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December 2012
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
 
Greetings, members,

Quieter times have commenced with the club calendar, but there is still a pulse as riders continue turning the cranks into the off-season. I am sticking to my usual routine each year by packing on a couple of pounds and enjoying some down time from cycling to invest in other activities. A new season will be upon us soon enough, and in my mind the seeds of another great season have already been planted. It is a nice feeling to know that this club will be here in the spring with all of its great members to meet and to ride again.
 
Unfortunately, one member of the club we will not meet again. He was a very special friend to the club and the greatest influence in me joining this club. He helped create the George Street Bike Challenge for Major Taylor by persuading Lynne Tolman and me to team up to make it happen; it’s been a highlight of the club calendar every year since 2002. He served as vice president to the club in my first year of office. To me, he was the granddaddy of the club, as I had known him through cycling since I was a teenager. He was one of the oldest members, both in age and duration of membership, and was still riding century rides into his 70s. Donald Ekross, a passionate cyclist with a great sense of humor and an even greater outlook on life, passed away Oct. 29. All who knew him will miss him. I give my condolences to his wonderfully supportive wife Nancy, and his entire family.
 
I am looking forward to seeing you all in a couple of weeks at the greatest noncycling event of the year. The Seven Hills Wheelmen holiday party on Nov. 30 is fast approaching, and the deadline for ticket purchases is Nov. 21. So hop online and sign up today, or get a check in the mail. It is an event not to be missed.
 
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season,


Peter
 
Peter Howard, president
barneysbicycle@rcn.com
508-799-BIKE
 
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November 2012
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
 
Greetings, members,
 
Another Major Taylor Century ride has come and gone, and another nice event sponsored by the Seven Hills Wheelmen was enjoyed by many. Damp and cool weather was the word for the day. The socks were a little soggy by the time we hit the first rest stop. But that was the end of that, and cool comfortable weather followed us for remainder of the ride. It was great to see 7HW gang make a strong showing for this event. We did miss some of you, though, and hope you can make it next year. 10th Gear, the group that organizes the ride, did a great job as usual, with efficient registration, clear course markings, and well-stocked rest stops. Thank you!
     
I guess there can be plenty of reasons of why some people may not want to ride 100 miles in wet weather. But there is no reason for not coming to a nice dinner party with all your friends and riding pals from the club. It is that time of year again, whether you are ready for it or not. This year’s holiday party will be at a new venue, Cyprian Keyes in Boylston. It all happens on Nov. 30, and you must reserve your spot by Nov. 21. This is the chance to actually see all your riding buddies and speak without panting on a hill climb. This is the chance for new members to get a sense of club operations and become a little closer with the camaraderie within the club. Invite a friend; membership is not required to attend. This is the chance to have fun, food and drink. Tickets are on sale now, and they are a deal. Each year with the help of club funds we offer them at a discount to our members and their friends and family. See you there! 
 
Also, if you renew your club membership now you’re good through Dec. 31, 2013. Do it now and you won’t miss a thing. You can pay online using PayPal or a credit card, and the same goes for holiday party tickets. If you prefer to write checks, please note that the two things – membership dues and holiday party tickets – must be made payable to different entities and mailed to different addresses.
 
Enjoy the foliage,

Peter
 
Peter Howard, president
barneysbicycle@rcn.com
508-799-BIKE
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October 2012
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
 
Greetings, members,
 
Good rides continue and it’s into the fall we go. It’s time to dig out the arm warmers, pull out the tights and charge up the lights. With the shorter days at hand you may have your own choice about clothing, but there shouldn’t be one about lighting. Make sure your batteries are fresh. Or better yet, check out the incredible new technology that is growing by leaps and bounds in the lighting industry.
 
Lighting units are now rechargeable by USB cords. There are no more bulky exterior battery packs. The power has increased, the weight and charge times decreased, and the price has decreased too. I am hoping to see the awesome momentum of the Monday and Wednesday rides roll right into the dark of Daylight Saving Time (which starts Nov. 4). It is the advent of good affordable lighting technology that can make this possible. It’s time to see the light and get a new light so you can join the fun late into the season.
 
The Major Taylor Century is at hand: Pump up your tires for a great ride out of Uxbridge on Sunday, Sept. 30, and save $5 by preregistering online before midnight Sept. 26. I have already heard some pretty good hubbub and excitement for the fall century at our regular rides, and I feel like we will have an especially good turnout from our membership this year. Find some friends and make it a date to ride. Don’t forget there are shorter distances available too. Do what is right for you.
 
Our activities coordinator, Kathy Kime, has struck again. Believe it or not, we already have made reservations at a new venue for this year’s holiday party. Save the date – Friday, Nov. 30 – and stay tuned for details on the best social event of the year. It’s all happening with the Seven Hills Wheelmen.
 
Happy Fall Cycling,

Peter
 
Peter Howard, president
barneysbicycle@rcn.com
508-799-BIKE 
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September 2012
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
 
Greetings, members,
 
Another great summer of cycling with the Seven Hills Wheelmen is about to lean through its final corner. It’s time to take the measure of all the great rides hosted by our fine club. From our earlybird spring rides to the King's Tour of the Quabbin century, our regionally famous George Street Bike Challenge for Major Taylor, and all our weekend and weekday rides, it’s truly been a fine season. Thank you to all our ride leaders and volunteers who make it all possible.

The good times continue into some of the nicest riding weatherof the year. Cooler temps and beautiful views will soon be ours as the world-famous New England autumn is on the horizon.

Please circle the date of our last big club event ride. The Major Taylor Century is set for Sept. 30. I try and make this one every year. It keeps me motivated to keep my fitness level up through the close of the season. Aim for it! 

We have had some tough times, too, for some riders. Peter Saloom, a rider in the "A" group on Wednesday nights, and Mike Linde, one of our most dedicated ride leaders, have both had crashes with serious injuries. Mike is moving away, and I wish to say on behalf of the whole club his enthusiasm and great riding spirit will be greatly missed. Good luck and a speedy recovery to both of these fine cyclists.

Accidents are just that, and saying to be careful doesn't always work. But I must take this moment to remind everyone to use caution and ride as safely as possible. No one can avoid the unavoidable, but a percentage of accidents can be avoided by keeping your attention level up and riding with respect for the consequences of being careless. Never underestimate how hard that pavement is, how stupid a motor vehicle driver can be, or perhaps how stupid you might be. Never assume there are no cars coming on small roads. Always watch for wheel overlap on group rides. Basically, keep your concentration at a peak level. Has anyone noticed the gaping holes in our New England roads? Pay heed or one may eat you alive.

Pleasant pedaling,

Peter
 
Peter Howard, president
barneysbicycle@rcn.com
508-799-BIKE 
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August 2012
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
 
Greetings, members,
 

Seven Hills Wheelmen, please start your engines. The 11th annual George St. Challenge is about to commence.

 

Whether you are a volunteer, a rider, or a spectator, make sure you do not miss Worcester County’s most awesome cycling event. It all happens this Sunday, July 22, starting at 10 a.m. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes in organizing this event. I wish to thank all the club members who are already in the midst of pulling the loose ends together for yet another great day of biking in downtown Worcester. The beauty of this event is the diversity of the entrants. Come young, come old, come amateur and pro. Come men, come women, come tandem or even perhaps unicycle or handcycle. The most important thing is to have fun, don’t worry about the timer as much as the participation. This is truly a unique and awesome event -- be a part of it.

 

This summer is cruising along faster than ever and so is our ride calendar. I have seen a great choice of rides every week, and it is because of our ride leaders that this all happens. My gratitude is never-ending, for you are the people who give everyone else the opportunity to ride as a club. Once again it is a pleasure to see our club expanding with new members. I am just having a great time each Monday in particular, meeting new bikers with new enthusiasm. Today’s newbies I hope will be tomorrow’s volunteers and ride leaders. I send a warm welcome to all new mid-season members.

 

In case you haven’t noticed, this past month has been a bit of a sizzler. I hope all are taking care to make the extra effort to hydrate properly. I, unfortunately, am no example of this and have paid the price repeatedly with overheating this season. Drink before you’re thirsty, eat before you’re hungry. I understand the Climb to the Clouds century ride had quite a few dropouts this year due to dehydration. Ride smart and ride safe -- it’s so much more fun when you are happy and healthy.

 

Pleasant Pedaling,


Peter
 
Peter Howard, president
barneysbicycle@rcn.com
508-799-BIKE 
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July 2012
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
 
Greetings, members,
 
There is nothing like a century ride to tip you into proper fitness for the season. And there is nothing like the King’s Tour of the Quabbin as one of the best-run century rides around. We had a great turnout this year, 285 riders taking part in the three ride offerings. Not to ever take our volunteer efforts for granted, but this event has become a well-oiled machine. Compliments and good reviews have been pouring into Lynne’s desk, and for good reason. We work hard each year to present an event we can all have pride in as Seven Hills Wheelmen members. It was an exceptional crew, as always, from the course markers to the bagel buyers (names are named in the wrap-up below). I want to express my greatest gratitude to all who pitched in. It was not only a job well done, it was fun!

This year we followed the big event with a nice club social and used up some of the century leftovers. After yet another record attendance on our Monday night ride, we had a fine little get-together over pizza and refreshments, along with all the granola bars you could swallow. Kathy Kime, our activities director, made it all happen in style. It was great to see you all and trade our war stories of the big Quabbin hills and the hot highway miles of the day before.

Well, there is barely time for a rest stop as we continue our journey through the 2012 season. You guessed it, it’s the George Street Bike Challenge that is rolling around, another awesome Seven Hills Wheelmen cycling event. Things are already pulling together to make this event as great as ever. But it is up to our membership to really pull through with volunteer commitment to make the chores of this event easy. Many hands are what we need to distribute the workload. Please contact me or Lynne and get your name on the volunteer list. Be part of one of the best biking events in the region, with, of course, one of the best bike clubs around, the Seven Hills Wheelmen.

Keep pedaling,

Peter
 
Peter Howard, president
barneysbicycle@rcn.com
508-799-BIKE
 
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June 2012
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
 
Greetings, members,
 
The base miles are accumulating and the legs are finally starting to remember what to do. This year for some reason has been one of the most difficult in years to whip myself back into shape. Though I am still not fully pleased with my performance, I feel I have finally turned a corner and my legs are now spinning a notch harder gear with greater ease. Regardless of this circumstance it is never a regret to get outside and ride. I have dropped some winter weight and I feel fitter even if not faster this season. I have ridden with friends and new members in the club and have breathed the fresh air and soaked in the beautiful scenery that abounds. Perseverance always pays off. I will just keep on pedaling with discipline, and better performance will come eventually.

My excitement with Monday night shop rides is only building. We are encountering record turnouts, with many new faces. This has been one of the greatest introductions for new members to our club. Perhaps some of you are reading these words at this very moment. Welcome! One of our best additions is the gals from the Tri team of the Central branch of the YMCA showing up with a full fleet of novice riders, churning up the miles in their first group ride. This week we will be starting from my shop’s new location at 582 Park Ave., with ample parking, a waterfall view, and a nicer way out of town on Mill Street.

To help celebrate this new venue please join me and activities coordinator Kathy Kime at a club social after the Monday night ride on June 11. There will be food and drink, and we will all be talking bikes, of course. This is intentionally scheduled for the day after the King’s Tour of the Quabbin. Check our online Rides Schedule for  details.

The King’s Tour of the Quabbin is pulling together. Some course markings have already been laid out and other items on the checklists are being checked off. If you have some free time to help on or before June 10, please contact me or our “Queen of the Quabbin,” Carrie Toupense, ceclt@hotmail.com.

Keep on pedaling,

Peter
 
Peter Howard, president
barneysbicycle@rcn.com
508-799-BIKE 
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May 2012
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
 
Greetings, members,

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, spring! Make sure your trusty cycle is in good condition for the new year. A fresh chain does wonders, it’s fairly economical to do and if done regularly it preserves the rest of your drive train, saving money in the long run. A new chain gives you sharper shifting, too, along with silky quiet pedaling. If you want an idea of one of the most functional upgrades to invest in this year, think tires. It’s the sidewall or casing of the tire that makes all the difference in performance. A high thread-count tire is supple even at high pressure and can give you a magic carpet ride. Try splurging for some high-end rubber between you and the road this year and viva la difference.

Things are pulling together for the King’s Tour of the Quabbin on June 10. It is a core group of fabulous volunteers each year who continue to make this event great. We have some new recruits, too, and are hoping this core group will only grow bigger and stronger. Please contact me if you want to help. There are still volunteers needed. The afternoon shift is always an important one to welcome riders home with some watermelon and help with cleanup and breakdown. So step up and be counted as one of the few, the proud, the um ... well, you get the idea.

Each year I meet new riders who are daunted in participating in this fabulous Quabbin tour, showcasing the heart of our treasured commonwealth. They study the elevation charts, they study the weather patterns, and compare their past rides, all of which just adds to their reservations. Now I ain’t sayin’ it’s easy being in the saddle for hours at a time. But I am saying you should just go for it. Make it a focal point this spring to motivate you to train. And you don’t need to train long distances necessarily either. Just get in good shape and you will do fine with some extra drink and nourishment provided at one of our posh rest stops. The metric century is considered the prettiest. It is a nice way to do your first endurance ride without going overboard. If anyone needs a friend to ride with, report to me and I will keep an eye peeled for a cycling comrade of the same caliber. Miles just disappear when riding with a friend. I would love to see some organized groups get together at the start this year with the intention of staying together for the entire event.

Stay motivated and get outside and ride!

Peter Howard, president
barneysbicycle@rcn.com
508-799-BIKE
 
President’s Tip: When lubricating your chain, remember to use the lube sparingly and wipe off any on the exterior of the chain. The lube is only effective internally between the chain link’s pivot points. Any excess will only pick up dirt and make a mess of your bike.  
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April 2012
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
 
Greetings, members,

Things are looking great for season openers as we take advantage of early mild weather. I’ve spoken to many who’ve stayed outdoors on their bikes throughout this winter. Regardless of your riding status, now is the time to unite with others. I wish to thank the weekend ride leaders who have already organized some rides this early season. I will be kicking off the Monday night rides on March 19 and look forward to seeing new faces, meeting new friends, and riding the loop with all my ol’ riding pals.
 
Daylight is our friend and it will be getting even friendlier for months to come. I anticipate Wednesday night rides at the Old Stone Church to reawaken soon. These rides offer the best weekday ride in the county for every level of cycling enthusiast. So kick yourself out the door and start putting on those base miles that will carry you through the season. Stroke by stroke, conditioning will come if you just muster the discipline to make it happen.
 
It seems every year I have been leading this club it grows a little stronger. So it is easy to expect 2012 will be the best year yet. Diversity within the club is my dream. I would love to see a calendar chock full of rides that are inviting to all levels of riders. I make the call once again for new leadership for beginners and novices. I feel there is a great population of new riders just waiting for the opportunity to go for group rides that are not inhibiting in length or intensity. You do not have to be a great cyclist to lead a ride. And you can be sure the ride is just your style when create it yourself. Any help or suggestions needed, just give me a shout.
 
Earth Day is coming up. I personally have not participated directly in this event very often. But we as cyclists need not worry as much as the next human in making this planet a little greener. All we need do is use our trusty cycle a little bit more for errands and transportation. I recommend a “beater bike” with some fenders and a basket for each and every club member. I know there are many different circumstances with where we all work and live. But think outside the box. Just because you can’t do it all does not mean you can’t do any. Keep a junky bike at work or at home that you can use just to cruise down to the store, out to lunch, or perhaps out on an errand. Ride to work maybe once a week if that is all that is practical. My point here is for us all to incorporate a bicycle for use other than for sport and recreation. Take a small bite out of your carbon footprint. You may be surprised how a bicycle can beat traffic, and of course it’s a whole lot more fun. Besides, it is a bit ridiculous that we move our butts around in two-ton contraptions called  cars for all the little trips we need not.
 
Pleasant Pedaling,

Peter
 
Peter Howard, president
barneysbicycle@rcn.com
508-799-BIKE 
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March 2012
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
 
Greetings, members,

It’s time to start prepping your wheels for another great season of riding with the Seven Hills Wheelmen. One thing everyone can do on their own is give their cycle a good cleaning. Sure, a shiny ride might be a great status symbol when you pull up at the next stop sign and your local motorist is staring, green with envy. But functionally it is not about cosmetics. A clean ride means a well inspected machine. It is when you’re wiping the grime out of all those nooks and crannies that you might find loose parts, frayed cables, and worn items. A good cleaning is also great for keeping cables and components moving freely, and it fights corrosion too. So no matter if you have a weathered workhorse or a state of the art race machine, give that bike some respect, and clean it up for the new season.
 
Things are brewing for club activities. Now is the time to pick a spring date to lead a ride. I have been working with Carrie Toupense putting together our plans for the King’s Tour of the Quabbin, Sunday, June 10. We are making an early call for new and old volunteers to contact us with their intent to be a part of one the best century rides in the region. Registration, parking attendants, rest stop volunteers, course markers, sag wagon, as well as clean-up crews at the end -- there is lots to do, and we’re counting on you!
 
I expect Monday rides to start in March. If folks are ready for Wednesday evening rides, please contact me and we’ll try to organize a small group of riders to kick off the season with both an A and B group. We may be able to arrange for early starts; lights will most likely be mandatory.
 
When I think of the troubles of the world, it is the environmental degradations that seem to depress me most. If you don’t have air to breathe and water to drink, it seems most of the other issues are moot. I believe your physical being is your own environment to maintain and keep healthy. Make the time to ride your bike as a gift to your own well-being, and with that acquired fitness, “Take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them” (Shakespeare).
 
 
Peter
 
Peter Howard, president
barneysbicycle@rcn.com
508-799-BIKE
 
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February 2012
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
 
Greetings, members,

I hope all have been enjoying the fairly mild winter. The first half is down and the sun casts its rays a little longer each day. Our scheduling process for 2012 club events is under way. Our premier century ride, The King’s Tour of the Quabbin, has been slotted for June 10. The George Street Bike Challenge for Major Taylor is set for July 22. And for a fall date to be determined, the Major Taylor Century has a new coordinator, Tara Burgess, stepping up to the plate. It looks like another vibrant year ahead for the Seven Hills Wheelmen.

 


So I now will set my mode to rewind, and give my regular call for new volunteers to get motivated and take the plunge in giving this club fresh blood and energy. Ride leadership is great way to start. It’s easy. You just go on a ride and invite people to come along with you. I will be leading Monday night rides again soon. I am sure Wednesdays will be a blast once again. But it is the weekend that counts when it comes to leadership. I want to thank again all who took the reins last season and offered such a great variety of rides. Variety is truly the spice, so please take a turn, add some spice, and make a ride of your own this season.

 


Here are some other ideas of mine for volunteerism for this coming season. Be a part of one of our events as a support person, or even direct your own event. This club, with its informal structure and solid funding available, has fertile ground to expand and grow. A summer cookout, perhaps? New club jerseys? Hey, speedsters, how about organizing a time trial? Even for a onetime thing. Anyone up for organizing an overnight tour? How about a repair seminar? I also wish there was an easy D or even E ride. This club does not have adequate absolute beginner rides. How about an all-women ride? I am sure it would be very popular with the guys -- too bad they’re not invited. Speaking of popular, how about a pub crawl? One beer every 10 miles I think would be safe.* I can’t do these by myself, but will co-direct on any of them. What’s your idea? I am listening.


Peter
 
Peter Howard, president
barneysbicycle@rcn.com
508-799-BIKE
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January 2012
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
 
Greetings, members,
 
Icicles may hang upon the bicycles. But all is not lost, as hard-core commuters and die-hard enthusiasts carry on with a frosty nose and frozen toes. The whir of trainers echoes through the halls of homes as we search for ways to stay upon the pedals during this cold and dark season. It’s not always easy to be a cyclist in New England. In fact it can be downright impossible at times. But no matter your situation, motivation, or even your stagnation, I hope you can reminisce upon a great cycling season past, and dream of even a bigger one that is yet to come.
 
Perhaps a New Year’s resolution may be in order. Make 2012 the best cycling season of your life. (I think I used those words last year and hope to use them again in the next, with only a change of the numeral.) Increase your profile within the club and get involved with leading a ride or bringing some other energy to the club. Together we can self-propel the Seven Hills Wheelmen to new horizons. This past season was another exceptional year for the club, with record turnouts for many of our rides. The momentum within the club feels great, and the spring will come faster than you might think.
 
Our annual holiday party was another great get-together. It is always such a pleasurable group of friends to be with each and every year. I guess it says a lot for the sport of cycling. It seems to be a good magnet for good people. It is environmentally friendly, great for fitness, and most of all, it is just plain fun to ride a bike. So why be surprised to find a happy, healthy, fun person when you find a person who loves to ride their bicycle? I’m not.
 
Happy Holidays to all, and I wish one and all a joyous New Year! 
 
Peter Howard, president
barneysbicycle@rcn.com
508-799-BIKE
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Peter Howard

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