Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 26
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
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WHEELHOUSE: Maddy Sturm rolls through a recent training ride. Sturm, a former Princeton High girls’ hockey player and rising sophomore at Dartmouth College, is currently riding across the country for the Bike and Build organization. Sturm is on a 3,863 mile journey from Providence, R.I. to Seattle for the organization which runs service-oriented bike rides where riders stop several days to work on the construction of an affordable home with local housing organizations.

Former PHS Girls’ Hockey Star Sturm Riding Across Country for Bike and Build

Bill Alden

Tenacity and tireless play were Maddy Sturm’s hallmarks during her career with the Princeton High girls’ hockey team.

Sturm starred from the backline as a top defenseman and served as a team captain for the Little Tigers.

The qualities that Sturm displayed on the ice will come in handy this summer as the rising sophomore at Dartmouth College hits the road for the journey of a lifetime.

Along with 30 others, Sturm is currently riding from Providence R.I. to Seattle as part of the Bike and Build organization which runs service-oriented bike rides where riders stop several days to work on the construction of an affordable home with local housing organizations.

During Sturm’s 3,863-mile odyssey across the country which started on June 12 and is slated to end on August 18, she and her fellow riders will take a break for eight “build days.”

For Sturm, her interest in doing something about affordable housing rose from how she spent last summer.

“I worked at a restaurant last summer and a lot of the people I worked with had ridiculous commutes from apartments and others were living in crowded apartments nearby that they didn’t like,” said Sturm.

“I didn’t realize affordable housing was an issue in the Princeton area until that experience.”

After matriculating to Dartmouth, Sturm learned of an ideal way to make an impact on that issue.

“At Dartmouth, they have the Tucker Foundation charities,” said Sturm.

“There was a Bike and Build presentation and I thought this is the way I could do something about affordable housing.”

The energetic Sturm, who has taken up rugby at Dartmouth, decided to go for the ride.

“You had to write an essay with the application saying why you are interested in the issue and what you bring to the table,” said Sturm. “I was wait-listed at first; I found out I was in at the end of winter-term.”

In a case of being careful what you ask for, Sturm acknowledged that she is not an accomplished cyclist.

“I have no real cycling background other than being in shape for sports,” said Sturm, who had covered 762 miles as of Tuesday morning and will be traveling through Ohio this week.

“I had a broken toe and then I had a big setback when I was concussed for about six weeks after a rugby injury.”

Nevertheless, Sturm is confident that she can go the distance. “It is not hard at the beginning,” said Sturm, who had done some training rides between 25 and 60 miles before heading to Providence.

“We are using Giant bikes; they cost $1,000.00 and we were able to buy them for $400.00. It is an awesome road bike; we are also getting parts contributed by dealers. We do have to fix our own tires on the road.”

For Sturm, hitting the open road will be a welcome contrast to the academic rigors of her freshman year in college.

“It will be nice to see the outside after being stuck inside studying all year at school,” said Sturm, noting that she and her fellow riders will be spending most nights sleeping on floors at YMCAs and churches. “I am really looking forward to getting out and seeing the plains area of the country.”

And most importantly, Sturm will be helping others as she broadens her horizons.

“It gives me a concrete sense of purpose and of making a real contribution to affordable housing,” said Sturm, who plans to make a presentation in Princeton on her trip in late August. “I have already raised $4,000; I never thought I could do that.”

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