May 2020 WheelPeople


Message from the CRW President

Larry Kernan


CRW has the best members!  Let me explain.

With the way things are going, we had no choice but to cancel the May 30th Climb to the Clouds (CTTC) event.  I’m sure many of you were disappointed.  Climb to the Clouds is one of our most popular rides and we were well on our way to selling out.  By early March, nearly 500 riders had registered.  With less than two months to go, we still didn’t see any signs that social distancing restrictions would be lifting.  Refunding the century registration fees was the logical next step.  As many of you know, CRW uses the proceeds from our Century events to help fund our Grants Program, supporting worthwhile local bicycle advocacy and charitable organizations. Hoping that we might get a few takers, we asked if any of the CTTC registrants would be willing to donate their fee to CRW, which is itself a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  We expected a handful of people would be willing to do that.

I was totally astounded by our members’ incredible generosity.  269 registrants (57% of paid registrations) donated their century fee for a total of over $7,000.  Wow!  I admit to being flabbergasted.  And, we received numerous wonderful emails from you as well.  Here’s one example:

“Thank you very much for your kind email.  Please know that I will complete the form and donate the fee to such a wonderful cause.  I love CRW.  Thank you and everyone for your stewardship."

Now, for the other side of the coin.  In April, the CRW Board approved three grants of $5,000 each to MassBike, the Boston Cyclist Union and Bikes Not Bombs.  The pandemic is presenting significant fundraising challenges to these organizations so our support is even more important.  We’ll be telling you more about each of these grants and the specific activities that they support in future issues of WheelPeople.  My thanks to the CRW Grant Committee (Steve Carlson, Amy Wilson, Andy Brand and Ellen Gugel) for shepherding these grants through our vetting process.

Our members' support makes all the difference!

Stay Safe and Stay Healthy!



The Respiratory Signature: Particles which Stay Afloat

Eli Post


         The Respiratory Signature: Particles which Stay Afloat

The image is by Juan Puerto, newsletter editor of the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club, and is used with permission.

There is a great deal of discussion about the safety of riding during the corona virus crisis where other riders are present. We speak here not of group rides but simply being on a road or path where other riders pass you or you might pass others. The issue is the respiratory signature, which is the footprint we leave in the air as we breathe. And we exhale mucous and possibly dangerous viral particles which can stay afloat for a while. This is why we have been advised, over and over, to maintain at least a six-foot distance from another person. But this rule is different for cyclists.

A Danger Before I go further, I need to explain that I lack any credentials in the biological sciences, and am relying on various scientific studies and the opinions of those I respect. My goal here is to alert you to a potential danger, which is the risk in riding with or near others.

Trail of Particles As you are riding, you are constantly exhaling and creating a trail which if you are moving fast will fall behind you and remain in the air for a bit before it falls to the ground. If you happen to be behind a rider you may encounter his or her trail, and any dangerous particles in that trail. The six-foot social distancing rule which applies when you are standing still doesn’t apply when you ride a bike. The person in front of you who coughs or sneezes creates a slip-stream and you may pass through their cloud of droplets. We reference a Belgian-Dutch study where they studied the occurrence of saliva particles of persons during movement. They concluded that for hard biking the safe distance was 20 meters or about 65 feet. This distance could be achieved on a wide road but would be more difficult on a bike path.

More to Learn There is still much science to be developed in this area, but my own opinion is that we have enough information to conclude that riding in the slip-stream can be dangerous. Some would argue that air circulation moves rapidly outdoors, and that any infectious transmission is quickly diluted. Again, absent definitive science we each have to judge the situation on our own. But there is no denying that when people congregate, droplets get into the air and may persist for a while. Here I am pointing out the opinion of those who feel the threat is there and to be aware as we ride, even if we ride solo. COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes, and transmission may occur when these droplets enter the mouths, noses, or eyes of people who are nearby. Spit contains saliva but could also contain sputum from the lungs and drainage from the nasal passages. Many ask if they should wear a mask when they ride. We reference CDC guidelines but caution they are still evolving.

Listen to an Expert Earlier in this article I indicated that I lacked credentials in the biological science, but let’s hear from someone who does.  Anne Hyman is President of the Potomac Pedalers, one of the largest bike clubs in the US. More to the point , Anne holds a doctorate in Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology and is focused on disease diagnosis and prevention. She told us the following: 

As cyclists, we need to employ much more caution while riding right now, because if we're riding with or around someone that isn't in our immediate family, we're riding with people of unknown health status, as it's been shown worldwide that asymptomatic carriers of the virus are contagious. The WHO guidelines for maintaining roughly 2 meters or 6 feet apart apply to people who are stationary or are moving very slowly. This guideline was generated from scientific studies on respiratory particles (or what I refer to as the respiratory signature) and how far they travel when a person is standing still. But, when we are at speed on our bikes, that sphere also becomes subjected to our speed and we leave that signature behind us while we keep moving forward. Combine those trailing signatures with the fact that on our normal group rides we're around many people of unknown health status (and keep in mind our health statuses may also be unknown to our friends and us if WE are asymptomatic), and it can set up a dangerous situation.

Probably the best plan is to ride solo and try timing your rides when your route is less crowded.


Potomac Pedalers, Anne Hyman President’s page

Belgian-Dutch Study: Why in times of COVID-19 you cannot bike close to each other

Washington Post, Which Out Door Sports Are Safe?

Bicycling: How to Ride Safely Amid Coronavirus Concerns

CDC Mask Guidelines

Safety distance for runners





Life Without A Ride Program

Eli Post


I asked my friends in the club how they were dealing with the coronavirus, and what they are doing with themselves now that all the club's rides have been cancelled. We all have our ways of coping with this crisis and I thought members would appreciate the strategies of others in the club, and also draw some comfort that they are not alone in the crisis. In fact one surprise I had in the responses was the number who thanked me for simply asking how they were doing during the virus crises. CRW is a bike club, but for many of us who have been here a while it is also a family of sorts. There are those we ride with and more importantly those whom we call friends. So cancelled rides are more significant and impact our social lives as well. This may sound trite, but we are in this together.

It should come as no surprise that members were most interested in what they might do for their health and fitness when group riding is constrained. The activity of choice was solo riding. Some used this period as an opportunity to explore roads they would normally not ride, and to get to know their neighborhood better. One writer lived in the same town for over two decades but felt a new awareness by biking rather than driving through. Another used the Ride With GPS Club Account to find routes in his town. The notion of “social distance” was highly valued as there was awareness of spreading infection, and being a responsible member of the community. The best plan for riding right now is to go out and ride solo and enjoy the outdoors, in non-crowded areas. Rudge Mckenney took photo of a closed playgroud while riding solo.

Linda Nelson found the perfect riding partner, but said that she and Barry are in a special class, “we are a group of two and married, so we can ride without social distancing because whatever one catches, we know the other will ultimately acquire.“ Photo by Barry Nelson, taken on Legacy Trail, in Sarasota,FL.


The solo riders had to make accommodations from their normal routine. Food stops and rest rooms were closed. Since you’re riding alone, you need to be more self-sufficient especially if you have a flat. There was less traffic and many reported enjoying carless riding empty roads, but more walkers on bike trails. Also many took time to stop and enjoy nature and even take a photo. All in all, there was less distance on rides due to the lack of facilities.  While we embrace group riding, an advantage of riding solo is that you can stop whenever you wish and perhaps take a picture. Barbara Martin stopped to take a picture of the Boston Skyline from Blue Hills. Click Here for larger image.

My son Alex lives in the Washington DC area and has been taking leisurely rides in and around national monuments/parks. He stopped to capture the cherry blossoms in full bloom.Click Here for larger image



Riding of course isn’t the only exercise option. As one member said “A walk, hike or ride either solo, or perhaps with a small group, is exercise, relieves stress and gets you out of the house. I did a 2 hour walk in the woods yesterday and then did yard work. Made me feel so much better.” There was also yoga practiced imaginatively with a friend via video conferencing.

For some the closing of the ride program was an opportunity to do other stuff: to complete long delayed repairs, get more involved in a hobby, or work in the garden. Another used the time to house train a new puppy. And technology helped with “lots of phone and video dates for coffee, cocktails, and general group visits.” One friend is with the times, “I will meet folks by Zoom.” And let’s not forget the cooks. There are the pros who have expanded their recipes, and the novices who cook rather than starve. One friend reported “I have been cooking new foods - ethnic or baking, just all sorts of interesting things to satisfy taste buds to help avoid snacking and because I have the time.”

Indoor biking exercises got mixed reports. It doesn’t work for some who ”need the outdoors and natural light.” For others however, the stationary bike was a natural alternative and they were delighted to have one available. Special mention goes to bikes which are connected over the Web and allow you to ride with others.

We shouldn't forget that for many the crises has impacted their work and created hardships. As one member put it: "I have actually stopped working because I no longer felt safe at work.  It was a tough decision."

We note that everyone missed the club rides and hoped they would soon be restored. In the interim, try to get out cycling but only solo or if you practice social distancing.

The following CRW members helped with this article: Amy Wilson, Barbara Martin, Barry Nelson, Bob Wolf, Butch Pemstein, Fred Newton, Harriet Fell, Harry Manasewich, Helen Greitzer, Joseph Repole, Larry Finison, Linda Nelson, Mary Kernan, Merle Adelman, Mike Hanauer, Nina Siegel, Patria Vandermark, Rudge McKenney, Sandi Hartwell, and Susan Sabin.




Safety Corner Preparing for Solo Rides

John Allen


The CRW ride program has been shut down, and these are riding-alone times.

I have been having some very enjoyable rides in the suburbs west of Route 128. Traffic is very light, although people are out walking, there are bicyclists alone or in family groups, and occasional cars. I would avoid riding where there are many people. Currently rail trails are crowded with inexperienced users and it’s difficult to maintain social distance. Also, avoid riding in places that are completely deserted. It’s possible nobody is likely to notice you if you take a fall and need help.

One main concern is to make it very unlikely that you will have to break social-distancing rules to get back home. Carry the tools and supplies for minor repairs on your bicycle – especially, a spare inner tube (yes, even if you run tubeless); a pump, which is good for multiple inflations; a brake cable, a shifter cable and the tools to replace them. If you have electronic shifting, a spare battery. So what if the tools and supplies add a couple pounds of weight?  If you don’t know how to fix a flat tire, take advantage of online information to learn how, and practice at home.

Carry your cell phone. If you live with someone who can come in a car to pick you up, that is great, but even so, take measures to avoid getting stranded. You could carry ID legible from a social distance (e.g., your CRW name tag). It is possible to live log with RidewithGPS on a smartphone --, and so your location can be determined by family or friends even if they can't reach you.

For a long ride, carry food and water, rather than having to acquire them along the way, or risking the bonk. Know your route and be prepared for road closings or other changes. Take it easy, and turn around to come home early enough that you won’t exhaust yourself, even if you have to change your route.

Should you wear a face mask or not when riding? There isn’t a single answer. I always wear a mask for local shopping trips. I do think that the risk of infection is very low on the traveled secondary roads, and haven’t been wearing a mask there. I have addressed the issue at length, here:

Enjoy. Bicycling is a great way to calm the mind and avoid going stir-crazy. In some important ways – much lighter road traffic, lower air pollution – bicycling conditions are quite a lot better now than usual.


John Allen is CRW Safety Coordinator 



Member Communication Guidelines

Rami Haddad


CRW maintains a Google Group, which has several hundred members who ordinarily discuss biking related issues like other club events, interesting routes or new technology. In early April 2020 a lively discussion started about COVID-19 and how it was spread. The discussion got into scientific sources with opinions differing on their validity. In any case, other members felt this was not a bike related subject and asked that the thread be stopped. It wasn’t and some were upset enough to indicate they were unsubscribing from the group. This all got further complicated when it wasn’t clear to some members how to unsubscribe. We aren’t taking sides here but do not like to see dissonance on the Club’s forums.

While the referenced discussion was on the club’s Google Group, it could have easily happened on our Facebook, web site comments, or Strava discussion boards.  As a consequence, we have developed guidelines for these forums and hope that they are followed, and we will see fruitful discussions in a spirit of harmony.

Be Kind and Courteous
We're all in this together to create a welcoming environment. Let's treat everyone with respect. Healthy debates are natural, but kindness is required.

No Hate Speech or Bullying
Make sure everyone feels safe. Bullying of any kind isn't allowed, and degrading comments about things like race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender or identity will not be tolerated.

No Promotions or Spam
Give more than you take to this group. Self-promotion, spam and irrelevant links aren't allowed.

Rami Haddad is CRW VP of Communications.



Club Calendar Available on your Mobile Phone

Rami Haddad

You can now subscribe to the club calendar to view on your mobile phone along with your other calendars, holiday schedule, & events.

Follow these simple steps on iPhone:

See example screen image from iPhone showing several calendars for holiday, personal, & rides.

Notice on the screen capture that starting time for all rides is 00:00. This is intended while our ride program is stopped during COVID-19 pandemic. The schedule will appear correctly with starting time once the program resumes.

  • Android phones do not sync with updates to iCal. We are researching options, and will report further.










The Boston Bicycling Club, the Wheel Around the Hub, and Walter Kendall

Lorenz Finison
The first two installments in this tale were published in Wheelpeople, October 2019 and January 2020.
Walter Gardner Henderson Kendall, the longest-standing member and captain of the Boston Bicycle Club (B.Bi.C), the oldest American cycle club, began riding a high wheel bicycle in 1876. He was an early bike-commuter and led B.Bi.C. recreational rides including a famed tour called the Wheel About [AKA Around] the Hub (W.A.T.H) until near his death in 1946. Kendall, B.Bi.C., and W.A.T.H. documents and papers are scattered through bicycling, historical, and newspaper archives around the country, and several are published here for the first time.Image caption: Walter KendallSource: Frank Sibley, “Still Master of High Wheel,” Boston Globe September 19, 1920
Kendall was born in 1854 to Henderson Kendall, a Woburn shoemaker and dry goods store owner, and Lucy Sears, and was a “Son of the American Revolution.” He fondly remembered his early cycling days from the vantage of an older man, writing in his 1933 memoir: “To the bicycle I owe health, many enjoyable hours in the open, and, best of all, a host of enjoyable and enduring friendships. I have taken part in every known athletic sport, except polo, and I consider bicycling, which exercises every muscle in the body, the most beneficial of all….” 
By the early 1880s Kendall had graduated from Boston Dental College and biked to work “once or twice a week” to his #2 Park Square office in Boston or to his other office in Randolph. He was elected president of the B.Bi.C. in 1887 and was its captain for more than 40 years thereafter. In his memoir he commented on the longevity of the club and that many of the famed Boston cyclists of the time participated in the W.A.T.H.’s annual reunion.
The first W.A.T.H. tour, originally called the “Two Days Out and Home Run,’” started at the corner of Warren Avenue and Walnut Street in Roxbury and wound through Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury, to Dedham’s Fairbanks House – the oldest standing house in America – to a pine grove in Readville for a picnic and an informal game of baseball, and then to Blue Hill and stops at Cobbs Tavern and Lake Massapoag in Sharon. After an overnight stay there the cycling tourists rode to Hingham and Cohasset along Jerusalem Road – much as CRW riders might today – to lunch and rest Kimball’s Hotel, and then back to Boston.
Scribner’s Magazine soon published an illustrated story about the tour. The article put cycling on an escalator. (See Boston’s Cycling Craze). A second W.A.T.H. destined for Northborough rolled within a few weeks, but then not again for more than a decade, despite many B.Bi.C. rides and amateur races in the interim. In 1892, W.A.T.H. reconvened, largely on safety bicycles. Riders gathered from Boston, New York, Philadelphia and elsewhere. As in 1879, the cyclists stopped in Readville for a picnic and game of baseball at the pine grove, what they now called the “Grove of Pleasant Memories,” and added a stop at Cedar Grove for a little nude swimming, and then to Hingham and Cohasset and back to Boston much as in the “old days.”
Cobb’s Tavern, still standing at 41 Bay Road in East Sharon, was always a major stopping point. It has been a dance hall; general store; lodge meeting hall; post office; tavern, and finally, a single-family house. The B.Bi.C. called it their Country Clubhouse, and it richly deserved that name. Many Boston area clubs stopped there for a variety of treats, somewhat like modern-day riders might stop at Fern’s in Carlisle or Main Street’s Market and Café in Concord Center. Races might begin from Cobb’s, too.Image caption:Boston Bicycle Club, likely in early 1890s – note combination of high wheels and safety bicycle. Source: George Bailey, Sharon Massachusetts A History, Chapter 43.
The W.A.T.H. tourists frequently celebrated their fraternity in song. Arthur Kendall (no relation to Walter), a well-known local musician, composed several songs for the B.Bi.C., including “Our Motto,” “Our Song” (Lyrics by Quincy Kilby), and “Club Chorus” (in Latin, borrowed from Oliver Wendell Holmes). Banquets were filled with toasts and verse, as in this one in which the last line encouraged banqueteers to hoist their glasses and “Drink Riders of the Earth!” Image caption:A Toast,” Second Stanza, Francis James Macbeath. Fom Boston Bicycle Club Banquet Program, unknown date. Source: Kendall Collection, Quincy Historical Society.
Boston newspapers gave the W.A.T.H. ample coverage during the 1890s, and in September 1897 the Globe published a map to alert both riders and potential on-lookers to their route, and to illustrate their adventures. The same day that the gentlemen of the B.Bi.C. rode the W.A.T.H., though, local racers were competing at Charles River Park in professional and amateur sprints and on tandems, and some of Boston’s elite racers traveled to Connecticut for the region’s biggest competition that day, sponsored by the Waterbury Cycle Club.Image caption: “Wheel About the Hub,” Boston Globe, September 10, 1897.
In the 20th century the W.A.T.H. would be held in conjunction with League of American Wheelmen (L.A.W.) annual meetings. They attracted riders from all over to renew old friendships and be part of this premier gentlemen’s event."Wheel About the Hub."Boston Globe, September 8,1899.
But by 1900, the bicycling craze collapsed. The B.Bi.C. and the W.A.T.H stopped growing, as members took to a variety of other amusements. Will “Happy Days” Pitman, who won the first bicycle race in America, and had been ousted from the B.Bi.C. in 1878 because the gentlemen members claimed that he was a “professional” cyclist, had long since been re-admitted, and he announced his plan, in 1902, to “startle his fellow clubmen by appearing on a motor bicycle, which will be the first machine of its kind to take part in a B.Bi.C. run.
The B.Bi.C. had an ambivalent relationship with professional racers including a hard refusal to let them in at the beginning, but later in life showing a softening attitude, as Kendall expressed in his memoir: “It is a pleasure, and an honor, to add that today Messr’s. Rowe, Windle, Butler, Kramer, Colman, ‘Senator’ Morgan, Frank F. Ives, high wheel champion in his day, Hendee, and ‘Kid’ St. Onge, famous trick performer on the bicycle, are all members of the Boston Bicycle Club,Image caption:” W.A.T.H. likely late 1890s/early 1900s.Note horse-drawn sag wagon and stacked safety bicycles in background, and electric auto and high wheel in front. Source: Kendall Collection, Quincy Historical Society.
The cycling tourists were reported in the Boston newspapers, but often in a nostalgic vein. Part of this nostalgia was for the loss of open spaces. In 1903, their stopping place at the pine grove they now called the “Grove of Pleasant Memories,” “finally yielded to the inroads of suburban builders who have already appropriated all but a small part of it. Image caption:Wheel Around the Hub in later years, showing WATH sash on bike. Source: undated photograph, Abbot Bassett scrapbook, Transportation Section, Smithsonian Institution.
In 1904, “Doc” Kendall led the group again and the club made its regular stop at Cobb’s Tavern. On the second day club members’ competitive spirit showed. The W.A.T.H. – perhaps like CRW’s Pamela Blalock has described the club doing “town-line” sprints during a Tour of Scenic Rural Vermont – had a well-established 6 ½ mile sprint from Cedar Lodge at Lake Ponkapoag to East Braintree. A W.A.T.H. founder, “Papa” Weston, set a new record, making the course in 25 minutes.
The automobile soon joined the bicycle as members’ legs began to fail them. For a few years the W.A.T.H. had a unique combination of bicycles, cars, motorcycles, and a horse-drawn sag wagon. Automobiles began to chase the aging riders off the roads too. They commented on the increasing speed and volume of auto traffic as a reason for riding the W.A.T.H by car or bus, not by bicycle.
By 1907 the L.A.W. itself had declined to the point that only three states, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, nominated delegates for election to national office, and there was more bad news to come.Image caption: Wheel Around the Hub, 1912. The figure on the high wheel is Charles Kendall, Walter Kendall’s nephew. Source: Boston Globe September 13, 1912.
The B.Bi.C. and the W.A.T.H. slumped in part because they failed to recruit new members, other than a few sons and nephews of the old-timers. The B.Bi.C. even posed the requirement that new members (gentlemen only) must attest to at least ten years of riding experience to join the club! The slump in adult cycling was aided and abetted by the bicycle manufacturers who, to save their businesses, focused on children and youth and largely abandoned the adult market. Adults began to perceive the bicycle as a child’s plaything, not suitable for manly men. Not until the 1930s did adult bicycling come back in any substantial way, as the collegiate market began to get attention.
In 1915, the club veterans headed off to the sounds of a bugle call played by Charles Reed. Reed had been a bugler in the Civil War, a Congressional Medal of Honoree earned at Gettysburg, singer of note, and well-known local artist. He had bugled the 1879 W.A.T.H, too.
Abbott Bassett, long time secretary or the L.A.W., and publisher of the League’s Official Bulletin and Scrapbook, reported in 1916 that as the W.A.T.H. column started “down the hill a man with a moving picture machine ground riders into fame, which will never die until the film is worn out.” In this new age of film, it would be “seen at the Strand Theatre, New York.” Unfortunately for the riders that day, Bassett reported in his usual literary style that “Jupiter Pluvius was neither kind nor considerate” and a great downpour drove the cyclists into automobiles shortly after the start.
Bassett provided verse too. He welcomed in the New Year, 1921, with a sentiment which will be shared by all cyclists everywhere and for all time:
A Happy New Year, one and all.
With ne’er a puncture nor a fall,
May roads be good where’er you stray,
And slightly down grade all the way.
The riders carried on. In 1920 the Globe prominently featured the W.A.T.H. and Kendall with his high wheel. The Globe writer, Frank Sibley, was himself a long-time cyclist and member of the Press Cycling Club of the 1890s, one of the largest in Boston.
In 1923, at the beginning of the of the 33rd W.A.T.H., Kendall told a Herald reporter “if the time ever comes when he will not be able to hop on a wheel and get there by his own power, he will confine his cross-country rambling to hitting a golf ball around Wollaston.” And the Herald proclaimed Kendall “Still King of the of Bicyclists.”
In 1925, the Globe captured eighty-three-year-old Charles Reed bugling his last W.A.T.H., looking frailer than in his 1915 picture. Only four cycled that day and the rest rode in a chartered bus.Image caption: W.A.T.H. 1926. Charles Fred Travis, Theodore Rothe, Fred L. Perault, and Walter Kendall at 72 years old. Source: “Four Answered Call Today for ‘Wheel About the Club’,” Boston Globe, September 10, 1926.
Frank Collier, a Boston newspaper catroonist, penned a charming caricature of the B.Bi.C. members banqueting, toasted by Kendall, on the occasion of the club’s 1928 fiftieth anniversary. In a fantasy cloud suspended above they were all young men, speding down the road on their high wheels. Would that be like some of us CRW members at an annual celebration? Collier captioned the old bone shaker riders on “roads as rough as the bottom of a trout brook, and much dustier. Image caption:.” Frank Collier cartoon. Source: Unknown Boston Newspaper, 1928; Kendall Collection, Quincy Historical Society.
In the fall, four bicyclists again rode in the W.A.T.H. followed by autos and buses.
It is likely that 1933 represented the last year of W.A.T.H. bicycling. Kendall showed up with his old “ordinary” and was pictured with young Jimmy Enterkin on a scooter-bike, but Kendall made it clear that he was not going to ride the high wheel. The Globe reported that the B.Bi.C. “forsook their wheels” in 1934, and repeated that story through the end of the decade. The NEA wire service sent the story nationwide: “The wheels of the machine age (autos) have whirred faster and faster and now bicycles are used only for exercise or by messenger boys and Hollywood publicity men, But the Boston Bicycle Club carries on.”
While it does not seem unusual today for someone in their 70s to be cycling, even racing in 75+ classes; during the 1920s, it would have been. Life expectancy for a white male born in the 1850s (as was Kendall), who survived 40 years into the 1890s, was about 67 years. Kendall had already beaten life expectancy by five years. Comparatively, for the cohort born ~1940 who survived 40 years, life expectancy is about 70 years. While additional life expectancy has not changed much for those surviving into adulthod, their overall health, rebound from injuries, and expectations for activity have changed.
Kendall’s bicycling promotion wasn’t done yet. In the mid-1930s he refereed races for youth (boys), children and girls on the old Playstead racing oval at Franklin Park. Girls’ races were supported by the Boston Park Department with funding from the Women’s Emergency Relief Administration Recreation Project, a Depression-era agency, which along with the WPA, tried to pump money into the fight against the Great Depression, and support providers of public recreation.
In May 1941, Kendall loaned the Harvard Bicycle Racing Club several ancient bikes so that they could compete in a high wheel race around the Radcliffe Quadrangle starting at Dunster House. The Harvard Crimson reported: “Appropriately dressed girls will follow the pedalers in Maxwells, Franklins, Liberties and other horseless carriages dating from the turn of the century.Image caption: ” Walter Kendall, 1941. Source: Boston Globe Photo Morgue, Northeastern University Archives
In 1942, he organized a race up Corey Hill in Brookline. This closed his long and eventful life as a dentist, horticulturalist, dog breeder, golfer, and wheelman and record holder for the most completions, by bike, of the W.A.T.H. He died aged 91 in l946, having outdistanced all his known companions in the old club.
But a few of the “younger” members persevered and occasional notes about the W.A.T.H. appeared in the local newspapers through 1957. B.Bi.C. secretary- treasurer Thomas Leavitt was associated with the Codman bank, located on Washington street, Dorchester, and instead of Roxbury, that’s where the last recorded W.A.T.H. started. The last-known B.Bi.C. officers, Leavitt and Raymond McPherson, both died in 1962.
A key question that CRW members might ponder, is the longevity of the old B.Bi.C. It outlived the capacity of most members to bicycle, even a stalwart like Doc Kendall. Yet it continued to function as a social club, originally of upper-middle-class gentlemen of the 1880s, with only a slight leavening, during the 1890s and beyond. Forsaking any strong desire or capability to recruit new members, it survived through the efforts of a few members and the nostalgic impulses that they felt and celebrated through verse and song in their annual rides and banquets. Of course, women were never admitted to the ranks, and joined their cycling or ex-cycling husbands only occasionally at special banquets and clambakes. At fifty-three, CRW is a very different club, with different challenges and opportunities.
Around this intertwined tale of the B.Bi.C., Kendall, and the W.A.T.H. there are several CRW connections: Doubtless, Kendall knew CRW’s Howard Moore, a racer and recreational rider from the 1920s and recreational leader of the Boston Wheelmen in the 1930s. Moore was one of the early members of the CRW, and its ride leader and club historian in the 1970s. He rightfully drew a distinction between the B.Bi.C. and the Boston Wheelmen. This group, composed mainly of young racers, would likely never have been members of the old B.Bi.C. The need for “gentleman” status was likely not met by many of them, and the gaps in cycling ability were just too great to make a match, even with the few descendants of the old B.Bi.C. men who continued cycling.
In 1965, CRW co-founder George Bailey organized a one-day W.A.T.H. reenactment from its original starting point in Roxbury to Sharon. At a 1967 reenactment, CRW members overnighted in Bailey’s Sharon barn for their first annual meeting.
Perhaps it is time for another reenactment of this seminal W.A.T.H. event, to honor its hardiest practitioner, Walter Kendall, and its reenactor, CRW’s co-founder and club historian, George Bailey.
This article provides new material inspired by 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 an email to: BostonCyclingHistory [at]
Larry Finison is a CRW member, public health consultant, and bicycling historian.

Riding Solo - Finding Local Routes

Eli Post

The Club rides are cancelled, and even small group rides are not considered safe. Many are riding solo and often just in their neighborhoods. This is certainly a reasonable course, but as warmer weather has arrived, you may wish to undertake longer more challenging routes. While routes aren’t available on Amazon, there is a place you can go to find routes that start near where you are based, and many of these routes have been thought through by CRW or another rider.

Ride With GPS has an enormous library of routes, some by CRW and others by subscribers to the organization. This is a proven method of securing routes especially ones where you want to specify the start location.

Let’s provide an example of how this works by assuming you live or want to start your ride in Newton, MA. First you go to which is their “Find a Route” page. Key in the following:

Starts within 1 mile

Newton, MA

And the search will find over 2,800 rides, enough to keep you busy for a while. You can further specify distance or elevation gain. There is also a keyword feature which lets you fine tune the search. Let’s do the same search but key “Charles River Wheelers” in the Keywords box, and we are down to seven rides, all from the CRW library. If you have a paid account or are a member of CRW’s RWGPS club account, you will get turn-by-turn navigation on the CRW routes using the RWGPS phone app.We also note that CRW routes are vetted by a known ride leader.

The CRW club account is accessible on the Members Only section of the website when you are logged on.There's instruction on how to join if you are not already a member.

We realize you miss the club rides and hope they will soon be restored. In the interim, try to get out cycling and solo is the way to go.

Bob Wolf inspired this article and helped in its preparation.




May Picture of the Month

WheelPeople Editors

This unidentified CRW volunteer is observing appropriate dressware for riding in May, 2020.


















May Film Festival

Alex Post


The videos are for your amusement, and we welcome any suggestions for future selections. Needless to say, do not try any of the stunts depicted. They prove the old adage that "there is a fine line between courage and foolishness."

Dream Ride
Cycling appeals to people on many different levels. A sense of adventure, a sense of freedom, a sense of wonder. And If it gets in your blood, a place of dreams. 5 Mins
RAGBRAI - A 450 Mile Party Across Iowa
Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out
A relaxing ride in the countryside is the perfect way to unwind. At least in Danny MacAskill’s world, relaxing includes jumping over rolling hay bales, rooftops, and biking underwater.  6 Mins



Alex Post is a CRW member who lives in Virginia, but regularly visits MA to bike with his dad. He has also led rides for CRW.



Looking Back

Lisa Najavits

The December 2009 issue of Wheelpeople offered a beautiful Zen proverb on biking that resonates with timely inspiration in these times. 








The Athlete’s Kitchen: Food, Anxiety & Athletes: A Troublesome Trio

Nancy Clark

As I write this column, the date is April 10th, 2020, three weeks into the coronavirus shut-down here in Boston. I continue to counsel clients from my virtual office. I am talking with gym rats and athletes alike who are stuck at home, hating what they see when staring at themselves during Zoom meet-ups, and are spending too much time fighting with food (Do I eat? Don’t I eat? Am I hungry—or just bored?). They are feeling anxious and self-critical.

When life feels out of control, athletes commonly end up trying to control other things, such as food, exercise, and weight. Some may be striving to chisel themselves into a perfect body (no excess body fat) and eat a perfect diet (no fun foods). Unfortunately, the same dedication and discipline that help them be top athletes are the same traits that foster eating disorders. For example, perfectionism is common to both athletes and people with anorexia. How else could figure skaters or gymnasts rise to the elite level without demanding perfection from themselves?

Yes, discipline, dedication, and perfectionism are driving forces that help good athletes become great. But genetics is fundamental, as is adequate­—but not necessarily perfect‑-­fueling. That is, eating a cookie will not contaminate an athlete’s health nor ruin one’s ability to perform well.

If you are relentlessly pushing yourself hard right now out of fear of getting fat and losing fitness, please consider being gentler on yourself. This is a difficult time for many folks. Little is wrong with a bit of comfort food in the midst of chaos and crisis. Perhaps you can allow yourself to be “bad” and do something out of character, like bake cookies and enjoy some for an afternoon snack. Giving yourself permission to enjoy some comfort food is normal, assuming you also have other coping skills such as writing in a journal and relaxing yourself with yoga.

When food has power over you

If you are spending too much time trying not to eat (Fill in the blank) ____ (cookies, cheese, ice cream, chips?) because you can’t eat just one serving, think again. Depriving yourself of your favorite foods makes them even more enticing. They can needlessly become too powerful. To take the power away from a “binge food,” you need to eat it more often. (Trust me!) Here’s the analogy:

Pretend you are caring for a four-year-old boy. You take him into a room filled with toys and tell him he can play with all of the toys except for the green truck. You leave the room and then look through the two-way mirror.  What is he playing with? The green truck, of course! The same analogy holds true with food.

If you give yourself permission to eat, let’s say, some Oreos every day, after a few days, you’ll either have little interest in yet-another Oreo (because other foods actually make you feel better) or you will be able to eat just one Oreo; it will no longer have power over you. Yes, to gain control over foods that have power over you, you have to allow the food back into your life and eat it more often. Be curious; give it a try?

When the mirror makes you feel sad

 Are you spending too much time these days critically evaluating your body in the mirror? Or hating what you see in the Zoom meet-up? Please, just, stop the body-hatred talk. Few humans have a perfect body. The imperfections you see are perfectly beautiful and acceptable.

Instead of being self-critical, be grateful that you are healthy. Grateful that you have two strong legs that help you be a good runner. Grateful that you have two hands that help you row crew. Grateful that you have a body that produced healthy babies that are now your beloved children. You could even apologize to your body for having tortured it with skimpy diets and excessive exercise in your efforts to control how it looks.

Rather than focus on how your body looks, turn your attention to how your body feels throughout the day, particularly before, during and after you exercise. Does your body feel hungry? tired? sore? Respond appropriately to that feeling by nourishing it with food, rest, a warm bath. Daily killer workouts that feel like punishment for having excess body fat inevitably end up with the athlete being injured and depressed.

Now is a good time to practice looking in the mirror (or the Zoom screen) and saying nice things about your body, such as, “I have pretty blue eyes.” “I like my silky hair.” “I have strong legs.” You can intentionally pay less attention to the crooked teeth, frizzy hair, and “too big” tummy. Do you really think others care about that stuff?

Note: For more information on making peace with your body, visit,, and Julie Duffy Dilllon’s podcast Love, Food.

When mindless eating gets out of control

If you find yourself grazing on snacks incessantly throughout the day and have fears about getting fat, try scheduling regular meals and snacks. Also give yourself permission to eat enough breakfast and lunch, so that you are fully satiated. Don’t stop eating those meals just because you think you should but rather because you actually have had enough to eat. Athletes who graze all day rarely feel fully fed.

Hunger is a physiological request for fuel. Hunger does not mean “Oh no, I’m going to eat and get fat. Rather, hunger is your body’s way of saying it has burned off what you fed it and now needs more fuel. Yes, food is fuel, not the fattening enemy. Honor hunger.

Another way to bring control to your eating is to eat only when 1) you are sitting in a specific place (kitchen table?), 2) the food is on a plate, and 3) you are tasting it mindfully. (I.e. you are not standing in front of the open cupboard, wolfing down handfuls of chocolate chips.)

My hope is the above tips will help you find peace with food and your body. Enjoy food for nourishment and survive the coronavirus shut-down with sanity.

Boston-area sports nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD CSSD counsels both casual and competitive athletes, helping them eat to win. The new 6th edition of her Sports Nutrition Guidebook is a best-selling resource. For more information, visit



Milk is Not Essential for Health

Two highly-respected Harvard professors, Dr. Walter C. Willett and Dr. David S. Ludwig, think that North Americans don’t need to drink milk (N Engl J Med, Feb 13, 2020; 382:644-654). An earlier comprehensive review of the world’s literature came to the same conclusion (Amer J of Clin Nutr, May 2014;99(5):1217S-1222S). A majority of food scientists today question the 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines (from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture), which recommend that people over nine years old should consume three glasses of fat-free or low-fat dairy products each day. Willett and Ludwig have reviewed hundreds of studies and found:
• No evidence that drinking milk (including low-fat milk or skim milk) helps people lose weight or control their weight.
• No evidence that milk helps to control cholesterol or blood pressure, two major markers for heart attacks. The few studies that showed that dairy products help to control high blood pressure were only in people who followed a very healthful diet overall.
• No evidence that milk helps to prevent or treat diabetes.
• Evidence of increased risk for breast cancer (Int J of Epidem, February 25, 2020), endometrial cancer, and prostate cancer.
• Evidence that societies taking in the most milk and calcium have the highest rates of hip fractures (JAMA Pediatr, 2014;168(1):54-60). They also have higher growth rates in children, which may increase risk for hip fractures, lung clots, and several different cancers. Cows are bred to produce high levels of insulin-like growth factor, which increases milk production and also may promote both bone growth and cancer in people who drink that milk.

The main argument for drinking milk is its high calcium content. Milk and cheese contribute 46 percent of the calcium intake by the average American, but Willett and Ludwig found many recent studies showing that American adults do not need to take in that much milk to provide enough calcium to help prevent bone fractures. Children need calcium for building bones, but the studies fail to show that taking in extra dairy products builds stronger bones.

Health Benefits from Dairy Products?
Excess sugar in drinks and added to foods is arguably the major cause of heart disease in North America today (JAMA Intern Med, April 2014;174(4):516-24). Milk is more healthful than sugar-sweetened beverages or fruit juices, but there is no strong evidence to show that adding milk to the diet of average North Americans offers health benefits. The recent PURE Study that concluded that milk is healthful was done mostly in under-developed countries where many people did not get enough to eat. Getting any source of nutrients is more healthful than not getting enough. Willett and Ludwig believe that people in third world countries, who eat a diet based on refined carbohydrates (white rice, flour and sugar), may benefit from replacing the sugar and other refined carbohydrates in food and drinks with milk. Milk may confer more benefit to people who have a lower protein and calcium intake than people who generally have higher intakes.

Whole milk is high in saturated fats that have repeatedly been shown to increase blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol, which is associated with increased heart attack risk. However, a review of 76 studies showed that saturated fats in foods were not associated with increased risk for heart attacks (Ann of Int Med, March 18, 2014;160(6)), and none of the milk fats in humans are associated with increased death rate (Am J Clin Nutr, Sept 2018;108(3):476-484). Red meat has been associated with increased risk for heart attacks, certain cancers and premature death, but this association may come from an immune response to Neu5Gc and/or increased colon bacterial production of TMAO, and perhaps has no link to the saturated fats.

Galactose, the Pro-Inflammatory Sugar in Milk
Milk contains galactose, a pro-inflammatory sugar that causes oxidative damage and chronic inflammation that is associated with increased risk for diabetes, heart attacks, certain cancers and bone loss (Biogerontology, 2004;5:317-25). People who drink milk have increased urine levels of 8-iso-PGF2a (a biomarker of oxidative stress) and serum interleukin 6 (a major inflammatory biomarker), and chronic exposure of mice, rats and drosophila flies to galactose caused their cells to develop signs associated with aging: shorter telomeres and DNA damage (Journal of Neuroscience Research, 2006;84(3):647-654).

When milk is fermented to make cheese or yogurt, bacteria break down the galactose (J Hum Nutr Diet, 2009;22:400-8), so they have very low levels of that harmful sugar. Several studies show that eating fermented yogurt and fermented cheeses, but not other dairy products, is associated with decreased risk for heart attacks and death (Brit J of Nutr, Dec 14, 2018;120(11):1288-1297). Cheese and yogurt have been associated with preventing heart attacks and prolonging lives (European Society of Cardiology Congress, Aug 28, 2018; J Agr and Food Chem, April 2015;63 (10):2830-9). People who ate a lot of cheese had very high levels of the healthful short chain fatty acid, butyrate, in their stool and urine, and much lower blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol. The fermented dairy products appear to be converted by bacteria in the intestines into short chain fatty acids that prevent formation of the bad LDL cholesterol that is associated with increased heart attack risk, and encourage the growth of colonies of healthful intestinal bacteria. Another study of 27,000 people, ages 45 to 74, showed that eating cheese and yogurt lowered risk of type 2 diabetes by 25 percent (Am J Clin Nutr, April 2015).

My Recommendations
Many recent studies show that North Americans do not need to drink milk to be healthy. I recommend that adults avoid milk because it is high in the pro-inflammatory sugar, galactose, but fermented dairy products such as yogurt and some types of cheese have very low levels of galactose and appear to be healthful. See my report on Yogurt or Cheese Instead of Milk Reduces Heart Attack Risk. If you are concerned about getting enough calcium in your diet, eat a wide variety of calcium-rich foods such as live-culture yogurt, cheeses, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, beans, and fish such as salmon or sardines.