September 2022 WheelPeople


President's Message September 2022

Edward Cheng

As our all too short summer draws to a close, we will be entering into peak fall riding season.  There is still time to get out on your bikes and put in some miles.


We have an exciting 2022 Cranberry Harvest Century planned for September 18, 2022.  The 2022 Century Committee -- Larry Kernan, Susan Grieb, Eric Dentremont, Mark Nardone, and John O'Dowd -- have been planning and working for months.  Equally critical are the volunteers who have stepped forward to work the rest stops, run the sag wagon, purchase the supplies, and the many other tasks. I know that the century will be great ride! Register now and don’t miss it.


In addition, we will be opening a CRW store featuring items with our new logo that our club adopted last year.  We will be starting off with a few selections this year as we go through the process, for first time in several years, designing and arranging for the opening of the store.  This will be the chance for members to refresh their legacy jerseys and for others to show their support for the club.  I look forward to seeing our new CRW jerseys by the Spring.


Last, a thanks to the ride leaders who have been posting rides.  We have had a full calendar of weekend, recurring, and specialty rides with something for everyone.  If there's a weekend ride that you have not seen on the calendar, let the VP of Rides, Mary Kernan, know, and we will see what we can do to make it happen.  Better yet, become a ride leader and post your favorite ride!








CRW Board Elections

John O'Dowd


CRW Elections for four Board Members are coming up


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


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


In this election, there are four open Director seats to be filled.  The three top candidates will serve three-year terms from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2026. The fourth in line will serve the remaining time of a recently resigned Director.


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

  • Any member may submit his / her own name as a candidate for the current Board vacancies, not later than September 20th.  Each candidate may submit a statement of 250 words or less, including a single photo,  to be disseminated to the membership and included in the ballot.
    • Submit your nomination and statement to nominate [at]
    • The statements will appear in the October WheelPeople which will be released prior to October 1st.


  • Election of Directors shall be by electronic ballot transmitted to all members. CRW members in good standing as of August 31st are eligible to vote. Votes of the members shall be confidential. Voting shall be allowed from the first Saturday in October and continue through the following Thursday.  The Secretary shall verify and publish the results no later than the second Sunday of October..
    • All eligible CRW members may vote once for up to as many candidates as there are openings on the board
    • The names of the newly elected Directors will appear in the November WheelPeople.





WheelPeople Editors


Join the Charles River Wheelers on rural roads through cranberry country in southeastern Massachusetts. This is your chance to ride in an area that is not common for CRW and take in terrain and roads so special that you will be eager to ride them again.


Registration is now open for the Cranberry Harvest Century which will be held on Sunday September 18, 2022. There are three beautiful routes of 52, 63 and 100 miles on generally flat rural roads. It is a century ride for a wide level of riders.


Please note that we have a new start location at the College Pond Day-Use Area in Myles Standish State Forest in Plymouth, MA. Also, all routes are currently being reviewed, and not available for download to your navigation devices at this time.


This is a fully supported century with rest stops typically offering bagels, peanut butter, bananas, other fruit, cookies, granola bars, etc, plus water and other beverages. There is mechanical support at the start, and sag support en-route.


We also will run an after ride party to welcome you back. The ride is only open to CRW members. Full details including pricing are HERE . We invite you to join us for a glorious ride that you will long remember. 



2022 Club Jersey

WheelPeople Editors


New CRW Jerseys are available for sale!  Featuring our new logo and colors adopted in 2021, you can purchase our custom designed jerseys here:  There are men's and women's cut jerseys in both short sleeve and long sleeve.  Deadline for orders is September 12, 2022, and delivery is projected for November 11, 2022, directly to your address.


Note there is a $20.00 shipping charge which we are working to reduce. If possible, you can get together with a couple of friends for one order to drive down the per jersey shipping cost, and distribute amongst yourselves.


Thanks to Keren Hamel for working with Primal in the design and setting-up the website.


Using Senses to Navigate

Eli Post



Bats rely on reflected sound to navigate. Owls have excellent hearing and can find a mouse in the dark. Rattlesnakes detect the heat that creatures give off. Spiders sense the world through vibrations, and the lowly mosquito senses humans through the carbon dioxide we emit

Then there are superheroes with extraordinary powers. American teenager Peter Parker, a poor sickly orphan, is bitten by a radioactive spider. As a result of the bite, he gains superhuman strength, speed and agility, along with the ability to cling to walls, turning him into Spider-Man. Bruce Banner was accidentally bombarded with gamma rays from a "gamma bomb" he had invented. Banner continued to look like a normal human being, but when angered he would transform into the Hulk, a raging giant with green skin and super strength


What is the cyclist to do when he/she has to navigate without these amazing powers and rely mainly on what they see and hear? Research conducted on urban cyclists shows that they engage in sensory strategies that manage their exposure to risk. You hear traffic approaching from the rear, but the road ahead is rife with potholes. So, at the same time you have to deftly swerve to avoid a pothole and escape being crushed by a large truck behind you. Our senses don’t operate independently. They collaborate closely to allow you to better understand and deal with your surroundings.


Mindfulness or environmental awareness is using your senses to fully appreciate and understand your environment, and not get lazy when you are on a bike. It’s the scuba diver who is aware of coral reefs, the parachutists who makes sure the pack is safely put together, and the cyclist who recognizes the road is shared with motorists and stays watchful.


Mindfulness is deeper than simply being aware. It’s not a one-day thing; it’s a very active, lifelong practice. You won’t become more mindful overnight, but consistent practice on and off the bike will make your mindfulness come to the surface more easily and help you ride more safely

Contact by Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker June 13, 2022
Several Senses at a Time, Lena Groeger, Scientific American February 28, 2012
A Bicyclist’s Sense of Hearing, John Allen 1997
Mindfulness by Molly Ritterbeck, Bicycing, June 2018
The article was edited by Tim Wilson.

Anti-Aging: Why “Drink Before You’re Thirsty” During Rides Is Dangerous

This article appeared in Road Bike Rider Issue 1028 on 8/4/22


By Coach John Hughes

Anti-Aging: Why “Drink Before You’re Thirsty” During Rides Is Dangerous

By Coach John Hughes


This column is about hydration during rides not throughout the day.


My client Jack was on a fast cross-country tour: 2750 miles in just 20 days. Seven days into the tour he started riding poorly although he had plenty of training miles in his legs.  His buddies noticed he wasn’t urinating at the rest stops and said he was getting dehydrated. Even though he wasn’t thirsty they told him to drink more. After the ride he still wasn’t going to the bathroom so at dinner they reminded him to drink. The next day he kept drinking but still didn’t start to urinate. By that evening he had a headache and at dinner his friends noticed he seemed confused. His condition didn’t improve overnight so the tour staff took him to the emergency room. A simple blood test revealed he had a dangerously low sodium concentration in his blood, a condition called hyponatremia.  The ER doc started an intravenous fluid with a high concentration of sodium.


Jack had developed dilutional hyponatremia from drinking so much fluid that he diluted the sodium concentration of his blood to a dangerously low level. The dilutional hyponatremia had progressed to Exercise Associated Hyponatremia (EAH) and his body had started retaining fluid, rather than urinating it out. Because he was retaining fluid his body started to bloat. His brain tried to swell but couldn’t because it was encased in his skull. This caused the headache.



 “Sodium plays a key role in your body. It helps maintain normal blood pressure, supports the work of your nerves and muscles, and regulates your body's fluid balance. … Older adults may have more contributing factors for hyponatremia, including age-related changes, taking certain medications and a greater likelihood of developing a chronic disease that alters the body's sodium balance.” [Mayo Clinic emphasis added]


Drinking too much fluid may cause a hormonal change so that your body retains fluid rather than urinating the excess fluid to restore the sodium-fluid balance. Retaining fluid leads to generalized bloating, your skin becomes puffy and your limbs swell up.


According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), hyponatremia in events under four hours is usually the result of drinking too much before, during and after the event. In longer events, even if you drink appropriately, you may lose enough sodium to develop hyponatremia, so sodium supplementation is a good idea starting early in the event. [American College of Sports Medicine. (2007). Exercise and fluid replacement position stand. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 39, 377–390.]


“Severe and potentially life-threatening hyponatremia can occur during exercise, particularly in athletes who participate in endurance events such as marathons (42.2 km), triathlons (3.8 km of swim, 180 km of cycling, and 42.2 km of running), and ultradistance (100 km) races. In fact, hyponatremia has been stated to be one of the most common medical complications of long-distance racing and is an important cause of race-related fatalities.” (Exercise Associated Hyponatremia (EAH) in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.)


Elite athletes rarely develop EAH — they’re racing too fast to do more than sip water as they race past aid stations. Most of the cases are middle of the field and slower participants who — worried about dehydration — believe they should drink before they’re thirsty.  Some even have plans about how much to drink at each aid station irrespective of how much they’re sweating.


Danger signs. If your urine is dark in color, you may be getting dehydrated, although your urine also turns yellow when you excrete supplements that your body doesn’t need. If you stop urinating, then you may be developing dehydration or your body may be retaining fluid.


To check for dehydration, pinch a fold of skin on the back of your hand or your arm. Let go. If your skin fold almost instantaneously returns to normal you aren’t getting dehydrated. If it takes a few seconds for your skin to return to normal then you may be getting dehydrated. Moderate dehydration won’t affect your performance as I explain in this column Hydrating like the Pros.


Bloating and the resulting weight gain are the most obvious symptoms that you’re retaining fluid. If you start to get puffy around a ring on a finger, or at your glove and sock lines, you are developing hyponatremia. In serious cases, your limbs may swell so that you look like the Michelin man.


If you start to get puffy or gain weight, stop drinking until you urinate freely and the puffiness or extra weight disappears. If you develop puffiness and become mentally confused, your brain is swelling and it is a medical emergency. Call 911 or your local emergency number.



Drink to satisfy thirst

 “Drinking according to thirst and avoiding weight gain during exercise remain the most reliable strategy against developing exercise-associated hyponatremia.” [Hew-Butler, Tamara, et al. (2008). Practical management of exercise-associated hyponatremic encephalopathy, Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 18(4).]


“Older adults. As you age, your body's fluid reserve becomes smaller, your ability to conserve water is reduced and your thirst sense becomes less acute.” [Mayo Clinic] Because of these factors adequate daily hydration is important. Exercise Associated Hyponatremia results from drinking too much during rides.


If you are urinating less then check for bloating as described under danger signs above.


Daily hydration

The old adage of drink eight glasses a day is inaccurate. How much you should drink depends on your body size, whether you live in hot (and humid) environment, how active you are and your individual metabolism. This article in the New York Times explains How Much Water Do You Actually Need?



Jack and his friends knew electrolytes are important during exercise.  They’d been drinking plenty of sports drinks. Although they vary significantly these are the primary electrolytes in sweat. 1 liter contains approximately:

  • 800 milligrams (mg) of sodium
  • 115 mg of potassium
  • Calcium and magnesium are present in small amounts

The exact amounts vary by individual depending on fitness, heat adaptation and other factors.


Compare the electrolytes in sweat with the concentrations in some popular sports drinks:

  • Gatorade (1 liter)
    • 460 milligrams (mg) of sodium,
    • 130 mg of potassium
    • No calcium or magnesium
    • 60 grams (gm) of carbs (240 calories)
  • Powerade (1 liter)
    • 420 mg of sodium
    • 100 mg of potassium
    • No calcium or magnesium
    • 60 gm of carbs (240 calories)
  • HEED (1 liter with 2 scoops)
    • 120 mg of sodium
    • 62 mg of potassium
    • 32 mg of magnesium
    • 57 mg of calcium
    • 54 gm of carbs (216 calories)
  • Skratch (1 liter with 2 scoops)
    • 800 mg sodium
    • 80 mg potassium
    • 100 mg calcium
    • 80 mg of magnesium
  • The Skratch website says “Drink when thirsty. Don't when not.”


Note the sodium concentration in sports drinks except Skratch is roughly half the concentration of sodium in your blood, so you can drink too much of most sports drinks just as you can drink too much water.


Electrolyte supplements aren’t the answer, either unless you take enough tablets every hour:

  • Nuun (1 tablet)
    • 360 mg of sodium
    • 100 mg of potassium
  • Succeed! (1 capsule)
    • 341 mg of sodium
    • 21 mg of potassium
  • Endurolytes Extreme (1 capsule)
    • 120 mg of sodium
    • 75 mg of potassium


According to the ACSM consuming additional sodium during events longer than four hours may reduce the risk of hyponatremia. The ACSM doesn’t recommend other electrolytes. [ACSM, 2007]


Heed Joe Friel’s recommendation: “Pay attention to your thirst mechanism. We’ve been taught over the past few years that it [thirst] is not effective and that we shouldn’t trust it. This ‘old wives’ tale’ refuses to go away. Drink when you are thirsty. When you’re not thirsty, don’t drink. It’s that simple.” [The Cyclist’s Training Bible (2009) page 257]


Next week: Coach Hughes Homemade Sports Drink [HMSD], which meets the recommendations of the ACSM at a fraction of the cost.


Related columns:

12 Myths About Hydration and Cycling

What Should a Beginning Cyclist Drink


Cycling in the Heat Parts 1 and 2 bundle:

You can learn more about the science of riding in the heat, and managing your fluids and electrolytes, in my two-part eArticle series:


Cycling in the Heat, Part 1: Ride Management is 19 pages and covers

  • Why you get hot while riding
  • Effects of overheating
  • Acclimating actively and passively
  • How to train in hot months
  • How to ride without overheating in all conditions
  • How to stay (relatively) cool while riding
  • What to wear in the heat
  • What to eat and drink in the heat
  • How to cool down if you overheat
  • Heat-related problems


Cycling in the Heat, Part 2: Hydration Management is 21 pages and covers

  • Assessing your sweat rate and composition
  • How much should you drink?
  • Fluid replacement
  • Electrolyte replacement
  • Electrolyte replacement drinks
  • Electrolyte replacement supplements
  • Electrolyte replacement food
  • Hydration-related problems

The cost-saving bundled eArticles totaling 40 pages Cycling in the Heat Parts 1 and 2 are just $8.98 (a 10% savings)



Coach John Hughes earned coaching certifications from USA Cycling and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. John’s cycling career includes course records in the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200-km randonnée and the Furnace Creek 508, a Race Across AMerica (RAAM) qualifier. He has ridden solo RAAM twice and is a 5-time finisher of the 1200-km Paris-Brest-Paris.


He has written nearly 40 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training and nutrition, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach John Hughes. Click to read John’s full bio.  


My eBook Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process includes chapters on how to meet the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations on aerobic, high intensity aerobic, strength training, weight-bearing exercises, balance and flexibility. I include sample weeks and months for different types and amounts of exercise. I give you plans to build up to 100 km and 100 mile rides. I include a plan to increase over two years your annual riding from around 4,000 miles (6,500 km) to over 5,000 miles (8,000 km) per year. You can easily modify the plans for different annual amounts of riding. I discuss the importance of recovery and how to gauge if you are getting enough recovery. I combine the different kinds of training into programs that balance training and recovery. The 106-page eBook is available here Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process 





The Athlete's Kitchen - ADHD and (Adult) Athletes


The Athlete’s Kitchen

Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSS September 2022


ADHD and (Adult) Athletes: Can diet help with management?


 As a sports nutritionist, I commonly counsel athletes who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder—generally referred to as ADHD (or ADD). ADHD is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention. It affects 4-10% of all American children and an estimated 4.4% of adults (ages 18-44 years). ADHD usually peaks when kids are 7 or 8 years old. Some of the ADHD symptoms diminish with maturation but 65-85% of the kids with AHDH go on to become adults with ADHD.


Ideally, athletes with ADHD have gotten the help they need to learn how to manage their time and impulsiveness. Unfortunately, many youth athletes with ADHD just receive a lot of negative feedback because they have difficulty learning rules and strategies. This frustrates teammates and coaches. Older athletes with ADHD often use exercise to reduce their excess energy, calm their anxiety, and help them focus on the task at hand. This article offers nutrition suggestions that might help coaches, friends, and parents, as well as athletes with ADHD, learn how to calm the annoying ADHD behaviors.  


• To date, no clear scientific evidence indicates ADHD is caused by diet, and no specific dietary regime has been identified that resolves ADHD. High quality ADHD research is hard to do because the added attention given to research subjects with ADHD (as opposed to the special diet) can encourage positive behavior changes. But we do know that when & what a person eats plays a significant role in ADHD management and is an important complimentary treatment in combination with medication.


• ADHD treatment commonly includes medications such as Concerta, Ritalin & Adderall. These medications may enhance sports performance by improving concentration, creating a sense of euphoria, and decreasing pain. These meds are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Hence, athletes who hope to compete at a high level are discouraged from taking ADHD medications.


• To the detriment of ADHD athletes, their meds quickly blunt the appetite. Hence, they (like all athletes) should eat a good breakfast before taking the medication.


• The medication-induced lack of appetite can thwart the (teen) athlete who wants to gain weight and add muscle. Teens taking ADHD meds should be followed by their pediatricians, to be sure they stay on their expected growth path. If they fall behind, they could meet with a registered dietitian (RD) with knowledge of sports nutritionist (CSSD) to help them reach their weight goals.


• An easy way for “too thin” athletes to boost calories is to swap water for milk (except during exercise). The ADHD athlete who does not feel hungry might find it easier to drink a beverage with calories than eat solid food. Milk (or milk-based protein shake or fruit smoothie) provides fluid the athlete needs for hydration and simultaneously offers protein to help build muscles and stabilize blood glucose.


• A well-balanced diet is important for all athletes, including those with ADHD. Everyone’s brain and body need nutrients to function well. No amount of vitamin pills can compensate for a lousy diet. Minimizing excess sugar, food additives, and artificial food dyes is good for everyone.


• Eating on a regular schedule is very important. All too often, high school athletes with ADHD fall into the trap of eating too little at breakfast and lunch (due to meds), and then try to perform well during afterschool sports. An underfed brain gets restless, inattentive, and is less able to make good decisions. This can really undermine an athlete’s sports career


• Adults with ADHD can also fall into the same pattern of under-fueling by day, “forgetting” to eat lunch, then by late afternoon are hungry and in starvation mode. We all know what happens when any athlete gets too hungry – impulsiveness, sugar cravings, too many treats, and fewer quality calories. This is a bad cycle for anyone and everyone.


• All athletes should eat at least every four hours. The body needs fuel, even if the ADHD meds curb the desire to eat. ADHD athletes can set a timer: breakfast at 7:00, first lunch at 11:00, second lunch at 3:00 (renaming snack as second lunch leads to higher-quality food), dinner at 7.


•For high school athletes with ADHD, the second lunch can be split into fueling up pre-practice and refueling afterwards. This reduces the risk of arriving home starving and looking for (ultra-processed) foods that are crunchy, salty, and/or sweet.


• Athletes with ADHD are often picky eaters and tend to prefer unhealthy snacks. For guidance on how to manage picky eating, click here for adults and here for kids.


• Fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can be low on an ADHD athlete’s food list. Their low fiber diet can lead to constipation. Fiber also feeds the zillions of microbes in their digestive tract that produce chemicals that can positively impact brain function and behavior. Everyone with ADHD should eat more fiber-rich foods like beans (hummus, refried beans in a burrito), seeds (chia, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame), and whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice, popcorn). They offer not only fiber but also magnesium, known to calm nerves.


• With more research, we’ll learn if omega-3 fish oil supplements help manage the symptoms of ADHD. No harm in taking them. At least eat salmon, tuna, and oily fish as often as possible, preferably twice a week, if not more.


•  Picky eaters who do not eat red meats, beans, or dark leafy greens can easily become iron deficient. Iron deficiency symptoms include interrupted sleep, fatigue, inattention, and poor learning and can aggravate ADHD. Iron deficiency is common among athletes, especially females, and needs to be corrected with iron supplements.


• While sugar has the reputation of “ramping kids up”, the research is not conclusive about whether sugar itself triggers hyperactivity. The current thinking is the excitement of a party ramps kids up, more so than the sugary frosted cake. Yes, some athletes are sugar-sensitive and know that sugar causes highs and crashes in their bodies. They should choose to limit their sugar intake and at least enjoy protein along with sweets, such as a glass of milk with the cookie, or eggs with a glazed donut. Moderation of sugar intake is likely more sustainable than elimination of all sugar-containing foods.


• For more information about ADHD in kids, teens, and adults, please use these resources:

—Feeding the Child with ADHD—a -podcast with Jill Castle RD

—Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) – a national resource center



Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). Her Sports Nutrition Guidebook can help you eat to win. For more information about her books and online workshop, visit






Little Jack's Corner Redux

Jack Donohue








What ever became of the paper boy?


My biking career started as a paper boy. I was generally a total bookworm, my parents had to drag me kicking and screaming to any athletic event. I was forced to join a Little league Team, right field of course. Fortunately for me during the entire season only one fly came my way. I sort of threw myself at it and managed to throw it to one of my nearer partners in the outfield, who saw that it got back into the infield (my throwing range was about 40 feet). I think I had a batting average of zero (did have one mercy walk though). But I had a bike and could ride it. The paper boy biz was good for me in many ways. I learned useful skills such as the manly art of paper folding, forming the paper into an aerodynamic projectile that you could heave at the customer's house. It gave a sense of responsibility -- I was the one who got up at six AM to make sure that the Sunday paper was there for your morning coffee. I learned sales skills, as all paper boys were required to go door to door trying to peddle papers. This was called "canvassing" and our reward for a successful night of "canvassing" was that Mr. Rico, the paper boy meister, would take us over to White Castle where we would stuff those little two inch hamburger wafers into us. I remember, my usual order was seven, and if I got one without the pickle, I was crushed.


At our house in the suburbs, we have a paper man, who drives around in his paper mobile. I must admit, delivering papers in New York City where millions of people are crammed into a small area made paper delivery by bike more feasible. My route consisted of about 10 blocks total. One of my paperboy colleagues had a primo route, which consisted largely of one apartment building. One visit to that and his deliveries were half over.


My paper bicycle was a masterpiece in functional design. It sported a single speed coaster brake drive train. I've recently thought that this would be ideal for winter commuting. No derailleur to get mucked up or freeze, no brake pads to get eroded by sand, etc. Apparently I'm not alone in this idea, since I've recently seen ads for new old bikes of this ilk for the retro crowd. Unfortunately, the price of one of these beauties, which is tricked out with hi-tech goodies, would probably have outfitted a whole fleet of paper boys in the old days.


My bike had a huge wire frame basket mounted on the handlebars that held the papers. This way the papers were strategically located within easy reach, where they could be heaved at the target house without dismounting or even slowing down too much. My route was about sixty customers, but the high rollers in the biz had up to 100. Hauling around a payload of Sunday papers was quite a feat in defying center of gravity. It was roughly equivalent to going loaded touring with all your gear in your handlebar bag.


It wasn't too hard to learn the art of paper delivery. The basic technique was to ride by the house and fling the paper at the porch. Thus the importance of the paper folding ritual for proper aerodynamics. Still I discovered early on that I could never make a career in the service industry. Several of my customers had the temerity to suggest that I actually get off my bike, walk up their steps and place their paper in a protected spot when it rained. I of course thought this was far above and beyond the call of duty, and my tips suffered accordingly.


This article originally appeared in WheelPeople in October 1996. The paperboy image was added.






A Case Study, Riding through the Charlotte Intersection: Some Answers

John Allen


Last month in this column, I showed a video of two different ways to ride through the same intersection. I asked a number of questions. You may go back to the article to review them.

My friend Pamela Murray and I rode in a bike lane behind a concrete barrier, and then again in the normal flow of traffic shared with motor vehicles.

Bicycling is most practical for transportation in urban and suburban areas, where most people live, and travel distances are relatively short. Pamela and I were riding on a main street in a suburban business district.  Most riding on such streets will be utility riding – commuting, errands, trips to visit friends. Utility riding is a great way to get daily exercise and save money. Often it is more convenient than driving or taking public transportation.

Advocates and governments are attempting to promote bicycling to reduce fossil-fuel use. How successful are these attempts, and how successful will they be as situations change: particularly with the increasing popularity of e-bikes?  

I present the video and these articles as a case study. I highlighted specifics in last month’s article but my goal was to move you to ask larger questions: does the intersection actually work well? Is it cost-effective? Does it promote safe, orderly and legal conduct by all road users? Will it be able to handle an anticipated increase in bicycle travel? Can users easily understand what they need to do? Knowing my goal, you may watch the video again and consider the different points I highlighted.

Some issues about how to use any intersection treatment can be grasped only through study – the subject of my March and June articles. The more complicated and confusing the treatment, the harder it is to know how to use. You have an advantage here over Pamela and me when we rode through the intersection, because you can review the video. In the video, you can see that we hadn’t figured everything out yet. Actually, we still aren’t sure about how some things work. But let’s give it a try.

Interactions between bicyclists and motorists are complicated with a barrier-separated bike lane, so motorists cross the path of bicyclists to turn right. This intersection attempts to address the issue with separate signal phases for right-turning motorists and through-traveling bicyclists. Are the special signals at this intersection successful? I think largely so for motorists: the illuminated NO TURN ON RED assign is very explicit. But as you can see at 2:00 and following in the video, it is only illuminated part- time: during the special left-turn and bicycle signal phases. It is dark and not visible at all, at other times, unlike a conventional NO TURN ON RED sign. (I only noticed this just now, reviewing the video!)

The bikeway has linear separation but a shoulder check is needed to avoid a potential right-turn conflict .
So, right turns on red are permitted part-time? The left-turn phase occurs before the bicycle phase, giving motorists time to view the sign before bicyclists get the green with their special signal, but still, part-time NO TURN ON RED is unusual, unexpected and could be confusing. It is possible that a motorist would be looking for conflicting traffic and not notice the sign.

The bicycle signals are confusing. They are small. One is on the far side of the intersection out of line with the bike lane. Pamela did not notice it, though she rides 6,000 miles per year and is a Cycling Savvy instructor, The other signal is a near-side signal nest to the bike lane, high on a pole and hidden behind tree branches. Neither Pamela nor I saw it when riding. I noticed it only when reviewing the video! Near-side signals are common in Europe, often alone, cleverly making it unworkable to creep forward into the intersection. But the Euro signals are low, where they will be visible. A design rule in the US says that signals have to be placed high. This way, they are more visible at the far side of the intersection, and vehicles can pass under them.

Bicyclists are supposed to push a button to actuate the bicycle signal, but the sign giving this instruction is at a right angle to bicyclists’ line of travel. It is also unclear whether pushing the button is necessary or whether it works at all: on our second pass through the intersection, the bicycle signal was green, though nobody was using the bike lane. Motorists were prohibited from turning right, though there was no conflict. In any case, the separate signal phases increase delay and reduce carrying capacity for both bicyclists and motorists.

There is a footrest/handrail (they cost $2000 each). A bicyclist using the footrest/handrail can’t reach the pushbutton.

Does a footrest/handrail make sense at all? They can be installed only at a small percentage of the places where bicyclists stop and restart. There is room on the footrest/handrail for two bicyclists. With the hoped-for increase in bicycle use, most will be lined up behind it. Is every bicyclist going to wipe down the handrail, or will hand-sanitizing dispensers perhaps be provided?


After merging to lane-control position in the through travel lane, it's smooth going.













Might it just make more sense to teach bicyclists the power pedal technique to stop and restart? This is not an issue with CRW members – we learn from each other – but I see many bicyclists who sit on the saddle at a stop with their feet barely reaching the ground. Really. They rode a tricycle or BMX bicycle as a child and never relearned. They restart clumsily, slowing others waiting behind them.

Some signs aren’t in the line of sight of motorists; some clearly are leftovers from before the bike lane was installed, and their messages are no longer accurate. One says drivers must yield to pedestrians, none says that they must yield to bicyclists, though the bike lane is closer than the crosswalk. Right turns across the bike lane are covered at least in theory by the NO TURN ON RED sign but on the other hand, it has issues, as already described.

This is a high-volume intersection, where lots of motorists turn right. If bicyclists are to go straight through to the right of right-turning motor traffic, the special signalization is warranted to avoid right-turn conflicts .But -- there are dozens of other places along the street here where motorists can turn right. The video shows three – a residential driveway and two commercial ones. Some conflict areas have green paint to warn motorists. Some have large flowerpots every couple hundred feet, forming a buffer. Some have flex posts to force motorists to turn right from the left side of bicyclists. One line of flex posts in the video prevents bicyclists from merging out of the bike lane where it becomes a parking lane. Big-picture question: is it less important to signalize 100 driveways where 3 cars per day turn right, than to signalize one intersection where 300 turn right?

Here’s the basic safety message I can offer: a separate bikeway may make people feel safer, but this one – unlike, for example, the Minuteman Rail Trail – is not truly separate. Most motor-vehicle-bicycle crashes in urban areas result from crossing and turning conflicts, and linear separation of bicycle and motor traffic does not remove them.

My description of the issues with the installation in the video is detailed, because they are complicated. My goal with this article is for you aware of such issues in your daily riding. To truly be looking out for yourself, you have to check for traffic that might turn right across your path at every driveway and cross street, and even with the complicated signalized intersection treatment shown in the video. With many conflict points, you can become fatigued about checking in real time. Skillful use of a rear-view mirror can make the task easier. As the video shows, riding in the normal flow of traffic is much less complicated!

A cyclist may be comfortable or with riding in the company of motor traffic, or not. The fear factor for the uncomfortable bicyclist is lowered, but the skill level and attentiveness required to ride safely in a not-truly-separate bikeway are actually higher.

This is an unfortunate quandary and the only good answer for it, no matter where a bicyclist may choose to ride, is education. This will become an increasingly pressing issue as e-bikes allow people to go fast without building both skill and fitness together.




September Film Festival

Alex Post


There's nothing better than getting out for a ride, but on a rest day a video can almost take us there. Enjoy our monthly virtual film fest.


World's Hardest Cycling Climb?
The hardest climb in the world could be measured in several ways, but anyway you look at it this climb in the Italian Dolomites is a contender, with some sections around 40%. At points this rider is struggling  just to walk up. 13 Mins.
65 MPH Descent In The Desert
Now that we've climbed in the previous video, it's time to enjoy some downhill, albeit a different mountain, at Mount Whitney California. 16 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.



September Picture of the Month

WheelPeople Editors


A day (or ride) at the beach is likely over for this season, but many say that the New England fall is the best time to ride. Here's to good fall weather!


The best type of bike to ride on the beach is a fat bike. The extra wide tires on a fat bike will grip the sand better, giving you better balance. Your best bet is to ride on wet sand (though not in the ocean). Your ride will be slower, and using lower gears will help in keeping you moving. Your positioning on the bike will also help you with your balance. Try not to hunch over the handlebars. Staying back will give you a better center of gravity and also keep your front tire from digging into the sand. Keeping your pedal strokes consistent will also help to keep you from slipping. And for safety’s sake, you will probably want to avoid any steep inclines or descents.

Photo by Alex Post 







September Updates

WheelPeople Editors
Town Ride collections - The Town collections are available for you
Amazon Smile If you have an Amazon Prime account please look into making CRW your charity. Details here
Riding a Trike We previously reported on Eli's experience with his trike, and here are his front line observations:

Motorists stop and make way.  I get much more respect than when I was on a road bike. I think they see a wheelchair with pedals.

Dogs growl but don't attack. It's not a familiar sight and they are a bit frightened and cautious.

Children love the sight of me. I can't imagine what goes through their heads, but they stare in amazement, and it seems they think I am a creature from outer space

Cyclists are polite, ask questions, and deal with me as a kindred spirit. Maybe they think a trike is in their future.

Squirrels become alarmed and, in fear, flee away from me off the road/path.

Pedestrians all smile at me patronizingly as if to say, “look at that old handicapped fellow following doctor’s orders to get some exercise.”