Monday, May 13, 2019

Concord via Heard Pond & Marlborough - May 8, 2019


Wednesday, 8 May 2019, Concord via Heard Pond & Marlborough
Ride Leaders:  Barry Nelson & Mary Kernan
44 miles, 10:00 am start from Burchard Park, Weston, MA

Riders (30): Barry, Mary, Adena Schutzberg, Bob Wadsworth, Bruce Barnett, Bruce Lederer, Butch Pemstein, Chip Ziering, Francie Sparks, Gary Williams, Gerry Sheetoo, Herb Kavet, Jerry Skurla, Julia Zhogina, Kaz Zelny, Kevin Donnelly, Lindy King, Margaret Coughlin, Patty Grasso, Rick Lawrence, Robyn Maislin, Rochelle Holman, Roy Westerberg, Rudge McKenney, Selig Saltzman, Steve Bader, Steve Miller, Tom Wolf, Wing Chow, and first-timer Judi Donnelly.
Present at lunch (dined solo):  Helen Greitzer.

Since the group was large, Mary volunteered to lead a 13+ mph group which was much more popular than my relaxed-pace group which had twelve people.  Kaz did a fine job sweeping my group which stayed together, except on the three long climbs.

A small group had lunch at Dumpling Daughter and was looking forward to joining Helen there. Apparently the slow group was too slow, because we did not see Helen.

Are there any other WWs that have known each other for more than sixty years?  Judi is the younger sister of my friend that attended my birthday party sixty-six years ago.

Report by Barry Nelson.

I remoted from home to the start of the ride, planning to peel off at the end and return to Bedford.  Barry approached me and asked if I would lead the “fast” group.  This is laughable, as Barry should know me well enough to realize that I’m not fast if I’m not sitting on Larry’s wheel.  But he asked so nicely, how could I refuse?  Linda, you are so blessed to have such a charming husband!

Barry said he would lead at a pace of 12–13 mph, so I offered up the blistering speed of 13+ mph and headed out, with Rick Lawrence offering to sweep.  We turned up the hill towards the Campion Center and covered about eight miles with everyone staying fairly close together, lots of volunteers for arrows, and me in the lead.  We stopped to regroup and I insisted that we separate into two groups to help space us out more on the narrow roads.

Several riders offered up compliments regarding the beautiful route.  I couldn’t take credit for creating the route and had previously thought that Barry was incapable of creating a route that didn’t go past Blue Moon.

We continued in WW fashion until riders began to pull in front of me.  Any semblance of a leader, arrows, and a sweep diminished quickly.  There were a few half-hearted attempts to regroup, but there was no way to manage this from the middle of the pack.

 Everyone did reconnect with a lunch and bio stop at Haskell Field in Sudbury.  Several riders complained about confusion on the ride, as arrows weren’t being consistently placed and the sweep was well back, though none acknowledged their contribution to this problem when they pulled in front of the leader.

 As I was departing the route early to head home, I took up the sweep position and encouraged the group to work together.  They were all experienced WW riders and nearly everyone had navigation.  I again split the group, but watched with dismay as they pulled out of the parking lot en masse.  I could see from the rear that the size of the group was impeding traffic - numerous riders were two abreast, with no one heeding the call of “car back.”   Not all in the group were behaving badly, but this was not a good example of safe cycling.

 As a ride leader, there is a limit to how much I can do to get a group to ride safely, courteously, and lawfully.  Riders need to take personal responsibility for themselves and the group, and there was little of it on display during this ride.  It may be time to revisit the rules for WW rides, including group size, pace, and safety.

Report by Mary Kernan.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Honey Dew Rides - May 1, 2019


Wednesday 1 May 2019, Honey Dew Rides
Ride Leaders:  Marc Baskin & Tom Allen
40 or 30 miles, 10:00 am start from Burchard Park, Weston, MA

Riders - 40 mi (16):  Marc, Barbara Martin, Bill Umphrey, Curt Dudley-Marling, Elizabeth Wicks, Frank Hubbard, Gerry Sheetoo, Herb Kavet, Ira Weinberg, Jerry Skurla, Judith McMichael, Julie Dodd, Kaz Zelny, Ken Hablow, Steve Miller, and Wing Chow.
Riders - 30 mi (15):  Tom, Al Berardi, Arthur Teepe, Carol Hartigan, David Fay, Fred Newton, Gary Williams, Harriet Fell, Margaret Coughlin, Patty Grasso, Rochelle Holman, Roy Westerberg, Selig Saltzman, Susan Sabin, and Veronica Vedensky.
Present at ride start:  Helen Greitzer.

Although we had a bit of rain while waiting to start, once the ride began the rains stopped and, although it was cool and cloudy, there was little wind.  We made a quick stop at Haskell Field and noted that Tom Allen's group were hot on our heels.  We had a pleasant ride at an average speed of about 14 mph, and the group did a great job of staying together. 

We got to Honeydew Donut and everyone who wanted a doughnut got a free, delicious Honeydew donut.  Two riders told me that their donuts were still warm from the oven.

On the way back, thanks to Ken Hablow, we deviated from the preplanned route to take the beautiful new, paved rail trail from Wayland back to Weston center, where four of us had a delicious lunch at Bruegger's Bagels.

Thanks to our wonderful sweep, Kaz, who kept everyone in line!

Report by Marc Baskin.

The day started a bit on the dreary and drizzly side, but no one got wet and the weather gradually improved. The roads were mostly dry and pleasant.

When we got to the designated rest stop, the 40 milers were there finishing their pit stop details.  Just as they were leaving, a third riding group ("Free-as-in-Beer") arrived.  In the resulting confusion, the 30 mile group set off without checking all the stalls.  Fortunately, our alert sweep (thank you, Harriet) rounded up the abandoned riders and got us back in sync.

Arriving at the point in the route labelled "Honey Dew," we understood how Mark could make his promise of free donuts without financial risk.  Honey Dew is done and gone!

So, unburdened by donuts in the belly, we continued on, past scenic Heard Pond and the Sudbury River crossing.  For the final stretch, we departed from the planned route and took the newly paved Mass Central Rail Trail path from Wayland to Weston.  No one seemed to mind missing the last few miles of extra hills and potential pot holes.

The group split at the trail intersection with Concord Road, with the majority heading straight for the cars while others rode to Weston center in search of midday sustenance.

Thank you Marc for designing a lovely route (there were many complements), and to Harriet for ably serving as sweep.

Report by Tom Allen.

Monday, April 29, 2019

South to Northboro - April 24, 2019


Wednesday, 24 April 2019, South to Northboro
Ride Leaders:  Ken Hablow & Mike Byrne
47 or 37 miles, 10:00 am start from Haskell Field, Sudbury, MA

Riders - 47 mi (15):  Ken, Barbara Martin, Barry Nelson, Bernie Flynn, Curt Dudley-Marling, Dom Jorge, Gene Ho, Herb Kavet, Julie Dodd, Lindy King, Marc Baskin, Ray Komow, Richard Lawrence, Russ Keene, and Wing Chow.
Riders - 37 mi (16):  Mike Byrne, Bill Umphrey, David Fay, Fred Newton, Gary Williams, Gerry Sheetoo, Jerry Skurla, Kathy Horvath, Margaret Coughlin, Rich Taylor, Richard Vignoni, Roy Westerberg, Rudge McKenney, Selig Saltzman, Steve Miller, and Susan Sabin.

After a last minute cancellation for this date, the notice was very last minute.  After it came out, I had several people ask me about a longer ride.  My original route was 46 miles with a 37 split off it.  I sent the longer route to a handful of people, and Mike Byrne graciously offered to lead the 37.  As it turns out we had fifteen riders on the longer route, so it split the group nicely.  Both routes took most people into an area on roads they never cycle on.

The day started out damp, but by the start of the ride, the sun was burning through the clouds.  The wind was also picking up and stayed with us all day.  On the long ride we did not use arrows or a sweep.  We pretty much stayed together, other than a few who occasionally blasted off the front but managed to wait for the rest of us at various points. The 47 mile route took us through Northboro, UP to Tougas Farm, then DOWN Green Street.  We made a stop at the Northboro Fire Station to use the facilities.  The folks at the station were very welcoming.  Our next stop was in Berlin center at the newly renovated convenience store.  We had one other unscheduled stop to fix a flat tire.

It was nice to welcome Fred Newton back on his bike.  Ride photos courtesy of Russ Keene.

Report by Ken Hablow.

The day went well.  We regrouped three or four times, once before we reached Marlboro, at the Berlin Police Station (for toilets), and at the Berlin store.  There were no mechanicals or flats. There were two tough climbs which contributed to two of the regroupings.  After Honey Pot, I sent the group ahead to the end with Rich Taylor leading, and I rode in with the sweep.

Thanks to Steve for sweeping.

Report by Mike Byrne.

From Rich Taylor (on Wednesday's short route):  "While we were waiting for everyone at the summit of Long Hill, a resident brought out one of his pet ferrets and passed him around.  Rudge McKenney took this picture (third photo below) of Kathy Horvath and said ferret.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Long and Short Way to Heart Pond - April 17, 2019


Wednesday, 17 April 2019, Long and Short Way to Heart Pond
Ride Leaders:  Lindy King - for the "Long Way” and Harriet Fell (& John Allen) - for the “Short Way"
30 or 22 miles, 10:00 am start from Castle in the Trees playground, Littleton, MA

Riders - 30 mi (18):  Lindy, Al Berardi, Beth Rosenzweig, Bruce Lederer, David Wean, Ellen Durgins, Ellen Gugel, Gerry Sheetoo, Kaz Zelny, Patrick Ward, Robert Wilson, Rochelle Holman, Ron Beland, Selig Saltzman, Veronica Vedensky, Wing Chow, and first-timers Gary Williams and Jerry Skurla.
Riders - 22 mi (13): Harriet, John, Barbara Pike, Carol Hartigan, David Fay, Doug Hobkirk, Janet Miller, Margaret Coughlin, Peggy Gelin, Richard Fortier, Robyn Maislin, Sally Chapman, and Susan Sabin.
Present at lunch:  Helen Greitzer.

My apologies if I missed any riders or placed you in the incorrect ride group.

It was a bright and mild April morning as riders arrived at the "Castle in the Trees" parking lot, competing with moms of toddlers going to the park.  The parking lot was packed when we left.  We divided into two obvious groups for the long and short ride options and there were plenty of riders on both.  All riders were asked to share human arrowing responsibility and not let it fall to a few overzealous volunteers.

After a quick safety announcement, we were off!  Although some of the roads in Littleton and Carlisle had been repaved, there were still some riddled with pot-holes, so riders needed to be on alert!  The Nagog hills proved to be a good challenge after the beginning of the ride and spread everyone out.  The roads were mostly quiet on this Wednesday morning and we continued through the usual, difficult crossing of Rte 119 with no problems!  Yours truly had a great time chatting with all the new arrowers on our route.  Two of us waited a while at the turn onto Rte 225 in Carlisle, 'til a bunch of riders came upon us and we continued along.  Shortly after turning onto Rutland Street, I received a call from Kaz, our sweep.  Butch had gone down after riding over a bad patch of pavement on E. Riding Road.  We all waited a while and eventually Butch, Kaz, and other riders showed up.  Luckily Gerry had a large bandaid and antiseptic wipes to get Butch cleaned up.  What a good sport - Butch rode with us as if nothing had happened!

We continued until we got to Heart Pond where we had time for a break, snacks, lots of chatting, and a line-up ensued for the port-a-potty.  A congenial volunteer took our group photo and then we were off down the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, briefly, and rode through Chelmsford back to Westford and into Littleton.  Everyone made it back just fine and Butch got patched up by the EMTs at the Littleton Fire Station.  Thanks to Kaz for sweeping.

Several riders headed over to Andrea’s Littleton Cafe for lunch, where they were joined by Helen.

Report by Lindy King.

It was a lovely route with very little time spent on busy roads.  The group stayed together pretty well, with a few short stops for all to catch up.  I took two wrong turns - I corrected the first quickly and on the second, where I mistakenly took the right fork, all the following riders correctly took the left fork and called me back.  We averaged 12.5 mph.  I don’t usually go on short rides when I have to drive a long distance, but the people and the route made it worthwhile.

Report by Harriet Fell.

After cluelessly passing the arrow ahead of the last rider at the first turn (apologies!), I settled into my role as sweep. The short ride proved to be a good option for me and several other WWs who hadn't yet gotten in much spring mileage.  The Bruce Freeman RailTrail cutoff, for the short ride option, proved scenic and other traffic on the path was light.  We arrived back at the ride start about a half hour before the long ride.  Several of us set out on foot to the lunch stop, where the southwest chicken salad was ample and delicious!

Report by John Allen.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Spring Butterfly Ride - April 10, 2019


Wednesday, 10 April 2019, Spring Butterfly Ride
Ride Leader:  Clyde Kessel
32 miles, 10:00 am start from Great Brook State Park Visitors’ Center, Carlisle, MA

Riders (17):  Clyde, Bernie Flynn, Bob Wadsworth, David Fay, Dom Jorge, Gerry Sheetoo, Jack Donohue, Julie Dodd, Kaz Zelny, Ken Hablow, Maria Noya, Rochelle Holman, Roy Westerberg, Selig Saltzman, Steve Carlson, Veronica Vedensky, and Wing Chow.
Present at lunch:  Helen Greitzer.

It was a dark and stormy night a cold and windy day and as we waited in the parking lot for our 10:00 am start, many of us were happy we had dressed for the weather realized we should have dressed more warmly.  Fairly close to the designated time, we got on our bikes and headed out of the parking lot.  At that moment, one more rider arrived, so we all stopped to wait for him but no one was in the mood to wait/freeze any longer, so we just kept riding.  The tardy rider finally caught up to us seventeen miles later at our rest stop at the Dunstable town hall.  After the rest stop we headed back south, so the wind was no longer in our faces.  The sun came out and the day warmed up beautifully never came out so it didn’t warm up much, but, even so, the ride home was faster and more pleasant than the northbound leg.  As far as the leader knows, there were no mishaps or other problems on the ride.

Kudos to Maria and Julie and Rochelle (and anyone else I might have missed) who remoted all the way from their homes to the ride start didn’t use cars to get to the ride start.

I made two small changes to the route this year.  The first change was to use the railroad underpass at Stoney Brook Road, instead of the level crossing on Chamberlain Road.  By chance, a long and slow train was passing by and we would have had to wait for it if we had used the old route.  The other change was to avoid the dead-end stretch of Providence Road near the end of the ride.  Once again, by chance, that bit or road was closed the day of the ride.

It was wonderful that every single rider took at least one turn as a human arrow I was a little disappointed that three or four riders had to do all the arrowing, because the bulk of the group hung back, shirking their responsibility.  I realize that the weather was cold, but we rode a nice gentle pace and regrouped a couple of times so the group never got spread out very much.  A big thank you to those riders who did their arrowing duty and also to Kaz for sweeping.

I am happy to report that the seasonal porta-johns have started to reappear.  There are two at the Rodenbush Center at the corner of Plain and Oak Hill roads in Westford, and two more at the playing fields on Nutting Road, also in Westford.

Report by Clyde Kessel.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Ashland and Beyond - April 5, 2019


Friday, 5 April 2019, Ashland and Beyond
Ride Leader:  Alan Cantor
37 miles, 10:00 am start from Shaw's Plaza parking lot, Ashland, MA

Riders (6):  Alan, Barry Nelson, Ellen Dirgins, Gerry Sheetoo, Rick Carlson (Birthday Boy), and Wing Chow.

Just after gathering on this chilly morning, Gerry’s newly inflated tire literally blew up right in front of us. He said not to wait as he was going home. The rest of us hit the roads. It was a great ride with all of us staying pretty much together so no arrows and no sweep (thank you for offering Barry) needed. There were no further mechanicals. Wing left the ride early and actually arrived after the rest of us. Gerry, after fixing the flat, decided to do the ride and appeared in the parking lot soon after we did. Great group of riders, thanks to all for coming out.

Report by Alan Cantor.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Westford in Spring - March 27, 2019

Wednesday, 27 March 2019, Westford in Spring
Ride Leader:  Ken Hablow
37 miles, 10:00 am start from North Bridge parking lot, Concord, MA

Riders (20):  Ken, Bernie Flynn, Bob Wadsworth, Bob Wolf, Butch Pemstein, Curt Dudley-Marling, Dan Krechmer, David Cooper, David Fay, Dom Jorge, Frank Hubbard, Gerry Sheetoo, Greg Trerotola, Judith McMichael, Judy Trerotola, Marc Baskin, Maria Noya, Rich Taylor, Richard Lawrence, and Selig Saltzman.

The first WW ride of 2019 was, well, nice and uneventful.  We left Concord and made our first stop at Great Brook, where we picked up two riders who had been late at the start and had caught up.  From there we rode through Chelmsford, Westford, Acton, and back to Concord, with only a couple of short stops to collect people, although we were not spread too far out (or so I thought).

We managed to lose only two riders near the end - they missed a turn and took a short cut back to Concord.  The turn was rough and riders had slowed way down.  They were bunched up a bit and the arrow probably thought everyone was through.

There was bright sun all day with very light wind.  However, the humidity was in the 25% range which is quite dry, so any wind and/or moving on the bike made the air feel cold.  The temperature was just above freezing when we started and rose all the way to 42.  It wasn't until we got back to Concord that the wind finally changed direction.

Thanks to Butch for sweeping and to all who arrowed. Bob Wadsworth joined us four miles from the end, as he was recovering from pneumonia.

Report by Ken Hablow.