Alfred University News

Tom Quinn ’64 turns 82 and pedals 82 miles; has been bicycling his age since turning 70

To mark his 82nd birthday on February 21, Tom Quinn ’64, rode his bicycle 82 miles, continuing an annual tradition of bicycling the number of miles equivalent to his age that began 12 years ago, when he turned 70.

Tom explained that when he turned 50, he took up bicycling for exercise but stopped after suffering injuries in a nasty fall that required shoulder surgery. He picked the activity back up after moving to Peachtree, GA, in 1997, riding his hybrid bike on the golf cart trails around his residential development. In 2012, Tom acquired a road bike and later signed on to participate in a three-day, 252-mile ride in South Carolina, as part of a team his daughter, Jill, sponsored for a fundraising event supporting Alzheimer’s research.

“My son, Jason, sent me a new road bike, as the hybrid was not suitable” for the long ride, Tom explained. He said Jason, who runs a cycling business in Ames, IA, introduced the family to cycling as a teenager. “Part of my training (for the 252-mile ride) was to ride 70 miles on my 70th birthday.”

Each year since on his birthday, Tom has continued to ride his age. In addition to keeping him fit, he enjoys the time spent with fellow bicycling enthusiasts. “I enjoy the camaraderie of riding with a group; the thrill of going 35 mph downhill; the work and training it takes to stay fit; the competitive nature of getting to the stop sign first or winning the climb up a hill,” he says.

Tom is retired and lives in Peachtree City, located about 30 miles south of Atlanta, with his wife, Shelby Anne (Eckrich) Quinn ’63 (B.A., psychology), who he met while they were students at Alfred. The pair, who were married shortly after Tom graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ceramic engineering, will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in June.

While at Alfred, Tom was a three-year starting offensive lineman and linebacker for the Saxon football team and 1985 he was inducted into the Alfred University Athletics Hall of Fame.  After graduation, Tom served two years with the US Army at Fort Dix, where he was commanding officer of atomic demolition unit and received the Army Commendation Medal.

Tom, who earned an MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1971, describes his professional career as “multifaceted.” After discharge from the Army, he was employed with Xerox Corporation in Rochester, NY, and later with Phillips Information Systems in Dallas, TX.

In 1981 in Dallas, Tom and Shelby formed their own company in the fulfillment industry, QST, Inc., a provider of basic distribution and mail marketing services for other companies. Eleven years later, they sold the company. Tom continued in the fulfillment industry for the remainder of his career as a consultant, retiring at age 70 as the Director of Fulfillment Services for the Mailing & Fulfillment Service Association.