it ALL StArtS At 40 it ALL StArtS At 40 - Spokes Magazine

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it ALL StArtS At 40 it ALL StArtS At 40 - Spokes Magazine

Serving Cyclists in the Mid-Atlantic States winter 2010.11

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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

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1404 S. Salisbury Blvd.

(866) 758-4477

SILVER SPRING

THE BICYCLE PLACE

8313 Grubb Road

(301) 588-6160

WALDORF

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WESTMINSTER

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459 Baltimore Blvd.

(410) 876-3001

VIRGINIA

ALEXANDRIA

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20070 Ashbrook Commons Plaza

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BELLE VIEW

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BURKE

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LEESBURG

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RESTON

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STAFFORD

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100 Susa Drive, #103-15

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VIENNA

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WASHINGTON, D.C.

GEORGETOWN

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(202) 965-3601

8/27/10 1:07:37 PM


On

theCover

Approaching 40, Henrik Olsen of Walkersville, Md., decided

to get into bicycling. By 45, he's become one of the East

Coast's best long distance racers.

page 6

what do q-tips and love have to do with each

other? Read on.

I wasn’t planning on getting a new bicycle this winter.

My bike was only two years old, and when I got it, it

was state-of-the-art. Carbon fiber frame, carbon fiber

cranks, carbon fiber handlebars, stem and seat post.

Aero wheels, of course.

So, when I took this new baby out for a test ride, I’d

already prepared my “thanks, but no thanks” speech.

I was already riding the best of the best, and what

could be better?

Surprise, surprise!

How do bike companies do this? This first ride was

on a fall group ride, put together by Rob Laybourn,

founder of the U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic in

Arlington. The group included some of his events

sponsors, but also about 15 members of the U.S.

Naval Academy bike racing team. Yikes. I’m old and

don’t do those kind of training rides anymore.

This challenging ride, I figured, would accomplish

one of two things. For whatever reason, the bike

would not work out and I’d have a built in excuse

to drop back and cruise in on my own. Or the bike

would astonish me and propel me enough to actually

keep up.

I was putting my money on scenario #1.

Well, as the group headed out on flat to rolling sections,

I stayed in the back and sucked wheels. I was

finding my tempo and rhythm and found that I could

hold onto the field. Surprisingly, I found on slight

rises the bike seemed to accelerate and I had to do a

slow brake. No longer much of a climber, I couldn’t

hold with them on the climbs or up Sugarloaf

Mountain, which I didn’t even attempt. But this baby

flew, unlike any bike I’ve ever ridden.

The bike manufacturer somehow managed to shave

another full pound, putting the complete bike in the

sub-15 pound category. All its brake and derailleur

cables were now hidden from view buried inside the

bike’s tubing. But the biggest difference had to be the

full carbon wheels (carbon rims and carbon hubs).

Wow! Love again.

Last night I found myself doing something I haven’t

done in years. I brought the new baby into our sunroom,

and as I watched a Redskins game (and I am

not a football fan) I detailed her every inch.

Want a measure of my newfound passion? I dug out

the Q-Tips. There is no other way to get the road grit

out of a bike's nooks and crannies.

The downside to all this passion is it rained last night,

and while I fully planned on riding her to work today,

I couldn’t bring myself to getting her dirty.

Oh well, it is supposed to be dry tomorrow.

Happy trails.

Neil Sandler

Editor & Publisher

Touring • Racing • Off-Road

Recreation • Triathlon • Commuting

SPOKES is published monthly eight times a year — monthly

March through September, plus one winter issue. It is available

free of charge at most area bicycle stores, fitness centers and

related sporting establishments throughout Maryland, Virginia,

the District of Columbia, and parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware and

West Virginia.

Circulation: 30,000. Copyright©2010 SPOKES.

All rights reserved. No reprinting without the publisher’s written permission.

Opinions expressed and facts presented are attributed to the respective

authors and not SPOKES. Editorial and photographic submissions are welcome.

Material can only be returned if it is accompanied by a self-addressed,

stamped envelope. The publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertising

which may be inappropriate to the magazine’s purpose.

Editorial and Advertising Office:

SPOKES

5911 Jefferson Boulevard

Frederick, MD 21703

Phone/Fax: (301) 371-5309

GRAPHIC DESIGN

Studio 22

www.studio20two.com

winter 2010/11

EDITOR & PUBLISHER

Neil W. Sandler

neil@spokesmagazine.com

CALENDAR EDITOR

Sonja P. Sandler

sonja@spokesmagazine.com

www.spokesmagazine.com

Come in

from the

cold

for HOT

Winter

Deals!!

What will you find at the SWAP... More than 200 vendors,

thousands of discounted cycling and fitness products,

product demos, prizes and giveaways, special events and

so much more…

Admission is still only $5!

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

9:00 am-2:00 pm

Carroll County Agricultural Center

706 Agricultural Center Drive

Westminster, MD 21157

www.StopSwapAndSave.com

See you at the SWAP!!


Touring Ride In Rural Indiana®

TRIRI® presents four tours in 2011,

visiting Indiana’s beautiful state parks

along lightly traveled, scenic routes.

Overnights in state parks

Catered breakfasts and dinners

TRIRI® Bicycle Rallies 2011:

June 12-15 at Spring Mill State Park

August 14-17 at Clifty Falls State Park

Loop rides from a single state park

RAINSTORM 2011:

July 11-16

Five century rides over

five days, with 160 miles

on day six

SEPTEMBER ESCAPADE 2011:

September 11-16 • South central Indiana

8

www.triri.org (812) 333-8176

7th ANNUAL

TOUR DE CARROLL

Save the date: APRIL 23, 2011

Get those bikes and

cycling legs in shape

& enjoy the beautiful

Carroll County countryside!!

Show and Go – 7am to 10am

Lunch (included) – until 3pm

4 New Sensational Bike Routes:

High Tech Metric Century, 63 miles

Spring Classic, 39 miles

Recreational, 25 miles

Family Fun, 8 miles

Radio sag and sweep on all routes until 3pm.

Rest stops, maps, cue sheets.

Plenty of free parking and nearby motels.

Easy location at Dutterer’s Park in Westminster, MD

(just off Rt.140; 25 miles W of Baltimore, 20 miles E of Frederick).

$40.00 Registration includes:

Lunch

T-shirt

Brownies and Ice Cream

50/50 Raffle Drawing at Noon

Rain

or

Shine!

30 day pass to Westminster

Family Center, full service

gym. ($55 value) Sponsored

by the City of Westminster Parks

and Recreation Department

BICYCLE RIDE ACROSS GEORGIA

32nd annual BRAG RIDE

Join BRAG 2011, June 4-11,

begin in Atlanta and March to the Sea, with

overnight stops in Oxford, Milledgeville, Dublin,

Metter, Hinesville, and ending in Savannah.

1300 Riders • Street Dances • Ice Cream Social

End-Of-The-Road Meal • Great Fun for Families

60 Miles Average per Day

Hammerhead Options (for additional mileage)

Layover Day • Rest Stops Every 10 – 15 Miles

For more information, visit www.brag.org,

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

Other 2011 Rides:

• Spring Tune-Up Ride,

Madison, GA, April 15 -17

• Georgia BikeFest, October

To register and for further information go to or call:

www.active.com or www.tourdecarroll.com

Call 410-840-8381

100% of the funds raised directly benefit our partners, West End

Place (Carroll County’s only private, non-profit service for low

income seniors) and the Humane Society of Carroll County.

Reach Over

30,000

Bicycling Enthusiasts

Call 301-371-5309


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The exotic (Webster, adj., 3) Great Lakes, Erie Canal, &

NYS Finger Lakes are the perfect bicycle touring

destinations for adventurous & independent

minded experienced & novice cyclotourists

Use our bicycle tour guide books

for a sucessful & wonderful tour

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Middle left C&O Canal, Wash, DC

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P’tit train du Nord

Bicycling Tours for

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C&O Canal, Washington, DC

Amish Country, PA

“Its not how far nor how fast,

its the pleasure of the journey”

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Florida Keys.

37419 Branch River Road | Loudoun Heights, VA 20132 | info@seniorcycling.com


It All Starts at 40

by neil sandler

“My goal from the start was to break 30 hours, but

DeLong scared me the day before we started when he

said he was hoping to break 26 hours,” Olsen recalled.

“He started off very strong, averaging 23-24 miles

per hour on a slight incline that lead up to the first

real climb. He was probably putting out about 300

watts (of power) into that first real climb. I thought

I’d made a mistake teaming up with him. I thought

I shouldn’t have given his wife my water bottles and

(nutritional) mixes. But he was happy to lead.

“About around the 100 mile mark I seriously thought

about dropping back,” Olsen continued. “He was

doing the majority of the pulls, so I did everything

I could to hold onto his wheel. Suddenly, at the

168 mile mark (a control point) the roles reversed.

Dennis appeared to have become dehydrated in the

heat of the day and told me several times to go ahead

without him. We kept it together though and managed

the remaining 232 miles.”

It is not often that one finds team efforts in ultraendurance

cycling, but the sport is not short on

humanity or an understanding that everyone is vulnerable

to mechanical, physical or natural obstacles.

-----------------------------

If, as you approach middle age, you decide you want to become one of the country’s

best long distance bike racers, you might find a better way than rising long distance

star Henrik Olsen of Walkersville, Md.

So how did this middle-aged recreational cyclist

manage to formulate a career as a long distance

bike racer, when prior to these events, the longest

bike ride he’d ever been on was a camping tour of

England and Ireland when he was 28?

In 1993, he took a job in Canada with the goal of

improving his English. He had recently finished his

masters in mechanical engineering and was hired to

work for a year at Queens University in Ontario. It was

there that he met his wife to be, Susan, who was from

Calgary, AB, Canada, but studying at the university.

After Susan graduated and he finished his year at the

university he traveled west to Calgary. Despite having

only bought her first hybrid two weeks earlier, the

two of them completed a two week bike tour of the

Canadian Rockies. On the last day of their tour, they

ran out of food a the highest point in their journey.

As they were riding their bikes up an 11% grade,

with no convenience store in sight, his future wife

declared, “I am done; I want a couch, some bonbons

and a TV remote.”

“honey,” he called his wife on the phone midway

through the Shenandoah 1,200 kilometer race.

“My knee hurts so bad I can’t go on. Can you come

pick me up? I’m at the North Carolina border.”

Turns out the North Carolina border was the furthest

point the racers in this event would ever be from the

starting in Leesburg, Va.

Henrik, it turns out, made the cataclysmic mistake of

attempting this huge challenge on a new bike he’d

never ridden longer than 50 miles.

If there was any good news, Henrik managed to talk

some others who dropped out of the race into renting

a car back to Leesburg.

But when Henrik arrived in Leesburg, he realized

he’d forgotten his car keys at a hotel in North

Carolina. His wife was okay with the one hour drive to

Leesburg to drop off the spare key.

Welcome to the life of the dedicated long-distance

bike racer.

-----------------------------

Five years ago, as Henrik Olsen approached the age of

40, he decided that neither soccer, handball (played

in his native Denmark), or running were motivating

enough to make “his sport.”

He had tried biking before. Growing up in Denmark

he used biking as a means of transport rather than a

means of physical challenge.

“I never raced, and other than a bike camping vacation

through England and into Ireland, I never did

any real serious bicycling,” he told SPOKES.

So how does a now 45-year-old noise and vibration

engineer for Bechtel Power Company, with two busy

young children, turn into one of the most competitive

long distance bike racers on the East Coast?

Along with a former winner of this year’s 400 mile

race around New York’s shimmering Finger Lakes the

5’10” tall, and 157 pound Dane shattered the race

record. Olsen and two-time-Race Across America rider

Dennis DeLong of Greece, NY, smashed the 2007

record by a full hour, finishing in a time of 29 hours,

54 minutes in the mid-August event.

Competing in the Finger Lakes' QuadZilla 400 miler

for the first time, Olsen agreed the day before the

race began to share pacing roles with DeLong in

exchange for having DeLong’s wife serve as both riders’

support crew. The QuadZilla is one of the long

distance events that allows drafting.

But the partnership nearly broke up at the very start.

6 Winter 2010/11


In 2002, Olsen heard of a good job opportunity with

Bechtel in Frederick, Md. With two small children,

Anders (now 10) and Amelia (now 8), Olsen took the

new position.

By 2004 Olsen was catching the biking bug. At first,

all he had time for was 20 mile jaunts after work. But

a couple of co-workers; John Gantnier and Bernie

Sellers introduced him to night riding, and that

opened up his cycling horizon. Through night-time

riding buddy Bill Smith, Olsen learned about long

distance randonneur rides and the National 24 hour

Challenge in Michigan.

After his first 100 mile ride, which took him 8.5 hours,

Olsen confessed he was sore for weeks. That year,

Olsen rode just over 2,000 miles total.

In 2006, his brother-in-law talked him into entering

L’Etape du Tour, where cyclists have the opportunity

to ride one of the most difficult stages of that year’s

Tour de France, and in one day required him to

cover 125 miles, ascending 15,000 feet in the French

Pyrenees, including two Category 1 climbs and one

HC climbs (so long and steep that it is beyond categorization

by race officials).

Returning to the U.S., Olsen now began training in earnest,

riding the many mountains of Western Maryland.

By 2008, Olsen was

training for long distance

events, but discovered

he frequently didn’t eat

properly, hydrate

properly, or frequently

overtrained. At that year’s

24 Hours of Michigan he

expected to cover 350-375

miles, yet only covered

284 miles.

“I was truly beginning to

understand the science

of long distance riding.

In that event, I just didn’t

fuel my body properly,

and basically my body can-

at 40 continued on p.8

Winter 2010/11

7


at 40 continued from p.7

nibalized itself...eating itself up. I was trying to

get by on Gatorade.” He is now a firm believer in

using Hammer Nutrition products. He meticulously

plans for his races. He rations and proportions

his fueling and is guided by his past experiences

and spreadsheets.

At his next 24 hour race, he covered 408 miles, exceeding

his goal of 375. His distance set a new age group

record, blowing away the existing record of 358 miles.

“Now the bug was in me. I knew I could race and

perform with the best out there,” he told SPOKES.

As his training clicked up a notch, Olsen sought out

rides with riders stronger and faster than him. He

also set up a gym including a CycleOps and treadmill

in his basement so that his training would not be

impeded by weather. He watches Tour de France videos

for hours as he tries to maintain his endurance

in the winter.

Although his current training is still limited to after

work rides, and early morning Saturday rides that he

tries to complete by noon, he is more calculating and

specific in his training regimen.

This past June, at the 24 Hours of Michigan again,

he had a huge breakthrough, covering 438.1 miles.

Oddly enough, Olsen isn’t totally satisfied. “My nutrition

still wasn’t dialed in. I quit with 20 minutes to

go. I should have been able to cover more miles.”

At another event, less than a month later, he hit

424.5 miles in an event that, unlike the Michigan

race, does not permit drafting.

Now, with the knowledge he needs for the correct

training, correct nutrition and correct amount of

rest and recuperation, Olsen thinks about the three

or four events he intends to compete in 2011 and

perhaps someday competing in the Race Across

America…and he contemplates other possibilities.

Maybe rough starts and a few years under the belt really

are the way to develop an ultra-endurance cyclist.

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8 Winter 2010/11


Ironman, M-Dot are registered trademarks of the

World Triathlon Corporation used here by permission.


Georgia on My Mind

by ann abeles with photos by fred abeles

As I drug my suitcase and gear toward the tents, sweat streaming down my face, I

asked “What am I doing starting a week-long bicycle ride in Georgia in June? I must

have gone crazy last winter and forgotten what the southeast US is like in the summer.

Oh well, it’ll be fun – I think.”

it is saturday afternoon, June 5. My husband

and riding partner Fred and I are at Our Lady of

Mercy High School near Fayetteville, Georgia, a town

about 25 miles south of Greater Atlanta, checking in

for the 31st BRAG, Bicycle Ride Across Georgia. This

year’s ride is planned as a seven-day loop ride from

Fayetteville to Columbus and back, 50 to 65 miles a

day with a layover day in Columbus.

I admit I knew it would be warm but I had forgotten

about the humidity. To make the ride a little easier on

us, we had booked with Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers

so we would have some amenities like shade, chairs,

cool drinks and snacks. Also, Bubba’s crew would deal

with putting up our tent in the 90+ temperatures that

were expected for the week and taking down the dewcovered

tents in the mornings.

Fred and Ann Abeles

10 Winter 2010/11


After checking in at the ride headquarters to pick

up the cue sheets and our meal tickets, we sat in

the Pampered Zone and met some of our fellow

riders while waiting for evening. There were about

1100 riders registered for the ride and some were

camped around the school grounds. About 80 were

with Bubba. A large number have opted to sleep in

the air conditioned school gymnasium which looks

like a shelter for victims of some major disaster. Air

mattresses and sleeping bags cover the floor and

some hallways leaving just narrow walkways between.

When it was a bit cooler, we went over to the school,

took our showers and then drove a few miles towards

Fayetteville where we found some dinner before

returning to the school to park the car for the week

and crawl into our tent for the night.

On these rides, the morning alarm is the sound of

tent flaps being unzipped about 5 a.m. Sunday morning

we got dressed, packed up our gear and rode our

bikes over to the school cafeteria for breakfast. The

first day, we are always a little slow so it was nearly 7:30

before we pedaled out of the parking lot and headed

down the road for Griffin, our camping spot for

Sunday night.

Shortly after leaving the high school we passed an

enormous mansion and several slightly smaller mansions.

The big one that looked like some small college

is the “home” of the boxer, Evander Holyfield. We’re

told that the others are homes for some of his former

wives. Within a few blocks, we were flying down and

slowly pedaling up the rolling hills, typical of this part

of southwest Georgia. The morning was pleasant and

we soon were out of the Atlanta suburban traffic and

passing through rural farmland and forest on quiet

roads. The mimosa trees and huge crape myrtles were

all in bloom adding visual delight to the accompanying

song of the birds.

The rest stops were spaced every 10 – 15 miles along

the way and were well stocked with hand washing stations,

fresh fruits, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,

pretzels, coolers of water and sports drink and, of

course, a row of port-a pots.

Fred and I, definitely in the senior citizen group, were

riding our Tour Easy recumbents and moved along

towards the rear of the mid-pack of riders. Since we

were usually greeted by a cheerful, “On your left” we

were able to see a good many of our fellow riders during

the day. This ride had many young riders, 20 – 50

year olds, who quickly passed us on their sleek road

bikes. There were also quite a few parents with youngsters

on tandems or on tag-a-longs and a few little

ones in trailers.

About 20 of the bikes were recumbents of many different

styles and another 20 or so were tandems.

There were a few trikes, especially because the ride

also included riders from the Special Olympics

Georgia, SOGA. One remarkable family had an adult

and one child on a tandem pulling a specially modified

trike that assisted the handicapped child on the

trike to pedal.

Well over half of the riders were from Georgia and

most of them had done other BRAG rides.

Because we knew very little about this ride when we

signed up, we also purchased the meal tickets that

were offered for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The

meals turned out to be quite variable – sometimes far

too small for an adult biker and sometimes adequate.

The rest stop provisions were good and plentiful so

we could have easily skipped ordering the lunches.

Dinners were hit and miss. It was difficult to know

ahead of time whether it would have been convenient

to go to the nearby town for dinner or not, and often

it was not convenient. We ate the breakfast and dinner

meals supplied by the schools and had enough

snacks in the Bubba Zone to make up for missing

calories. As the week went on and the weather got

hotter, food was no longer high on my list.

Even with our late start on Sunday, the pleasant route

brought us to Spalding High School in Griffin by 1

p.m. We rested in the Bubba Zone and had some cool

drinks before organizing our stuff in our tent and

then having our showers. We briefly considered taking

the shuttle bus into town for the Wild West Days

– Griffin is the birth place of “Doc” Holliday – but we

decided we preferred a quiet afternoon in the shade

and a chance to visit with some of our fellow riders.

After dinner we did take the shuttle bus into town in

the hopes of finding some ice cream. Unfortunately

for us and several other fellow riders, there were no

ice cream vendors around and no ice cream stores.

We’re not great fans of loud country music, so we

caught the next shuttle back to the school and read

our books till dark.

georgia continued on p.12

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Winter 2010/11

11


georgia continued from p.11

Monday morning we were up and packed earlier and

headed into breakfast a bit before 6. For a Yankee,

not into grits and sausage, my breakfast was a little

oatmeal with grape jelly. We were on the road by

6:30 and I looked forward to the first rest stop. The

morning was clear and cool as we biked south to

Thomaston. We made good time rolling through

the rural countryside and arrived at Rest Stop #3,

the “lunch” stop by 9:30. I was starving by then and

so we picked up our veggie burgers with trimmings,

lemonade and a slice of sheet cake. We ate it all,

improving Fred’s mood as well as my energy level.

We passed lovely flower gardens and an interesting

tower along the route. Around 12:30 we rolled into

the Thomaston-Upson Civic Center and Upson Lee

Middle School after 54 miles. The showers in the

school were cool, no hot water for some reason, but

were refreshing.

Dinner in the middle school was much better than

the night before and we retired to the Zone to rest

and visit. If it had not been so hot we might have considered

the shuttle into town but line dancing in the

heat wasn’t that appealing.

By now, you’re probably wondering if we’re just party

poopers. No, we’re just senior citizens on a ride

where the majority of riders have come with a group

of friends, done the ride before, are younger and

are Georgia natives, acclimated to the climate. Fred

and I enjoy taking different bicycle tours in order to

see other parts of our country but do not need to be

entertained after each day’s ride. Our view of Georgia

has been mostly from I-95 and now we were seeing

other parts of the state. Also, we knew no one else on

the ride. In these circumstances, a big advantage of

being with Bubba is that we get new friends to visit

with. In general, bike riders are friendly people and

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like to share their knowledge of different bicycles

and rides. We enjoyed these afternoons, sitting in the

Zone, visiting with our new friends.

Tuesday morning’s better breakfast included milk

and fruit. We were on our way by 6:40 on a clear and

cool morning. We had lots of turns to get out of town

and a few good climbs before we turned onto a road

called Po Biddy. This route was smoothly paved, with

little traffic and included an almost 4-mile downhill

to the Flint River. Of course, what goes down usually

goes up again so after taking pictures and having a

quick snack we headed up out of the river valley.

Our third rest stop of the day was in Waverly Hall, a

pretty little town. Lunch was taco salad, yum. Now we

had about 25 miles with lots of down hill stretches.

The afternoon was getting pretty hot so we stopped

for drinks and a rest in the shade before tackling the

last 15 miles into Columbus. We took the optional

4-mile route downtown which included a new bike

path, the Warm Springs Bike Path.

After 67 miles, we were happy to see the sea of brown

tents (Bubba Zone) spread out in front of us. We

gratefully relaxed with cold sodas and snacks.

About 5:30, we strolled up the street a couple blocks

to Broadway, a street with several restaurants. We

chose the Cannon Brew Pub and shared our table

with a nice grandfather and his grandson (13) from

Alabama (also Bubba Zone folks). Grandson was finding

the ride a lot of work and wasn’t sure he wanted

to ride at all on Wednesday, the layover day. We said

we were going to ride the Riverwalk Bike path the

8 miles over to Ft. Benning and the new National

Infantry Museum. That didn’t sound so bad after

all so he was game for that – and a visit to the Port

Columbus National Civil War Naval Museum that we

would pass on the way.

As Wednesday was forecast to be hot, we were up

before 6 and walked up to a coffee shop on Broadway

for coffee, bananas and delicious blueberry muffins.

Thus fortified, we were soon off pedaling south along

the Riverwalk Path overlooking the Chattahoochee.

The path is beautifully landscaped with lots of crape

myrtle in full bloom. We parked our bikes on the

museum’s large portico and went in.

The multimillion dollar museum was established in

1998 but just recently opened. It houses several exhibits

about the history of Ft. Benning, which was started

in 1918 as Camp Benning, and the history and training

of the infantry. There also were many special halls

with exhibits concentrating on each major war involving

the Colonial States and the United States such as

the Spanish-American war, WWI, WW II, etc. up to the

current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

However, before we turned left to our tent we biked

back up to Broadway to Brother’s General Store.

There we enjoyed A&W root beer floats in air conditioned

comfort. Columbus has a rotating street art

show that puts different sculptures around town for

several months. There was a very cute statue of a little

girl holding a huge cat stationed in front of Brothers.

After our break, I got our clean clothes out of the

sweat lodge – probably 120 F inside, and we went to

the shower truck to get cleaned up. I had a chance to

wash my hair and we sat outside a bit while I tried to

dry it in the sun. Unfortunately my sweat was getting

my hair wetter so we went inside the air conditioned

Corn Center so it would dry.

We sat for a while, reading in the air conditioned

comfort, then walked up to another restaurant for

dinner, the Downstairs at the Loft. We enjoyed our

beers with a collection of starters that appealed to us.

After dark on Wednesday there was a “light” show, the

“Moonbase Planetarium” projected on a sheet on the

bank of the river.

After a very hot night, we got up at 5, packed up and

pushed our bikes up to the street. We bought strong

coffee from the coffee vendor traveling with the ride

and ate the Power Bars that were in our registration

packet along with some dried fruit I had brought for

emergencies. By 6:30 we were on the road heading

out of Columbus using the same streets and Warm

Springs Bike Path we had used coming in on Tuesday.

Then the route veered away and headed north

toward LaGrange.

We were fortunate that the sky stayed overcast much

of the morning so we could tackle the rolling hills at

temperatures in the 70s to low 80s. But by afternoon

the heat returned. Finally we arrived in LaGrange

after 64 miles. We collapsed in the zone and I guzzled

2 cans of soda before I could even think about getting

our stuff from the tent. We took some more soda and

went into the air conditioned school to sit (actually

just lie on the cool floor) a while before we could take

our showers and sit some more.

12 Winter 2010/11


We found that the “movie” room was carpeted and

quiet; no one wanted to watch anything, just sleep or

read quietly. I used the time to study the cue sheet for

Friday and discovered that there was a possible short

cut that shortened the Friday ride by about 20 miles.

While I was back at the tent getting our meal tickets

and putting stuff away, Fred told a couple of other

ladies about the short cut. The word quickly spread

to others that were having difficulty with the heat so

there were quite a few that were planning to take the

44 instead of 64 mile ride on Friday.

Dinner was up the hill at LaGrange College next to

the West Side Middle School. After dinner, we sat in

the air conditioned middle school for a while before

calling it a night.

The temperature finally dropped into the 70s and we

must have fallen so deeply asleep that we didn’t hear

our alarm. It was 5:30 when we woke, quickly dressed,

and packed up. We bought vendor coffee, ate some of

our dried fruit and headed into the fog at 6:30. The

route was very pretty today, lots of flowering trees, especially

magnolia and mimosa and some forested areas.

Many homes had huge gardenia bushes that I could

smell before we could even see them. Their heavy fragrance

lifted my sagging spirits for the bigger hills.

It turns out that the Smokey Road short cut was a

lovely route. Much of it had new, smooth paving and

passed by many attractive horse farms. We arrived at

Newnan High School and Bubba’s camp about 11:30.

We visited a bit, before heading up the hill to the

shower truck – about a half mile. Then we returned to

the Zone to rest and visit till dinner time.

Saturday morning, the last day, we were up at 4:30.

Fred drug our suitcases up the hill to the luggage truck

(Bubba’s truck was not returning to Fayetteville as they

had another ride to cater in South Carolina beginning

that evening.) Then we biked up to the cafeteria, 0.7

mile. After breakfast we set off as soon as it was light

enough, 6:30. For a while the temperatures remained

in the 70s and we enjoyed the rolling hills and low traffic.

However, by the time we arrived back at Lady of

Mercy the sun was out and it was in the 90s again.

We unloaded our bikes by our car, picked up our

luggage and packed all our stuff into the car. Then

we joined the others in the cafeteria for lunch. The

family from Atlanta that we had visited with most

evenings also had just arrived. We sat with them and

talked about bike rides and neat places to go. After

exchanging email addresses we said farewell to some

more new biking friends and headed for home, where

we hoped the temperatures would be lower.

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Winter 2010/11

13


Wander Cross Country with Bob One Last Time

by neil sandler

SPOKES normally doesn’t celebrate the retirement of an

advertiser with a story, but Bob Davenport, founder of

Wandering Wheels is different…a legend, many who know

him well might argue!

Bob and the company he founded in 1966 have guided

more than 3,500 participants coast- to-coast over the

course of 67 supported group trips. Bob himself has lead

and ridden 43 of these 3,000 mile tours, and now approaching

78-years-old, announced he will participate in

his final Wandering Wheels cross country tour in 2011.

Wandering Wheels preceded the legendary 1976 Bikecentennial

crossing, which many incorrectly believe started

the group cross country cycling phenomena. A full decade

earlier, this former All American UCLA football star created

a bike touring concept for which there was no precedent.

When most American cyclists were riding balloon tired

single speeds, Bob had already jumped aboard the tenspeed

bandwagon, buying 15 state-of-the-art Louis Bobet

(the Frenchman who won the Tour de France three times

in the 1950s) 15-speed racing style bikes for his first riders,

who wore Bermuda shorts and t-shirts.

When no one riding a bike in the mid-1960s wore helmets

(and we mean no one other than racers who wore leather

hairnet helmets), Bob insisted his riders ride safely, and

provided each rider with a hard shelled hockey helmet.

Bob also required the use of warning bike flags, and

strongly recommended the use of bike mirrors.

A very religious individual, Bob set out to instill in the

young people on these early tours a sense of physical and

mental accomplishment, a moral compass, and belief in

a higher power. Those who have gotten to know Bob by

participating in any of his many organized rides, which

expanded into tours of Europe, China, and New Zealand,

know they gained much more than exercise and fresh air

by being on board.

Bob credits success in Wandering Wheels to his rough and

tumble upbringings, growing up the oldest of three boys,

with parents who separated, were “among the drinking

crowd” and forced their children to mature fast.

“My dad would put us in a motel and we’d stay there

until the motel owner realized they weren’t going to get

paid,” Bob confided to SPOKES. “I was forced to grow up

early and pretty much figure it out on my own by the time

I was 13.”

But Bob landed “on his feet” becoming “quite a jock” in

southern California and getting into football, where he

went on to become an “All American” at UCLA, where he

played in the Rose Bowl twice, and was named MVP in the

Hula Bowl, playing against pros.

After his football career ended, he was offered a coaching

job at Taylor University in Indiana, just three blocks from

where Wandering Wheels has since been headquartered.

Always a devout Christian church goer, who also enjoyed

spreading the good word of God from the podium, he

wanted another platform from which he could “spread

the word.” Bob confesses that the bike touring activity

became this vehicle.

14 Winter 2010/11


“The carryover” from participating in any of his tours was

that the participant would retain a passion for God and for

a healthy lifestyle. Wandering Wheels’ earliest tours were

centered primarily on boys aged 14-15, but more recently

centers on riders over 50.

“If I was going to be in the business of sharing my faith,

I needed something other than the church or the YMCA

to get the kids to go home and openly brag about it,” he

recalls.

“So one day, having never been a bicyclist, I saw a

10-speed Schwinn Varsity that a classmate was riding,

and asked him if I could try it out. I hopped on it, rode it

about three miles, and it hit me like a ton of bricks that

this was my answer. Quickly, and without much reasoning,

I wondered what would happen if I took a group of kids

on a 1,000 mile bike ride and pushed them beyond their

comfort zone. In 1964, I got the 15 bikes, got the 15 kids,

and we rode 1,000 miles from the headwaters of the Mis-

sissippi in Minnesota to Cairo, Illinois. That was the start

of something I had no idea what it would become.”

Today, Bob still rides a lot, averaging 8,000 miles a year

outdoors, (mostly lunchtime 40-50 mile jaunts on Indiana

gentle byways) and when weather turns bad he’s worn

out three Schwinn Aerodynes indoors.

Bob’s legacy? “Outside of my family, and outside of having

played football at the highest level, and coaching it for

11 great years, and then doing the bike thing for over 40

years, I would have to say my greatest accomplishment is

leaving a sweet taste in so many people’s mouths about

the importance of having God in their lives. Pleasing

someone beyond yourself. I hope that is my legacy.”

The passion

for cycling

starts young…

and lasts forever.

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Winter 2010/11

15


My “Backroads” Birthday

Present to Myself

by larry lipman

It’s just before 7 a.m. and a long line of cars is at a near-standstill on U.S. 7 on the

western edge of Berryville, Va. Bicycles from sprout from roof-racks or protrude from

racks on the backs of most cars. Inside those cars are the hard-core riders: those

who plan to ride the Back Roads Century’s full 100 mile route.

been meticulously painted on the roads. They are easy

to follow with different colors denoting the different

routes. Third, the cue sheet and a map of the route,

also available weeks in advance on the website, are

easy to read and the street signs are in place--something

that is often not the case in rural areas.

Before the ride, the website in invaluable. In addition

to the cue sheets, maps, photos and altitude chart,

i’m in one of those cars creeping into the

Clarke County Fairgrounds where we’ll park before

starting the ride across the street at the Clarke County

High School. It’s my 62 birthday and I’ve decided to

celebrate by trying a century.

For weeks I’ve debated with myself whether to go for

the full century or scale back and do the 65-mile metric

century which is one of five routes laid out by the

Potomac Pedalers Touring Club, the ride’s sponsor.

The other rides are at 50, 30 and 25 miles. On the

one hand, I’ve done a few centuries before and I’m

confident I can go the distance. On the other hand,

it’s been a few years since my last century and this one

is billed as “moderately hilly,” and I’m a wuss on hills.

The ride’s excellent website has photos of the route

from previous years plus an altitude graph. But I find

it difficult to imagine how steep those climbs are without

actually seeing them. So two weeks before the century,

I decide to test the course by riding the second,

and reportedly more difficult, half.

I discover a few things during that ride. First, while

there are hills, only a few are steep or long. During

the test ride I drop into my triple’s granny gear only

four times over 50 miles. Second, even though it’s still

two weeks before the event, directional arrows have

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16 Winter 2010/11


it also has a GPX suitable for downloading into your

computer. It also features an article about how to

train for a century, a check list of what to bring, information

about parking and the rest stops, and a timetable

for when everyone should arrive and start. Since

there are so many different routes, riders start at different

times, with the full century riders leaving first

while those doing the 25-miler start two hours later.

Also on the website is a forum for people to ask questions

and communicate with other riders. That proves

invaluable. There is a topic about riders looking for

similarly paced riders. One list is for those who expect

to average 15 or 16 mph. On my trial ride, I averaged

just under 14, so I worry that these riders will

leave me in the dust and I’ll ride the entire course by

myself. Then Nadine Beck posts a query looking for

riders in the 12-13 mile range. I make arrangements

to meet with that group.

While Berryville is only about an hour and a half west

of Washington, D.C., and it would be possible to drive

there in the pre-dawn hours before the 7 a.m. start

time, I decide to spend the night in a hotel in nearby

Winchester, Va., about 15 minutes away. There are

plenty of relatively inexpensive hotels to choose from

and the hotel parking lot sports several cars with bikes

attached.

The riders who have responded to Nadine’s post

agree to meet at the information tent in front of the

high school and depart at 7:15. By the time I park my

car and ride over the to school, the school’s parking

lot is swarming with cyclists. Mark Alpert, the century’s

chairman, said later that more than 1,500 riders

registered, about half of them signing up for the full

100 miles.

Alpert said the ride, now in roughly its 10th year—it

wasn’t formalized in its early years—set an attendance

record. It could have been even larger, but PPTC

cut off registration at the end of August so it could

make accommodations for the large number of riders

already committed, rather than continuing to take

registration up until the last minute and then not

have enough food, beverages, portable toilets and

other supplies.

There are several tents in front of the school, including

some sponsored by companies such as Specialized

and Spokes, Etc. I notice a few cyclists gathered next

to one of the tents, including a woman whose bike

sports pink wheels. This is Marianne Perciaccante

and she’s told us on the forum about her wheels. Also

there are Mike Murray and his wife, Laura, of Reston.

The three of us look around but don’t see any others

from the group. Then Marianne gets a call on her

mobile phone. It’s Nadine, who is with the rest of the

group about 25 yards away near another tent. After a

final pit stop inside the school--thanks, Clarke County

for opening the school for us to use the restrooms--we

set off at 7:30.

That’s the last time I see Laura until nine hours later

at the end of the ride. She’s way out front. But there

are seven of us who will stay together, more or less, for

the next 100 miles. We lose one rider after a few miles

who has decided to do the 65-miler—which takes a

different route—and pick up Aviva Olsavsky at the

first rest stop.

It’s a gorgeous morning. The air is cool. We get a few

drops of rain early on but that’s the end of it. The

day will be clear and warm with a high in the low 80s.

As advertised, the route is only moderately hilly at

the beginning. The hills are gently rolling as we head

north. Traffic is light and generally accommodating

the horde of cyclists.

Our group rides two-by-two for much of the beginning

with Nadine often in the lead. At some point in

the ride, each of us will take turns in the front. There

is no organization and no requirement to pull. We’re

each riding our own ride, but with people of similar

abilities. The result is that sometime a couple of our

riders are far ahead or behind, but we’re generally

together and frequently coalesce into a group.

As we expected, pace lines of faster riders fly by us.

They are friendly and polite and always warn us they

are passing. Other people are riding solo or in pairs.

They sometimes merge into and out of our group.

After about 10 miles I ride with Nadine at the front.

She’s 46, from Arlington and has been a cyclist for

several years, including continuously riding while

undergoing surgery and chemotherapy for breast

cancer. This is her first organized century, although

she’s ridden more than 100 miles in a day before.

She’s worried she didn’t get enough sleep the night

before because of her son’s 17th birthday party at

their house.

At 68, Mike Murray is our group’s oldest rider. He

and Laura took up the sport only six years ago, but

they did it in a big way. Now retired, Mike rides about

three times a week including a weekly 60-mile roundtrip

from Reston to Purcellville. This is his second

full century; last year he rode the Back Roads Metric

Century. Mike and Laura participate in computerized

training classes in the late fall and winter in Herndon.

There are times, going up some hills, when I have a

hard time keeping up with Mike.

At 24, Joe Fang from Fairfax is our youngest member.

He’s been riding less than a year but says he really

enjoys the sport. Joe complains about the hills, but

then blasts past the rest of us for a power climb. This

is his first century.

The other man in our group is Rick Ludwick from

Libertytown, Md. He’s 59, has done four or five centuries,

and is one of our fastest riders. Particularly in

backroads continued on p.18

Winter 2010/11

17


ackroads continued from p.17

the last quarter of the century, Rick and Aviva own the

front of our pack. Rick had planned to ride alone but

saw Nadine’s post on the web forum and decided to

ride with a group.

Marianne is color coordinated with her bike, wearing

a pink jersey and pink bike gloves. She lives in

Alexandria and rides about 150 to 200 miles a week,

much of it commuting into downtown Washington.

This is her fourth century, although her first Back

Roads.

Aviva may be our most accomplished athlete. At 35

she’s a former Wall Streeter who was in New York on

Sept. 11, 2001. Now she’s a UCLA medical student

living in Bethesda while working at NIH. She’s done

several ironman and triathlon events, but hasn’t done

an organized bike ride since February and says she’s a

bit worried whether she’ll be able to finish.

Just past mile 15, we cross into West Virginia.

Unfortunately there’s no sign (or if there is, none of

us notice it) to mark the fact that we’re now participating

in a bi-state century. But we start noticing that

subdivision signs mention Charlestown and some of

the political yard signs are for a West Virginia congresswoman.

The first rest stop is at South Jefferson Elementary

School at mile 28. The expected energy bars, cut

bananas, orange slices, water and Gatorade are there

as well as a repair tent. Again the school is open and

I witness a rare sight: men standing in line to use the

restroom while the occasional woman walks right into

the “girls” room (it is an elementary school).

Our group gathers for a photo and then we head off

to complete the 50-mile loop that will take us back

to Clarke County High School for the second rest

stop. At about mile 42, I suddenly feel a wobble in my

back tire. I stop and check. It’s soft. Mike and I had

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been at the back of our group chatting as we climbed

a hill. He slows for me, but I wave at him to keep

going. By now my tire is flat. I turn the air blue with

profanity. This is a new tire, only a few weeks old, and

it’s a Gatorskin, one of the toughest tires out there.

Additionally, there’s a tire liner between the tube and

the tire. How could I have gotten a flat?

I change the tube, never finding where either the tire

or the tube was punctured. As I sit by the roadside,

numerous riders pass by, most asking if I need assistance

or if I have all the necessary tools. I grumble

that I’m fine. Just as I finish putting the rear wheel

(why is it always the rear?) back on, a SAG wagon rolls

by. The driver asks if I’m okay and I foolishly say I am.

If I’d been thinking clearly, I would have asked for a

decent pump to inflate the tire fully. The small pump

I keep strapped to my cycle is only capable of inflating

the tube to about 40 psi rather than the usual 120.

So, with a soft back tire, I begin the last eight miles to

the rest stop. By now, virtually all of the full century

riders have gone by. Those that are still on the road

pass me as I ride very slowly. It’s a lonely feeling.

When I finally get the to school, my first stop is the

Spokes, Etc. tent where I pump up the back tire. I

mention to the guy manning the tent that I’d had a

flat and ask if he can sell me another spare tube since

I’m not sure why the first went flat. He hands me a

box with a new tube and says, “Have a nice day.”

Over at the food tent they’re serving pork bar-b-que,

hamburgers, hotdogs and beans. I ask if they have

anything like chicken or turkey and a woman says

they can make a Boca-burger if I’m willing to wait.

So I wait for it. This is the only surprise I have about

the logistics of the ride. I’d guess there are several

vegetarians or people who don’t eat meat on this ride,

so why wouldn’t they have a bunch of veggie burgers

already made up? A disc jockey is playing tunes and a

many riders are lunching under one of the tents.

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I’d expected my group would have begun the second

50 miles long before I arrived, but they are still there.

They offer to wait for me, but I repeatedly urge them

to go ahead so I won’t feel rushed. They ignore my

request and by the time I’m ready to go, all of them

are still there waiting for me. What a great bunch

of new friends. So the seven of us pedal out of the

school. It’s now high noon.

We pass some expensive farms and ranches as we

head to the Burwell Morgan Mill and the next rest

stop. As part of the ride, we’re allowed free admission

into the water-powered mill. Inside we can see the

enormous wooden wheels which once were so important

to this region’s economy. Food and beverage

tents are set up in a field below the mill.

Leaving the mill we slowly begin climbing. There is a

directional sign I find hysterical: Paris 4 Winchester

12. Hmm, let’s see, Paris or Winchester? Oh, not that

Paris.

Nadine starts having mechanical problems. Although

she’d had work done on her bike just the day before,

she suddenly loses her left shifter. She can’t get her

front chain out of the small ring and it’s making a rattling

sound as we grind away the miles.

We pass a couple of country clubs as we head toward

the final rest stop, at White Post (car) Restorations,

where we munch on the ride’s famous cucumber and

tomato sandwiches. I don’t learn it until we arrive at

the rest stop, but Marianne has taken a tumble into

some briars. Luckily Mike was with her to help pull

the nettles off and ply her with some electrolytes. At

the rest stop a worried Nadine hands her bike over

to the Specialized repair guys. Turns out she needs a

new cable. The cost is $5; Nadine has only $4 in cash.

They cheerfully take it.

Leaving the rest stop, we pass a massive white directional

post in the middle of a crossroads. I later learn

there is a sign claiming that the original white post

was put there by George Washington in 1750 under

orders from Lord Fairfax to show the way to the lord’s

estate.

Now comes the ride’s toughest part. We climb to the

crest of Tilthammer Mill Road and then go screaming

down the rough road. It’s the ride’s steepest descent

and my speed accelerates to about 38 mph. Not a

rocket, but fast enough. We pay for it on the other

side with two long, grinding climbs.

Then, surprisingly, we’re heading through downtown

Berryville. Up ahead is the high school. We’re strung

out along the road with Rick in the lead; Aviva and

I close behind, followed at some distance by Joe and

Nadine and later by Mike and Marianne. But we all

make it.

There is supposed to be a big bar-b-que bash post

ride. But by the time we get in, the bash is about over.

There are a few bar-b-que sandwiches left, not much

else. I later learned there was a DJ playing music and

giving away thousands of dollars worth of bike-related

door prizes including panniers and a camping tent.

I stand in line for my souvenir long-sleeve t-shirt and

water bottle. Then, after a quick chat with my fellow

riders, and Laura who has been patiently waiting for

the rest of us to finish, I head for the parking lot and

the drive home. It’s been a great way to celebrate my

birthday, flat tire and all.

A few days later, I chat with Mark Alpert to get his

take on the event. Alpert is ecstatic. He’d been deluged

with hundreds of complimentary e-mails from

first-time and veteran century riders. People were

excited “going to the ride, on the ride and after the

ride,” he says. “It opened up a new world of cycling

to a lot of people and that’s exactly what the ride was

supposed to do.”

About 100 volunteers helped make the day such a

success, including the dozen who spent their Labor

Day weekend painting the directional arrows that

were so important.

18 Winter 2010/11


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U of M Gets an “A”

in Commuterology

by charles pekow

Local institutes of higher education are beginning to learn the lesson that it makes

sense to encourage biking to school. And that means sponsoring biking programs,

rearranging the campus to make it bike-friendly, and putting a transportation official

who knows what to do in charge of the biking program.

the university of maryland (UMD), College

Park got the idea. Two years ago, it assigned a grad

student at its National Center for Smart Growth

Research & Education, located on the campus, to survey

the university community on bicycling attitudes.

Respondents opined that they would be more likely

to ride to school if the school and community added

bike lanes, trails and paths and secure parking.

Respondents cited a lack of bike lanes on campus as

the biggest (but by far not the only) factor impeding

them from cycling to school. (The College Park campus

includes no bike lanes.)

“This finding reveals the fact that a connected bicycle

network is the backbone of a successful bicycle program

and there is an immediate need to establish

a bicycle network on campus consisting of bicycle

lanes, routes and trails connected to the surrounding

residential areas,” says Influence of Individual

Perceptions & Bicycle Infrastructure on Decision to

Bike, a paper published in Transportation Research

Record, a journal of the Transportation Research

Board. The Maryland survey formed the basis of the

study.

And it’s certainly in a university’s best interest to

encourage biking to campus. It cuts down on traffic

congestion, improves safety and provides exercise.

And the cost of bicycle facilities pales when compared

to the cost of building and operating roadways, parking

lots and garages and enforcing traffic safety.

Biking to school makes even more sense than commuting

to work in many ways as students tend to be

younger, less affluent and live on or near campus. The

on-line survey got about 1,500 responses from undergrads,

grad students, university faculty and staff, bicyclists

and non-bicyclists, dwellers on and off campus.

Among respondents who lived within five miles of

campus, about 20 percent reported riding their bicycles

to school. (While many drove or walked, almost

30 percent took the campus shuttle bus). Yet about 70

percent of the non-bicyclists said they would consider

riding if the school provided a more bike-friendly

environment. In addition to bike routes on campus,

respondents cited bike lanes to and from campus as

a high priority. Besides designated bike routes and

parking, they wanted convenient places to change

clothes or shower – and a bike station on campus that

could provide repairs.

Additionally, many people said they don’t feel safe riding

in traffic. They also complained that they didn’t

feel safe on campus after dark. Many suggested that

better lighting would encourage them to bike. But

they didn’t seem too interested in safety classes.

The paper determined that the most promising group

of people to promote biking to consists of those who

live within five miles of campus. The survey found

some common concerns among people the school

could encourage to ride: traffic congestion, the price

of gasoline, parking fees (though in fact Maryland

charges far less for parking than most other national

universities), and that people wanted to ride for exercise.

People also liked the fact that you can take off

on your bike at any time as opposed to waiting for a

bus or fighting rush hour traffic.

20 Winter 2010/11


“10 Mistakes That Can Derail Your

Bike Injury Case”

By “Triathlon Trial Lawyer”

Doug Landau

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Abrams Landau, Ltd. is located near the

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serious auto accidents, catastrophic injuries,

workers’ compensation, & Social Security

disability claims, Doug is always

eager to help a fellow cyclist.

The researchers came up with a mathematical formula

based on the responses and recommended some

strategies for encouraging people to bike to campus.

People indicated they’d be more likely to bicycle if

it took less time. And the study also suggested that

surrounding communities could add more bike

lanes to roads – which tend to lead more directly to

school than off-road trails near campus that mainly go

through parks. Communities could also adjust traffic

signal times so cyclists wouldn’t have to wait as long at

intersections and take steps to further integrate bicycling

with public transit.

The authors also suggest that people who drive and

complain about parking costs don’t seem to think

they have options, but they might reconsider if the

university suggested alternatives, such as making campus

more bicycle-friendly. One simple low-cost shortterm

solution the authors suggest: distributing a map

of the campus showing the bike routes and locations

of area bike shops. Another: place “Share the Road”

signs on campus roads, especially at the entrances, to

remind motorists to watch for bikes.

The university also needs to step up its enforcement

of traffic safety – both against motorists and bicyclists

for unsafe riding.

Despite a lack of desire for safety classes, the university

needs to remind cyclists to stop at red lights and

not go the wrong way on one-way streets.

UMD apparently got the message. No one individual

or office can create a bicycle-friendly campus on

its own. So UMD's Department of Transportation

Services (DTS) worked with the campus police and

rec center. It’s not that the school hadn’t been promotion

bicycling previously --- it was just sponsoring

weekend trips or mountain bike excursions for students

as opposed to encouraging commuting, noted

Beverly Malone, assistant director of transportation

services, who’s in charge of the bicycling program.

So UMD took some action. First, the campus bike

shop moved to a more convenient location making it

easier to get repairs and parts. The move increased

visits sixfold during its first two months. Second, DTS

put info on biking on shuttle buses and in garages so

people could learn of the alternate mode of transit.

And it installed bike racks in most campus garages. It

plans to add pumps.

On a day in early April, the campus sponsored a bike

fair with a registration program and gave free U-locks

and maps and helmet fittings. In addition to showing

how to get around the area by bike, the maps showed

where people could shower. And a campus police

bicycle brigade gave drivers information about sharing

the road.

The survey found that females are much more reluctant

to ride to campus than males, and not strictly out

of a fear for their safety. “Women get hung up on that

‘I might be stinky’ type of thing. I say to people 'you

can always bike slowly,'” Malone said.

(The Association of Pedestrian & Bicycle Professionals

(APBP), however, released a survey of 13,000 women

cyclists in June that found “only low levels of concern

regarding such factors as clothes and appearance”

but great concern about unsafe driving habits. The

respondents consisted mainly of women who already

cycled regularly while the UMD survey included a

greater percentage who didn’t. APBP plans to analyze

the data as part of its Women’s Cycling Project,

an effort to get more women involved in sustainable

transportation.) UMD has also been working -- so far

without a solution – with local communities to try to

make the roads leading toward campus more bikefriendly

and to ease the ride to campus. “The problem

is some roads belong to the state, some to the

county, some to College Park and the bike trails to the

Department of Parks, so it is hard to get everybody to

the table.” Malone said. (Recently, representatives of

governments around the region formed the Regional

& Long Distance Bikeways Task Force to deal with

such issues on a regional basis, as cyclists often need

to cross jurisdictional boundaries where signage differs

or trails end or don't match up. Participants

include the National Park Service, Maryland National

Capital Park & Planning Commission, Federal

Highway Administration, UMD, State of Maryland,

City of Takoma Park and others. The task force plans

to recommend ways to ease the commutes of people

who may want to cycle, say from Bethesda to UMD. Its

first burden is to get governments interested.)

And the lack of interest in bike classes found in the

survey isn’t unique to College Park. In an email sent

to members of a national university bike program

coordinator listserv last winter, Chuck Strawser,

pedestrian/bicycle coordinator at the University of

Wisconsin-Madison, wrote “although I and others that

I’ve worked with at the statewide advocacy org have

attempted many times over the years to teach a bike

safety (i.e. Road 1) course to college students here in

Madison, we’ve never really had to figure out what the

curriculum would be because we never had anyone

show up….No matter how good your curriculum is, it

doesn’t do any good if no one ever sees it.”

One partial solution UMD found was to promote the

instruction as group activities to student groups, rather

than as classes.(Montgomery College is considering

offering the course for credit.)

UMD also made sure to include bicycling in its latest

landscaping plan – including choosing convenient

locations for bike racks so people wouldn’t have to

walk far. UMD also sought to learn from other campuses

around the nation – and at least one not far

away, though on the other side of the Potomac. UMD

and George Mason University (GMU) are even competing

– not for students or even in basketball – but

in a bike to campus contest.

GMU planned to promote biking on September

22 in conjunction with the annual World Car Free

Day. GMU hopes to work alternative transportation

days into its routine but Bike-to-Work Day, normally

conducted in May, doesn't fit the college schedule

“because it's our commencement week,” explains Josh

Cantor, GMU director of transportation. So GMU

put on an alternate commuter challenge in April to

promote “any mode of travel that does not involve a

single person auto,” he said. The ideas include “challenges,”

or competitions to give prizes to the departments,

fraternities or sororities that get the most

people to bike to work or class, Cantor says.

GMU also took some other steps to rearrange campus

to encourage biking. Covered bike shelters work better

on campus than locker rentals because those living

on student budgets find the rental fees rather steep.

“We have made arrangements with fitness centers so

people can shower in those facilities,” Cantor noted.

GMU also subsidizes full time employees who bike to

work a minimum number of days up to $20 a month

they can use at local bike shops for maintenance.

Putting bike racks on shuttles that go from campus

to the Metro and between campuses “has certainly

helped,” Cantor added.

Montgomery College has also seen the bike light

recently. A bicycle/pedestrian task force organized

at the Rockville Campus that includes faculty,

administrators, government officials responsible

for bicycling and members of the Rockville Bike

Advisory Committee. “We hope to turn campus into

a model for other community colleges and institutes

of higher education," explained Michael Jackson,

bicycle coordinator for the Maryland Department of

Transportation, who works with the group.

One task was to link campus to the rather extensive

bike route network Rockville established over the last

few years. “The city had bicycle routes around the city

and links to the rec center but nothing to the college,”

Jackson noted. “Not much had changed since

the early 1970s in that the vast majority of students

got there by car.”

Not all universities in the area have gotten as excited

about spinning the bike wheel so far, or they've

left the initiatives up to the students. At American

University in Washington, DC, for instance, the student

government, not the administration, runs a

bicycle loan program “mainly for students who want

to take a bike down to Tenleytown or Georgetown

and go shopping and come back. It is not like a city

service where you pick it up in Northwest and drop

it off in Southeast,” explains Maralee Csellar, the

university's acting director of media relations. Nor is

the program geared toward commuters. She said the

university is looking at ways to promote alternative

transportation but hasn't developed plans. If students

ask, the university will provide sheltered bike storage

during vacations.

George Washington University spokesperson

Courtney Bowe issued a statement indicating the

school is beginning to get interested. “the university

aims to work with its city and community partners

to determine the feasibility of bike lanes and plans

on exploring city biking safety classes to campus to

increase commuter comfort with city bike commuting.

To make bike commuting accessible, GW will also

evaluate all current bike rack locations and explore

the potential for new bike racks.”

Universities in other parts of the country have taken

on the ball in different ways. Way back in 1971, students

at the University of California Davis started a

Bike Barn in an old barn as a student co-op to lend

tools and help students repair their own vehicles.

California campuses have used both carrots and sticks.

Students riding at night without lights? Davis hands

out tickets. Campus police at Stanford University, on

the other hand gives the students lights. Stanford also

started a $1,000 raffle that only students riding on

campus with helmets could enter.

Winter 2010/11

21


trispokes by ron cassie ron_cassie@yahoo.com

Ulman Fund's Half Full Tri is a Hit

Diana and Lou Ulman never envisioned 100 cancer

survivors/triathletes coming to Columbia for an event

like the Half Full Triathlon when their son Doug was

diagnosed with cancer at Brown University. Of course,

neither did Doug, now CEO of the Lance Armstrong

Foundation.

But this past fall, there was Doug and the whole family,

surrounded by friends and Ulman Cancer Fund

supporters at Centennial Park where Doug grew up,

cheering on 1,000 competitors at the inaugural charity

triathlon.

Geoffrey Irwin, 45, of Frederick, won the race, with

Megan Martin, 27, of Greencastle, Pa., taking the

women’s title – and both talked about the inspirational

nature of the event after crossing the finish line.

“It’s a great cause,” said Irwin, who won in dominating

fashion, winning the half-Ironman distance race

by more than seven minutes. “A lot of people have

been affected by cancer, and so many young people,

especially, show great courage through dealing with it.

That’s a lot tougher than anything we had to do today.”

“It was motivational just to be out here,” said Martin,

who won the women’s race by two minutes, finishing

in 5:06:45. “Our wave (the professional/elite wave) was

just ahead of the cancer survivor’s wave and I got to

meet a lot of people and hear some of their stories. It

was amazing. It makes you realize that whatever little

injuries you have, it’s not the end of the world. It puts

things into perspective – it’s not all about winning.”

Martin bested pro/elite wave athletes Amy Alexander

and Tara Flint, who took second and third overall,

respectively.

Irwin won in 4:41:56, beating out Richard Rapine and

Albert Kim, who won the men’s 35-39 and 30-34 age

groups, respectively.

A diagnosis and commitment to helping others

Three months after Doug, a former Centennial High

School star soccer player, learned of his chondrosarcoma

diagnosis, Diana Ulman said, the family

watched a Sam Donaldson report on cancer together.

Shortly afterwards, her son, a three-time cancer survivor

after two subsequent bouts with melanoma,

decided he wanted to do something to help other

cancer patients, a commitment that eventually led to

the nonprofit Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.

Founded in 1997, the organization provides support,

education, and resources to young adults, their families

and friends who are affected by cancer.

“We wanted to do something that wasn’t already being

done,” Diana told SPOKES. “And that was something

for young people. There were support groups for

children and the older people, but nothing for young

people. We looked for support groups for Doug and

there wasn’t anything for him, for someone his age.”

Many of the issues faced by young adults diagnosed

with cancer – medical insurance, fertility, relationship,

career concerns – are different than those facing children

or senior citizens, Diana Ulman said. “We get a lot

of young people who don’t have insurance,” she said.

A dozen years after launching Team Fight, the Ulman

Cancer Fund triathlon team that raises money and

awareness for the cause, Doug Ulman said the time

had come to launch an entire event.

“While Team Fight, and other groups, like the

Leukemia & Lymphoma Foundation teams do a great

job raising money and participating in individual

races,” Ulman said, “we thought why not an entire

race dedicated to the mission – with everything going

toward the effort and raising awareness.”

Ulman and his school soccer teammate, Brock Yetso,

now executive director of the Ulman Cancer Fund

and a triathlete as well, along with Half Full race

director Brian Satola, put a twist on the traditional

Columbia Triathlon course at Centennial Park. To

cover the necessary distance for the .9 mile swim,

56-mile bike, 13.1 mile run, they drew a two-loop

course while also adding a new finish area. By all

accounts, the new course, including the larger finishing

area, was a hit among the participants.

Ulman and Yetso said the hope is to expand the field

in 2011, possibly up to 2,000 entrants.

Next year, with a bigger field, Irwin likely will face a

tougher race than he did at the Oct. 3 event. At 45,

Irwin, a former collegiate swimmer at the University

of Maryland, took the lead two-thirds of the way

through the first bike loop and never needed to look

back. Though he did. After posting a sub-23 minute

swim, Irwin nailed the bike, averaging 21.63 miles-perhour

on tough, hilly course – the only cyclist to top

the 21 mile-per-hour mark. His big lead off the bike

held up with 1:40:29 run, not close to the best run

split of the day, but plenty good enough for the “W.”

Despite his collegiate swimming career, Irwin was an

unlikely candidate to win. He said he’s “folded” at each

Eagleman Ironman 70.3 he’s attempted previously and

actually “DNF’d” at Cambridge earlier this summer.

Although he’s qualified for the 70.3 National

Championship in Clearwater, Fla. this year and has

done very well in his age group in a bunch of races,

he does not have a lengthy list of overall wins. In

fact, his only previous overall win came earlier this

summer, when he captured the Fort Ritchie Sprint

Triathlon.

After tackling triathlons in his 20s, Irwin did not

complete for roughly a decade after he and his wife,

Dawn, began the process of adopting two Russian children

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A kinesiology major at Maryland and a regional supervisor

with TNT Fitness, Martin said she hadn’t taken

her triathlon career too seriously until a co-worker

mentioned to her before the 2007 Eagleman race that

the event was Kona qualifier and she might have a

shot in her age group.

“I was like, ‘Oh, whatever,’ until about halfway

through the run when I realized I was going to do it,”

Martin said. “After that, I thought, maybe I should

keep doing this.”

As Irwin and Martin were coming home on the running

leg, Doug Ulman explained why tackling triathlons,

marathons, century bike rides and other physical

challenges are important to cancer survivors.

“I think for a lot of people, whether they were athletes

before their diagnosis or become athletes after their

diagnosis, it’s about regaining their physical ability

and their confidence,” said Ulman, who completed a

five-day, 100-mile race in the Himalayas in 1999 after

his recovery.

“It’s like proving to yourself, ‘I’m okay. I’m go getting to

get back to being myself again before this happened.”

Piranha Sports Season Summary

Piranha Sports’ Greater Atlantic Multisport Series

wrapped up its 10th season at the Cape Henlopen

Triathlon and Duathlon on 10-10-10.

Winning the overall individual male divisions in this

series, were Kent Buckson with 63 points, William

Moyer at 65 years young with 56 points, and John

Dawson with 53 points. The overall female winners

were Leslie Randall with 56 points, Katie Dickerson

with 51 points, and 14 year old Drew Sanclemente

with 48 points.

The series had over 3,750 participants. Series points

can be viewed at www.piranha-sports.com/GAMS/.

In the famous club challenge, the Greater Atlantic

Club Challenge there were over 150 clubs representing,

with the winners being Team Bricks MultiSport

Club with 631 points, DE Swim and Fitness Tri-Dawgs

with 287 points, and The Bike Rack DC with 186

points. Club Challenge points can be viewed at www.

piranha-sports.com/Clubs/.

Registration for all 2011 Piranha Sport events is

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owner, he stayed in shape by “swimming a little, running

a little,” spending most of recreational time sailing

or with his kids. He eventually took up the sport

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the strenuous hills around Frederick with members of

the Frederick Triathlon Club, cycling has overtaken

swimming as his strongest leg.

Running remains a challenge – and it was a concern

at the Half Full. “I had no idea, I’d win today,” Irwin

said with a big smile afterwards. “ I kept waiting for

someone to run me down. This is a huge deal.”

Former Terp wins women’s side

For the women’s champ, Martin, the win was less of a

surprise, but she does have a few things in common

with Irwin. For one, she also swam at the University of

Maryland, albeit, nearly 20 years later. And, like Irwin,

she also won this summer at Fort Ritchie, capturing

the Olympic-distance women’s title.

Martin, in pro/elite wave, won the Annapolis Tri on

2007 and her hometown Hagerstown Tri in 2007

and 2008. She’s previously qualified for the Hawaii

Ironman Triathlon and at the Ironman Florida race

in 2007, made the podium as one of the top three

amateurs.

Burned out slightly on swimming after college, she

first took up running. However, she said, the everyday

pounding of running proved too hard on her body,

so she added bicycling into the mix. Unlike Irwin, she

still considers cycling the weakest of the three triathlon

legs.

The win at Half Full happily coincided with her first

year wedding anniversary, she noted with a smile and

a nod to her husband, Jason, a former discus thrower

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Family Cycling 101

Oui, Oui... A Great Place for Family Outings

I am always on the lookout for new places to have family

bike rides. I have some unique things that I look for;

relatively flat, minimal or no traffic, interesting things

to see and places to stop. Kim and I found a wonderful

location this fall when we took a trip to Paris.

No, not Paris, Virginia or Paris, Maryland but

Paris, France.

Now if I could just convince my editor to send me

to other foreign capitals to investigate family bike

riding options.

As we took a boat ride along the Seine River we saw

lots of families riding along the roads that parallel the

river on either side. It was interesting to see how many

of the children were on their own bikes but the adults

were frequently on rent-a-bikes. Paris has an active bike

sharing program similar to the Bike Share program

that has started up in Arlington and Washington DC.

The vast majority of the adults that we saw on bikes

over the week were on the Share Bikes.

We also saw bike lanes throughout the city with

steady use, however the riders did not keep to just

the streets with bike lanes, we saw bikes everywhere

and there did not seem to be any contention between

the motorists and the bike riders. This mapped to my

experiences years ago when I did a bike tour along

the north of France visiting World War II battle sites.

It did dawn on me how fortunate we were to be able

to experience the different cultures and how different

but how alike they really were. When I look at the

families riding at biking events, I see high end racing

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count stores and everything between. The important

thing is that we get our families out riding.

Biking along the Seine

Kids on Recumbents!?

My bike tendencies have always leaned towards touring

bikes and as a result, most of our family’s bikes

are of that nature. But when my youngest son outgrew

his current bike, I asked him if he wanted to go with

a bike with flat bars or drop bars? He hesitated and

took a deep breath.

Just as I was afraid that he was going to say he didn’t

want a new bike, he told me wanted to go with a

recumbent. Now I have to admit, I was happy to hear

that he wanted to keep biking but I had my doubts

on getting a child a recumbent. But as a good friend

pointed out: he was happy to hear that Jason is interested

in experimenting with bicycles.

“Our kids are going to grow into adults with their own

tastes, and if the boy loves recumbents, we should just

remember that they have pedals, too.”

They all have pedals! So we have been out looking

at bikes with pedals in front of the seat instead of

under the seat. We started looking at recumbents

when we went down to the Between the Waters ride

on the Eastern Shore. As my son pushed me along the

ride on the tandem, we commented on every style of

recumbent we saw.

Remember how when you buy a car, it seems like

everyone who has the same model as you do has the

same color. The number of recumbents on the bike

ride may have increased, but our awareness was far

greater. It seemed like someone had put on a recumbent

show for us. We saw long and short wheel base

recumbents, we saw above seat steering and below

seat steering, we saw recumbent tandems and recumbent

trikes. And of every basic model, it seemed like

there were multiple derivations.

At the lunch break stop we took a walk around and

looked at the different recumbent bikes we saw. As

we were looking at one bike, the owner came up,

ready to take off on the next leg of the ride. Before

she could take off, we started peppering her with

questions and she soon let my son sit on the bike and

then encouraged him to try to take a test ride. This

particular recumbent was a short wheelbase model

with below seat steering. It was difficult enough just to

get him in place with his seat down low and legs stuck

up in the air and he really tried. But trying to ride a

recumbent in an area crowded with bike riders riding

around on a mixture of grass and gravel is not the

right place for a child to try a recumbent bike for the

first time. We politely thanked the lady for her time

and we finished the ride on our own.

I thought that this might have quenched his taste for

a recumbent bike, but once again I thought wrong

about my son’s interests. Upon return from the bike

trip he again expressed interest in a recumbent so I

called a local dealer who sells a number of different

kinds of recumbent bikes and asked his advice. He

said to come on up, he had a number of different

bikes that might interest my son and price ranges that

would not scare off dad. So on the first available day,

we headed off to the bike shop.

True to his word, John had several bikes there for

us to try. His first suggestion was a long wheel base,

above seat steering model. As soon as Jason sat down,

his confidence seemed to wane. This was not his

mountain bike and it really felt really strange. John

went back to a method that I had used when the boys

were young, he had Jason just sit on the bike with his

legs off the pedals and coast down a slight hill. After

a couple of times doing that, Jason seemed to have

regained his confidence and desire. Next he had

Jason ride with his feet on the pedals and was soon

riding around in big circles in the parking lot.

After getting comfortable with the first model, he

switched to a short wheelbase with under seat steering.

This time it was almost as if he was starting new

again. But once again he started by coasting and eventually

started pedaling and controlling the bike. But

then he went downhill at a good clip and had to stop

in a hurry. That time he slowly came back at a much

more reserved pace. When he had done a quick stop,

he had felt himself lurch forward off the seat and

nothing in front of himself to stop him. After that he

went back to the above seat steering model.

We have continued to try out some bikes and have

done one longer ride with a steeper hill. Jason is still

trying to figure out what he wants. This is a big change

and he is taking this at a slow and deliberate pace. We

figure we have the full winter to try out recumbents

and make a decision before spring. One nice thing

about recumbents is that they are easier to ride while

wearing winter clothes and with a faring you can comfortably

ride year round as long as the snow is not too

deep. In the meantime I can continue to ride the tandem

with Jason and let him push me around while I

relax and remember, they all have pedals.

Speaking of winter riding, most years the weather in

the Mid-Atlantic allows for riding most of the year.

There are often times for short rides on the weekends

in the winter when not competing with Saturday

morning soccer or baseball games. Saturday morning

rides are an opportunity to ride to new destinations.

Instead of riding to the local ice cream store, it is a

great time to ride someplace to get a hot chocolate.

Even after it freezes, rides like C&O canal can take a

new view. There is far less traffic and with the leaves

down, the view is totally different than in the summer.

While the winter rides are not as common, look out

on New Year’s Day for local rides. Several bike shops

in the area host rides and there is the big PPTC “most

boring century of the year” ride down at Haines

Point. You can ride all 33 or just a few of the 3.3 mile

laps at Hains Point. What a way to start the New Year

and keep any resolutions to increase exercise for at

least one day. Here is wishing everyone a Happy New

Year and looking forward to meeting up with everyone

next spring.

24 Winter 2010/11


COMMUTER CONNECTION

by ron cassie ron_cassie@yahoo.com

Cities for Cycling Symposium in Baltimore

A project of the National Association of City

Transportation Officials, Cities for Cycling is an effort to

catalog, promote and implement the world’s best bicycle

transportation practices in American municipalities.

According to its website, Cities for Cycling was

founded in 1996 by then commissioner Elliot Sander

of New York City’s Department of Transportation.

Sander concluded that unlike the states, which often

interact with each other through the American

Association of State and Highway Transportation

Officials (AASHTO), large cities had virtually no

meaningful political or technical relationships with

each other. They also lacked such critical relationships

with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Jim Sebastian, the District of Columbia’s bicycle coordinator.

Last summer, the organization named Eric Gilliland,

former head of the Washington Area Bicyclist

Association, as the association’s new executive director.

And in the fall of 2010, under the auspices of

Cities for Cycling and Bike Maryland (formerly One

Less Car, see below), Gilliland, Jim Sebastian, the

District of Columbia’s bicycle coordinator, Dani

Simons, director of communications for New York

City’s Department of Transportation, Roger Geller,

Portland’s bicycle coordinator since 2000, and

Baltimore City bike coordinator Nate Evans, led a

panel discussion at the University of Baltimore, sharing

the experiences of their cities in trying to build

more bicycle-friendly infrastructure and communities.

With an ear aimed at listening to Sebastian, Simons

and Geller, each part of nationally acclaimed efforts

that have dramatically improved their cities’ bike

infrastructure and community, SPOKES covered the

symposium. Each brought the unique perspective of

their own cities to the discussion, offering a variety of

lessons, history and guidance for area bicycle advocates

in the audience.

Sebastian, in highlighting how far the nation’s capital

has come, in terms of bike-friendliness in recent years,

pointed out that in 1978, Washington D.C. had just

3 miles of bicycle lanes. And although the District of

Columbia produced the city’s first Bicycle Plan that

year, it remained, “kind of stagnant for a while.” The

city’s bicycle rejuvenation in the last decade, “was led

by advocates,” Sebastian said, making a point stressed

by each city representative.

Today, Sebastian noted, the District has nearly 50

miles of bike lanes, has developed bicycle parking programs,

the Union Station bike station, a bike-sharing

project, a dedicated cycling lane on Pennsylvania Ave.

and is near completion of the Metropolitan Branch

Trail, which will link Silver Spring and Northeast D.C.

neighborhoods with Union Station.

“Stick around long enough,” Sebastian told the audience,

“and you get to see good things happen. We

have 47 miles of bike lanes in place and another

20 more miles in planning and design. We’ve been

installing over 100 bicycle racks a year. Last year, we

installed 300 and we aren’t even keeping up with

demand because of the growing number of bicycles.”

Home of one of the first bike sharing programs in the

country, Sebastian said over 1,000 bikes in September

were rented as part of the District program. Sebastian

plugged the city’s new transportation website: www.

goDCgo.com and broke down the city’s $5.7 million bike

budget, which includes $500,000 for bike lanes, $100,000

for bike racks, $4 million for trails, $150,000 for education

and $900,00 for safe routes to school programs.

Washington, D.C. is now rated the 6th best bicycling

city in the country and tops on the East Coast.

Dani Simons, formerly Transportation Alternatives’

director of communications, is now a part of New

York City’s Department of Transportation. She is

a daily bike commuter, trekking from Brooklyn to

Manhattan for work. A native of Alexandria, Va., she

described herself as a big fan of Baltimore’s diverse

neighborhoods.

“The idea of connecting them (Baltimore’s neighborhoods)

by bicycle is a really exciting idea,” Simons

told the local audience.

A former bicycle advocate in Rhode Island, Simons

moved to New York in 2004 and noted the profound

changes in the city’s bicycle landscape in just the last

six years.

“If you told me I’d be watching people in flip flops

riding bikes, women carrying purses, people standing

on top of pedals, I never would’ve believed it,” Simons

said. “The only people you used to see on bicycle in

New York were spandex guys and bike messengers. It’s

just totally different now.”

A lot of the credit, she said, has to go to Mayor

Michael Bloomberg, who has made a concerted effort

to increase the number of bike lanes in the city.

Simons added that bicycling planning in New York is

crucial to the city’s future. After population declines

in 1970s, New York started to grow again in the 1990s,

and is projected to add another million by 2023.

“It’s an older city and we have to find space, open

space, green space and street space,” Simons said.

“We need to commit the resources to do that, not to

mention upgrade sewer and power infrastructure. We

need to green them, too, and face climate change in

the process.”

Public transit, Simons stressed, is actually overcrowded.

“We need to shift more people to walking and biking,”

Simons said. “It’s a flat city, it’s a dense city, and

it’s quicker than the subway. It’s a natural.”

New York has added 200 miles of bike lanes over a

three-year period from June, 2006, to July 2009. The

city is continuing to work on painting new bike lanes,

protecting more by buffer plants and adding paths to

more bridges. Meanwhile, the Westside Greenway in

Manhattan is one of the busiest bike paths in the country,

attracting up to 50,000 people on nice weekends.

Overall, Simons said, the bicycle riding community in

New York City was expected to double by 2012 from

2007 levels. Closing Broadway through Times Square

and Herald Square, creating pedestrian plaza and

Dani Simons, director of communications for NYC’s Department of

Transportation, and Roger Geller, Portland’s bicycle coordinator.

building dedicated bike lanes from 59th St. to Union

Square have proved to be ground-breaking, wildly successful

ventures.

“No one would have dreamed this five years ago,”

Simons said. Interestingly, she noted, with volume on

city bike lanes up 50 percent, crashes are down 56

percent, making the case familiar to serious cyclists

that more bicyclists mean safer bicycling.

Roger Geller, the bicycle coordinator in Portland for

the past decade and with the city’s bike program since

1994, said change in bicycle policy and infrastructure

ultimately comes down in political leaders who want

to make changes. That doesn’t mean, however, advocacy

isn’t important. It makes it more important.

“People need to let them know they want bike lanes,

bike parking, on-street parking,” Geller said. “You

need to get the word out, write letters, get the newspapers

to write articles – anything you can to increase

visibility.”

Portland, long held up as a model biking city, is close

in size to Baltimore and the District of Columbia,

but has five times the number of bike lane miles

compared to the nation’s capital. Today, Geller said,

the top bike infrastructure issue in Portland is bike

parking. Also, new laws are being directed at requiring

greater proportional bike parking for residential

and commercial buildings. A major recent victory has

buses, light rails and trains accepting bicycles at all

hours, in all locations.

In step with the theme of the evening – that real

change for more bicycle-friendly cities is underway

– Geller noted that in 1991, in Portland, there were

approximately 2,500 cyclists per day. That number

today is 17,500. In Portland, one-in-six people identify

bicycling as their primary or secondary means of

transportation. As in New York, greater ridership has

translated into safer bicycling, with Geller noting that

bicycling in Portland today is 400 percent safer than

in the mid-90s.

“The next step for Portland,” Geller said, “is adapting

bike signals at awkward and busy intersections, and

Dutch-style design principles.”

Even Portland still needs to increase the confidence

of people riding on the road, Geller said.

“How cyclists interact with automobiles is crucial,”

Geller said. “The less confident people are, the fewer

riders you’ll have.”

One Less Car changes its name

The Maryland non-profit, One Less Car, a longtime

voice advocating for pedestrian and bicycling issues

statewide, changed its name to Bike Maryland

last month.

The organization’s mission has narrowed its focus to

bicycle issues. Its mission, according to the website, “is

to encourage and promote bicycling, increase safety,

commuter continued on p.26

Winter 2010/11

25


singletrack

by joe foley jfoley441@gmail.com

improve

Winter Options

With the crisp days of fall fading fast and the long

days of summer now nothing but a distant memory,

what is the mountain biker, or any cyclist, to do to

make it through a long wet winter?

While some riders may be content to settle in for a

while, spending some time with the family they’ve

lost touch with during weekend long riding trips, and

enjoying some lazy days on the sofa, for others that’s

not a choice. Racers want to keep as much of the hard

earned form they’ve developed throughout the year

and for many others, not riding just isn’t a choice.

Cyclocross season makes for a fun way to keep riding

into late fall and the beginning of the winter and help

keep that peak form a little deeper into the winter.

But unless you’re a pro riding in Europe or heading

to the world championships, cyclocross season ends

just as the worst of the winter is starting to settle in.

So what’s a rider to do? There are a couple of options

to help keep you riding through the winter. With a bit

of preparation you can keep yourself riding outside

-- on the trails or at least on the road -- through a lot

of the winter. When the weather is too bad to ride

outside you can hit the trainer or rollers inside. And

when all of these options fail you, or when you just

need a change, winter can be a great time to do some

weight training or change things up and cross train.

While the winter can be tough on mountain bikers,

as overnight freeze-thaw cycles soften the trails we

love making them especially prone to damage. There

are ways that you can get out on the trails over the

winter. When the mercury drops below freezing for

an extended period of time the trails will freeze hard

and as long as you’re prepared for the cold -- more

on that later -- you can get great rides in on the frozen

tundra. You can also find frozen trails early in

the morning, but be aware that the combination of

sun and above freezing temperatures will warm the

ground will lead to trails softening up very quickly.

Another great chance to get out on a mountain bike

during the winter is once the snow has fallen. Many

riders already know that a good snow ride is one of

the joys of the winter and anyone who hasn’t should

make the effort. The conditions can be tough on

riders and equipment, but if you’re prepared it can

be a real blast. How to prepare for a good snow ride

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could fill an entire column (see this column from

March of this year for example) but there are a few

keys: keep your head, hands, and feet dry and warm,

simplify your equipment -- singlespeeds are great for

snow riding because there are less parts to be affected

by the cold and derailleurs are particularly prone to

freezing, and make sure you’ve got a way to keep your

water from freezing.

When the trails are out of the question, the first resort

of most riders is the road and if you’re well equipped

you can stay out on the road for most of the winter.

Olney resident Tom Vaughn will hit the road when

the trails are too wet “if the wind chill is above freezing.”

Commuting is also a great motivator to stay moving

through the winter. DC resident Matt Donahue

keeps commuting through the winter. In spite of living

and working in the district, by riding the long way

in the morning he’s able to ride 20-25 miles a day.

Many riders try to keep some structure to their winter

training riders, including some intervals in with

tempo riding but Donahue enjoys the opposite in

the off season. ”In the winter I don't have a training

agenda like during 'cross season or MTB season” he

told SPOKES. “It's more riding to enjoy the ride and

stay fit, but not chasing any sort of specific racing goal

or fitness.”

But how to stay on the road when the temperature

drops? When you’re riding your body is going to be

generating a lot of heat, but it’s also going to be generating

a lot of sweat. The key is to dress in layers and

to make sure that your clothing wicks moisture away

from your body. Wicking fabrics help keep you dry

-- and dry means warm -- and dressing in layers helps

you regulate your body heat so that you don’t overheat

as you warm up. As Donahue told SPOKES “I

own a few wicking layers and three different 'grades'

of cycling jacket which I choose from to wear depending

on the temperature.”

Overdressing can be as much of a problem as under

dressing as it can lead to excess sweating which will

end up cooling you down, especially if you stop or

slow down.

Once you’ve taken care of your core, the next step is

to take care of those extremities. The head, hands,

and feet are the first parts of your body to get cold

and lead to a lot of heat loss.

Evan Ellicott from College Park likes Pear Izumi’s

Amfib lobster gloves for the coldest of days and I’ve

found that for all but the coldest days, most days a

pair of fairly thin gloves with a good windstopper

layer and some fleece insulation will do a great job.

As far as your feet are concerned you can add a pair

of insulated booties over your shoes, pop some chemical

warmers inside your shoes, or go all out and get

a set of winter riding boots. Ian Spivak from Vienna

swears by his Sidi Winter Boots. “I would not be able

to ride at all without my really nice winter shoes” he

told SPOKES. He also prefers to use a balaclava for

his head, “because it covers your neck.”

When all else fails, it’s time to head inside and spend

some quality time getting to know a stationary trainer.

The key to trainer workouts is structure. While no

rider is going to relish an hour of tempo riding on a

trainer, a good structured workout can really help to

keep your mind off the fact that you’re riding a bike

to nowhere.

Some riders suggest cycling workout DVDs as a way to

get some structure into your trainer workouts, while

others just have workouts that they know. Many riders

swear by music and movies, both cycling and noncycling,

as a distraction technique.

Photo: Mike Joos

Michael Klasmeier from Crofton recommends using

rollers instead of a trainer, saying it’s “way more fun”

than the trainer, and also recommends group workouts.

He joins other riders at his local bike shop,

Family Bike Shop, in Crofton.

Many racers also use the winter to get back into the

weight room for some strength training or to work on

their core strength. Those “other” muscles that are

neglected all year long need some love too. Improved

core strength can improve performance and minimize

pain and soreness associated with the aggressive position

of many road and mountain bikes. Weight training

can help to reduce muscle imbalances that cyclists

are especially prone to, which can reduce injuries.

And last but not least, what about cross training? For

a lot of riders, the winter is time to take a break and

focus on other sports they love. Like many mountain

bikers, Takoma Park’s Mark Drajem looks forward to

cross country skiing in the winter.

commuter continued from p.25

Anna Kelso enjoys a winter ride

conditions, and provide a voice for bicyclists

in Maryland.”

The newly-named organization is still led by executive

director Carol Silldorf, who took over the helm at

One Less Car in 2008. Likewise, program coordinator

Rachel Myrowitz, will remain as a consultant, helping

organizing events such as Tour du Port, the annual

Annapolis bike symposium and the nonprofit’s legislative

goals.

Bike Maryland’s board of directors include Alex

Olbriecht, a bicycle store owner for 32 years and the

owner of five Race Pace/Bella bicycle shops in central

Maryland; Greg Cantori, executive director of the

Marion I. and Henry Knott Foundation and a longtime

bike commuter; Tom Blanks, pricing director at

Constellation New Energy and also a dedicated bike

commuter; and Stu Sirota, founding principal of the

TND Planning Group, a consulting firm specializing

in the integration of sustainable transportation and

land use.

Bike Maryland advisors include, Buddy Alves, a

senior marketing specialist with Commuter Choice

Maryland, and Rebecca Ruggles, of the Association of

Baltimore Area Grant Makers, and the Green Funders

Affinity Group.

Four more board members are expected to be added.

26 Winter 2010/11


calendar of events

To be listed, send information to Spokes,

5911 Jefferson Boulevard, Frederick, MD 21703 or

e-mail: neil@spokesmagazine.com

G RIF FIN CYCLE

4949 Bethesda Ave.

Bethesda, MD 20814

(301) 656-6188

www.griffincycle.com

ES T. 19 71

G R IF F IN CY C L E . CO M

Road, Hybrids, Mountain, Kids

Parts & Accessories for All Makes

Trailers & Trikes

Family Owned – In Bethesda for 39 Years

Featuring Bikes from:

For a more comprehensive list check out

www.spokesmagazine.com.

JANUARY 1 - BBC NEW YEAR’S DAY RIDE

Celebrate the New Year with a moderate hilly ride to

Hampstead Jiffy Mart. Ride begins at 10:30 a.m., ride

about 33 miles from Oregon Ridge Park. For details

contact Gloria Epstein at (410) 665-3012.

JANUARY 8 – CRABS POTLUCK

The Baltimore Bicycling Club’s tandem group

(Couples Riding A Bike Simultaneously) will hold its

annual potluck dinner at 4:30 p.m. at the home of Jen

and Stan Sunderwirth in Ellicott City. Be prepared to

boast of your tandem adventures to the group, and

learn of the 2011 ride schedule. New members always

welcome. Contact Peggy or Tom Dymond at (410)

272-9139 or email tedymond@verizon.net.

JANUARY 22 – PPTC ANNUAL MEETING

The popular annual meeting of the nation’s largest

bicycle club, the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club

(PPTC) will be held at a new location this year, the

Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center, 1000 Forest

Glen Road, Silver Spring, MD 20901. It’s mostly a

social event, with a pot luck lunch, awards, elections

and more eating. For details log onto www.bikepptc.

org or call (202) 363-8687.

FEBRUARY 9 – MARYLAND BIKE SYMPOSIUM

Maryland Bike, a statewide bicycling and pedestrian

advocacy non-profit, will sponsor the 14th Annual Bike

Maryland Symposium, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in

the President's Conference Center at the Miller Senate

Office Building in Annapolis. The Symposium is an

opportunity to meet and hear from elected state and

local officials, planners, community leaders as well

as other bicycle and pedestrian advocates who want

more bike lanes, wider sidewalks, better trails, and a

statewide Complete Streets policy. The Symposium is

free and open to the public and a registration link can

be found at www.bikemd.org. Organizations and business

who'd like to exhibit at the Symposium are asked

to e-mail executive director Carol Silldorff at carol@

bikemd.org or call (410) 960-6493.

FEBRUARY 13 – STOP, SWAP & SAVE MD

This 14th annual bicycle swap meet will take place

from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Carroll County Agricultural

Center in Westminster, Md. Featuring over 200 vendors.

Road, mountain, BMX, tri or vintage, there is

something for everyone. Admission is $5. All buildings

are heated and breakfast and lunch are available. For

details visit www.stopswapandsave.com

MARCH 8-10 – NATIONAL BIKE SUMMIT

The League of American Bicyclists and leaders of the

nation’s cycling community will meet with members

of the Congressional Bike Caucus, host workshops

and speeches, and honor several member of Congress

for their efforts to make America more bicycle friendly.

For details log onto www.bikeleague.org or call

(202) 822-1333.

APRIL 14-17 – ST. MICHAELS SINGLE & TANDEMS WEEKEND

Members of the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club

and tandemists who attend the Eastern Tandem

Rally will join forces for this Eastern Shore weekend.

Lodging will be both at the Best Western Motor Inn

and nearby camping facilities. Four days of riding: no

hills, sparse traffic, wide shoulders, many roads near

the water. If you would like to rent a tandem, you can

contact Mt Airy Bicycles (Maryland) at 301-831-5151

or Tandems East (New Jersey) at 856-451-5104. To

register for the event contact Ed and Cindy Brandt

ed.b.brandt@gmail.com (301) 657-4657 or Bob and

Willa Friedman at bob-f@cox.net or (703) 978-7937.

APRIL 15-17 – SPRING TUNE-UP

All cyclists and their families are invited to join this

17th annual weekend ride held in Madison, Ga.,

hosted by BRAG (Bicycle Ride Across Georgia). Flat

to gently rolling hills. This is a fun time for the whole

family and a great time to get in shape for BRAG!

Various ride options available daily as well as daily

rates for those who cannot ride all weekend. Plenty

of food, music and entertainment. For more info visit

www.brag.org or email info@brag.org or call (770)

498-5153.

APRIL 23 – TOUR DE CARROLL

Join 750 other cyclists in checking out the scenery of

Carroll County, Md., and get those winter-lazy legs in

shape for the summer. Ride the 7th Annual Tour de

Carroll and enjoy the beauty and great rides that the

county has to offer. All proceeds benefit local charities.

There are four rides for all skill levels ranging

from a full metric (63 miles) 39 mile spring classic,

25 mile recreational ride, and 8 mile family fun ride.

Check out this event at www.tourdecarroll, register at

active.com, or call (410) 840-8381 for details.

MAY 7 – SIX PILLARS CENTURY

Character Counts Mid-Shore is sponsoring this fundraiser

at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge near

Cambridge, MD. The event includes four ride choices,

including an 11-mile family ride, a 37-mile fun &

fitness ride, a 56 miler Eagleman Ironman course,

and a full century. The event will support Character

Counts Mid-Shore, Inc., an agency which provides

the Winners Walk Tall Program in the public schools

in Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester counties free of

charge. The lessons, provided by over 200 character

coaches, are based on the six pillars of character:

Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness,

Caring and Citizenship. For details visit www.charactercountsmidshore.org

or call (410) 819-0386.

MAY 14-16 – TOUR DE CHESAPEAKE

Celebrate the arrival of spring with a bike tour

through the wonderful, scenic and flat Mathews

County backroads along the Chesapeake Bay. Join

800 cycling enthusiasts on this tour, perfect as a family’s

first biking adventure, or maybe the intermediate

rider’s, and even the experienced veteran’s, season

warm-up. Choose tours of 17, 40, 60, or 80 miles.

Families especially will enjoy the abundant quiet,

scenic lanes winding down to forgotten coves on the

Chesapeake Bay, the East River and the North River.

Pedal in and out of the beautiful salt marshes instead

of traffic. Visit www.bikechesapeake.org for details and

to register online. For inquiries, call (757) 229-0507

or email info@bikechesapeake.org.

JUNE 11-12 – 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.’s Washington College campus.

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.

MAY 22 – COLUMBIA TRIATHLON

Celebrating its 28th year, the Columbia Triathlon is

famous for its outstanding race organization and its

fun and extremely challenging race course. Held in

Centennial Park, Ellicott City, Md. Consists of a 1.5k

swim, 41k bike, and 10k run. Even though the event

is full, it’s a great spectacle for on-lookers. For more

info call (410) 964-1246 or visit www.tricolumbia.org

MAY 27-30 – KENT COUNTY SPRING FLING

Join the Baltimore Bicycling Club and Washington

College as they host this 28th annual weekend event

along Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Rides range from

11 to 100 miles on flat to rolling terrain. Stay at

Washington College’s dorm and enjoy great food, an

ice cream social, live music, blue grass on the square,

contra dancing, sock hop, and much more. For details

contact Frank and Kathy Anders at (410) 628-4018 or

email KCSF@verizon.net

JUNE 4-11 – BICYCLE RIDE ACROSS GEORGIA

Come discover Georgia by bicycle on the 32st annual

Bicycle Ride Across Georgia. This year’s loop ride

will begin in Atlanta, with overnights in Oxford,

Milledgeville, Dublin, Metter, and Hinesville, before

ending in lovely Savannah. Join over 1,500 riders for

street dances, ice cream social, end-of-the-road meal

60 miles average per day, hammerhead options. For

more information, visit www.brag.org, or email info@

brag.org, or call (770) 498-5153.

JUNE 11-12 – 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 routes ranging from a 30-mile one day

ride to 150 miles over two days, and enjoy great food,

beverages, and live music at the finish line. Ride for

28 Winter 2010/11


one day or two. For details, visit www.MSandYOU.org/

bike, or call (202) 296-5363, option 2.

JUNE 18-25 – GREAT OHIO BICYCLE ADVENTURE

See Ohio while on two wheels with 2,999 of your closest

friends! GOBA, now in its 23rd year, 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. This year’s GOBA begins

and ends in Kenton, travels to overnights in Marion,

Delaware, London, and Bellefontaine. Advance registration

is required. For registration materials and fees

visit www.goba.com or call (614) 273-0811 ext. 1.

JUNE 24-29 – BIKE VIRGINIA

Twenty four 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

has become the largest, multi-day, recreational bicycle

event in the Commonwealth. In 2011, Bike Virginia

will “roll through time” exploring the prehistoric

New River valley, which was a popular portion of the

legendary 1976 inaugural Bike 76 cross country tour.

Cyclists will need to be able to ride up to 50-60 miles

each day. For inquiries, call (757) 229.0507 or email

info@bikevirginia.org.

JULY 11-16 – 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 24-30 – FANY RIDE

The Great Big FANY Ride will spin five hundred

miles Across New York – for it’s 11th 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

AUGUST 12-14 – TOUR DE FREDERICK

Explore Frederick County, Maryland, as only the

locals can show you. Ride the legendary covered

bridge route, tackle Sugarloaf if you dare, see many

of Frederick County’s finest sights including wine

tastings, a brewery tour, a special evening at the local

minor league baseball set up just for us, and a gourmet

dinner at the local arts center. Lots more. Space

is limited on this second annual Spokes Magazine

weekend. Call 301-371-5309 or log onto www.spokesmagazine.com

for details.

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.

BIKES FOR THE WORLD – Collection Schedule

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 further info, visit www.

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

Bicycles may also be dropped off for Bikes for the

World during store hours at selected bicycle retailers:

Bikes of Vienna, 128-A Church Street, Vienna VA;

Bob’s Bike Shop, 19961 Fisher Avenue, Poolesville MD;

Race Pace, 8450 Baltimore Natl Pike, Normandy

Shopping Center, Ellicott City MD;

Pedal Pushers, 546 Baltimore & Annapolis Road,

Severna Park MD.

Please remember to leave a $10 donation (check

preferred, payable to “BfW”) with each bike; BfW will

mail you a receipt good for tax purposes.

2 nd annual

Tour Frederick

presents the

de

Frederick

August 12-15, 2011

the best of

Frederick County,

Maryland

Visit us on the web at www.tourdefrederick.com for more information!

Winter 2010/11

29


cyclists' kitchen

Chocolate: Is It a “Health Food”?

“Chocolate! I try to stay away from it!!!” commented

my client, a cyclist who described herself as having a

rampant sweet tooth. For her, chocolate fits into the

categories of junk food, guilty pleasure and ruiner

of good intentions to lose weight. Yet, she also recognized

there is potentially a happier side of the story.

Ads for (dark) chocolate suggest chocolate is good

for us. Chocolate comes from plants and contains the

same health-protective compounds that are found in

fruits and vegetables.

So what is the whole story on chocolate? Is it little

more than an alluring form of refined sugar, saturated

fat and empty calories? Or does chocolate (in

moderation, of course) have positive qualities that

might be beneficial for athletes?

Here are some nuggets of information about chocolate.

I'll let you decide whether or not the health benefits

of eating chocolate are greater than the health

costs—and if you personally want to define chocolate

as a “health food” within the context of your own

sports diet.

The “Bad”

The bad news is chocolate consists of primarily saturated

fat and sugar. A Hershey's Chocolate Bar (43 g)

contains 210 calories, 24 grams sugar (46% of calories),

13 g total fat (55% of calories) and 8 g saturated

fat, equivalent to a tablespoon of butter. Boo hoo.

(But here's how you can rationalize including this

popular treat in your overall well-balanced sports diet:

The fat in chocolate does not raise bad cholesterol

levels and the sugar (carb) in chocolate fuels your

muscles....)

• People tend to eat chocolate in bursts—a lot in a

day, such as on holidays or pre-menstrually—or none.

The question arises: Would enjoying some chocolate

every day help reduce an athlete's urge to binge-eat

the whole bag of, let's say, M&Ms in a moment of

weakness? That's a good question and one that needs

to be researched. We do know that deprivation and

denial of food contributes to overeating. You know

the syndrome: “I'm starting my diet Monday morning,

so Sunday is my last chance to eat chocolate...” and

there goes the whole bag of M&Ms!

I invite my clients to try taking the “power” away from

chocolate by enjoying a little bit every day, such as

for dessert after lunch. Ideally, daily chocolate could

reduce it to being simply a commonplace plant food,

just like bran cereal, an apple or carrot sticks. Give it

a try?

The “Ugly”

Some athletes claim they are “addicted” to chocolate.

Perhaps “chocolate addicts” grew up in a household

where the parents banned chocolate? Now, as grownups,

maybe they rebel by eating Reece's Pieces by the

bagful? Or are they “super tasters”—and the flavor

of chocolate is just irresistible? Perhaps they have a

genetic difference that makes chocolate highly attractive?

Some day, genetic testing may help us find the

answer to that question.

by nancy clark, ms, rd

The “Good”

Chocolate is made from cocoa. Cocoa comes from a

plant. It is a rich source of health-protective phytochemicals,

just like you'd get from fruits, vegetables

and whole grains. Two tablespoons natural cocoa

power (the kind used in baking) offers the same antioxidant

power as 3/4 cup blueberries or 1.5 glasses

red wine.

• Of all the types of chocolate, dark chocolate is the

richest source of phytonutrients. Unfortunately,

dark chocolate has a slightly bitter taste and most

people prefer the sweeter milk chocolate. Maybe we

should raise today's children on dark chocolate, so

they will they learn to prefer it...?

• One phytochemical in cocoa is nitrate. Nitrate gets

converted into nitric oxide, a chemical known to

increase blood flow. Nitric oxide lowers blood pressure,

a good thing for aging athletes who want to

stay youthful and invest in their health. (1)

• Another group of phytochemicals are called flavonoids.

They are in many plant foods, including

tea, apples and onions. Epidemiological surveys of

large groups of people indicate those who regularly

consume chocolate consume more of these

health-protective flavonoids than non-chocolate

eaters. This reduces their risk of heart disease. In

the Netherlands, elderly men who routinely ate

chocolate-containing products reduced their risk of

heart disease by 50% and their risk of dying from

other causes by 47%. (2)

• Cocoa increases blood flow to the brain. If this

means you can process information better and

faster—like calculate your split times or help your

kids with their math homework—wouldn’t that be a

great excuse to enjoy chocolate?!

• Many parents keep chocolate away from their children,

thinking chocolate makes them hyper. No

research to date supports that claim. The party or

special event that surrounds the chocolate likely

triggers the hyperactivity. (3)

• Chocolate is yummy! Most athletes love chocolate.

Chocolate lovers don't want sugar-free or

fat-free chocolate. They want the 100% real stuff!

That's because consumers buy benefits, not products.

Being yummy is a huge benefit! During the

recession in 2009, sales of Hershey's chocolates

increased. Is that because worried people bought

a moment of yummy, cheer-me-up chocolate? Or,

did they simply settle for a bag of less expensive

Hershey's Kisses instead of a box of pricey Godiva

Chocolates? Regardless, chocolate seems to fit every

mood, be it happy, sad, tired or celebratory.

• Flavanol-rich cocoa may help reduce muscle soreness.

Studies with athletes who performed muscledamaging

downhill running and then consumed

a cocoa-based carbohydrate and protein beverage

experienced less muscle damage and felt less muscle

soreness. (4)

• Although the chocolate used in flavoring milk lacks

the health-protectors found in dark chocolate,

the yummy flavor makes chocolate milk a popular

recovery drink. The sweetened chocolate offers

carbs to refuel muscles; the milk offers protein to

build and repair muscle. Plus, milk boosts intake of

calcium and vitamin D, needed for strong bones.

Conclusion

Despite all this good news about chocolate, it is still

just a candy and not a life-sustaining food. Yet, it does

provide pleasure—and pleasure is certainly part of a

health and wellness program, right?

The trick is to enjoy dark chocolate as part of the 100

to 150 “discretionary” sugar calories that can be part

of your daily sports diet. As for me, I'll enjoy my dark

chocolate during a long hike or bike ride. Tastes better

than most engineered sports foods and nicely fuels

both my body and my mind!

Chocolate Lush

This low fat brownie pudding forms its own sauce during

baking. It’s a tasty treat for when you are hankering

for a chocolate-fix and a yummy way to add a little

dark chocolate to your sports diet. This recipe is one

of many in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook (www.nancyclarkrd.com).

1 cup flour, preferably half white, half whole wheat

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened dry cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup milk

2 tablespoons oil, preferably canola

2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened dry cocoa

1-3/4 cups hot water

Optional: ½ cup chopped nuts.

1. Preheat the oven to 350º.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, white

sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder, and salt;

add the milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix until smooth.

(Add nuts.)

3. Pour into an 8x8" square pan that is nonstick,

lightly oiled, or treated with cooking spray.

4. Combine the brown sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, and hot

water. Gently pour this mixture on top of the batter in

the pan.

5. Bake at 350º for 40 minutes, or until lightly

browned and bubbly.

Yield: 9 servings

Total calories: 2,100

Calories per serving: 230

Carbohydrate: 46 grams

Protein: 3 grams

Fat: 4 grams

30 Winter 2010/11


F I S H E R D R E A M E D . T R E K U N L E A S H E D .

Introducing the Gary Fisher Collection from Trek. Monumental

bikes like the all-carbon, full-suspension Superfly 100 Elite. A

2200-gram OCLV carbon frame that’s feather light, super rigid

and rocket fast. It’s the benchmark for all 29ers. Gary’s sweetest

dream yet — made even better by Trek.

T R E K B I K E S . C O M / F I S H E R C O L L E C T I O N

© 2010 TREK BICYCLE CORPORATION

AVAILABLE AT THE FOLLOWING AUTHORIZED FISHER DEALERS

FR10_Superfly100_spokes.indd 1

8/27/10 12:45:11 PM

VIRGINIA

ARLINGTON

REVOLUTION CYCLES

2731 Wilson Boulevard

(703) 312-0007

BURKE

THE BIKE LANE

9544 Old Keene Mill Road

(703) 440-8701

LEESBURG

BICYCLE OUTFITTERS

34D Catoctin Circle, SE

(703) 777-6126

RESTON

THE BIKE LANE

Reston Town Center

(703) 689-2671

STAFFORD

REVOLUTION CYCLES

100 Susa Drive, #103-15

(540) 657-6900

MARYLAND

ARNOLD

BIKE DOCTOR

953 Ritchie Highway

(410) 544-3532

BALTIMORE

MT. WASHINGTON BIKE SHOP

5813 Falls Road

(410) 323-2788

COCKEYSVILLE

THE BICYCLE CONNECTION

York & Warren Roads

(410) 667-1040

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

FREDERICK

BIKE DOCTOR

5732 Buckeystown Pike

(301) 620-8868

WHEELBASE

229 N. Market Street

(301) 663-9288

FOREST HILL

THE BICYCLE CONNECTION EXPRESS

2203 Commerce Road

(410) 420-2500

HAGERSTOWN

HUB CITY SPORTS

35 N. Prospect Street

(301) 797-9877

OWINGS MILLS

RACE PACE

9930 Reisterstown Road

(410) 581-9700

ROCKVILLE

REVOLUTION CYCLES

1066 Rockville Pike

(301) 984-7655

WALDORF

BIKE DOCTOR

3200 Leonardtown Road

(301) 932-9980

WESTMINSTER

RACE PACE

459 Baltimore Boulevard

(410) 876-3001

WASHINGTON, D.C.

GEORGETOWN

REVOLUTION CYCLES

3411 M Street, N.W.

(202) 965-3601


Central Florida’s Polk County is your

Cycling Adventure Destination!

F

rom off-road locations and road courses, to leisure trails,

there’s a location to suit every cycling enthusiast’s need.

NEW!

With our Cycling Guide, you have every tool at

your fingertips for the ultimate cycling

experience. Featuring a detailed map

of n popular cycling opportunities n laws

and guidelines n emergency numbers and

n local bike shops, this pocket guide is

perfect to have on your adventure.

Pocket-sized

for your convenience!

Whether you are here for a leisure

ride or high-energy cycling

adventure –

Polk County is

your path to

a great cycling

experience!

FREE!

Visit www.VisitCentralFlorida.org/cycling and click the “Map My ride”

feature to plan your adventure and view a road suitability map. Request a FREE

copy of the NEW Cycling Guide or call 800-828-7655, ext. SP7 to start

your cycling adventure today!

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