Ride Report

WheelPeople Editors

The Wednesday Wheelers, for those not informed, is a group within CRW that rides every Wednesday, weather permitting. They have their own riding rules which include:(a) riders ride as a group with no one dropped, (b) the rider behind the leader will dismount and mark the turn until the sweep (last rider) passes (hence they are called human arrows), and (c) the group usually convenes for lunch at the end of the ride. The Wheelers may be the most social group within CRW as the same folks ride week after week and friendships develop.


The ride leader is required to write a "ride report" which is emailed to the Wheeler mailing list. One of the ride reports caught our attention. It was written by Jack Donohue, our esteemed webmaster, and records humorously his difficulties with navigation.You would think someone with expertise in software development would easily master GPS navigation, but Jack has a makeshift cell phone and it is not surprising that it fails on occasion, and created chaos,



Wednesday, 14 July 2021, Too Cool for School

Ride Leader:  Jack Donohue

31 miles, 10:00 am start from Bedford, MA

My first thought was to describe the ride as an unmitigated disaster.  Upon reflection, I would say it was more of a mitigated disaster.

Some background:  despite the fact I planned the route, I really didn't know exactly where it went.  The route did go on many familiar roads, but not in the usual order.  Those that know me well know that I have absolutely no sense of direction.  I spent a good portion of my life following arrows, but then GPS came along.  This was a godsend.  A phone app that would tell me where to go.  What could be better?  When it works, it is marvelous,  When it doesn't, well . . . . .
I have been having trouble with my phone navigation lately.  It loses the GPS signal mysteriously.  So, I've taken to using two phones for navigation - the main one and a backup.  What could go wrong?
Started the ride with the usual spiel about human arrows for the newcomers.  Asked for a sweep and there was dead silence, until Butch, my main man, once again stepped into the breach.  Beth kindly offered to be the dedicated human arrow, since she was a faster rider and could keep ahead of the group.  Great, this should make my life easier.
The first thing that became clear was that I was old and in the way.  The faster riders were chafing at the bit, and gradually started passing me, the nominal leader.  No worries.  If they were ahead of me, not my responsibility,
All was well until around mile 10 when my lady of the phone stopped talking.  Sure enough, the main phone was stuck forever in the same place.  I had the backup phone in my jersey pocket, and it was croaking out directions but they were very hard to hear.  Ideally I would have swapped the handlebar phone with the jersey phone, but being the leader I couldn't really stop and muck about with my phones mid-ride.  There were a few of the breakaway group still visible ahead, and as long as I could see them and if they knew where they were going, all would be well.
That worked for a while until I got a phone call.  Usually I ignore calls when riding, but it could have been Butch with an actual emergency, so I stopped.  It wasn't Butch, and I lost precious time and the lead group.
At this point I was in survival mode.  I didn't know how many were in front, how many behind, and whether all the turns had arrows.  My plan had been to have a mid-ride break with a group photo, but that didn't work with the fragmented group.
I'm not sure how, but it all worked out.  Despite the absence of leader, arrowers appeared where needed.  Butch was pleased to report that  each arrow stayed at his/her post and waited for him to appear - some of them remained for a very long time.
Thanks to Butch for sweeping, to Beth for being dedicated arrow, and to all the unsung arrows 

Report by Jack Donohue.