January 2021 WheelPeople


Thirty First President

Rami Haddad

Happy Holidays & New Year. May you be safe & healthy.

Thank you to members, Board, & Past-president for the vote of confidence in electing me as the thirty first president of the club.

For those I have not met yet, a little about me. I enjoy time with family, bicycling, reading, baking & playing outside. Mostly in New England, and some around the world. I have been on bicycling & running tours in New England, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains, Patagonia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Japan, France, Germany, & Ironman Switzerland. I am originally from the Middle East, lived extended periods in Asia & call Boston home. Hence you see my name often in three scripts Rami رامي 拉美

Please tell me about you. How to communicate better with you, what can the club offer & what types of activities are you interested in? Respond to the survey today. It is open to the entire bicycle community in the Boston region. Forward to your friends.

I feel strongly about these topics & they will drive most of my decisions:

1. Connect with our community on club rides & forums. I hope to connect with each one of you on phone, email, Strava, & Instagram.

2. All are welcome. Where possible, I will encourage everyone to participate. Some premium benefits remain for our members. Join the club today.

3. Give back to members & leaders. I want to see significant support for ride programs, training, social events, awards, & challenges.

4. Test different programs for the club. Let them fail often & fast. We learn from them & move on.

What else can we do? Please share your ideas.

This is your club. It is run 100% by volunteers like you & me. Indicate in survey question #12 your areas of interest & skills that apply to running the club.


Honoring Larry Kernan

By: Steve Carlson, Rami Haddad, John O'Dowd, Eli Post, Amy Wilson, Andre Wolf

Larry Kernan was CRW President for 2019 and 2020. Under the Club’s constitution he had to step down, but he will be missed by those who worked closely with him. He was committed to the club and worked relentlessly to make it a better experience for its members. He raised the standard of the presidency, and exercised good judgement throughout his term. Larry made those of us who worked with him proud to be on his team. He was an executive who provided goals that made for a better club.

Larry was deeply involvedy with the CRW board and we came to respect his hard work, sound decisions, and many contributions. He will be missed, and we presented him with a plaque to commemorate and acknowledge his efforts as well as our good feelings.

Some of the Board members who worked closely with Larry wanted to express their thoughts directly:

Steve Carlson is Century Chair: I was fortunate to work closely with Larry as the Executive Vice President of the Club and on several joint committees over the past three years. Larry gave continuous thought, effort and actions to improve the club.  Much of his efforts likely went unnoticed as it is easy to expect "that positive results just happen". I can assure you, it was Larry whose leadership ensured they happened!   I have often thought that a good leader is someone who leads you to recognize business/charitable needs and then naturally inspires you to do your best to achieve a successful outcome. That was Larry's influence not only on me, but all our Board members and volunteers. It definitely resulted in a better, more enriched Club for our members.  I thank him for his past contributions and I am confident he will continue to be a positive influence within CRW.
Rami Haddad is President of CRW: I was not ready when Larry suggested my help with club communications. I had been a ride leader for several years—not sure that I wanted to take on another role. In my attempts to evade the job, I proposed unconventional ideas to improve member participation, diversity, & tools. He surprised me with a calm response "Keep talking. I am still listening". Suffice it to say, he skillfully focused the conversation to explore strategies, objectives, & member interest. We ran a survey shortly after to learn more & make better decisions. With his constructive attitude, passion for the club, & respect for outside ideas, I wanted to be part of Larry's successful team. I accepted the nomination for VP of Communications, soon after for the Board, & most recently President-elect for 2021. Over the past year, we worked closely together to open multiple communication channels that have welcomed large number of bicycle community members; managed club programs through COVID19 that kept our calendar full with group & virtual rides; & set a new record for club membership .I do not remember a time when Larry was not available to answer a call or respond to a request for help. I am lucky to join the Board when Larry is around to share his knowledge & experience.
John O'Dowd is Board Secretary: I met Larry through my work on the Rides Committee. We frequently met at Larry's house, as he is married to the VP of Rides, Mary Kernan. I was immediately struck by how outgoing and convivial Larry was. He made me feel welcome and I could tell right away we would be friends.Larry has brought to the position of president great energy and vision, and he has taken proactive steps in dealing with issues facing the club, not least of which has been our response to covid 19. While not a popular or easy decision to make, Larry's input to our covid policy kept cyclists safe and reduced its spread. In 2019 Larry worked to make our rides more social and welcoming to newcomers. He has steered the club in a positive direction the last two years and I will miss working with him.
Eli Post is WheelPeople Editor: I am a past-president, and volunteered under many presidents, so I feel qualified to assess Larry’s work over the last two years. He is first rate and I am sorry the club’s constitution does not permit Larry to serve any longer in that role. He brought a new level of dedication and good judgement to the presidency. Larry made CRW a better club, and I was proud to be a member of his team. I am happy to see he will stay on the board to provide for a smooth transition, and I hope he assumes another volunteer role going forward.
Amy Wilson is VP Finance : On a cold day in the winter of 2019, I was reading Larry’s President’s column in Wheel People, and he was looking for a new Treasurer and I impulsively volunteered without ever having met him and I can now say participating on a board with Larry as the leader has been a privilege. Larry has many amazing qualities including his endless hard work and effort, logistical acumen and expertise on more topics than one can count.  Larry diversified the CRW board  and was a patient and kind leader, who created a board environment where teamwork flourished. Larry was endlessly available to discuss ideas, snags and problems in non-judgmental ways, often with a good laugh. One attribute that I especially value about Larry is that his counsel was not predictable in the best sense of the word, problems and snags were always treated with a fresh perspective with the greater good of CRW as the goal that encouraged putting aside frustrations that can cloud good judgment.  Larry dealt with many situations with  courage and wisdom that allowed moving forward especially during the difficult second year of his tenure.
André Wolff is Development Group Coordinator: I was starting to become interested in riding longer distances when a ride mate told me about CRW and the Spring Century. I sent a message to the club asking about whether the event would run that year. Larry responded and - as you may know a thing or two about Larry - within a month I was already hooked and willing to join the Century Committee to help organize the event. Two years thereafter, Larry brought to my attention that there would be an election for the board and sure enough I drafted my application letter and joined. This is to say that Larry has been a synonym to CRW for me since I joined the club. I was always impressed by his quick reactions, depth of thought, welcoming attitude, respect for members, commitment to the club and, why not, "arm wrangling" capacity. Like many other CRW volunteers, I owe Larry the opportunity of joining CRW and helping the club move forward.





2021 CRW Community Survey

Rami Haddad

We would like to invite you to participate in a short survey. This is part of CRW’s focus on service to its community members. We ran a survey in 2020 and received extensive and informative results. We are hoping to repeat a successful event, and learn trends and prioritize your needs. Your experience is a critical factor in the wellbeing of the club.

Actually, when we ran the survey in 2020, it was open to club members only. This year, we open the survey to all of our community of bicyclists in the region, including non-members. Some of you curiously follow the Club on social media: Instagram, Strava, Facebook, & Google Groups. Others have been with us occasionally on a century event or are past members. We want to learn from all of you. Question 10 in the survey asks about your membership status.

The survey is designed to learn your preference for ride style, locations, communication tools, & events. We want our current policies and ride offerings to meet the needs of our community members.

Please complete the survey by Friday 15 January 2021. We will publish the results soon after.

Link to survey at: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=D3lkitYNW0aVRDaPAIdlTV3TrUknG25Okqexcj7jJvBUNVRQTDQxTVNCN0I2WFRZWVY0MUVURldDSC4u

Thank you for your time and for helping to make CRW a better club.




Upload Your Photos

WheelPeople Editors

Cell phones are ubiquitous and most have built in cameras making us amateur photographers and collectors. In fact some folks have many thousands of photos stored on their phones. Well it’s time to share, and we set up a page on the club’s website where you can upload any bike related images. This is your chance to get  photos up on the web and proudly let your friends know about it. Moreover we might use your photo in an email to the membership or in an article in our newsletter. So you also have a chance to be published and if so we will be sure to credit you. If you can take a photo that captures the magic of biking, we encourage you to upload it. This is not a contest but an effort to assemble worthy photos and let members share that experience

There’s a link to the page under the members section or you can go directly there https://www.crw.org/member-photo-library In any case this service is for members only so you need to be logged in. We made it easy but if you have a question or run into trouble you can contact editor [at] crw.org



Calling All (and Wannabe) Ride Leaders

Mary Kernan

2020 was the year that wasn’t but things are definitely looking up for 2021. We have a new president, Rami Haddad, and the Rides Committee and Development Group are already putting together exciting plans for the upcoming year. To kick off the new year right, we’re inviting all existing ride leaders, as well as those who are interested in leading, to join us for a Zoom call on Thursday, January 21st from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. 

The call will give you a chance to meet Rami and listen as he talks about his plans for the club. Andre Wolff will be joining us to talk about the activities of the Devo Group and we’ll also give you a quick rundown on the ride programs that are in the works for the upcoming season. As time allows, we’ll have Q&A. 

Yup, it’s only an hour. Just enough to whet your appetite but not drone on forever. This will certainly not be our only communications regarding the 2021 season but it’ll be enough to shake you out of your winter doldrums and think of better times ahead.  

This event is open to all club members and we specifically encourage ride leaders and those wishing to lead to attend. Registration is required and if logged in you can sign up at https://www.crw.org/content/ride-leader-update  You will receive more information, including the Zoom link, after you register. Again, the conference is on Thursday, January 21st from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.





John O'Dowd

We know that our members care about their privacy, and want to share how we assume that responsibility, and protect member information. This report discusses the way we gather, use, disclose, and manage a member’s data. This includes personal information that can be used to identify an individual, not limited to the person's name, address, date of birth, and various contact information.

  • A membership list is automatically maintained of all current members. It is housed on the club’s website but is not accessible to the membership. A limited number of club officers have access to the membership database including the President, Webmaster, and WheelPeople Editor.
  • A member can logon with his or her user name/password and change any information, but only for his or her account.
  • We do not store credit card information.
  • The membership list is used for authorized club email and monthly issues of WheelPeople, the club’s newsletter.
  • Any member at any time can ask to be removed from this mailing list.
  • The club does not make the membership list available to other organizations.
  • At one point, as a convenience, the membership information was available to logged on members. Any one with a complete or partial membership list should delete any copies.


John O'Dowd is CRW Board Secretary.



Volunteers Needed

CRW is run 100% by volunteers. There are currently several open volunteer positions, and we are highlighting the positions described below for January. For a list of all available positions go to Open Positions | Charles River Wheelers (crw.org) Let us know if you can help make CRW a better club.


Century Committee Member

Responsibilities: As a member of a 4-5 person team, you will be responsible for all aspects of developing successful CRW centuries.  This includes: registration, event day logistics, tasking 50-60 volunteers, laying out routes in Ride With GPS, coordinating with community police departments and community leaders for police details and needed permits, coordinating sanitation details, gaining rest stop land usage permits/approval, planning after ride parties and assisting in equipment distribution, clean-up and storage. Additional help with volunteer recognitions/parties and soliciting local communities/sponsors for rest stop assistance  as required. Authoring WheelPeople articles about the event (pre/post) are expected.

Time Commitment: A two year commitment is desired.  CRW holds two centuries annually, one in May and one in October.  Organizational meetings begin three months in advance of centuries with low frequency. Up to 15 hours/month are expected prior to a century, and some work will be required during normal business hours.

Need Date: Spring Century will be COVID dependent, but seeking interested parties immediately to fulfill the committee structure.

Contact: Steve Carlson, scarw01 [at] gmail.com

Assistant Treasurer

Volunteer wanted for Assistant Treasurer position. Duties include assisting the CRW Treasurer with all aspects of the position, including processing invoices and expense payments, preparation of bimonthly financial statements, and tax and insurance analysis and options. Financial management and/or accounting experience required and CPA preferred. One important aspect of the job will be to provide an informal audit and a second set of eyes to the CRW year end financial report. Any questions can be directed to Amy Wilson Treasurer [at] CRW.org 



Heart Rate Different on the Trainer

This article was inspired by the WheelPeople Editor who is trying to ride strong even after countless bithdays. The article appeared in the December 10, 2020 issue of Road Bike Rider

Ask the Coach: Why Is My Heart Rate Different on the Trainer?
By Coach John Hughes

Eli writes:

"We are approaching the end of the biking season for all but the most hardy riders. I will be riding an exercise bike.

"I have asked the same question of many others including fitness trainers at the gym as well as a cardiologist. No one has been able to answer my question but I remain hopeful.

"When I get on my road bike, and start pedaling my heart rate jumps to about 120 bpm. That rate is not taxing and I can sustain it for a long period. However when on a stationary bike, either at the gym or at home, I cannot get my heart rate over about 105 bpm. If I increase the resistance to a higher level, I can’t push the pedals. I use the same heart rate monitor in all situations.

"The question is relevant as I don’t believe I am replicating the road effort on a stationary bike, and hence not training myself for the road experience."

Coach Hughes responds:

Eli, this is a great question because there's no obvious answer. There are several related questions. Why is (does it seem like) riding the trainer is harder than riding on the road? How should I gauge my effort on the trainer? The answers to all of these is both physiological and psychological.

I've written a column about Training Zones by Perceived Exertion, Heart Rate and Power May Differ on the Trainer.

Coaching is part art and part science — there aren't always obvious answers — which is why I like it. Here are a couple of possible parts of an answer.

Fewer upper body muscles used on the trainer

Your heart pumps in response to the load put on it by your working muscles. The harder the muscles work or the more muscles activated, the faster your heart beats. On the road your leg muscles are working and you're probably standing and sitting some and also your upper body muscles are working to control and turn the bike, brake, etc. On the trainer you're using your upper body muscles much less so the total load on your heart is less and your heart doesn't have to beat as fast to provide just your leg muscles with oxygen and nutrients.

I cross country ski and my heart rate is higher than on the bike because I'm using poles with my upper body for propulsion.

Your heart rate of 105 bpm on the trainer is a little more than 10% lower than 120 bpm on the road. I suspect the quiet upper body only accounts for part of the difference. Another factor is the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) riding on the trainer compared to riding in the road.

Perceived exertion is the governor on how hard you can ride

I was off the bike and on my back for six weeks recovering from surgery on my right foot. I used the time as a sabbatical to catch up on my professional literature. I just finished reading an excellent book How Badly Do You Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald, which explores why we get fatigued and don't go longer or harder. He uses a number of excellent examples of endurance athletes. He says the limit is perceived exertion. If you perceive you're going as long or hard as you can then you can't do more. But if your perception changes, you can do more. The book talks about various ways RPE can be changed. 

The day before my surgery my buddy and I  rode up the canyon to Jamestown, CO. I didn't have my computer on — just riding along chatting and having fun. I looked at my watch when we got there. Ten minutes faster than when I ride alone but it didn't feel like I was riding any harder! Psychologists call this the group effect.

We know the yellow jersey effect — when a rider dons the maillot jeune he feels stronger and rides better. In stage five of the 2004 Tour de France Thomas Voeckler was in a five-man breakaway that built up a 16-minute lead and finished 12:36 ahead of the peloton. Voeckler who had finished 119th in the 2003 TdF was suddenly in the yellow jersey 9:36 ahead of Lance Armstrong. Armstrong wasn't worried. He wanted someone else to wear the yellow jersey so his team the U.S. Postal wouldn't have to defend it. He'd get the jersey back in the mountains. Voeckler is French and overnight he became the hero of the French. In stage 10 the race entered the mountains and Voeckler was still in yellow. Day after day Voeckler rode beyond himself losing time every day but staying in yellow through stage 16. He rode beyond himself because of energy from the crowds, the audience effect. The home field advantage in team sports is another example of the audience effect.

In the 2011 TdF Voeckler surprised everyone but himself by taking the yellow jersey. Again he held onto it much longer than anyone else expected. Based on his 2004 TdF Voeckler knew in 2011 he could take the yellow jersey and defend it, the success effect.

The psychological mechanisms in the audience effect and success effect work the same way. The rider expects more of himself and performs better.

Psychologists' lab research substantiates that the group, audience and success effects are real and all change an athlete's perceived exertion. (How Badly Do You Want It?)

You're not racing in the peloton. How does all this relate to you on the trainer?

Change your perceived exertion (RPE)

For almost everyone riding the trainer feels harder than riding on the road and lab tests substantiate this.

You've been riding for decades on the road and have a good feel for what that's like on an endurance road ride your RPE is probably 2-3 on a 10-point scale, 2 cruising on the flats and 3 climbing or riding into a headwind. You get on the trainer, ride at an RPE of 2-3 and your heart rate is only 105. It feels like you're riding as hard as on the road but you are you really?

What to do?

Your muscles don't know how hard they are working. They send signals to your brain. At the same time your brain is getting signals from other parts of your body about how hot it is, etc. And you're thinking (at least subconsciously) how much you hate riding the trainer, how boring it is, etc. Your brain compiles all of this into an overall perception of how hard you are riding.

Here's an experiment to separate the different signals. When you are riding the trainer so it feels as hard as riding on the road, pay attention to where in your body it feels as hard. Do your legs feel like you're riding as hard as on the road? Are you breathing as hard?

Once you've dialed in your perceived exertion, your heart rate probably will be higher than 105 bpm but not all the way up to 120 bpm because you aren't using your upper body.

"If I increase the resistance to a higher level, I can’t push the pedals."

Based on your prior experience on the trainer it feels like you can ride at an RPE of 2-3 but can't ride harder ...  so you can't. What if you're self-expectation were different? You're not riding in a group or in front of a crowd but you can use the success effect. Get on the trainer and ride at the effort you usually do. Periodically for a minute or two increase the resistance slightly and back off. Or you can briefly ride one gear harder. These aren't intervals but experiments to learn successful riding at a slightly higher resistance. Heart rate lags changes in effort so your heart rate won't go up.

Over time gradually increase the time of the amounts of time at the harder resistance / higher gear.

I'm "not training myself for the road experience."

Riding well is the result of a number of factors, not just time on the bike. Here are:

Five ways to improve your cycling this winter

Your cycling and general health and fitness will improve if you include strength training, stretching and intensity training, not just riding simulated road miles.

Eli, I hope this helps answer your question. Have a good winter, which is really the pre-season to 2021. "Off-Season" sounds like taking a break from exercise.


My e-Book Productive Off-season Training for Health and Recreation has two 12-week programs for

  • Healthy Riders includes a weekly program of aerobic exercise, strength training you can do at home and stretching. The 12-week program starts at about 4 - 6 total hours a week and over 12 weeks builds to 5:15 - 7:15 hours a week. Cross training, indoor cycling, strength training and stretching are also explained.
  • Recreational Riders adds intensity training and training drills to the weekly program of aerobic exercise, strength and stretching. This 12-week program also starts at 4 - 6 total hours a week. It has more volume and over 12 weeks builds to 7 - 10 hours a week. Cross training, indoor cycling, strength training and stretching are explained.

The 28-page Productive Off-season Training for Health and Recreation is just $4.99.

My eBook Off-season Conditioning Past 50: 12 weeks to Greater Health and Fitness is divided into three parts:

  • Review of the physiological effects of aging.
  • Training modalities to combat these.
  • A 12-week off-season training program with a range of options.

The 12-week program's options include options for new riders, health and fitness riders, recreational riders, club and competitive riders, endurance riders and also riders with limited to train. The 12-week program starts at about 3:30 - 6:30 hours a week and over 12 weeks builds to 6 - 10 hours a week.

The 26-page Off-season Conditioning Past 50: 12 weeks to Greater Health and Fitness is just $4.99.

This article is 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.





Fred Kresse - Looking Back on Good Times

Eli Post

Fred Kresse was my first CRW friend, and I share his memories fondly. He and I go back many years, and I actually played a role in many of the recollections. Fred was born on 10-20-30. We won’t reveal his age, but you can do the math and see that he’s been around for a while.

I am sharing these reminiscences for several reasons. It is inspiring that some can ride long distances so late in life making biking a wonderful sport for older folks. Fred made significant contributions to the club and should be honored. Finally, many of Fred’s friends now have a reason to contact him and say hello.

I remember my first meeting with Fred. It was a Saturday CRW ride. The ride leader had selected a route out of a book of routes, but in the time since publication the area had been redeveloped and the original road network had been replaced. Navigation by the old cue sheet was impossible. Fred knew the area, led us on a spontaneously created route, and saved the day. We had coffee after and a friendship developed. Fred started riding with the club in the 50’s and developed countless friends over the years. Exercise is not the only benefit of club riding. 

Fred’s friends will remember his birthday rides where he rode the number of miles to equal his age. The law of diminishing returns applies to this concept and while age takes a toll on riding ability, that did not apply to Fred. He originally created a single loop for the birthday distance, but found that many could not do the entire length or did parts of the route creating logistical complications. Fred came up with the loop route concept. He created a nine mile loop, and friends could join at any time and do as many loops as they wished. His last birthday ride was in 2013 when he was 83. It was a 9-mile loop and he did nine loops plus a few extra miles. How many of you expect to do 83 miles in your early eighty’s? Fred is on the left joining friends for an after-ride coffee.

For many years, Fred was the sag wagon on the club’s century rides. Did he help you fix a flat or give you a water bottle to quench your thirst or were you the guy with cramps he brought back safely. Fred looks back at this volunteer effort as being “part of something wonderful”. That's Fred waving to you at a celebration for the former Saturday Morning Fitness ride.

Animals have unfortunately played a role in Fred’s biking. A dog ran into his front wheel resulting in a broken arm, actually shattered. On the other hand he remembers a friendly chipmunk who darted away and gave him safe passage.


Fred was a mentor to many. He assisted with the Rides Committee and initiated a Bike Shop Rep Program. I will credit Fred with getting me to volunteer with the club. He suggested one day we offer Introductory Rides to encourage new people to join, and we ran these rides successfully for several years. The concept stuck and continues to this day. Excerpt is from May 2001 WheelPeople.


Fred and I share several mutual friends, and I asked a few to contribute their thoughts. Uniformly they all praised Fred's character, and how much they enjoyed his company.

Rich Taylor saidI was a member of CRW for only a year or 2 when I ventured from Concord down south of Newton for a club ride. Fred was the leader. It was a nice pace and no one was hell bent for leather. Then he introduced me to the Saturday Morning Fitness Ride but told me to stay near the back of the pack as the speed demons blasted off. One thing he mentioned was that the SMFR had been run EVERY Saturday year round, so I could finally learn to ride in the cold with company. But the other side of Fred that my wife Alix and I enjoyed the most was that Fred loved to do carpentry and he was very fastidious (he cleaned up the sawdust). So we had lots of work for him to do on our 200 year old house in Concord and on our 50 year old condo in Lincoln. 

Ken Hablow added He was very helpful to me when I had to decide to continue with CTTC years ago.

Connie Farb and Mark Sevier have a longstanding relationship with FredWe got to know Fred when he painted the entire interior of our new house. Through that, we got to experience his good nature and sense of humor. Mark decided we needed to install an air conditioner in the house so that it would be comfortable for Fred and place it at the very peak of the house. Mark got on a super tall ladder and lugged this very heavy unit up there. Fred witnessed this and ratted on Mark, telling me about this dangerous duty. Fred said something like ‘if Mark falls, I could try to catch him on his way down, but my hands are sweaty and he’d probably just slip through and maybe take me with him, so I might just watch him go on by." We all got a good laugh about that. I sometimes came home to find little presents hidden in the house - a poem, a hand-written ‘certificate’ of some kind or a funny, clever saying. Fred is really quite a wit! He also helped us with a couple of concrete pours for the house. If you’ve never worked with concrete, you can’t appreciate just what hard, heavy work that is. Many people half Fred’s age wouldn’t have agreed to do it, no less done such a good job so cheerfully. Overall, Fred is one remarkable man.

We showed Fred a draft of this article. He responded:I love these memories.....such a rich part of my life. It's caused me  to rummage around with pleasure in the memory basket." Fred doesn’t ride much these days, and misses the camaraderie, but looks back at a rewarding life experience that club riding brought to him. If you want to say hello, contact him at fred.kresse [at] gmail.com





January 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.Enjoy our monthly virtual film fest.

Italian Alps Virtual Bike Tour 
Braving the cold days on your bike is one way to enjoy the winter, but for those with an exercise bike, enjoy this video of the phenomenally beautiful bike path along Lake Resia and surrounding areas in the South Tyrol region of the Italian alps. 31 Mins.
Danny MacAskill Explores Scotland
Norman The Cycling Sheepdog
It's generally understood that it's a bad idea to bike with your dog running along beside you. But Norman the Sheepdog didn't want to be left out of the fun and found a solution. He can also probably herd more sheep per day now. 1 Min.



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.



My Life in a Helmet

Dr. Ed Gross

I can’t say I was born atop two wheels, but I have been bicycle-obsessed for many years. A college roommate owned a 10-speed Bianchi and was generous (or devilish) enough to let me get on it in 1961 and so it began. A few years later, I was a confirmed enthusiast and advocate. I lived in Cambridge and at that time few bicycle tires could long survive the glass-littered streets of our cities. A lack of incentive in the form of bottle deposits was enough to make a huge difference in the risks of riding.

 After a few years as a medical research assistant, I was accepted to BU Medical School (BUSM, not BUMS) where I continued bicycling to my daily work, now in the classroom. I enjoyed riding from my apartment in Belmont, and on arrival, in the security of an elevator car, stripping off my grubby bicycling clothes so that I could assume my SuperPowers and SuperCostume as--- DoctorMan!

 One day in 1967 I received a message in my mailbox from the Dean, Dr. Franklin G. Ebaugh, requesting that I make an appointment to see him. I was duly alarmed. Had he overheard my disrespectful remarks, something I never was short of? Was I flunking out (it didn’t look that way in my reports)? Was he unhappy about the daily DoctorMan transition? So I did as he requested and got a pleasant surprise.

 Ebaugh: “I’ve seen you riding down Mass. Ave and on other streets. Do you do this a lot?” Gross: “Yes, just about every day except in snow and ice, and for fun on weekends.”

 Ebaugh: “I have a proposal for you. We are investing a great deal to get you trained as a physician. Let’s protect that head with a helmet.”

 Gross: “I don’t know of any helmet for bicycle riders.”

 Ebaugh: “A hockey helmet would be somewhat protective.”

 Gross: “I’m certainly willing to try that. I don’t know much about hockey.”

 Ebaugh “I have a hockey helmet I am willing to lend. That ought to fit or be adjusted to your head. And here’s the rest of the bargain: You wear the helmet and I will provide you with a secure parking spot -- just outside my office there’s a spot inside a fence. You get a key to that spot and you help spread the word about helmets for bicycle riders.”

 Gross: “Thank you! That’s very generous of you.”

 Ebaugh: “You’re quite welcome and your safety is worth protecting.”

This conversation changed me. Here was someone for whom I had the utmost respect and he wanted people to wear dweeb helmets. In the next few years the idea became more accepted and the hairy-chested wheelman saw his headers for what they were: self-inflicted wounds and, at worst, brain breakers.

 I went on to finish med school with my head intact. One collision, during the last few months of school, with a nearly stationary car turning across my lane on Mass. Ave was enough to further confirm my preventive urge. After med school I had my internship year in LA, where I learned about curb-to-curb storm drains with only a ruined bike frame and front wheel to show for it. After a year in LA, I had a year of training in Boston and then an assignment to the CDC in Atlanta, as a US Public Health Service officer.

 Atlanta was just beginning to be the urbane Southern capital it is today, and an increased popularity of bicycling was part of this transformation. I was among the first 10 members of the Southern Bicycle League, a group that toured the region’s picturesque communities and woodlands. Our founding members included a journalist who told us about the places we rode to, elevating the experience with interviews and local lore. Helmets got a good push here when an unfortunate rider had a large tree branch fall on him as he rode through the campus of Emory University.

The following year, 1972, saw the introduction of the first bike-specific helmet, from MSR -- Mountain Safety Research. MSR made it clear that they didn’t trust REI, which remains in the business. MSR offered alternative equipment -- ice axes, helmets, crampons, etc., which they claimed were better designed and produced than REI’s, which dominated the field in the US. MSR made a mountaineering helmet that used deformable metal links (between the headband and shell) to absorb unwanted energy from falls and blows, but the helmet was heavy and the air holes howled at speeds around 12 MPH. The same year, the Bell Biker made its appearance. Funny looking to some, but apparently protective, light, and quiet. This gave me something to promote. During my second year in Atlanta, where my research was mostly about Rocky Mountain spotted fever and leprosy, I joined the Charles River Wheelmen -- hundreds of miles away -- and immediately took on the safety efforts, now including a tangible goal: get all our riders to wear helmets.

Years later, when I was a practicing physician, I realized that it was a significant expense for a parent to buy a helmet that, given a child’s growth, would fit only for a year or two. I assembled a small inventory of helmets to lend to patients. Few were ever returned but I could hope they were used to protect another generation of cyclists.


Long shadows

John Allen

Low sun can be a problem year-round, but more often when daylight is shorter. It will be a while till the return of daylight-saving time gives us some evening sunlight. And in midwinter, when the sun doesn’t rise very high, it takes longer  to rise and set.

A simple rule helps to evaluate the risk: if your long shadow points toward someone, that person could have trouble seeing you. The photo illustrates the difficulty seeing a rider at dusk. Photo credit: American Bicycling Education Assocation

If the long shadow points forward, one positive thing I can say is that you can see ahead well. Also, drivers behind you can see you. But you can be hidden in sun glare for people ahead of you, increasing the risk of a motorist’s cutting across your path.  Exercise caution. If you can adjust your speed so as not to pass a driveway or intersection at the same time a vehicle is approaching ahead, that would be good.

Also when the sun is low behind you, looking to the rear can be difficult. Sometimes my helmet-mounted rear-view mirror just glares the sun into my eye. Fortunately, this only happens over a narrow range of angles. But it does suggest more caution with lane changes.

Low sun ahead is a problem for your seeing, and for that of motorists behind you. You can avoid the glare most of the time with a visor on your helmet, or even by tilting down you head so the helmet brim hides the sun.

A motorist also needs to use a visor, and I find myself repeatedly making small adjustments to mine when I am driving into the sun. I’m not sure that all motorists are as conscientious about this.

Difficult lighting can justify the use of bright, flashing lights on your bicycle. Just make sure that they will also be suitable for nighttime use – steady headlight illuminating the road, rather than glaring into people’s eyes. Changing the timing of  your trip 15 minutes either way, or choosing a different route, may avoid the worst of the low-sun problem.

Be safe out there!

John Allen is CRW Safety Coordinator.



Custom Cues

Eli Post

Ride With GPS has many features which escape the eye, but which could come in handy in given situations. One of these features is “custom cues” which can alert riders to points of interest that would ordinarily not appear on the automatically generated cue sheet. This feature has value for ride leaders and anyone planning a route that friends might use. Note that this is a feature that needs a premium paid account or ride leader access to the CRW account.

Let’s provide an example when a custom clue is useful. Suppose the ride start is a parking area with no mapped roads. You will not be able to use the “follow the road” tool, but you can insert a custom cue “turn left into parking area” to guide riders. Or you might wish to warn “start long climb” or “beware of train tracks”. Details for working with custom cues are here  https://ridewithgps.com/help/edit-cue-sheet and these are the main steps:

  • When in edit mode, click “custom cue” in the right side panel.
  • Click on the route where you want to insert the custom cue.
  • Fill in the information and “save”.You can also customize any of the automatically generated cues."Left onto Main Street" could become "Left onto Main Street by the Dunkin."

It’s that simple and you have enhanced your cue sheet to provide for a more informative and likely safer ride. Also the custom cue will sound when using voice navigation.





January Updates

WheelPeople Editors
Winter Ride Challenge - The Challenge is on and to add a ride between January 1 thru March 31, please go here https://www.crw.org/node/9310
Town Ride collections - There may be days in January warm enough to ride and the Town collections are available for you www.crw.org/route-collection-panel-page

Should You Breathe Through Your Nose or Your Mouth When You Exercise?

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

Just about everyone with an unobstructed nose will breathe through their nose when at rest or during casual activities, but most people will breathe through their mouth during exercise. The more intensely you exercise, the more likely that you will have to breathe through your mouth because you may not be able to get enough air through your nose to feel comfortable (Respiration Physiology, 1983;53(1):129–133).

Possible Advantages of Breathing Through Your Nose
Why would you even consider trying to control whether you breathe through your mouth or your nose? Compared to mouth breathing, nasal breathing:
• helps to filter out pollutants
• helps to filter germs
• adds moisture to the air you breathe
• heats the air you breathe
• may reduce asthma attacks in people who suffer from exercise-induced asthma.

Nasal Breathing Takes Practice
You can breathe far more air into your lungs through your mouth than you can breathe through your nose. You can exercise intensely when you breathe just through your nose, but you will need to practice (PNAS, May 19, 2015;112(20):6425-6430).
• How intensely you can exercise depends on how fast oxygen can pass from red blood cells into muscle cells.
• The cells lining your nose and sinuses release large amounts of a gas called nitric oxide while the cells lining your mouth and throat do not (Nat Med, 1995;1:370–373).
• Breathing through your nose releases far larger amounts of nitric oxide, which specifically widens the very small blood vessels next to muscles to bring the red blood cells closer to muscle cells, to increase markedly the rate that oxygen passes from red blood cells to muscle cells.

One study showed that with training, you can get enough air while breathing through your nose to exercise at up to 85 percent of your maximum capacity (Int J of Kinesiology and Sports Sci, Apr 30, 2018;6(2):22). Ten recreational runners practiced nasal breathing during exercise for six months and when they breathed through their noses while exercising at up to 85 percent of their maximal capacity, they had the same:
• time to exhaustion,
• maximal capacity to take in and use oxygen (VO2max), and
• peak lactate levels. (Lactate levels increase when you don’t get enough oxygen).
Nasal breathing brought in the same maximal amount of oxygen as mouth breathing, but nasal breathing markedly reduced:
• respiratory rate (breaths per minute), and
• ratio of oxygen intake to carbon dioxide output.

Nasal Breathing May Help with Exercise-Induced Asthma
People who have exercise-induced asthma may benefit from nasal breathing when they exercise. Within minutes after starting to exercise, they often suffer wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, a tight chest, decreased endurance, or a sore throat. These symptoms are usually caused by breathing dry and cold air (Allergy, 2013;68:1343–1352). Practicing nasal breathing for several months can help to decrease asthma attacks (Clinical Allergy, 1981;11(5):433-9). However, nasal breathing has been shown to hinder performance of elite athletes who suffer from exercise-induced asthma (British J of Sprts Med, 2012;46:413-416).

My Recommendations
• Most people can learn to breathe comfortably through their noses during intense exercise if they want to (International J of Ex Sci, 2017;10(4):506-514), but nasal breathing is not recommended for competitive athletes since it is likely to reduce their maximum exercise intensity (Australian J of Sci and Med, 1995;(273):512-55).

• You don’t need to breathe through your nose when you exercise in very cold weather. Your nose warms the air much more than your mouth does, but exercise causes your body to produce such large amounts of heat that air taken through your mouth at 40 degrees below zero Fahrenheit during exercise will be warmed almost 100 degrees before it reaches your lungs. Breathing air that cold would burn your nose so much that you would quickly lose interest in exercising and seek shelter.

• Your nose clears pollutants far more efficiently than your mouth does, but people with healthy lungs can exercise safely using mouth-breathing on mildly polluted days. Your air tubes are lined with small hairs, called cilia, that sweep pollutants towards your mouth where you swallow them with your saliva and they pass from your body. However, breathing heavily polluted air when you exercise can damage your lungs, whether you use your mouth or your nose. Air quality experts tell us that if you can see ash or smell smoke, stay indoors with windows and doors closed.

• If you want to try nasal breathing, you may find that commercially-available nasal strips that fit over the bridge of your nose make it easier and more comfortable.

• The bottom line is that you can breathe through either your mouth or your nose during exercise. Do whatever feels most natural for you.

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




This article is courtesy of Dr. Mirkin https://www.drmirkin.com/

Article https://www.drmirkin.com/fitness/8829.html



The Athlete's Kitchen - The Quest for Thinness

The Athlete’s Kitchen - The Quest for Thinness

Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD Nov 2020

Many athletes have engraved this message into their brains: The lighter I am, the better I will perform. While lugging around excess flab can indeed slow you down, many dieting athletes are already lean for their genetics—yet may yearn to be even leaner. These tenacious dieters overlook the fact that weight is more than a matter of willpower, and ask:

•What is wrong with my diet? For all the exercise I do, I should be pencil-thin by now. What should I be eating to lose weight…?

• Why am I not losing weight? Am I eating too much … or too little?

• When I first lost weight, I got faster and set PRs. Now, I just get injury after injury. Do you think that’s because of my diet?

If any of this sounds familiar, keep reading.

 Weight-conscious athletes must remember they need to “nourish to flourish.” Denying the body of food denies it of valuable fuel and nutrients. Athletes in sports focusing on leanness or weight classes get stuck between a rock and a hard place. Speaking at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition (FNCE), Mary Jane De Souza PhD and Nancy Williams ScD, Penn. State University professors renowned for their research with female athletes, presented information that can help us learn why the quest for a lighter body commonly backfires into injuries and health issues that take a toll. Here are some key points to ponder:

• You can only perform at your best if you are fueled at your best. You cannot reach peak performance when you are poorly fed. While some athletes might improve in the initial stages of weight loss, extended food restriction can lead to injuries as the body breaks down and lacks nutrients to heal quickly. Athletes with a high drive for thinness might set PRs – until they get stress fractures, torn ligaments, or a cascade of other muscle and bone injuries.

• Your body needs fuel, not only to perform optimally, but also to function (pump blood, make hormones, grow hair, etc.). The energy needed to stay alive—your resting metabolic rate (RMR)—accounts for about 60 to 70% of all that you eat. You do not have to exercise to deserve to eat!

• When energy availability is low, the body initiates a dangerous cascade of adaptations that lowers one’s RMR, curbs growth, and hinders reproduction. Women can stop having regular menstrual periods, and men can experience a drop in libido and sperm quality/motility. Both males and females need to eat enough to support normal body functions as well as their exercise.

• Historically, female athletes thought loss of menses (amenorrhea) was a sign of training “hard enough” and being “lean enough” to be a successful competitor. We now know that amenorrhea means a 2 to 4 times higher risk of getting stress fractures (as compared to female athletes with regular menstrual periods). Athletes who experience one stress fracture are at high risk for getting more stress fractures.  The combination of an energy imbalance and altered hormonal status contributes to reduced bone density and culminates in stress fractures now, and osteoporosis in the future.

• Weight-conscious male cross-country runners, cyclists, and jockeys commonly have low bone density, similar to that seen in female athletes. Their bone injuries can often be linked to eating disorders. Yes, male athletes get eating disorders just like women do, though males, as compared to females, require a more severe energy deficit before bone and reproductive problems occur.

• Bone loss in the spine and hip can be 2.5% per year if left unchecked. Bone loss is slow to recover and not all reductions in bone density are reversible. Nutrition strategies to improve bone health include eating more food/calories, consuming a calcium-rich food at least 2 to 3 times a day, and boosting vitamin D if blood levels are low.

• To resolve the energy imbalance, athletes want to increase their food intake by at least 350 calories/day. This additional fuel can reverse the negative changes in men within a week, whereas in women, resuming menses can take months. Active women who eat more and still do not get a period for six months should consult with a reproductive endocrinologist to rule out any medical reasons for the amenorrhea.

• Failing to consume enough calories can happen intentionally (with dieting) or unintentionally (with “eating only healthy foods”). Hunger can be inadequate to cue an adequate intake. So how can you tell if you are undereating? Energy deficiency can be difficult to identify because an under-fueled athlete can be weight-stable. The body simply conserves energy, which stops fat loss. That’s when athletes start to wonder: Am I overeating or undereating? If under-eating, surely the athlete would be losing fat, right? No. Nature wants to protect athletes from starving themselves to death.

• Measuring energy balance is challenging and fraught with error. Counting calories and tracking how many calories you burned off with exercise can get obsessive and is generally inaccurate in that you have to account for your non-exercise calories. That is, after exercising for two-hours, do you then become a “sedentary athlete” for the rest of the day as you watch NetFlix?

• Getting your RMR measured is one way to assess if you are eating enough. A simpler method is to notice if you are always cold, hungry, and thinking about food all day. If yes, and not losing body fat, you could easily be undereating. Experiment with eating more, to learn if feel warmer, less hungry, and are no longer thinking about food all the time.

The bottom line: When striving to lose weight to perform at your best, keep in mind health needs to be your most important goal. Without healthy bones and normal hormone levels, you cannot be the best athlete you want to be. You might be able to perform well at a lower-than-normal weight for a season or two but not for the long run. The best athlete is genetically gifted, well trained, and well fed. The website femaleandmaleathletetriad.org offers more information. 

Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). Her Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 6th Edition (2019) can help you be lean, fit and healthy. For more information about consults, books, and teaching tools, visit NancyClarkRD.com





January Picture of the Month

Alex Post
We miss the weekend rides that drew lots of riders, and where all manner of bikes dominated the scene. However the typical CRW scene of yesteryear does not compare to Ragbrai, the ride across Iowa, which had over 10,000 riders. The photo is from Ragbrai 2018.

Photo by Alex Post











Year-End Mileage Reporting for the Hangin' In List

Jack Donohue
The "Hangin' In" list includes members who have reported their mileage for at least five years.  To be included in the list, you must submit your year-end mileage through December 2020.  It doesn't matter if you didn't ride in December, we can only know that the mileage in the database is your total for the year if you enter it for December.  Just go to the online mileage page as usual and enter your miles for the month or zero if you didn't ride, or just enter your total for the year.  The statistics will be compiled from the current data on January 5, so you need to enter your mileage before that date.
The ins and outs of reporting mileage to CRW is explained HERE.
Ken Hablow provided a mileage calendar pdf file which you may find convenient, and are free to use. https://wpp.crw.org/mileage/BikeLog2021.pdf