September 2020 WheelPeople


President's Message - September 2020

Larry Kernan

If you’ve been enjoying the riding this summer, then you clearly enjoy the heat!  But that’s New England for you!  Maybe it’s a preview of what might be in store for us due to climate change.

Look for an email shortly about the virtual 2020 Cranberry Harvest Century.  These are some of our members’ favorite routes – beautiful flat and rolling terrain with a splendid view of the harbor in Mattapoisett.  Try to ride on a weekday when you can actually witness the harvesting of the cranberry bogs.

I’m very impressed by the Town Collections effort spearheaded by Susan Glass.  If you haven’t seen them yet, go to Ride Collections.  You can also find this on the CRW homepage under the Rides tab.  We already have 14 towns represented and I hope that this will continue to expand.  CRW really owes Susan major kudos for kick starting this.

This past week while I was out cycling, I encountered a family group with one of the kids on a unicycle.  Maybe, I should have offered him a half price CRW membership!

Stay safe.  Wear a mask.  Socially distance.  Keep on riding!




WheelPeople Editors
Ride Program Re-Start By Mary Kernan
CRW group rides are back, and subject to a new set of Riding Rules . Watch the CRW rides calendar for posted rides, and please pay attention to the new set of Riding Rules for your protection and the protection of others. 
Group Restarting Procedures
Covid Riding Rules 
Town Route Collections By Susan Glass
The number of towns covered by this project continues to grow. There are now fourteen published collections (Acton, Arlington, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Framingham, Groton, Hopkinton, Lincoln, Needham, Southborough, Upton, Weston, Winchester) with several more in the works. We thank the volunteers who have come forward to create these collections for your solo riding. We encourage volunteers for towns as yet uncovered or contributions that complement existing collections.
RWGPS Collections Page (View All New Town Collections)
WheelPeople Article  


CRW COVID-Era Crowdsourced Bathrooms and Bubblers Map By John Buten
Even as much of the state has been subdued by global pandemic, and as caution has wisely shuttered facility after facility, the tireless cyclists of the Charles River Wheelers have taken to the streets in search of safe places to find relief and refreshment.  A crowdsourced map that started with 15 bathrooms open during the pandemic has ballooned to 60!  From 5 bubblers to 15!  Over 3,000 views and climbing.  As we head into Fall, please have patience if facilities have moved or been removed and update the map for the next seeking cyclist.  You can do your part by updating existing facilities with the most recent date you have confirmed them as open.  We shall look for bathrooms and bubblers in the ball fields!  On construction sites and historic sites.  At farm stands and cemeteries.  We shall never surrender!  We will scour the earth until the last porta potty has been mapped!  

To view the CRW Bathrooms & Bubblers Map: 
To add locations to the map:
WheelPeople Article
Wheels of Change By Trish Karter
The Wheels of change event was in July and covered a course a 1500 mile course from New York to Maine. We note that 44 people registered were CRW members.


More Event Details 
WheelPeople article 

CRW Board Elections

Larry Kernan

CRW Elections for three Board Members are coming up in October!

CRW Directors set the strategic agenda for our club.   The Board sets policy for club finances, rides and grants. It appoints volunteers to fill important club officer positions and directs our activities with advocacy groups. The Board also helps to build connections with other clubs, bike shops and community groups. A great Director is someone who has been actively involved with the club and understands not only our history and traditions but has a vision for the future and is willing to help advocate and implement the changes necessary to move us forward.

There are 9 Directors on the CRW Board and the Past President serves in an ex officio role for one year after his or her term.  Each year, CRW members elect 3 directors for a 3 year term.  A director is allowed to serve no more than two consecutive 3 year terms.

Board of Directors meetings are held every two months in odd-numbered months.  One of those meetings is anticipated to be an all-day planning meeting.

In this election, there are three Director seats to be filled.  The newly elected Directors will serve from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023.  All three incumbent Directors whose terms are expiring are eligible to run again, but they have not yet formally declared their intention to seek re-election.

This is the process for Election of the Board based on CRW’s bylaws:

  • Any member may submit his / her own name as a candidate for the current Board vacancies, no later than September 20th.  Each candidate may submit a statement of 250 words or less, to be disseminated to the membership and included in the ballot.  A candidate may include a photograph.
    • Submit your nomination and statement to president [at]
    • The statements will appear in the October WheelPeople which will be released prior to October 1st. 
  • The Election of Directors shall be by electronic ballot transmitted to all members.  Votes of all members shall be confidential.  Voting shall be allowed October 1 to October 15.  The Secretary shall verify and publish the results no later than October 30th.   The names of the newly elected Directors will appear in the November WheelPeople. 
  • The new Board members will attend the November CRW Board Meeting.  At this meeting, all Directors who will serve during 2021 will elect the CRW President who will serve in 2021.



Using Neck Gaiters Instead of Masks

Eli Post

There was a recent discussion on the club’s Google Group about gaiters(instead of masks) used for Covid purposes when riding, and several articles and studies were referenced. There was some difference of opinion, and we present the discussion and ask that you reach your own conclusions. The discussion was initiated by a member who had been wearing a neck gaiter when riding, but reconsidered after reading an article in the Washington Post. It reported that a “Duke University study finds some cotton cloth masks are about as effective as surgical masks, while thin polyester spandex gaiters may be worse than going maskless.”

A follow up comment from another member confirmed a reconsideration about gaiters “I likewise have been wearing a neck gaiter on my rides.  Indeed, it’s a spiffy CRW-branded, bright yellow one that I prefer for visibility.  After reading the Washington Post article today, I’ll be retiring it in favor of more mundane but effective masks.” We note that the CRW-branded gaiters were gifts to ride leaders made before Covid and intended for use in cold weather riding.In fact, one of our members contacted Pactimo, the maker of the CRW gaiter, and got this response: "We do not recommend neck gaiters as an alternative to a certified mask. We offer Pactimo masks if you are interested.”

Then another reconsideration, and, for those seeking more science, a member added the original press release from Duke

We learned about another issue using neck gaiters: “The neck gaiter’s single layer of fabric is hot around my neck, in this Heat! But now I wear a double fabric mask with elastic around my neck. I can adjust the mask up or down, depending. It just about as easy to pull into place as the gaiters.” And confirming that the original article had impact: “I'm bummed, because I just bought two neck gaiters.  But I'm not sure what to do.  There isn't a good way to pull up a mask when you're riding and someone comes along whom you want to protect.”

Other perspectives: " I use the surgical masks. They are very comfortable, cost about 50-75 cents, and the article says they are better than most cloth masks.  I often do an entire ride wearing the mask.  The only problem I have is they discourage me from drinking as much as I should." And another: “I have a homemade mask. It has elastic ear loops but I don't use them. I found them uncomfortable and hard to get on and off. Instead I have two rubber bands looped end-to-end and attached to the ear loops. The rubber bands fit around the back of my neck with just about the right tension. I mostly ride with the mask down in front of my chin, but it is a simple one-handed maneuver to pull it up over my mouth and nose whenever I pass someone or otherwise need to be covered.”

And then we found the original article;

And there was a rebuttal article to complicate matters

And from one source: “I ran the subject of gaiters by a medical expert.  The study discredited fleece gaiters, something more commonly worn in winter.  Fleece is a very porous material. The medical expert said that he believed that a cloth gaiter should be as effective as a cloth face mask.”

One of our members is an HVAC engineer and reported that indoor lab test conditions can be substantially different than outdoors, where there is substantial air turbulence when running or cycling. He referenced a preliminary analysis in Japan which found that the odds of transmitting the pathogen in a closed environment was more than 18 times greater than in an open-air space. And the authors concluded that confined spaces could promote superspreader events. He also provided summary observations from other studies on airborne contagion factors: " Ventilation rates relative to people per volume, forcefulness of exhalation, and time of exposure seem to be the key factors in COVID-19 transmission; with outdoor cycling or running, forcefulness of exhalation would be the main risk factor, but is greatly mitigated by huge volumes of mixing/diluting air and short exposure times when moving at 5-30 feet per second. " 

As we were finishing work on this article, two new report came our way. The first was from the New York Times . It referenced the previously mentioned Duke study, but cast doubt on its findings, and in fact called the prior news "alarmist reports." This article is worth a read for anyone who is reluctant to give up on his or her gaiter. The second report was in the Washington Post It's a good read for anyone who is interested in the science behind the subject.

As we said, it was a lively discussion and we hope you can take the time to read one of the references and draw your own conclusions about protecting yourself and others as you ride.This is one of those situations where the more you read, the less you know.

And we will conclude with the CDC mask recomentations:

We thank the many CRW members who shared their thoughts and researched the subject.




Cycling and the Coronavirus

By Coach John Hughes

We are proud to offer an article by the highly regarded Coach John Hughes, who has written extensively about bicycle training including nutrition, conditioning, slowing the aging process and otherwise keeping fit. Among his personal accomplishments in endurance racing, John set the course records for the Furnace Creek 508 in 1989 and Boston-Montreal-Boston in 1992. He has been a USA Cycling certified coach since ’96, and has lectured on endurance at numerous events. John has coached CRW members and has earned high praise for increasing their fitness in preparing for ultra-endurance cycling events and facilitating recovery after major surgery.

You enjoy cycling and know it’s good for your physical and mental health.  Like me you may not be able to spend as much time riding as usual. Here are summaries of three articles I’ve written about cycling and the coronavirus

  1. How Much and How Hard Should You Exercise?
  2. How to Slow the Loss of Fitness and How to Regain Fitness
  3. How to Get and Stay Motivated
How Much and How Hard Should You Exercise?
The training paradigm is straight-forward: you overload your cardiovascular system and muscles and this results in some breakdown, you’re weaker. If you allow time for recovery then your body recuperates and you improve. Should you continue to ride hard enough and/or far enough to produce the overload?


Recommendations of experts
The American College of Sports Medicine advises, “moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with better immune function. Regular physical activity can help reduce your feeling of stress and anxiety (which many of us may be feeling in the wake of he COVID-19 pandemic).”

In an article in Bicycling Dr. David Nieman advises, “I would caution cyclists to avoid long, intense rides or workouts right now until we get through all this and just to kind of keep things under control,” Nieman says. “Don’t overdo it. Be worried more about health than fitness.” (Nieman is a health professor at Appalachian State University and director of the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus.) 

After a hard ride your immune system does not function as well. If later you are exposed to someone who is sick with the coronavirus, your body’s defenses are down. Remember someone may have COVID 19 and not yet developed symptoms – one of the primary reasons for social distancing.

In general:

  1. Exercise for health, not fitness.
  2. Exercise for maintenance, not improvement.
  3. Total exercise time should be less than usual.
  4. Total time doing intensity should be less than usual.
  5. Don't exercise to exhaustion.

Here’s the original article I wrote at the beginning of April.  The recommendations still apply.

How to Slow the Loss of Fitness and How to Regain Fitness
Considerable research has been done on what happens if an athlete completely stops exercising because of illness, injury or other reasons. You probably have continued to ride — just less than usual — and so you are losing fitness more slowly.

How many years you’ve been riding is the biggest factor in how slowly you lose fitness and how rapidly you can recover the lost fitness. This relates to my concept of athletic maturity. This column explains how you can assess your athletic maturity and the following column explains how to improve your athletic maturity.

If you cut back on exercise you lose fitness differentially:

  • Power and capacity to ride hard and climb well starts to decrease first.
  • Endurance doesn’t decrease as fast.
  • Muscle strength decreases slowly.
  • Skills don’t decrease!


What to do:
Remember that hard rides deplete your immune system more than endurance rides.
  1. Progressively do more of the kinds of endurance rides you enjoy: longer rides or more riding in general.
  2. Progressively mix in intensity starting with short workouts. As you increase the intensity reduce your total riding. As you increase your endurance riding then cut back (but don’t stop) your harder workouts.
  3. Recover more and better.
  4. Build back up slowly to reduce the risk of injury and overtraining.
  5. Pay attention to negative changes in your performance and mood — you might be doing too much.

Here’s the original article I wrote in May.  The recommendations still apply.

How to get and stay motivated
Thinking about why you exercise can help you to understand why you are demotivated and to figure out what you can do now for exercise. We exercise for many reasons:
  1. Overall good health to enjoy life and do things with your family
  2. Longevity to enjoy your grandkids
  3. Personal fitness
  4. Endorphins
  5. Achieve personal goals
  6. Fun
  7. Group activities
  8. Compete
  9. Your doctor told you that you should
  10. Your significant other wants you to
  11. Losing weight so you’re look better
  12. Other goals

Which of these are your goals? What kinds of riding and other activities help you with the above?

For many people a structure is very helpful for motivation. The structure includes goals that are reasonable and achievable, a simple plan to meet the goals and a way to be accountable. This works better than relying on inspiration or will power in the moment. But structure may not work for you.  That’s okay, too.
  • Set goals. Now that you know why you exercise setting reasonable achievable goals is the next step. What are your goals? Write them down.
  • Accountability. Much of what I do as a coach is to make a client accountable to follow the training program. Share your goal(s) and plan(s) with your significant other or a riding buddy. Then meet their expectations.
  • Make a simple schedule. You’re more likely to meet your goal(s) if you make specific daily and weekly plans. Write down your schedule(s).
  • Plan with others. Decide to do club rides and arrange rides with friends.
  • Keep a simple log. Note on your schedule what you actually did. 

This doesn’t need to be complicated. Keep it simple, e.g.,

Joe’s Goal's: Ride at least four days this week totaling at least 65 miles following this schedule:

  • Monday: Ride one hour for 15 miles.
    • Actual: Rode the hilly 13-mile three bumps loop in an hour.
  • Wednesday: Ride one hour for 15 miles with Bill and Liz.
    • Actual: Fun 20-mile (1:15) ride with Bill and Liz.
  • Friday: Ride 30-minutes on the trainer. (Count trainer miles based on your outdoor riding speed so a 30-minute ride would be 7.5 miles.)
    • Actual: Thursday rode to coffee shop, coffee with Sam, rode home. 5 miles total in 30 minutes. Took Friday off.
  • Saturday: Go on the CRW 35-mile ride.
    • Actual: Great to be out with people! 35 miles in 2:15

For the week Joe rode 75 miles in five hours. Joe was flexible with his riding rather than slavishly following the schedule but he still met his goals.

Here’s the original article.

My website has many articles on cycling and the pandemic.

Stay safe and have fun!

Coach Hughes has written over 40 eBooks for RoadBikeRider.




The Athlete’s Kitchen - Hot Weather Hydration Tips

Nancy Clark
The Athlete’s Kitchen - Hot Weather Hydration Tips
Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD August 2020


Steaming hot summers bring up nutrition questions for athletes who are training and competing in the heat:

  • How can I tell if I’ve had enough to drink?
  • Should I be consuming extra electrolytes?
  • Is it possible to drink too much?”

With summers getting hotter and longer, here are some practical hot weather sports nutrition tips.

To start, let’s look at the physiology of keeping the body cool. Normal body temperature is 98.6°F (37°C). When you exercise, your body temperature increases. At 104°, you are in the danger zone. If you were to really overheat and get to 107.6°F (42° C), your cells would get damaged –similar to how raw egg white coagulates as it starts to cook. You don’t want that to happen!

•To dissipate the heat generated by working muscles, blood flow to the skin increases and your sweat glands get activated. As sweat evaporates from the skin, it provides a cooling effect.

• Humid heat (New England) is physiologically more stressful than dry heat (Arizona). Hence, athletes who will be traveling to a sporting event want to acclimatize to the environment in which they will be competing.

•With repeated training in the heat for more than an hour a day, the body acclimatizes over the course of 7 to 14 days. You’ll notice greater exercise capacity. In one study, endurance increased from 48 to 80 minutes.  

• The more you train in the heat, the more you sweat. While this helps keep you cooler, the additional fluid loss can easily lead to progressive dehydration if you do not fully replace sweat losses on a daily basis.

•Sweat losses of 2 to 3 pounds per hour are common among athletes who exercise vigorously in the heat; some lose more than that. You don’t need to replace every drop of sweat, but you do want to minimize losses, so you end up losing less than 2% of your body weight (3 pounds for a 150-pound athlete).

• “Drinking to thirst” generally works for day to day living and fitness exercisers, but not always for athletes. Studies suggest drinking to thirst often results in body water deficits of 2% to 3% among athletes who sweat heavily in the heat. That level of dehydration impairs athletic performance. Hence, ironman Triathletes, marathoners, and other endurance athletes should have a drinking plan that balances losses with intake. 

• To learn how much sweat you lose during exercise, weigh yourself nude before and after a hard workout, accounting for any fluid consumed during the session. If you have lost, let’s say 2 pounds per hour (32 ounces, 1 quart), target drinking 6 to 8 ounces every 15 minutes the next time you exercise at that intensity and under those weather conditions. Practice drinking that volume of fluid to train your gut to handle it comfortably.

• Monitor progressive under-hydration by taking daily weights first thing in the morning. A downward weight trend can be a warning sign of inadequate fluid replacement, particularly if the morning urine is dark and concentrated. (Yes, it could also reflect fat-loss.)

• You can tell if you have adequately rehydrated by monitoring the color and volume of your urine—as well as how often you need to urinate. For example, if you sweat heavily during your workout and then don’t pee for five hours afterwards, you are underhydrated. Urine that is dark and concentrated is another warning sign.

• On a daily basis, your goal is to void a significant volume of urine that looks like lemonade, not beer, every 2 to 4 hours. Google urine color chart for a visual resource.

• When you sweat, you lose not only water but also electrically charged minerals (electrolytes), more commonly known as sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Sodium (a part of salt) is the main electrolyte of concern.

• Because you sweat off proportionately more water than sodium, the concentration of sodium in blood actually increases during exercise. In standard (i.e., not extreme) exercise situations, replacement with electrolyte supplements is needless; food eaten at meals/snacks offers ample electrolytes. 

• The primary purpose of sodium in a sports drink is to enhance fluid absorption and retention, as well as enhance absorption of carbohydrate. The amount is inadequate to replace sodium lost in sweat. For example, a slice of bread offers about 125-200 mg sodium; 8-oz. Gatorade offers only 110 mg. Gatorade Endurance formula, 200 mg.

• If you will be exercising for hours on end in the heat (i.e., all-day bike ride, ultra-run, or tennis tournament), you can lose a significant amount of sodium.  Assuming you will be consuming food during the extended exercise session, you can replenish lost sodium with peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (500 mg sodium), thin pretzels (490 mg/1-oz) and cheese sticks (200 mg/stick).

• Caution: Do not over-consume plain water and/or sports drink during extended exercise unless you are taking in other sources of sodium. Excess water dilutes the reduced amount of sodium in the blood and can lead to hyponatremia (low blood sodium), a life-threatening condition that can result in death. This can happen, for example, with slower (>4-hour) marathoners who diligently drink at every water station, regardless of thirst.

• After exercise, if you need sodium, you will crave salt and should honor those salt cravings with crackers and cheese, pickles, pizza, potato chips, V-8 Juice—or more simply, sprinkle salt on your recovery meal.

• Most healthy, sweaty athletes can set aside public health guidelines to “limit your salt intake.” Replacing sodium losses is important to rebalance your body.

• When you know you will be sweating for more than an hour or two in the heat, plan to boost your pre-exercise salt intake. By consuming 300 to 500 mg sodium before you exercise, the sodium will already be in your body, working to retain water and retard dehydration. During extended exercise, plan to target 500 to 700 mg sodium per hour (and more if you experience muscle cramps).

• Chocolate milk is preferable to sports drink to enhance rehydration. It offers more sodium (150 mg vs 110/ 8 oz) —as well as more carbohydrate (to replenish glycogen stores) and protein (to repair muscles). Drink wisely!




Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels sports-active people in the Boston-area (617-795-1875). Her Sports Nutrition Guidebook offer additional hydration info. Visit for more information


Consensus recommendations on training and competing in the heat. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2015, 49(18): 1164-1173  

Practical Hydration Solutions for Sports. Nutrients 2019; 11(7):1550 




Women and Cycling, and CRW

Lorenz Finison
In the Beginning
Women had a difficult time in cycling from the very start. Women riding the high wheel were an anomaly. By the mid- 1880s, a few women ventured out in long skirts on tricycles in the Ladies North Shore Tricycle Tour.

Ladies North Shore Tricycle Tour, 1885, at Salem Common

Some of the women’s husbands, fathers, and brothers would not let them out unchaperoned, so a few male relatives accompanied them and are pictured with them posed at Salem Common. By the 1890s and the advent of the safety bicycle, with smaller wheels, chains, and brakes, more women joined in. Two women’s clubs formed: the Bostonian Cycle Club in the South End of Boston and the Woodbridge Cycle Club in North Cambridge. The Massachusetts division of the LAW soon had the largest (but still small) percentage of women members in the country.

The Massachusetts Bicycle Club, one of the region’s earliest, having fallen on hard times, began to admit women in the early 1890s. They redecorated the clubhouse (decoration was considered the woman’s sphere), and the club regained financial health. But then a majority of the members, nostalgic for the male camaraderie of the 1880s, voted the women out. The club split, and the women and their male allies formed the Commonwealth Bicycle Club.

Many writers claim that the bicycle liberated women in the 1890s, and in many ways it did. Sarah Hallenbeck, a communications scholar, focuses on the ways in which women argued for a place in cycling and for changes in technology to help them straddle the counter- claims of the New Woman and the traditional woman, especially when the safety bicycle appeared on the scene and women riders rapidly multiplied. Hallenbeck focuses on the bicycle adaptations for women, for example, the shape of handlebars (drop bars reversed to discourage “scorching”), methods of protection from the sun and rain (handlebar mounted umbrellas), and the shape of the bicycle frame. Women had to choose between a heavier drop- frame woman’s bicycle, where they could wear a long skirt (protected by a chain guard) or ride the diamond frame man’s bike, which was lighter, faster, and more suitable for long distances and hilly routes. For the diamond frame bike, women wore bloomers or knickerbockers and endured the condemnation of the traditionalists. Photo:Traditionalist Woman at Norumbega Park circa 1898

Photo: Boston’s Kittie Knox, League of American Wheelmen Meet, Asbury Park NJ, 1895
Kittie Knox, a young biracial cyclist at the Waltham Cycle Track’s Fourth of July 1895 gathering, won the costume contest wearing knickerbockers but was hissed by some of the traditionalist women in attendance. Women were accepted into recreational cycling in only limited roles: as genteel cyclists (not “scorchers”), social cycling companions, producers of entertainments, such as minstrel shows, making up picnic baskets for themselves and their cycling escorts, and as participants in the great Boston cycling parades. The woman’s sphere expanded but women cyclists continued to be marginalized. Few women cycled recreationally after 1900. In the 1930s, though, younger single middle- class to upper- middle- class working and collegiate women became interested in the coed recreation that cycling provided. For recreating women, the drop- frame was the preferred bicycle, it could accommodate the now somewhat shortened skirts or culottes of collegiate women. The few women who raced in that era used the diamond frame.


Young women cyclists get ready to ride (bottom) October 6, 1935.

Ben Olken (top, on tandem), founder, Bicycle Exchange, and ride organizer along with Boston and Maine Railroad of the first Bike-Train: North Station to Fabyan, Hampshire.

By the mid- 1970s, on the heels of the feminist movement’s challenge to “sexist” language, CRW cyclists began to wonder if potential women riders (by now all on diamond frames) might be “put off” by the name Charles River Wheelmen. Wheelpeople editor John Springfield reported on “changing the CRW name to ‘Charles River Wheelers.’ The club’s identifying initials would remain unchanged, our tradition in the bicycling community is retained, and the larger issue of equality is squarely addressed.” Male and female members both opposed and supported a change. In July 1978, the CRW newsletter Wheelpeople headlined “Should the CRW Change Its Name?” President Earl Forman summarized the argument: “For some of us the name ‘Wheelmen’ has an emotional content evoking association with nearly a century of history that we admire and wish to be a part of. For others of us ‘Wheelmen’ seems to be spelled ‘WheelMEN’ and evokes images of a sexist exclusionary tradition that is abhorrent.”

Throughout the fall members traded arguments and insults. One serious rider, CRW member and sculptor Melanie Zibit, pressed for change: “The word ‘man’ down through the ages has noted the male gender: when ‘man’ was used for the totality of the human race (as in mankind), it was no less a denigration of the female sex then, as it is today. Whether we as a club choose to ignore this subtle slur or not, it does exist in the name ‘Wheelmen.’”

Some of CRW’s older (and male) members weren’t happy with a name change. Long- distance rider Howard Moore, who began his cycling career in the 1920s, remembered, “The Boston Wheelmen of forty years ago had several girl members, and not one of them ever objected to the club name. One of its successor clubs, the Cambridge Cycle and Sports Club, (which lasted for a dozen years) had many girl members, but I have no reason to believe that that was because the syllable ‘men’ did not occur in the club title.” Cutler West thought that “the proposed name- change, which at first might be perceived as a simple and trivial one to satisfy an unknown number of CRW member- malcontents, is in fact a complex and drastic change for the worse of the club.” CRW cofounder, Ralph Galen, was particularly upset: “It is unfortunate that superficial forces of the feminist movement find it necessary to challenge our vocabulary to the extent that the name of our bicycle club, the Charles River Wheelmen, is considered offensive.

 In the mid- 1970s Debra Glassman became the CRW “Social Director,” dedicated to creating greater connectedness among club members and ride participants. She soon became the Vice President for Rides and a member of the CRW board. In that position, she transformed the character of the rides. Before her time, typically, a group of speedy men showed up, took a cue sheet, and rode off. Glassman insisted that ride leaders “arrow” the routes and create two or more loops. The goal was for all riders, fast or slow, to gather for a picnic or cookout and socialization. Participation in the rides increased. Then she promoted the name change. None of her club efforts protected her from a few angry phone calls and letters. John Vanderpoel, never one to mince words, wrote, “The talk of changing the name of the Charles River Wheelmen really bores me. I’ll support the change from the day that Debra Glassman officially petitions the courts of Massachusetts to change her name to Debra Glasser.” This drew a rebuke from the newsletter editor not to single out “an individual with whom you disagree.”

CRW was not alone in periodically confronting the “name” question. In 1974, LAW discussed a name change and received a barrage of letters in opposition. One CRW/LAW member, Chick Mead, attacked those who would change the name as “saboteurs” and suggested that they be “‘blackballed’ so to speak, for their careless, unwise, destructive, malicious thinking!” Nevertheless, twenty years later, in 1994, LAW started doing business as the League of American Bicyclists. Twenty- three years after that, following periodic struggles about its name, CRW voted to do business as the Charles River Wheelers.

Sometime between October and November 1991, the CRW logo changed. Another story to tell!


October 1991 Wheelpeople Logo            November 1991 Wheelpeople Logo


BostonCyclingHistory [at] (Larry Finison) is a CRW member, public health consultant, and bicycling historian. He thanks  Eli Post for requesting this excerpt from:
Boston’s Twentieth-Century Bicycling Renaissance: Cultural Change on Two Wheels by Lorenz J. Finison. Copyright © 2019 University of Massachusetts Press. Figures added.
For photo credits, reference notes, comments and questions, email BostonCyclingHistory [at]

September Film Festival

Alex Post


There's nothing better than getting out for a ride, but on a rest day a video can almost take us there, so enjoy our little monthly virtual film fest. We welcome any suggestions for future selections.  

A Route With Creativity
We’ll be looking for a volunteer to lead this relaxing ride. Of course they’ll be a few minor challenges, such as how to plot a GPS route on cliff top railings and up redwood trees. 5 Mins.
Holy Tour
Cycling The Worlds Steepest Road
If you’re looking to increase your hill training this road in Wales should do it, which was recently deemed the steepest in the World. 8 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.



The Double Yellow, and Cognitive Dissonance

John Allen

Safety Corner --The Double Yellow, and Cognitive Dissonance

A motorist is approaching a bicyclist from behind on a road with a double yellow centerline. The law says “don’t cross the double yellow.” But the motorist could pass safely only by putting at least part of the car on the left side of the double yellow.

What should they do? Should the bicyclist squeeze right as much as possible so the motorist can brush by with inches to spare, and not cross the centerline? Should the motorist brush by?

Well, one thing I can say in favor of common traffic engineering practice with centerlines is that it teaches people to think for themselves.  Almost every Massachusetts motorist has learned to take this law with a grain of salt, and cross the double yellow when necessary to pass a bicyclist safely.

Traffic engineering practice is based on the assumption that the vehicle being passed is going at nearly the posted speed limit. That requires long passing zones. If the vehicle being passed is a bicycle, or farm tractor, or Amish buggy, the passing distance is much shorter and the double yellow line leads to cognitive dissonance.

Given the law as is, what should we do?

As motorists? Well, crossing the centerline is the usual and generally accepted practice – but there is some small chance that it could get you in trouble. The likelihood of getting a traffic ticket and having to pay a fine is minuscule, because police also understand the problem with this law. But – be cautious, because it might be used against you if you do have a crash.

As bicyclists? This is one of the situations where it is most important to communicate with drivers, using lane position and hand signals. Indicate clearly when it is unsafe to pass, with your lane position and when necessary, an outstretched arm, palm of the hand facing the rear to communicate “Don’t!” But move right to facilitate passing when it is safe – the “control and release” technique. The driver behind you will be much more likely to cooperate if your actions make it clear that you are keeping that driver’s interests in mind.

This doesn’t only apply on roads with a double yellow line. Most lightly-traveled rural roads – the kind we most like because they are scenic, and quiet – have no centerline at all. And on blind right-hand curves, being farther to the left not only lets an approaching motorist behind me see me sooner, it lets me see farther ahead and move aside sooner. The motorist could appreciate this!

Several states including nearby Maine have amended their traffic laws to allow passing bicyclists when safe. The issue has been raised in Massachusetts, and CRW should support MassBike in its efforts to change the passing law.

For more background, you might go to



CRW Goes International

WheelPeople Editors

We are used to seeing CRW jerseys on club rides, but it is noteworthy when one is seen on a cyclist in a far away place. Many of our members travel, and some proudly wear their club jerseys. We feel they deserve recognition for promoting the club.

Mary and Larry Kernan were on a seven week, 1730 mile, bicycle trip through Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. They posed in front of Wat Rong Suea Ten (Blue Temple) in Chiang Rai Thailand. Larry is President of CRW and Mary is Vice-President of Rides.This is Mary's journal entry in their blog for that day: 


Connie Farb and Mark Sevier did a self-supported tandem tour in France in September 2017. They went from Biarritz, on the Atlantic coast, to Colioure on the Mediterranean coast, along the foothills (not the summits) of the Pyrenees. The photo was probably taken somewhere around Cucugnan.  Connie and Mark are CRW ride leaders and have provided numerous other volunteer contributions.


John O’Dowd is a CRW Director and Ride Leader. He and his wife Deborah were cycling in France and stopped for a photo op by a 16th century church, the Eglise St. Rigomer et Sainte-Tenestine in Vaunallan, 8 miles south of Paris. 



We thank the contributors and David Cooper for technical assistence with the images.




30th Anniversary Ride

WheelPeople Editors

Last month we reported on the club's 20th Anniversary ride and identified many of the riders from 35 years ago. This month we have a more recent event portrayed; the 30th Anniversary ride. We believe it was a great success as reported by the September 1996 issue of WheelPeole. This month we are not identifying riders, and it will be more of a do-it-yourself exercise. If you see yourself in the photo, please use the "comment" feature to indicate your position. Many of the riders are still riding with the club so don't be shy and let us know who you are. Larger Image










Restricting Carbohydrates Slows You Down

Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health e-Zine

Restricting Carbohydrates Slows You Down


Restricting carbohydrates with a keto diet or fasting will tire you earlier when you exercise (Sports Medicine, January 21, 2020;11:1-28). Many studies show that low-carbohydrate diets impair performance in sports that require speed (The J of Sports Med and Phys Fit, April 4, 2018; J of Physiol, December 23, 2016). On a low-carbohydrate diet, you can’t train very fast and you can’t move as fast in races. The limiting factor to how fast you can move when you exercise is the time it takes to move oxygen from your bloodstream into your muscles. When you start to run low on oxygen, your muscles burn and hurt, you gasp for breath and you have to slow down.

Muscles burn primarily carbohydrates and fats (and a small amount of protein) for energy during exercise, and carbohydrates require less oxygen than fats. The faster you move, the greater the percentage of carbohydrates your muscles burn, and when you exercise at lower intensity, your muscles burn a greater percentage of fat. You can exercise equally fast at low intensity on low or high-carbohydrate diets, but when you pick up the pace, you can’t exercise as fast on a low carbohydrate diet because you need more oxygen (J Physiol, May 1, 2017;595(9):2785–2807).

Flawed Studies to Support Keto Diets for Athletes
With ketogenic diets (also called Low Carb, High Fat or LCHF diets), you try to get your body to use fat as the prime energy source for your muscles. To do this, you must restrict both carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates are just sugars in singles and chains, and they provide sugar to power your muscles. When your body is forced to use mostly fat for energy, the fat is converted to ketones that can also be used to fuel your muscles. If you eat a lot of protein, your liver uses gluconeogenesis to convert protein to sugar, and thus you are not on a low-sugar ketogenic diet.

Anything that increases a person’s maximal ability to take in and use oxygen (VO2max) will also help them to move faster and with more force over distance. One report appears to show increases in off-road cyclists’ maximal ability to take in and use oxygen with a LCHF diet (Nutrients, 2014; 6(7)). That would have made them faster, but VO2max depends on a person’s weight and a low-carbohydrate diet can cause you to lose weight. When the study is corrected for the diet-induced weight loss, all of the oxygen capacity gains appear to be from the loss of weight rather than from taking in more oxygen or going faster.

Some studies do show that low-carbohydrate diets can help athletes lose weight (Br J Nutr, 2013; 110: 1178–87), and possibly have greater endurance in sports that are done at low intensity and below the lactate threshold (in which you do not get short of breath), such as multi-day running races (Exercise & Sport Sciences Reviews, July 2015;43(3):153–162). Athletes should never go on keto or LCHF diets unless they are getting a lot of protein to protect themselves from shrinking muscles and losing strength (J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2012; 9 (1): 34). You are not truly on a LCHF diet if you eat a lot of protein because your liver, muscles, kidneys and intestines can convert proteins into sugar.

Why Do Some Athletes Use Keto or LCHF Diets?
Some athletes and sports nutritionists believe that if you could teach your muscles to burn more fat and less sugar, you could keep the sugar in your muscles and liver longer, and have extra sugar for the last sprint at the end of a race (Metabolism, 2016;65(3):100-10). That is correct, but burning more fat and less sugar for energy means that you have to slow down during training and in races (Nutrients, 2014;6(7)). You have enough fat stored in your body to supply you with energy for weeks, but you only have enough sugar stored in muscles and your liver to last for about 70 minutes of all-out exercise. Runners start to run out of sugar after an hour of racing, which is why all competitive racers take sources of sugar during races that last more than an hour. When your muscles run out of sugar, they hurt and you find it difficult to move them, which runners call “hitting the wall.” When your liver starts to run low on sugar, your blood sugar drops, your brain runs out of its main source of energy and you feel dizzy and can pass out.

Severely restricting carbohydrates causes your body to use fat as its primary source of energy and produce ketones, but nobody has ever shown that the extra ketones help an athlete to move faster or with greater strength (Journal of Applied Physiology, 2006;100(1):7-8). When your liver converts fat to energy, it produces ketones that your brain can use for energy. Your brain gets almost all of its energy from sugar that passes through your bloodstream into your brain. Fat cannot pass into the brain from your bloodstream, but ketones can pass into the brain, so having extra ketones gives your brain a secondary source of energy if your blood sugar levels should ever drop. Again, no good data show that restricting carbohydrates improves athletic performance (PloS One, June 4, 2020;15(6):e0234027).

There is evidence that a keto or LCHF diet can help athletes lose weight, but it has not helped athletes to race faster, even in very long races such as in 100k (62-mile) time trials, even though their muscles burned more fat (Metabolism, Nov 3, 2017).

Anything that helps your liver store more sugar helps you to exercise more intensely for longer periods of time. The major way that weight loss helps you to have greater endurance and exercise longer is that losing body fat takes fat out of your liver, which allows your liver to store more sugar, thus giving you greater speed and endurance.

Don’t Eat Large Amounts of Refined Carbohydrates
The worst way to prepare for a race is “carbohydrate loading,” eating lots of spaghetti, bread or any other refined carbohydrates the night before the event. Almost 50 years ago, I showed that taking in huge amounts of refined carbohydrates can harm marathon runners by causing heart attacks (J Am Med Assoc, March 26, 1973;223(13):1511-1512). The extra carbohydrates are converted to fat that increases risk for forming plaques in your arteries. The extra fat also ends up in your liver. Extra fat in your liver reduces the amount of sugar that your liver can store, so you tire earlier. This is why “carbohydrate loading” has been abandoned by all knowledgeable athletes.

My Recommendations
For both athletes and non-athletes, I recommend a diet that is high in the “good carbohydrates:” vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains and other seeds, with plant sources of fats such as nuts, avocados and oils. I think the most healthful diet is low in red meat, processed meats and fried foods. Sugar-added foods and drinks should be avoided except during prolonged, intense exercise. Not only will this diet help to protect your heart and blood vessels from arteriosclerosis, it should help you avoid excess weight which harms exercise performance and health. Storing extra fat in your muscles and liver reduces the amount of sugar that can be stored there and therefore harms performance. Loss of excess weight can improve performance by helping you store extra sugar in your muscles and liver.

I do recommend using intermittent fasting, which stimulates your body to switch to using ketones for short periods; see Why Intermittent Fasting Works. Various types of interval training for sports also have a similar effect; see Interval Training for Sports



This article is courtesy of Dr. Mirkin 

Forecasting Weather During Covid

Eli Post

In “normal” times we rely on the club to cancel a ride in inclement weather, but now that many of us are riding solo we have to make our own weather determination. Not so easy in New England where weather can change in the wink of an eye. I have been disappointed so many times when I got unexpectedly wet  that I realized I had more faith in the tooth fairy than the weather guy.

There are some who enjoy a refreshing light drizzle, but most of us prefer not to get wet and avoid the safety considerations associated with rain and wet roads, which include slippery conditions and reduced visibility.

But all is not lost, and you can make reasonable predictions as long as you expect that 100% accuracy is not attainable. Some are guided by a rule of thumb:

(a) Less than 20% chance showers: Plan to go (b) More than 40% chance showers: Plan not to go (c) Between 20% and 40%: game time decision. Generally most lean towards not going, but if it’s not a long ride, and/or it’s at the lower end of that range, and/or the shower might be intermittent, you might consider riding.

Then there are the TV weather folks. A friend whom I consider a weather guru generally watches WCVB at 5:00 to hear Harvey Leonard or Mike Wankum. He says Mike is very detailed, and believes the best of the best is Tom Kelley on NECN. He is generally on in the morning starting at 9:00, but his hours are hit-or-miss. Sometimes he is on in the evening. As far as the apps, my friend is a fan of Weather Underground, which he looks at daily.

Radar maps are available on the various weather apps, and in uncertain conditions are your best guide if you know how to read them. You may see the distinct line of rain coming through and when it’s past and safe to ride. There are several YouTube videos on using radar if you need help.

Then there's being creative. I was once on a ride in southern New Hampshire, and the sky unexpectedly went dark. One of the riders had a contact at a national weather forecasting company that served TV stations, airlines and trucking companies and we called. There was indeed a storm coming and they knew it's path. Our planned route crossed the storm, and we changed direction and avoided the storm and did not get wet. You can't alway get access to a weather expert but it's nice when you can.