Thank you for selecting me as a Member in Focus. I am relatively new to cycling and joined the Princeton Freewheelers only two years ago. I am married with four children ages 19 to 27 and a granddaughter that just turned 1. Until a couple years ago, I hadn’t really ridden a bicycle on a consistent basis since I was a teenager. That changed when my youngest child was a senior in high school and I had more time for leisure activities.[…]
Focus On Member: Bob Smith Bob Smith is a long-time volunteer for Bike Exchange, as well as PFW ride leader. He recently moved to Florida and now rides with the Florida PFW chapter. Early memories of bicycling include the triumph of graduating from training wheels, to the agony of falling on the biggest hill in […]
in memory of JoAnn Post
July 16, 1949 – November 7, 2015
JoAnn and Ed Post joined the Princeton Free Wheelers in April, 1984 and both have been instrumental to the success of the club ever since. In recent years they could be seen often enjoying cycling on their tandem. JoAnn fought a courageous battle but succumbed to leukemia.
Anyone who would like to share their thoughts or memories of JoAnn please send them to infoguy @ princetonfreewheelers.com and they will be posted on our website. Continue Reading
Focus On Members This month’s Focus is on who is known to most members as pfwemail @ gmail.com. Elyssa works behind the scenes to provide the club with many technical services that are so necessary today such as email blasts, web site, registration, etc.. We can’t thank E enough for all that she gives. Wow, Continue Reading[…]
I was born in Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Minh City) during the Vietnam War. Saigon was the capital of South VN back then and had a population of about 2 million. Most people get around the city by bike so I was exposed to biking at a very young age. I can still remember sitting on the back of my mom’s bike while she rode to the market to buy food for the day at the age of 5. If you had to go somewhere and did not want to ride yourself, you can call for a cyclo (a three-wheel bicycle taxi). The guys who made a living pedaling these cyclos would put most our club members to shame. Imagine having to pedal a 60-70 pounds tricycle plus one or two passengers and their packages (200+ pounds) on a fixed gear all day.
The end of the Vietnam War came in 1975 after the United States pull out of Vietnam and the communists from North Vietnam took over the entire country. My dad who fought for the South was immediately captured and thrown into what the communists euphemistically called “Re-Education” camps. These camps are better known in the West as “Gulag” where political prisoners and dissidents are sent to disappear. I never saw my dad again after he was sent there and he died in that forced-labor camp a few years later. My mom passed away shortly after that. My dad’s older sister and her husband who had a daughter of their own adopted me and my older sister. In 1979, my adopted parents decided to escape from Vietnam because they saw no future for me and my sisters as long as the communist was still in charge of the country.
After several failed attempts, they finally made contact with a smuggling group that owned a large cargo ship. After paying these smugglers a large amount of money in gold bullions, a date and location was revealed to us and hundreds of other escapees to meet at their cargo ship anchored far offshore in international waters. We were to hide aboard smaller fishing vessels that would secretly meet the larger ship at night to transfer their human cargos. Unfortunately for everyone in our group, on the day of our planned departure, a class-3 typhoon was blowing through South East Asia and although we were not directly in its path, the resulting wind and rain from this storm had created extremely dangerous conditions for small crafts. We had no choice but to attempt to leave the dock on the small fishing boat and head toward the cargo ship. The cargo ship captain was leaving that night with or without our group. With 20-25 foot waves crashing in the ocean, we honestly did not expect to make it to the cargo ship in the tiny vessel. By some miraculous and skillful piloting, the fisherman managed to get us to the large cargo ship located offshore without sinking our tiny boat. We thought our troubles were over once we were on board the smuggler’s cargo ship. Little did we know that the smugglers’ greed had caused them to overbook the number of escapees and instead of 800 they ended up with slightly fewer than 4,000 “passengers”. After 13 days of intolerable conditions aboard this ship and with food and water running out, the captain of the ship hatched a plan to get rid of some of the passengers. When his ship came close to a small deserted island in the Philippines, he secretly sent his crews to this island and had them light small fires to make it look like the island was inhabited. He then announced that night that we had reached one of the destination countries that would accept refugees and anyone on board who wish to disembark can do so that night. With conditions on the ship worsening by the hours, my parents decided to take up the captain’s offer and our family and 800 other passengers were whisked to shore by their small boats. As dawn rose and we were able to see clearly, we realized that the captain had lied and we were actually stranded on a deserted island that was about 3 miles in diameter with only a small beach on one side of the island where we were dumped. By this time, the smugglers’ cargo ship had been chased away by the Philippine’s Navy which had detected their ship on the radar. Unfortunately for us, the Philippine’s Navy did not detect the 800 people that were left on the deserted island and we watched helplessly as the two Navy destroyers disappeared into the distant horizon. Ultimately, we were rescued by fishermen (after three days on the island) who noticed our group when we created smoke signals and they radioed our position to the Philippine government. We were taken to a refugee camp where we applied for immigration to the United States and since my dad had fought with the American forces against the Communists of North Vietnam during the war, we were granted asylum.
I was twelve when I arrived in the United States and thankfully my life has been less eventful since then. During Junior High School, I saved up enough money from a paper route to buy a blue 10-speed Huffy bike. I really wanted a Cannondale road bike but that was way beyond my means at the time. I rode this Huffy all over Philadelphia during High School and some of my favorite rides include the Schuylkill River trail and Kelly Drive Loop. I also used this bike as transportation to and from my restaurant job where I worked to save money for college. I remember that I was able to get to work from my home faster than someone could drive there by cutting through Pennypack Park.
After I graduated from Penn State with an Engineering degree, my career and family got in the way of cycling and before I knew it, 22 years had passed without a single ride on a bicycle. During the summer of 2011, I had my mid-life crisis. As an IT professional (Data Warehouse Architect), my job is high stress and sedentary. My weight by now had climbed to a whopping 198 pounds. My blood pressure and cholesterol was through the roof. I resolved then that I would not allow my weight to reach 200 and would try to improve my health by riding again. I bought a hybrid bike from Bicycle Rack and start riding loops around my neighborhood until I could get up to around 10 miles. I started to hit the open roads after that. Before I knew it, I was riding up to 40 miles and had lost 40 pounds a year later. A chance encounter at Woody’s Café in Allentown with Erich Woisetschlaeger during one of my solo rides resulted in my joining the Princeton Free Wheelers. The rest as they say is history.
Focus On Members
Our Focus this month is on Kiyomi Camp – retired board member and still a bike mechanic.
Like so many other PFW members, I cycled a lot in my youth. From elementary school on, my friends and I rode for transportation and for fun. A favorite route took us to Southaven Park to rent a rowboat. One 30 mile ride on our Sturmey Archer 3-speeds stands out in memory for the painfulness of the seams in my blue jeans.
Arriving in Portland for college, I bought a Peugeot UJ10 10-speed whose gears were sorely needed by this flatlander from Lawn Guyland. It took a couple of months before I could ride up Woodstock Boulevard to the supermarket without having to stop. I became a fan of low gears. Friends introduced me to the pleasures of wool cycling shorts with a leather chamois and taught me how to completely strip my bike and put it back together. In addition to riding around the Portland hills, we biked to the Oregon Coast to go camping. One friend upgraded to Suntour Cyclone and gave me his Shimano Crane derailleur and bar-end shifters that worked so much better than the plastic Simplex on my Peugeot. I became a fan of good bike parts.
Grad school then work then children kept me off the bike until 2008. After a summer spent riding to work on my riding-with-kids ‘90s mountain bike, I contacted Infoguy John Powers to find out about the Free Wheelers. He invited me to the Labor Day All-Paces ride and made a point of welcoming me when I got there and riding part of it with me. I had a good time, so I looked for more flat rides to go on and found the Sunday ride out of Etra (nominally Norm Batho’s, but led by Don Sprague and Dennis Whitney) and Pat Van Hise’s Tri-County Cruise.
The following year, I bought a real road bike and became a mechanic at the newly-formed Boys and Girls Club Bike Exchange. Among its volunteers were many previously-unknown-to-me PFW members, including Brad White and Metta Cahill. They encouraged me to try Andy Chen’s Friday ride and Mike Heffler’s Wednesday ride, which re-introduced me to hills and renewed my fondness for low gears. Jane and John Danek cajoled me into riding with the Rocky Hill Raiders, where I accidentally acquired my beautiful carbon road bike. The Raiders were too fast for me, but Diane Hess’ Griggstown Grinder was perfect. Thanks to John Danek, I tried mountain biking in the Pine Barrens and learned about the Lawrenceville-Hopewell Trail. During this time, I managed to bestow my love of bicycles (and also my first “good” road bike!) on my eldest daughter.
When Agnes Van Buren decided to resign her position as PFW Board Secretary, she urged me to take the job. After five enjoyable years on the Board, I resigned this year in order to give someone else a chance to have their voice heard.
Now I seem to be returning to my roots. Last year, Brad and I went bike camping on the C&O towpath and we plan to ride the Erie Canal towpath this year. We also go on bike/canoe outings on the Delaware and I sometimes ride for transportation. But you can still find me at the back of Mike Heffler’s and Bob Parsons’ hilly rides.
A revised edition of the recently published pdf file is now available here.
– A complete list and links to all Previous Member Focus articles can also be viewed here.
mileage2017-2 in Pdf format.
This Heppert style version is available here in Excel format.
– A complete list and links to all Previous Member Focus articles can also be viewed here.
by Michael Heffler, June 2013
Cyclists occasionally ask me what it takes to be a good hill climber. My current answer is be young and in good shape. If you can’t do that than it’s the same answer as in the old joke about how do I get to Carnegie Hall: Practice! Practice! Practice!
There’s a more important question that we should be asking as the summer approaches and rides get longer: “How do we make sure we ride safely when we get tired?” Michael Johnson, owner of Wheelfine Imports on Route 518 just outside Lambertville, NJ, and I were discussing this recently. I was doing the listening.
“The most important thing to do when you ride, especially when you get tired, is make sure your head is up, “ Michael said. “I used to tell people that but couldn’t tell them how. Now I have a technique from yoga that will make sure your posture is correct and your head up so you can always see where you’re going.”
“Raise your shoulders up, then push them back and down,” Michael demonstrated as he spoke. “Have your shoulder blades together and your head will be up.”
Try it and you’ll see. Many of us spend a lot of time working at a keyboard or at a desk where our head is down and our shoulders are slumped. Raise your shoulders up, push them back and then down and you are immediately sitting up straight. It works at a desk as well as on a bike. On a bike, when you start getting tired it’s a good thing to remember and put into practice. It doesn’t take long to get in trouble if your head isn’t up watching where you’re going.
The second thing Michael Johnson recently taught me was that when you’re riding you use different muscles based upon your posture. When you sit up at more than a 45-degree angle most of your pedaling power comes from your quadriceps. When you’re flatter and more stretched out, at a less than 45-degree angle, your calves, hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles contribute much more to your effort.
His intention in telling me the 45-degree angle information was to help me get faster. That isn’t going to happen. The advice helped anyway. I went out for a long ride on one of the first hot, humid days we’ve had and got a bit dehydrated, even though I was hydrating regularly. About 10 miles from my home, tired and parched, I didn’t know how I would get up Phillips Barber Hill and its 17 percent grade.
With the new information about using different muscles I lowered and flattened my back and started riding, holding the brake hoods or in the drops and I got a second wind. Muscles that had been coasting were now contributing more and my energy level improved. I kept drinking and stayed low, and the ride progressed nicely. After a few miles of flat back riding I had no more than the usual problem climbing a steep hill after a long ride.
Riding this way is a learned skill. Michael gave me some stretches to do to help get into different postures on the bike. Bending at the waist and hips while your riding, taking the pressure off of your arms, hands and shoulders, makes you more comfortable and reduces the risk of stress injuries. Stretching has become part of my post-ride and weekly workout routine. Without stretching my hamstrings get tight resulting in a dull pain on the left side of my lower back.
Michael’s stretch that helps with hip flexibility begins by sitting on the edge of a chair with your legs spread apart. Your lower leg perpendicular to the floor, heels flat on the floor, and your upper leg is parallel to the floor. Bend over at the waist with your arms folded in front of you and have your elbows stretch toward the floor. Hold that for about 2 minutes.
That pose will stretch your lower back, various muscles in your legs, and help lubricate the hip flexibility. It’s pretty simple to just sit there and bend over for a couple of minutes. Before doing that stretch I was not able to ride in the drops. It was too much of a strain on my neck. Now with the added flexibility I can ride in the drops, although I still prefer to be higher up for comfort and to be able to see more.
We can’t all be young and in good shape. Whether young, old or in between, remember to keep your shoulders up, back and down and bend at the waist. Enjoy the ride!
This organization works to advocate for those lands south of us that are so important to our ecology when kept in their natural state. Check out activities at www.pinelandsalliance.org/
The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed
Established in 1949, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association works to preserve open space in the 265-square-mile watershed encompassing 26 municipalities within five counties. If you ride in Pennington, the Sourlands, along the D&R Canal, or over the Millstone River anywhere between Millstone and Manville, you’ve probably passed by land preserved by SBMWA. Many of these properties have public hiking trails that give us something to do on those rare non-biking days. For more information on SBMWA’s conservation efforts, trails, and educational programs, go to http://www.thewatershed.org.
Some other area open space organizations:
Member Focus this month is Barry Yellen
The Princeton FreeWheelers (PFW) provides opportunities for recreational bicycling and related activities.
PFW promotes safe recreational riding, fellowship among cyclists, advancement of the general interests of cyclists, and education about the rights and responsibilities of cyclists.
PFW has rides at levels for the most serious to leisurely cyclists almost every day, all year long. Check out the charts below to learn more about how many we did last year!
PFW also sponsors social activities for club members and a philanthropy program.
PFW runs a cycling Event every August since 1980 that attracts cyclists from all over the East Coast.
As of the October 2014 Board Meeting the roster for enlisting riders on PFW rides has been approved for revision.
The Ride Roster in use since last revised in April of 2013 has been revised to again include a column for member status. As of the first of the year 2015 the revised roster is to be used on ALL Rides – The change has been done at this time of year so that Leaders will be less likely to still have stocks remaining of the current Roster.
In Brief then, Stocks of Ride Rosters with the April 2013 rev date should NOT continue to be used.
A link to the new form is below.
Ride Leaders: Ride Roster (updated 12/16/14)
Reminder: submit ride rosters within 30 days of riding to receive credit.
Previous changes including wording referring to the 30 day standard for submitting ride sheets in a timely manner in accordance with changes in policy is retained.
Membership is from January 1 to December 31.
Registrants paying after Oct 1, 2012 are paid up for 2013.
If you register via Active you will automatically be added to the ridelist-by-email list and do not need to request such, but if you register by paper you must email email@example.com to request to be added or re-added to the ridelist-by-email.
PLEASE NOTE: There is an added charge of $3.25 by Active.com for this service.