Rich Taylor is Retiring

By: 
Eli Post

 

Paying tribute to someone is a deeply personal act and is generally reserved for those who have significantly affected your life.

Tributes usually mark a special event, which brings us to Rich Taylor, who is very much with us, but will no longer lead CRW rides. For health reasons, Rich had to reluctantly withdraw as a CRW ride leader, but his volunteer work and impact on the club will not be forgotten. We are presenting the memories of those who crossed paths with Rich over the years. He will read this, and we hope the gift of words from his friends will show him how much he means to us. 

 

“Rich was seminal to my riding career. I owe him a lot.” -- Bob Wolf

__________________________________________

 

“Rich has long been a friendly, welcoming face in CRW. He was always an enthusiastic leader on the Thursday night fitness rides out of Hanscom and always eager to greet and help new riders. But my most memorable ride with Rich was a long ago CRW Spring Century, probably around 2000. I had a goal then to average 17 mph and I was just barely at that toward the end of the century, when I was starting to tire. Maybe 10 miles from the end there’s a long hill and I was falling back from the group I was with. Rich hung back with me and pulled some, but more than that, he gave me great encouragement and moral support. That was just what I needed to muster the will to push just a little harder and I made my goal, which I credit entirely to Rich! “The two of us have talked about that ride a number of times in the years since, as it left an impression on both of us. Rich is a memorable guy to a lot of people. -- Connie Farb

_________________________________________________________________________

 

“I can’t remember when I actually met Rich. He was always there – leading, creating, mentoring, coaching, and being a friend. “Rivers of the Sudbury River was a favorite, and Rich cancelled it one year in early spring because, as he said, it was ‘Bridges Under the Sudbury River.’ Rich always planned ride lengths to accommodate all levels, all riders. He had huge turnouts on those beautiful early spring days. Rich was famous for recommending and doling out Skittles for energy while biking. Most of all, I’ll never forget how Rich came back to cycling after a bad crash at the start of the Honey Pot ride on Oak Hill coming into Harvard about eight or 10 years ago. It was so scary and messed up that day. I was floored when I saw videos of the holiday party only three months later with Rich dancing! He had had collapsed lungs, multiple clavicle and shoulder fractures, etc. Just an amazing amount of work to heal. Then Rich of course got back on the bike as soon as he could! What a role model for all us who’ve ever been injured on the bike, or otherwise, to work back to what we love to do - ride. “Well, Rich. I hope we see you on rides, even if you aren’t going to be leading any longer.” -- Ellen Gugel

 

__________________________________________________________________________

 

“I don't have any notable ride experiences with Rich, but I did work for him, painting and carpentry, and he was always personal and friendly.” -- Fred Kresse

_________________________________________________________________________

"Even if you don’t know Rich Taylor personally, you’ve seen him out riding during the season. He logs thousands of miles, always wearing his distinctive sun protection of white sleeves and leggings. When I spot him, I always shout out a hearty “Hi, Rich” and he responds with a kindly “hello”, with no idea who I am, indistinguishable from other cyclists. I’ll email when I get home, letting him know it was me and he’ll apologize for not knowing, ever the gentleman. 

 

When I started riding in the 1990s, I was the lucky beneficiary of paceline training on the Thursday night ride out of Hanscom. I don’t remember who did the instruction, but in conversations with Rich, I’m sure it was him. A few years ago, I took on the role as VP of Rides for CRW and was lucky enough to again come under his tutelage. Rich would sometimes pull up next to me during rides or email me privately with suggestions or concerns, guiding me as I learned the job and functioning as an additional set of eyes for things I did not notice. 

For years, Rich led the Bridges of the Sudbury River ride, with his carefully curated routes and meticulous arrows. I can still picture him standing on a step stool in front of Crosby’s Market as he gave the ride talk, waving a poster board with a sample arrow. His voice would easily carry across the crowd but Rich wanted to be sure everyone could hear. 

 

A few years ago, Rich led a group of riders on the Cranberry Harvest Century. I rode with them for a few miles at the start of the ride, then left the group as their ride was more lackadaisical than I would have liked. I spotted them again at the Mattapoisett rest stop and Rich asked if I would rejoin as they were in need of some fresh legs. I was reticent but agreed. From the rest stop to the end of the ride, I shared pulls with one of the most disciplined pacelines I’d seen all summer. Rich, ever the teacher, had once again worked his magic in a single ride. 

 

The club has been lucky to benefit from his guidance for all these years. If you see him on the road, be sure to say hello and he will surely respond." Mary Kernan

____________________________________________________________________________

 

“I saw Rich as one who worked diligently for CRW and always had its best interest in mind. He came to my house to personally deliver a get-well card signed by a large gathering of CRW members shortly after my clavicle fracture and I was so appreciative that he took the initiative to do that. We had a nice chat while he was there, and my wife sent him home with a bunch of cookies.” -- Fred Newton

__________________________________________________________________________

“Rich is one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to ride with. He is a great ride leader as proven by the large crowds he attracts to his rides. He gives good pre-ride talks. His rides always have excellent arrows. I'll certainly miss his rides.” -- Joe Repole 

_______________________________________________

A friend who was leaving Boston, gifted me her ancient road bike.  It sat in my basement for a while, and then on one sunny day I decided that this was going to be my new form of exercise. Same friend told me about Charles River Wheelman, but I frowned because I wasn’t ready for spandex and climbing hills.  But after a few trips out on my bike, I had second thoughts as I was able to get through some carefully chosen non hilly rides. 

 

On my first ride with CRW, I was nervous, intimated by said spandex and lots of skinny muscle bearing legs.  Yikes, what have I done!  It was a 30 mile ride and I didn’t know which was worse, trying to keep up with the group, socializing with serious bikers or potentially getting off my bike to surpass a hill. I was cycling along, about to start a major hill, when I let out a groan of nervousness (I thought quietly to myself).  I heard a voice ‘on your left’ followed by ‘you can do it’.  I looked and there was my first encounter with Rich Taylor, biker extraordinaire.  I said thanks for the encouragement.  I reached the top and there was Rich waiting for me to make sure I was ok.  I said something like ‘is this supposed to be fun’.  We rode the rest of the ride together chatting nonstop. 

 

Fast forward 15 years, and Rich is still encouraging and supporting me.  I’ve been on many of his rides, and to say that they are the best arrowed rides is an understatement.  His knowledge of the area is amazing, often pointing out architectural wonders and funny historical stories. 

 

I  consider Rich to be one of my closest friends.  He’s super smart, kind, genuine and loves a good laugh. We have since shared many a bike rides together.  I still continue to groan up those hills, and Rich is still there encouraging me all the way.  I got lucky that on my first CRW ride, I met the best guy and best friend a gal could ask for. If you ever see Rich on the road, say hi.  Don’t let those serious bike clothes, sleeve covers and fancy bike be a deterrent to connect.  You won’t meet a better person.  Paula O’Sullivan

___________________________________________________________________________

“Rich always took ‘new’ riders under his wing so to speak and would coach them in pace-lining and group riding. But he also had a special club to which I belonged: the broken collarbone club. And he sure had a number of them (broken bones) himself! “After my crash in 2013 where I broke my collarbone, Rich gave me this bike shirt with a skeleton motif. I love wearing it on Halloween rides and most recently, when I did Cycle Zydeco in Louisiana 3 weeks ago, it became a favorite for the crazy, party bike tour that it was! Rich always did a terrific job with leading interesting rides. He will be missed.” -- Pat Schindeler

______________________________________________________________________

"Over the mountains of New Hampshire, Rich coached myself and my girlfriend on cadence and other aspects of riding, and made it very enjoyable. On top of which, he’s one of the kindest people I know" --Alex Post

_______________________________________________________________________

"Rich is unrivalled in the kindness he shows fellow cyclists whether he's ridden with someone for years or it's a stranger he encountered randomly while riding. A bonus on any ride for me is coming around a bend to see his unmistakable lanky profile on the road ahead. He can always be counted on for a cheery comment that makes you glad you got on your bike that day. We would all do well to be like Rich and approach every ride as an opportunity to meet new friends." -- Tim Wilson

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

“Rich is a dear friend. He loves people, and as you can see from the tributes, has been willing to do the hard work it takes to build relationships. I can’t keep up riding with Rich any longer, but we frequently get together socially. He made many friends over the years, and I am fortunate to be one of them.” -- Eli Post  

 

Rich is shown leading a group on a century ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

I remember meeting Rich on my third TGIF ride and we went out together. I had no clue how to ride, shift my gears, climb hills or do anything but stay upright. Rich took me under his protective wing and patiently taught me everything about cycling. I am so fortunate and grateful. He knows every landmark on each ride and is one of the best people I have ever met! Thank you Rich for your kindness, knowledge and innate leadership skills.