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Biking between UND, downtown is daily ritual for Matthew Burton-Kelly

While you and I are warming up our cars on cold winter mornings, Matthew Burton-Kelly is pulling on his snow pants and hopping on his purple Trek 850 mountain bike.

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While you and I are warming up our cars on cold winter mornings, Matthew Burton-Kelly is pulling on his snow pants and hopping on his purple Trek 850 mountain bike.

Then he bicycles out to UND from the downtown apartment where he and his mom, Sue, live. He goes by bike almost every day.

Usually, he parks his bike in the hallway outside his office in Leonard Hall.

He bikes because he enjoys it. And besides, he doesn't want to pay for a parking pass at UND.

So, he makes his way up and down snowy streets and says the studded tires he bought are a help. There are bike paths marked on University Avenue, but you would have a hard time finding them now. The snow pants he wears are waterproof. He wears a hat under his helmet and woolen mittens.

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It was, he concedes, rather cold at 16 below zero Monday morning, but the wind was at his back.

Burton-Kelly, 24, grew up in Vermont and ended up as a graduate student and instructor in geology at UND the past couple of years. It was never this cold in Vermont, but he figures he can go home now and ski when it's 20 degrees. Before living in North Dakota, he would have thought that was pretty cold.

This is Burton-Kelly's second full year on campus and the first year he has biked from downtown. Before, he lived on campus and rode his bike to get around.

And he's not the only winter biker. He notices a few others on campus.

Some of them get together on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Wellness Center for spin classes on stationary bikes. One person leads the workout and calls out the activity, such as hill climbing, speed work, or easy spinning. Usually it is set to music, and sometimes there is video, such as the Tour de France from previous years. The spin classes usually are led by faculty members with an interest in cycling.

There are days, once in a while, when Burton-Kelly drives his Jeep Cherokee. That's when he needs to do shopping or is going out for dinner.

Most days, he bikes out to campus in the middle of the morning and back home late in the day, usually after dark. He came here to work on his master's degree. After that, he hopes to work toward a Ph.D in paleontology somewhere. He eventually would like to work at a museum or research institution, or perhaps teach at the university level.

In the summer, Burton-Kelly rides a Trek 5200 road bike. It's red, white and blue - the colors used by the U.S. Postal Service cycling team.

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Whazzup?

It's a hockey weekend across America, and the people at The Ralph are encouraging fans to wear their favorite hockey jerseys to school today. On Saturday, former Sioux players will be out at noon to skate at University Park. . . . Meanwhile, UND Sioux fans are all hyped up for the weekend games with Denver University, and they will meet at noon today in the Alerus to hear more about it - with a Sioux Salute going today to Dr. Ben Clayburgh. . . . Sioux hoops teams are on the road this weekend with games coming up Saturday in Duluth. . . . East Grand Forks schools are out today and Monday for Presidents Day. UND also will take a holiday. . . . "Winnie the Pooh" continues this weekend at the Masonic Center. . . . North Dakota Ballet Company presents "Club Red" tonight at Empire Arts Center. . . . And the 46th annual Feast of Nations is set for Saturday evening at the Alerus Center. . . . "Trees" continues tonight at Fire Hall Theatre and is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, and next weekend. . . . There's a Kids Art Workshop Saturday afternoon at the North Dakota Museum of Art. . . . The unveiling of Lilly Oncology on Canvas is set for Saturday evening downtown at Porpoura, on South Third Street across from the water wheel. . . . And boning up for the Writer's Conference continues Sunday afternoon at Barnes & Noble. . . . Also on Sunday afternoon, "A Friend Like Artie" will be presented by East Grand Forks High School in the Performing Arts Center.

Rick and Judy

Cheerful person of the Week: Rick Tonder. Runner-up: Judy Ferry.

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or at (701) 772-1055.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Matthew Burton-Kelly's mother as his wife. This online version has been corrected.

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