February 2021 WheelPeople


Club Insurance

Amy Wilson

We Got You Covered! –A Glimpse into Your CRW Insurance  

Did you know as a club member, we have liability and medical insurance available to you if you have an unfortunate accident while on a CRW sponsored bike ride?  While we have proven to be a very safe group of riders, this is a benefit we want to ensure all our members understand just a bit better.  

A portion of your membership dues goes towards this coverage and helps provide you financial safeguards while you ride with us.  The Club’s medical coverage is a supplemental coverage policy, which pays after a member’s primary and secondary coverages have paid, or in the event a member is uninsured. The limits for the medical coverage are between $5,000 and $25,000 depending on the specific circumstances.   

Some specific events, for example the CRW Centuries, need special event coverage, especially when non-members are riding and/or we are charging for the event. The medical coverage for this type of event is similar to the Club insurance with slightly different limits.   

In the unlikely event you are liable for damages, either physical damage or medical coverage of others involved in an accident you caused, there may be additional provisions to help defray these costs to you personally.  

The Proverbial Fine Print: 

Not all CRW rides on the calendar are covered by Club insurance.  A common annotation next to a ride is: “Not covered by Club Insurance”.   These rides do not meet the criteria for a club insured ride.  What is a CRW official club ride? There are several factors, and they can be summarized as follows: 

  • Safety Rules are reviewed 
  • The ride has a leader who has been trained by CRW 
  • All participants have signed a waiver of liability 
  • You are a CRW member
  • One “try-out” ride is allowed prior to joining CRW 
  • A rider roster was maintained of the ride. Specifically, a rider who files a claim must be “traceable” to having attended the ride and their waiver of liability is on file. This can be done through online signup.  

Club insurance is a member benefit, and we hope that you will help us by making sure frequent riders are club members and that all safety rules are followed. Questions, please contact Amy Wilson, CRW VP for Finance at Treasurer [at] CRW.org or Mary Kernan, VP for Rides, mary.kernan [at] gmail.com

Amy Wilson is Treasurer of CRW.



Amazon Smile

Amy Wilson

Amazon has a little known program where they donate a percentage of your purchases to your favorite charity, all at no cost to you. Their match is 0.5% (that’s ½ of 1%) of your eligible purchases. They claim they have already donated $237 million as a consequence of this program.

We are letting you know about Amazon Smile as CRW is a Section 501c3 under Federal law, was approved by the IRS as a charitable organization, and is therefore an eligible charity under Amazon rules. In Amazon’s words: “The AmazonSmile program offers customers the benefit of making a donation to your favorite charity. We're able to provide this benefit to you when you choose to start your shopping at smile.amazon.com or with AmazonSmile turned ON in the Amazon Shopping app on your mobile phone, in part because we expect AmazonSmile to grow primarily through word of mouth instead of paid advertising—and this enables us to fund donations to our customers’ favorite organizations.

Signup is easy and we hope you select Charles River Wheelers. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, eligible purchases are automatically assigned to your selected charity. We note that as of mid-January, CRW contributions reached $56.88, not a large sum but a start. If you have any questions about Amazon Smile, feel free to amybarnumwilson [at] gmail.com (email )me. 


Can I Bicycle in the Winter?

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. Photos are courtesy of Ride Headquarters, Sherborn,MA.

Will asks, “I started riding this year and really enjoy it. I’d like to keep riding this winter but a trainer sounds boring. Is it reasonable to ride outside in winter?”

Coach Hughes: Take it from a Coloradoan. Yes you can ride outside and with proper gear you can enjoy it.




Some hardy riders think that there’s no such thing as bad weather just bad gear. You don’t have to go that far, but picking the right clothing will make a big difference.

  • Loose clothing. Dry still air provides the insulation so wear loose clothes.
  • Layers. Different layers serve different purposes. They also allow you to adjust your clothing as conditions change.
  • Upper body. On your upper body start with a base layer to wick away your sweat so you don’t get chilled. Wear a short or long sleeve underwear made of silk or man-made fibers. Next wear one or more insulating layers, such as a heavy jersey or a vest. Finally a wind breaker or rain coat depending on conditions.
  • Knees. These have poor circulation and injure easily so keep them covered if it’s below 60F (15C).
  • Legs. Depending on conditions, in addition to cycling shorts you can wear knee warmers, tights, knee warmers under your tights or thicker warmer tights.
  • Head. Your scalp has lots of blood flow so your head chills easily. Wearing something on your head makes a big difference. Depending on conditions wear a skull cap or cap that covers your ears. You could also cover the ventilation holes in your helmet.
  • Hands. On your hands wear glove liners under your cycling gloves. If it’s colder insulated split finger (lobster claw) mittens made for cycling are a good choice. Your hands stay warmer because your index and second fingers are in one half of the mittens and your third and fourth fingers are in the other half. The lobster claw design allows you to use the index and second fingers to shift and brake easily.
  • Feet. Start with thicker socks and loosen your shoes enough so your socks aren’t compressed. If your feet are still cold get booties but not the very tight racing booties. Another option is to put on flat pedals and ride with winter boots.
  • Chemical heat packets. When activated these produce lots of heat for your hands or feet. Wear gloves or socks between the heat packets and your skin so you don’t get burned.
  • Cotton. Don’t wear cotton, which will stay damp instead of wicking away your sweat.
  • Start out cool. As you ride you’ll warm up so start with the clothing you’ll want then.
  • Pack extra clothing. Conditions change so carry an extra insulating layer, warmer gloves and a warmer hat. 

Drew Boure at Bouré Bicycle Clothing in Durango, CO makes excellent cycling clothing for summer and winter as well as clothing for cross-country skiing. I’ve been wearing Drew’s gear for over 30 years. I particularly like his thermal vests and jackets with pockets on the back.

Here’s more information on what to wear in the winter.



You burn more calories in the winter staying warm so you need to eat more. You still sweat so you also need to drink. If you are commuting or riding for fitness for up to an hour, then nutrition isn’t much of an issue. Just eat and drink before and after you ride. For longer rides nutrition and hydration are different. Here’s how to stoke the inner furnace.

Calories of carbs per hour.

Just like in the summer you should eat primarily carbs with a little bit of fat and protein. In the winter based on the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations here are the amount of carbohydrates you should eat every hour based on your weight.

  • 120 lbs (54kg) 100 – 150 calories per hour of carbs
  • 150 lbs (68kg) 150 – 200 calories per hour of carbs
  • 180 lbs (82kg) 200 – 250 calories per hour of carbs

For longer rides eat toward the upper end of the ranges.


Eating this many calories every hour isn’t hard in the summer. Just pull something from your jersey pocket, peel the wrapper and eat it. But in the winter your jersey is buried under several layers. Here are some suggestions.

  • Small handlebar or top tube bag. Snacks are more accessible in a front bag than from a jersey pocket or a seat bag.
  • Quick stops. Make your stops quick so you don’t start to chill. Just put your foot down, get out a snack, open it and start riding.
  • Soft food. Your favorite bar in the summer may be rock hard in the cold. I eat soft cookies like fig newtons. Three newtons are about 165 total calories with 135 calories from carbs. A jelly sandwiches (two slices bread and two tbsp. jelly) is about 250 total calories and about 90% carbs. Add two tbsp. peanut butter to the sandwich and the total calories increase by about 190 calories but carbs increase by only 25 calories. A large blueberry muffin is about 375 total calories with 265 calories from carbs. Gels have no performance advantage but are easy to eat even when it’s cold. A typical gel has 100-125 calories almost all from carbs.
  • Keep food warm. Another option is keep your food in a jersey pocket under several layers of clothing. This requires slightly longer stops to get out food eat.
  • Rewrap food. Food sold in a wrapper is harder to deal with in the cold. Just unwrap it and put it in a plastic bag.
  • Longer stops. It’s almost impossible to eat enough calories per hour on the bike in the winter. Every few hours take a break to eat and drink more.
  • Multi-task. You’ll probably stop to adjust your clothing so eat, too.
  • Gloves liners. If it’s pretty cold your fingers may get cold while eating.



While your caloric requirements increase in the cold, your hydration requirements decrease, although you still need some fluid. Just drink enough that you aren’t thirsty.

  • Hot drinks. Hot coffee or tea, hot chocolate or a warm sports drink are a treat and may provide some of your calories. And they don’t freeze as fast.
  • Insulated bottles. An insulated bottle keeps your hot drinks hot and keeps other drinks from freezing.  You can either get an insulated bottle that fits into your regular cage or you can get a larger insulated bottle and adjustable cage.
  • Hydration pack. Some small hydration packs will fit under your coat. Keep the tubing and valve inside your coat to keep from freezing.

Here’s more information on what to eat and drink:



You can ride your regular road bike in the winter with some useful modifications:

  • Fenders. Clip on fenders keep both you and the rider behind you drier.
  • Winter wheels. Because wheels are the contact points with all of the road grime if you can get afford it get an inexpensive set of robust wheels rather than using your high end wheels.
  • Winter tires. Some tires are made especially for winter.
  • Wider softer tires. So you have better traction use wider tires designed to run at lower pressure.
  • Check tire pressure. Always check the tire pressure before every ride.
  • Puncture resistant tires and tubes. Change your tires and/or put sealant in the tubes.
  • Studded tires. If you’re hard core these allow you to ride when it’s icy.
  • Flat pedals. These are the simplest way to keep your feet warm because you can wear winter boots.
  • Yaktrax. These fit over your boots and provide traction when it’s icy.
  • Gear bags. Even during a ride of just a few hours, conditions can change so you need a pack to carry extra clothes and with extra room to pack some of the clothes you start out wearing if it warms up.
    • Richard Stum at eogear makes a modular set bags that have been tested by endurance cyclists for hundreds of thousands of miles. I use his small seat bag in the summer. His larger bag compresses and expands as needed, which I find quite useful in the winter.
  • Clean your bike. After every ride do a quick basic clean. Lon Haldeman runs cross-country bike tours at PAC Tour and each day has equipment set up to clean bikes. Here he explains how to clean your bike in less than two minutes.

Here’s more information on equipment from Jim Langley and RBR readers:


These are John's relevant eBooks:

(1) Productive Off-Season Training for Health and Recreational Riders  is $4.99 and has two 12-week programs for:

  1. Healthy Riders, which includes a weekly program of aerobic exercise, strength training you can do at home and stretching. The 12-week program starts at four to six total hours a week and over 12 weeks builds to 5:15 – 7:15 hours a week. Cross training, indoor cycling, core strength training and stretching are also explained.
  2. 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 about four to six total hours a week. It has more volume and over 12 weeks builds to 7 – 10 hours a week. Cross training, indoor cycling, core strength training and stretching are explained.
(2) Off-Season Conditioning Past 50: 12 Weeks to Greater Health and Fitness is $4.99 and is divided into three parts:
  1. Review of the physiological effects of aging.
  2. Training modalities to combat these.
  3. A 12-week off-season training program with a range of options

The basic 12-week program has options to tailor it 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. 

(3) Year Round Cycling: How to Extend Your Cycling Season

You can ride in the winter to build fitness for the summer, to manage your weight, to get more outdoor exercise to combat the winter blues, to commute because it’s green and inexpensive and to have fun! I explain how to fit winter training into your overall cycling year, techniques for riding in winter conditions and more information on nutrition, clothing and equipment. The 15-page Year Round Cycling is $4.99.


The Athlete's Kitchen - The ABC's of Sports Nutrition

Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD Feb 2021

Believe it or not, eating a good sports diet can be simple. Yet too many athletes have created a complex and confusing eating program with good and bad foods, lots of rules, and plenty of guilt. Let’s get back to the basics and enjoy performance-enhancing fueling with these simple ABC’s for winning nutrition.

Appreciate the power of food and the positive impact it has on athletic performance. Also notice the negative impact of hunger on your mood, ability to focus, and energy. As an athlete, you are either fueling up or refueling. Every meal and snack has a purpose; be responsible!

Breakfast: eat it within three hours of waking for a high-energy day. If you are not hungry in the morning, trade evening snacks with little nutritional value for a wholesome morning meal. Alternatively, eat that wholesome morning meal at night, in place of the snacky foods.

Carbohydrates are the preferred source of muscle fuel for hard exercise. Do not “stay away from” pasta, potato, bread, bagels and other starchy foods that have wrongly been deemed fattening but actually help keep muscles well fueled. Serious athletes who minimize carb intake risk having poorly fueled muscles.

Dehydration needlessly slows you down, so plan to drink extra fluid 45 to 90 minutes before a hard workout. That’s how much time the kidneys require to process fluid. Schedule time to tank up, urinate the excess, and then drink again soon before you start to exercise.

Energy bars are more about convenience than necessity. Bananas, raisins, Fig Newtons and granola bars offer convenient fuel at a fraction of the price. If you prefer pre-wrapped bars, choose ones made with wholesome ingredients such as dried fruits, nuts, and whole grains.

Foods fortified with iron can help non-meat eaters and vegetarians reduce their risk of becoming anemic. Iron-fortified breakfast cereals, such as raisin bran, Grape-Nuts and Wheaties offer more iron than all-natural brands with no added iron, such as Kashi, old-fashioned oats, and granola.

Gatorade and other sports drinks are designed to be used by athletes during extended exercise, not as a mealtime beverage or snack. Most foods contain far more electrolytes than in sports drinks.

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar, as characterized by light-headedness, fatigue, and inability to concentrate) is preventable. To eliminate 4:00 p.m. low blood sugar, enjoy a hearty mid-afternoon snack.

I ntermittent fasting might offer health benefits for an overfat, under-fit, sedentary person, but it is not designed for athletes. Extended time without food puts your body into muscle-breakdown mode.

J unk food can fit into your sports diet in small amounts. That is, you don't have to have a “perfect diet” to have an excellent diet. The goal is 90% quality foods and, if desired, 10% fun foods.

Keto, Paleo and other fad reducing diets “work” because they limit calorie intake. But when dieters escape from food-jail, backlash takes its toll. Your better bet:  Learn how to eat appropriately, not diet restrictively.

L ifting weights is key to building muscles. Carbohydrates provide the energy needed to lift heavy weights. To support muscular growth, choose carbohydrate-based meals with a side of protein, as opposed to protein-based meals with minimal carbs.

Muscles store carbohydrate (grains, fruits, veggies) as glycogen. When replenishing depleted glycogen to prevent needless fatigue, muscles store about 3 ounces of water with each one ounce of carb. Hence, an athlete might gain 2 to 4 pounds of (water) weight when refueling on a rest day.

Nutrient-dense whole foods are so much better for your health than ultra-processed foods. By satiating your appetite with hearty breakfasts and lunches, you’ll curb your desire for afternoon and evening chips, cookies, instant meals, and other highly processed foods—and may not even miss them!

Obsessed about food and weight? If you spend too much time thinking about what or what not to eat, meeting with a sports dietitian (RD CSSD) can help you stop the struggle. Eating should be simple.

Protein is an important part of a sports diet; it helps build and repair muscles after hard workouts—but it does not refuel muscles. A recovery drink should offer three times more carbs than protein. Choose a fruit smoothie (made with Greek yogurt) instead of a low-carb protein shake.

Q uality nutrition is best found in natural foods. Be sure there are more apple cores and banana peels than energy bar wrappers and ultra-processed food packages in your waste basket.

Rest is an important part of a training program; your muscles need time to heal and refuel. Plan one or two days with little or no exercise per week. Expect to feel just as hungry on rest days as on exercise days; your muscles need food to replenish depleted glycogen stores.

Sweet cravings are a sign you've gotten too hungry. Experiment with eating enough breakfast and lunch to feel satiated; don’t stop eating just because you think you should. You'll have more energy in the afternoon, better workouts—and far less desire for sweets and treats later in the day.

Thinner does not equate to performing better if the cost of being thinner is skimpy meals and poorly fueled muscles.  Initially a lighter athlete might set some PRs, but stress fractures and injuries will ultimately take a toll. The better bet: focus on being well-fueled and powerful.

U rine that is dark colored and smelly indicates a need to drink more fluid (this includes coffee, yogurt and watery foods). Well hydrated athletes have pale-colored urine and urinate every 2 to 4 hours.

Vegetarian athletes who do not eat meat should include plant-protein at each meal and snack. Peanut butter on a bagel, hummus with pita, and beans in chili are just a few suggestions.

Weight is more than a matter of will power; genetics plays a role. Forcing your body to be too thin is abusive.

Xtra vitamins are best found the all-natural way: in dark colorful vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, peppers, tomatoes and carrots, or in fresh fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, strawberries and kiwi. Chow down!

Yes, even you can optimally fuel your engines. The trick is to prevent hunger. When too hungry, you'll likely grab the handiest (but not the healthiest) food around. Experiment with front-loading your calories.

Zippy and zingy--that's how you'll feel when you fuel with premium nutrition. Eat well and enjoy your high energy!


For personalized nutrition help, consult with a registered dietitian (RD) who is a board certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD). Use the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org to find your local food coach. 

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) counsels both casual and competitive athletes in her private practice in Newton, MA (617-795-1875). Her bestselling Sports Nutrition Guidebook is available at www.nancyclarkrd.com.






Hangin' In List

Jack Donohue

The "Hangin' In" list includes members who have reported their yearly mileage for at least five years (details HERE),

In 2020, Melinda is back on top with 13611 miles but Cory is nipping at her heels with 13193.  That's a lot of miles!  

Pamela has been concentrating on vertical miles, logging more than a million feet of elevation gain, 1,129,278 feet to be exact.

Rich Taylor is still the sole member of the century club (100 mile rides each month of the year), but we have a few members of the metric century club (100km rides each month of the year): Pamela, Rich, Bruce Ingle and new member Lisa Weissmann.

The 10K Club (10,000 miles or more) is getting crowded with Melinda, Cory, Pamela, and new members Marc Baskin and Ed Olhava.  Good job!

As a group, we did a tad better than last year, logging in 357429 miles versus 343095 last year despite the pandemic, maybe because of the pandemic.  There's only so much time you can spend in your pajamas.  Thanks to all who contributed.

Here are the 2020 details:

Name Miles M C
Melinda Lyon 13611    
Cory Maxemino 13193 9  
Pamela Blalock 12085 12 2
Marc Baskin 10133 8 6
Ed Olhava 10049 2  
Jack Donohue 9549    
Greg Stathis 9524 11  
Bruce Ingle 9227 12 3
Harriet Fell 8273 3  
Joe Hagan 8225 9 1
Lindy King 8137    
Doug Cohen 7508    
Steve Robins 7461    
Neal Schuster 7116 8 2
Jeffrey Orlin 6862 10 3
Jerry Skurla 6013    
Lisa Weissmann 5848 12  
Arthur Berg 5817    
Jeffrey Zaveloff 5815 7 3
Henry Marcy 5638 2  
Rick Savage 5571 8 1
Mark Kalpin 5543 6 1
Frank Aronson 5355 9 1
Paul Gafford 5328 1  
Tom Fortmann 5280    
Richard Taylor 5219 12 12
Mark Druy 4789 6 2
Butch Pemstein 4746 1  
Paul Corriveau 4669 3  
Joe Repole 4636 11 1
Bruce Larson 4616 3 1
Tim Oey 4530    
Cynthia Zabin 4432    
Clyde Kessel 4280 7 2
Jean-claude Castelein 4025 6 2
Margaret Primak 4000    
Erik Husby 3832 1  
Randall Nelson-Peterman 3761   1
Fred Newton 3731 1  
David Wean 3699    
Nicholas Linsky 3637    
John Zicko 3440 4 1
Jean Orser 3435 1  
Gabor Demjen 3423 1  
Ken Hablow 3366    
Bob Wolf 3333    
David Cooper 3292 3  
Ed Pastor 3222    
John O'Dowd 3120 5 3
Dave Jordan 3050    
Larry Delaney 2925    
Barry Slosberg 2904    
Peter Brooks 2873    
Rudge McKenney 2733    
Douglas Chin 2717 3  
Roy Westerberg 2706    
Andre Gutierrez Marty 2650 9 3
John Allen 2587    
Douglas Bajgot 2518 3 2
Joel Bauman 2416 3  
Jeff Luxenberg 2407    
Daniel Ostertag 2390 2 1
Bill Hanson 2249    
Brian Kersanske 2236 2  
Jessica Piwowarski 2145    
Marlene Heroux 2140    
Ed Hoffer 2133    
Denise Banach 2088 1  
Cynthia Chin 2027 3  
Michael Burka 1976    
Pete Knox 1740    
Albert Reuther 1608    
Darrell Katz 1532    
John Springfield 1439 4  
Nancy Sorenson 1332    
John Loring 1118    
Aaron Bart 1088    
Mike Hanauer 1086    
Bill Widnall 875    
Arne Buck 553    
A J Gemperline 550    
Beatriz Prado 101    
Scott Tyler 81    
Joseph Moore 62    
TOTAL 357429
M = One or more metric century (62 miles) each month
C = One or more century (100 miles) each month

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for (drum roll), the 2020 Hangin' In List:

Name Years Average
Melinda Lyon 36 14949 538171
Jack Donohue 39 10145 395649
Pamela Blalock 27 10687 288548
Bruce Ingle 26 8463 220031
Dave Jordan 31 6523 202222
Paul Corriveau 29 6185 179361
Ken Hablow 30 5934 178021
Joe Repole 35 4825 168870
Lindy King 13 10827 140753
Steve Robins 18 7670 138066
Pete Knox 29 4756 137932
Peter Brooks 29 4657 135040
David Wean 24 5170 124075
Doug Cohen 26 4629 120357
Jean Orser 26 4559 118544
Richard Taylor 17 6959 118309
Marc Baskin 21 5505 115604
Ed Hoffer 31 3268 101299
Butch Pemstein 19 5053 96011
Cynthia Zabin 21 4445 93339
Mike Hanauer 39 2292 89385
John Allen 33 2388 78800
John Springfield 41 1911 78335
Bob Wolf 12 6306 75672
Gabor Demjen 24 3150 75590
Erik Husby 14 5115 71615
Jeff Luxenberg 40 1733 69308
Frank Aronson 17 4033 68561
Lisa Weissmann 18 3747 67453
Bill Hanson 24 2786 66852
Henry Marcy 17 3626 61641
David Cooper 10 5692 56917
Clyde Kessel 11 5079 55872
Bill Widnall 23 2304 52989
Joseph Moore 16 3112 49799
Harriet Fell 16 2992 47864
Rudge McKenney 16 2787 44597
Greg Stathis 6 6874 41243
Neal Schuster 9 4562 41058
Darrell Katz 15 2589 38832
Mark Druy 10 3810 38097
Larry Delaney 8 4665 37320
Bruce Larson 8 3733 29863
Ed Pastor 8 3530 28241
Joel Bauman 8 3410 27278
Fred Newton 8 3358 26867
Arne Buck 8 2495 19958
John Loring 27 718 19383
Scott Tyler 9 1954 17583
John O'Dowd 6 2867 17199
Roy Westerberg 5 2557 12783
Douglas Bajgot 5 2416 12082
A J Gemperline 8 1475 11797
Douglas Chin 5 2343 11714
Cynthia Chin 5 1605 8025


We've got five new members this year, welcome Douglas Bajgot, Douglas Chin, Cynthia Chin, A J Gemperline and Roy Westerberg.  John Springfield again takes the prize for hangin' in the longest.



January Ride Leader (and Wanna Be) Zoom Call

Mary Kernan

Did you miss the Ride Leader Zoom call in January?  We certainly had some Oscar-worthy performances from our presenters and a slew of information that will surely be picked up by the New York Times now that all the hullabaloo from the inauguration has passed. Knowing what an engaged group we have in CRW, we're making the recording available to all who'd like to view it. So, make a bowl of popcorn, pour a favorite beverage and click HERE to enjoy!





Winter Ride Challenge has Launched!

Steve Carlson


CRW's first ever Winter Ride Challenge was launched on January 1st. 220 members have signed up for the challenge and all are now fully engaged. We will enjoy watching our miles (and our holiday calorie burn-off) rachet upward on our leaderboard!  Please see crw.org homepage to enter rides or view the leaderboard.

We must admit, we are delighted and suprised by the welcomed response. We have 127 road riders bundling up to face the cold and 93 basement dwellers...um, I mean trainers - sweating it out, staying fit and having fun with fellow CRW members. The challenge will run until March 31, so please keep working hard and logging those miles.  Please do not comingle road and training miles as we would like to use this data to understand our members interests and develop further winter programs.

Oh, yeah...I almost forgot to mention; many of you have told us you would do nearly anything for a free CRW t-shirt. Good news, you will get that t-shirt if you were one of the first 100 to sign up and ride 150 miles between now and March 31.

Everything counts, even miles away from home! Let’s just log’em as you burn’em to keep the leaderboard up to date. 

We will have more to report as the Challenge progresses and thank you for your participation.







Bike Fitting

Eli Post

Cycling comfort depends on a bike that fits right and efficiently delivers power to the pedals. Many of you have likely had a bike fit at some point, and hopefully learned that your bike must fit well if you are to ride comfortably. An improper bike fit can cause serious discomfort.

Bicycle fitting has traditionally involved various measuring devices and "rules of thumb" such as pedaling is most efficient when you ride with the balls of your feet on the pedals.  As technology has worked its way into bike fitting, the common wisdom has been refined.

Several computer-based systems use infrared LED's (light-emitting diodes) placed on the body in specific skeletal locations. As you pedal with your bike mounted on a trainer, readings capture body motion which the computer processes and uses to generate a report. The bike fitter analyzes and evaluates the data and determines whether there is a need to make adjustments to your bike. The computer-generated photo shows the author being fitted at Grace Bicycles in Holliston, MA.

Several software systems have been designed for bike fitting, but we can't recommend one over the other nor do we suggest one bike shop over another. Each rider will have to determine whether the extra cost is justified. In some cases the eye of a skilled fitter is perfectly adequate and a computer based fitting turns out to be a “glorified ruler" and not a productive use of time and money. In other situations, however, the additional data generated by the computer-based system could make a considerable difference. My own experience might serve as an illustration.

I had a tendency to rotate slightly in the saddle, which caused it to rub and bruise my leg. After about 25 miles on the bike, the discomfort made additional riding difficult. I tried conventional fitting, physical therapy, and more saddles than I will admit to owning.  Finally, when none of these worked, I went the route of a computer-based fitting.  The data showed that one leg was forward of the other as I rode, suggesting a slight leg length discrepancy. A shim placed on the shoe of the shorter leg cured the rotation issue eliminating the pain which had plagued me for months. So I am a believer, but again this process is not for all. I also understand that many who are not in pain, but desire to maximize their performance are also fans.

My example shows the value of a bike fit after a bike has been purchased and ridden for a while.  Bike fits are also used to help select a bike that will work for a rider and/or to build custom bikes, and also to fit the saddle position and stem length to a bicycle that has already purchased.

As I tried to resolve my own pain issue, I found that the old adage applied: to a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail. Often the advice you receive depends on whom you ask. If, for example, you have lower-back pain when you cycle, the bike fitter might suggest that you raise the handlebars, the physical therapist might suggest some stretches and exercises, the family doctor could tell you to lose several pounds, and your significant other might just say “suck it up, cupcake." And you know what?  They could all be right. In fact, sometimes it isn't even clear whether the problem is the bike or the body, but if your bike does not fit, you will eventually hurt, and at that point cycling will no longer be fun.  "Fitting" is becoming more prevalent and is likely to add to the comfort and enjoyment of the bike riding experience.

This article is an update from one that was published in August 2011.


Plan Your Training

By Andre Wolff and Michael Cooney

To start with, we’re not cycling coaches and can’t claim to know more than any of you when it comes to cycling training. The intention here is to share thoughts on ways to plan your riding year for that purpose. Recent past (very recent) taught us that fate can throw a wrench at our wheels at any time, but we can help you plan to keep on track, or at least not derail everything?

For several years, we’ve been setting goals for our next riding season starting around October. We like that time of year because there are still opportunities for outdoor riding, although we realize the season is coming to an end. Fitness is already winding down, and we shift our minds to the upcoming holidays and vacation. In our minds, however we start thinking of what goals would be exciting enough to get us on the trainer or even excited about a long ride outside when temperatures are around the low thirties (if we’re lucky enough).

We should make a point very clear here: Goals, and the thrills they bring, are VERY personal. Nobody but you can fully understand how a goal brings excitement to an individual. If you share your goal with 100 riders, for example, around 2 of them may connect with it, but the larger majority would either think it is dull or that you have too much time on your hands. So, if your goal is to complete that 20 mile route without having to stop, or keep up with your ride mates through a hilly ride, or ride across the country, it’s all good. It just needs to make sense – and motivate – YOU.

Once you have set your goals in the most specific way possible (you can try to make them SMART if you will) it’s time to lay the plan for the year out. One good way to go about it is to look at your previous year’s record. How many hours did you ride? How many miles have you traveled? How did you feel? Consider what you achieved last year, and how realistic your new goal is. Then, refine your plan to make up for the skills or fitness you need to build. Start by setting a date by which you want to attempt to get to your goal. The completion time is a direct function of the size of the gap you need to overcome. If for example you haven’t ridden over a 30 mile-ride in a year, you may need to build mileage prior to attempting your first Century ride. This may require a full year cycle to get you in good enough shape. On the contrary, if you have been riding 500 miles a month for years, it just may be a matter of focus to go for a PR on that flat century route (yes, we are talking about CRW’s Cranberry Harvest Ride).

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of having a (riding) goal for the year are the social opportunities. Look around you and identify people who can be up for a similar challenge as yours. Share your thoughts and explain your draft plan in as much detail as you have. Be open to the input others provide, welcome their suggestions and refine your plan accordingly.

Sharing your goals could result in an improved plan and also good company to help motivate you when the going gets tough!

CRW can be a great resource to support your plan and goals for the year. The club offers a variety of aids from webinars, nutrition articles and tips, a database of amazing routes, and – when public health allows – group rides to put you in contact with other like-minded riders. We even have a Development group – CRW Devo – that is concerned with supporting riders to improve their performance. Make full use of the club to back up your plan.

2021 will be a “Bridge Year”, considering the effects of COVID will still be around. Set your goals, build ways to get into shape and be ready for an exciting riding year, no matter what obstacles are thrown at your wheels.




Mask Inserts

Gene Ho

I've had no luck riding with a mask on.  Blessed with minimal aerobic capacity, which no amount of interval training can seem to improve, I do a lot of huffing and puffing biking up even slight inclines.

Once the heavy breathing starts, my mask gets soaked and plasters itself against my face with the fabric getting sucked into my nose and mouth. At that point, I have to pull the mask down.  If I'm passing thru a town or biking in a crowd, I put the mask back up but it's just pandemic theatrics since I can't replace the mask carefully enough for it to be effective.

I had been trying to conjure up something to hold the mask out far enough from my face to keep it dry and to allow air to pass through all of the fabric rather than the small portion that's not sticking to my face.

When I mentioned this problem to my wife she took out a bag of "mask brackets" which she had ordered from an online vendor.  These were intended to solve a fogging problem with her glasses which occurred when she wore a mask.The "brackets" are a plastic frame that fits inside the mask and is curved in the right places to fit around one's face.  It sticks out far enough to keep the fabric away from the nose and mouth .The breeze from biking keeps the mask dry and the space inside allows normal breathing to mitigate the effects of a running nose.

I used one on a 48 mile ride today.  The only times I had to remove my "bracketed" mask were for drinking or eating. It worked way better than expected. I keep the bracket in place by putting some double sided tape on the front of it where it contacts the mask. They're cheap, between $1 and $2 each.  Amazon or any number of vendors have them.

Eugene Ho is a CRW member who lives in Newton. Gene, both in his professional life and personal life, spends much of his time spinning his wheels and riding around in circles.




February 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.

Brasa Canyon Italy Virtual Bike Tour
Last month we had a virtual bike tour of the Italian South Tyrol region, this month we move to the Italian Brasa Canyon and lake region. Great for a half hour workout on your exercise bike. 32 Mins.
Poetry In Motion
Unusual Bikes
There continues to be an astonishing number of bike innovations in recent years, ranging from the useful, the novelty, and just plain fun. 6 Mins.



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




Rami Haddad


The HOLIDAY CHALLENGE ran the entire month of December 2020. We asked members to record their riding distances. For every 10 miles recorded, we agreed we would donate $1 to non-profit organizations, and would honor up to 10,000 miles or $1,000. We thank all of those who participated.

ALLOCATION Forty members submitted 11,733 miles for December, prorated as follows to each organization:

Organization Miles Funds
Mass Bike 8,451 $720.24
Boston Cyclists Union 1,045 $89.02
Bikes Not Bombs 2,238 $190.74
Total 11,733 $1,000.00



We offered three organizations for members to choose from:

i. Mass Bike
ii. Bikes Not Bombs
iii. Boston Cyclists Union

We also asked members to nominate other organizations for use to consider in future challenges:

i. Waltham Land Trust (2 votes)
ii. Metro Community Development Corporation
iii. Greater Boston Food Bank
v. Perkins School for Blind: introduce cycling using (tandem bikes) for those who are visually impaired.
vi. World Bicycle Relief

It is suggested for next year we consider East Coast Greenway. They have several routes & trails connecting Boston to Portland, Worcester, Providence, & Cape Cod.


Strava Segments

Rami Haddad

Segments are a feature in Strava, measuring speed and time, and also ranking to determine how each rider performs. Strava members ride these segments independently to challenge their own time, improve their performance over time, or attempt to climb in the overall segment ranking in the community.

Listed below are some select segments related to popular CRW routes. Included are how members performed on each in 2020. For each segment, there are two links: First is the segment itself showing how Strava measures it. The second is a CRW Ride With GPS route for the particular segment. If you ride that RWGPS route, and enter the segment data in Strava, your performance will be measured and included in the Strava compilation. There are also, where applicable, two names with each segment: Queen of the Mountain (QOM) and King of the Mountain (KOM). Data is for Strava club members who scored the fastest time on each of these segments.  

Think about these segments and plan in 2021 to enter or challenge your own time as you ride them. You also might plan to take the crown from the current queens and kings. Note you must have a Strava free or paid account to join.


QOM Cristina Santana 9 Sep 2020 15:01
KOM Alistair S 22 Oct 2020 10:35



QOM Nathalie O’Callaghan 28 Aug 2020 1:03:58
KOM John Meyer 7 Sep 2020 58:50



New segment for 2021



QOM Nathalie O’Callaghan 2 Jan 2020 1:41:45
KOM Max Ryans 12 Aug 2020 1:14:56



QOM no attempts
KOM Per Jensen 20 Aug 2020 1:11:46



QOM Jennifer Allen 5 Sep 2020 1:36:40
KOM Max Ryans 17 Sep 2020 1:31:08



RWGPS This is a virtual Zwift ride.
QOM Allison Averill 29 Oct 2020 58:48
KOM Aaron Doucett 19 Nov 2020 46:07



Planning Routes

Eli Post

Ride With GPS has provided an instructional video reviewing many of the fine points for those with some experience in route planning. It’s neither a beginner or advanced user video, but one with many helpful hints if you are already familiar with the basics. It includes a live demo of planning and customizing a route. Learn how to make your way around the RWGPS webpage, and generally enhance your knowledge of route planning. Be patient. The video starts off slowly but gathers interest. You may not become a Power User after watching this video but you will be able to create safer and more interesting routes. It may take a moment for the video to load.



John Allen

I like to point to things you can check out so I don’t have to recite all the details myself. And as a CyclingSavvy instructor, I’m pleased to be able to direct you to the offerings of the CyclingSavvy program, even now as the pandemic and  cold weather put in-person sessions on hold.  

Our online offerings, though, continue, and have expanded. How about spending a couple of hours prepping yourself for the cycling season? You or a friend could do worse than to sign up for the free online CyclingSavvy Essentials Short Course.

The name actually understates. The Essentials course starts with basic information on checking out the bicycle, adjusting saddle height, and starting and stopping gracefully. But the course quickly moves on to advice that makes bicycling more efficient and safer for anyone: avoiding fall hazards, path etiquette, and especially, avoiding conflicts with cars – controlling space when necessary, releasing when that is safe;  preventing intersection collisions. You’ll discover basic lifesaving information you need to keep yourself safe, wherever you ride.

Many people have started cycling recently as the pandemic has highlighted its advantages as socially-distanced outdoor exercise and transportation. The Essentials Short course is a great way to get a friend started out on the right foot, or for that matter, the left foot.

CyclingSavvy is the flagship program of the nonprofit American Bicycling Education Association. Signing up for the Essentials Mini-Course comes with a free lifetime membership that also gives you access to Savvy Cyclist blog posts, Smart Moves articles and other great content.

You could also check out the more advanced online courses at CyclingSavvy.org. There is a charge for them, but they are well worth it.

And also, this is the first in a series of three articles aimed at sharpening riding skills as warmer weather opens up. Next month, I’ll be announcing three online Webinar recordings about group-riding skills, followed up by an in-person Zoom session. See you there!

John Allen is CRW Safety Coordinator.



February Updates

WheelPeople Editors
Town Ride collections - There may be days in February warm enough to ride and the Town collections are available for you www.crw.org/route-collection-panel-page
Upload Your Photos - We arranged for members to upload their bike related photos. Upload Your Photos | Charles River Wheelers (crw.org)
Volunteer Positions. A list of open positions can be found here Open Positions | Charles River Wheelers (crw.org)
Club Forums There are several forums you can use to stay in touch with your CRW friends or participate in friendly discussions. Club Forums | Charles River Wheelers (crw.org)


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

Many people who want to follow a high-plant diet are concerned about pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 20,000 farmers and their families are poisoned by pesticides each year, but no studies have shown pesticide poisoning from routine consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Both conventional and organic fruits and vegetables are grown with pesticides, but organic growers use “natural” pesticides (such as ground-up chrysanthemums), while conventional growers use “artificial” pesticides that are often copies of the pesticides found in nature. Your body cannot distinguish between “natural’ and artificial pesticides. Photo by Alex Post

“Organic” is Difficult to Regulate
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) tries to regulate farms or handling operations certified by a state or private agency accredited by USDA. The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic produce as being produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering or ionizing radiation. Farms and handling operations that sell less than $5,000 worth per year of organic agricultural products are exempt from certification. Before a product can be labeled “organic”, a government-approved company inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too. However, I know of no agency that checks organic foods produced by companies that sell less than $5,000/year and it is very difficult, expensive and time-consuming to check large producers repeatedly to see if they are following the rules.

No Data Showing Conventional Produce is Harmful
We know that chronic exposure to large amounts of pesticides can harm you (Interdiscip Toxicol. Nar 2009;2(1):1-12). However we have no proof yet that eating conventional produce grown with pesticides that break the “organic rules” is harmful to humans. All of the available evidence is that the people who eat the most fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and other seeds are at markedly reduced risk for heart attacks, diabetes, strokes, certain cancers and premature death, regardless of whether they eat conventionally-grown or organic foods.

Pesticide Levels in Conventional Produce
If you are concerned about pesticide levels and have a tight budget or do not have good sources of organic produce, you may be interested in using the findings of The Environmental Working Group (EWG) to choose fruits and vegetables that have the lowest levels of insecticide residues. The good news is that the following non-organic foods have very low levels of pesticides: onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mangoes, peas, asparagus, kiwi fruit, cabbage, eggplant, melons, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, papayas and cauliflower.

Higher levels of pesticides were found in celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, collard greens, cherries, potatoes, grapes and lettuce. Fruits and vegetables that are eaten with their skin usually contained higher pesticide levels. However, I do not recommend removing edible skins from produce just to reduce pesticide exposure, because the skins are concentrated sources of nutrients and fiber.

My Recommendations
Diana and I support organic farmers for their efforts to solve environmental problems, and we often buy organic fruits and vegetables simply because they look and taste good. But organic produce is often more expensive, and if budget is an issue, it’s healthier to eat a lot of conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables than a small amount of organic fruits and vegetables or none at all. Furthermore, the scientific literature shows that it is more healthful to eat lots of fruits and vegetables from any source than to replace them with processed foods that crowd the supermarket shelves.

• The label “organic” does not mean that a food is healthful. There are organic white flours, organic sugars and lots of organic junk foods — cookies, crackers, chips, ice cream, soda and so forth.

• Wash fruits and vegetables before you eat them, even though washing does not remove all pesticides. Remove the outer leaves from lettuce, cabbage and other leafy greens.

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




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

Article Pesticides | Dr. Gabe Mirkin on Health (drmirkin.com)



Nutrition Webinars

Rami Haddad

We ran a series of nutrition webinars in April 2020, and had an enthusiastic response from those who attended. They felt the nutrition advice was useful and presented in an inviting manner. We are therefore giving you the opportunity to view them, and benefit from the experience. The presenter in all three videos is Nancy Clark, an internationally respected sports nutritionist, weight coach, nutrition author, and workshop leader.

The videos are listed on the reference page. For copyright reasons, they are restricted to CRW members.

Video April 9, 2020: Carbohydrates. What they are and what they aren’t. Fattening? Waste of calories? Source of fuel?

Video April 16, 2020: Protein Requirements and Protein Supplements. How much protein do cyclist require? Benefits of protein from real foods vs powder. High protein diets (pros and cons).

Video April 23, 2020: Fueling for a Century: Training diet. Diet days before. During the event. Recovery


To watch the videos, click HERE


Dog on a Ride

Eli Post

The club’s Winter Ride Program was launched January 1 and continues until March 31. Full details are in an accompanying article, but what is not mentioned is the unidentified dog who joined a group of Winter Riders. He kept up with the riders and often stayed ahead of them.

It’s not news when a dog runs up to you and may even chase you for a while. However, this particular dog belonged to one of the riders and was entered in the Challenge. Turns out this member has a family membership, and entered his dog as a family member, and is claiming the dog is therefore eligible. We set up some basic rules for the Challenge, but failed to anticipate a dog.

This is a problem on a number of levels. First if the dog qualifies for a T-shirt, what do we do. They don’t offer dog shirts. Then there is the safety issue. Some dogs are very fast and can keep up with cyclists, but are unlikely to have road manners like staying in line, stopping for traffic signals, and not sprinting in and out of riders.

One of our club officers was on this "social distance" ride, and tried to intercede. However the dog’s owner was adamant that his dog belonged, and the dog itself was not deterred by participating in the ride, and in fact tried to stay ahead of the riders to prove its fitness. It would not be scared off.

This is a controversy we did not anticipate, and hope to resolve it before the dog causes any crashes. Not all dogs are meant to run alongside cyclists, but those that are capable need training, and must also be socialized. We are a bike club, and don’t have the expertise to deal with dog training and regret we have to cancel the dog’s participation in a club event, and even its club membership. Sorry it's come to this as we feel a dog may be "man's best friend".


Finally, we note that at CRW stories are sometimes told as if they were true but contain exaggerated or fictitious parts. This is one of those fictitious stories.


I thank Jack Donohue for his assistance with this article. Jack and I both grew up on the streets of New York and share an absurd sense of humor.




February Looking Back

Brandon Milardo

The winter of 1995-1996 must have been a snowy one in Boston, because much of the 
February 1996 issue of Wheelpeople was focused on riding in snow. A column with tips 
for cold weather riding contained some still-relevant advice (wear layers, dress to be 
seen, beware of your road conditions) and retro (“Keep telephone change handy so that 
you can place a call if necessary.”) 

Phillip Stern provided a first-hand account of his arduous, snow-filled commute from Chinatown to Winchester: “Two hours into my 45 minute commute and I was less than halfway home.” If you are a crash-averse cyclist, this would be a good read to confirm that riding in the snow is not for you: “ although the bike slid out from under me many times, I usually landed on my feet and I never put the bike down on the street while there were cars behind or in front of me.

For those who retreat indoors until the temperature pokes back above freezing, Bob 
Strossi offered book suggestions to hold you over when as an alternative to back issues 
of  Bicycling and  Velo News. Titles included A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr and  The
Fifties  by David Halberstam. If you wanted to escape the cold instead, the League of 
American Bicyclists WinterGEAR event in March offered rides from 15-100 miles over 
five days in Central Florida. Eric Ferioli offered to lend his Central Florida street atlas to 
any members who were planning on attending.




Dressing for Winter

Phillip Stern

Many people stay indoors on their trainers when it gets cold. Not me. For years I bike commuted through the winter. Now I work at home, but go out for long rides on the weekends, year round. 

The main issue is safety.

  • Watch out for ice. Especially if snow melted the day before, the water can freeze overnight and make black ice along the shoulder of the road.
  • Wear colorful clothes, reflectors, and use blinky lights. The angle of the sun in winter can make it hard for drivers to see a cyclist riding into the sunrise or sunset.
  • Have the right clothing. Cold fingers, toes, and/or ears can ruin a ride. Winter specific cycling shoes, ski gloves, and a balaclava solved my frozen extremities problems.

For years, my problem riding in cold weather was that I dressed for the day before. If I was cold the day before, I wore more layers. If I was hot the day before, I wore less. As a result I was almost always over-dressed or under-dressed for the current day. Then a Ripper friend shared this “Winter Layering Done Right” page from Bicycling Magazine, and it totally changed my winter riding comfort.


The article was the starting point for my own personal layering guide based on temperature. After each ride I refined my guide, adding or removing gear as necessary for the temperature that day. Now my guide is so accurate that I check the weather and put on exactly what is listed in my guide and am almost always comfortable even when doing a 200k in January. I encourage you to make a similar personalized layering guide for yourself. Photo is author dressed for winter riding.













The author laid out his winter clothes for a better view of what it takes to ride in winter cold.

Phillip Stern is a CRW member living in Winchester.


February Pictures of the Month

Eli Post
February may be our coldest month, but it will eventually warm up and you can dream of riding on a beach in the warm sunshine.
And you may be lucky enough to catch a beautiful sunset.
For most of us however, we are stuck with New England winter. The snow on the ground says it all, and there must be a bike trail under the sign somewhere.


Photos by Alex Post. Taken in Sea Island GA, Simons Island GA, and the mountains of West Virginia respectively, in January 2021