With his legs pumping and lungs screaming, Doug Sackman was inspired. He was 19 years old and biking home to Sacramento, Calif., from Reed College in Portland, Ore., where he had just completed his sophomore year as a political science major. He followed the rainy and hilly Pacific Coast for more than 600 miles that trip and wrote a poem about the experience. Now, decades later, his research and teaching interests can be traced back to the main themes of that poem—how people live on the land and with each other in the West. And he still finds that his riding and writing are inextricably linked.