Vol. 3


No. 2

All the news that's fit to print and then some.

It's Spring and we are "back in the saddle" again. Isn't it great? Of course, some of us rode all winter. Al and I have over 1000 miles already; some of you have more, I'm sure. We started riding in February. We missed only the month of January. We start this issue of THE FREEWHEELER with reports of late fall and winter rides and our winter banquet. Then we jump into the spring ride reports. Al and I will be taking off for another bicycle camping trip; this year it's Iceland. We'll see you when we return. -- Marion


Have you wondered about the response to the winter rides led by John Fitzpatrick? Well, there was at least one hardy rider on each ride. Most frequently it was Russ Loomis (3 rides), Steve Roof (2 rides) and Jeff Frechette, Bernie Amero, John Fabel, Elsa Rosenak and Mary Libby (1 ride). At least John did not have to ride alone. His ride reports follow:

Date: November 19, 1998
Riders: 3
Weather: Cloudy - mid forties
Route/Dist: Leverett - Shutesbury hill - Turners Falls - E. Deerfield. 61 miles.
Hi-lights: The "ride leader" found some fresh white paint on the road in Turners Falls for everyone to "enjoy". The whitewalls and Skunk tails went unappreciated - sorry boys (perhaps, in retrospect, this was a lo-light).
Date: December 6, 1998
Riders: 5
Weather: Partly sunny - low sixties!
Route/Dist: Century route - 75-mile route. Lunch stop in Bernardston (Streeters), 89 miles.
Hi-lights: Balmy temperatures - shorts and jersey weather! Almost ran out of daylight.
Date: December 13, 1998
Riders: 2
Weather: Mostly cloudy - upper thirties.
Route/Dist: Granby - Turkey Hill - Belchertown - Ludlow - S. Hadley. 47 miles.
Hi-lights: Got a close-up view of a descending C-5A in Granby - no falling debris to dodge, thankfully.
Date: December 20, 1998
Riders: 3
Weather: Partly sunny - mid forties
Route/Dist: Leverett - Shutesbury Hill - Wendell - Millers Falls - return via Rt. 63 and Montague Road. 42 miles.
Hi-lights: Ran across former club president Bob Woo climbing Shutesbury Hill on his new Basso frame - cool looking paint job.
Date: January 31, 1999
Riders: 2
Weather: Sunny - +14 deg. Start - 24 deg. Finish
Route/Dist: Rt. 116 N - Rt. 63 N - Montague - Rt. 47 S - Bay Road. 37 miles.
Hi-lights: A sunny table at the bookmill helped thaw some frozen water bottles - hot chocolate hit the spot as well.
Date: March 21, 1999
Riders: 2
Weather: Sun to clouds - upper forties.
Route/Dist: Rt. 116 N - E. Leverett - Cave Hill Road - N. Leverett - Rt 63 N - Montague. Return via century route. 41 miles.
Hi-lights: First day of Spring but didn't quite feel like it - blame it on the south headwind. Rains held off at least.



Saturday February 6, 1999

About 55 people attended the 16th Annual Banquet, held this year for the first time at Zoe's Fish and Chip House in Easthampton. The food was excellent, especially the salmon, and the desserts were scrumptious. We had a large room on the second floor, accessed by a private entrance and a flight of stairs, all to ourselves. Bob Andrews especially liked the chandeliers. The parking was, probably, the only problem. Zoe's is a popular restaurant. Another time it would be wise to arrive early and to know that the entrance to the right is the one to use.

Al Hathway, of our Connecticut contingent, showed slides of his trip on the Great Divide Trail. It seems that an important component of the two trips he took, was a mascot; his was a rubber duckie. Sally and Bob also rode parts of the trail but only at the end did their paths cross with Al's.

We were honored to have past-president Mark Israel and his lovely wife, Chris Denison, attend. It was good to see these formerly avid bike riders. Perhaps, when their children are older, they will bike with us again. Mark and Chris were a Freewheeler (or freewheeling) romance.

John Gustin presented three awards: [The first award, a home-made "trophy" with a red bicyclist on top, went to Fred & Joyce Morris for "Best Lunch Stop". Referring to their marriage last year on Martha's Vineyard, which took place during the lunch stop; they also provided lunch for everyone.] Second, a badge of honor (two tandemists superimposed on a globe of the world) to myself [Marion] for allegedly contributing the most new rides [actually, it was an award for the "Best New Bicycling Book for Western Massachusetts"] (via my book: Bicycling the Pioneer Valley - and Beyond). The third [an actual store-bought trophy] went to his fiancé, Karen Corson, for "Best Original Design in the Milk Chocolate category", for her original work of art on display in the dining room - a full size bicycle wheel made entirely [except for the wire frame] of candy. She gave it to him for Christmas. [I was so overwhelmed when I received it, that I had to share it with the group. -John] Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all. Thank you, Pat and Joe, for planning this event. -- Marion


March 6th

Winter Bike Meeting

Fifteen hardy souls braved a blizzard to gather at Jack Fitz-Gibbons home for a potluck and a meeting. The weather was heavy snow. Most attendees were from the Easthampton area.

April 4th: First ride!! Hope all the snow is gone!

The ride schedule filled up fast, lots of volunteers from a small group!

Only one dessert tonight: thanks Barbara!

That's it!

submitted by Pat Vinskey


April 4 - Bookmill Bonanza - Bob Kowaleski & Sally Peters

The official opening day of the season for the Freewheelers. Beautiful weather - but a headwind going out. 29 bicyclists [funny, Sally said 31 people signed-in]. Three tandems, one mountain bike, 22 conventional bikes. We lingered in the sunshine on a rocky parapet at the bookmill Marion & Al returned by a shorter route in order to get to their house to prepare for Beth's surprise birthday party. They had barely gotten inside the door when Jack & Suzanne arrived. Not everyone could attend the party because it was Easter and some had family obligations. Some may have missed the invitations printed vertically on the cue sheet. Nevertheless, a party-sized group came for ice cream and cake. The cakes were decorated with bicyclists and animal crackers encircling a globe, celebrating Beth and Pete's trip around the world as well as Beth's birthday. Beth WAS surprised. I think it can be said that a good time was had by all. -- Marion

April 11 - A NEW RIDE - Fred & Joyce Morris

This ride might have called "A New Way to the Tailgate". It consisted of about 36 people [Joyce reported 38] and 36 miles, through Belchertown, Three Rivers, Granby, South Hadley and back to Belchertown. It was a cool but sunny day, a bit on the breezy side, with a headwind on the way back. It was downhill out, uphill back, but no significant hills; I suppose that's relative. The initially bumpy pavement became smooth as satin. We had lunch at the Tailgate Picnic in South Hadley and ice cream later at the family restaurant in Belchertown. Someone had a flat and someone else suffered a jammed chain. Otherwise, it was a pleasant ride with little traffic on country roads. Thanks, Fred & Joyce, for a new ride. Let's do it again. -- Marion

Al & Marion

April 18 - UP & DOWN THE RIVER & POET'S SEAT CLIMB - Al & Marion

There were 43 riders on this multiple group ride, which include the Cyclonauts, the AMC and the Springfield Explorers Club, as well as the Freewheelers. Everyone rode at their own pace. It is impossible for a group this size to stay together. However, I think everyone did the Poet's Seat climb and I don't think we lost anyone. There was a variation to the route, but we included the detour in the cue sheet. A bridge had collapsed on Greenfield Road. Luckily, we knew about it beforehand. I think one person missed the second detour but, as a result, made it back to the ride start ahead of us. Some of us stopped at the Dairy Mart in Sunderland for ice cream at the end of the ride and those who rode to the ride left from there. Unlike last year, the weather was cooperative this year. Last year it rained and we skipped Poet's Seat. -- Marion



The weather was perfect. Don's family was there to give us a send-off, and 51 cyclists from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont gathered to ride a loop through Greenfield, Leyden, Guilford VT, Gill and Bernardston in memory of Don Maynard. This year we raised $360.00 for the Greenfield Bikeway, which is part of the 33-mile Franklin County Bikeway. -- Sally Peters


It was a beautiful day, mostly sunny, except for a few sprinkles at the lunch stop at Outlook Farm, which drove us inside from the picnic table. There was very good attendance on this ride [32 riders, I believe]. Early in the ride, Al made a pit stop and we lost the group and missed a turn, cutting off a loop and arriving at the Williamsburg General Store before the rest of the group (first time we've ever arrived any place first). Later in the ride, we stopped to shed jackets, missed another turn and added some miles. We were the last to arrive back at the parking lot and everyone was gone. However, it was a beautiful day and we thoroughly enjoyed the ride. -- Marion

John & Karen

May 16 - AROUND THE RANGE - Jack Fitz-Gibbon

Thirty-six riders enjoyed a beautiful, sun-filled day on this 33-mile ride around Holyoke Range and the seven sisters. Temperatures ranged in the lower 70's with a light wind. An optional lunch stop at the Tailgate Picnic in South Hadley at the Village Commons extended the ride an additional 3 miles - all 36 riders opted for the stop in South Hadley center. On the return trip, 8 riders, including yours truly, opted for the climb up Mount Holyoke for a beautiful panoramic view of the valley. Conditions were perfect at the summit for long distance viewing. I am pleased to report that all 36 riders made it back to the UMASS starting point intact, and there were no casualties or mechanical problems reported. -- Jack

May 23 - SEE SHAD RUN - Eileen & Charlie Meyers

They did. That is, they did see shad run. The shad were running. Actually, they were swimming. Or so I was told. Neither Al nor I were on the ride. (However, we did see them run the previous Thursday. and again today (June 6) when we led some Cyclonauts to Turners Falls.) Jerry Weinstein did not see the shad run. He rode to the ride to show off his new recumbent, but did not ride the ride. Too bad, it was a great year for shad. -- Marion

Part of Fred & Joyce's Anniversary banner


35 Freewheelers and/or guests went to Martha's Vineyard, most arriving Friday. 27 camped and eight stayed inside. We camped at the Martha's Vineyard Family Campground this year, Webb's Campground being closed. Although we missed Webb's, where we had camped for years, we liked the new (to us) campground. Sally and Bob coordinated the trip. The weather was beautiful. We bicycled separately and in small groups to the usual places meeting up here and there. Al and I found a new beach just opened last September - Great Rock Bight Preserve - and went swimming. Al swam at Chappaquiddick, also. On Saturday night, the campers went over to "Fred & Joyce's place" for a cookout and a surprise First Anniversary party. John Gustin made appropriate banners and decorations [made by Karen Corson] for the cake [purchased by Pat & Mike]. At the cookout, veggie burgers out numbered meat on the grill. It was a fun evening. At the campground, there were the usual bake-offs. It was a good weekend. Thanks, Sally and Bob for making the arrangements. -- Marion


Pete and Beth landed jobs with Bicycle Adventures in Olympia, Washington. Backroads did not pan out but Bicycle Adventures did. Pete leads his first tour June 12 for eight days in the San Juan Islands and Victoria. Meanwhile, Beth will look for an apartment or place to stay. Until then, they will be camping in back of their truck. Pete and Beth both have a trip at the end of June. We will be looking forward to hearing more of their adventures and eventually reading their book. -- Marion