Vol. 4


No. 2

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

Minutes of the March 4th Meeting/Potluck

The event took place at Mr. & Mrs. Fitz-Gibbon's sprawling estate. As people continued to arrive, the evening started with the usual socializing/snacking in the kitchen and dining room. Jack made several trips to the basement to show off their new, red Cannondale tandem. Suzanne and he are planning to ride it up Mount Washington this year! We also learned that Joyce bought, but had not yet taken delivery of, a new, 19-pound bike made by Waterford Precision Cycles

With hungry FHFers chomping at the bit, as well as at the food, dinner began AHEAD of schedule. With many a loaded plate, we made our way through the foyer to the living room. More socializing and eating ensued until the meeting officially started at 7:30 PM with 28 people in attendance.

There was no treasurer's report, as the treasurer was leading a x-country ski trip in Vermont.

Jack announced that the jersey committee had not met in a while, so there wasn't really any news to report.

In addition to all the Freewheeler marriages & engagements, that seem to be running rampant lately, and which were announced in the Winter 2000 Newsletter, Sally offered an extra tidbit. She thought that Bruce and Franca might be looking at a Labor Day marriage.

Now for the REAL reason we were all here, to decide the Spring Rides Schedule.

Here is a brief summary of what I remember (the actual schedule will be snail-mailed out at the end of the month, it will be uploaded to freewheelers.org shortly thereafter):

April 2 Bookmill Bonanza - Bob & Sally - It went.
April 9 A ride from Martha & David - See below.
April 16 Up & Down the river and Poet's Seat climb - Al & Marion See writeup.
April 23 Double Down? - It went sans leaders. See below.
April 30 Don Maynard Memorial ride - Bob & Sally - See writeups & photos [maybe]
May 7 Around the range from Umass - See writeup.
May 13 Party at Jack & Suzanne's - Rescheduled
May 14 Mother's Day - No Volunteers However, see below.
May 20 Next meeting/potluck to decide the rest of the Summer schedule. Please think ahead of time about leading a ride. Come prepared. Done deed.
May 21 Bloomin' Metric. No volunteers for an FHF ride.
May 26-30 Martha's Vineyard camping weekend.
June 4 A ride from John & Karen. Also GEAR weekend in PA.
June 11 Annual new Belchertown ride - Fred & Joyce
June 17 & 18 Eastern Tandem Rally in Berkshires. - No FHF volunteers. Some going.

Meeting adjourned at 8:22 PM. See you on the road!

Respectfully submitted,


April 9 - Ryan Road Ramble

This is the story of the Ryan Road Ramble,
When the weather in April is often a gamble.

The ride took place on April nine,
We hoped the sun would come out and shine.

I started alone in the sleet and rain,
Marthe declined, because SHE has a brain.

Very soon along the route, I met my brother,
He was the last, we rode with no other.

My gears froze up, I must confess,
The ride was fun, but one big mess!

           - David Young

April 16 - Up and Down the River - A beautiful day, sunny and warm, partially cloudy. In past years this was a four club ride, but this year we limited it to two clubs - the Cyclonauts and Freewheelers - and had 23 riders, a more manageable group than previously. A cue sheet mixup was corrected before the ride began thanks to Bob Kowaleski's astute observation. Al had gathered leftover cue sheets from previous years and some did not have the detour around the closed bridge on Greenfield Road. We exchanged old sheets for new sheets thus avoiding a surprise for some riders when they would find a large chunk of road missing.

In celebration of Spring, Jack and Suzanne rode their flashy new tandem, a bright, red Cannondale; Bob and Sally wore color-coordinated outfits that matched their tandem and Al and Marion, as usual, wore mismatched costumes and colors. The cyclists climbed up to Poet's Seat,as usual, then coasted back down the mountain.

Al sped right by one turn on the return trip, but Marion caught it, then turned instead of going straight at the next intersection; someone hollered. It is a good thing we were sweeping instead of leading. Despite the cue sheet fiasco, a missed trun corrected and a wrong turn righted, the Ride Coordinators made it as far as the Dairy Mart in Sunderland, where we dropped out for ice cream and biked home from there, which made the 25-mile ride a 37-mile ride for us.

Al & Marion     

April 23 - Double Down - Four riders showed, but not the leaders. We know; it rained in Easthampton. But it wasn't raining in Leverett and it wasn't raining in Shelburne Falls, and that accounted for three riders. The fourth rider came from Connecticut and said it was raining (I think he said, "pouring") in Northampton when he came through, but he came on and it wasn't raining in Whately. So the four of us rode. Northampton had puddles, but the rain had stopped when we got there. We digressed from the route in Look Park and rode all the way around it and back out onot Route 9 and up to Arch Street and back on it again. We had a beautiful ride, the four of us. Al and I led.


April 30 - Don Maynard Memorial Ride - April's weather had been mainly rainy, but this Sunday was clear & cool; Don's family came to give us a send-off; and 57 cyclists from the bike clubs in 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 over $400 for the Greenfield Bikeway which is part of the 33-mile Franklin County Bikeway.

Sally Peters     

May 7 - Around the Range - Twenty nine riders journeyed on this 33-mile loop around the Holyoke Range and the Seven Sisters. The cold, rainy weather we experienced in April gave way to midsummer-like conditions, with the temperature rising into the 90's with high humidity. While it was a gorgeous day, sunny and scenic, more than a few riders experienced some mild form of heat exhaustion. I am pleased to report, however, that all completed the ride in fine form and there were no untoward incidents, although one new rider apparently chose to skip the lunch stop and finished the ride early (hope he was okay).

The lunch stop was at the Tailgate Picnic at the Village Commons in South Hadley Center. We all appreciated the opportunity to enjoy a cool drink and a wonderful lunch in the shade. At the suggestion of the addle-brained president (who apparently did succumb to the heat), four or five riders ventured up the summit of Mt. Holyoke, including yours truly with Suzanne on the tandem. We were even bold enough to pedal up the walkway ramp to the Summit House, much to the surprise and chagrin of those foolish hikers who were attempting to come down the ramp at the same time. (Gotta train for Mt. Washington, ya know.) While it was a strenuous effort in the heat, there was a beautiful breeze at the top; and the view was absolutely superb.

We had several new riders with us on the ride, and early reports are that they all enjoyed themselves, despite the heat, and will join us again. Hope to see them all soon.

Jack & Suzanne     

May 14 - Mother's Day Rides - Although, out of respect for mothers - or was it because nobody volunteered to coordinate a ride?, no ride was scheduled, TWO rides occurred. A large group of 15 to 20 riders were observed ar River Road and Route 116 heading "Up the River" by a smaller group of three heading towards Shelburne Falls, where it swelled to five. [They were also observed by a photographer as they had their picture on the front page of Monday's Greenfield Recorder.] According to one of the three, that swelled to five, the other ride was planned at the end of the previous week's ride, [I heard the same thing from Joyce, who was one of the riders in the larger group -web ed.] but not everyone knew about it because four or five of the riders took a little side trip up to the summit of Mt. Holyoke and did not end up with the bulk of the group. Two of [last week's] summiters, however, showed up at McCuskers, having ridden from Easthampton. and joined the three (who had biked from Leverett) at lunch and for the afternoon ride on gravel roads and up hills until the parting of the ways where the century route crosses 116. Weatherwise, and otherwise, depending on whether you like hills and gravel roads, it was a beautiful day.

Minutes of the May 20th Meeting/Potluck

The Franklin-Hampshire Freewheelers were wined and dined at the Vinskey's bungalow in Pelham this evening. I counted 25 adults and 2 children present. The latter, Jair and Eric, are both mine (many of you will recall seeing Jair, then age 11, on the back of my tandem during the Don Maynard ride last year).

The president and first lady arrived fashionably late, albeit well dressed, as they had just come from Barbara Rich's Wedding. Unfortunately, I was unable to make good with my promise of a warm, sunny day for her (but at least it didn't rain).

Jack started the meeting at 7:05 PM with a rather elaborate presentation. Jack brought his portable boom box with him and played the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey (from his CD "Classical Music for People who Hate Classical Music") while swinging his portable spotlight (flashlight) in time with the music. As the music reached a crescendo, he unveiled a glossy 8 1/2 x 11 picture of the new club jersey. The audience was suitably impressed and responded with a sitting ovation. However, the lion's share of the credit should be given to David Young who did almost all the design work and came up with a really nice looking jersey. The artwork is available for viewing on the web at freewheelers.org.

Next came the problem of how many jerseys to order and what sizes. Although we would get a price break if we ordered 100 (or more), it looks like we don't have that kind of cash available. We also moved the deadline for having the money available back to August 15. David is going to get us a per jersey price for a smaller order, and we'll go from there [ $55 by July 15]. As for sizing, David explained that there are three basic styles for jerseys and that the entire order needs to be in the same style. There is a racing cut (tight fitting), a touring cut (relaxed elastics) and a club cut (wider shoulders and waist. He brought a full size run of just the racing cut jerseys (complete size runs of the other styles were not available). Most of the men said the racing jerseys that fit best appeared to be a size larger than what they normally wear. I have a feeling we will end up ordering the club cut in the smaller size. The women, on the other hand, all complained that the women's jerseys were all too long. [Update 6/11/00: Several people tried on sample "club-cut" jerseys before the Belchertown ride today. Initial reports are that the women's jerseys are still way too long, and the neck hole is too large.]

See the proposed new Club Jersey.

For other business, John Gustin inquired about some bits and pieces that have appeared in the minutes of meetings long since past. 1) I mentioned that the club had passed a motion to reduce the membership fee to $6.50 for new members joining after August 1. I don't recall getting much of a reaction.
2) I asked about newspaper publicity as was done in the past, but Sally said we gave it up because of a problem we had years ago.
3) It appears that the club used to have patches for sale. I was told there were none left and that the club had no interest in ordering new ones.
4) I also brought up the subject of the tandem that is supposed to be available to club members and is being rented out by Valley Bicycles. It is available.

Marion said she needed ride reports for the Newsletter.

Al announced that we have $[..] in the treasury.

The end of the meeting was taken up with the requisite enlisting of ride coordinators. The new Rides Schedule will be mailed out shortly and will contain the necessary particulars.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:51 PM. Respectfully submitted,

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They did it! Fait accompli! Barbara Rich and Rick LaBombarde were married May 20th at Stump Sprouts in West Hawley, MA. Although the weather could have been better, I understand it was a very nice wedding. Our president and his charming wife represented the Freewheelers at the event. Congratulations Barbara and Rick. Happiness!


Rumor has it that Bruce Kitson and Franca Vicendese have set the date and will tie the knot sometime Labor Day weekend in New Hampshire. Best wishes, Franca and Bruce.

Our president and his wife will celebrate their February marriage in June with a cookout and potluck at their home in Easthampton, the residence of several prominent Freewheelers.


The Great Falls Discovery Center is expected to open in September and will occupy the long, red-frame building in Turners Falls overlooking the canal and the attached red brick building. Thes adjoin the present headquarters site, the former Cumberland Farms, which once was one of our bicycle stops. Al and I attended a meeting there on May 22 and were very impressed by the extensive facility and the planned exhibits. This will be a must stop destination for a future bike ride!

The meeting included a talk and slide show by Craig Della Penna, N.E. representative of the Rails-to_Trails Conservancy and author of Great Rail Trails of the Northeast, a description of the planned Canalside Trail and an update on the Franklin County Bikeway.