October 2019 WheelPeople


Lecture Series

Eli Post


Larry Finison is a CRW member and has written several books on the history of cycling in the Boston Area. His latest book, Boston’s Twentieth-Century Bicycling Renaissance: Cultural Change on Two Wheels is about how bicycling languished and then flourished during that century. Larry has collected  events, anecdotes, and pictures that will educate and charm you. Learn how specific individuals and organizations made a difference in the world of bicycling. You will leave with an expanded sense of the breadth of the bicycling community and how history influenced what we do today. Autographed books are available for cash sale.

Date: Tuesday October 22, 2019. Time: 6 to 7 PM Social hour with refreshments, 7  -  8:30 Presentation and questions. Where: Bocca Bella Café, 442 Lexington Street, Auburndale, MA 02466. What: We will serve light refreshments, and soft drinks but a cash bar. Parking: Behind or beside the restaurant – and across the street.




Dr Mirkin.com

Statin Drugs and Muscle Pain

At last we have a reasonable explanation why statins can cause some people to suffer skeletal muscle pain and damage, but do not cause heart muscle damage (JACC: Basic to Translational Science, Aug 2019;4(4):509-523). Muscles contract after they release calcium from their cells. However, statins cause muscles to leak calcium from their cells. The muscles of some people can tolerate these irregular leaks of calcium, but for others, the statin-caused calcium leaks interfere with normal muscle contractions to cause pain. This brilliant study, done with both humans and rats, shows that:
• The muscles of most people are not harmed by the calcium leak, but some people are either genetically or environmentally susceptible to statin-induced muscle damage.
• A regular moderate exercise program may help some people prevent the muscle changes that cause calcium leaks.
• Very intense exercise can cause some people on statins to develop muscle damage by damaging calcium gatekeeper proteins. The authors found that 70 percent of highly-competitive athletes developed severe muscle damage when they exercised at near-maximum effort.
• Statins do not cause calcium leakage in heart muscles because calcium movement during heart muscle contractions is regulated by different gatekeeper proteins, and therefore statins do not cause heart muscle damage or irregular heartbeats.

Interestingly, in the rats, the researchers observed that:
• statins did not affect muscle function or strength,
• exercise corrected the muscle changes in the rats who had free access to exercise wheels, and
• the exercising rats treated with statins were able to run twice as far as rats not given statins.

How Statins May Damage Skeletal Muscles
Statins lower inflammation and the bad LDL cholesterol that increases heart attack risk, but LDL is necessary to form cell membranes, so statins may increase muscle damage normally caused by intense exercise. Statins can raise blood sugar and triglycerides and lower the good HDL to increase risk for diabetes (J of Clinical Lipidology, July-August 2016;10(4):1022-1029), and the people most likely to suffer muscle pains when they take statins are those with pre-diabetes or diabetes who have high rises in blood sugar after meals (Brit Med J. Open Diabetes Research & Care, Oct 23, 2017). Another recent study showed that statins interfere with the ability to exercise and to compete in sports, even in patients who report no symptoms (J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2018;103(1):75-84). See Statin Drugs and Exercise

My Recommendations
Today statins remain the major choice of heart-attack preventing drugs (J Am Coll Cardiol, 2014;63(25 pt B):2889-2934), but lifestyle changes can be equally effective. Statins do lower cholesterol and inflammation to help prevent heart attacks. If your LDL cholesterol is above 100 or you have other factors that increase risk for a heart attack, most guidelines recommend that you take statin drugs to help protect you from suffering a heart attack. However, statin drugs come at a price. They can make your muscles hurt and interfere with your ability to exercise. If you are a competitive athlete, they can interfere with your ability to compete at your best.

Lifestyle changes can be as effective as statins in lowering high blood levels of LDL cholesterol and reducing your risk for a heart attack. Whether or not you and your doctor decide that you should take statins, I recommend that you:
• avoid being overweight
• try to exercise every day
• avoid smoking
• avoid or restrict alcohol
• avoid sugar-added foods, all sugared drinks including fruit juices, red meat, processed meats, and fried foods
• eat plenty of vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, whole grains and other seeds
• keep blood levels of hydroxy Vitamin D above 20 nmol/L
Heart Attack Prevention Guidelines




WheelPeople Looking Back

CRW Communications Committee
10 Years Ago - October 2009
Long-time CRW members Linda and Barry Nelson completed their 14th Pan-Mass Challenge in 2009. Recognizable on CRW rides with their tandem bicycle, in two previous iterations of the PMC, they made it a family affair by riding a triple with their son. In regional news, cyclists celebrated the opening of Phase 1 of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail in Chelmsford on August 29th. The section of the trail that was opened runs 6.8 miles through Lowell, Chelmsford, and Westford. Phase 2A of the BFRT opened in the spring of 2018, connecting Phase 1 to Carlisle and Acton. 
25 Years Ago - October 1994
The unofficial theme of the October 1994 newsletter was ultraendurance cycling, with ride reports from Boston-Montreal-Boston (740+ miles in under 90 hours) and a first-hand account of Rob Kish’s winning Race Across America effort from support crew member Lori Reed. A notable motivational quote from the first day of the race: “At noon, Rob has covered 390 miles and he stops for his first break off the bike but doesn’t sleep. He gets a 10 minute massage while I apply sunblock. 11:00pm At 550 miles, Rob finally sleeps for 2 1/2 hours. I work on his legs while he sleeps. By 2:0am, he’s showered and back on the bike.”
50 Years Ago - October 1969
A Western Mass. Berkshire Foliage Tour was advertised for October 11-12, with options leaving from Westfield and Pittsfield. The 45 mile Westfield ride was advertised as having “…not great [mileage] but the scenery is superb and you’ll get your exercise from hill climbs. If the weather is anything better than AWFUL, the ride will be GREAT.” Overnight accommodations were suggested at Mrs. Ferry’s for $3.00 a night or camping at Bousquets at $0.75 a night.

A Boston Bicycle Club Before CRW

Lorenz Finison

A Boston Bicycle Club Before CRW




In May 1972, the CRW Newsletter published Howard Moore’s “Not a Dark Age at All.” Moore, a cyclist since the early 1920s and CRW ride leader, objected to CRW co-founder George Bailey (and Moore’s predecessor as club historian) calling the period of the 1920s through 1930s a “dark age for the bicycle.”  Moore claimed that there were many clubs around eastern Massachusetts “which endured for varying lengths of time between 1933 and the formation of the Charles River Wheelmen.” He mentioned the Cambridge Cycle and Sports Club, the Massachusetts Bicycling [Bicycle] Club, the Norfolk County Wheelmen, the North Quincy Wheelmen, the Brockton Cycle Club, the Middlesex County Wheelmen, and the West Roxbury Cycle Club; and, closer-in, the “Boston Wheelmen (not to be confused with the old-time Boston Bicycle Club).”  


What of this presumably ancient Boston Bicycle Club? What was its place in the history of our sport, recreation, and mode of transportation to or at work, and for a variety of social purposes? What are the parallels and contrasts between its story and those of cycle clubs today? These questions begin a series on the history of Boston region bicycling clubs and events. 


The Boston Bicycle Club (BBiC) was responsible for many firsts: it was the first cycle club on the American continent (February, 1878), the first club to join the League of American Wheelmen (now Bicyclists), and produced its first president, Charles Pratt. The BBiC organized the first century ride, the first bicycle race, the first 100-mile road race, the first tricycle race, and the first hill climbing contest. In October, 1879, the BBiC also co-sponsored, with the Massachusetts Bicycle Club, the recreational Wheel About the Hub – Boston was known world-wide as the Hub even then – and published popular stories about the event that arguably led to cycling’s surge in the 1880s, and even larger growth when the safety bicycle came on strong in the early 1890s.


At Readville, first organized bicycle run held in the United States, organized by the Massachusetts and Boston Bicycle clubs, September 11-12, 1879. Source: Quincy Historical Society.

Despite the end of the cycling craze by 1900, the BBiC survived for another 50 years – alone among Boston’s 19th century clubs. What follows are some notes on BBiC’s founding and early history, its unions with and divorces from the Massachusetts Bicycling Club (MBC), its remarkable longevity, and its connection to CRW. This is where we came from, in the long arc of history.

Part 1


Bicycling in Boston arose in 1876/77 out of the collapse of the velocipede mania several years earlier. The velocipedes, with direct-drive pedals on the front wheel were just too heavy, clumsy, and difficult to ride, especially over rough terrain, and were largely confined to rinks and riding schools in Boston and elsewhere. By 1871 spidery-spoked, lighter, and more road-worthy high- wheels appeared in England, and, given American (and especially Boston) elites’ connection to English culture, within a few years made their way to Boston: “…our English cousins developed … that combination of beauty, grace and power, the modern bicycle.”  Of course, these proclivities were not shared by Boston’s Irish immigrant population, just coming to political power, but then, they did not significantly adopt bicycling until the 1890s,with the advent of the cheaper safety bicycle and the broadening of bicycling beyond its upper middle class roots. 


During the mid-1870s a tiny number of English high-wheels found their way across the Atlantic to be used in match races and in trick riding demonstrations. Recreational use began when Alfred Chandler, a young Brookline lawyer, saw a high-wheel English bicycle exhibited at the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876 and ordered an import. He was widely seen riding in and around Boston.  Other young professional men were attracted, and by November 1877, Frank Weston, a Cunningham, Heath and Company partner, started importing English bikes into Boston. He was deservedly known as the “Father of American Bicycling” for his imports, organization, magazine, and encouragement to cyclists.


Weston was born in 1843 in London and followed in his father’s footsteps to become an architect. He came to Boston in 1866 and thereafter crisscrossed the ocean on business and joined the evolution from the velocipede to the high wheel. Weston maintained membership in London’s Pickwick Bicycle Club and cemented the comradely ties between English and American bicycling. His Cunningham offices at 178 Devonshire street became the first meeting place for the Boston Bicycle Club.  And he was to publish the first North American bicycling magazine: The American Bicycling Journal.


The mast-head for his new magazine illustrated a high wheeler waving farewell to the velocipede, while a dog chased along, perhaps eager for a new and more exciting victim.


Masthead, first issue of the American Bicycling Journal, December 22, 1877.


The ABJ published many notes from “ our English cousins” – there being little local cycling news yet– and also published hotel advertisements (e.g., Old Squantum House in North Quincy, Fresh Pond House in Cambridge; the Reservoir Hotel on Beacon Street in Brookline, Pratt’s Railway Hotel in East Milton), each promising special accommodations for bicycles and opportunities like “Bicyclists Tea.” A Boston hatter advertised imported English-pattern bicycle caps and made “the cap proposed to be worn by the Boston Bicycle Club.” A livery stable promised secure bicycle storage “just minutes from the asphalte pavement of Columbus avenue.” 


In 1877, Weston suggested that Boston roads compared well to those he had experienced in England and that a cyclist would find “nothing better for his purpose than a good ‘natural’ highway. Within the city limits Commonwealth Avenue (on the east side), Columbus Avenue, Warren and Washington Streets, or the Lower Mills are excellent roads to travel. The Milldam road [part of the Back Bay along the mill-dam, since filled in] is not very well adapted for the bicycle; but of course, the streets and roads of Brookline, Newton and the adjacent towns are most excellent.”  


The high-brow daily paper Boston Evening Transcript published a long and approving article on the delights of bicycle touring in England, and soon advertised imports and a riding school opening January 7, 1878.  Over the next few months, the advertisements for the school, taught by ex-Bangor velocipede racer William Pitman,, were nestled in with ads for places like the Howard and Globe theaters and the “Boston Museum.” 


Knots of professional men–one of the earliest such groups, a journalist, a lawyer, a merchant, and an architect– coalesced and started the BBiC.  In a long Boston Globe article, an anonymous author, likely Weston, described the history of the bicycle, commented on its prospects, and for the first time used the name “Boston Bicycle Club.” The writer also described Pittman’s riding school, and suggested that while cyclists were unlikely to ride in New England snow, they could go out and thoroughly enjoy “skimming over the hard-frozen roads and inhaling the crisp air.” 


On February 12, 1878, “fourteen gentlemen” assembled at 178 Devonshire Street (Cunningham and Heath’s address) and founded the Boston Bicycle Club. They cobbled together English club documents and adopted a constitution. It required an entrance fee and a nomination and second by current members. The use of the term gentlemen had a specific meaning at that time, and effectively excluded “blue collar” workers – who in any case could not afford the expensive high wheelers, in today’s terms cost well over $2,000. 


The BBiC’s purposes were:

  1. The mutual enjoyment of its members in the pursuit of bicycling as a pastime; to which end club-meets, tours, excursions, races, etc, shall be arranged and carried out.

  2.  The promotion (by force of example) of the use of the Bicycle as a practicable and enjoyable aid to locomotion, by the general public. 


The ABJ published notes about the BBiC, its club runs, other clubs and their constitutions, news from England, and poetry, as in this excerpt reprinted from the Transcript, written by Joseph Dalton in the style of Tennyson.

The Bicycle

Tennyson plus J.G.D.

Sure never yet was any heel
Could flit so lightly by. 
Keep off, or else my bicycle
Will hit you coming nigh.
How lightly whirls the bicycle! 
How fiery-like you fly!
Go, get you one; this ticklish wheel.
Be taught before you try.
Thou darest —give me now to reel 
The rapid miles, or die.
There, take it, take my bicycle 
And break your neck thereby.  



Boston Bicycle Club members in front of Trinity Church, in formation and ready to ride with admiring crowd in the background, 1878. Source: “The Massachusetts Bicycle Club,” Whewelman 2(3), June, 1883.


By May 1878, the club had grown to 27 members, and assembled regularly in military formation near Trinity Church to start their group runs. Member occupations included six merchants, four salesmen, four students, three lawyers, three clerks, two officers of corporations, one architect, one literateur, and one physician, in today’s terms, a solidly upper middle-class group.  The Baltimore Sun reported that the BBiC was the “reigning sensation” in Boston and that “great crowds assemble to see the start.” 


The group typically rode to a radius of twenty miles from Boston but reported on plans to travel into New Hampshire for 300 miles in a six-day outing. The Sun also commented on an early bicycling commuter, likely Weston, who was “said to leave his home in [Squantum] Quincy, 7 ½ miles from his office, every morning, on his bicycle, and be at his desk within forty minutes.”   


BBiC conducted weekly meetings to plan club runs, admit new members, to police the distinction between amateur and professional cycling, and to exclude all professionals from membership. This problem would bedevil cycling organizations for many years to come. 


Within a few months of BBiC’s founding, more clubs appeared on the Boston scene: the Suffolk Cycling Club – headquartered on Charles street but with many members, like Alfred Chandler, from Brookline and Cambridge – and shortly thereafter, clubs in Fitchburg, Salem, Worcester, and Brockton; and at Harvard University.  


Albert Pope an importer and then manufacturer, started advertising imports in early 1878, in full page ads opposite to those of Cunningham. It appears that Pope’s relationship with BBiC was ambivalent, especially since ABJ was Frank Weston’s journal and Weston was a partner with Pope’s principal competitor, Cunningham and Heath. Complicating things further, BBiC’s president was Charles Pratt, editor of the ABJ, but also a lawyer and politician, and increasingly drawn into Pope’s orbit. Pope and his family started the Massachusetts Bicycle Club (MBC) in 1879 and for the next decade the two clubs cycled between union and division.


Weston and the ABJ shepherded the bicycling clubs in their first two years, but ABJ became increasingly irregular. Edward Hodges took it over in November, 1879 (with Pratt as editor), and for a short time renamed it Bicycling World and Archery Field: A Weekly Journal of Polite Athletics. Hodges’ father was a successful State Street banker with a suburban Roxbury home and Hodges had the resources to risk on a new venture. The magazine temporarily combined the two elite sports to increase readership. “Polite” proclaimed that it was not a magazine for sports associated with gambling (e.g., professional pedestrian races) or the working class (e.g., baseball). Amateur/professional distinctions came up, especially in racing: As Bicycling World put it: “Amateur prizes are medals, silver or gold plate, articles of vertu, or anything which simply and only affords the winner a suitable memento of the contest, which he may keep as a trophy. These are consistent with the real difference in objects of the professional and amateur racer: that of the former being gain and self-aggrandizement; of the latter, love of the sport and a gracious emulation in its development.”  Of course, the amateur’s medals could be easily pawned for cash. So, the no-cash fig leaf was a cover for a gentlemen-only policy. Even Pittman, the bicycling racer, trickster and instructor came under fire for his professionalism and was eventually ousted, despite his denials and protests – that under these rules anyone who made money from bicycles including Weston, Pratt, and Pope himself should also be removed from membership in amateur clubs.  The BBiC regretted ousting the well-liked Pittman but stated that it had to do it, under the rules. Years later, on his death in 1914, the whole conflict seems to have been forgotten as he was eulogized by cyclist publisher Abbot Bassett for his “varied career, full of incident and meritorious performance.” 


The BBiC’s earliest meetings were held at its officers’ businesses or at Carl Vossler’s well-known restaurant on Hawley street. Within a year, old and new leaders began to coalesce.  In November, 1880, just after the founding of the League of American Wheelmen (L.A.W.) at a meeting in Newport, the two leading clubs in the effort, the BBiC and the MBC decided to lease a joint clubroom at 40 Providence street in Park Square. Bicycling World promoted this “Bossachusetts Room” as a model in which two clubs could share the expense and authority for adequate rooms for business meetings, a wheel room for storage, and a place for members to read the various bicycling magazines. A model set of “Rules and Regulations” stated among other things that: No liquor or liquors of any kind whatsoever shall be in any way used, kept or sold on said premises. (emphasis in the original). This was in line with “clean living” and anti-alcohol sentiments of many main-line Yankee Protestants of the time, and correlated with their anti-immigrant (Irish and German) views. The “old guard” was apparently incensed at the sight of German immigrant men and women enjoying a Sunday “biergarten” outing together. 


 There appears to have been continuing conflict between “wets” and “drys” within the cycling community through to the end of the century, with no clear resolution. Anti-alcohol rules did not seem to apply when cyclists met at a country inn, downtown restaurant or hotel, or picnicking on the road. Cyclists at play frequently toasted one another and their leadership.


The BBiC/MBC partnership split up in October, 1881, and BBiC took on a new home at 53 Union Park, a structure still standing at the corner of Union Park and Tremont Street in the South End.  

Boston Bicycle Club invites friends at the opening of their new club house. Source: Abbot Bassett Scrapbook, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution


That address was also home to Joseph Dalton, BBiC treasurer, wealthy son of the president of the Boston and Providence Railroad, poet, and publisher of a bicycling poetry book, Lyra Bicyclia, who also helped edit Bicycling World


BBiC invited applications from “associate” members, who might not cycle, but would enjoy (and help pay for) the social amenities provided.  The club also sponsored its first tricycle race from Cobb’s Tavern – known as BBiC’s “country clubhouse” in Stoughton (now East Sharon) – to Union Park.

Boston Bicycle Club house and Tricycle Division at 53 Union Park. Source: Abbot Bassett Scrapbook, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution


The BBiC was committed to good order and to show a properly uniformed and organized image. They wore a distinctive uniform: “A helmet with badge on front, jacket, vest, breeches and stockings all of dark seal brown.” The badge was a silver five-pointed star with the motto “Pedibus Bicyclus Addidit Alas” (Pedal Bicycles Quickly).  


The club also developed a system of bugle calls, many adopted from the U.S. Calvary. Among the nineteen calls published in Bicycling World were two which might be helpful in organizing starts even now: prepare to mount, and mount. 


Boston Bicycle Club bugle calls ~ 1880. Source: “Signals and Bugle Calls,” Bicycling World, 1(11) April 3, 1880:166.


The Federal tariff schedule and Pope’s monopoly on American bicycle production presented a key problem for the early bike-sellers and resulted in some inter-club conflict. Both Cunningham and Pope started out importing English bikes. Bicycle historian Bruce Epperson has estimated that of the total $90 selling price of an English ordinary he likely paid $50 wholesale, freight of $5, and $17.50 Morrill tariff – 35 percent because it was defined as a carriage rather than the 45 percent due on a machine. Pope figured that he could manufacture locally for a lower cost and pocket the difference.  And he did, and also offered English imports at a discount from what the rider could get direct from the English manufacturer. But importing versus local manufacturing drove a potential wedge between the interests of Cunningham (lower tariffs) and Pope (higher tariffs). Both Pope and Cunningham advertised in the ABJ, the only paper of its kind in America but Pope stopped advertising in the ABJ’s successor, Bicycling World. The conflict didn’t end soon.


In 1882 Bicycling World published articles against the bicycle tariff and Pop’s bicycle patent monopoly and accused Pope of asking the Federal Tariff Commission for an increase in the tariff from 35 percent to 45 percent. Pope denied that, saying that he only wanted a reduction in the tax on imported steel from 45 percent downward. The Federal Tariff Commission’s records support Pope’s denial.  The arguments flourished in Bicycling World and in a new bicycling journal out of New York, The Wheel. Along the way, Pratt resigned as President of the League of American Wheelmen, dissolved the partnership with Hodges, went on Pope’s payroll as chief patent attorney and renounced his membership in BBiC.  So did Edward Pope, Albert’s cousin, who had cofounded the BBiC.


Boston Bicycle Club at Chestnut Hill Reservoir, 1883.Source: Abbot Bassett Scrapbook, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.


Despite these difficulties and frayed fraternity, early in 1884 the BBiC opened larger quarters with a “Ladies Night.” The Boston Herald promoted this ideal Boston clubhouse:the members, their lady friends, and a few invited guests assembled to the number of several hundreds to participate in the house warming. The new quarters are in the handsome brown stone house formerly occupied by Hon. Moses Kimball [politician, showman associate of P.T. Barnum, and owner of the Boston Museum] at 87 Boylston street. … with the extra facilities afforded the club will continue to be a leader in all matters of bicycling interest, while the social features will be more than ever cultivated. 


Members entered through large double doors into a spacious drawing room with lounges, divans, artistic pictures and an upright piano. Beyond that a quiet reading room featured “all of the principal daily and weekly papers, magazines, and ’cycling journals, both of this country and England.” Servants provided a 5 o’clock dinner in the dining room. Other amenities included a telephone closet, a wheel room (for bicycles, tricycles, and two-person sociables) and a gymnasium; billiard, pool, and smoking rooms, dressing rooms, bathrooms, lockers, closets, private rooms for members and friends, and to top it off, an observatory on the roof.  


The BBiC clearly aspired to be the equal of other gentlemen’s clubs of Boston, such as the Algonquin, Union, St. Botolph, Tavern, and Somerset.  The club was apparently open to both riding and non-riding associate members.  


The scientific and literary ideals of Boston society were represented well in the leadership of the BBiC. Charles Fourdrinier, an English immigrant and BBiC secretary, proposed that an organization be formed within the club with the idea of “riding for a purpose.” It would “collect information upon its excursions in topography, history, and in other scientific directions.” 


BBiC and the other Boston bicycle clubs faced difficult challenges during the 1880s and 1890s, despite the huge increase in the number of cyclists on the road, and the “clubiness” of Boston’s gentlemanly culture. Suburbanization produced one headwind. As more and more of the upper middle class moved out to places like Roxbury, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Newton, and Brookline, aided by the old train lines and the new streetcar lines, suburban bicycle clubs grew, at the expense of the downtown clubs. But some non-cycling club members would be quite pleased to have a “downtown” club. And the BBiC fit the bill. As of July 1884, it had 67 active and 228 associate (non-cycling) members. Abbot Bassett, long time publisher, secretary, tricycle racer and race official retrospectively reported “The associates did not have an unlimited right to vote because if they had this power they could as any time convert the bicycle club into a social club. Therefore a ‘life preserver’ was created, by awarding only token representation on the club board to social members.”  The social amenities of the magnificent BBiC clubhouse split members who were enthusiastic cyclists from those associates who were attracted by the indoor amenities (dinner, billiards, pool, smoking, card, and guest rooms), and a gentlemen’s atmosphere. By 1886, Cycle, Bassett’s new magazine reported that BBiC was moving again, this time to 26 St. James street. 


In 1889, BBiC tried to paper over the differences by starting the Town Club, a social club. Members of the BBiC were automatically members of the Town Club, but Town Club members were not required to join the BBiC. BBiC/Town Club leased a new clubhouse on Boylston street between Washington and Tremont. The new president of the Town Club tried to cultivate fraternal relations and invited all members to travel to his fishing boat anchored at Weymouth, by bicycle or by a “tally-ho,” a fast, open, sightseeing coach drawn by “six grays.” 


Soon, BBiC had no clubhouse.  Other clubs declined too. The formerly prominent Massachusetts Bicycle Club (MBC) suffered an embarrassing fall. In January 1889, their magnificent building at 152 Newbury street – still standing near the corner of Dartmouth street – went to the Boston Art Club and all of the contents were auctioned off at low prices (e.g., the “magnificent six-light chandelier brought only $20”).  Many MBC members joined the Boston Athletic Association. 


A long article in the February 1891 Bicycling World and L.A.W. Bulletin lamented the demise of Boston’s two venerable cycling clubs – they existed as a shadow of their former selves – and attempted an analysis. At first, the addition of associate (social) members seemed like a good idea to club members. That helped grow the clubs, but unintended consequences followed. The writer thought that the vitality of the club had been “sapped” by the introduction of the “social element.” After a while the “social element, far outnumbering the riding contingent, demanded and were accorded representation in the club’s management. From that time the cycling interest declined, and, though the most cordial relations existed between the riders and non-riders, the Boston Club, as an active riding club died for want of interest. It was simply smothered by the social influences.”  


Members revived the Massachusetts Bicycle Club, but in 1892 it fell on hard times again. It began to admit women members, who straightened out the club finances and décor, only to be ousted in 1895 by a majority vote of men who wanted the old male club camaraderie. The women and their male supporters went off to start the Commonwealth Cycle Club.  


The BBiC never admitted women. The clubhouse-less club tried to put itself back “on the map” by recreating the famous Wheel About the Hub of 1879. In September 1892 the tour was resurrected and led by Walter “Doc” Kendall, a Quincy commuting dentist and BBiC captain. 


Boston Bicycle Club Reviving the Wheel About the Hub, 1890s. Source: Russell Mamone, personal photo; The Wheelmen, # 74, May, 2009,20.

In 1894 Daniel Dwyer in his Prominent Wheelmen and Bicycle Club Directory of Massachusetts noted BBiC’s glorious past but currently small dues and no clubhouse.  It would seem that this once thriving club was on its way out, and unlikely to survive the end of the bicycle craze in the late 1890s. 

Yet it did – for another 50 years – alone among Boston’s 19th century cycling clubs. How it contributed to Boston’s touring and racing is the story of Part 2. Part 3 shows how BBiC with Captain “Doc” Kendall survived through the “dark ages” of bicycling claimed by CRW’s George Bailey and how Bailey reconnected it with CRW history to contribute to Boston’s bicycling renaissance of the 1970s. 


This article is an expansion on material from my books: Boston’s Cycling Craze, 1880-1900 and Boston’s Twentieth Century Bicycling Renaissance, both available from UMass-Press. Obtain a fully referenced copy of the article by sending email to BostonCyclingHistory [at] gmail.com 


Please Report Crashes

John Allen

OK, a crash isn’t the most pleasant thing to think about, and it can hurt too! But CRW needs to know about crashes. 

The first action that needs to be taken following a crash, of course, is to get help as needed. That has generally worked well on our rides. Other riders have assisted in calling for assistance and caring for the bicycle, if it is not ridable or the rider had to be transported for medical care. 

There was an instance though last year where a rider was injured, and nobody reported to the club for several months, until she finally e-mailed me. That is not OK. If you have a crash, witness one or assist following one, please inform the ride leader, who is responsible for reporting to the Rides VP and Safety Coordinator. We need to know the who, when, where and how.  We can take it from there.

The Rides Committee will be working over the winter to develop a comprehensive plan on crash scene management and will make it available to all club members.

And as Safety Coordinator, I want to have robust data so I can sift through the information and gather conclusions.

I already know enough to establish that our rides are quite safe. Serious injuries are infrequent. We need to be able to back up that statement with more robust evidence, though, in case anyone raises questions about or rides program. Please also let the safety coordinator know of crashes which occur outside our rides. This reporting adds useful information about crash hotspots and crash types.

Avoiding crashes and the resulting unhappiness is much easier if we know how they are happening, and why. As your Safety Coordinator, I want to be able to provide that useful information in this column.

You will want to know this too. How can I say that? I had a talk with CRW President Larry Kernan recently, and he brought up an example with which I too, was familiar. The most popular recurring column in the Appalachian Mountain Club bulletin reports on mishaps, some minor, some serious and even fatal. (I call them mishaps, not "accidents," which would imply that they are not preventable.)  People read the column because they want to learn the lessons it offers. We in CRW can do the same for ourselves.

Actually, I don’t want to hear of crashes, because I don’t want there to be crashes. But when there is one, then we, too, need to learn the lessons it offers. 

Personal details can be held in confidence if preferred. Our interest is in collecting aggregate information. 




The Athlete's Kitchen

Nancy Clark

The Athlete's Kitchen

Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD, September 2019


Faux Burgers: Friend or Foe?


Eating more plant-based protein appeals to many health-conscious athletes who want to reduce their intake of saturated fat as well stand up for the environment and animal welfare concerns.  As a result, more and more athletes are trending towards a vegetarian diet. Two types of non-meat eaters seem to be emerging: 

1. The traditional vegetarian, who gets protein from nuts, beans, and legumes (and perhaps milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, and fish, depending on how the athlete defines his or her meatless diet).  Veggie burgers are their faux burger.

2. The vegetarian who chooses ultra-processed almond milk, Beyond Burgers, and Impossible Burgers. Plant based foods, yes, but does ultra-processed really fit the essence of a vegetarian diet? 

    Just why would athletes want to consume ultra-processed proteins that are right up there with Beefaroni and hot dogs? Likely because they taste good. The Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger offer a way to enjoy a tasty plant-based burger without feeling denied or deprived of the real thing —often a cherished childhood favorite. 


Yes, a veggie burger is another meat alternative, but it just doesn't have the same mouth-feel or "chew" that food scientists have figured out how to create using a combination of plant proteins. They add coconut oil (with questionable health attributes) to create marbling—and a juicy burger. With the help of beet juice (Beyond Burger) or synthetic heme made with yeast (Impossible Burger), these faux burgers "bleed," just like the real thing. As for taste and texture, people who don't like meat have been known to comment it tastes so real it "grosses them out." For reluctant vegetarians, needless to say, the faux burgers can be far more desirable than garden burgers and bean burgers. 


To help make their new creation attractive, Beyond Burger uses a label with appealing buzzwords—20 grams of protein, plant-based, soy free, gluten free, no GMOs. Their marketing campaign mentions climate change, conservation, health, and animal welfare. Voila! They have a winning product that is exceeding sales expectations —despite the higher price tag. At the supermarket, you'll need to pay twice as much for a 4-ounce ultra-processed burger.


Is this burger a step in a nutritionally positive direction in terms of the environment and our health?  Regarding environmental concerns, both the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger report an estimated 89% to 90% smaller carbon foot-print than a burger made from beef. Faux meat production requires less land and water, and creates less methane and manure (sources of pollution).  Nutritionally speaking, faux meat is a reasonable match for real beef, but without the bioactive compounds that naturally occur in standard food. Natural foods contain known—and unknown—synergistic compounds, not be replicated in imitation products.


Protein is important to optimize athletic performance. You need it to build, repair, and maintain your body's muscles. For a 150-lb athlete who trains hard, the recommended dose is about 20 grams of protein every four hours during the day (breakfast, early lunch, late lunch, dinner). A faux burger + roll can do the job, as can a lean beef burger. 


As for me, I'll stick with an occasional all-natural lean beef burger when desired, and choose plant-based foods more often than not.  While the Impossible Whopper pleases my palate, I can't help but wonder if Nature knows best?


Per 4-ounce  patty


 85% lean

Beyond Burger

Impossible                                                                                                                                                                                              Burger




$5.59 at Burger King





Protein (grams)

28 g

20 g

Pea,  rice, mung bean

19 g


Total fat


16 g

18 g 

Coconut oil, cocoa butter

14 g

Coconut oil

Saturated  ("bad") fat 

6 g

6 g

8 g



75 to 450 mg

(if added as a preservative)

390 mg

370 mg

Number ingredients

1 or 2


13 + 8  vitamins and minerals


15% DV

25% DV

25% DV

What makes it bleed?


Beet juice extract, pomegranate fruit powder; apple extract (turns from red to brown as it cooks)

soy leghemoglobin

Made by inserting soy DNA into yeast, then fermenting it

Added vitamins and minerals?

All natural (including 

B-12 and well-absorbed iron

None added


with B-12 for vegans

Where to buy it, if desired

Any grocery store that sells meat


Many restaurants

Many grocery stores 



Coming soon to grocery stores


Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes at her office in Newton, MA (617-795-1875). The updated 6th edition of her best selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook is available at NancyClarkRD.com. For her  popular online workshop, see NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.



CRW Votes!

CRW Votes!

The time is upon us to vote for our new CRW Board members who will begin their terms in January 2020. We have three open Board seats and three great candidates. So, why do you need a vote? Well, you don’t. But, you should. Our bylaws require us to go through this process. Voting is your civic duty, it’s good practice and it let’s us know you’re paying attention. The Board does a lot of work behind the scenes to set the policy and direction for the Club. We’re all volunteers and taking about a minute to cast your vote will let the candidates know that you appreciate their willingness to contribute their time to the Club.

Each CRW member will get 3 votes and you must be a club member (and logged into the website) in order to vote.

Voting will be held from October 1 - 15 with final results published on the website and in the November WheelPeople. Below, you’ll find the statements of candidacy for those running for Board seats. Please be sure to vote by going to this page: https://www.crw.org/board-election-voting.  Your vote will be heard!


Mary Kernan

I’ve served on the CRW Board for the past three years and took on the position of VP of Rides soon after joining the Board. In that time, I’ve learned a lot about what does and does not work in the Club. We face the challenge of many volunteer organizations in that we’re only as good as the people who offer their time, and there are many. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know so many people, finding ways to help them and finding ways that they can help the Club.

There’s more work to be done, I’m now coming from a position of experience and firsthand knowledge, and I’d like to continue what I’ve started. I’d appreciate your vote for a second term.


John O’Dowd

I honestly can't recall when I joined CRW. I first discovered the club through Andy Brand's Sunday morning ride. My family would take vacations in Scituate by the lighthouse, and I noticed every Sunday around 8:30 a group of riders would go by. Curious, I gave chase one Sunday and asked who they were, and thus my connection with CRW began.

I was attracted by the abundance of rides CRW offered in so many different places. I was tired of my old stale routes and riding alone, so I started coming to rides, doing a few a year. Finally, I joined, probably around 2006?

After a few years I wanted to become more involved with the club, maybe because I knew some good places to ride that CRW was not then going to. I inquired of the VP of Rides at the time, Eli Post, if I could be a ride leader assistant.

"What we really need'" Eli said, "are ride leaders. Can you lead a ride?"

Not backing down from the challenge my ride leading began.

That was 8 years ago. I'm up to leading or assisting 7 rides a year now. Last year, I volunteered at a century ride and plan to continue. Also last year Mary Kernan asked me to join the rides committee and I enjoy being part of shaping how we conduct our rides and planning events.

I'd like to join the CRW Board as an extension of my volunteer activities and intend to continue bringing new ideas and opportunities to club members. Cycling is a great sport, and CRW is a great club. I want to continue our custom of offering great rides and events, but I know it takes more than just leading rides to make this club function. I'm ready to move up to the next level of service.


Amy Wilson

I’m Amy Wilson and I would like to represent you as a Director on the Board of Charles River Wheelers.

I live in Jamaica Plain and have been a member of CRW since 2014 doing many CRW rides, centuries and other activities. I am a determined but slow rider, so I have met many of you when you pass me!  I’ve become more active with CRW since January when I volunteered to become the Treasurer of the Club. In my role as  treasurer,  I have attended board  meetings and after observing for six months, I continue to be impressed by CRW, its growth and inclusiveness and the dedication of the volunteers to get all the work done to allow us to enjoy all the rides.

I would appreciate your vote and I look forward to seeing you on the road.




Message from the CRW President

Larry Kernan

It’s hard to believe that it’s fall already!  Summer has flown by and it’s been a great one for weather and riding.  Our Cranberry Harvest Century is coming up on October 6th.   The event sold out on September 24th!  We are not accepting any “day of the ride” registrations.  If you can’t ride but still want to participate in this great event, then volunteer by sending an email to century [at] crw.org.

It’s time to vote for CRW Board members who will serve a 3 year term beginning January of 2020.  We are very fortunate to have 3 very qualified candidates.  Please see the candidates’ statements elsewhere in this issue.

Following our summer riding season, I want to express my gratitude to all of the CRW Ride Leaders who led over a hundred weekend rides and recurring rides.  We can’t do this without them!  We held a beautiful Ride Leader Thank You Party on September 15th at Verrill Farm to show the club’s appreciation.  If you see someone on a cold fall ride wearing a yellow neck gaiter with CRW logo, please tell that person how much you appreciate their ride leading.

Finally, after a few years of ostrich-like behavior, we’ve concluded that the e-bike issue is not going to go away.   According to Outside Online, “E-bikes are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. market.  Their share of total bike sales in the U.S. is still small, but it tripled in the past three years, to six percent of the market—and it's grown more than eightfold since 2014, even as sales of conventional road bikes have been dropping.”   Steve Carlson is going to chair a CRW committee to review the topic of e-bikes in our club.  They will review “best practices” of other clubs and organizations with the goal of formulating a direction or policy for CRW.  If you have any interest in participating on this committee, please contact Steve at scarw01 [at] gmail.com.  We would welcome a few members to help us.

Soon, CRW will begin its winter social and workshop season.  Hold the date for our Holiday Party on Saturday, December 7th.  If you are interested in helping us plan other social or workshop activities, send me a note at president [at] crw.org.