Notes from the Chairman - September 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

Notes from the Chairman

by Bob Bernstein

I hope that this finds you all enjoying the pleasures of your wheeled, human powered conveyances. Do you ride because it is your passion or is it just a means to an end? There are many out there who ride a bike for transportation. That is why I started. There was nobody to take me to visit friends, to school or downtown so I used my bicycle. Saved my money and bought a brand new Schwinn Varsity with “10 speeds” and a leather saddle. I rode to the aforementioned destinations and all over Connecticut with my best friend, Jeff. His bicycle had a speedometer on it and I still remember passing him coming down from West Peak and his yelling that he was doing 45 mph!

I did not cycle much in college or afterward. I now had a car. But graduate school found me once again discovering the joys of human powered travel. I joined the bicycle club in Ann Arbor and various members helped educate me and made me a better, more defensive cyclist. I also needed to ride for a different reason; I needed to keep the weight down as I approached middle age. And sometime between then and now, cycling became a passion.

I bring this up because periodically, we need to be reminded from whence we came. In this era of exclusion, where people are dredging up reasons why their group is better than another group, we need to remember that we were once slower, did not ride as far, or rode a clunker rather than the latest carbon to come out of China. As a member of the Potomac Pedalers, we should all be ambassadors of cycling and inclusiveness. We should all be talking up the Club and Club events such as the Back Roads Century and the various volunteer led Special Events.

Recent health issues have drastically cut back my mileage for the year. That has adversely affected my speed and endurance. Where I was once a solid B rider, I am now a CC-wannabe. No longer am I riding my titanium steed. (I still think carbon is a fad.) I am now riding an aluminum recumbent. Yes, I was one of those who joked to recumbent riders about sitting down on the job. Well, let me tell you. Riding a recumbent is like learning how to ride a bicycle all over again. The balance is different. Starting is still an adventure…every time. And while I still wave to other cyclists, I find even less of them are returning my waves perhaps implying that I am not a “real” cyclist.

We all need to increase our inclusiveness; to those slower, to those who do not ride as far, to those who ride for a different purpose, to those who may be a bit different from us. Welcome new riders to the rides you are on. Talk to them. Find out why they ride, what their cycling fears are, encourage them to meet their goals, ask them why they are not members of the Club. Help them become better cyclists. Talk up the Club at your local bike shop (LBS). Ask them to steer customers our way to help them ride safer and to better enjoy their new bike. If they are happy with their riding experience, they will be return customers. With no support, that brand new, shiny bicycle may end up in a corner of the garage collecting dust.

Let me ask a general question. How do you receive information about the Club? I don’t mean just the regular rides, but the administration of the Club, the events, and the Century. Have you not been receiving notes or emails? Do you Google for information and the Club century or events do not register? Please let me know at We are still feeling the effects of moving Pedal Patter to an all-electronic format and other electronic media problems. We need to solve these problems or the Club you depend upon for rides, events and the best century in the country will wither and die. Communication is our reason for being.

There is still room in the Back Roads Century the weekend of September 16th-17th. A buffet party has been scheduled for Saturday evening in our attempt to make the evening more inclusive and social. Excellent rides have been scheduled for Saturday around the battlefield and parts of the countryside you will not see on Sunday. The Howard County Farm and Art Tour will be held October 22nd. And there will be a Special Annual Meeting on December 3rd instead of January this year. Please save the date and join your Club mates for a social afternoon of food, information and fun. The theme will be “Adventures on the Bike.”

Keep the rubber side down.

Bob B.

A Thank You to Our Sponsors!