The July 4th Ride
More fun than Tour De France
HBC members and guests gathered for a special Independence Day event with 70-plus riders taking off from the Brookside Park pavilion on July 4th. The 40-mile group “the long riders” quickly decided to split into two groups of 15-17 rather than riding as a traffic-threatening paceline. John Hardy, who led the “slower” group, said, “We all think we’re fast, but I’m hoping that some of you will join me at a slower pace.” The “fast” group, led by Greg Swanson, took a couple of extra turns off and back onto the Luce Line trail, only to ensure that everyone was following the leader’s directions (at least that’s what he said).
At Plymouth Station, Greg stopped the group to warn those of weak constitution that this was the “last stop before Wayzata.” Suddenly Greg’s group heard a loud “left turn,” and the “slower long” group passed at what looked like a pretty rapid pace. Some of Greg’s group, that is, Mary Luoma, responded to the call and followed rapidly after John Hardy’s group, despite Diane Zeiss’s, “Come back, Mary!”
From that point on, things got confusing, and the 40-mile contingent seemed to pick up greater speed overall. While Greg tried to honor the “age before beauty” adage and allow John’s group to go ahead and become the “newly faster long” group, several members of the “formerly faster, now slower long” group took off ahead of Greg and caught up to the other group. Mary Buss set a record-breaking pace down Hunter Road, with this hapless author trying to keep up. At one point, as we passed the “newly faster long” sweep (whose identity was masked by a thick layer of white sunscreen), the sweep was heard to say, “I don’t know WHO I’m sweeping!” This rider, a former English teacher, thought, “It’s actually ‘whom.’”
Wayzata was already full of patriotic revelers when the HBC long riders arrived, leaving few seats available at local coffee shops. Mike Becker encouraged riders to stop at Penny’s, an alternative to the crowded Caribou on Lake Street, but heat and humidity were taking their toll, and many just stood on the corner debating what to do. Some of the “long” riders were no longer sure of their identities, especially as the “faster medium” and “slower medium” riders appeared. After bee-lining it to the Caribou restroom, this rider sat in one of the precious few shady seats and watched the festivities. Several times, cries of “we’re leaving” permeated the air, though the busy Lake Street traffic and the delight of an iced drink made some of us wonder if we were hearing correctly. “ARE WE REALLY LEAVING?” “Yes,” Greg nodded, after watching the “slower long” or was it now the “faster long” riders heading by in flight formation.
On the way back, we did manage to make a spectacle of ourselves: that is, we became an unplanned part of a Minnetonka neighborhood’s July 4th parade, complete with clapping and cheering spectators. According to local historian Mary Luoma, crashing the parade actually has been an annual tradition of the Tour D’Amico.
Eventually we returned to the Brookview Pavilion, where a number of non-riders joined us for lunch. Greg summed up the long ride with the philosophical statement, “I’m tired.” Most of the riders seemed to have returned in good shape; even Dave Gepner was still with the group. Wise club members had brought carefully-packed nutritious lunches, while others of us grazed through bananas, Carmen Price’s cherry crisp, and Lisa Soldat’s lemon bars, leaving a trail of mineral water and pop cans in our wake.
All in all, it was a great ride and a good way to celebrate the 4th and a return to group riding and socializing.
The October HBC Board meeting focused on preparation for the Annual Members Meeting, to be held November 8th by Zoom. Please plan to join us for this meeting, when we will vote for new Board members, review the past season, and look forward to next year. Knowing the creativity of this current Board, you can be sure that we are “cooking” up some interesting twists on the standard Zoom format (hmm, that may be a hint for what we’re up to).
The end of the fiscal year has arrived, and the Board approved giving a $1000 donation to Free Bikes 4 Kidz. Combined with the $2000 donation to Second Harvest Heartland last spring, HBC supported both local general and biking communities this year.
The Board gave final approval to this year’s awards. We felt that the awards should recognize the HBC Self-Paced Ride program, something created specifically by HBC that is not offered by other bike clubs. Awards will be given to Ride Leaders who created 5 or more unique Self-Paced rides, and to members who registered for, and completed, 20 or more Self-Paced rides. Award recipients will be announced during the Annual Members Meeting.
In the past month, 3 riders reported accidents while on Self-Paced Rides. An important, yet often over-looked, benefit of HBC membership is club accident and liability insurance. This insurance is vital to the existence of our club, yet most members are unaware that we could not offer group rides without it. For members, club insurance can cover medical expenses not covered by their personal insurance. Consider your own insurance coverage and deductibles. It doesn’t take long to rack up a big bill, even if the injury is minor and managed in Urgent Care.
If you are injured on a Self-Paced Ride, please notify our insurance liaison who will create and file the claim. You can also contact the Ride Leader who created the ride. I will be sending a separate email to you in the near future in which I will discuss this in more detail. Please read, and save so you can review it prior to joining club activities next year. This information is always available on the HBC website.
My term as President concludes at the Annual Meeting. It has been a year like no other, and certainly not what was expected when I began my term last year. I am so grateful for the support I received from the Board, committee chairs, and many other nameless members (you know who you are!). These folks willingly volunteered their time to keep HBC alive and well. Thank you.
The September HBC Board meeting was held on August 31st. The club’s finances remain steady, with a healthy cash reserve combined with new and ongoing memberships. As summer winds down, we are now turning our attention to autumn activities. It looks like there will continue to be a nice variety of Self-Paced rides. Remember that autumn is often the best time of the year to ride! Right now, I see the largest variety of rides posted since the beginning of Self-Paced Rides. When you visit the Ride Calendar, you will see that the ALS ride is open for registration. This was one of my favorite rides in 2019, and I’m happy to see that it has been madeavailable again this year.
Ride Leaders have created at least 50 Self-Paced rides over the spring and summer, which have been ridden at least 500 times. By the way, this year’s awards will be based on the number of Self-Paced rides a member completes (we’re thinking it will be around 20). For Ride Leaders, the award will be basedon the number of rides created and posted. Final details are pending.
Self-Paced rides are a unique benefit created by HBC that are not being offered by other bike clubs. This leads me to thinking about the other benefits we enjoy as HBC members. One benefit is the Ride with GPS membership. The annual membership fee is FREE to HBC members. Joining on your own is $50-80/year. Considering that the annual HBC membership is $25 (or $35 for a family), that’s a pretty good deal (spread the word!) As you know, HBC uses RwGPS not only for Self-Paced rides, but also for our Route Library. I just tooka look at the Route Library, and see that it has been in use since 2016. That’s a lot of routes for you to consider beyond the current Ride Calendar offerings.
The Board has decided to hold a Virtual Annual Meeting on November 8th, 2020. Details will follow closer to the event. If you have expertise and/or an interest in helping design the meeting, please let me know. Likewise, if you have an interest in serving on any of our committees, we would welcome you.
Lastly, please indulge me for a moment of reflection about the beauty of biking. A few weeks ago, I volunteered as a support person for the 1200-km Iron Porcupine, a randonneuring event organized by Michele Brougher and held in the U.P. of Michigan. For those who are unfamiliar with randonneuring, these are long-distance biking events held over several days. I was struck by a few things during that time: while I was much happier handing out water than riding 200+ miles a day (for 4 DAYS), the people who DO enjoy that are some of the nicest, interesting, and, yes, most normal people around. Most importantly, though, is the reminder that once you get on your bike, there is such a diversity of ways to find joy. Hopefully HBC has helped you find diversity and joy as well.
Another month has gone by in the new reality, and HBC is seling nicely into a new normal.
HBC’s Self-Paced rides remain very popular, with new rides being posted regularly. By my estimate, well over 20 different rides have been posted with more than 50 members reporting mileage. Ride Stats reports members have logged over 14,000 miles in 2020, a combination of Ride4Others and Self-Paced rides.
The Independence Day ride was a big hit. It turned out that quite a few members were on the route around the same me. Even with face masks on, it was great to at least wave and call out to folks I haven’t officially seen in a while.
The June Public Art project was popular, with many photos posted on the club’s Facebook page. Congratulaons to Milla Grin, who won the drawing for club merchandise. Keep posting photos on Facebook! We’ve received lots of comments from members who enjoy seeing what overs have been doing.
Don’t see a Self-Paced ride you want to do? Or, have you done them all and are looking for more? There are many more routes available in the RWGPS library that you can access for inspiration.
The June Public Art project was popular, with many photos posted on the club’s Facebook page. Congratulaons to Milla Grin, who won the drawing for club merchandise. Keep posng photos on Facebook! We’ve received lots of comments from members who enjoy seeing what others have been doing.
We had a member run into some difficulty with dehydration when riding in this hot weather, which reminds me to remind you about how important it is to keep hydrated. It is amazing how fast you can run into trouble with dehydration while biking. Here’s a few reminders to avoid that. First, for moderate acvity you should drink AT LEAST 16 ounces of water per HOUR. If you have medical conditions or take medications that affect your fluid volume (like diuretics), you should drink more. My rule of thumb is to drink enough to have “CCU” (clear, copious urine--and that’s your free medical advice for the day). Cool water is beer for keeping your core temperature down, rather than ice-cold or room temperature. Splash some on your neck and arms once in a while to help your core temperature too (plus it feels great as it evaporates). There’s plenty of online info with specifics dealing with sports drinks, metabolism, etc. Here’s one that discusses the science-y side of rehydrang for bikers: hps://www.roadbikerider.com/cycling-hydraon-guide/.
While the Second Harvest donation drive is officially over, a few more donations have trickled in. We have currently collected about $3250, well above our original goal. Thanks to all who added to the pot.
Last but not least, I want to give a big thanks to the HBC Board (Shelli Hesselroth, Ron Jensen, Joyce Pham, Mary Luoma and Jean Mangan). The changes we’ve had to deal with this year have been challenging, and they have done a fantastic job coming up with lots of creative ways to deal with them. I encourage you all to join me in sending them a big virtual hug (or whatever works best ) and a ton of thanks for their dedication to the club.
Lisa Soldat, President
Hiawatha Bicycling Club
The weather is getting warmer, and it looks like summer is really here. Activities in HBC are heating up right along with the weather. The June 1st Board meeting primarily focused on current and upcoming events being offered this summer. The link to the draft minutes is located below.
The new Biking and Outdoor Art project has begun. We encourage you to take photos of any interesting art you see along your rides. Then, post your photos for others to enjoy on our Facebook page. If you don’t use Facebook, send them to the email@example.com link and we will post them for you. At the end of June, all members submitting photos will be entered into a drawing for an HBC inventory item.
Speaking of Facebook, Alan Wichman and Rita Wilczek have been posting photos of mystery locations for us to identify and find. It’s amusing to see how much (or little) you know about our community. I, for one, now know how little I know. Thanks for broadening my horizons, Alan & Rita!
It looks like HBC’s new Self-Paced Rides are a hit! Over 10 routes have been created, with more in the works. I’ve been quite impressed with their diversity, like location, length and highlights along the way. I will be sending you a separate email that focuses on some tweaks being made to make it even easier for you to enjoy these rides.
There will be a Zoom meeting on June 10th to educate members about how to get the most out of Ride With GPS (details coming soon). RWGPS makes it really, really easy to do Self-Paced Rides, and is free through HBC. Once I learned how to use this app, I don’t know how I ever managed to follow a route without it. If you like using GPS while driving, you will appreciate the value of RWGPS.
I’m hearing comments from members wondering why we aren't restarting group rides yet. I mss them too, and it has caused me to reflect that lately, not everyone is as vigilant about respecting socially distancing or wearing face masks. It may look like things are getting back to normal. But, there is no denying that recurrent waves of infection will continue until contact tracing is widespread and a reliable vaccine is universally available. The Board feels it is vital to promote activities that satisfy, yet protect, our members for as long as needed.
The problem with doing group rides right now is that it is tough to do so while respecting CDC and local public health guidelines. Increased spacing between riders is needed (even though we don’t know the exact distance). Imagine a group maintaining physical distance from each other while stopped at a traffic light. Or maintaining distance when someone ahead of you brakes unexpectedly. How many riders would be allowed in a group? Five? Ten? Unlimited? If you limit the number of riders, how do you do that? Change registration on RideStats? Have a waiting list when the maximum group size is reached? How do Ride Leaders encourage social distancing guidelines during the ride? What about stopping for refreshments at the end of the ride? What about wearing face masks while riding? Finally, ask yourself, do YOU feel comfortable interacting with a group of people who aren’t close personal contacts? Should someone who doesn’t know you well feel comfortable around you?
Self-Paced Rides were designed to be ridden solo or with members of your household. The Board has discussed the probability that some people are choosing to ride with personal contacts outside of their household. We have approved changing the website description to acknowledge that these rides may include household members and "invited others”. It’s up to you, based on your comfort level.
HBC created a virtual food drive at Second Harvest and made the promised $2000 donation after members rode 4000 miles in early May. Members may still add a personal donation if they choose. We’ll keep the link open for the next month or so, because Second Harvest is now ramping up their volume of services to devastated Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods. The link to access our drive is http://support.2harvest.org/goto/HBC.
If you are still hanging in there to the end of this letter, CONGRATULATIONS! Your reward? I am leaving you with a little teaser—keep the 4th of July open on your calendar. Check out the minutes if you want a hint.
There is a lot of interesting news to report from the May 4th HBC Board meeting (a link to the minutes is below). No, we haven’t found anything earth-shattering like a vaccine, sorry to say. But we do have strong evidence that HBC is alive and doing very well.
First, I want to give a big thanks to Marty Rosenstein for coming up with the idea of creating the Second Harvest Heartland charity event (he never lacks for ideas!). In less than 3 weeks, over 50 members rode more than 4000 miles to meet our $2000 goal. I thought it might take until the end of May to accomplish this, but knowing HBC members, it really shouldn't have surprised me at all.
But wait! there’s more for you to do. Keep submitting your miles to firstname.lastname@example.org until the end of May. We will give you credit for these miles on RideStats in place of the mileage you would have earned if group rides could be scheduled.
If you like the idea of donating to Second Harvest, the Board asks that you consider adding to the HBC donation by making your own donation for the miles you ride from now through the end of May. To make your tax-deductible donation, go to their website https://www.2harvest.org/, access the online donation form, and enter our club name in the appropriate spot. Or, consider contributing to the charity of your choice. All of this is totally anonymous and totally optional, of course. But do submit your miles to ride4others no matter what else you do.
Since this event was so popular, we plan to announce a new “group” event for the month of June. It won’t involve raising money for charity this time, but from what I’ve heard it will be something we can all do together (without being together--you know what I mean).
We continue to assume there won't be a return to the “old” normal any time soon. We don't want to waste a whole summer by not biking, so we are proactively planning for both for the “current” normal and whatever the “new” normal will be. I’ve personally decided that the term “social" distancing isn’t the best way to describe what I envision for HBC. We love being social, right? Maybe “physical" distancing is a better term. We need to maintain physical distance from each other but stay socially connected.
For the “current” normal, Self-Paced (or Solo) rides are about to begin. Few other bicycle clubs are offering solo rides of any kind and our program is an HBC original. Let’s give a big thanks to Leon Webster and Michelle Brougher for the countless hours they’ve worked to make this a reality. Two Ride Leader meetings are scheduled via Zoom on May 9th and 13th to instruct ride leaders on how to create routes. After that, HBC will be off and cycling.
You will receive an e-mail notification when the Self-Paced ride program begins. In the meantime, you can start learning more about accessing and completing solo rides by going to https://www.hiawathabike.org/Self-Paced-Rides.
The Board is carefully monitoring our financial situation. Not holding TDA has a significant effect on the club’s profit/loss for 2020, but we believe that the club’s reserves are still financially strong. Our membership numbers are steady, thanks not only to those who have renewed, but also to new members who have joined our club in the past few months.
I am really looking forward to what's ahead for HBC this summer. No matter what, it's going to be unforgettable.
As always, feel free to e-mail me, or any Board member, with questions or comments.
Attached is press release that is being shared with our community to highlight what we accomplished to raise money for the Second Harvest Heartland food shelf. Press Release HBC Ride4Others.pdf
The HBC Board meeting was held as scheduled on April 6th via Zoom. The link to the draft minutes is included below.
The focus of the meeting was future planning for the new reality. The most important item to consider was Tour D’Amico. Given the uncertainty of what COVID-19 regulations will look like in June, the Board made the difficult decision to suspend further planning for this year’s TDA. A main concern was the unknown level of risk posed to volunteers and riders. Additional reasons are listed in the minutes. Our decision is in alignment with other June events that are being changed or cancelled by their organizers. I want to give a big thanks to the TDA chair, Nancy Spooner-Mueller, and her planning team, for the work they have done thus far.
You are likely aware that when the current wave of COVID-19 subsides, there is a real possibility that a second wave of infection may occur later in the summer or early fall. This might mean that most of HBC’s activities would need to be modified in some way for the remainder of this year. The Board sees this challenge as an opportunity to creatively look beyond the familiarity of scheduled group rides. We’re planning now so that, depending on different potential community restrictions, we will be ready to offer interesting biking opportunities to our members. We are in the midst of discussions with Ride Leaders and members to develop ways to encourage members to ride regularly, perhaps even recreating the feel of group riding when you aren’t actually riding in a group. Intrigued? We hope so!
As you know, solo cycling continues to be the only option for the foreseeable future. With the improving weather, I know that many of you have begun riding on your own. It has inspired me to do so as well—thank you! Knowing there are many other HBC members doing the same thing helps me feel a sense of community. I hope it does for you too.
Solo cycling has a few challenges not necessarily seen with group rides. I encourage you to be sure you are prepared so you can handle, by yourself, the typical problems that may occur on a bike ride. There are plenty of online resources that will tell you what to keep on your bike to be prepared for mechanical problems. There are also many free educational bike safety resources. One example is the free online courses offered by Cycling Savvy (www.cyclingsavvy.org).
Finally, I want to emphasize a couple health-related tips here. Make sure you carry your ID, health insurance card and a well-charged phone. Accidents happen outside of our control of course, but making safe choices for your rides will help decrease risk. If you get hurt, how will someone else help you and still maintain the 6-foot rule? Do you really want to end up in the ER nowadays? Not only does this increase your risk of COVID-19 exposure, but it also diverts health care resources like PPE away from more seriously ill patients.
I will be sending you announcements about new activities as they are finalized. Do you have suggestions? Want to help? Contact me or any Board meeting and let us know.
I am sorry to be writing to you again so soon after the March President's letter. You are all well aware of the public health crisis unfolding almost hourly.
Because of these rapidly changing events, the HBC Board has decided to postpone the May 3rd Spring Banquet. A new date will be chosen once the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health relax restrictions on mass gatherings.
Many bicycle groups are now announcing a suspension of all of their group bicycling events. USA Cycling has recommended races and other gatherings, such as races and group rides be canceled or postponed at least through April 5. I think this is reasonable for HBC as well, although it is not clear yet whether April 5th is too soon. My prediction is that restrictions will last at least 8 weeks or longer. I really hope I am wrong about that. But for now, the Board has recommended that scheduled rides be cancelled until further notice.
This does not mean you shouldn't bike at all. For now, outdoor exercise is not prohibited, as long as social distancing is maintained. So go solo and enjoy the exercise and the stress relief. Looking on the positive side, if you find a new bike route, pass it on and let's get it incorporated into a future scheduled ride. It is always nice to have something to look forward to, right?
Check out links on how to bicycle safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example: https://www.bicycling.com/news/a31469228/cycling-during-coronavirus/ is updated regularly.
President’s Letter - Impact of COVID-19
In this month's letter, I want to share with you the decisions being made by the Board regarding the impact of COVID-19 on HBC events.
The first case of COVID-19 was identified in Minnesota last week. As of yesterday, there were 9 cases in Minnesota. The day before, there were 3 cases. Thus, we are officially part of the pandemic. This is reality and should not be taken lightly by anyone.
Current scientific consensus is that COVID-19 spreads via droplets from coughing. The range of droplet spread is about 6 feet. What happens when the droplets land on surfaces? The consensus is that this virus may survive on surfaces for up to 9 days. Doorknobs, tables, gas pumps, car doors, and even bicycle handlebars are all examples of potential vectors for spreading infection. The incubation period is thought to be between 3-12 days, with 50% of cases becoming symptomatic at 5 days after exposure.
As for management, it is too late for containment (preventing the arrival of the virus). We must focus now on mitigation: reducing the impact of the infection. You’ve likely heard about the simple, effective strategy of social distancing. It is the most important option there is for mitigation. This means keeping people at home as much as possible, for as long as it takes, until this recedes.
Social distancing limits exposure to, and transmission of, droplets in the air and on surfaces. Think about any event you usually attend, from book clubs to religious services to gatherings like the Birthday Bash (for example). Can you imagine staying 6 feet away from everyone else (or even 3 feet)? Or not touching a single thing around you? Any group setting potentially increases exposure risk.
The Board recommends paying close attention to CDC and local public health department guidelines regarding the recommended level of social distancing. As of today, CDC guidelines state that communities at minimal to moderate risk (that’s us) should:
Many HBC members meet the criteria for being high-risk. Examples include diabetes, older age, hypertension, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
Based on this as well as current disease projections, the Board has decided to cancel Smart Cycling (March 27) and the April Birthday Bash (April 3). Ride Leader Training will likely be rescheduled, but the final decision may be made 4-5 days beforehand. And finally, the May 3 Spring Banquet will possibly be rescheduled to a later date, however, that decision may not happen until 2 weeks beforehand.
What about scheduled rides? One might argue that the benefit of exercise (and stress reduction!) outweighs the risk of infectious spread or exposure. But riding (or doing anything) with a group of people still presents a higher risk of spreading the virus than remaining socially distanced at home. Remember, it isn’t just about how much risk you are willing to take in becoming infected. It’s also about the risk of spreading the infection to those around you before you develop symptoms. At present, the Board feels that scheduling and/or participating in rides remains an individual decision. Ride leaders and riders should be vigilant in following recommended public health recommendations accordingly.
Lastly, what about TDA? Since we don’t know yet how long mitigation efforts will be continued, it is too soon to know how COVID-19 will affect TDA. We will be proactive in keeping the riders as well as the volunteers as safe as possible. The Board and the TDA planning team will keep you informed if and when any changes may be needed.
If you are interested in reading more about what has and has not worked globally in managing the spread of COVID-19, consider reading the following easy-to-read article: “Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now”.
It is well-written in simple terms, though lengthy. It is worth taking the time to read, even though bicycling isn’t mentioned even once.
Stay safe and pay attention. When this is over (and it will be), think how grateful we will be to get on our bikes and ride to our hearts’ content.