November 2022 WheelPeople


2022 Ride Leader Party

Mary Kernan


Ride Leaders are the cornerstone of CRW. Without these dedicated volunteers, we wouldn't have a bicycle club. The club can never do enough to thank them, but we can certainly try.


This year started with a kickoff party in early spring where we feted the Ride Leaders with food and beverage, imploring everyone to post rides to the calendar. They responded with a bang and we had a banner year of rides available, including all the new ride types that had been introduced in previous seasons. In spite of Covid, we had lots of returning leaders and even better, lots of new volunteers who went through Ride Leader training and qualified to become Leaders this year. 


Ride Leader Training? Yup. Starting three years ago, we introduced a training program for all new Ride Leaders. It starts with a Zoom presentation where experienced leaders spend close to two hours walking potential leaders through everything it takes to plan, post and run a ride for CRW. But it doesn't stop there. Once they've seen the presentation, Ride Leaders must then read the Ride Leader Handbook, a riveting 18 page tome that helps to reinforce everything learned in the training. And we're not done yet - the final step is to co-lead three rides before they're ready to become fully fledged Ride Leaders. It takes time and dedication and we're grateful to everyone who goes through the process.


It's worth it. In addition to the kickoff party in the spring, we always present a gift to anyone who's led a ride during the season. This year's gift is a pair of CRW Cylcling Gloves, available only to Ride Leaders!


We didn't stop there. Hoping to get a few more rides on the calendar, we posted a contest to win a $100 gift card to a local bike shop for anyone who met the contest criteria. Congratulations goes out to winners Linda Nelson, Robyn Betts, Andy Brand and Lyda Budrys.


But Ride Leaders don't do this for the swag. They do it as a way of giving back to the club everything they've received from those who came before. There's a special satisfaction that comes from watching a new rider improve and gain confidence. We've all felt it and those who lead have had the added joy of sharing it. 


We celebrated the season with a Ride Leader Thank You party in early October. Ride Leaders are encouraged to bring a guest as many of us who lead are supported by those who understand our desire to volunteer. You should give it a try.



2022 Election Results

John O'Dowd

To: CRW Members

I am reporting the results of the CRW Board election, which was complete as of October 6, 2022. The final vote count is:

Erik D’Entremont 219
Barbara Jacobs     249
Amy Juodawikis     275
Mark Nadone     242
Eli Post     234

Congratulations to the candidates: Amy, Barbara,and Mark earned 3-year terms, and are the newly elected Board members for the term beginning on January 1, 2023. Eli and Eric fill out remaining terms. 

Note that the CRW bylaws provide that “The Secretary shall also approve the process and execution of the annual general election of the Board and for any other elections.” and I am posting these election results accordingly.


The CRW Board appreciates all those who expressed their views and voted.

Respectfully submitted,
John O'Dowd
CRW Board Secretary



Accidents Can Happen When You Least Expect One

Eli Post

We share the roads with motorists, but they are not the only menace we face when we ride. There are other surprising dangers that can get you hurt, and we need to watch out for them.

The following list is drawn from personal experience, and reports from friends. None are fabricated, and all qualify as having the potential to cause harm:

  • A playful dog, not on a leash, sees you spinning along, and does not realize there are spokes in your wheels. It thinks it can hop through the wheel and enjoy a playful romp. Because you have to be moving fast for the spokes to be invisible to the dog, it’s an encounter that can end badly for both of you.
  • You are moving along on a wooded country road, unaware that a rotted tree has lost its stability and is about to snap and fall across the road. It’s just a matter of luck and timing if it doesn’t smack you on the head.
  • The road was recently paved so you become more relaxed not noticing an unexpected crack that will snag your front wheel and force you to the side.
  • It rained recently and there are puddles everywhere. You don’t realize one of the puddles fills a deep hole and you get caught in it.
  • You are crossing a busy road and look left and right before crossing. There is a traffic light on one side, and a vehicle decides to squeeze by a light already red.
  • Beware of squirrels. They can dart out from bushes on the side of your path, and hitting one is trouble.
  • When a driver parks and without looking opens the door in a rider’s path, this is known as “dooring.” Cyclists moving at high speeds frequently do not have enough chance to react before colliding with an open car door, which usually results in severe injuries.
  • The weather says it has warmed, and the snow/ice from a previous storm is gone. However, one road is low and shaded, making it a few degrees colder. A patch of ice you didn’t expect hasn’t melted and your wheels lose traction.
  • A rider comes upon a road construction project where the road was closed to cars, but a police officer waves him through.  What at first seemed like good fortune that avoided a detour, turns into a major problem as he can no longer steer the bike due to about a one-inch build-up of road tar on his tires.
  • A cyclist approaches a T-intersection with a busy road where the route turns right. A car is approaching from the left but there appears to be plenty of time to make the turn. Keeping a wary eye on the approaching vehicle, the rider doesn’t see a 4-inch-deep pile of sand on the corner and goes down.
  • It’s a windy day and you’re riding through a neighborhood shortly after the trash truck came through. As you pass a home, a gust picks up an empty trash barrel and sends it sailing across the road in front of you.
  • The two riders were on a country road in Sudbury, and decided to take a break. Ahead they noticed a truck with a worker on a ladder or crane, and he was dealing with overhead cables. The truck was off to the side, out of their way, so they ended their break and started off when they heard a loud thud by their side. The cable had slipped out of the utility poles that held it, and a long stretch fell just a few feet from where they were riding. It’s many years later and I can still hear that thud, but we escaped injury and went our merry way.

This article is not meant to frighten you or discourage you from riding. Its purpose is to encourage you to keep in mind there are potential dangers you can encounter on a ride when you least expect it. The fact is, we face risks each day from the moment we step out of bed. But if we stay ready and alert, we can avoid many of them on and off the bike.



 We are grateful to Tim Wilson who edited this article.




A Touring Life - Minnesota Meander

John Springfield


John Springfield is a long-time member who periodically reports on his travels. The photos are all his and in many cases are of sights along the route that attract attention. Riding is also appreciating the local landscape.


Right after Labor Day I decided to celebrate my 74th birthday by taking a bike tour of Minnesota. Why Minnesota?  Well, hopefully it would be cooler than the blistering heat we had in Boston in August.  And, I was looking forward to exploring the small towns, far away from Boston traffic. 


World's largest hockey stick in Eveleth, MN.

It turns out, the weather was perfect for bicycling.  Chilly in the morning, but usually warming up to the 70's by day's end.  And no rain or significant hills!

The author trying to decide rules for entering Canada.

Leaving International Falls at the Canadian border, I was treated to the world's largest statue of Smokey Bear.  I was now entering Paul Bunyan territory.

Smokey and Paul Bunyan enrich the landscape.

I didn't have much choice on which road to take south:  US-71.  Luckily it had a huge breakdown lane for most of the first day.  Minnesota drivers were very generous when passing me.


For several days I hardly saw a town over 900 people.  It was a different world. Many towns had only one cafe, one gas station, and maybe a motel.  My mileage each day was determined by the distance between motels.

A local farm of which there are many.

I had biked in central Minnesota in 1976 as part of my first cross-country tour.  I was looking forward to seeing the statue of Babe the Blue Ox and Paul Bunyan in Bemidji.  Alas, it was kind of a letdown.  Surrounded by a construction, the Babe and Paul looked a little forlorn...


I managed to book a room in a small lodge in Itasca State Park, home to the Mississippi River headwaters.  The accommodations were great, and I met an interesting couple that were into biking, hiking, and outdoor adventures.  On my way there I crossed the Mississippi River several times.  It ranged from a mere 20 feet to 100 feet across.

I crossed the Mississippi River.

By day 4 I noticed more and more farms.  Goodby forests, hello prairie.  The towns got a little larger.  I ran into my first fast-food restaurants. 

I ate a breakfast burrito, which was a fine treat.

In Sauk Center I noticed that the main street was named "The Original Main Street".

Memoryville exhibit - along the Lake Wobegon Trail and Sinclair Lewis

I couldn't figure this out, until I spotted a statue of Sinclair Lewis, the author of the novel "Main Street".


Usually not a fan of bike trails, I nonetheless got on the Lake Wobegon Trail. 

The Lake Wobegan Trail

Except for the times it went through small towns, I had the trail to myself.  It eventually took me to St. Cloud, by far the biggest city of the trip.


Unfortunately, I got word that my best friend was dying.  So I had to find a way to get back to Boston with my bike. None of the rental car agencies had any one-way cars available.  I was still 75 miles (a day's ride on a bike) from Minneapolis.  I needed to get home as soon as possible.  Then it dawned on me:  try the St. Cloud U-Haul.  Sure enough, they had plenty of small trucks available for one-way rental.  Two days later I arrived in Boston, able to see my friend one last time...


So the planned tour was ended. 

But I look back and remember the kind people, the low traffic, and beautiful scenery.

Perhaps to be seen again some day...


Great Allegheny Passage Bike Trail

Alex Post


This summer myself along with two others biked from Pittsburgh to DC, along the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Trail, and the C&O Canal trail. The two trails combined are 334 miles, and we had 6 riding days, 3 on each trail. In this article I’ll review the first half of the trip along the GAP trail, which runs 150 miles from Pittsburgh to Cumberland MD.


The night before the ride start we stayed in a hotel in Pittsburgh, and enjoyed Sandwiches at Primanti’s for dinner. We primarily camped the rest of the trip, and we took the approach of one person driving the sag wagon each day. Of course that meant one person missed biking each day, but they it was nice to have the flexibility of a car. Many people alternatively carry everything with them, which certainly has its appeal as well.


Before the ride start in Pittsburgh it might be nice to take one of the historic inclines up to the ridge with a nice view overlooking the rivers and city. The ride itself starts at Point State Park, where the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela form the Ohio river.



Pittsburgh has an enormous number of bridges, many of them historic, including this hot metal bridge, which was initially used to transport molten metal across the river for further processing.


Getting outside the city limits we spotted some goats relaxing, after happily eating vegetation along the river.


The trail itself is predominantly a rail trail, largely with a stone dust surface, and for the most part was in excellent condition. It’s fairly wooded, and therefore shady, and we all noted that even on hot summer days of it was surprisingly comfortable. In fact we were rarely hot while riding. Lunches in the sun, or camping could be hot at times.


We made sure to stay hydrated with water, and of course, craft beer:) The Bloom Brewery draft wagon in Newton PA was a nice stop.


Cedar creek park was a nice stop for a swim, and would make an excellent camp area.


We camped out first night in Connelsville PA, and had breakfast at Connelsville Canteen, which is combined with a neat free museum to see while there. They have an incredible model train exhibit, and a WW2 exhibit, including a paratrooper bicycle, which would be folded and strapped to soldiers when jumping out of planes.


For lunch we stopped in the very scenic town of Ohiopyle, which would also make an excellent place to stay.


We enjoyed watching the Kayakers going over Ohiopyle fall. The River bends around so sharply there that kayakers can make a run, and walk briefly back on the GAP trail to the beginning to go again.


If you have time you can also take a detail for a few miles to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water house, or pictured here Kentuck Knob.


The second night we camped at Meyersdale PA, at festival park campground. They have a large covered stage area which came in handy to put our tents on since it rained that night.


On the third day we crossed the eastern continental divide.


There are some nice views from the divide into the valley.


Coming down the hill towards Frostburg there is a cave where bones of a saber tooth tiger was discovered, now on display at the Smithsonian. The town of Frostburg itself is also fun to see, although it does require biking up a half mile hill.

We arrived in Cumberland MD at the end of the GAP trail, and where it meets up with the C&O trail. I’ll cover that portion of the trip in a future article.


Gravel Rides

Eli Post



The Boston Globe ran an article about gravel rides, and it featured CRW, and our own Amy Juodawikis, who is the club’s co-lead for the Gravel Ride program.

The article can be read here The asphalt exodus: Bicyclists and runners turn to gravel trails as a safer way to ride and run - The Boston Globe This link may not work for all.

In summary, the article reports that “off-road terrain provides a refuge from aggressive drivers.” It quotes Amy extensively including “In my area (Arlington) you’re always looking out for car doors opening, buses pulling out, lane changes, et cetera. Getting on the trail removes these stresses, although you always have to be thinking about riding safely in the woods.”

Check the CRW calendar for gravel rides, and you will soon be riding through the woods.

Boston Globe photo by Mattew J. Lee showing CRW cyclists along the Battle Road Trail in Lincoln, MA.

The Athlete's Kitchen - Food & Physique


The Athlete’s Kitchen

Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSS November 2022


Fretting about Food & Physique? 

Many athletes feel pressure to have a perfect body, perfect diet, and ideally, perfect performances. The stress-inducing trait of perfectionism often pushes athletes to not only become stronger and faster, but also leaner and food-phobic. We have seen perfection play out with football phenom Tom Brady. While he is a poster child for the benefits of eating ”perfectly,” he also has great mental strength that keeps him focused on his goals without getting side-tracked by comparisons.


Most of us are a bit more insecure than Tom and end up comparing ourselves to others. Take note: To compare is to despair! Please stop comparing your physique and your food choices to those of your teammates, friends, and family! Here are strategies to help you fret less and instead gain confidence with your food choices and your physique.


Body Comparisons

She’s leaner than I am  …   He’s got bigger muscles than I do  ...  She’s prettier than I am  …. He’s got a better 6-pack ab than I do. How often do you find yourself comparing your body to that of your teammates, friends, and social media influencers? If the answer is too often, just STOP IT! Your body is yours; it is good enough the way it is. You want to stop criticizing your body for being too fat, too slow, too short, too freckled—and instead be grateful for all the good things it does for you, like run marathons, row in regattas, win soccer games, and/or compete in triathlons. Those “thunder thighs” contribute to your ability to be a strong, powerful, and successful athlete. Thank them!


Few athletes have the “perfect body”; even the leanest athletes complain about undesired bumps and bulges. Athletes who whine about feeling fat are more likely feeling imperfect, inadequate, anxious, and/or out of control.


Recommendations: To achieve body acceptance, practice living on a fantasy island where you and your body are good enough—if not excellent—the way you are. If you wander off your island and start comparing yourself to others, you’ll undoubtedly end up despairing. Stay on your island!


 When you look in the mirror, greet yourself with a welcoming smile and grateful words. With time, you will start to internalize that your body is indeed good enough the way it is. While you may never attain the perfect physique, you can still be grateful for all your body does for you. 


Portion Comparisons
Do you eat like a bird compared to your teammates? Or maybe you feel self-conscious because you need to eat twice as much as your peers just to maintain your desired weight?  At team meals/social gatherings, many athletes monitor the quantity of food others are eating. Salads and small portions tend to get praised more than lumberjack servings. (I wish I had your discipline vs. You sure do eat a lot….) For athletes recovering from restrictive, dysfunctional eating, eating a sandwich, fruit, yogurt & pretzels for lunch seems embarrassing—way too much food—when it’s really what is needed to properly fuel up for an after-school practice or after-work trip to the gym.


When I educate my clients how many calories they “deserve” to eat, most are flabbergasted to learn athletic females commonly require 2,400+ calories to maintain weight; athletic males may require 2,800+ calories. That’s 600-700 calories four times a day: breakfast, early lunch, second lunch/afternoon snack, and dinner.

Recommendation: Please don’t start counting calories; your body is your best calorie counter. Rather, listen to your innate hunger and fullness cues. Eat when hungry; stop when content. Pay attention to why you stop eating: Do you think you should?  Is the food all gone? Or are you actually feeling content and comfortably fed?


Food Comparisons

I eat only healthy foods. … I avoid sugar like the plague  …  I won’t touch the pies at Thanksgiving.  In the world of “clean eating”, athletes feel pressure to choose the “right” foods. That translates into no sugar, salt, red meat, white flour, packaged foods, fat, and no fun foods. The E in Eating stands for Enjoyment; you want to be able to enjoy (in appropriate portions) the foods you truly want to eat!


Believe it or not, it’s OK to balance fun foods into an overall good diet. The goal is 85-90% nutrient-rich whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean proteins and 10-15% fun food. You need not eat the perfect diet to have an excellent diet.

You want to eat a foundation of about 1,500 calories from a variety of nutrient-dense foods to consume the vitamins, minerals, and protein required for an effective sports diet. Because your body needs at least 2,400-2,800 calories a day, you have space in your diet for both health-promoting food and fun food. While you want to enjoy more of the best foods and less of the rest, you can balance fun foods into your sports diet. That is, an apple is a healthy food; a diet of all apples is a very unhealthy, unbalanced diet.


Recommendation: If you find yourself being judgmental about food, the problem is unlikely the food, but rather your relationship with the food—and fears it will make you get fat or ruin your health. Eating out of the same pot as your pals is a very healthy thing to do! A few fun meals will not ruin your health forever.


Nutrition Supplement Comparisons

I often counsel athletes who wonder if they can nourish their bodies with real food instead of taking supplements. As one athlete sheepishly asked, “I don’t take any vitamin pills. Should I? My teammates takes a handful of them..” Let me reassure you that opting out of supplements is okay (and can save you bundles of money). If you eat wisely 85-90% of the time, you are likely getting the vitamins and minerals and protein you need, with a few possible exceptions (iron, vitamin D).


Recommendation: If you question the adequacy of your diet, consult with a registered dietitian (RD) who is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD). Make an appointment today to learn how to choose food based on facts, not fears, and can fret less and enjoy better quality of life.



Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD  counsels both fitness exercisers and competitive athletes in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). Her best-selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook is a popular resource, as is her online workshop. Visit for info.


Nancy Clark, MS RD CSSD Sports nutrition counselor Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 6th Edition (Books, presentations, blog) Twitter: @nclarkrd Office: 1155 Walnut St., Newton Highlands, MA 02460 Phone:617-795-1875 "Helping active people win with good nutrition." Secretary, Professionals in Nutrition for Exercise and Sport (PINES) 


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






Anti-Aging: Fatigue Resistance Research



By Coach John Hughes


Several weeks ago I wrote about Anti-Aging: Mastering Fatigue. The bottom line is your perceived exertion of how hard you are working controls how far / fast you can ride, not the physiological workload of your body. Matt Fitzgerald in How Badly Do You Want It uses multiple case studies to illustrate this point. In that column I drew on the book and added my own suggestions of how you can change your perceived exertion.Several studies looked at other factors about why we fatigue.  Good news! Some of these causes are within your control as you age.


Stage Racing

study published in August 2021 looked at Power Profiling and Race Performance of professional and U23 racers during the five-day Tour of the Alps. U23 riders were under 23 and competed in the developmental Continental tier of cycling competition. Nine U23 and eight professional cyclists participated in the study. The researchers looked at power and heart rate data from the five-day Tour of the Alps. They concluded the best predictor of race performance wasn’t raw power or heart-rate. It was fatigue resistance.


 The researchers collected power data during two editions of the stage race.  Then they constructed power profiles for each cyclist and compared the profiles to race performances. To construct the profiles the researchers searched through each rider’s data for the entire five-day race to find the five-second window with the highest average power. They did the same analysis for ten seconds, 15 seconds, and so on up to 30 minutes.


There were no significant differences in the power profiles of the pro and U23 racers up to 30 minutes of racing except the U23s had a higher five-second power than the pros! There also weren’t major differences when they compared power profiles of different types of cyclists like climbers and all-rounders.


But races are longer than 30 minutes.


Researchers then constructed a separate profile of peak power for five seconds, ten seconds and so on for each rider after 40 minutes, 1:00, 1:20, 1:40 and 2:00 hours of racing.


The power profiles of each pro and U23 rider declined from 40 minutes to two hours. The U23 riders’ curves declined more than the pros. (No surprise.) However, the power curves of the individual pros stayed bunched together, indicating very similar performance. The individual U23 power curves were more spread out. The pros had better fatigue resistance.


Quantifying fatigue by declining power output per unit of time is a gross measure. A rider might cruise at a steady 250 watts for an hour.  Or the rider could ride for an hour at 230 watts with a couple of one-minute surges at 600 watts. Although the average power for the hour is the same the latter is more fatiguing. Pro stage races aren’t steady state: intensities range from low to high. Coaches use normalized power rather than average power to measure total workload for a ride. Normalized power takes into account the difference between a steady workout and a fluctuating workout.


The study only involved a small number of cyclists all of whom were elite. The data were collected during a race and an individual’s power curves reflect a team’s tactics and the rider’s job.


Nike’s Breaking2 Project

In 2017 Nike launched a project to have a runner break the two-hour barrier in the marathon. Nike tested at least 16 of its sponsored elite runners to pick a team of three who potentially could run a sub-two-hour marathon. (Nike didn’t reveal the exact number and identities of the tested runners.) Eliud Kipchoge won the eventual race in 2:00:25


Physiologists and coaches have a mathematical model to forecast a runner’s performance in a marathon. The model has three variables to predict a runner performance: 1) VO2 max, 2) running economy, and 3) what fraction of VO2 max a runner can sustain over the course of a marathon. Lactate threshold is often a proxy for the third variable.


Nike published the data on each the runners. In this group of elite runners none of these three variables were extraordinary. After studying the data researchers suggested a fourth variable is also critical, which they called fatigue resistance, representing “the extent of the deterioration of the three [other variables] over time.” 


Improving fatigue resistance

Fatigue results from many factors including the metabolism in your muscles, how much glycogen you still have, changing signals in your nervous system between your muscles and your brain, deteriorating economy of effort, dwindling motivation, etc. The interplay of these factors is different in each athlete.


1. Carbohydrates. Running low on glycogen seems to make fatigue resistance worse. Your muscles burn glucose for energy. The glucose is stored as glycogen until needed.  The glycogen comes from carbs. Data from the Breaking2 project showed that consuming 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour improved fatigue resistance. 60 grams of carbs per hours is what the American College of Sports Medicine recommends. Even if you don’t bonk – run out of carbs completely – your muscles don’t perform as well when you start to deplete your glycogen.  I’ve written two related columns:

3. Economy. A study in the  British Journal of Sports Medicine suggested economy of effort is a key to performance. Your muscle fibers don’t naturally all fire at the same time so some of each pedal stroke is wasted effort, i.e., lower economy. You can improve your economy — the firing pattern of your muscle fibers — by sprinting. You don’t have to your buddies to a stop sign. In your longer rides include two or three 30- to 60-second sprints spaced far enough apart you recover fully.  You could sprint every five minutes, every couple of hours, etc. and get the same benefits.  This is analogous to dialing in the timing of your car’s engine. I wrote this column on how to improve your economy:

4. Motivation. Motivation during a ride keeps you turning the cranks even though you’re getting very tired. The column on Mastering Fatigue explained how to maintain your motivation by changing your perceived exertion of your fatigue.  Consistency of exercise is critical for older riders.  As we age, we lose fitness faster if we don’t exercise regularly.  This column explains:

5. Boredom. We don’t feel as fatigued if we’re riding with others talking and having a good time. However, if we’re bored, we feel the fatigue sooner.  I’ve written two columns on:

You can improve your fatigue resistance by working on each of the five factors.

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 





On Seeing Red

John Allen

You may be waiting to cross a big street with heavy traffic. Or you may be waiting in a left turn lane. The traffic light is red as you approach.. Then the traffic signals go through an entire cycle, but they skip the one that applies to you.

This is a safety issue. Why does this happen, and what are you to do?

This isn’t the first time I have written about the problem. I had an article in the October 2013 WheelPeople, accompanying a video,

The video shows CRW members, waiting, and not waiting, for a traffic signal on Boylston Street on the Climb to the Clouds Ride


I think that it is fair to repeat the content of the article here, because little has changed. So here goes, lightly updated.


Most people on CRW rides know how to turn left (just as motorists do) – first merging to the left-turn position on the roadway. Everyone in this video I shot during the July (2013) Climb to the Clouds ride did that. 

The left turns on red shown in the video are by no means entirely the bicyclists’ fault. The left-turn signal is triggered by a metal detector buried in the roadway, which in this case did not detect bicycles. The bicyclists who ran the red did wait -- but when the signal did not change, they lost patience.

Still, if the bicyclists had known to line up carefully over the pavement cuts that indicate the locations of the detector wires, the signal probably would have changed.

A motorist was waiting behind the bicyclists, but too far back to trigger the signal actuator. The motorist appeared to be staying out of the way of the group of waiting bicyclists -- and waited through an entire extra light cycle. Perhaps the motorist was trying to be considerate.  On the other hand, the motorist could have resolved the situation without anyone’s running the light, by pulling forward over the detector –and probably didn’t know that.  After the first group of bicyclists left, I motioned to the motorist to pull forward, and the light did change. The remaining bicyclists then proceeded on a green signal.

But he most effective time for a teachable moment about signal detectors isn’t while waiting in a group of bicyclists who are arriving at random. Even more so for a motorist, who is out of earshot inside a vehicle. My failed attempt in the video demonstrates that well enough.

So, what can you do to help?

If you are a ride leader, be aware of these issues on your route. You can discuss them briefly in the pre-ride talk. More effective is to improve on the generic bare-bones cues in RidewithGPS. Your cue could, for example, say “form a double line in the left-turn lane, with your wheels over the wire cuts.”  Traffic-signal troubles are only one of several reasons to check and revise RidewithGPS cues.  They often come too late to allow correct preparation for a turn, and sometimes they are simply wrong.

If you ride a Club route on your own, alert the names ride leader to problem spots.

Spread the knowledge of how to trigger signal actuators when talking with other cyclists

Develop a culture of orderly assembly when queuing at intersections. This includes not only avoiding sloppy, risky moves like the close passes of a moving motor vehicle shown in the video, but also stopping in a neat formation over the wires of the metal detector loops.  An orderly group also might encourage motorists to feel more comfortable in pulling forward to help trip signal actuators.

A final point about neatness.  Note the motorcyclists in the video. Both bicyclists and motorcyclists have problems with public image, but the motorcyclists in the video were doing a fine job of dispelling their image problem. Even if bicyclists must proceed on red, orderly appearance conveys a more positive message than the ragged group of bicyclists in the video.


End of the 2013 article. But let me take this discussion a bit further.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has been fairly good about installing bicycle-sensitive actuators. Some cities and towns also have been, notably Watertown. When main streets are state highways, often the signal installations are by MassDOT.

But In 1989 I sent a polite letter to the traffic director of the City of Waltham, where resided then – and still do now.  I described the problem of traffic signal actuators that do not turn the light green. In 1991 I sent a less polite letter. And I have raised the issue several times since.

Now in 2022, the City of Waltham constructing a section of the Mass Central Rail Trail. And repaving a number of streets. I’m all in favor of both of those initiatives.

But I rode a couple of those recently repaved streets last week and Waltham still is laying the wires for its traffic signal actuators in a pattern which does not detect bicycles and motorcycles. We have the frosting, so to speak, but no cake.

Perhaps in the light of the millions of dollars of local and state funding that the City of Waltham is spending on these projects, I’ll finally be able to shame city officials into laying the wires in a different pattern in the street next time. (That’s all it takes -- it costs nothing.).

The city might consider its Complete Streets policy, to wit:

 In the City of Waltham, Massachusetts, Complete Streets are designed, operated, maintained and enforced to provide safety and accessibility for ALL users of our roadways, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit users of all ages and abilities.

And please also look into this issue in your own community!



Late Afternoon Exercise Helps to Control Blood Sugar Better than Morning Exercise

By Dr. Gabe Mirkin




A study from Japan found that exercising in the late afternoon (4-6 PM) helps to control blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels better than exercising in the morning.

Twelve healthy young men walked on a treadmill for one hour at 60 percent of their maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They were tested during and after a week of exercising just in the morning or just in the afternoon. Blood sugar and fat control was much better in the afternoon exercisers.
• Continuous 24-hour monitoring of their blood sugar levels showed that total blood sugar levels were lower in the afternoon exercise time.
• Blood sugar levels after meals were lower after afternoon exercise. Most cell damage from high blood sugar comes from a high rise in blood sugar 1-2 hours after eating a meal.
• Triglyceride levels were lower after afternoon exercise. This is very important because your blood sugar level rises after you eat, and if it rises too high, sugar sticks to cell membranes and damages them.


That’s why diabetes can damage every cell in your body. When your blood sugar level rises, your pancreas releases insulin to keep blood sugar levels from rising too high. Insulin lowers blood sugar by driving sugar from the bloodstream into the liver. However, if the liver is full of sugar, the liver does not accept more sugar and all the extra sugar is converted to fatty triglycerides. Having a blood triglyceride level greater than 150 usually means that your blood sugar rises too high after meals and you are already diabetic or prediabetic.
• Blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol were higher after afternoon exercise. When triglycerides rise too high, you are at increased risk for clots. To protect you from a high rise in triglycerides, your good HDL cholesterol carries the triglycerides from your bloodstream into your liver, so a high rise in triglycerides causes a drop in blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol. The lower your good HDL, the more likely you are to suffer a heart attack.

High blood levels of sugar and triglycerides, high total cholesterol, and low HDL (good) cholesterol are very strong markers for increased risk for heart attacks, diabetes, and obesity. 

Why You Should Exercise Just Before or Just After You Eat
Hundreds of articles show that exercise helps to prevent and treat obesity, diabetes and heart attacks. When blood sugar rises after meals, your pancreas releases insulin which lowers blood sugar by driving sugar from your bloodstream into your liver and muscles, the only places in your body where you can store significant amounts of sugar. As soon as the liver fills up with sugar, it cannot accept any more sugar, so all the extra sugar is converted to fatty triglycerides. Exercise empties sugar from your liver and muscles, so if you exercise before or after you eat, your liver and muscles can accept more sugar, which means that both blood sugar and triglycerides levels will be lower and the good HDL cholesterol will be higher. This helps to protect you from storing extra fat in your body, becoming diabetic, and forming plaques in your arteries that can break off to cause a heart attack.


My Recommendations
Everyone who can safely do so should try to exercise regularly to help prevent diabetes, heart attacks and obesity. Having high blood sugar, high triglycerides or low good HDL cholesterol increase risk for these conditions. The most effective time to lower all these blood risk factors is to exercise just before or after you eat. The least effective time to exercise is just before you go to bed at night. You will get better protection by exercising before or just after you eat your last meal of the day.



This article is courtesy of Dr. Mirkin

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle.  A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More












Favorite RWGPS Routes

Eli Post



My riding habits and routes are no secret to my friends and family. In fact in this very newsletter, I have reported on my transition from road bike to electrical-assist trike. It came as surprise to me, however, when I received an email from Ride With GPS (RWGPS) inquiring about one of my routes and asking whether it would be appropriate for other riders. I did not know I was being watched.

Excerpt from RWGPS Email

It turns out that this was not unauthorized surveillance by evil forces, but an effort by our friends at RWGPS to make route finding easier for their members. The RWGPS library has grown to millions of routes, and sifting through them can be overwhelming. They felt that indicating favorite routes would be helpful, and allow them to deliver better results. This is still a Beta feature, and only a small selection of riders have been contacted. Don't be surprised if you are contacted, and we ask you cooperate to enhance the ride prospects of the members of this club.

And how about that route.  I ride with a group of locals who wanted a ride for winter that was short but challenging, and had a food offering at the start. This route fit the bill. The restaurant has plenty of parking and offers an "all you can eat" buffet. Perfect for hungry riders. The Sky Buffet route was developed before Covid, and we are no longer comfortable with a buffet offering, but I still ride the route and skip lunch. The route has a short stretch on a bike path, and then winds on pretty New England roads, with a few hills, and unfortunately some major road crossings. The other day I saw a field full of cows. We will return to the buffet after Covid.

This is the route and feel free to contact me if any questions Eli [at]



Bike Art

WheelPeople Editors


Cycling is terrific for those looking for cardio or aerobic exercise, and you will also burn plenty of calories. Some of us, however, develop a more personal relationship with their bike. One rider told us riding lets you escape from your problems and destroys the stresses and toxins that have accumulated. And some just love their bike and want it in their lives continuously. What's better than hanging it on a wall you pass by hourly. Or, as pictured here, go with many other opportunities to honor your bike as art.


Rehoboth Beach DE


Frostburg MD


Manning Iowa


Meyersdale PA


Oldtown MD. A schoolhouse repurposed as a place for cyclists to stay.


Cayuga Lake NY


Ames Iowa


Rockwood PA


Frostburg MD on GAP Trail


Newton PA


Photos by Alex Post


November Picture of the Month

WheelPeople Editors


By the time you see this, most of you will have hung up your bikes for the season. But you can look forward to warm weather, a day at the beach, and possibly a ride on the beach.

Photo was taken at Rehoboth Beach, Virginia in mid-October, 2022



Beach Riding

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