Charles River Wheelers

Charles River Wheelers History

For over 50 years, the Charles River Wheelers have brought together cycling enthusiasts across New England by offering camaraderie, community, and a shared passion for two wheels.

Founded in 1966 as the Charles River Wheelmen by avid cyclists Ralph Galen and Fred Chafee, the club began as a humble organization with a simple vision – to unite local riders through a love of cycling. From leisurely rides along the Charles River to adrenaline-filled centuries, the Wheelmen provided an inclusive space for cyclists of all levels to ride together.

Over the decades, membership swelled as the club cemented itself as the region’s largest recreational cycling organization. By the 1990s, the Wheelmen hosted over 100 annual rides that traversed the diverse landscapes surrounding Boston. Yet it was never just about the cycling – the post-ride pizza parties, annual holiday galas, and spontaneous social gatherings fostered enduring friendships among members.

This spirit of community sparked a culture of paying it forward. The Wheelmen began awarding yearly grants to organizations that shared its mission of empowering diverse groups of cyclists. When the club changed its name to the more inclusive “Wheelers” in the 2000s, it reaffirmed its identity as a welcoming community for all.

Now entering its sixth decade, the Charles River Wheelers continues to be a cultural beacon for cyclists, with an emphasis on camaraderie, belonging, and collective passion powering every pedal stroke. Whether you’re a casual rider looking for community or a competitive cyclist chasing new routes, the Wheelers deliver an incomparable cycling experience focused not on individual achievements but on the shared joy of riding together.

© Charles River Wheelers, a 501(c)3 Organization

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