‘Rat Pack’: Meet the Chow Hounds

 by Howie Luxenberg

Most seniors remember the 1960 “Ocean’sEleven” film with Sinatra, Dino and the rest of the Rat Pack. It has also spawned a host of remakes, the latest beingOcean’s 13 with the likes of Clooney, Pitt and Damon. The PrincetonWheelers have a better, newer version with their own matinee idols, more commonly referred to as “Chow Hounds 14.” Led by Dennis Whitney, as our Danny Ocean, and host of others, this group of frolicking cyclists has taken a bit of a hiatus during the sub-freezing temperatures to build up a solid foundation and a bit of girth (a firmer tone for the ladies) to cope with the challenges of the upcoming riding season.

Danny, Dennis to most of us, came up with a brilliant scheme to keep his motley crew together during the winter months, and, at the same time, sample the cuisine at some of the cozy, nearby eateries. For his first effort, he chose “La Piazza” in Allentown, where many of his rides originate. Those gabbing, sipping vino and nibbling on the menu favorites were Lee Pisane, Lenore Beckley, Marilyn Saywell, Dennis,Chris Cook, Gina Raimondo, Herb Cohen, Walt Mander, Al Porter, Erich Wisetschlaeger, George Foradori, Larry Chestnut, Mary Foley and yours truly.

More than two hours of gossiping about family, politics, and, of course, where Dennis will be taking us to our next food fest made for a wonderful afternoon.Some of the gang had just returned from holiday vacations, while others, including Lenore and Larry, will be heading to Florida for sunshine and bit of biking in the warmer climate. I’m also happy to report that Mary has returned from her biking injuries and looks to be in top form for 2010.

We owe Dennis more than a bit of gratitude for bringing us together and getting us out on these wintry mornings.