Vol. 3

FALL 1999

No. 4

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

President's Message

As I write this message, the temperature is in the low thirties and the wind chill makes it seem considerably colder. Guess the regularly scheduled biking season has come to a close. I personally had a GREAT year "biking-wise" and hope you all did as well. While my plan is to pull out the thermals, the booties, the baklava (or is it balaclava? Never could get it right) and continue to ride, I I hope I don't succumb to the usual "winter slump"; I need encouragement. John Fitzpatrick, where are you? Can't fatten up like last year. My bike will complain.

On a serious note, there are issues the club needs to address in the coming year. First, and always foremost in my mind, is the need for more involvement by our members. The fall schedule was woefully short of road rides, and the same folks seem to be leading all the rides. They do a great job, but a successful club requires that everyone pitch in to some extent. Please help!

Secondly, I think we need to have some discussions about our collective responsibilities on a club ride, particularly in the case of an injury. Last weekend's mountain bike ride in Hawley saw Patty Pitchko go down (she's OK, thank goodness) and twenty well-meaning riders all offered good, but sometimes contradictory, advice. The result was that Patty was transported out of the woods by her husband, Joe, while rescue teams from four towns, who had been alerted, searched the woods for her. Things like that don't help mountain biking's image, and may pose a real sofety hazard in other circumstances. My plan is to solicit information from NORBA and LAW regarding these issues, and pass it along to the members. Any suggestions any of you have will be appreciated.

Well, I've got my thermals on - now all I need is someone to kick my #@%& and get me out the door and on the bike. Wait, isn't turkey day just around the corner? Happy Holidays.


September 18, 1999

The usual festive social hour and sumptious potluck preceded the meeting. Since the event occurred sans President, who had a family event to attend, we lingered long on Joyce and Fred's deck until finally someone asked if we were going to have a meeting and we moved inside. The the question arose who was responsible for convening the meeting. After much discussion, the finger was pointed at the Secretary, who did a commendable job of conducting the meeting and taking the minutes. She moved the meeting right along with dispatch and good humor.

Pat Vinskey, Secretary     

Ride Reports

July 11 - ICE CREAM RIDE - It was a great ride (23 riders), rather hot and with a share of detours. The ride went well with groups stopping at different ice cream shops and then finding one another on the road. Everyone had a good time; I heard no complaints.
P.S. Yankee Candle is serving ice cream again.

Charlie Meyers     

Oct. 24 - OLD ROADS AND ABANDONED LANDS - Only four people, in addition to the leader, showed up for this ride. The weather report had not been promising and this may have resulted in the small attendance at what, last year, was a very well attended ride. However, the weather turned out favorably and it was a great ride. Too bad you missed it.

Al Shane     

           Originally when I planned to lead a ride out the the hilltowna, I scheduled it as a ride for the Cyclonauts of Springfield. It was at the last minute that I submitted the ride to Sally and asked her to fit the ride into the Freewheeler's schedule. A total of 14 riders showed up for the hilly ride, with four new riders from Connecticut. We all had a great time. The weather was absolutely glorious, a true Indian summer day.
           We rode from Easthampton into Southampton and over to Westfield via Russellville Road, up Montgomery Road to Montgomery Center. The climb was tough, but we were rewarded with a great descent to Route 112 in Huntington. We stopped at the Huntington Country Store for fresh baked goodies and preceeded up Goss Hill Road to Littleville Lake. I had a few complaints from riders about the steepness of the short, 15 to 18% climb up Goss Hill Road, as I knew I would, but lunvh at the lake immediately following the climb was peaceful and scenic with a great view of the lake and mountains.
           After lunch, we made our way back to Route 112 and up Route 66 to Outlook Farm where we were pleasantly surprised to meet the Freehweelers who had gone on the Knightville Dam mountain bike ride. It was a good feeling to share our experiences of the day with the others. My group then descended to Easthampton back to our house for refreshments. The 41 miles was enjoyed by all and many expressed an interest in doing the ride again next year, same time, same place.

Suzanne McAuley     

Oct. 31 - KNIGHTSVILLE DAM TO CHESTERFIELD GORGE - Yet another beautiful day for this popular ride (27 riders)! 70 degrees and sunny! Some of us ate lunch at a new location, a nice spot on the river on some rocks. As it was Halloween, Julie Miles wore her "pumpkin" socks and an orange shirt, very fitting and appropriate. Everyone had a good time and a great ride. Munchies were had at Outlook Farm after the ride (where - surprise! - the road riders also showed up).

Charlie Meyers     

Nov. 7 - Show & Go - Partly sunny, 43°, windy, chilly. 8 riders, including 1 tandem. We decided to head north to Shutesbury, but the climb didn't warm us up much. We gained our eighth FHFer, Steve, at the re-group at the top of the hill. He must like the cold weather, he had fingerless gloves and short lycra pants. We lunched at the Leverett Co-op then continued our descent into Montague. Bob Austin and Steve turned onto Rt 63 and headed south to get home early. The rest of us picked up Rt 47 and headed for Sunderland. John Fitzpatrick and another rider decided to go over the Sunderland bridge and climb Mt Sugarloaf. Leaving John Clifford, Julie, Karen and I to pedal back to the parking lot for a total of 28.5 miles.

John Gustin     

Until Next Year

Our next meeting will be the Annual Banquet. Club members should watch their "snail-mail" for membership renewal and banquet forms.