How to be a Good 5BBC Rider

You have a bike. You have ridden around the neighborhood. Maybe you commute. Now, you have decided to join the 5BBC.And you wonder, what makes a good club rider? This article will attempt to answer that question.

Your Bicycle

We will start here. I have seen all sorts of bikes on a ride. I've seen expensive titanium bikes. I've seen hybrids. I've seen beach cruisers. But, whatever bike you use on the ride, it has to be in good shape. This means arriving at the ride with proper air in the tires, a clean and lubed chain, and working brakes, gears and shifters. The Two Minute Bike Check , done by leaders at the start of the ride, is not the time to find out that your bike has issues. And as everyone eventually has a “mechanical” - take spare tubes, patch kits, pump and levers.

While we are on the subject of bikes, let's talk about what bike you need. Different rides need different bikes. It would be a fools errand to bring a single speed on a hilly ride. Unless you are a strong rider, taking a hybrid on an advanced moderate or quick spin may be a mistake. And, there are rides where we go off road, and maybe your 5K Pinarello would not be proper for that type of ride. Normally, you can tell by the ride what bike you will need. And if not – contact the leader.

Before the Ride

First, make sure that this is a good ride for you to do. Just getting back into cycling – maybe a 55 miler with 3K in elevation is not for you at this time. A good way to know about the ride is to review the Blurb. Many times the leaders of the ride will provide information about pace, hills, late lunch stops, and other essential factors. The web site also contains definitions of our different pace levels.

Many cyclists in the club prepare before the ride. This makes sure that both you and your bike are in good order. Lay out what you need the night before. Make a lunch if it is a picnic ride. Print out a cue sheet or download the Ride with GPS file. A law professor once told me the six Ps – Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Show up on time to the start. Don't expect a group to wait for you to appear thirty minutes late. Introduce yourself to people you don't know. Say hi to your friends. But once the leader starts “the spiel”, it is important to listen. There are two basic reasons for this. First, this is where important ride information is shared with the group. Second, it's just rude to talk over the leader.

On the Ride

The ride is not about YOU. It is about the GROUP. While we do try to accommodate our riders, do not expect to receive individual attention to your every need. The group cannot stop whenever anyone wants to take a photo. We cannot stop for every bathroom. Not every place we stop for lunch is Kosher, gluten free or vegetarian.

Good club members “drop.” If you are riding behind a leader who asks you to drop – do it. This is the way that many of our rides are conducted. And remember – be alert when you are a drop. And, remain there till you are relieved by the sweep.

Good club members are safe riders. We are aware of our other riders, cars, and pedestrians. We ride mostly single and certainly no more than double file. We call out hazards. We communicate with each other.

On occasion, a rider will need to leave the ride early. If you need to leave – make sure that you tell one of the leaders.

When Things go Wrong

There are perfect rides. Great weather, cohesive group, no mechanicals. But more often than not, there will be something that goes amiss. As the saying goes - “Shit Happens.” Leaders make wrong turns. Riders have mechanicals. Roads are milled or unpassable. Lunch takes forever. The simple fact is that once you are on the road – you never know. Good riders take these things in stride.

Remember, the worst day on a bike – is still a great day.


Website Suggestions Requested


Hi, my name is David Jendras and along with Elyssa Respaut, we are leading the IT Committee of the 5BBC. If you are technically curious and have time to offer the club, please reach out to me at to get involved.  

The Board is in the process of deciding how to build a new website and we need your feedback!  

We want to know your thoughts on the current website to help guide us towards what to include in the new website.  We're looking for thoughts on your experience, the usability of the ride registration setup, and anything else you would like to share.  We want to know what works and also what doesn't work so we can make the new website better.

We value the feedback from everyone including members, non members, and leaders, so please take some time to fill out our survey.

Take the survey!



Penn Dutch Weekend - 6th year - June 25 through June 27, 2021

Hello fellow 5BBC members. My trip is going out again. I am a leader with 5BBC, a leader with Morris Area Freewheelers and a leader, and past President for 5 years with the Staten Island Bicycling Association. Because this trip is being run through the Staten Island club, it is necessary to join that club to be covered by insurance. The cost is $25 for an individual and $35 for a couple. You can join by going to the website,  Routes on this trip will run from Happy Face and up. This is countryside bicycling. We travel through the Penn Dutch farmlands. 


This trip, to the beautiful Penn Dutch area, has been run by me for five previous years. This is the third year that I am listing it with the 5BBC club. Last year, in June; when we were in the midst of our current covid pandemic, this trip went out. The two dinners we had were at restaurants with outdoor seating and with social distancing. And the hotel, also required masking and distancing. 

This year, we will be at a hotel with both an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool. The hotel is adhering to the current covid regulations. A link to the CDC regulations is toward the bottom of this write-up.


We arrive for this weekend on Friday, June 25. Participants provide their own transportation. We are staying at the Best Western Plus Revere Inn. The reduced rate for our trip is $149.99 per room, per night, and comes with two queen sized beds. 
When calling the hotel, to get the reduced rate, tell the hotel staff that you are reserving for “Roy’s Penn Dutch Ride” The rooms that I reserved, at the reduced price, will be available until June 4, 2020              

The hotel will give a full refund, for any cancellation, up to 24 hours before the first night. 


All the rides scheduled are done with the local Lancaster Bicycle club, over 700 members.They also have their own covid regulations.  Every year, I communicate with their Ride Director. He and I pick a variety of routes and paces that will be used by their club and us, the guest riders, using their leaders. I will be sending out the exact routes and paces when they are determined in early May.


On Friday afternoon, June 25,  we meet up with a leader of the Lancaster Bicycle club  who will lead our group on a short, probably less than 20 mile ride, in the area.
That night, we dine at the historic Revere Tavern, at 6pm, just steps from the hotel. They are constructing a new outside dining patio.


Saturday morning, after breakfast, which is included, we meet up with the Lancaster Club again. Please decide which ride to go on before the ride start. We may have a ride to the farm used in the “Witness” movie, starring Harrison Ford. After the rides, that will probably end in the early afternoon, trippers can visit the many tourist attractions and/or use one of the hotel’s pools.


Here's a link to many tourist attractions in the area.


Saturday night, we will be dining at another restaurant. (This will be decided before the trip)  


Sunday morning, after breakfast, we meet up with the bicycle club again. Please decide which ride to go on before the ride start.  After the ride, you can visit more attractions. But please check, before Sunday, if they are open on Sunday. Many locations are closed on that day.


In past years we also had non-riders on this trip as well. They have enjoyed walks in the area and the tourist attractions. Last year a couple rode on a rail trail near Lancaster, taking their son along in a bike carrier seat.  


The Magic and Wonder show is just steps from the hotel. Show times are Friday at 7pm and Saturday at 3pm and 7pm. There are no shows scheduled on that Sunday. Tickets are $29.95 for adults and but they will give one free ticket per room to a hotel guest. Children from 4 to 12 years old are charged $14.95. The show is adhering to the current covid regulations.


Due to the possible covid issues that may still be present at the time of our weekend, we expect all participants to follow the CDC guidelines on travel that are in effect at the time of the trip.


I hope that you can join me for this 6th Penn Dutch Weekend.  Expect to see more Amish buggies than cars.

Leader,  Roy Fischman


New 5BBC Apparel

How can we enable members to show their pride in 5BBC? Bring Back Products! We are getting back into retail. And giving you a broader selection of jersey designs than ever before. As a Thank You to our members, we have heard your requests to sell jerseys and caps once again.

If you liked our 2018 updated historical design, it is available again. For those of you waiting on your past orders, we will handle the cost of shipping and finally get them for you! Thank Caryn Greenberg when you see her for that wonderful design of hers! If you liked many of our older jerseys and are feeling nostalgic, you may like one of our new designs called “Patchwork”. This is the first year where we can’t all gather for a holiday party in person and have Ed and Liz put up all their old jerseys on the wall. So we had Paula Vlodkowsky photograph them all (Thank you Paula!) and our supplier has some amazing graphic designers who put them together into an attractive quilt-like-design jersey. Take a walk down memory lane - order Patchwork!

Have you ever heard Bill Mastro’s intro to a ride? He has this line where he introduces Point-Drop-Sweep and says “the most important thing I am going to tell you today” (is never to leave a drop position until the sweep releases you. No one else, just the sweep). Well, before you even attempt to place an order - the most important thing I will tell you in this article is to PLEASE read this article COMPLETELY to understand WHY we are setting things up the way we are and HOW to have a complete , economical and successful ordering experience. AND GET THE RIGHT SIZE FOR YOUR JERSEY!


Why this way?

One of the challenges we have in the 5BBC is that while there is NO shortage of great ideas on how we could make the club BETTER, there IS a real shortage of VOLUNTEERS to help get things done. The good news is that we have a fully staffed board with two people in each position to manage the club and from 2018 until 2020, we have added more leaders, more rides, more members and everyone seems to be getting happier with the club and with our key metrics. Notwithstanding Covid of course and the pandemic which has dampened everything; but thanks to great leaders we have more rides listed than ever before. (Thanks Bill for that factoid, and letting me use your line above). When it comes to products, there is a trade off we need to make in order to bring them to you. 


It would take quite a bit of time from a volunteer or two willing to put in the consequential amount of work to manage the portfolio of club products. In the absence of that, we need to find a supplier who handles shipping to individuals and there are too few that have that ability along with a good enough web site and club store, and great designers to help us get the designs done - all with a reasonable cost for shipping. We have done that, but a high shipping fee is the price we pay for lacking volunteers to manage shop and ship which is complicated. It will cost a minimum of $21 per order. But we have a strategy for how you can bring that cost down - being the friendliest bike club. Read on.


If all you want is a $20 hat, doubling the cost to have it shipped is not appealing. While we have not added a bigger margin to the MSRP of the Jerseys - which some clubs do to raise funds, the cost of shipping can make the cost of the jersey high for some. To that end, we recommend that groups of friends who ride together - buy together. Pool your orders as the model for shipment is a base amount for packing and shipping of $21 and then $0.25 per piece


How to order?

1. You need an account with our supplier.

In order for our supplier to be able to bill you and ship to you, you must have a unique account on their system. Either create a new account or login to your existing account with them if you have one. To set up an account click on the icon of a person to the left of the cart in the top right corner of the screen and you will see the login window with "create account" option within it. Make sure you are logged into your account on the supplier’s web site BEFORE you start adding items to your cart! To enter the 5BBC team store managed by our supplier - click on this link. Once logged into your account on the supplier’s web site, please only then, enter the password 5BBCNYC where it says ENTER TEAM STORE PASSWORD on the left on their web site screen. 

The password is case sensitive and there are no spaces.


2. Navigating the supplier web site and adding what you want to the cart.

The picture attached to this article is intended to help you navigate once you get into the supplier web site. While at first the web site may not seem very user-friendly, and for this we apologize and hope they will make it better some day, once you get the hang of it, it does work and they are the only possible supplier who could give us what we needed to make this fly, so please bear with us - and them! The top portion of the web page is actually a pretty nifty 3D Viewer and it shows you each of the new products. You can't order from it, that's lower down on the page. If you click on the product you'd like to look at in 3D in the 3D Image Viewer Selector, it will appear in the viewer and you can use your mouse to twirl it around front to back and zoom in and out. Cool, right? To actually add the products you want to buy into the shopping cart, scroll down and use the Product Viewer Selector Filter to narrow your search and see less of what's in the shop at one time. Then you can pick from the items your search discovered. In the filter, the down arrows can be used to reveal the choices that let you narrow your search accordingly. The main ones to pay attention to are of course the design itself that you like; Gender and Cut.  Once you have the hang of it - shop as desired and when you’re ready to check out click on the cart icon in the upper right. 


3. Finding the right model, cut and size for yourself.

Of all the most important points made in this article so far, this is the most important of the most important points to pay attention to before ordering. Get your size right. Read the sizing charts carefully This particular supplier has excellent documentation of their products so you can select the right size. It's the best we have ever seen - but you have to really pay attention to it. Each Jersey DESIGN comes in 5 different MODEL-CUT combinations from which you can choose the typical sizes. You can read about them in detail on the web site but to net it out for you:


There are two MODELS of Jersey: Elite and Core. The Elite jersey is described on the Verge web site here (toggle between men and women at the top) and is a time-tested classic you can use for training, off-road or charity events. It’s built using durable Trafo™ fabric on a traditional pattern including side panels, and three rear pockets. Despite being a budget jersey ($65), it’s more than capable of providing you with countless hours of enjoyable rides. If you like a looser fit, there are 3 cut options in this model: Fitted, Relaxed and Comfort. The Core jersey is descsribed on the Verge web site here (toggle between men and women at the top) and is a modern update to the classic form; it’s everything you love about a traditional jersey with the addition of up-to-date technologies. Built around next-generation Focus Lite™ fabric means you will be comfortable in this jersey regardless if you take it out for a spin on the road or carve up the single track. It's basically $10 more for a more modern look. There are only 2 cut options in this model: Fitted and Relaxed. So even though Elite sounds like it should be above Core - it's not. It's the basic jersey but has looser fitting options. Core is the more up to date modern and sleek design for which you pay more. 


Basic descriptions of the cuts are provided here

  • Fitted: Snug fitting and designed to contour your body.
  • Relaxed: Comfortable fit with a little extra room throughout.
  • Comfort: Cut large and designed to be loose-fitting. (Only available in the Elite!)

All of this is taken from the web site. Read the sizing charts carefully. Why so complicated? Because we have many preferences on how clothes fit within our membership and want to satisfy as many as possible rather than assuming one style or cut may please all which experience shows it does not. And this provider has the flexibility so we thought, let's take advantage of it. If you are an L in one supplier, it is not a safe assumption to just pick L in this one. Read the sizing charts carefully and make an educated choice. There are no refunds or exchanges. Period. Another way to confirm sizing is to make sure you check the “Sizing Tables” link at the bottom of the individual product pages for the items you are purchasing before selecting your size.  Cycling clothing sizing varies widely across brands and returns or exchanges are not possible with custom clothing orders.


What to order?

Have you ever been frustrated by the fact that a club typically has only one design per year? If you don’t like it - you don’t buy it. Last year, we had a member who helped us with a branding exercise. In the end, after many creative brand re-designs were offered, the club's board decided to stay with an updated version of our familiar logo and branding. You will see it featured prominently on each design. However, we had so many creative treatments of our 5BBC moniker, we thought why not turn them into Jersey designs and voila, you now have a choice to make from 7 current designs. We also have shorts and bibs as well as two cap designs. Happy Shopping!


Our 2018 5BBC Design is available again: 


Our 2020 5BBC Designs are: 

  1. Patchwork
  2. Red White Chain
  3. Navy
  4. Gray
  5. Fade
  6. Red White




And for leaders leading 5 rides between October 1st, 2020 and December 31st, 2020, we have designed a special thank you jersey visible at this link


If after all this - you get stuck? E-mail for help :) 


BLACK FRIDAY PROMOTION RUN BY SUPPLIER: Order > $200 save shipping fees so get your friends together and order quickly... use code GIVETHANKS

Mel's Top Five Infrastructure Improvements

        You get any group of cyclists together, and inevitably they will start bitching about infrastructure. Crowding on the Brooklyn and Queensboro Bridges. Poorly marked bike lanes. Terrible pavement. And yes, we have a long way to go for safer cycling. But this article is more about looking back and seeing how far we have come. Here are my top five infrastructure improvements - one in each borough.

Manhattan – This is the easiest one – The Hudson Trail. There are indeed places on the trail that I'm not a fan of. The new “work around” in the hills sucks. Places get crowded. But that said – I can ride from the top of Manhattan to the southern tip without a single car in my path. The views along the river are magical.

Queens – Queens Boulevard was known as the “Boulevard of Death”, and rightly so. As cyclists we hugged the service lanes and prayed for our safety. In actuality, we merely went out of our way not to take it. And now – we have a beautifully kept trail that goes for miles connecting various neighborhoods in the boro.

Brooklyn – This one is personal. The Pulaski Bridge bike lane. Prior to the new two way lane, there was a narrow walkway that was shared by pedestrians, bikes, scooters, strollers, joggers and gawkers. “EXCUSE ME – EXCUSE ME” as you tempted to navigate through the throng. Now, we have an easy car and ped free connection between Greenpoint and LIC. The lane seemed to take a geologic age to complete – but the wait was worth it.

The Bronx - The Bronx Connector is well named. Prior to the connector, the only way off Randall's Island to the Bronx was through the “Hobo Bridge.” Crazy narrow ramps that I was afraid to ride on. When you exited the bridge proper you ended up walking down a ramp through someone's bathroom. The new connector is at grade and comes at the end of a wonderful trail. This was improved even more with the new two way trail on 133rd Street that connects to St Anns' and points north. Getting to the Bronx used to be insane, it is now easy peasy.

Staten Island – Maybe the greatest infrastructure improvement is in the Anger Management Boro. SUV's would buzz you off the road – and the intersection of Richmond and Drumgoole was downright scary. The new Staten Island bike trail from Arlene to Arthur Kill is a game changer. Not only is it traffic free – but it rides along beautiful scenic wetlands. To put it mildly, this is a game changer in The Forgotten Borough.

       We have a long way to go for cycling safety. But every day, there appears to be another improvement. Things like the new “gazoo” connecting Concrete and Starlight Park in the Bronx. Or, the new two way trail from the Hipster Highway to Greenpoint. Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn will have a bike lane all the way to Flatbush. Riding along the new protected bike lane on Crescent in Queens. Thanks to everyone who is working to make these changes. We may have a long way to go – but we have also come a long way from where we were.

Membership Message Coming Off Hiatus

To all of our longstanding members we want to take a moment to thank you for your patience and support during the pandemic.

To our many new members who are taking up cycling anew or after a long break, we are happy to have you and welcome you to the club.

If any member ever has have any questions,  we love hearing from you! Please do not hesitate to e-mail us at

It has not been easy for anyone and on top of it all, just as we come out of the worst health crisis in our life times, we are forced once again to stare racism and bigotry in the face in a way that is painful when compounded with the social distancing requirements that prevent traditional protests in a healthy manner. Our mission in membership at 5BBC is have all feel welcome regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation etc this is your home and Mark and I will strive to ensure that this holds true to our club and we know the board is with us on this 100%!

Our club is a strong community of good friends. We take pride in being New York's friendliest bike club - a place where people can develop their cycling abilities at whatever pace suits them from easy peasy in a happy face ride all the way up to Quick Spins. We also look to give back to the cycling community in any way we can. So we look forward to riding again and having a fun positive social experience in which to get over the isolation we felt during the near lockdown. 

At this time we are starting up our rides program in a limited way and our web site had to be updated to support some of the new (hopefuly temporary and soon to be expanded) guidelines and limitations. We are an all volunteer club and have limited capacity to update our web site - as a result, things may be a bit more cumbersome and challenging. Please continue to be patient and reach out for help if something is unclear or not working the way you expect. Our top priority is your health and safety and so we are implementing guidelines based on our scanning of what others are doing out there and what the governor and his public health team are advising. Once we have some experiece under our belt and hear your feedback; presuming the lifting of the Pause continues along the phases, we will likely phase in larger rides etc. In the mean time, we will do our best to meet the demand our members have to ride on fun, safe, enjoyable rides.

Please keep your eye on the web site for updates. If you haven't ordered your FREE mask yet, please do so here. And also, if you'd like to get our Neck Gaiter product off the ground, order some from our store here

Hope to see you on a ride soon

Maureen and Mark 

Virtual Programming is available for you

It is very clear that this pandemic is, unfortunately, not a "short" thing. This too will pass, but we have no clue when.

As we have written elsewhere about the 5BBC - we are a community.

Being New York's friendliest bike club, while we can't ride the way we typically do, we will commune in ways that respect social distancing guidelines but let us come together and enjoy each other's friendship, company, bike savvy and other things we discover we might like to do together - like dancing! 

Here are a list of events that were run during the pandemic. Since we are off hiatus, virtual programming is suspended - hopefully forever, but will come back if we need to PAUSE again.

Stay healthy. Stay strong and please, stay connected.

If you have any ideas for other virtual events - perhaps a skill or talent you'd like to share with members of the club - please e-mail

Here are links to our 5BBC Youtube Channel where you can see what you missed:

April 8 - Bike Mechanics: Drive Train and Brakes by Chris De Meo

April 15 - Bike Mechanics: Cleaning Your Bike by Chris De Meo

April 17 - Movie Night: Ed Sobin's Ride Across America Part 1 - Brooklyn to Colorado

April 22 - Bike Mechanics: Fixing a Flat by Stephen Bauman

April 24 - Movie Night: Ed Sobin's Ride Across America Part 2 - Colorado to Berkeley

April 27 - Stretching for Cyclists featuring Jacqueline Gikow

April 29 - Bike Mechanics: Fixing Brakes BIGTIME (replacing pads and cables)

May 1 - Movie Night: Ed Sobin's Ride Across America Part 3 (Finale) - Berkeley to Utah

May 2 - The Beatles Singalong with Maggie Clarke

May 3 - Movie Night: David Schlichting Remembered - on the day we were supposed to ride the tour he helped create, supported for many years, and loved.

May 7 - Bike Mechanics: Fixing Gears BIG TIME (replacing cables)

May 8 - Movie Night: Leslie Tierstein's Bicycling in Italy

May 13 - Bike Mechanics: Ride With GPS 

May 15 - Movie Night: IOWA RAGBRAI and North Carolina Mountains to Coast by Jacqueline Gikow

May 22 - Movie Night: South American Cycling Vacation by Monica Goel and Donal Burke

May 27 - Bike Mechanics: - First Aid when cycling in Groups by Jim Zisfein

June 17 - Bike Mechanics: Bar Tape / Gear Cable Replacement and Dry Chain Clean and Lube by Chris De Meo


Group cycling in a coronavirus epidemic


Covid-19 is a worldwide pandemic respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus. Typical symptoms include fever and cough.

Covid-19 is highly prevalent in the New York City area and we all should be practicing contagion avoidance measures. Wash your hands regularly (especially before eating) with soap and water or sanitizer. Avoid touching your face unless your hands have just been washed. When you are around other people, stay 6 feet away, and cover your nose and mouth. You can fashion a mask out of a scarf or bandana and save surgical masks for health care workers. If you have a fever or cough, don't go out at all unless it is to seek medical attention.

What about group bicycling? Unless you suffer a direct hit from a snot rocket or are pacelining, you are not at high risk of infection; you’re just too far away from others. The risk is higher, however, with a group at the ride start, rest stops, and lunch venues where you should practice the infection control measures listed above.

In an abundance of caution, your club has canceled all group bicycling activities indefinitely. The club leadership is closely monitoring disease prevalence and will re-open the schedule when it is safe to do so. Upcoming weekend trips are being canceled or postponed. Registered riders for canceled weekend trips have received refunds.



Volunteerism and the 5BBC - A natural fit!

Volunteers are the lifeblood of 

  • our club, 
  • most of the bike clubs in our area and around the country, 
  • and in fact - even the mass rides that support the advocacy and education organizations who are our strategic partners.


To deliver the value we do, we need and are grateful for volunteers.


First and foremost, the LEADERS who lead rides in this club are the lifeblood of the club. 

Our #1 objective  in 2019 was, and again in 2020 is, to have a robust portfolio of rides available throughout the year. This only happens with engaged, creative, friendly - leaders. We had a leadership class last year and a pilot program that delivered close to 20 new leaders who are actively leading. We are working on a re-vamp of our AWARDS program to recognize our leaders and motivate and recognize for each set of rides. Watch for more on this after our first council meeting next week. Also, if you want to be a leader, we will be running another traditional class in spring/summer of 2020, reach out to Ed Sobin and/or Chris De Meo for details and to be added to the list of candidates for the class. 


Second - the MEMBERS in this club are also the lifeblood of this club. Without members to ride, leaders ride alone and that’s no fun. 


Our #2 objective in 2019 was, and again in 2020 is, to grow our membership and deliver more value back to them in terms of rides, and events like socials, classes and other events that give back in ways that let us build on the “social cycling” we do in this club. If you have ideas for things the club could be doing to attract new members and do more for our existing members - please e-mail your ideas to 


Finally - the BOARD and COUNCIL of this club manage it and "make things happen”.


Our #3 objective in 2019 was, and again in 2020 is, to create greater depth at each position on the board (we now have two people covering each role, so no one person has to shoulder all the work) and to develop more of our LEADERS and MEMBERS to be candidates to serve on the council and board in the future. To that end, if any of you reading this want to get more involved - please reach out - you are WELCOME! As long as you bring a positive, friendly, can do attitude - we need you! Please e-mail if you'd like to get involved.


One of the things we did in 2019, that we plan to continue forward, is move most of the work OUT of the board and council and into “ad hoc” committees that meet with a focus on getting things done. The pilot program was developed this way. The holiday party was run this way. The mechanics classes and socials were run this way. If you have an idea, put a team together, bring it to the board for approval and any budget you may need, and then be empowered to go off and make it happen. We plan to continue and expand on that in 2020.


We are looking for Volunteer Coordinator to join the 5BBC council -  Toby Weiner has stepped up to be interim Volunteer Coordinator for the club. Please join me in thankinging her.


We need help organizing club socials, classes, events and promoting the club at our partner rides and events as well. So, Toby’s job is to get to know who out there is willing to help for what and engage you to make that happen. We are looking for one or two people to take on the role from Toby. It's a great way to get to know people in the club and help give back.


That’s all for now folks - but we will have more to say about Volunteerism in a future article - watch this space as the council will be discussing a really creative way to recognize those members who step up and make more happen in the club and for the cycling community of which we are apart. New York's Friendliest bike club is full of volunteers!


Thanks for your support,


Winter is Coming

Winter is Coming

In Game of Thrones, the phrase “Winter is Coming” was meant to instill fear. So too, many cyclists also fear the winter. As the temperatures drop, the bike gets hung on the wall, not toemerge until Spring Training. But, it does not have to be like that. You CAN ride in the Winter. You CAN have fun riding in the winter. Here is some advice.

WHY RIDE: Personally, I love the chill of cold temperature on my face and the battle against the elements. The look of others as you peddle by on a cold Winter day. I like the fact that the group rides are smaller and tend to be more cohesive. We are a club that often has great food along a ride. On a Winter ride, what can be better than chicken soup at Mill Basin, hot borscht at Glechick, or a steaming bowl of pozole at Tlaxcala.

The other benefit of Winter riding is that every mile you ride in the Winter – is a mile that you do not suffer in the Spring. When “cycling season” starts again, you are already ahead of the pack. You struggle much less on those early season hills.

BIKES – I admit that my road bike does not see much daylight during the Winter months. I take my hybrid. The wider tires seem to handle the cold conditions better. I have a trunk bag that serves to handle the extra clothing that I carry in the Winter months. And I always take lights along because night drops like a hammer.

Another thing about bikes in the Winter is that after the snows, the salt spreader trucks come by. Salt is not great for a bike's drive train. For that reason, I tend to clean and lube the chain with greater frequency. And when it comes to lube, chose a wet lube for the usual winter road conditions.

WHAT TO WEAR – Three words come to mind – layers, layers and layers. Forget about the bulky parka, it's really not going to keep your temperature regulated. During the colder days, I will wear a base layer above and below. This will be something like silk or a technical fiber. Over these layers I will have a heavy jersey, a polar fleece and a wind blocking jacket. I normally just wear good sweat pants, and if it's too cold, I'll add another layer of long johns.

For me the most importing things to worry about are your feet, hands and ears. I give up on clipping in and wear a pair of light weight socks, thermal socks and insulated hiking boots. I won't win any races, but my feet stay warm. Other people use booties over their cycling shoes. I have three different pairs of gloves – regular long finger gloves, mid weight gloves and winter cycling gloves. On the coldest days I'll add a liner layer under my heaviest gloves. Many cyclists swear by those packs of chemical hand warmers. For my ears, normally a hat with flaps works. Coldest days add a balaclava. For my neck, my favorite piece of winter gear is a neck gaiter. It's a real multi tasker.

GET A THERMOS - It's 23 degrees outside. You are all layered up. But the cold still seeps in. For these reasons I normally take a thermos along on Winter rides. A hot beverage warms your insides up. In my thermos I have a variety of beverages – hot coffee, hot apple cider, hot herbal tea. I normally do not add alcohol – but there are those occasions when I do. A word of advice – do not cheap out on a thermos.

WHEN NOT TO RIDE – Everyone has a different line that they draw. For some people it is 40 degrees. Others have a line a 30. For some it is the brisk wind. My rule is simple – as long as there is no snow or ice on the roads, and it seems safe, I will go. But that's me and you are you.

There are many joys of riding in the winter. Smaller groups with a feeling of strong camaraderie. Fighting the elements, and winning. Steaming hot soup during the lunch stop. I also love the looks of others when you say - “Yeah, I rode yesterday.” The bottom line is that the Winter rides are fun. I can mope around the house, or I can go for a ride and smile.

Before I close this article, I just want to give a shout out to the 5BBC Dean of Winter Riding – Ed DeFreitas. One of the reasons that I joined the 5BBC was my desire to ride in the Winter – when none of my friends would ride with me. Ed showed me the joys of riding in the winter season.

See you on the road

David MEL Meltzer

Day Rides Coordinator