CYCLING SANCTUARY - Spokes Magazine

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CYCLING SANCTUARY - Spokes Magazine

Serving Cyclists in the Mid-Atlantic States

JUNE 2009

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CYCLING SANCTUARY

Maryland's Dorchester County

Photo: courtesy Dorchester County Tourism

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IN THIS ISSUE [ KIDS ADVENTURE CAMP + WILSON BRIDGE + ROCKVILLE'S BELTWAY + MORE ]


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“I DON’T NEED NO STINKING MOTOR....” That’s what

one bike store owner was quoted as saying in a bicycle

trade journal this month.

You don’t know it, but there’s a battle brewing in

the bicycle retail business. A handful of mid-Atlantic

shops have begun to sell electric powered bicycles (ebikes)

alongside the pedal powered models. A majority

have decided not to.

Best Buy, the electronics retailer, recently announced

it will begin offering e-bikes in some of their West

Coast stores, and if they catch on expect to see them

in other stores nationwide.

Many bike retailers, according to industry press, are

choosing not to sell e-bikes because motored powered

(or assisted) bike transit is not part of the bicycle culture

or lifestyle they espouse.

Truth be told, about 20 years ago, I owned a Velo-

Solex, a bicycle that had a gas powered motor that

could be used to assist the pedaling or used to eliminate

pedaling entirely.

It was fun, but hardly exercise. The one time I had to

pedal it was when I ran out of gas in Rock Creek Park.

It was heavy and really tough to pedal all the way

home. I only had it a few months until it was stolen in

front of my apartment building.

I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a motor assisted

bike for years, but everytime I talk to my wife about it,

she points to the garage full of real bikes and asks the

all important question:

“Why?”

I ride a bike to work on nice days (about a 16 mile

round-trip commute) but I don’t have to wear a suit

or nice clothes to the office. I often wonder if I did,

whether an electric bike would take body perspiration

out of the equation (we don’t have an office

shower). But then again, I wonder how I would feel if

I was back in the urban environment of DC, Northern

Virginia or Baltimore, and used bike trails and paths

to get to work. How would I feel riding alongside

electric powered bicycles? Would I be accepting or

would I be resentful, telling them whenever possible

“get on the road with the other powered vehicles!”

I’m still up in the air on this one. I mean, if you want

to get religious about it, how about those new electric

motor driven gear changers on top end road bikes

ridden in the Tour de France. They are, my friends,

motors on bicycles. If the batteries wear out the

gears don’t get changed. Is that truly any different? A

motor is a motor.

The jury is out on this one but watch how your local

bicycle retailers respond in the coming months and

years. Will they “cross the line” and start selling

“motor vehicles,” ooops, I mean “e-bikes” or not?

Bike stores are perhaps best suited to do so since the

platform of an e-bike is a bicycle. But what do we lose

when a bicycle retailer crosses this line? Anything?

Happy trails,

Neil Sandler

Editor & Publisher

ON

COVER

THE

Maryland's Dorchester County is a cycling sanctuary.

Photo: courtesy Dorchester County Tourism

page 6

Touring • Racing • Off-Road

Recreation • Triathlon • Commuting

JUNE 2009

SPOKES is published monthly eight times a year — monthly March

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throughout Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and parts

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June 2009

5


CYCLING SANCTUARY

Maryland's Dorchester County

by BRENDA RUBY bruby@verizon.net

Why do we bike? We bike for fitness, sure, but I have a hunch that many of us are hooked

on the intoxicating way biking frees our soul. And what better way to experience personal

freedom than to bike wide open roads with eagles soaring overhead, traversing the same

landscape through which Harriet Tubman ushered dozens of slaves to freedom?

Photo: courtesy Dorchester County Tourism

VISIT BLACKWATER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE in

Dorchester County on the Eastern shore and you can

do just that.

“The first time I rode there I couldn’t believe what

I was seeing. I just had to stop because it was overwhelming.

I’d never seen anything like it.” says

Georgena Terry of Terry Precision Cycles.

Dubbed the Everglades of Maryland, Blackwater is

just a short drive (about an hour and a half) from

Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Northern Virginia,

but seems worlds away, boasting over 28,000 acres of

marshlands, forest, freshwater ponds, and farmland.

Established in 1933 as a haven for birds migrating

along the Atlantic Flyway in the spring and fall, it’s

recognized as an internationally important birding

area which is home to the largest concentration of

bald eagles on the East Coast outside of Florida.

It was trying to spot an eagle that got Terry into trouble,

making her late for a family wedding, but Terry

was so taken with the area that last year she established

the annual Wild Goose Chase Ride to benefit

the refuge. In doing so, she turned on a whole lot of

people to the quiet charms of the sanctuary.

Participant at this year’s ride, Amy Goodwin told

SPOKES, “The scenery was phenomenal. In my mind

I have this ideal picture of the tidal marshes on the

Eastern shore and it came to life as I biked through

Blackwater.”

Likewise, Stephanie Helline declared, “It fills your

senses! From afar you can’t even see that there’s a

road to ride on but in a matter of minutes you’re surrounded

by this magical combination of open water,

marshes, and sky as far as the eye can see. The road

winds through it all, surrounding you with the refuge.”

Rave reviews like that don’t surprise Maggie Briggs,

the Visitor Services Manager for Blackwater. She’s

seen biking increase considerably over the years. She

stresses that the refuge offers wildlife-dependent recreational

activities, which means that any biking or

other activity, such as hiking or kayaking, must take

into consideration the purpose of Blackwater, which is

to protect the beautiful environs and its inhabitants.

Occasionally that means partially closing trails to protect

nesting birds or animals.

A trip to the Visitor’s Center will acquaint you with

your options where you’ll be able to pick up maps

and information on nearby trails. There are two short

two- and three-mile paved hiking trails which can easily

become stops along the 20- and 25-mile bike routes

suggested by the refuge.

Pick up the offered bike map and you’ll see that you

can combine both loops for a longer, more comprehensive

ride. Be sure to inquire about parking as

Briggs mentions that bikers should park at one of the

trailheads and the refuge does not offer parking for

big events or rides; case and point, Terry’s ride started

from South Dorchester High School, just off of Route

16, about 8 miles north of the refuge (for ease, location

is noted on the refuge’s bike map and is the

northernmost point on their north loop).

Steve Palincsar, biker and often ride leader for the

Potomac Pedalers Touring Club (PPTC) and Oxon

Hill Bike Club, has, on occasion, led group rides

to Blackwater and recalls that Time Magazine once

called the place “nature on the throne of her glory.”

Photo: Betsy & Mike LaPadulam

To him, “this place defines ‘scenic’” and communing

with nature is a distinct possibility. Fond of back

roads, Palinscar recalls leading a group down Liners

Road, one of the least used roads in the area at the

southern edge of the refuge and describes, “As we

were riding down the narrow one-lane wide blacktop,

surrounded on both sides by tall marsh grass and

trees, a large bird with a wing span of almost six feet

swooped down and just barely skimmed the top of my

helmet before it soared up and rested on a branch.

The rider behind me exclaimed, ‘He’s taken us to

Jurassic Park!’”

Most experiences are little more serene, but no less

dramatic. Landscapes that haven’t changed much

in 200 years and an area rich in history give Susan

Meredith of Blackwater Paddle & Pedal an excitement

she passes on to anyone lucky enough to go on one of

her kayak or bike tours.

Betsy LaPadula did just that recently and raved not

only about Meredith’s knowledge, but how she managed

to get 15 participants into kayaks and on their

way within minutes of a paddling demonstration.

Meredith notes that the refuge offers different scenery

throughout the year and that no trip is ever quite

the same. “In the fall the Monarch butterflies come

through and you should see them all! Then we wait

for the geese to come through—people say the earlier

we see them, the worse the winter.”

Blackwater Paddle & Pedal (BP&P) is in itself a destination.

It operates out of the Bucktown Village Store,

which, according to Meredith, is not only the oldest

operating store in Maryland dating to at least the

Photo: courtesy Dorchester County Tourism

6 June 2009


Photo: Bill Thompson

1830s, but also the place of Harriet Tubman’s first act

of defiance.

Meredith explains, “The local people call her ‘Minty’

because here real name was Araminta. Well, Minty was

working as a field hand as a young teen and was sent

to the store to pick up supplies. While she was here,

she was commanded to help hold a slave boy down

for a beating, but Minty refused and because of this,

the boy had a chance to run away. But as he was running

away, an iron weight was thrown to try to stop

him; it hit Minty instead. After that she had seizures

and narcolepsy but this is what she credits to giving

her the visions from God telling her to lead others to

freedom.”

It’s an amazing story and just one of the nuggets

Meredith is eager to share with you on their

Underground Railroad Bike Tour. The tour, about 20

miles and three hours long, goes to Tubman’s birth

place, church, and along the rivers and marshes that

Tubman took refuge in while helping to usher over 70

slaves to freedom in dozens of trips.

Looking out and knowing that you’re seeing pretty

much what Harriet Tubman saw is a powerful thing

Photo: Betsy & Mike LaPadulam

Photo: courtesy Dorchester County Tourism

and it’s not lost on the Merediths. She and her husband

Jay are the fourth generation of Merediths to

own the store. You can rent bikes or kayaks from

them, hire them for personal tours, go on one of

their group tours, or simply visit the landmark store

and start a ride from there.

Leaving the store and taking all “lefts” will give you a

20-mile loop that passes two rivers with plenty of wildlife

sightings like hawks and ospreys.

Amanda Fisher, assistant director of tourism for

Dorchester County says the flat terrain, and wide scenic

roads have increased in popularity among cyclists.

With 1700 miles of shoreline along the bay and rivers,

she understands why saying, “With pretty water views,

low traffic, and roads with safe, wide shoulders, you

could bike just about anywhere and have a good time.”

The Terry ride, which attracted 700 riders this past

May, is just one example of the cycling boon in the

region. Joining the already established Eagleman

Ironman, widely popular because it’s a Kona qualifier,

and the ChesapeakeMan Ultra Triathlon, two

more rides will debut in 2009: the Six Pillars

Century, which coincided with the Terry Wild Goose

Chase ride in early May, and the Rivet 100 Tour de

Dorchester, slated for August 22.

Matt Beletsky manages On the Rivet bike shop in

Cambridge and can vouch for the recent upswing.

“We’ve seen a huge increased interest in biking even

since the shop opened just a little over a year ago.”

Located in downtown Cambridge, On the Rivet

doesn’t rent bikes, but is a full-service bike shop catering

to all, from the recreational rider to the serious

triathlete; the shop specializes in vintage restorations

and is worth a visit just to see their unique leatherwrapped

frames. He notes that while the whole area

is cycle friendly with very aware drivers making it an

easy place for beginners and families, anyone looking

for a more challenging workout can always look to

work against what he calls the Eastern Shore mountains—the

wind.

Beletsky also reminds that there’s more to the area

saying, “Most people know of Blackwater, but there

are a lot of other little areas and towns out towards

Vienna and North Dorchester.”

As a local rider, he’ll often ride with Cambridge Multi-

Sport on some of their weekly rides.

“It’s a pretty welcoming group,” he says and encourages

visitors interested in spirited rides to contact them.

SANCTUARY continued on p.10















June 2009

7


SANCTUARY continued from p.9

Photo: Bill Thompson

Photo: Bill Thompson

Beletsky, himself, keeps it interesting by varying the

routes, biking into different areas such as out towards

Vienna, or over to the Neck District (which is north,

towards the Bay), or Ragged Point (below the Neck

District and west).

The Dorchester County Tourism Office offers a

cycling brochure showing all these areas and suggested

routes for each. Most of the rides are posed

as out-and-backs, but the map shows how easily they

could be combined.

Assistant Director Fisher says they’ve been overwhelmed

by the response to it, noting it’s their most

requested brochure. Like Beletsky, Fisher also mentions

other attractions along routes, like Spocott

Windmill on Rt. 343, heading out towards the

Neck District, and Old Trinity Church. Constructed

sometime before 1692, it’s thought to be the oldest

Episcopal Church and is a nice stop on the way out to

Taylor’s Island. Bike even further south to Hooper’s

Island and you’ll be treated to spectacular bay views

while cycling through small fishing villages and towns.

Says Betsy LaPadula, “It is quite something to see the

lifestyle of the watermen of in this region.”

Wherever your biking preference, the perfect hub

for any weekend in the area would be Cambridge.

This small town is going through a huge revitalization

with new restaurants and stores opening “almost

every week it seems,” says Fisher. One of the newer

restaurants, Bella Luna is already attracting a lot of

attention and rave reviews (the pasta with sausage

and sun-dried tomato is a real winner). It joins the

Bistro Poplar, a French restaurant which just made

Chesapeake Life magazine’s list of top 20 restaurants.

For a hopping nightspot with live music, there’s

Jimmie & Sook’s, and if water views are your thing,

Portside and Snapper’s won’t disappoint.

For off-the-bike entertainment try strolling along

Cambridge’s historic High Street, popping into one of

its five art galleries, antique stores, or any handful of

other shops and boutiques ranging from the eclectic

(Pear Tree South) to the hip (Sunnyside). For accommodations,

the Holiday Inn Express and the Hyatt

Regency are just a few minutes drive from the downtown

area, but if you want a four-post B&B experience,

the stately elegance of the Victorian Mill Street

Inn would certainly satisfy.

If biking the pristine and historic area isn’t enough of

a reason to visit, Fisher reminds that “there’s a lot to

look forward to” and a visit to the website (www.tourdorchester.org)

will fill you in on all of the county’s

upcoming events—the Taste of Cambridge in July,

the Seafood Festival in August, the Native American

Festival in September, and the Kite Festival in October

to name just a few.

Ride with Professional Cyclist, Floyd Landis!

Save-A-Limb Ride

Metric Century – 30 Mile – 6 Mile Family Fun Ride

Benefits the

Save-A-Limb Foundation

Register Online Today!

www.savealimbride.org

Photo: Bill Thompson

Sunday – September 13, 2009 – 8:00am – 2:00pm

Oregon Ridge Park – Hunt Valley, MD

Picnic, Fitness Fair, Kid’s Carnival & Fun

FREE

CLASSIFIEDS @

www.spokesmagazine.com


8 June 2009


Photo: Georgena Terry

Still, the favorite for most will probably be gliding

through Blackwater, with marshes stretching as far as

the eye can see and birds filling the water and skies.

But before embarking, remember this bit of sage

advice from Palinscar, “Don’t forget the insect repellent.

You may encounter deer flies; they may be tiny,

but they have a full-sized bite!”

Resources:

Dorchester County Office of Tourism

www.tourdorchester.org

Dorchester County Cycling Guide

www.tourdorchester.org/downloads/brochures/

cycling_guide.pdf

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

www.fws.gov/blackwater/

Friends of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

www.friendsofblackwater.org

(FAQs tab offers downloadable bike map

www.friendsofblackwater.org/bikemap.pdf)

Blackwater Paddle & Pedal

www.blackwaterpaddleandpedal.com, 410-901-9255; 4303

Bucktown Road, Cambridge, MD 21613

kayak tours--$70/person; bike tours--$65/person;

bike rentals (Trek 7100)--$30/half-ay, $35/day

On the Rivet Cycle & Sport

www.ontherivt.com, 410-221-9981;

2833 Ocean Gateway E., Cambridge, MD 21613

Cambridge Multi-Sport

www.cambridgemultisport.com

Annual Rides:

Wild Goose Chase www.terrybicycles.com

Six Pillars Century www.6pillarscentury.org

ChesapeakeMan Ultra Triathlon & Eagleman Ironman

www.tricolumbia.org

Rivet 100 Tour de Dorchester

www.ontherivet.com/Rivet100Main.htm

Accommodations:

Holiday Inn Express

410-221-9900; 2715 Ocean Gateway, Cambridge, MD

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay

www.chesapeakebay.hyatt.com

410-901-1234; 100 Heron Boulevard, Cambridge, MD

Mill Street Inn Bed & Breakfast

www.millstinn.com

410-901-9144; 114 Mill Street, Cambridge, MD 21613

Photo: Bill Thompson

GIORDANA•CASTELLI•DESCENTE•MAVIC•IBEX•BONTRAGER•FOX



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June 2009

9


COLUMNS

SINGLETRACK by JOE FOLEY jfoley441@gmail.com

Laird Knight, An Overnight Sensation?

It wasn’t mountain biking but cross country skiing

that brought Laird Knight to Davis, West Virginia, but

that move set off a chain of events that has left a massive

imprint on the sport of mountain biking.

Knight first moved to Davis to manage a nordic ski

center in Blackwater Falls State Park. While managing

the ski center. Knight and his fellow employees

would be busy all day while there were guests to be

served, but at the end of the day they’d all still want

to get out to ski. After closing up for the day they’d

head into the woods under the full moon and explore

the woods by moonlight with small headlights to help

them see.

“That really opened my eyes to the possibility of athletic

pursuits at night,” Knight recently told SPOKES.

During the summer would explore the cross country

ski trails on mountain bikes, still a nascent sport at

the time.

By the early 90’s Knight was promoting mountain bike

races, but felt they lacked an opportunity to incorporate

the camaraderie that he felt in the mountain bike

community but that didn’t have any outlet for team

competition.

Advances in lighting and battery technology were

making lights that were lighter and more powerful

and that combined with the embers of the ideas he’d

had while managing the nordic center, elements of

adventure racing, and memories of watching endurance

motor sports like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. At

the awards ceremony of the 1991 Tour of Canaan he

announced his plans for a 24 hour team relay to be

held the next year.

Over the next winter he wrote the rules for this new

type of racing and the 24 Hours of Canaan debuted

the next year.

“It was the culmination of ten years of race promoting

and mountain biking for me” he says. Knight raced

on one of the 36 teams that came out for the inaugural

race and “at the end of the race that first year”,

he said, “we were standing around grinning at each

other. We’d had more fun than even I’d imagined.”

Over the years the original race has moved venues

several times but lives on as the 24 Hours of Big

Bear. Granny Gear has promoted many more races

across the country and established a 24 hour point

series with races that this year will stretch from Utah,

through Wisconsin, and back to 24 hour racing’s West

Virginia roots.

Knight made a decision to scale back the point series

to 3 races this year to make sure he’s got plenty of

time for the 3 children he and his wife Barbara have

recently adopted from Ethiopia, 10 year old twin

brother and sister Redeit and Helen and their 8 year

old brother Abel.

“I don’t know how parents get anything done,” says

Knight.

Knight lived in Ethiopia as an army brat for a time as

a child.

“I remember it as being a great adventure.” On their

recent trip to Addis Ababa to bring the children

home he visited the house where he’d lived as a child,

now the residence for the Embassy of Sweden, and

recounted a story for one of the guards. Knight told

the guard about how he’d learned ride a bike on the

circular gravel drive at the house and showed him

how he still has a scar from a wipe out on the drive.

“The Ethiopian people are very friendly, and love a

good story,” says Knight, but he still wasn’t able to get

the guard to let him in to look around inside the house.

Laird and family (clockwise)

Laird, son Rediet, step-daughter Jordan Roof,

son Abel, daughter Helen, wife Barbara.

Knight also realized only recently that he had a

strange connection to another member of mountain

biking royalty, this time through his time in Ethiopia.

While reminiscing about their time in Addis Ababa

and looking at the house on Google maps, his brother

and sister mentioned knowing a Neddy Overend

while they were there. Knight did a little digging and

sure enough, it was the one and only national and

world champion Ned Overend who’d lived two doors

down.

“I really didn’t know Ned at all, I just remember him

as a 5-year old might. He would have been 9 or 10 at

the time and he was a lanky goofy kid,” said Knight.

This year’s Granny Gear National Points Series will

consist of 3 races this year, kicking off with the 24

Hours of Big Bear in Hazelton, West Virginia on June

13th and 14th, continuing on to the 24 Hours of 9

Mile at Nine Mile Park, Wisconsin, and closing with

the traditional season ending 24 Hours of Moab in

Utah.

Granny Gear purchased the 9 Mile race from Kevin

Eccles and TS Events last year after Eccles approached

him. The 24 Hours of 9 Mile has become a very successful

race in the last 10 years, and has been the USA

Cycling 24 Hour National Championship event for

the past three years.

According to Knight, “The race has a great reputation

and a great community around it, people love it and

keep coming back year after year.” That, he says, is

“the keystone to a successful event.”

Even though the 24 Hours of 9 Mile won’t be the

national championships this year, Granny Gear will be

hosting them. When the previous venue fell through,

Knight suggested Moab, already a very popular race,

as a venue and USA Cycling liked the idea. 2010 will

see 24 hours nationals visit the birthplace of 24 hour

racing for the first time as nationals will be at the 24

Hours of Big Bear. Knight intends to bid for nationals

again in 2011 for 9 Mile, but will gladly welcome any

competitive bids.

So what’s on tap for our local race, Big Bear, this year?

In a word, kids. Because he’s seen such an increase

in the number of families with children traveling to

races, Knight and Granny Gear are going to be working

hard to make their races more child and family

friendly. Granny Gear races have long featured kids

races, but these have mostly been around the venue.

This year “we’ll be doing a real race in the woods for

the bigger kids” says Knight, and they’re also working

with the venue owners to created a shaded kids play

area along the side of the venue.

Knight also hopes to see some of the pro’s out racing

at Big Bear this year to scope out the course for next

year’s national championship race.

What’s next in mountain bike racing? Knight hopes

it’ll be “mountain biking itself.” But he’s hopeful and

for the first time in several years he’s seeing fields

growing at grassroots races in West Virginia, two and

three-hundred strong fields, with more kids coming

out. For kids, he says, “mountain biking has so much

to offer, it empowers them.”

Mid-Atlantic Super Series in Full Swing

The Mid-Atlantic Super Series is in full swing with several

rounds complete, including a day of epic weather

conditions at the Escape from Granogue. Racing

continues this month with Tour de Tykes on June 7th,

Stupid 50 Marathon on June 14th, Guy’s Neshaminy

Classic on June 21st, and the MASS Festival Weekend

in Marysville, Pa., running June 26-28. Visit www.masuperseries.com

for more information.

FountainheadProject.org

Members of Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts

(MORE) are embarking on an ambitious plan to turn

the trail network at Fountainhead Regional Park in

Clifton, Va., into a model of sustainable, technical,

and challenging singletrack. While the existing trail

system is technical and challenging, it’s got numerous

sustainability issues that need to be addressed.

Implementation of the full trails plan developed by

IMBA Trail Solutions would result in a stacked loop

trail system that would provide 12-16 miles of trail

with areas suitable for many skill levels. For more

information, or to donate to the project, visit www.

fountainheadproject.org

National Trails Day is June 6th

Take some time on June 6th to give back to the trails

you love. National Trails Day, organized nationally by

the American Hiking Society, encourages the public

to discover and celebrate their local trails. Many local

advocacy organizations will be holding events for

National Trails Day, so keep an eye out for them. You

can also get a list of events by state on the American

Hiking Society website at www.americanhiking.org/

ntd.aspx

June 7th is Cyclefest at Lake Fairfax Park

One of the many events taking place to coincide with

National Trails Day is Cyclefest at Lake Fairfax Park

in Reston, Va., organized by The Bike Lane. Events

include supported mountain bike and road rides in

the morning, an expo area featuring demo bikes from

Trek and Gary Fisher along with other vendors, and

workshops in the after ranging from mountain bike

skills clinics conducted by MORE to yoga for cyclists.

Registration is $35 on the day and includes lunch.

The expo area and demo rides are free and do not

require registration. All proceeds from Cyclefest will

go to rejuvenation of the Lake Fairfax trail system.

10 June 2009


SPEEDWEEK GOES DOWNHILL AT WISP

AND SEVEN SPRINGS

Gravity East, America’s biggest downhill racing series, wraps up

its Southern Swing with Speedweek June 5 through June 14th.

Featuring six days of lift assisted riding and training in a ten day

span on two mountains less than 50 miles apart, Speedweek

will be punctuated by four days of USAC sanctioned Gravity

East downhill racing and the opening round of the Gravity East

e.thirteen Dual Slalom Series where riders will be competing for

well over $10,000 in cash and prizes.

Speedweek kicks off with the Chumba Racing Capital Cup at

McHenry, Maryland’s Wisp resort, June 5-7, before continuing

the following weekend at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in

Champions, Pa.

In a departure from the normal downhill program, the Chumba

Capital Cup will be run as a combined-time event as racers

tackle two different courses over two days, plus a dual slalom,

for over $10,000 in cash and prizes.

Race promoter Mike Hartlove of The Racer’s Edge explains,

“We’ll have practice all day on Friday. Then on Saturday, we’ll

start with dual slalom qualifying on one of the best courses in

the country before moving up the big hill for the first downhill.

After the downhill we’ll have the e.thirteen dual eliminations

and a party, though I’m not sure there’s much of a distinction

between the two, before moving on to the post race party at

Mountain State Brewing Company. Then on Sunday, we’ll have

the second downhill on a different course. The winner of the

Chumba Capital Cup Downhill will have the best combined

total time from the two downhill runs.” With the addition of

a no-added-cost day of riding the Monday following the race,

an entry fee to the Chumba Racing Capital Cup gives racers a

virtual four-day lift ticket at one of the most active four-season

resorts in the East.

The following weekend, June 13-14, the series heads 47 miles

due north for the downhill at Seven Springs. As at Wisp the

prior weekend, a Mad March Racing Pre-Race Clinic will be

held at Seven Springs from 8 – 10 a.m. on practice day, Sat.,

June 13. Mad March Racing, founded in 1998 by Shaums March,

provides hands-on mountain biking instruction. Clinics feature

detailed instruction by certified personable, professional riders,

delivering personalized bike fit with secrets passed down

from some of the top pro riders and mechanics in the industry.

Participants for this clinic must pre-register.

WINNING SUBMISSION IN THE DOMINION RIVERROCK DIGITAL PHOTO CONTEST

Photo by Marlene Frazier, courtesy of Sports Backers

According to Gravity East Director Dan McDonald, Speedweek

is an important part of the development of gravity racing in

America. “In order to hone their skill in a dangerous and competitive

sport, racers need constant practice on real downhill

courses and trails. Being able to accumulate four consecutive

days of practice and racing at Wisp, and six days of runs within

a 10 day span if they also go to Seven Springs, is like being in a

highly effective training development camp. But it’s a camp that

also has great food, jet skiing and four wheeler rentals, golf and

a mountain coaster.”

For more information log onto www.GravityEastSeries.com.

EXPERIENCE ANNAPOLIS BY BIKE

Maryland’s capital city Annapolis is hosting a “experience

Annapolis” weekend, June 12-14, that includes seeing the city

and its many scenic and historic Chesapeake Bay side sights

from the seat of your bicycle.

Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer told SPOKES “Annapolis is proud

of its environmental heritage. During your visit to Annapolis

you can bicycle around the town, touring public/private partnerships

that have blossomed into bike trails, green roofs, the

region’s first urban living classroom, conservation easements

preserved by the nation’s only municipally-owned land trust,

and Bayscape gardens.”

The cycling component of the weekend is being orchestrated by

Capital Bicycles, the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club, Wholeness

for Humanity, and the city of Annapolis.

Organized bike rides will range from 13 to 66 miles on routes

designed by experienced Annapolis cyclists.

The 13 mile “Eco Tour” shows over 50 activities including rain

gardens and community greening projects.

Those wishing to stay for the weekend should note that the Best

Western Annapolis, 2520 Riva Road (888-333-7959) is serving

as the host hotel for cyclists. A whole weekend of activities,

including a boat tour, Saturday dinner, ice cream social and City

Hall reception are planned.

For more information go to www.bikepptc.org

12 June 2009


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BICYCLE BELTWAY by ROLAND LEISER

The Millennium Trail, known affectionately as the Bicycle Beltway, circles 12 miles around

the northern Washington, D.C. suburb of Rockville, Md.

TRULY THE BICYCLE BELTWAY is as varied a ride as

you’d likely find in the metropolitan area. Almost

exclusively off-road and paved, the route took me past

modest homes on First Street (Route 28), through the

commercial areas of East Gude Drive and along forested

flanks of West Gude Drive.

Further west, the trail snaked through woods away

from the din of vehicle noise, wound around level

and gentle grades through a subdivision of huge

townhouses and detached homes the size of mansions

and along Wooten Parkway past the city’s

elite Thomas S. Wooten High School (named for a

Revolutionary War figure, so I was told). It continued

briefly through Orchard Ridge Park, traversed I-270

over the Friendship Bridge and headed across Viers

Mill Road and back to my starting point on Grandin

Street off of First Street.

I chose a mid-Friday afternoon for the ride and arbitrarily

picked that location to park, eight miles from

my Silver Spring, Md., home. A service road with

a share-it-with-bikers sign was on the other side of

First Street where the trail eventually dog-legs on to

Norbeck Road.

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301 953-1223

301 490-7744

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Saturday: 9-6

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Thomas Farm

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restrooms and

drinking water are available. To “go green”, drive your

vehicle at a Metro lot and take your wheels on board

to the Rockville or Shady Grove stations (except during

rush hours and holidays). Get off and head out to

a signed shared-roadway or a preferred through-city

bike route to start your Millennium Trail adventure.

"Although bike trails criss-cross other sections of

Rockville, the Millennium is the city’s only loop," Jon

McLaren, community recreation manager, remarks. A

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Any rider in reasonable physical condition can handle

the steeper grades located just south of the high

school. Heading east from the school, I found two

ascents: a short one that was relatively steep and a

long one that had a gradual pitch. I eventually passed

by Hectic Hill Lane (not an inviting name for bikers)

before reaching route 186.

“East of 270 and toward Route 355, it’s relatively flat,”

McLaren observes, and I would agree with his evaluation.

Virtually all of the trail consists of paved paths

with some sections as wide as 10 feet.

The city’s Recreation and Parks Department has put

up at least 30 “Rockville Millennium Trail” signs, says

McLaren; thus, you’ll never get lost.

Rockville inaugurated the trail project in the

Millennium year of 2000 after adopting a Bikeway

Master Plan in 1998 and revised it in 2004. While a

large part of the pavement had existed previously, the

city “laid out new sections paved specifically for the

trail,” he says.

Last summer, the city’s Division of Traffic and

Transportation published a detailed area map, which

marks the trail in purple and includes all kinds of

neat stuff on the reverse side. Examples include summaries

of state laws on biking, safety tips, maintenance

advice, information on traveling with bikes on

public transportation plus contact phone numbers

for city officials, web sites for biking information and

names and phone numbers of Rockville bike shops

including Revolution Cycles where I had found my

map. For further information, call (240) 314-8626;

email, bikeways@rockvillemd.gov.

Except for one intersection where I wasn’t sure

whether to turn right or left, the map directions are

abundantly clear. And the publication includes a

street index.

"Officially, the trail begins at mile zero just outside

the Community Center at West Gude Drive and West

Montgomery Ave.," McLaren explains. In addition,

mile markers are embedded in the path pavement.

Ahead are plans to widen some trail sections to eight

feet on West Montgomery Avenue and Darnestown

Road, he adds.

Between writing notes, taking photos, talking to riders

and waiting to cross busy intersections, the trip lasted

two hours and 15 minutes. At East Gude Drive and

Frederick Road, an Exxon station provides a picnic

table where you can rest, drink some water, or check

the map.

In late afternoon on weekdays, you’ll see plenty

of biking commuters, according to Bill Majurski,

who often rides from his home in Gaithersburg to

Rockville shops. He and his wife Lynn had been riding

on a tandem, recumbent bike when I met them

on the trail.

"As envisioned by the Bikeway Master Plan, Rockville

residents would utilize the Millennium Trail to travel

to work, to school, to run errands and for recreation,"

McLaren says. Surely, the city of Rockville has thought

out this project well. The city inspects, sweeps and

cleans the trails and I observed no pot-holes or other

obstacles.

If there are drawbacks to this biking treat, they are

the major intersections where you must press a “walk”

button to cross and wait. Among them are Norbeck

Road and West Gude Drive, West Gude Drive and

Frederick Road/Route 355 and Wooten Parkway and

Route 189.

When I passed by Wooten High, dozens of teenagers

out of class had crowded the sidewalk bike path and

I carefully made my way past them, ringing my bell.

At a nearby intersection, Matt Tao, catering manager

at Carmen’s Italian Ices & Café, was busy serving ices

out of a mobile cart. Twice a week in good weather,

he sells the ices from the cart but sorry, bikers, not on

weekends.

14 June 2009


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Columbia Triathlon

In 2007, Chrissie Wellington became the first British

athlete to win the Ironman World Championship in

Kona. Last year, she won Kona again and this April

she won Ironman Australia. In fact, the 32-year-old

Wellington won her last seven races, including the

Alp D’Huez Long Course Triathlon in France, the

Ironman European Championship in Berlin, and

Timberman 70.3 in New Hampshire, prior to entering

the Columbia Triathlon in Columbia, Md., on May 17.

Wellington, however, was bested by not one, but three

women with local ties, and finished a frustrated sixth

overall at the 26th annual event in Columbia. Still

need convincing that the mid-Atlantic is a triathloning

hotbed of talent?

Rebeccah Wassner, 34, originally from Montgomery

County and fresh off a win at St. Anthony’s Triathlon

earlier this spring in St. Petersburg, beat Wellington

and successfully defended her Columbia title.

Wassner’s time of 2:07:25, didn’t match last year’s

mark – the chilly and rainy weather likely had something

to do that – but nonetheless she led wire-to-wire.

On the men’s side, 24-year-old Terenzo Bozzone, of

Auckland, New Zealand, won in dramatic fashion,

catching 20-year-old Andrew Yoder of Columbia, Pa.,

over the last mile and a half. Bozzone posted a time of

1:52:45 across the hilly, 1.5 K swim, 41 K bike, and 10

K run event, 10 seconds ahead of Yoder, who also took

second in last year's race.

“I pushed myself the whole way,” said Wassner, who

came out of the water first. “Christine Wellington was

in the race and I knew I had to stay focused. On the

bike, I kept saying to myself, ‘When is she going to

pass me?”

It never happened, in fact, it was Margaret Shapiro,

33, from Herndon, Va., who nearly caught Wassner on

the bike.

“I saw Margaret, and I knew that she hadn’t raced in a

while, and that was actually inspiring,” Wassner said.

Shapiro, who won the inaugural Columbia IronGirl

race in 2006 on this same course, took second among

the women, posting a time of 2:10:22.

Wassner’s twin sister Laurel, a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

survivor, took third. Rebecca and Laurel now live in

New Paltz, New York and Hoboken, New Jersey, respectively.

The Wassners, as part of their participation were

also representing the locally-based Ulman Cancer

Fund for Young Adults and wore “Team Fight” jerseys.

Rebecca said the next local race she’s concentrating

on is the I.T.U. championships in Washington, D.C.

on June 21 and then the Life Time triathlon series

and races in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Wellington, one the top triathletes ever to compete in

Columbia, admirably refused to make excuses about

her performance. She blamed neither the lack of

ideal conditions nor, the fact, she is probably better

suited to the longer races.

“The weather was the same for everybody, I just felt

flat today,” Wellington told SPOKES. “It’s true, I am

not a short course specialist, but that wasn’t it – I

didn’t have ‘the buzz’ all day.”

Wellington made a point that despite the early morning

rain, the race organizers did a great job getting

the course ready. She added, in fact, she used to live

on the East Coast, and that she’d always heard race

director Robert Vigorito always put on terrific events.

Vigorito and Columbia’s reputation, she said, was a

large part of her motivation for coming to Columbia.

She also acknowledged it was also intended to serve as

a positive training race for her – a chance to work out

on the hills and work on her speed.

Now, however, she has to learn to deal with a result

well below her expectations. Wellington said she

learned she must get out faster in the swim on the

shorter races, but the bigger challenge will be learning

to cope with disappointment.

“My lesson will be dealing with this absolutely disappointing

result, learning to deal with that mentally,

and not get down on myself, “ she said. “The only way

is for me to grow from this experience. “

Bozzone, much like Wellington, is coming off an

outstanding 2008. He set a new course record last at

both the Clearwater, Fla., 70.3 World Championships,

and the Vineman 70.3. He also took first-place at the

Kansas and Boise, Idaho 70.3 races, and XTERRA,

New Zealand. Earlier this year, he took second at his

first full Ironman event in New Zealand.

“I had a pretty good swim – I was right on somebody’s

feet the whole way and I felt a little bad about that

though,” said Bozzone, smiling afterwards. “And then

I felt like a got into a good rhythm on the bike. I

thought I was in a good rhythm at least, until Andrew

(Yoder) passed me like I was standing still. I mean,

I was thinking, isn’t Lance Armstrong racing in Italy

right now?”

Bozzone acknowledged the weather wasn’t easy to

deal with.

“I did have a little trouble turning the knobs on my

cycling shoes, my hands were pretty cold,” he said. “I

prefer it hot.”

Bozzone added that like many of the top New Zealand

and Australian triathletes, he was a swimmer first, and

then picked up running and added cycling. He has

been doing triathlons, however, for close to 10 years,

and won a junior world championship title in 2003.

“My main goal this year is Kona in October, and then

Clearwater after that,” he said.

16 June 2009


Local clubs turnout

As usual, the early-season Columbia event attracted a

huge, sell-out field of over 2,000 athletes. Numerous

clubs from the Mid-Maryland Triathlon Club, to the

Annapolis and D.C Tri Clubs, to the Delaware Swim

and Fitness Center and the new, Gaithersburg-based

Moco Multi-sport Club pitched tents and set up postrace

buffets.

Chip Warfel, president of the Mid-Maryland Triathlon

Club, said membership there has just risen over 300

for the first-time ever.

“This is pretty much our ‘home’ course,” Warfel said.

“We had about 80-85 members racing today. We set

up for 120-125, including friends and family. We had

members out here at 4:30 a.m. getting ready.”

Warfel noted that Mid-Maryland attracts members

from not just Howard County, but into Baltimore

and Montgomery County as well. He expects big

Mid-Maryland turnouts for the upcoming Eagleman

Triathlon in Cambridge and the annual late-season

IronGirl race.

“We’ll also have a smaller group doing the Liberty

to Liberty race (New York to Philadelphia) and the

American Triple-T, a three-day race in Ohio,” said

Warfel, among other events.

Warfel said that his main focus over the past two years

as president has been organizing more club training

opportunities. Currently, Mid-Maryland weekday rides

are held every Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, they

put together a run-bike-run session, and on Thursday

mornings they hold open water swims on the Magothy

River in Arnold.

Saturdays and Sundays, they offer long runs and long

bike rides, respectively. And Warfel said, members

contact each other regularly via e-mail and chat and

organize smaller two and three-member workouts,

including swimming at Sandy Point.

The Columbia Tri is also a big event each year for the

Maryland Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma

Foundation’s Team-in-Training. Julie LaFee, a spokesperson

for TNT, said that they brought 26 athletes

to Centennial Park this year, including about 20 who

were attempting their first-ever triathlon. LaFee said,

as a group, those 26 participants raised $95,000 for

the foundation.

“We’ve been doing Columbia for about seven years,”

LaFee said. “We did the Frederick triathlon and have

18 or 19 doing Eagleman. Our biggest event is the

Baltimore Running Festival in October. We also do

the Seagull Century and the Marine Corp Marathon.

And we’ll be back here for IronGirl.” LaFee added

that several TNT slots are still available for most of

those races, some of which are otherwise sold out.

Eric Suro, 29, was one of the Team in Training rookie

triathletes. He said that several co-workers at Black

and Decker in Towson talked him into attempting his

first triathlon. He’s dropped 10 pounds since training

started and said he definitely wanted to tackle more

tri’s, probably sprints, this season.

“I had no idea about how to train for a triathlon and

Team in Training really helped in that regard,” said

Suro, who bought his first road bike shortly before

beginning their regimen seven months ago. He also

added that the fund raising, initially, seemed as daunting

as tackling the triathlon, but the Leukemia and

Lymphoma Foundation helped him get a strong start

there as well.

Washington, D.C., grabbed second, third and fourth,

respectively, among the amateur men.

Lou Cookson, 60, of Hampton, N.J., in 2:37:43, won

the Grandmaster’s title on men’s side, and Cathy

Wilson, 56, of McLean, won the Grandmaster’s title

on the women’s side in 2:45:50. James Courtney, 19,

of Woodbine, Md., was the top teenager, and Matthew

Shanks of Odenton, won the 20-24 age category. Dan

O’Connell of Herndon, won the 30-34 age group.

David Cascio of Reston, and Cal Biesecker of

Barboursville, Va., took first and second, respectively,

in the 45-49 age group. Thomas Stroup of Great Falls,

won the 55-59 category. David Adams of Gaithersburg,

and Larry Atkins of Washington, D.C. grabbed first

and second, respectively, in the 60-64 group. David

McNeely of Glenn Arm, Md., and Joe Amato of Ellicott

City, went one-two, respectively in the 65-69 group.

On the women’s side, Kristen Andrews, 28, of

Bethesda, won the 25-29 age category, Andrea Williams

of Annapolis, won the 35-39 age group, and Cheryl

McMurray of Fairfax, won the 40-44 group. Leslie

Knibb and Lange Carter, both of Washington, D.C,

went first and second, respectively, in the 45-49 group.

Top local finishers

Other local top local finishers included Lindsey

Jerdonek of Washington, D.C., who took eighth

among the professional women. Connie Chow Dowler

of Kensington, Md., finished fourth among amateur

female athletes, in 2:23:32. Kyle Hooker of Annapolis,

Chip Berry of Springfield, and Zachary Britton of

June 2009

17


WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE

BIKE PATH A COMMUTER'S DELIGHT?

by LISA KILDAY

THIS 12-FOOT-WIDE PATH will connect Virginia’s Mt.

Vernon trail and the short trail leading to Maryland’s

Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at

the National Harbor, which both navigate along the

Potomac River on their respective sides.

The 1.1-mile path will feature a panoramic view where

bikers and runners can view the Capitol Skyline, Old

Town Alexandria, National Harbor, and the surrounding

parkland from the bridge.

The north side of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge bike

path will include several “bump outs” where people

can step out of the traffic of the bike path and enjoy

the view.

One of the biggest improvements provided by the

Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project is the newly created

Washington Street Deck adjacent to the Mt. Vernon

Trail located in Alexandria, Va. The bridge construction

project expanded the popular bicycle path from a

narrow six-foot wide sidewalk to a large 200 x 200 foot

hub that suspends over the Beltway.

John Undeland, the public affairs director of the

Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project, told SPOKES that this

deck would help commuters and recreational cyclists

and runners to safely navigate the nearby bike trails.

Undeland also told SPOKES that each of the five trails

form “spokes” of a hub on the large cantilevered deck.

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cross the Capitol Beltway for the first time.

As shown, from the Washington Street Deck, one can

travel north to Old Town and DC, south to Mt. Vernon,

east to Jones Point Park or Prince Georges County,

and west to the newly created Route 1 pedestrian path.

Although only partially opened, the wide Washington

Street Deck has already alleviated the bottleneck in the

south end of Old Town created by converging cyclists,

joggers, and walkers that were jammed on its former

narrow path.

Undeland advised SPOKES that the path from the

Washington Street Deck to Jones Point Park is unfinished,

however, the park is accessible from the waterfront.

An additional bike path is also being built at the

east side of Telegraph Road near Eisenhower Avenue

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18 June 2009


path from Telegraph Road will lead to the Washington

Street Deck. Access to Huntington Avenue will also be

included in the new trail system. It is clear that when

the Washington Street Deck is completed, it will greatly

enhance commuting options in Virginia.

Traveling into Maryland, cyclists will follow a ramp

from the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Beltway

to a short waterfront trail to reach the Gaylord Resort

at the National Harbor. The National Harbor was built

in 2008 with a conference center, hotels, apartments,

restaurants, stores, and a marina. As shown in the

photo, this ramp will be a large deck over the Beltway

at the bridge’s northern end.

Undeland told SPOKES that the ramp and the short

paved trail to the National Harbor will include interpretative

signage describing the local stone, wildlife,

and foliage. There will also be several benches on the

ramp and along the trail to the National Harbor.

Katrina Washington, an employee of Peterson

Companies that manages the National Harbor, told

SPOKES that there are many bicycle racks on the

premises. She explained that the National Harbor is

encouraging cyclists to visit and consider using the

ferry to cross the Potomac River. The passenger ferry

operates from the National Harbor to Old Town year

round. Bicycles are allowed on the ferry for the quick

20-minute trip. The cost of the ferry is $8 one-way and

$16 round trip. Presently, the ferry runs hourly from 10

a.m. to 10 p.m. The ferry will increase the frequency of

trips in the afternoon from May through October. Only

an abbreviated evening winter schedule is available.

Ideally, Prince Georges County would be afforded with

a similar network of bike paths that are found on the

Virginia side. Unfortunately, a direct and safe bike

path does not yet exist from the National Harbor to

the nearby communities of Oxon Hill, Tantallon, and

Ft. Washington. Originally, Congress had established a

recreational trail called the Potomac Heritage National

Trail in southern Prince Georges County to generally

follow the shoreline of the Potomac River. This section

of the Potomac Heritage National Trail was designed

only for bicycle and pedestrian traffic. The Potomac

Heritage National Trail was intended to protect a 700-

mile area tracing the Potomac River Basin and its historic

sites from Pennsylvania to Virginia.

However, the National Harbor group acquired a portion

of this land in Prince Georges County from the

federal government to build their conference center

and shopping complex. With this acquisition, the

developers also persuaded Prince Georges County to

reroute the Potomac Heritage National Trail to a heavily

congested and less desirable area near Oxon Hill

Road. Instead of an idyllic trail along the Potomac, the

proposed bicycle path will be on a busy corridor that

is not easily accessible to the residential communities

of southern Prince Georges County. Once completed,

bicyclists will be forced to “share” the road with car and

truck traffic.

Not surprisingly, the District of Columbia will not have

any access to the 1.1-mile bike trail except for a 300-

foot portion on the Wilson Bridge that is situated on

the southernmost end of DC’s Rosalie Island.

DC’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) in conjunction

with the Federal Highway Administration

(FHA), Virginia’s Department of Transportation

(VDOT), and Maryland’s State Highway Authority

(SHA) are the main agencies designing and supporting

the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project. It is unclear

whether or not DDOT considered building a bike trail

from the Wilson Bridge to I-295. At a minimum, this

trail would potentially serve Bolling Air Force Base

and Anacostia. It has been speculated that the creation

of a bike trail serving DC from the Wilson Bridge was

squashed due to budget concerns and possible environmental

issues. Upon completion of the new bridge,

DC will transfer future ownership rights to Virginia

and Maryland who will act as joint owners. Virginia and

Maryland will have a permanent easement on the small

portion of the bridge over DC’s Rosalie Island.

Despite the fact that the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge

costs over $2.5 billion, it lacks mass public transportation

options, such as, Metro or rail. When the new

bridge is completed, the number of vehicle lanes will

increase from 6 to 12 lanes. However, only one lane

on each span will be designated for High Occupancy

Vehicles (HOV) and buses. The new bridge remains

a drawbridge, which is an inconvenience for all travelers.

Cyclists and pedestrians on the bike trail of the

Woodrow Wilson Bridge will also have to stop and wait

on the bridge when the drawbridge is being opened.

Presently, trails dedicated for cyclists and runners

on the Maryland and DC side are non-existent, thus,

bicycle commuters will not have any options if one

desires to commute from Prince Georges County or

DC to Virginia and back using the new Wilson Bridge

bike path. On the positive side, the construction of

the Washington Street Deck has eased traffic in what

once was an unsafe intersection and connected several

bike paths seamlessly. Once completed, several new

trails will expand Virginia’s bike trail network and

enable people to travel safely from the Rt. 1 Corridor

and Telegraph Road area. The new bike trails will add

miles of fitness trails for cyclists and runners mostly in

Virginia.

Overall, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge is a great addition

for cyclists and runners who would like to enjoy

a trip to the National Harbor without using a car.

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project should also be

applauded for building a wide bike path on the new

bridge.

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June 2009

19


COLUMNS

FAMILY CYCLING 101 by KEVIN BRUGMAN kbrugman@cox.net

A great Dad but questionable Father! That is the

way I felt the weekend of the Tour d’Chesapeake in

Mathews, Va. I was pulling the boys out of school at

noon so that we could miss the Friday afternoon rush.

As a father I felt bad about pulling the boys out of

school for a cycling event, but as a friend said, the

boys would remember the dad and boys cycling trips

long after they forgot what happened in school.

So to further assuage my guilt we added a trip to the

Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park

and did a tour of the battlefield to coincide with my

son’s study of the Civil War.

After we drove through the rain to get to the ride

start on Saturday morning, we were not sure if we

would even be riding. My youngest son was wearing

a cast that had to be kept dry and we were not sure

how well the rain gear would work with that, but as

we got to the start, the weather lightened up and the

rain seemed to look like it was going to hold off for

the day. As we were getting our stuff out of the van,

we looked up to see a full blown caravan ride by. Dad

was in the lead, towing a trail-a-bike pulling a trailer.

Leading the whole pack was mom with a big smile,

because she had gotten dad to pull that train down

the road.

Meeting up with the family at the first rest stop, I

found that everyone was really enjoying themselves.

Leading off the pack was Beth McMartin with husband

John Lewis and their sons Ian and Kyle in tow.

Although this was the first long ride the family had

done with the full rig, the family has put biking as

part of their normal life. John bikes with Ian to school

twice a week and Beth occasionally takes Kyle to preschool

in the bike trailer.

Beth had read about the Tour d’Chesapeake several

years ago when she had researched doing Bike

Virginia, but as Bike Virginia changed to a more hilly

route, she had forgotten about it. Then this year

when John had biked with the boys over to a nearby

playground on the W&OD trail, he found a flyer and

they decided to try the ride with the family.

Kyle often gets bored in the trailer, but on this ride

there were enough stops to keep him interested. Ian

is becoming a serious biker and pulls his own weight

on the trail-a-bike. Like bikers everywhere, he was

also having fun riding with all the different folks and

wanted to do a longer ride.

At the first rest stop, Ian was really interested with the

glass blowing exhibit, while Kyle took great pleasure




chasing the cat. At the subsequent waterfront stops,

both boys had great fun exploring looking for crabs

and other wildlife. Ian found one entire blue crab

shell and collected several other claws. The only problem

Beth and John had was to get the boys back on

the bikes to go onto the next stop.

While this was the first long trip that the family had

done together, John and Beth are not strangers to

bike touring. John has cycled most of his adult life

and when he was in graduate school he did a bike

tour of Scotland. After they got married and lived in

Boston, they took a bike tour of Ireland. To get ready

for the Ireland trip, Beth started commuting the

eight miles to work on her bike. When they moved to

Fairfax County, one of their requirements was to find

a home within a mile of the W&OD bike trail which

John uses to bike commute to work.

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After riding with Beth and John for awhile, we separated

and were soon passed by three gents wearing

blue t-shirts that had four bicycles stenciled on the

back and said “Keeping up with the Joneses”. We met

up with this trio at the next stop and quickly tried to

find out their story. Gus was the leader of the group

riding with Phillip and his son Zach. Gus explained

that they had been riding together as a family for a

little over a year and that his daughter, Sasha, had

designed the shirts for when they rode together.

The family has gotten together to do some of the

charity rides in the area as well as doing the Tour

d’Chesapeake for the first time this year.

Even the threat of bad weather did not keep the families

off their bikes. This seemed to be the trend for the

entire ride, lots of families riding together. One of the

volunteers offered that they had about 550 registered

riders this year and he estimated that about 20% of

the registrants were children under the age of 16.

The ride organizers have worked hard to overcome

the lack of places for families to stay in Mathews.

There are a couple of bed and breakfasts and some

folks open their homes to riders, but nothing very

family friendly. We stayed in Gloucester about 15

miles away. For the more rugged there is a large tent

city behind the school and campers in the parking lot.

To keep the children content, there is a family oriented

movie on Friday night that allows everyone to get a

good night’s sleep for the ride the next day. As I referenced

earlier, there are lots of stops on the shorter

routes allowing the kids to get off the bikes and play.

When the riders finish the ride there is strawberry

short cake waiting and lots of space to get out and

play. It never ceases to amaze me how a child that is

completely exhausted from riding and convinced that

they will fall over dead from exhaustion if they have to

pedal one more stroke can instantly revive and be out

playing with other children in a common play area.

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June 2009

21


DEPARTMENTS

COMMUTER CONNECTION by RON CASSIE ron_cassie@yahoo.com

Matthew Henson Trail’s Grand Opening

On May 9, the Montgomery County, Md., Department

of Parks with agency partners, trail advocates and

walking, jogging and bicyclists celebrated the official

opening of the new 4.5-mile, 8-foot-wide Matthew

Henson Trail. Stretching from Aspen Hill to Layhill

down county just north of Takoma Park, the completion

of the hard-surface trail marks two and a half

years of construction work.

The program of events included park naturalist-led

children’s activities, guided trail hikes led by the

Montgomery County Department of Environmental

Protection, giveaways, refreshments and a special dedication

of the new trail pavilion in honor of Idamae

Garrott—the late Montgomery County, state legislator

whose support helped make the Matthew Henson

State Park possible.

“This trail is an important connector to the Rock

Creek Trail,” said Department of Parks Project

Manager Marian Elsasser.

The Matthew Henson Trail features about a halfmile

of wooden boardwalk, surrounded by parkland,

forested area, thousands of trees and shrubs and the

Turkey Branch Stream—restored by the Montgomery

County Department of Environmental Protection in

cooperation with this trail project. The trail begins at

the intersection with the Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail

at Winding Creek Local Park on Dewey Road, runs

northeast through Matthew Henson State Park near

Hewitt Avenue and Bel Pre Elementary School and

continues east across Layhill Road to Alderton Road.

The $4 million construction project was approved

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by Park and Planning

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County Council in

April 2003.

Construction manager

Bob Kane met with

residents before the

project began to alleviate

concerns that the

trail and increased

foot and bicycle traffic

would lead to crime.

He assured residents

that Maryland-National

Capital Park Police

would patrol the trail

daily.

“The fact is that it is

easier to patrol trails,”

Kane was quoted telling

local homeowner

associations in a Gazette newspaper story. “According

to studies we have seen, the crime on trails is negligible

compared to crime as a whole.”

However, others expressed excitement about the trail.

“The Matthew Henson Trail will provide an attractive

outdoor experience to about 16,000 households

that are within a mile of the trail,” said Bill Michie

of Aspen Hill, a member of the Montgomery Bicycle

Advocates.

“Many community destinations connect to the trail,

including churches, schools, local parks, shopping

centers and recreation. The 4.5-mile trail is a critical

piece of the planned paved trail network. The

Matthew Henson trail will be the missing east-west

link connecting the Northwest Branch--Sligo Creek

Trail corridor to the Rock Creek Trail corridor.”

Matthew Henson was an associate of Commander

Robert E. Peary during various expeditions, the most

famous being a 1909 expedition which claimed to

be the first to reach the Geographic North Pole. An

African-American explorer and Marylander, Henson

was born in Charles County. April 6, 2009 marked the

100th anniversary of Henson and Peary’s arrival at the

North Pole.

One Less Car news: Mini-Cycle Across Maryland

Early this month, One Less Car, the Maryland nonprofit

which advocates for bicycling and pedestrian

causes, and the American Lung Association of

Maryland announced they will co-sponsor a new

“mini” Cycle Across Maryland (CAM) at Salisbury

University.

The June 5 - 7 fund raising event’s official name is

the Chesapeake Bay Air Ride. One Less Car is joining

this year to help offer a replacement for Cycle Across

Maryland, its own 25-year event that is on hiatus.

The Chesapeake Bay Air Ride is a pledge-based bike

tour – and inline skating event. It is open to all cyclists

and skaters - novice to expert. There are a variety of

route lengths. Saturday, for example, 20, 40, 62.5 and

100-mile rides are offered. On Sunday, 20, 40 or 62.5

mile rides are available.

The start and finish of all the rides, as well as the

lodging and activities are held at Salisbury University.

Routes go through Wicomico, Somerset and

Worcester Counties to Assateague Island or along the

shorelines.

The Chesapeake Bay Air Ride raises money for lung

health education, programs and research in the

Atlantic Coast Region (Maryland, Virginia and North

Carolina.)

Approximately 350 cyclists, primarily from the

Atlantic Coast region, are expected to participate.

The registration fee covers a T-shirt, full SAG support

and stocked rest stops along the route, a BBQ

on Friday night, crab feast/dinner and awards party

Saturday night, and lunch on Sunday.

All participants must raise a minimum of $200

in pledges, supporting both the American Lung

Association and One Less Car.

U.S. Bicycle Friendly State Rankings

The League of American Bicyclists released its second

annual ranking of bicycle friendly states, scoring the

50 states on a 75-item questionnaire that evaluates a

state’s commitment to bicycling and covers six key

areas: legislation, policies and programs, infrastructure,

education and encouragement, evaluation and

planning, and enforcement.

League president Andy Clarke highlighted that “several

states dramatically improved their ranking by

updating their traffic codes, increasing the level of

funding for bicycle improvements, implementing

education programs aimed at cyclists and motorists,

getting organized and hosting their first statewide

bicycling conferences and events.”

For 2009, the top five highest scoring states ranked

one through five are: 1) Washington State; 2)

Wisconsin; 3) Maine; 4) Oregon; and 5) Minnesota.

The lowest scoring states are: 46) New Mexico;

47) Alaska; 48) Oklahoma; 49) Montana; and 50)

Alabama.

In the region, Delaware made the top ten list, placing

No. 9. Maryland jumped a number of spots this year

to No. 16. Virginia came in at No. 23. Pennsylvania

and West Virginia at No. 40 and 42, respectively. The

District of Columbia was not included in the result.

Two states well-known as cycling hotbeds, Colorado and

California, came in at No. 13 and No. 14, respectively.

The bike friendly state program, designed by the

League of American Bicyclists, which promotes bicycling

for fun, fitness and transportation and includes

some 300,000 members, encourages states to evaluate

their quality of life, sustainability and transportation

networks. The rankings are used to create momentum

amongst states and communities to continue to

become more friendly.

BikeWalk Virginia

As a statewide non-profit organization, BikeWalk

Virginia promotes biking and walking for health,

environmental, and economic benefits. Recently, they

posted information on its website (www.bikewalk

22 June 2009


Bike To Work Day commuters

virginia.org) regarding federal stimulus funds that are

expected to help Virginia trail projects.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

(ARRA) requires states to use a minimum of

three percent of their total transportation funds

on Transportation Enhancements and Virginia is

expected to receive $695 million for transportation

projects. Of that, $20 million will be directed to trail

projects under the “Enhancements” program. The

“Enhancements” money is currently targeted, according

to the Virginia Department of Transportation as

follows:

• Virginia Capital Trail $8.184 million

• Dismal Swamp Canal Trail $1.3 million

• High Bridge Trail $2.0 million

• Roanoke River Greenway $2.0 million

• Tobacco Heritage Trail $6.0 million

• Valley Pike Trail $0.85 million

• USMC Heritage Trail $0.5 million

According to an 18-page document put together

by Virginia Department of Transportation on the

BikeWalk Virginia website, nationwide 6.1 percent,

or $47.9 billion of the ARRA stimulus money will go

towards transportation. Of that, the bulk, $27.5 billion,

will go towards improving highway infrastructure,

$9.3 billion will be directed to rail, $8.4 billion

to public transportation, $1.5 billion to discretionary

grant programs and $1.3 billion to aviation.

Of the rail funding, $8 billion will be used to create

a high-speed rail corridor, and $1.3 billion will be

directed to Amtrak capital grants.

The federal public transportation money will largely

be awarded through urbanized area formula grants

directly to operators.

Virginia, expected to receive an estimated $695 million

as mentioned above, must obligate at least 50

percent of those discretionary funds within 120 days

- meaning, of course, work should be begin relatively

soon on projects.

BikeWalk Virginia programs are supported through

donations, memberships, sponsorships, grant funding,

and event fundraising - which in June includes Bike

Virginia.

The 22nd annual Bike Virginia, June 19-24, takes

participates on a journey through the area nestled

between the flat lands of the East Coast and the

peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains - Charlottesville,

Culpeper, and Orange, Va. The good/bad news to

report is that the event reached its limit of 2,000

cyclists and closed registration May 4. However, a waiting

list is available.

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June 2009

23


COLUMNS

SPOKESWOMEN by BRENDA RUBY bruby@verizon.net

...a look at women’s cycling issues in the

mid-Atlantic

Georgina Terry – Pioneer for Women’s Cycling

One of my favorite ways to spend a day is out biking

with my friends. Not my women friends, just friends.

Yet, with the exception of one or two men whose

company we unanimously enjoy, it is all women. This

wasn’t a planned thing; over the years it’s just shaped

up to be this way. Yet, we don’t see ourselves as a

women’s riding group rather a group of bikers who

happen to be mostly women.

Do we all ride the same or even have the same

approach to biking? No. We each have strengths and

weaknesses which seem to even themselves out over

the course of a ride; some of us think of it as training,

while others see it more as a way to enjoy the

day. Is it because we need an outlet for our legendary

thousands of extra words uttered each day more than

men? No, generally we’re focused on the next looming

hill (though I’d be lying to say there wasn’t a fair

bit of talking going on at the rest stops). Whatever the

reason, the fact that women often end up cycling sans

men is nothing new.

Just ask Georgena Terry, founder of Terry Precision

Cycles and host of the “Wild Goose Chase” ride held

this past May 3 at Maryland’s Blackwater National

Wildlife Refuge. Billed as a ride for women, this year

was only its second and the event has more than doubled

in size, to over 700 riders, with hundreds more

turned away. Speaking with her a few days before the

ride, her anticipation was clear. “I’m anxious to see all

these people together. It’s terrific – the camaraderie

and everything is just fantastic. It’s going to be great.”

RECUMBENT =

Comfort

PEOPLE ASK US

WHO RIDES RECUMBENTS?

We tell them avid cyclists

overcoming discomfort from a physical

condition, people coming back to cycling

for exercise who want more comfort,

and people that like to be different.

We welcome them all and try to help

them find the recumbent that

will get them out riding.

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And when Georgena gets psyched about something,

history shows success can’t be far behind.

In what she bills as a “basement-bred business,” Terry

Precision Cycles was the first and continues to be the

leader in the women’s bike industry designing not

just bikes specific to women’s needs, but saddles, and

clothing as well. “Most people think I started because

I liked riding, but that’s not really the case.”

While Georgena likes riding, logging over 6,000 miles

a year all the while testing Terry products, it was her

interest in mechanical engineering which led her into

building bikes.

“Basically, how do you put the darn thing together

and miter the tubes and do all that kind of stuff.”

Rebuilding a replica of her favorite childhood bike, a

Schwinn, provided interesting bike building lessons.

“There was some wacko stuff going on there, but

good stuff to learn from” referring to how Schwinn

made a small frame by giving it a super high bottom

bracket.

Riding around on a self-made bike attracted a bit of

attention from fellow riders who started coming to

her with specific concerns, asking her to make bikes

for them.

“I found that a lot of people who were approaching

me were women who all had the same complaints—

sore shoulders, stiff neck, sore crotch,” she told

SPOKES. “After I heard enough women saying that, I

realized that there’s got to be something fundamentally

different here.”

That launched Terry into studying body measurements

and determining the fundamental differences

between men’s and women’s structure. With body segments

tending to be proportionately different, shoulders

narrower, and hands smaller, she realized that

“the bicycle industry was building to the bell curve of

men’s heights and proportions and chopping off all

these other women down at the other end. Women

aren’t just short men.”

Terry knew that by designing a bike fit for a woman’s

structure not only would she alleviate a lot of these

common problems among women cyclists but also

create a bike on which women could ride strong

and longer.

“At that point I thought, ‘Why not just design a line of

bikes for women?’ Forget about the men, they’re well

taken care of.” The engineer in her had been lured by

the beauty of building bikes, but the entrepreneurial

spirit was stoked by a few sell-out visits to bike rallies.

“As soon as I set up the bikes, explained the concept,

and people test road them, they wanted to buy one.”

Add to that her ever-present feeling that she just

didn’t belong in a big corporate setting, Georgena

left her job as an engineer for Xerox and has never

looked back.

Fast forward 25 years and Terry’s goal remains the

same: getting women to have more fun cycling. In

Paula Dyba, Georgena Terry, and Liz Robert

1984, creating a company that only catered to women

cyclists probably seemed crazy to others in the industry,

but it turned out to be revolutionary.

Did Georgena realize the enormity of her company

and this mission at the time? “Yes, because I could

look out there and see that no one else was doing it;

they weren’t even close. It just seemed like consumers

were so turned on to the idea of it, so receptive to it,

so ready for it. It was exactly the right time because so

many more people were getting into cycling, especially

women. We’d go to these rallies [in the mid 1980s]

and half the people there were women. This wasn’t a

male-dominated activity at all so it only made sense to

pursue it.”

Terry notes that feeding into the perfect timing were

the successes of women racers like Sue Novara Reber

and Connie Carpenter who were paving the way for

women who wanted to get into racing.

24 June 2009


“A growing awareness of ‘fit’ [on the bike] and

women not being willing to hear ‘you’ll get used to it’

anymore played into it. The seeds were being sown.”

Looking back, Terry takes great pride in her accomplishments

and clearly understands that Terry

Precision Cycles inspired an industry.

“I like our company to take credit for creating the

women’s cycling market,” she told SPOKES. “Frankly,

before we introduced these products, nobody was

doing anything like that. Recently a lot of companies

have wanted to move into that area and establish

themselves as the answer to women’s problems on

bicycles, but they didn’t think it was an issue until we

came along and told them about it. I think that had

this company not started, women might not be as far

along in bicycling as they are at this point. It sounds

like an egotistical thing to say, but I think it’s true. It

makes me feel good because it’s nice to be someone

who’s launched an industry.”

And Terry didn’t just rock the bicycle world with her

bikes. Terry Precision Cycles like to say they “blew a

hole through the bicycle seat industry” with the introduction

of their nifty Liberator saddle in 1997 which

featured a prominent cut out, relieving pressure and

pain and adding comfort. Just peruse the saddle selection

at your local bike shop and you’ll see how popular

saddles with cut outs are now.

You’ll probably also notice some Terry clothing. This,

Georgena says, is in direct response to hearing what

women were asking for. Noting that she herself is “not

an apparel kind of person” she said “what we were hearing

at that point was that all women’s clothing looked

like it was designed by a man who would like to see

a woman wearing that. Women come in all different

shapes and sizes and we want to accommodate that.”

Terry’s success showed others what she already knew:

that this was an untapped market full of potential.

With the success of her saddles and skorts, it’s not a

shock for her to realize that many people don’t realize

TANDEMS =

Sharing

WHY RIDE A TANDEM?

It’s sharing the fun and experience with

a partner, a child, a parent, or a friend.

Sharing exercise, sharing adventure,

sharing the joy of accomplishment, and

creating a shared memory.

We sell and rent tandems because we’ve

shared these things and found that bicycling

can be even more fun when it is shared.

We’re fighting “oil addiction” with

human powered transportation.

Join the fight – park your car and

ride your bike.

bikes@vienna, LLC

128A Church St, NW Vienna, VA 22180

703-938-8900

www.bikesatvienna.com

COME TO OUR WEBSITE FOR INFORMATION

ABOUT OUR UNUSUAL PRODUCTS AND

CLICK USED BIKES FOR PHOTOS,

DESCRIPTIONS, AND PRICES OF

OUR PRE-OWNED BIKES.

that Terry not only makes, but started with, bikes. “So

many people are coming into the market who assume

that Cannondale or Trek started the women’s market

because we don’t have the strong distribution they

have. It’s hard to come up against huge marketing

budgets and that’s what we find ourselves faced with.”

While women cycling is nothing new, what is relatively

new is the focus and hype surrounding it. Marketers

have found their new golden egg, and we’re it.

Noting the great deal of misinformation out there,

Terry believes one of her company’s continuing mission

is to be a resource for women cyclists.

“We still need to do a lot of educating of women

and of bicycle retailers about proper fit and about

distinguishing between marketing that’s real and

about problems and marketing that’s nothing more

than hype. There’s a lot of hype in this industry and

I think that the only way to override that is to keep

presenting the facts. Sometimes I think that women

get a little bit overwhelmed when they go into a bike

shop because they find themselves in a technical

environment that may not necessarily be comfortable

for them and all too often they might be influenced

by information that may not be right, but they don’t

have enough knowledge to know if this person is on

the right or wrong track.”

She notes that it’s frustrating not only for the consumer,

but for herself as well and the best way to combat

this is through constantly trying to educate the consumer.

She wants the website to be both a retail space

and a resource.

“If you come here and buy something, that’s fine. If

you don’t, but you’re learning stuff, that’s good for us,

too.” In the past year, Georgena has added videos and

podcasts on topics anywhere from bike geometry and

fit to nutrition.

Having accomplished so much, it’s easy to just look

back, but Terry has her sights set keenly on the future,

and that includes getting back to what she enjoys

most. As of the beginning of May, Georgena Terry is

no longer the CEO of her company. As founder, she’ll

continue to be president, but the new CEO of Terry

Precision Cycles will be Elisabeth Robert, former CEO

of the Vermont Teddy Bear Company. Terry sees this

as “just another phase in the development of the

company and a very necessary one.” She adds that

her partner Paula Dyba, who has been the vice president

of marketing, and herself were “getting totally

strangled by administrative details, spending hours

doing stuff neither one of us wanted to do. I’d rather

be working on bicycles, on web stuff, on culture, on

social marketing. The whole reason behind this is to

let Liz bring in other people to do these tasks and

literally free us up to do what we do well.” Terry continues,

“It’s going to be phenomenal. It’s a huge relief

to me.”

Of her successor, Terry notes that Robert turned

around Vermont Teddy Bear from a money-losing

small company to a large, profitable enterprise during

her tenure. Terry says, “she [Robert] just launches

into an idea and it fuels her. I’d like to get back into

that situation myself because certainly I was like that

in the early days of this company.”

For Georgena that means getting back to the basics

that inspired the launch of an industry. She sees that

the market isn’t getting any smaller.

“It really is thriving and I think as women are becoming

more comfortable with the technical aspect of it;

they feel better about wanting to get more things and

understand what they need.”

She notes that “women’s cycling isn’t ‘feminine, feminine,

frilly.’ It doesn’t mean as much to women now

to have things that are continually pushed as women’s

specific. What does mean something to women, is

to have a source for information and, once again,

Georgena Terry is excited to be in a position to fulfill

that need.

301.663.0007

June 2009

25

June 2009

25


KIDS ADVENTURE CAMP

by PAT CHILDERS

Spring break in Fairfax County can cause a dilemma for local youths. They are gratefully out

of school, often with nothing to do. This is especially true for children from the local poor

or minority communities, who’s parents can’t afford camps. But this spring, for 18 youths

representing six different elementary and middle schools things were a little different. They

participated in the Lake Accotink Kids Adventure Race Camp. No watching TV and consuming

calories on their couch during their week off, these friends and strangers united for a week

long camp to compete against nature, each other and exhaustion.

FOR THE FIRST FOUR DAYS, they learned to trail run,

mountain bike, and boat and learned about conservation,

nutrition and teamwork. They performed

community service blazing new trails in the park for

themselves and generations to follow. Everything they

learned about nature and themselves, assisted them

for the last day of their camp experience, an adventure

race.

The students arrived in the woods of Lake Accotink

Virginia on Monday, April 6, to overcast skies. While

many of them lived within only miles of the park they

had never been there before. The camp offered by

the Fairfax County park and recreation department

and Trips for Kids Metro DC was designed to provide

a challenge in nature to children who otherwise

wouldn’t have the opportunity, Many of the children

are on scholarships for the week, others pay for the

experience, none of them really know what to expect.

As the camp’s councilor and chauffeur for most of

the children, I made quick introductions and chose

two loose teams to get the ball rolling. Existing friendships

created a comfort zone, but as the challenges

start, new alliances made sort of a suburban survivor

program. Today they learned about the park that

would be their home for the next week. Four hundred

acres of rolling hills, trails, and water. By the

end of the week they traveled every inch of the property

learning about the animals and plants that they

shared space with during their adventure.

After a quick warm up challenge, the teams tackled

the hillsides of Lake Accotink in a trail race on foot.

This is their first day in nature and for some their first

time hiking, abilities are determined, the fast must

learn patience, the slow perseverance. All learn the

importance of proper nutrition and that nature can

be fickle as a warm rain begins to fall. Heading home

they were told the first day is the hardest. Exhausted,

most of them hope this is true.

Tuesday, tired muscles and weary legs bring the youth

back to the park. They were told today would be

easier, learning to bike and row. But even an easy day

of instruction can be made difficult as 20-30 mile per

hour winds blow across the lake, dropping the temperatures

20 degrees from the previous days warmth.

The skills sessions on the bikes and boats teach the

children to look to their future are difficult but not as

difficult as standing and waiting their turn in the sudden

spring chill of the day.

The group escapes the wind as they head into the

woods for some trail riding. The lesson of the day is

brains over brawn, shift gears before you climb the

hills or you may end up walking. Several hills are

walked before the lesson is fully learned.

Wednesday –Three days of exercise and their bodies

are adjusting. The youth eagerly await the days challenges,

today is about community service, they will

give back to the park building a new trail for all to

enjoy. But first it’s a long ride uphill before they get

to the work site.

Waiting for the kids are tools and adult volunteers

from the Mid-Atlantic Off-road Enthusiasts (MORE),

experts in making sustainable trails. For the next two

hours the children build and learn ... not only do

they ride single track for the first time, they are the

first ones to ride a trail that will last for thousands of

people to enjoy in the future, a trail they built.

Thursday – The week has grown long but smiles are

prominent as the sun shines on the group. Today they

learn who their teammates will be for the race tomorrow.

As they reorganize each team names itself, the

Flamin Scorpions (no "g” required the counselors are

told),The Gangsters and the Jokers (pronounced with

a “Y” sound at the beginning). Then team skill races

begin so the new teams can assess themselves and

their opponents.

After the skills, the three teams must do the most

difficult tasks of the week – pick a captain and pick

their route through the following days race course.

The course has five check points, some that can be

reached by biking, hiking and others only by rowing.

There are over 200 options on how to do the race,

and each team has to pick one and hope it’s the best

one for their team members. All three teams choose

different routes. Two teams decide they will boat first,

the Jokers decide to tackle the bikes and long hikes

first, saving the rowing for the end of the race.

Friday – race day – everyone is ready, nature is threatening

with a storm, so the volunteers hurry to get the

race started. A small group has gathered to cheer on

the racers. As the race begins, all of the week’s lessons

on patience, pacing and perseverance are temporarily

lost as the teams rush to their first flag. But then their

lessons return to them, No one child is expected to

remember everything they are taught, but as a team,

the children can tackle every obstacle placed in front

of them.

As the day progresses, their legs tire and the captains

are required to muster up enthusiasm as the teams

go from check point to check point. The threatening

rain never appears and jackets are shed as the

teams move forward. An hour into the race, radio

communications let the captains know where they

stand. Captains Karissa of the Jokers, and the Flamin

Scorpions led by Uyen both have captured three flags

with two remaining. The Gangsters led by Captain

Nick already have four flags captured, but have left

the longest hilliest stretch of trail before they reach

the final check point and head for home.

It’s a whole new race again and energy is found where

some thought none existed. Water bottles are refilled,

maps checked for quicker routes from one check

point to the next and bikes pedaled harder. Each team

hoping that they will be the first to capture the final

flag and pass the finish line. As they approach their

final destination, they anxiously look ahead to see if

they are the first to cross to victory or if another team

has beaten them to the top place on the podium.

The Lake Accotink Kids Adventure Race has always

been unpredictable and it is once again. The

Gangsters raced down the dam hill expecting a win,

only to find that the Jokers had successfully beat

them to the finish and were waiting cheering them

on as they crossed the line. To further complicate the

issue The Gangsters second place finish was now in

danger due to missed questions on the written test.

The Flamin Scorpions successfully kept it competitive

as Uyen brings her team home on the bikes. If

the Scorpions have a perfect score on the written test

they could move into second place, but one incorrect

answer ensured that the standings remained the same

and The Gangsters take second.

Tired smiles are the order of the day, as the youth

return their equipment and celebrate their experience.

New friendships are made that hadn’t existed only four

days earlier, phone numbers exchanged and weekly

bike rides together planned. No one is disappointed,

only glad that they did their best. The race is over but

for these 18 youths the adventure has just begun.

26 June 2009


THE CYCLIST'S KITCHEN by NANCY CLARK, MS, RD

COLUMNS

SPORTS NUTRITION NEWS

FROM ACSM

FOR CUTTING EDGE SPORTS NUTRITION information,

the annual meeting of the American College of Sports

Medicine is the place to be! Over 5,000 exercise

scientists, sports dietitians, physicians and coaches

gathered in Indianapolis in May to share their latest

research. Below are some of the sports nutrition highlights.

(For other highlights, see www.acsm.org; click

on news releases.)

! Eating an energy bar just 15 minutes before you

exercise is as effective as eating it an hour before.

Grabbing fuel as you rush to your workout is a good

idea that gets put to use.

! Natural sports snacks, like a granola bar or banana,

offer a variety of sugars. But engineered foods might

offer just one type of sugar. Because different sugars

use different transporters to get into muscle cells, eating

a variety of sugars enhances energy availability. In

a 62 mile (100 km) time trial, cyclists who consumed

two sugars (glucose + fructose) completed the course

in 204 minutes; those who had just glucose took an

16 additional minutes. The bottom line: eat a variety

of foods with a variety of sugars during endurance

exercise, such as sports drinks, tea with honey, gummi

bears…

• Salty pre-exercise foods such as chicken noodle soup

can make you thirsty and encourage you to drink

more. This can reduce the risk of becoming dehydrated

during hot weather.

• A survey of 263 endurance athletes indicates

they understand the importance of recovery after

a hard workout. But they don’t know what to eat.

They believe protein is the key to recovery. Wrong.

Carbohydrate should really be the fundamental

source of recovery fuel. Or better yet, enjoy a foundation

of carbs with a little protein ...Chocolate milk.

• When exhausted cyclists were given a choice of

recovery drinks, they all enjoyed—and tolerated

well—the chocolate and vanilla milks, more so

than water, sports drink or watery chocolate drink.

Chocolate milk is familiar, readily available and

tastes good!

• How long do elite soccer players need to recover

from a game? In one study, they needed five days for

sprinting ability to return to pre-game level. That’s

four days longer than most athletes allow...

• How many calories does a triathlete burn during

the Hawaii Ironman? Using labeled water, researchers

determined a 173 lb (78.6 kg) man burned 9,290

calories. Body water turnover was about 4 gallons

(16.5 L), and weight dropped 7.5%. Muscle glycogen

dropped by 68%.

• Fatigue is related to not only glycogen depletion

and dehydration but also to body temperature higher

than 104o F (40˚ C). Try to keep cool when exercising

in hot weather!

• Have you ever wondered how long it takes for the

water you drink to end up as sweat? Only 10 minutes

(in trained cyclists). Ingested fluid moves rapidly, so

don’t hesitate to keep drinking even towards the end

of an event.

• Should an endurance athlete choose a sports drink

with protein during exercise? The research is confusing,

due to different protocols (time trials vs. endurance

tests). Plus, in most research studies the subjects

have nothing to eat before the exercise tests—an

unlikely situation for most endurance athletes. Hence,

we need more “real life” research. Until then, plan to

eat carbs with a little protein pre-exercise—cereal with

milk, a cup of yogurt—so the protein will be available,

if needed. During exercise, choose a sports drink that

tastes good, so you’ll want to consume enough.

• Some endurance athletes do perform better with

protein during exercise. For example, when given

carbs or carbs + protein during an endurance exercise

test, those who were “high responders” to the protein

performed about 10% better in the time trial at the

end of the endurance test, as compared to the “low

responders”. This is just one example of how each

athlete has his or her individual response to different

fuels during exercise. The best bet: Experiment during

training to learn what sports drinks/foods settles

best, tastes good and works well for you personally!

• A Norwegian study of elite endurance athletes indicates

73% took vitamin supplements. Little did they

realize their diet provided the recommended nutrient

intake without the pills. The vitamin intake of the pill

takers was even higher—135% to 391% of recommended

levels. Two exceptions were Vitamin D (low

in 22% of the athletes; perhaps due to the fact they

live in Norway and have less sunshine) and iron (low

in 10% of the women). The researchers remind us

that high intakes can have toxic effects and may be

detrimental to health over time. The best bet is to eat

your vitamins via healthy foods.

• Coaches encourage football players to be big—but

what is the long term cost? A survey of former college

players indicates a high rate of obesity and associated

health problems.

• The “freshman fifteen” pounds gained in the first

year of college may be an exaggeration. Among a

group of 40 female college freshman, half gained and

half lost weight (~4 to 5 lbs) Excess calories from specialty

coffees and soda contributed to the weight gain.

Watch out for liquid calories!

• If kids are going to play video games, they might as

well play active ones such as Wii Boxing, Wii Tennis

or Dance Dance Revolution. These burn two to three

times the calories as traditional hand held games

1417, 2443

• If you read ultra-fit magazines when you are exercising,

you’ll likely feel more anxious and depressed

then if you read Oprah or no magazine. Take note:

the models’ “perfect bodies” are altered to look leaner

and more glamorous.

!Women who exercise experience an increase in the

hormones that stimulate appetite; men have less of

a response. This means women tend to get hungry

after exercise and have a harder time with weight

reduction than do men. Science finally validates what

women have known all along!

• Lightweight rowers commonly get rib stress fractures.

In their efforts to maintain a light weight, many

rowers under eat, lose their menstrual period, and

end up with low bone mineral density. Even after

rowers with menstrual dysfunction retired from their

sport, their bone density remained low, suggesting

the effects might be irreversible. Light weight athletes

should consult with a sports dietitian for professional

guidance on how to healthfully lose weight and maintain

the low weight. (For a local referral, see www.

SCANdpg.org.)

• Athletes with eating disorders are known to overexercise.

If they get admitted into an eating disorders

recovery program, they often are not allowed to exercise

(for health reasons). This can be very upsetting.

Yet, a study with patients with eating disorders who

did 10 weeks of supervised strength training as a part

of their recovery achieved higher bone mineral density

and muscular strength. The exercise generated

positive physical and psychological benefits.

• If you have “healthy genes”, you still need to exercise

to be able to gain access to the potential good

health you inherited. There’s no slouching when it

comes to prolonging life!

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June 2009

27


CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Griffin Cycle

4949 Bethesda Ave.

Bethesda, MD 20814

(301) 656-6188

www.griffincycle.com

Road, Hybrids, Mountain, Kids

Parts & Accessories for All Makes

Trailers & Trikes

Family Owned – In Bethesda for 38 Years

FEATURING BIKES FROM:

To be listed, send information to Spokes, 5911 Jefferson Boulevard, Frederick, MD 21703 or e-mail: neil@spokesmagazine.com

For a more comprehensive list check out www.spokesmagazine.com.

JUNE 5-7 – CHESAPEAKE BAY AIR RIDE

CBAR is a weekend long, pledge-based bike tour and

inline skating event. Open to all cyclists/skaters, novice

to expert. Routes go through Wicomico, Somerset

and Worcester Counties to Assateague Island or

along the shorelines. Choose from 20, 40, 62.5 or

100 miles on Saturday and 20, 40 or 62.5 miles on

Sunday. CBAR raises money for the American Lung

Association to prevent lung disease and promote lung

health through education, programs and research.

Start/finish, lodging, and activities, including our

famous crab feast, are held at Salisbury University in

Salisbury, Md. For more info or to register visit www.

marylandlung.org or call 800-642-1184.

JUNE 6-7 – BIKE MS: BEYOND THE BELTWAY

Join 1000 participants from across the mid-Atlantic

region for the National MS Society, National Capital

Chapter’s annual Bike MS event in Middleburg, Va.

Choose from several mileage options along our challenging

new route, and enjoy great food, beverages,

and live music at the finish line. Ride for one day or

two. For details, visit www.MSandYOU.org, call (202)

296-5363, or email BikeMS@MSandYOU.org.

JUNE 6-13 – BICYCLE RIDE ACROSS GEORGIA

Come discover Georgia by bicycle on the 30th annual

Bicycle Ride Across Georgia. The 2009 edition will

ride from Hiawassee to Clarks Hill Lake, and will feature

beautiful scenery, historic sites, street festivals, ice

cream socials, an End-of-the-Road party, and more!

Great fun for the family, groups or individuals. Daily

rides average 60 miles, approximately 400 miles total.

Longer Hammerhead options for serious cyclists. Fully

supported with rest stops every 10-15 miles. For more

information, please visit our website at www.brag.org,

or email info@brag.org or call (770) 498-5153.

Dorchester County, Maryland

Miles away, a world apart. Less than an hour from the Bay Bridge.

JUNE 13-14 – 24 HOURS OF BIG BEAR

Coming up on its 18th year, the 24 Hours of Big

Bear, Hazelton, W. Va. (formerly the 24 Hours of

Snowshoe and 24 Hours of Canaan) is rolling out

the bike trail for as many as 200 teams, 50 solo riders

and more than 1,000 spectators. The race will take

place at Big Bear Lake Campland. While the racing

is a blast, you can also have fun as a spectator, volunteer,

or as support crew for one of the teams. In the

shadow of the legendary 24 Hours of Canaan, THE

original 24 hour mountain bike race, and then the 24

Hours of Snowshoe, this Laird Knight, Granny Gear

Productions event returns to the roots of the original

event, with great all around riding, fun camping venues

and a festival atmosphere. The location is about

three hours from Washington/Baltimore. For details

or to register visit www.grannygear.com

JUNE 13-14 – CHESAPEAKE CHALLENGE

Join the Maryland Chapter of the National MS

Society for a one or two day ride on Maryland’s

Eastern Shore. Routes range from 30 -100 miles on

Saturday and 30 & 50 mile on Sunday. Overnight at

Chestertown, Md. Route is fully supported with rest

stops, bike techs and support vehicles. To Register or

find out more, visit www.marylandmsbikeride.org or

call (443) 641-1200.

JUNE 14 – RESTON TOUR DE CURE

The American Diabetes Association again hosts this

very popular (last year over 1,200 cyclists participated)

series of bike rides, ranging from a 12 mile family

fun ride, to more challenging 32 and 64 mile fitness

challenges, and a full century. Starting and finishing

at the Reston Town Center Pavilion the longer rides

head through scenic Northern Virginia countryside

including the W&OD Trail and western Loudoun

County. Register online at www.diabetes.org/tour or

call 1 (888) DIABETES.

Ride over to the Heart of the Chesapeake this summer.

Email info@TourDorchester.org for your free cycling

guide and visitors guide.

TourDorchester.org 410.228.1000 • 800.522.TOUR

JUNE 14 – TOUR DEM PARKS HON!

The sixth annual Tour dem Parks, Hon! Bike Ride

begins at 8 a.m. at the Carriage House in Carroll

Park in southwest Baltimore. Choose from 12, 20, 30

mile rides and – new this year-- a metric century (60

miles). Routes wind through cool Baltimore neighborhoods

and parks. A barbecue with live music follows

the ride. Proceeds benefit bike and park groups in

the city. Register online at www.tourdemparks.org.

For more information, call Gary at (410) 396-4369 or

Anne at (410) 926-4195.

JUNE 19-24 – BIKE VIRGINIA

Twenty one years ago, 117 men, women and children

embarked on an adventure crossing Virginia on bicycles.

They rode from Charlottesville to our nation’s

colonial capital in Williamsburg, establishing what

28 June 2009


has become the largest, multi-day, recreational bicycle

event in the Commonwealth. In 2008, Bike Virginia

is moving north. This year, more than 2,000 cyclists

on a rolling party will visit Charlottesville, Culpeper

and Orange, plus the wonderful countryside connecting

them. For inquiries, call (757) 229.0507 or email

info@bikevirginia.org.

JUNE 20-27 – GREAT OHIO ADVENTURE

GOBA is a week-long bicycle-camping tour which visits

a different part of Ohio each year. Bicycling the daily

50-mile route at a relaxing pace leaves plenty of time

for sightseeing and other tourist activities. See Ohio

while on two wheels with 2,999 of your closest friends!

Advance registration is required. For registration

materials and fees visit www.goba.com or call (614)

273-0811 ext. 1.

JUNE 21-27 – TOURING RIDE IN RURAL INDIANA

TRIRI will travel over hard-surfaced roads to take in

the sights of southwestern Indiana, using back roads

to travel to Newton-Stewart State Recreation Area,

Lincoln State Park, and Harmonie State Park. Average

65 miles/day on the days we travel to a new state park.

Three layover days offer short, medium or long loop

rides. Or, take a day off the bike to explore the park

instead. We anticipate 300-400 participants. (Routes

and mileage are subject to change; more details coming

soon.). Terrain ranges from rolling to hilly. Enjoy

camping or lodging in hotels or state park inns and

catered, sit-down meals under the state park awnings.

For more information, see www.triri.org , email

triri@triri.org, or call (812) 333-8176.

JUNE 27-28 – CATOCTIN CHALLENGE

Beautiful terrain, screaming downhills, fabulous rest

stops, plus riders cycle thru some of the mid-Atlantic’s

best historical sites, including the Gettysburg area.

Three ride options include: Saturday century with

a 45 mile return Sunday. 65 mile Saturday ride with

a 45 mile return Sunday and a 50 mile Saturday/25

mile Sunday. Overnight at the Blue Ridge Summit.

Three live bands playing poolside after Saturday’s ride.

Gourmet meals. All you do is bring your camping gear

to the starting points and go. Ride begins and ends in

Frederick County, Md. A minimum of $250 in pledges

for Habitat for Humanity. Limited to 175. Contact Phil

at (301) 662-5518 or pheffler@aol.com

JUNE 28 – BAY TO BAY RIDE

Annual ride from Betterton, Md., beachfront. Start 7

- 9 a.m., tandems at 8 a.m. Ride 50, 78, 86 or 104 flat

miles or a 27 mile loop to Chestertown. $25. Six food

stops, fully supported, swimming in the Chesapeake

Bay at ride’s end. Proceeds benefit Lions Club Leader

Dog Program for the Blind. Blind riders ride free. For

details email: bay2bay04@hotmail.com or log onto

www.chestertownlionsclub.org

JULY 25 – RIVER TO RIVER RIDE

Pedal Pennsylvania is hosting The River to River

Heritage Corridor Bicycle Tour, which starts and ends

in Souderton PA. The rides take cyclists between the

Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. This year’s route will

feature Montgomery County to start the day followed

by Bucks County. Most of the route is along lightly

traveled roads adjacent to Route 113, taking cyclists

through small towns with farms, churches and businesses

that date back to the 1700s. Most of the ride

offers rolling terrain, but there are a few climbs along

the way. Cyclists can ride routes of 25, 50, 75 or 100

miles; all routes are loops. Proceeds benefit Heritage

Conservancy, a regional leader in natural and historic

preservation. For details contact (215) 513-7550; www.

rivertoriverride.org

JULY 26 - AUG. 1 – BONTON ROULET

This legendary event is a festival on wheels through

New York State’s Finger Lake region. Limited to 500

riders, visit dozens of wineries, quaint shops, beautiful

lakes, and plenty of historic sites. For details call (315)

253-5304 or log onto www.bontonroulet.com

JULY 13-18 – RAINSTORM

Challenge yourself with five century rides over five

days. On day six, join the Ride Across Indiana to ride

160 miles back to your point of departure. Stay in

Indiana State Park inns along the way, with catered

meals designed for athletes. If you’re a recreational

rider hoping to reach new fitness goals, a triathlete

in search of intensive time on the bike, or an ultra

marathon cyclist, this tour is for you. For more information,

see www.triri.org , email triri@triri.org, or call

(812) 333-8176.

JULY 19-25 – FANY RIDE

The Great Big FANY Ride will spin five hundred miles

Across New York – for it’s 9th annual ride. Explore

Niagara Falls, visit farm stands near the Erie Canal,

sample wines at Finger Lake region vineyards, ride

over 100 miles without a traffic light in the Adirondack

Mountains, and arrive in Saratoga Springs. SAG support,

marked roads, cue sheets, luggage transfer to

overnight campsites, optional bus to parking at start/

finish. In honor of each biker the FANY Ride makes

a donation to the Double H Ranch – a camp for children

with chronic illnesses. No pledges are required.

www.FANYride.com (518) 461-7646

WEDNESDAYS AT WAKEFIELD MTB SERIES

Mid-summer evening, June 24 to July 15 - 4-race

mountain bike race series at Wakefield Park,

Annandale, Va. With 21 categories, including 10

junior categories for males and females in 2 year

increments ages 18 and below. Three races each

night: Younger Juniors (5:30), Beginner, Jr, Masters

(6:00), Sport, Expert, Clydesdale (6:55). Fun, Fast

Singletrack. Benefits Trips for Kids Charity. Pre-register

for series at www.BikeReg.com, Info at www.

potomacvelo.com, Jim Carlson jcarlsonida@yahoo.

com; (703) 569-9875.

LUTHERVILLE WEEKLY ROAD RIDES

Lutherville Bike Shop will lead a weekly road bike

ride, leaving from the shop Mondays at 6p.m.

Proper riding attire required. Averaging 16 mph.

Approximately 30 miles A scenic road ride through

Loch Raven Reservoir and surrounding areas. We

keep the hills to a minimum and invite all riders to

the sport. Racers recovering from the weekend are

welcome as well. We’ll ride as a group and no one will

be left behind. Call the shop for details (410) 583-

8734. www.luthervillebikeshop.com

THURSDAY EVENING FREDERICK RIDES

A 15-19 mph road ride out of Frederick Bike Doctor,

5732 Buckeystown Pike, just off Route 355. Meet every

Thursday at 5:30 p.m. for a 25 mile +/- ride. No one

will be dropped. Beginning May 1 the ride time will

change to 6 p.m. Rides cancelled if roads are wet, it

is raining, temps are below 40 degrees or winds are

20 mph or above. Contact (301) 620-8868 or log onto

www.battlefieldvelo.com for details.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT MT. BIKE RIDES AT LOCH RAVEN

Lutherville Bike Shop will lead a weekly mountain

bike ride every Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. from

the shop. The ride will leave from the shop and go

through Loch Raven Reservoir. Distance and speed

will vary based on rider skill level. Call the shop for

details (410) 583-8734. www.luthervillebikeshop.com

SPIRITED SUNDAY ROAD RIDES

Join the folks of the Bicycle Place, just off Rock Creek

Park, every Sunday morning (beginning at 8:30

a.m.) for a “spirited” 36-40 mile jaunt up to Potomac

and back. This is a true classic road ride that runs

year round. While the pace is kept up, no one is

left behind. No rainy day rides. The Bicycle Place

is located in the Rock Creek Shopping Center, 8313

Grubb Road (just off East-West Highway). Call (301)

588-6160 for details.

BALTIMORE SATURDAY RIDE

A fun but spirited group ride through Baltimore

County every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Depending

on turnout there are usually 2-3 different groups of

varying abilities. When the weather doesn’t cooperate,

we will have the option to ride indoors. Call Hunt

Valley Bicycles at (410) 252-3103 for more information.

HUDSON TRAIL OUTFITTERS RIDES

Join “HTO’s Cycling Club” for local touring and

mountain biking rides. Rides will be lead by experienced

HTO staff and will range from 10-20 mile trail

rides to 20-30 mile road rides. Arrive at 8:30 am for

pre-ride group stretching, rides will start promptly at

9:00 am. Go to www.hudsontrail.com for more information.

BIKES FOR THE WORLD

Bikes for the World collects repairable bicycles in the

United States, for donation to charities overseas, for

productive use by those in need of affordable transport.

Note: $10/bike donation suggested to defray

shipping to overseas charity partners. Receipt provided

for all material and cash donations. Bikes for

the World is a sponsored project of the Washington

Area Bicyclist Association, a 501 c 3 non-profit charity.

Collections will take place rain or shine. For a complete

list of locations and time of collections visit www.

bikesfortheworld.org or call (703) 525-0931.


DEPARTMENTS

MY BIKE SHOP by RON CASSIE

OASIS BIKE WORKS

10376 Main St.

Fairfax, Va. 22030

Shop - 703-273-4051

Mobile -703-371-1095

www.oasisbikeworks.com

DAVID HARTFORD ON A RECENT SUNDAY afternoon

helped a fit “elderly” woman – in her words but not

really – put a new bike rack on her car. Molly Dias,

like Hartford, is a local bicycle and environmental

activist in Fairfax City, and she also joked that she

knew Hartford from “a previous life.”

What Dias, who works for the Fairfax County public

schools, meant, was that she knew Hartford before

he owned the Oasis Bike Works in downtown Fairfax

– when he was a biology teacher.

The brief encounter was revealing about the path

Hartford choose in changing careers three years ago.

Hartford’s long interest in the environment motivated

him to study biology in college and become a teacher,

where he said, for 10 years he’d been “getting up on

my soapbox to lecture my students about global warming

and the fact we can’t keep burning fossil fuels like

this.”

And like Dias, he’s involved with civic issues, and promoting

bicycle trails and paths for Fairfax City. He’s

a member of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling

(www.fabb-bikes.org) and the Sierra Club.

So when Hartford decided to follow his desire to start

his own business, he wanted it to be a green business,

something that promoted sustainability, community

and a healthy lifestyle, and, of course, generated

income. The Buddhists call it a “right livelihood.”

An active cyclist ever since his college days 25 years

ago, a former triathlete and a bicycle commuter to

school, opening a bike shop seemed like the perfect

business to bring all of Hartford’s passions together.

He also believed bicycling was more the future of

travel than the past.

But he readily admits it’s also been a struggle, like any

new venture.

“They say it takes five years to start making money as a

small business,” said Hartford. “This is our third year

and my hope is that we are going to turn the corner

this year.”

This year, Hartford and partner Jan Feuchtner, the

shop’s mechanic, get their first full season at their

new 1,600 sq. foot location on Main St. in Fairfax City.

Their new home, a cute, light blue, renovated old

house, complete with steps and a retro front porch is

certainly inviting.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Hartford remains determined

to make the shop a neighborhood hub. His

wife Patricia is a Virginia native and they’ve lived in

the area for quite a while and the bike shop is a part

of his vision in helping transform his adopted hometown

into a more bicycle-friendly community.

He grew up a New York Mets fan and playing baseball.

He was a pretty good ballplayer and swimmer in high

school. However, he’s not sure where he drew his

early interest in taking care of environment.

His buddies as a teenager, he readily admits, mocked

him when he gave them a hard time about throwing

trash out of a car window or breaking a bottle on the

street.

“They’d make fun of me, this is when I’m like 15-

years-old, and they’d say, ‘Look around, this is

Brooklyn, there is trash everywhere’,” said Hartford.

“Even at early age I connected the dots. I knew the air

we breathe was affected by pollution. I knew the water

we drank and food we ate was all connected to how

we treat the environment. I knew that when I bought

a steak at the grocery store that was from a cow that

was being raised on a ranch and fed by corn from a

farm and then shrink-wrapped. I realized and thought

about those things.”

It’s not like his parents were leading edge of 1970s

environmental activists. he said.

“My dad was an ironworker and my mom was a waitress.”

At Stony Brook University, Hartford took up cycling

and after graduation he took time off to ride across

several states, visiting friends who had spread out post

high school.

Not long after, he tried his hand at his first triathlon,

swimming off Coney Island. He kept at his multi-sport

pursuits for about a dozen years, competing several

times in the New York Triathlon.

“Swimming in the Hudson, I just tried to stay in the

middle and not hit anything that was floating,” he

said, laughing. He raced the Columbia Triathlon,

among other area races. His last triathlon was in 2002,

he said, about the same time his daughter was old

enough to do some recreational riding with him and

that was about the same time he started riding to his

teaching job.

“Ironically, when I stopped doing triathlons, that’s

when I really got interested in promoting bicycle

commuting, bike lanes, and alternative transportation

issues,” Hartford said. In Fairfax, he said, the

key work that needs to be accomplished is linking the

growing George Mason University campus, the Vienna

Metro stop, and downtown Fairfax City. It’s a big goal,

but then his bike shop also started slowly, evolving

over the past few years into a full-service downtown

shop today.

Initially, he and Feuchtner, who had worked as a

mechanic and manager at a couple of area bike

shops, started simply as a mobile bike repair service.

They picked up the bikes themselves and worked

out of a self-storage unit. Feuchtner has kept his day

job at a local nonprofit and he taught Hartford bike

repair.

Hartford was prepared to take the financial risk of

starting the business, but he needed an experienced

bike tech. He learned that Feuchtner had left his last

job at Hudson Trail Outfitters by chance where he was

catching up with former colleagues. Hartford offered

him 20 percent of the business for his expertise and

experience if he got on board.

Eventually, they got a small 500 sq. ft. store with an

address in August 2006, allowing them to order parts

wholesale, and began working from there. They have

always offered their unique mobile bike pick-up and

delivery service, continuing after moving into the new

shop last summer.

“It helped us gain some traction and develop a customer

base,” Hartford said.

Meanwhile, they’ve expanded other services and

community outreach efforts, as well as their inventory

of new bikes and gear.

With a high-traffic location downtown, they’ve also

added a bike rental business. They’ve added local

gyms as clients, repairing spin class bikes. And Oasis

buys and sells used bikes as well, which is popular with

nearby George Mason students.

Feuchtner, who grew up in Germany, leads a Tuesday

night mountain biking group, and Hartford leads a 2

p.m. Sunday road riding group.

Hartford believes ultimately the biggest growth side

of the business lies in bicycle commuting, as does

Feuchtner, who has seen it at work in Germany, and

more recently in Copenhagen.

“I spent a Sunday night in Copenhagen after visiting

my father who lives in Germany recently,” Feuchtner

said. “And I was there for 9 a.m. rush hour on

Monday morning. From what I saw, it looked like

bicycle commuters outnumbered cars 60-40.

“They’ve got the infrastructure figured out already,

they are way ahead of us in that regard,” he continued.

“Each traffic light has separate signals for bikes

and cars. That’s the future, I think.”

With the movement toward a more European-model

of transportation, Hartford said he plans to help promote

new federal legislation offering tax breaks for

businesses that reward bicycle commuting by employees.

He’d like eventually to contract with local businesses

and develop service contracts – all part of his

vision for building a healthy, sustainable community

and thriving local bike shop.

“I think I’ve followed my heart, I had a burning desire

to run my own business,” Hartford said. “I won’t ever

regret it (changing careers). You don’t know until

you try. The things I’ve regretted are things I haven’t

done, not the things I have done.”

EDITOR’S NOTE:

A good independent bicycle shop still remains one of the

treasured resources of bicycling–among the best places

to learn about places to ride, meet locals to ride with, and

learn about new products. Oh, and they also do a super

job fixing the bike stuff you break. “My Bike Shop” is a

regular feature of SPOKES in which we give you a look into

a local shop and the folks behind it.

30 June 2009


AVAILABLE AT THESE DEALERS:

DELAWARE

BETHANY BEACH

BETHANY CYCLE & FITNESS

778 Garfield Parkway

(302) 537-9982

VIRGINIA

ALEXANDRIA

SPOKES, ETC.

1545 N. Quaker Lane

(703) 820-2200

ARLINGTON

REVOLUTION CYCLES

2731 Wilson Boulevard

(703) 312-0007

ASHBURN

SPOKES, ETC.

20070 Ashbrook Commons Plaza

(703) 858-5501

BELLE VIEW

SPOKES, ETC.

Belle View Blvd.

(703) 765-8005

BURKE

THE BIKE LANE

9544 Old Keene Mill Road

(703) 440-8701

FREDERICKSBURG

OLDE TOWNE BICYCLES

1907 Plank Road

(540) 371-6383

LEESBURG

BICYCLE OUTFITTERS

19 Catoctin Circle, NE

(703) 777-6126

RESTON

THE BIKE LANE

Reston Town Center

(703) 689-2671

STAFFORD

REVOLUTION CYCLES

100 Susa Drive, #103-15

(540) 657-6900

VIENNA

SPOKES, ETC.

224 Maple Avenue East

(703) 281-2004

WOODBRIDGE

OLDE TOWNE BICYCLES

14477 Potomac Mills Road

(703) 491-5700

MARYLAND

ARNOLD

BIKE DOCTOR

953 Ritchie Highway

(410) 544-3532

BALTIMORE

MT. WASHINGTON

BIKE SHOP

5813 Falls Road

(410) 323-2788

BETHESDA

GRIFFIN CYCLE

4949 Bethesda Avenue

(301) 656-6188

COCKEYSVILLE

THE BICYCLE CONNECTION

York & Warren Roads

(410) 667-1040

COLLEGE PARK

COLLEGE PARK BICYCLES

4360 Knox Road

(301) 864-2211

COLUMBIA

RACE PACE

6925 Oakland Mills Road

(410) 290-6880

DAMASCUS

ALL AMERICAN BICYCLES

Weis Market Center

(301) 253-5800

ELLICOTT CITY

RACE PACE

8450 Baltimore National Pike

(410) 461-7878

FOREST HILL

BICYCLE CONNECTION EXPRESS

2203 Commerce Drive

(410) 420-2500

FREDERICK

BIKE DOCTOR

5732 Buckeystown Pike

(301) 620-8868

WHEELBASE

229 N. Market Street

(301) 663-9288

HAGERSTOWN

HUB CITY SPORTS

35 N. Prospect Street

(301) 797-9877

MT. AIRY

MT. AIRY BICYCLES

4540 Old National Pike

(301) 831-5151

OWINGS MILLS

RACE PACE

9930 Reisterstown Road

(410) 581-9700

ROCKVILLE

REVOLUTION CYCLES

1066 Rockville Pike

(301) 984-7655

SALISBURY

SALISBURY CYCLE & FITNESS

1404 S. Salisbury Blvd.

(866) 758-4477

SILVER SPRING

THE BICYCLE PLACE

8313 Grubb Road

(301) 588-6160

WALDORF

BIKE DOCTOR

3200 Leonardtown Road

(301) 932-9980

WESTMINSTER

RACE PACE

459 Baltimore Blvd.

(410) 876-3001

WASHINGTON, D.C.

GEORGETOWN

REVOLUTION CYCLES

3411 M Street, N.W.

(202) 965-3601


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