Pedaling to school

Spanish teacher helps environment, gets in workout all before first bell

Ian Raybon


Mary Catherine Wells

Spanish teacher Seth Sartain bikes to school every day. He then stores his bike in his classroom while he works.

Mary Catherine Wells, Lead Reporter

The clock reads 7:17 a.m. as Seth Sartain, Spanish teacher and rookie cyclist, peddles fast along the sidewalks of Allen on his way to work.

“I had a couple different motivations that made me start riding my bike to school,” Sartain said. “I have a really old car and so I am trying to extend the life of my car. Fewer trips on the car means the longer it will last. But also healthwise, it helps. Last year I had a hard time staying on an exercise routine so I figured incorporating that into my daily routine I would never forget, get lazy, and never work out.”

The bike ride might be a short distance in a car but it makes a difference on bike.

“I live about five miles away from the school so it takes me about 20 minutes one way,” Sartain said. “So throughout the day I get about 45 minutes of exercise.”

Some people may think that with exercise comes stink. But Sartain figured out a way to prove that wrong.

“I looked into the concept of staying smelling good,” Sartain said. “It was a part of my research process when I was thinking about doing this. On the website Reddit there is a whole online community of people who do this. So they figured this out long before I did and I just take their tips. The premise is ‘sweat doesn’t smell.’ If someone is dirty and then they start to sweat, then they will smell. So I shower in the morning right before I get on the bike to come to work. Then once I get to work I cool down and then go into the bathroom to freshen up.”

The decision to bike to school was a new thing to Sartain.

“I have never done anything like this before,” Sartain said. “I’m not a cyclist and this is my first time to ever really own a bike. I actually bought a bike just for this purpose off of Craigslist. But I have jogged in the past and I am active in general but this is my first time to do something like this.”

Sidewalks provide a way for Sartain to safely get to school.

“The last stretch on Estates is probably the most dangerous to bike on,” Sartain said. “But other than that Allen, where I live, has a really good system of trails and sidewalks. I can stay off the street and on a sidewalk for most of the time which isn’t bad.”

Though when riding on Estates, it gets a little harder because of the lack of sidewalks there.

 “At the light, if I get stopped, all the other cars go ahead of me and I just follow behind,” Sartain said. “But if it’s green when I go, I just pedal as fast as I can and look to see if there is a car coming and I try to time whether they will pass me or not or if I need to get on the shoulder.”

Biking attire is needed on his way to work.

“I don’t bike to work in my tie though,” Sartain said.”I have clothes here in a closet in the back of my room. On the weekend, like on Friday, I will bring up my clothes for the week. So I wear biking clothes when I bike.”

With all the cars passed while biking, one might think passing a student or teacher would happen frequently.

“I have not yet passed a student when I’m biking, that I have seen,” Sartain said. “But co workers have told me that they passed me. But usually I’m too tired to notice what is going on.”

Once Sartain leaves his house on a bike, he needs to make sure he has everything for the day.

“It has been a process for me to get into a good routine of like what I need to pack and where I need to pack them,” Sartain said. “There are a lot of moving parts to it. I have bags that I strap onto the back. One of the things I will do is I put just one earbud in and I listen to Spanish radio on the trip so I can be productive and improve my spanish as I am going.”

Technology has made it easier on the load Sartain carries back and forth from his house.

“Honestly because of Google Drive, pretty much everything I do is online and on the cloud,” Sartain said. “So all my homework is via Google Forms so I can access that all from home. But in general, going along with the theme of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I try not to do work at home if I can avoid it. I either try to come in early or stay late.”

Students like Sophomore Sydney Jones admire Sartain for making this change.

“It’s cool that Mr. Sartain rides his bike to school,” Jones said. “He is saving the environment.”