‘Schmidt Don’t Quit’ scholarship ride a success


Courtesy of UW Oshkosh Today

Kinesiology professor Dan Schmidt arrived at UW Oshkosh’s Opening Day festivities via police escort after riding his bicycle across the state in support of student scholarships.

Cody Barnes, Writer

UWO kinesiology department head Dan Schmidt held the first annual “Schmidt Don’t Quit” ride to raise money for a scholarship fund devoted to kinesiology students this September.

Schmidt has been riding his bike just about every day since 1988. Schmidt’s love of cycling stemmed from being able to just get out on the road for some therapeutic alone time.

“I was a four-year wrestler at Stevens Point,” Schmidt said. “I started riding bikes to be able to do triathlons.”
Talking about the health benefits of biking, Schmidt said, “I have always been pretty fit. [Biking] helped me
maintain a level of fitness over the years,” he said. “It’s allowed to maintain a level of physical fitness that I am comfortable with.”

With the amount of snow on the ground, Schmidt started taking indoor spin classes taught by a fellow kinesiology professor to keep his cycling passion going year-round.

Schmidt is impressed by the collective effort of his students and has always wanted to take a long bike ride.
“We have students from middle-class families coming here who if they don’t work a job during school, college just wont happen for them,” he said. “Maybe it’s because that’s how I was, I’m humbled by it.”

“From La Crosse to Tomah is beautiful country, Amish country, and I rode past several horse carriages,” Schmidt said. “It’s just so magical; it’s so cool to see the sun coming up.”

Schmidt spent his first night of the ride in Necedah, and in trying to save money he contacted the city to see if he could stay in the fire station. But the people of Necedah said they had a new public safety building, and he could stay there with heat and a full shower facility.

“I spent my first night in Necedah with a couple of EMTs. We went out and had pizza and it was really fun,” Schmidt said. “I got to Wautoma and the chancellor met me there with his bike. It was neat, I was very impressed.”
When asked about the money raised, Schmidt said he was not able to talk about it but said that they did OK. He mentioned that they will be able to start awarding scholarships in the fall of 2020 and that the ride served its purpose there.

“I would have liked to raise $8 gazillion, didn’t happen, but we got a good response, and like I said, we are able to get those scholarships in the fall,” Schmidt said. “I was very humbled by the outpouring of support.”

The scholarships are likely to consist of a series of $500 awards, although Schmidt said that it has not been finalized. He hoped that they could continue the momentum and sustain scholorship rides over the years.
Schmidt did the ride mostly alone, but he hopes to have some company on future rides.

“This is about the students. If I could get them to ride the last 25 miles with me and seek pledges for a cause they believe in, along with maybe being able to contribute to the scholarships, I want to highlight that,” he said. “If I could get five to 10 students to do that last stretch with me, that would be awesome.”
He described biking as a spiritual experience.

“When you’re going up a steep hill it sucks, but you’re gonna get paid back, you’re gonna get to go downhill at some point and that is pretty much life,” Schmidt said. “You’re gonna have some really hard times pedaling uphill with the wind in your face, but if you keep plugging away, there are going to be rewards out there.”