Louisville Bicycle Club

Louisville Bicycle Club Newsletter — March-April 1997

The Birth of a Statistician

by Philip Esterle

There are some things in life that I just can’t get away from. I was introduced to computers at a very early age. When my father would go in to work on weekends, he’d often take me with him to keep me out of my mother’s hair. There wasn’t a whole lot I could do on the mainframe there, especially since I had no idea what I was doing, but he let me play around on one of the terminals there. Over the years, I learned a bit more about computers, and after taking an indirect career path, I am programming for the same company as my father.

When I was 14, my older cousin got a new 12-speed Peugeot, and rode it just about everywhere. He and I spent a lot of time together in those days, but since I only had a single speed bike, I couldn’t keep up with him. I finally persuaded my mother to get me a 10-speed from Sears. It weighed a ton. The first thing Andy and I did to it was remove the kickstand and chicken brakes. After that, I could ride with him more often. About a year later, I upgraded to a blue Peugeot PBM-10 twelve speed. It was about that time that I went on my first Louisville Wheelmen ride with him. He had been on the Old Kentucky Home Tour the previous year and raved about it. I think the first ride was from Sawyer park out to Todd’s Point. We had a great time, and I was hooked. Andy got a car that spring and began riding a lot less. I, however, kept it up. By the time I graduated from high school, I had done about 2000 miles, and took part in two OKHTs.

My biking days came to a halt for a while after that. I went away to EKU, planning on majoring in Computer Science. After one semester, I decided that I was tired of computers, and wanted to be an astronomer. After 5 years at EKU, I came away with a BS (with a double major in Physics and Math), a Graduate Assistantship to the University of Maryland’s astronomy department, and a future wife. Unfortunately, I only rode the bike about 200 miles during that entire period (I did get in one really wet OKHT). Off I went to the University of Maryland. I was living in College Park (5 miles from Washington, DC), which is not the most bike friendly place in this country. While I was there, I was introduced to mountain biking, since it seemed much safer to ride where cars couldn’t go. I still didn’t ride much in my four years of graduate school because I quickly found out that grad school and cycling don’t mix. Actually, I learned a few things there. First — grad school doesn’t mix with anything except for sleep. Second — Astronomy is not an easy field to get a job in. My best friend at UMD spent two years after he received his Ph.D. working odd jobs while waiting for a position in his field to open up. He wasn’t the only one. I was convinced that an MS was enough for me, and decided to go back to the world of computer programming. I moved back to Louisville in December of 1994, and immediately rejoined the bike club. It was even better than I remembered it being. After a nine-year absence, there were some familiar faces, and many new faces. I wanted to help the club as much as I could, so I became a ride captain. Unfortunately, my idea of fun is not everyone’s. In fact, for some it is torture. I wouldn’t be surprised if I get a turnout of 2 for this year’s Five-County Fifty (hilly half-hundred). Being a ride captain has been a lot of fun, but I felt I could do more. I felt that of the other volunteer positions available, the statistician job would suit me best, but it appeared at the time that it would never open up. After all, I thought for sure that Dave Leist was the statistician when I left. I believe it was a ride from Vettiner Park late last spring when I overheard Dave saying that he was ready to abdicate his throne as the statistician and lead a quieter life in the bike club that my chance arrived. I told Dave I’d be glad to have his job. He seemed to be happy to relinquish it.

I have now been on the job for about four months, and have found it to be very enjoyable. I spent most of Thanksgiving week designing a new database, writing a data entry application, and finding ways to automatically post the data to the web. I can now say that the hardest part of my job is going to be reading the scribbles from on the ride sheets. The rest of the hard work is behind me. For those of you who have Internet access, but haven’t seen my web page, please take a look at it (http://www.iglou.com/homepages/flip/stats.html). I would appreciate all the feedback I can get. For those of you without web access, I will still be providing occasional paper copies of the statistics throughout the season, and publish summaries in every newsletter.

To all ride captains for November and December of 1996 — I have only received four ride sheets for these months. I know there were more rides than this. Rides you led in November and December count toward the Ride Captain jerseys, but I need ride sheets in order for these rides to count.

Finally, as Dave wrote in the last newsletter, I have moved recently. My new address is 413 Mallard Creek Road, Louisville, KY 40207. My new phone number is 895-6047. Please send all ride sheets and inquiries here. I can also be reached by e-mail at flip@iglou.com or Philip.Esterle@appl.ge.com.

One last note — I am getting married on April 5th. Any ride sheets sent to me around that time may not be entered immediately. I apologize in advance for any delays that may occur during early April. I am looking forward to serving as your statistician for many years to come.

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last updated: 24 February 1997
by Duc M. Do