make Mondays the flat days and Thursdays the climbing days. On Mondays they bike all the way up to Stanford and back which is 30 miles round trip, and Thursdays they bike up Highway 9.

While the two teachers aren’t biking their hearts out, they enjoy talking about bikes, discussing teaching strategies and talking about life in general.

“Have you ever seen [Rector’s] bike? It’s a work of art,” jokes Yim. “If I were the same height as him, I would steal it. But for now, I have to stick with admiring it.”

The teachers’ profound love for biking has given them the idea to start a Saratoga Road Cycling club. They think it would be an enjoyable way to get a group of people to bike together every once in a while. Rector said it is important to find someone to ride with not only because it’s more enjoyable but for safety reasons and for committing to a workout regiment. This club has not been started yet and is still at its “preliminary stage” but should be started soon, said Rector.

Before they both learned that they shared a common passion of biking, the two teachers didn’t talk much. Not only has this common love of a sport brought the teachers together to get to know each other, it has also kept them healthy and fit.

Yim believes biking with Rector has inspired him to bike more on his own. He believes it has made him “healthier, allowed him to lose twenty pounds, made him more alert while he’s at school and at home with his family, and has given him a habit of waking up earlier”.

“Biking with [Rector] has allowed me to get back into good physical health,” Yim said, “I had horrible cholesterol before; it was off the charts. Now it has gotten a lot better, so I thank [Rector] for this.”