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WheelPeople Articles

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  • 2023-05-21 5:46 PM | Anonymous

    By John Allen

    E-bikes appeal to middle-aged and elderly people including long-time CRW members like me, who don’t have quite the energy we had when younger. And other new e-bike riders have not had much experience with bicycling since childhood. Some elderly people may also have worsened balance, reaction time, eyesight and other issues.

    Here are some specific issues for a new e-bike rider to consider. The CyclingSavvy Web Site has a series of articles addressing these issues in detail – but briefly stated:

    • CRW welcomes e-bikes, except for throttle-controlled ones, but an e-bike poses special questions of safety and etiquette during a group ride. Riding off the front doesn’t play to your credit, nor does running out of battery power. You might be called upon to pace another rider. Should there be a special ride option for e-bike riders?
    • The bicycle can just go faster, uphill - and downhill too, being heavier. Greater speed increases the potential for crashes, and their seriousness. Braking distance increases as the second power of speed – twice the speed, four times the distance. A particular problem is that a motorist may not recognize that a longer distance is needed to pass an e-bike uphill.
    • Infrastructure designed for slow bicycling (or not even well for that) works poorly for people riding at 20 miles per hour or more. Yet people tend to think “it’s just a bicycle” and maintain the same poor riding habits. My hair stands on end as I watch YouTube videos of people riding e-bikes at speed in the door zone of parked cars, etc. On an e-bike, it is even more important to understand and apply best practices for riding on streets, and to avoid the temptation to make full use of the e-bike’s power on paths.
    • The bicycle is heavier and less maneuverable. Much of the added weight is with the battery. This is less of a problem If the battery is low and in the middle of the bicycle (for example, on the down tube or inside it). A battery on the rear rack makes the bicycle top-heavy and tends to make the bike prone to shimmy if the frame is flexible. A heavy e-bike with a flexible frame and high handlebars, with an inexperienced small person at the controls, is a recipe for control problems.
    • Maladroit application of power can result in a loss of control. A common problem is the “lurch” when power is applied before the rider is ready. This can result in a pedal’s striking the rider’s shin or the e-bike itself striking another bicyclist, pedestrian or vehicle.
    • Control issues depend also on the rider’s situational awareness –more so at higher e-bike speeds, but also due to the more cumbersome handling at low speeds.
    • An e-bike may have front or rear hub drive, or a mid motor (at the cranks). The mid motor applies power through the bicycle’s gearing – and so it is effective over a wider range of speeds than a hub motor. A front hub motor makes steering less nimble, and if it causes the wheel to skid, you can’t steer to balance. For this reason, it is a poor choice for riding under tricky conditions or on soft or slippery surfaces – mud, gravel, snow.
    • Any e-bike will have several power level settings (for example “Off, Eco, Normal, Turbo“– or they may be maximum speed-under-power settings). It is best to use only as much power as needed, to get exercise, extend range on a battery charge, and avoid unexpected acceleration.
    • An e-bike may have torque sensing: power assist is proportional to how hard you push on the pedals. Or an e-bike may have pedal rotation sensing, which applies full power whenever you are turning the pedals forward. Torque sensing feels just like normal pedaling, only you are stronger. You can turn the pedals without applying power when you shift gears, and modulate pedaling to prevent the rear wheel from spinning out on a slippery surface. With pedal rotation sensing, you don’t have that level of control, and if there is a mid motor, you must apply the brakes to actuate an interruptor and release tension on the chain when shifting down.
    • Some e-bikes also have a throttle. By applying power even when you are not pedaling, it can lead to confusion and lurching when starting and stopping. With the throttle, you also lack the ability to modulate pedaling that you would have with torque sensing.

    All in all, as I hope that these comments have made clear, different e-bikes have different control characteristics, and it is important to feel them out. A new e-bike rider needs to start out cautiously, get to know the bike before taking on greater challenges, and recognize that riding habits may need revision.

    I thank Clinton Sandusky for assistance with this article.

  • 2023-05-13 10:55 AM | Anonymous

    By Coach John Hughes

    “Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer came down on her head.

    ”Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that she was dead.”— Paul McCartney

    McCartney said, “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer was my analogy for when something goes wrong out of the blue.” (

    That’s bonking!  You’re riding along under a blue sky and all of a sudden your brain feels like mush. You’ll be depressed and discouraged and may also feel anxious, irritable, or confused.

    Or your legs suddenly can’t turn the cranks.  This is hitting the wall. You’ll feel extremely weak and tired and you may feel dizzy or light-headed.

    Both of these occur for the same reason: running out of glucose for fuel.

    A showstopper is anything that makes a ride very difficult and may cause a DNF.

    A Little Physiology

    You are always metabolizing a combination of fat and glucose even when you are sleeping.  The more active you are the higher the proportion of glucose you are burning.  Riding below your anaerobic threshold (AT), also called lactate threshold, about 50% of your energy is coming from glucose and 50% is coming from fat. Above your AT the major source is glucose although you are still burning fat. The harder you ride above AT the more glucose per minute you are burning.

    Glucose is stored in the body as glycogen. Your body can store about 1,800 calories of glycogen. (1,400 in the muscles, 320 in the liver and 80 in your blood) How much you store depends on your body size and your fitness. 

    Your body has about 100,000 calories of energy stored as fat, an unlimited supply of fat.  Even the skinniest pro has enough body fat to fuel a long race.

    If you are riding at 15 mph (24 km/h) you are burning about 4.5 calories / lb. / hour (10 calories / kg / hour). If you weigh 150 lbs you are burning about 675 calories / hour, about half from glucose (338 calories) and about half from fat (338 calories).  You have 1800 calories of glucose stored as glycogen so burning 338 calories of glucose per hour you’ll run out of glucose in about 5 – 5.5 hours.

    If you are riding at 20 mph (32 km/h) you are burning about 7.5 calories / lb. / hour (16 calories / kg / hour). If you weigh 150 lbs you are burning about 1,125 calories / hour, primarily from glucose and you’ll run out of glucose in about 1.5 – 2 hours!

    Your brain can only burn glucose for fuel and when you run out of glucose that silver hammer comes down.  At a moderate pace your muscles are burning about a 50 / 50 mix of fat and glucose. When you run out of glucose you only have half as much fuel and you hit the wall with dead legs. To compound the problem the metabolism of fat for energy requires some glucose so even your fat stores aren’t providing much energy.

    Note that protein provides only about 5% of the energy for the working muscles, although it is important for rebuilding muscle damage after a ride. If you run out of glycogen your body can produce glucose from protein by a process known as gluconeogenesis, which is inefficient, i.e., the metabolic conversion of protein to glycogen requires more energy than just converting glycogen to glucose.

    Bonking Prevention

    Endurance training helps defer bonking and hitting the wall in two ways.  By riding at a conversational pace over many rides your body will shift to metabolizing more fat and less glucose thereby sparing glucose. (This doesn’t mean you’ll lose weight. To do that you need to consume fewer total calories than you are burning.) Endurance training also increases your muscles’ capacity to store glycogen by 20 to 50%. If you’ve been doing endurance exercise for years both of these adaptations have taken place but if you’re a relatively new roadie you can improve your fuel mix and your storage capacity with endurance riding.

    These adaptations only postpone the silver hammer but don’t eliminate it.

    If the gas gauge on your car starts to approach empty you get more fuel and the same applies to riding.  Rather than running out of fuel you need to start refueling during your ride.

    Glycogen comes from carbohydrates, which include fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and legumes as well as the sweets, pasta and bread that we normally think of as carbs. Healthy carbs should provide 60 – 70% of the calories in your daily diet.

    American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends consuming 25 to 60 grams of carbs (1 to 2 ounces or 100 to 240 calories) per hour after the first hour of exercise. This is sufficient for several hours of exercise. If you are riding for three hours or more start eating carbs in the first hour. If you are relatively small or exercising lightly 25 grams / hour is enough. If you are larger or riding at a moderate to fast pace eat up to 60 grams / hour.

    Note that the recommendation is for carbs only. Gels and some sports drinks are 100% carbs; however, bars are a mix of carbs, protein and fat. Fruit and vegetables are100% carbs while carbs are only part of other foods.

    The ACSM recommends up to 60 grams per hour of carbs because this is the maximum amount of one kind of carb (glucose or sucrose or fructose or maltodextrin) you can digest per hour.However recent research shows that eating a combination of types of carbs can increase your ability to digest carbs. You can digest up to 90 grams per hour (2 to 3 oz. or 240 to 360 calories). Test subjects who consumed a mix of glucose and fructose could digest more every hour than subjects who just consumed glucose. They digested more per hour because the different types of carbohydrate used different intestinal transporters. Consuming a mix of carbohydrate reduces fatigue, increases endurance and may result in reduced gastric distress. Some sports bars and drinks are made from several types of carbs — read the label to see. Or you could eat a couple of cookies and a piece of fruit.

    Lab tests have shown no performance difference among carbs ingested in liquid, gel or solid form, assuming that each substance has the same caloric value. Further, sports products have no performance advantage over regular food. One of my clients was a nurse, and after consultation with the doctor for whom she worked, she raced the Race Across AMerica on pancake syrup instead of spending money on sports gel! Sports drinks and gels are easier to consume than solid food; however, you can ride just as well on food from the local grocery. Real food is cheaper and tastier. The key is to read the labels so that what you are buying and consuming is composed primarily of carbs.

    Bottom line: Eat Carbs!

    The principles and recommendations for eating before, during and after a ride apply to all roadies. These are explained in my eArticle Nutrition for 100K and Beyond. Although written for roadies riding 100K and farther, all roadies can learn from it. I show you how to calculate how many calories per hour you burn. I compare the nutritional value of bars, cookies and candy. Both Peppermint Patty candy and Fig Newton cookies have a higher percentage of carbs than any of the sports bars! I also discuss hydration and electrolytes. I conclude by discussing what you should eat every day to ride your best. My 17-page Nutrition for 100K and Beyond is just $4.99.Click here for details on how to order.

  • 2023-04-29 9:08 AM | Anonymous

    By Jerry Skurla

    A morning ride including Harold Parker State Park, and an afternoon finding free bike bargains - what a great way to spend a Saturday!

    At 10am over 40 eager riders from CRW, North Shore Cyclists, and Nashoba Valley Peddlers departed from Lynnfield Middle School on a rolling 40 mile route to start the day’s festivities. 

    At 11am 12 riders started the scenic 28 mile route, and by 12:30 riders were returning for energy bars, grapes, and Girl Scout thin mint pretzels.   Kudos to Dan Krechmer of NSC for two wonderful, well-designed routes!

    The Swap Meet opened at 1pm, with an additional 40-50 people who did not ride arriving at that time.  The “For Sale” section featured a variety of used bikes, components and clothing, and several sweet bikes got lots of attention.

    The “Free Stuff” tables were quickly covered with jerseys, tires, wheels, and complete bikes of all shapes and sizes.

    “WOW this is really FREE?” was heard many times during the afternoon, as people uncovered parts they needed or jerseys or shoes they really wanted.  Several attendees were building-up bare frames and found key components like wheel sets to keep their projects on or under budget.

    And a wonderful folding Brompton titanium bike found a new owner (on the left) who will enjoy it as much as it’s original owner (on the right)

    All unclaimed “free stuff” has been donated to the wonderful Bike Connector non-profit in Lowell -

    Special thanks to Harriet Fell & Ron Cater of CRW, Jeff King of NSC, and Merle Adelman & David Naigles of NVP for making the Spring Swap Meet happen and spreading the word to their respective clubs.  

    Please send any comments, ideas or suggestions for the 2024 3rd Annual Spring Swap Meet & Rides to Jerry Skurla of CRW at

  • 2023-04-29 9:08 AM | Anonymous

    By Dr. Gabe Mirkin

    You don’t need special sports drinks or power bars. Even the most elite athletes can get the nutrients they need from ordinary foods, water and salt. Healthy and fit people usually don’t need to eat during a bicycle ride when they cycle at a casual pace for less than two hours. However, you can prolong your endurance for a hard ride by taking:

    • a source of sugar when you ride very hard for more than an hour

    • a source of salt when you ride for more than three hours.

    Your muscles use primarily sugar and fat for energy. You have an almost infinite amount of fat stored in your body, but you start to run out of sugar stored in your liver after 70 minutes of intense exercise.  There is only enough sugar in your bloodstream to last three minutes at rest. To maintain blood sugar levels, your liver constantly releases sugar into your bloodstream.  However, there is only enough sugar stored in your liver to last about twelve hours at rest and less than 70 minutes when you exercise intensely. Your brain has almost no stored energy, so it gets almost all of its energy from the sugar carried to it in your bloodstream. When liver sugar levels drop, your blood sugar levels also drop and your brain has lost its main source of energy. Your brain then cannot function normally and you feel weak, tired, confused, and can even pass out.  It should never happen to you.


    An hour or more before your ride, eat oatmeal or whatever you normally eat for breakfast.  Avoid high-sugar-added foods such as pancakes with syrup, because they can cause a high rise in blood sugar, followed by a high rise in insulin, followed by a drop in blood sugar that will make you feel tired.  The extra sugar you ate just gets stored as fat and does nothing to help you during your ride.

    Sugar Before and During a Long, Hard Ride

    Take sugar no more than five minutes before you start your ride, or wait until you are underway. Do not take sugar earlier than that because when you eat sugar and your muscles are not contracting, you can get a high rise in blood sugar that causes the pancreas to release large amounts of insulin. This can cause a drop in blood sugar levels that can tire you. On the other hand, exercising muscles draw sugar rapidly from the bloodstream without needing insulin, so taking sugar during exercise or just before you start usually does not cause the high rise in blood sugar levels

    The rule of thumb is that you should take a source of sugar during a hard ride lasting more than an hour.  Use a sugared drink, jelly beans, gel packets or any other convenient source.  You don’t need special sports drinks or energy bars because no sugar source is better for you than one that contains glucose and fructose, and almost all types of sweet foods contain these two sugars.

    During a hard ride, take sugar before you feel hungry. Hunger during exercise is a very late sign of not getting enough calories. By the time you feel hungry, your body will be so depleted of sugar that you will have to stop or slow down so you can eat some carbohydrate-rich food just to restore your sugar supplies.

    Sugar with Caffeine

    Taking caffeine with sugar during hard rides can increase endurance and improve your performance.  Caffeine works by increasing the absorption of sugar from your intestines and by increasing your exercising muscles’ uptake of sugar. However, taking sugar and caffeine when you are not exercising doubles your rise in blood sugar, and high rises in blood sugar can increase your risk for weight gain, diabetes and heart attacks


    The only mineral that you may need to take during a long ride is sodium, found in regular table salt. Just about everyone agrees that you need to take in extra salt during extended athletic competitions in hot weather, but you do not need to take extra potassium, magnesium or any other mineral during exercise. Salt is necessary to hold water in your body, prevent muscle cramps, and help keep your muscles contracting with great force. However, excess intake of salt may raise blood pressure and increase risk for heart attacks, particularly in people who have big bellies and high blood sugar levels.

    If you do not meet your needs for salt during a long ride in hot weather, you will tire earlier and increase your risk for heat stroke, dehydration and cramps. During a hard ride lasting longer than three hours, eat salty foods such as salted nuts or potato chips. Some sports drinks contain salt, but since salted drinks taste awful, the amount added is so small that it may not be enough to meet your needs.

    Eat Within an Hour After a Hard Ride 

    Eating within an hour after finishing a ride helps muscles heal faster and also replenishes their stored sugar faster than if you eat later. Your muscles are far more sensitive to insulin immediately after exercising, and insulin hastens muscle healing. Within one hour after your hard ride, eat fruits, vegetables and grains (for carbohydrates) and nuts, beans or seafood (for protein), or whatever else you like.  Add salt if you have been sweating a lot, if your muscles feel excessively fatigued or you develop muscle cramps. As long as the post-ride meal contains protein and carbohydrates, it doesn’t matter what you eat.


    • If you are planning to ride vigorously for more than an hour, take a source of sugar, such as jelly beans or any sugared drink, a few minutes before you start and every hour or so during your ride. There is no significant advantage to special sports drinks.

    • If you are riding hard for more than two hours, take some food that includes sugar such as fruit, cookies or candy bars.

    • If you are going to ride hard for more than three hours, or in very hot weather, add salty foods such as salted nuts or potato chips.

    • Eat to recover – any foods containing protein and carbohydrates — within an hour after you finish your ride, or as soon as you can.  See Recovery: the Key to Improvement in Your Sport

    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

  • 2023-04-29 9:07 AM | Anonymous

    The Athlete’s Kitchen: Carbs - Friend or Foe?

    By Nancy Clark

    Athletes create many reasons for limiting their intake of seemingly “evil” carbohydrates: I don’t like sandwiches … Pasta is so “heavy” … I’m staying away from gluten … I avoid any foods with added sugar … I prefer to eat two veggies at dinner instead of a veggie and a carby food. And, most often I hear: Bread is fattening!!! Anti-carb sentiment has pervaded my entire career as a sports nutritionist. While some fads have come and gone, the “carbs are bad” fad remains ingrained in the brains of even elite athletes. I am (again) encouraging you to reconsider your stance

    • Despite popular belief, carbohydrates are not inherently fattening. Excess calories of any kind are fattening. Excess calories of bread, bagels, and pasta are actually less fattening than excess calories of cheese, butter, and olive oil. That’s because converting excess calories of carbs into body fat requires more energy than does converting excess dietary fat into body fat. That means, if you want to be gluttonous yet suffer the least weight gain, indulge in fat-free frozen yogurt instead of gourmet ice cream!

    • To allay any confusion, let’s clarify what carbs actually are. Carbohydrates include both sugars and starches. Carbs are in fruits, vegetables, grains, and milk (lactose). Sugars and starches all digest into the simple sugar glucose. Glucose travels in your blood and, with the help of insulin, gets taken into muscles and stored as glycogen for fuel. Athletes who restrict carbs commonly complain about “dead legs.”

    • Sugars and starches are biochemically related. For example, an unripe fruit, such as a banana, is starchy. As it ripens, it becomes sweeter; the starch converts into sugar. Similarly, vegetables, such as peas, are sweet when young. Their sugar converts into starch as they mature.

    • All carbs—both sugars and starches—are excellent sources of fuel. Both “carby” bagels and sugary candy end up as glucose in your blood and feed your muscles as well as your brain. Whether you are a marathon runner or a weight lifter, a carb-rich sports diet (with adequate protein) can enhance your performance.

    • Quality carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, and veggies, offer abundant vitamins, minerals (electrolytes), and other health-promoting nutrients. Refined sugar, however, offers little nutritional value. Yet, dietary guidelines say 10% of daily calories can come from added sugar. That’s at least 50 grams of sugar for most athletes and allows for some “fun foods.”

    • Sugar-avoiders please note: the 3 grams of added sugar in 2 tablespoons of peanut butter will not negate peanut butter’s health-promoting fiber, protein, and anti-inflammatory fats. Nor will the sugar in chocolate milk diminish its value as a helpful recovery fluid after a hard workout. Please look at the vitamins,minerals and protein that comealong with the added sugar, not just the sugar itself.

    • Sports drinks, gels, and sports gummies are little more than refined sugar. That’s not bad; it’s exactly what the body wants during extended hard exercise. Even though refined sugar adds “empty calories” to a sports diet, athletes need not eat a perfectly sugar-free diet to have an excellent diet. There’s a time and a place for sweets.

     The messages that carbs are inflammatory, fattening, and bad for you is targeted at sedentary people who consume excessive calories, often from highly processed foods. For those unfit (often unhealthy) people, excess carbohydrate can contribute to elevated blood glucose, which triggers the body to secrete extra insulin. Consistently high insulin can be inflammatory and lead to nasty health issues. Yet, most athletes can handle carbs with far less insulin than the average American—and without carbs causing “sugar crashes” or weight gain.

    • The most common reason for “sugar crashes” (hypoglycemia) among athletes relates to running out of fuel. The shakiness and sweats are because the athlete did not eat enough carbs to maintain normal blood glucose levels and the brain has to demand a quick fix—sugar! One marathoner credited the sugary gel he took at Mile 16 to cause him to “crash.” More likely, he needed more just one gel to meet his energy needs.

    • For athletic people who routinely train hard 4 to 6 days a week, carbs should be the foundation of each meal. The International Olympic Committee’s recommendations for a performance diet include far more carbs than many athletes consume via fruit, salads, and cooked veggies. Baseline targets for a 150-pound athlete are:

    375 g carb/day for ~1 hour of moderate exercise

    450 g carb/day for ~1-3 hours of endurance exercise

    525 g carb/day for >4-5 hours of  extreme exercise

    This comes to about 100 to 150 grams carb/meal, which equates to about 400 to 600 calories of grains, fruits, and/or veggies per meal. This menu exemplifies what 450 grams of carb “looks like”



    CARB (g)

    SAMPLE  MEAL               




    Pre-exercise snack


    Post-exercise Breakfast




    Clif Bar                                    

    --1.5-hour bike ride--

    1 cup dry oats              

    cooked in 1 cup milk    

    1 large (9”) banana         

    drizzle honey                      


    Early lunch



    Fruit yogurt                    

    4 fig newtons                      


    Hearty Snack


    Dried fruit (in trail mix)






    2 cups (brown) rice     

    1 c cooked carrots

    8 Hershey Kisses      

    If your daily menu lacks starchy foods, experiment with adding grains to each meal and snack. You just might discover how much better you can feel and perform!

    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.

  • 2023-04-29 9:06 AM | Anonymous

    By Steve Carlson

    If you seek more Adventure in your life, please read on!

    We are entering our third year of the Adventure program, and it continues to gain momentum year-over-year as more people get a bit out of their comfort zone of riding the same routes in the same areas looking at the same potholes

    The Adventure Program will get you on unfamiliar routes packed with Adventure that rival what you would get from the big boys…yeap, I am talking Trek Travel or Backroads!  These are multiple day rides that are led by CRW leaders in areas you most likely have never ridden.

    And, the best part is they are free to register and you only pay for your own expenses.

    Our experienced leaders will be giving you an opportunity to road ride, gravel ride or multi-track ride all throughout New England…and more.  Last year we saw Adventures not only in New England, but also New York, North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Parkway and Canada.

    The riding types tend to tip the scales towards credit card “glamping”, but we also host a few bike packing trips completely self-sufficient for your chance to sleep under the stars!

    As these trips become available, they will be on the Rides Calendar showing up as dark green, or you can use your mobile app and search using the word “Adventure”.    Please note, these trips fill up fast and you should register if the ride description sounds pleasing to you.

    We are hopeful many of you will step up this season and lead an Adventure of your choice.  There is nothing more gratifying than making some great biking memories possible for other CRW members.

    Here is a video link to a presentation given to members on April 6th, which may answer addition questions.   Adventure Zoom Kick-Off

    Please contact me if you are interested in leading an adventure, have questions or comments at:   Have a great 2023 riding season!

  • 2023-04-29 9:06 AM | Anonymous

    By Attorney Ronald Gluck 

    The Massachusetts Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities

    Prior to his departure from office in January 2023, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law legislation that is designed to protect vulnerable users of roadways across the Commonwealth. The law, Massachusetts General Laws ch. 358, entitled “An Act To Reduce Traffic Fatalities” seeks to protect bicyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders, roadway construction workers and several  other categories of vulnerable users of the roads in Massachusetts. Significantly, the law requires cars and trucks to have at least four feet of distance between the side of the vehicle and a variety of items and people they are passing on the roadways.  This law is more protective than the prior law which did not include a specific passing distance and was designed to protect only bicyclists. The new law also requires bicyclists to use rear facing red lights at night.  The full list of vulnerable users is as follows:

    “Vulnerable user”, (i) a pedestrian, including a person engaged in work upon a way or upon utility facilities along a way or engaged in the provision of emergency services within the way; (ii) a person operating a bicycle, handcycle, tricycle, skateboard, roller skates, in-line skates, non-motorized scooter, wheelchair, electric personal assistive mobility device, horse, horse-drawn carriage, motorized bicycle, motorized scooter, or other micromobility device, or a farm tractor or similar vehicle designed primarily for farm use; or (iii) other such categories that the registrar may designate by regulation

    It is expected that enforcement of the new law will be difficult to implement.   In situations in which police officers witness violations of the law, or investigate an accident caused by violations of the law, they will likely issue a citation.  Otherwise, enforcement by way of citation is unlikely.

    The legislation is more likely to succeed in protecting vulnerable users of the roadways if it is widely communicated to the public in ways that increase awareness of the new law.  Bill board signage, roadway signs, online communications and social media posts will be necessary to increase driver awareness of the new requirements.

    Awareness of the dangers of unsafe passing has increased with the increased use of bicycles throughout the country over the last decade.    However, the challenges facing municipalities seeking to enhance cyclist safety are numerous.  The fact is that most roadways were not built with heavy use by bicyclists in mind.  Municipal budgets often lack funding for road projects that will increase cyclist safety, such as costs associated with creating bike lanes and bike separation from parked cars.  The new law described above is one step that the Commonwealth has taken that will not hit municipal budgets and can save lives.   

    The new law also requires that, effective January 1, 2025, all trucks leased by the Commonwealth have protective equipment designed to protect the public. This equipment includes convex mirrors, crossover mirrors, lateral protect devices which reduce the likelihood of bicycles sliding under trucks, and backup cameras.   This legislation was a long time in the making and underwent many iterations before it was finally passed the last day of Governor Baker’s term in office. Although it is certainly not the end all be all protection that we would like to see, it is a step in the right direction.

    The number of bicycle fatalities in the Commonwealth has dropped marginally over the past two years.   The number of serious injuries resulting from incidents in which cyclists are hit by cars and trucks appears unchanged based on anecdotal evidence.  The number of cases involving serious injuries from bicycle accidents that my firm, Breakstone, White & Gluck, is handling has increased and illustrates ongoing driver carelessness in areas of high bicycle usage.  Cases include commercial vehicles cutting off cyclists when making right turns, trucks making left turns across traffic thereby cutting off a cyclists’ paths and vehicles moving into bike lanes causing collisions with cyclists.

    With the cycling season in full gear at this time of year, it is a good time for owners of cars to review their insurance policies to make sure they have at least $250,000 of underinsured motorist coverage which will help all members of the household if they suffer serious injuries  as a cyclist when hit by a driver who has inadequate liability coverage.  

    I hope you all enjoy being back out on the road!

    Ron Gluck

  • 2023-04-29 9:05 AM | Anonymous

    BY Eli Post

    You need to have the route loaded on your cellphone to fully enjoy a Club ride, and ride safely and comfortably. You can’t always count on following the person or group in front of you.

    Getting the route on your phone is really easy, and you have to follow a few simple steps.

    Before we deal with routes, we must urge you to join the CRW-Ride With GPS Club (RWGPS). It’s absolutely free for CRW members, and you get indispensable voice activated turn directions. Go HERE to join. This is a one-time effort and you will feel blessed with the added power at your disposal.

    You must also download the RWGPS app available at the Apple store or Google.

    Now onto getting the route onto your call. The easiest and most direct way is to use the “Send to Phone” link on the route page. Remember, you joined the club and your cell phone is known to RWGPS. The route will open in the app and you can either “view” it or “download” for future use. We recommend the download and the route is permanently saved and works better in low signal areas.

    Another viable option for storing the route on your phone is to copy it to your collection. The “More” button top left has a “copy to my routes” option. There is however a downside to this option. The route will no longer be in the CRW account, and if you have a free account, you will not be offered voice activated turn directions.

    You should be all set to enjoy riding.

  • 2023-04-29 9:05 AM | Anonymous

    By John Allen

    Them was the days. I used to survey for a CRW ride route with a bicycle computer and a pushbutton-operated voice recorder. I took notes, calling out the mileage in each one. I’d prepare a cue sheet or draw a stick map from my notes. (Newcomers: stick maps showed all the turns, but each segment was bent so the route went more or less straight across the page.)

    Technology advances. Now, with the RidewithGPS app on my smartphone, I can record a ride and convert it into a route. I also can lay out the route on a computer.  

    But by default, RidewithGPS gives only bare-bones turn-by-turn cues. Riders need to know what lane to merge into, well before reaching any complicated intersection. And RidewithGPS usually does not give any cue at all when a route goes straight through an intersection.

    For that reason, I create custom cues. Here’s an example from the short version of the East European Ride, which I have led, You can find that ride in the CRW route library:

    East European Ride, short, Spellman start, extended cues - A bike ride in Weston, MA (

    Between miles 15 and 16 in Concord, this ride turns left from Old Marlboro Road to Old Road to Nine Acre Corner, which has three northbound lanes: a left-turn-only lane, a through lane and a right-turn-only lane. The route then almost immediately crosses Route 2. My cues are these:

    • · Prepare to turn left
    • · Turn left into through lane on Old Rd to Nine Acre Corner
    • · Cross MA-2
    The image below is from an edit screen in RidewithGPS, which shows the cued locations. These are the three light green cartoon dialog balloons in the image, going from left to top right.

    RidewithGPS places cues at turns by default, but when giving turn-by-turn navigation, Ride with GPS reads out each cue some distance ahead of the location shown on the map. So, for example, the cue in the image to turn left is read out before the left turn. This advance distance is adjustable in settings: you could increase it for a faster ride. But also for the safety of riders, you will want to place custom cues earlier when it is necessary to prepare with a lane change, or downhill. (In the dark ages before GPS,  we painted arrows on the road earlier on downhills? Same idea.)

    Notice also that the red line shown for the route takes a square corner for the left turn, and shows incorrect lane use. The Google data that RidewithGPS uses has one line of travel for both directions on a two-way roadway, and that can’t be right! But riders follow the cues, not the map, and the map displays too small anyway on a smartphone or GPS device to reveal its anomalies. Once again, the cues are what matters.

    Sometimes cues are just wrong, even on a route created directly in RidewithGPS. A prime example is also on the East European Ride, just short of mile 24 in Weston, where Conant Road jogs slightly left as it crosses Route 117. RidewithGPS cues will tell you to turn left onto Route 117, then almost immediately turn right onto Conant Road. Why? It’s the square corners again. The lines for Conant Road north and south of Route 117 are slightly offset from one another.  The result is not only confusing, it is a safety concern when riders are told suddenly and unexpectedly to change direction. In such situations, I delete one of the cues and customize the other. Here, I changed it to:

    • Cross MA 117 and continue on Conant Road.

    When riding to create a route, following it accurately will reduce the need to edit it later. Reviewing ride recordings from people who have followed a route can also help refine it for the next time it goes onto the CRW calendar. And when creating a route on the computer, the Draw Lines option may be needed to connect the route where the Google mapping car did not go. Mostly, these will be paths and entrances to rest stops. The need to use Draw Lines can mostly be avoided by starting with a recording of a ride.  In either case, custom cues will be needed for the line segments: RidewithGPS creates cues automatically only where it can identify a road or path.

    RidewithGPS editing software also lets you create Point of Interest icons. These include one for Caution. Points of interest display on the RidewithGPS map of a ride but do not create cues. A custom cue is needed to call out a hazard to the rider, for example: “loose gravel.” A custom cue can inform riders of anything – the split on a ride, length of a climb, distance to a rest stop, you name it.

    I’m not CRW’s RidewithGPS guru, so I won’t go into detail about how to do the editing. But my instructions can set you on the right track. 

    No matter how you create a route, there’s no substitute for riding it shortly before the calendar date to check on details -- construction or other changes; the accuracy of cues in RidewithGPS – and as I have suggested in this article, to customize the cues in the interest of accuracy and safety.

  • 2023-04-29 9:04 AM | Anonymous

    By John Springfield

    In late March 2023 I decided to escape the cold weather and headed toward southern Texas.  I've always wanted to explore the Rio Grande by bicycle.  Now was the time.

    I was looking forward to the warm weather and the TexMex food.

    I started in Brownsville, intending to take a 50-mile loop out to Boca Chica Beach and back.  The road (Route 4) would also take me past the Space-X launch pad.

    However, the pleasantly warm weather turned into a 99 degree scorcher. (

    And the southerly winds (30 mph) produced a crosswind that nearly blew me off the road.

    I got as far as the Space-X complex, when I was greeted with road construction.(The space center launch pad can be seen to the left of the large building.)

    The heat was causing me to drink almost all my water, so I decided to reverse direction back to Brownsville.  Well the heat got unbearable, I drank all my water, and the wind noise was deafening.  My aim was to get back to a Border Patrol inspection station, hoping to get water.  I had to stop several times to recover from the heat.

    Finally, I made it to the Border Patrol spot, got my water bottles filled, and sat in the only shade available all day.   Some start to my trip!

    Realizing the heat would continue all week, I learned to arise before dawn and bike an hour in the dark (I have front and rear lights).  The traffic was extremely light at this pre-dawn time, and it allowed me to avoid the worst part of the afternoon heat.(The tombstone commemorates  those who perished in the last battle of the Civil War in 1865.)

    I tried riding on some back roads (some dirt), but realized there were no services.

    So my ride pretty much followed US-281 and US-83.  For the most part I had a wide breakdown lane all to myself.  But I also got chased by lots of unleashed dogs! (This is pretty much the road (US 281 West) and the scenery all day)

    The highlight of the trip was getting off the highway and visiting the old settlement of Roma.(The poster shows famous missionaries.)

    When I arrived on Sunday morning, the town seemed deserted.

    There were various signs explaining the history of this old bi-cultural town.

    And there was an overlook of the shallow Rio Grande, allowing me to see Mexico.

    On the fourth day I entered Zapata.

    Here is where I had lunch and supper at a terrific family-run restaurant. I ordered the steamed white fish with sides of veggies. My cardiologist would have been proud!

    On the fifth day I arrived at the busy city of Laredo.

    It was here I would make a decision. I was headed north, but the nearest motel was 75 miles. I would need a day off to recuperate from all the heat.

    It's not TexMex food, but for my "second breakfast" I had cardiologist approved egg whites, turkey bacon, and fruit

    But when I awoke to severe lightning and thunder in the morning, I realized it was time to go back to Boston.  My 74-year-old body just could not take more heat, let alone 75-mile days...

    As it turns out, when I got home the temperature was a perfect 55 degrees!

    You can see more trip details and more photos here

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