Thursday, November 29, 2007

What should Santa bring you for Christmas?

Since the previous "Why I Ride" poll worked so well, I thought we'd make this a regular feature. Tracey thought this one was fitting for the season. So here's the question:

What should Santa bring you for Christmas and why?

Now, we all assume you are cycling fanatics like yours truly, and you have a list a century-ride long of cycling items that you'd love Santa to put under the tree. So tell us, what is it that you desire and why do you deserve it? Perhaps a new Assos jacket on those rides when Jack Frost is nipping at your, er, nose. Many of you might have a new Cervelo R3 SL at the top of your list so you can float down the Fore Street cobbles like Stuart O'Grady toward his 2007 Paris-Roubaix victory. Or perhaps a Power Tap so you can train like the Dickens in hopes dropping everyone like Michael Rasmussen over Dutton Hill. (But let's hope you aren't wishing for a little EPO or Testosterone patches 'cuz we all know DOPERS SUCK.)

So whether you've been naughty or nice, and if you are a CCCP member it'd better be the latter, tell us what you wish for. We can't promise Santa will deliver, but it's always nice to dream!

Happy Holidays!


PS I already have my gift from Santa, and by Santa I mean Don. I've been riding my sweet Ibex since August 25th. It doesn't exactly fit under the tree but it fits me to a tee!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

News From The Back Of The Pack

Another great ride, but the colder weather is making the numbers dwindle by just a few. There were about 10 of us for this Sunday's ride. Paul led us out Route 25 into Gorham and down 237 to Rt. 35. We followed this into Windham, crossed 302 and went down Falmouth Rd to Babbidge. About 40+ miles again, though a few folks did break off due to time constraints.

I, as usual, followed the group from a comfortable distance, feeling like I belonged on the Island of Misfit Toys. I think I was built with something missing - oh that would be Fast Twitch muscle fibers! Nobody wants a "Charlie in the Box"/Charlie on the Bike!

There was talk of stopping at Dunkin Donuts in Windham. I (according to Russ) was starting another Revolution in that I informed the group that I would continue on as stopping was only going to make me freeze up instantaneously. Somehow, however, I had a lot of followers, including Russ to be the first one to agree. Group consensus was no coffee and onward ho!

Our numbers dwindled off as we rode through Portland, everyone making their way back home. I know for me, the thought of a warm shower, my heater, something warm to eat and/or drink and a comfy sofa were all calling my name - LOUDLY! As I walked in the door to my place, I realized I was kind of hungry so I decided to finish the rest of an open Clif Bar I had started in Standish somewhere. I then realized that it was awfully hard to eat as it was mostly frozen! Sometimes I do have to ask myself, "Why do I ride?". The answers still stay the same... Whether we are diehards or crazy, not sure. At least on this ride, we had an elderly gentleman salute us and then declare "Ride On" as we rode past. And, as we were on the homestretch, another woman out cleaning up the leaves in her yard, stood up and started clapping and cheering us enthusiatically as we rode by. What a welcome home!

So, feel free to make more comments about this ride, or at least continue to tell us "Why I ride"!


Saturday, November 24, 2007


A big thanks to Kris for including the blog site address in the latest newsletter. If you are checking out the blog for the first time we say WELCOME! and hope you like the way we are delivering news and points of interest to you. Please remember to keep checking back regularly for updated information about ongoing rides, winter training, or just fun cycling postings in general.

Comments are not only welcome but encouraged. It's a much more interesting blog when people are involved and commenting. Remember, you can post a comment "anonymously" without having to sign-in, but please post your name in the comment section so we'll know who you are.

If you have something to post, feel free to email me ( with the information and I'll get it up ASAP. You can either compose it yourself and I'll copy/paste it to the blog or you can give me a general idea and I'll write something up for you.

Hope to see you on a Sunday ride soon!


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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving Thanks

Not sure if any of you receive the RoadBikeRider newsletter every week or not. (If you don't, click on the link to the right every Thursday for the newest edition.)

I really like Scott Martin's "articles" every week. They are usually pretty comical but this one is a bit more on the serious side. I'm copying and pasting his posting below for everyone to read. You might be like me and be thankful for these same things. But if there are other things you are thankful for, cycling related of course, please tell us by commenting.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Scott's Spin:

Thanks a Lot

Here in America we're celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. That's when you eat marshmallow-filled Jell-O salad, decorate your house in orange and brown, and figure out how to do a 2-hour ride when you should be home hanging the relatives. I mean, hanging with the relatives.

And it's a time for giving thanks. So it seems like an appropriate moment to do that for something really important -- besides the abundance of marshmallows and the theft of a continent from Pocahontas.

I'm talking, naturally, about our sport. Here's my list of cycling things to be thankful for:

  • I'm thankful to be healthy enough to ride.

  • I'm thankful that I've found a sport I can do the rest of my life.

  • I'm thankful that my life could be longer because I ride.

  • I'm thankful for all the great friends I've made through cycling.

  • I'm thankful for all the wonderful places my bike has taken me.

  • I'm thankful that my sport requires me to buy so many cool toys.

  • I'm thankful that cycling happens to be good for the planet.

  • I'm thankful for all you cool RoadBikeRider readers.

  • I'm thankful for surviving another year of distracted drivers, potholed streets and clueless pedestrians.

  • I'm thankful that I can eat as much as I want on Thanksgiving, knowing that I'll ride it off soon enough.

  • I'm thankful for all the cycling advocates who fight for our rights.

  • I'm thankful for the small amount of mechanical aptitude cycling has forced me to acquire.

  • I'm thankful for the flat tire I'm bound to have tomorrow, which will turn my 2-hour ride into a 3-hour escape and get me home just in time for turkey.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Revolution was not Televised

To paraphrase Gil-Scott Heron, "CCCP changed it's name, and the revolution will not be televised."

I note that the CCCP blog site now identifies itself as "Community Cycling Club of Portland." Of more import was Tracey's reply to the lone commuter that we encountered on Sunday's ride. We were at a group standstill at the ominous crosswords of Ross Road, and the road running from Old Orchard to the Cascades. The commuting rider wanted to know what CCCP stood for. Tracey offered "Community Cycling Club of Portland." No one objected, no one spoke up for the old competitive canard. Tracey spoke, no cameras were present, the old CCCP is no more; the new Community Cycling Club of Portland emerges from its ashes. I propose a granite memorial at that very corner commemorating the untelivised revolution- Tracey emerges as the new Lenin, and we all watch our backsides.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Four Great Sunday Rides in a Row!

Another great Sunday ride today. Well, for most of you. Kinda sucked for me. I guess I should have just stayed home to nurse my sore legs and recover from the race yesterday. But alas, my pride got in the way and figured I could manage the ride.

Thanks to Tracey (and Russ) for such a great 50-mile ride. The rides across the ET sections through South Portland and across the marsh in Scarborough were delightful at a casual pace. The road to Camp Ellis and Ross Road were picturesque country roads will little traffic.

The ride was a first for a few of us - I had never been over the marsh via the ET and Kris had never been to Camp Ellis. We also have a few newcomers, including a very interesting man that leads bicycle tours in Thailand, so this was their first ride with our club. Was it a first for you in any way? If so, tell us by commenting!

I have posted photos from today's ride and last Sunday's ride on Flickr. Today's photos were great with a group photo taken at Camp Ellis. But my favorite is the photo above. For me this picture epitomized these rides: a friendly ride that includes a stop at a coffee shop to refuel/recaffeinate and a chance to chat and catch up with our fellow bikers, in addition to talk about who might want to lead the following Sunday's ride.

And that was the discussion today - the ride for next weekend. Paul has agreed to lead the ride and will be thinking about the route. For any questions regarding the ride, feel free to call Paul at Back Bay Bicycle (773-6906). We will meet at the shop on Sunday at 10:00 am and wait for directions/information about the ride. (And with Paul leading you can bet there will probably be some climbs involved. He's a little billy goat. I'll make sure I'm super rested and properly recovered before Sunday!)

Let's hope this sunny weather continues and people continue to show up - still riding with about a dozen riders each weekend, which is truly remarkable! Feel free to pass on the word by telling your friends and fellow club members in the event they are for some strange reason not in the loop.

If you can't wait until Sunday to ride, Kris said they are still riding Wednesday afternoons at 1:00pm from Back Bay Bicycle. The weather at this point looks very good for Wednesday's ride, with temps in the low 50's and sunny. (I'm so glad I'm on vacation this week and able to ride Wednesday.)

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving everyone and hope to see you Sunday!!


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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why You Ride...

There is a fairly new cycling magazine on the stands called Road Bike Action Magazine. I picked it up when it first came out and enjoyed it so much I bought a membership, which was pretty inexpensive. In this magazine there is a section called “Why I Ride”, which is great fun to read. So, Tracey suggested we start our own “Why I Ride” string on the blog. So here it is! Please comment by clicking below. And if you care to post your name, please do so in the body of your post, otherwise we won’t know who you are.

So I’ll start:

I ride because I’m addicted to the bike culture. I started riding in the spring/summer of 2006 and got hooked. Hey, there are worse things to be addicted to!

Now it’s your turn. Tell us why you ride!


Monday, November 12, 2007

Beach Cruiser Ride, Sunday, Nov. 18, 10am

I was hoping to lead a ride this Sunday, Nov. 18th. Let's call this one the "Beach Cruiser". We will start at Back Bay Bicycle, as usual, around 10 AM. We shall proceed across the Casco Bay Bridge, possibly picking up the Eastern Trail and following it down to Scarborough, to Old Orchard to Camp Ellis and back. It is a nice ride and flat. We can take a poll to see if folks want to cross over the Scarborough Marsh on the Eastern Trail. It is a great and quiet stretch, but made of a surface similar to the Back Cove path so it is obviously not paved. It is manageable on a road bike, but I understand if some folks don't want to do this. The other option unfortunately is Route 1, but perhaps it won't be so bad in a pack of riders.

I have been encouraged to lead this ride, though I have to say if it is snowing, raining or won't hit freezing by mid day with a cold stiff wind and no sun, you can count me out! Watch the blog for updates if the weather is questionable. Feel free to email me with any questions at


Tracey Merrill

Updated Sunday Spin Class

Hi All!

As I entered the gym (Lifestyles on Warren Ave, Portland) this morning at 5:30 for my morning spin, not that I make a habit of the morning classes but since I was awake I figured I drag myself out of my warm bed to sweat it out on the bike, I noticed that they have now added the Sunday spin class back to the schedule. This class is only a 45-minute class from 9:45 to 10:30am. If you find yourself unable to be out on the bike on a Sunday, for whatever reason, consider participating in this class. You don't have to have a membership to participate in this class. If you want to just do the Sunday class you can pay the $7.00 for a day pass to participate in this class. And if you decide to do other cardio or weights, your day pass will cover that too. Give it a try, you might like it! Keep in mind that this Sunday class is instructed by either Paul Niehoff (of SMCC who many of you might know) or Julie, who are both cyclists. If they can do it, so can you!!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Great Sunday Ride

Once again we had a great ride today. We are averaging about a dozen riders for these rides, a pretty good turnout this late in the season. (And Kris said that there were 6 for the Wednesday ride.)

It was a bit windy and even though it was chilly, the sun really helped. Not to mention the stop for coffee at Maine Coffee Roasters in Yarmouth. I propose that we make a coffee stop mandatory during these chilly rides! What do you think? (Please comment by clicking the comment link below. Make sure you include your name in the body of the message so we'll know who you are when commenting.)

I mentioned the posting the link for the blinker product that is sold in England, so click HERE to see it.

So we are looking for suggestions for next week's ride. Anyone want to propose a ride and lead it, or co-lead it? Russ suggested a ride to Saco, Camp Ellis, and back through Old Orchard Beach. He said it's about a 40 mile ride. Perhaps we can ride this if no one else has any other suggestions. )Feel free to make a suggestion through the comment link below or email your suggestions to either me or

I've posted pictures from today's ride to the Flickr page so check them out! If anyone has any cycling photos they would like to upload, pleased email me and I'll give you the necessary information to do so.

Have a great week! Fingers crossed for another sunny, but less windy Sunday!


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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Girls Only - Lead a Ride from The Bike Shop

Matt from The Bike Shop is looking for female volunteers to lead an all girls' ride on Sundays departing from The Bike Shop.

One of the biggest reason's for a special ride for girls is that the girls from Islamic families are no longer allowed to ride with boys. The girls themselves have asked for an all-girls ride, so that they too can ride. There will be other non-Islamic girls as well. As guides, we must be culturally sensitive even though we may find aspects of Somali Islam unfair if not just plain wrong. He recommends reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel for a good understanding of what it is like to grow up a girl in Somalia.

Feel free to join on a Saturday morning (10AM) ride to get a feel for what a ride entails. This Saturday will not be too soon.

Rides will leave the Shop on Sundays at 1:30 PM. This allows time for girls to return from religious school which they have on both Saturday and Sunday. Do not expect vigorous exercise -- most of these girls have very sedate lifestyles. The weather will be cool if he can get this going this fall. In the cold weather they generally ride to a cafe for cocoa and a cookie. These girls will greatly enjoy exploring Portland and finding different cafes.

Two guides should go out on each ride. He will have a meeting Thursday next week (11/15) 6pm at the Shop to pencil in a schedule for a few weeks. (The Shop is located at 51 Mayo Street, Portland.)

This a great opportunity to help girls get active and introduce them to the larger world around them. For more information you can email Matt directly at:


Another Sunday Ride!

Tour de Cousins Island:

Sunday 10AM, Nov 11 from Back Bay Bicycle.
Fearless Leader: Russ Boisvert
Approximately 34-35 miles.

Follows Rte 1, and/or Middle Road and/or Rte 88 and then zooms down to Little John and over Cousins Island bridge.

Little John loop is no more then 3/4 mile loop, narrow road, homes close to the road, very, very short "wall" that may be steepest grade in Cumberland County; all has the flavor and ambiance of a European village.

No heavy duty pace predicted. Russ plans on riding a Century to Concord, NH on Saturday, weather dependent, and will not be returning to Maine, in a sag vehicle, until late Saturday nite. He's asking we don't expect much from him. He'll give directions while others pull. (Sounds a bit like Santa giving directions to the reindeer, doesn't it: "Now Richard, now Tracey, now Rocky and Patrick. On Bryan, on Robert, on Dana and Derrick. To the top of the hill! To the top of the wall! Now sprint away! Sprint away! Sprint away all!)

Santa/Russ can be reached at or 774-4209 for last minute changes or confirmation.

See you Sunday!


Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Here is an interesting bit of information on crosstraining from a newsletter I receive from CTS. Chris Carmichael is one of the premier trainers in the US and he has some great tips that he’s willing to share with the masses, either in Bicycling Magazine or through the emails.

I’m sure that many of you are like me and “it’s all about the bike”. But sometimes we need to do a bit of crosstraining to be more effective on the bike. And now that I’m back in the gym I vow to work on the crosstraining a bit more and take advantage of the classes and equipment the gym has to offer.

So I hope you all take advantage of the off season to get back on your feet, so to speak, and try some other forms of exercise. And if any of you find yourself at spin class with us on Monday nights and can spare an extra hour after, feel free to join us for Yoga class. It really is a good way to stretch after the grueling 45-minutes on the bike!


Wednesday Rides

As Kris mentioned in his recent email, there will be a group ride on Wednesdays at 1pm leaving from Back Bay Bicycle for anyone that can make that fit into their work schedule. These rides will continue for as long as the weather holds and there is interest - and we know there is interest. No one wants to give up the last bit of outside cycling, myself included. The ride will be 20-30 miles at a moderate pace. Call Kris for more information. (W: 773-6906 / H: 775-0356)

Ride on!


Monday, November 5, 2007

Cycling Links

If this is not your first time viewing this site then you will notice the links to the right of the blog postings. I've added these but if any knows of others that would be beneficial to have, please let me know.


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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Weekend Rides

It's been a while since I've posted anything to the blog. But no more. Here's some information to update all of you and I'll work on updating this on a regular basis.

First I'll start by mentioning how great the CCCP party was. A big thank you to Kris and Cindy for hosting. It was a very good turnout.

I'd like to thank everyone who joined me for my birthday ride. It was the best birthday ever. But I'm sure that in mid to late October people were just looking for an excuse to ride. Fine by me - the more the merrier!

We are on a roll with some organized weekend group rides. We are averaging around a dozen riders for various routes. Last weekend we traveled to Brunswick in some pretty stiff wind for coffee in Brunswick. Today we rode through Westbrook and into Scarborough to attack Mitchell Hill. Well, some attacked, I just survived. I should get a t-shirt for that, eh? Thankfully the weather has cooperated, at least on Sundays, and we are hopeful to keep this trend going.

With the mid-week group rides finished for the season due to the return of EST, it's time to start thinking about the winter training. Tracey and I have signed up at Lifestyles and will be at the first spin class Monday night. Click here for the link to Lifestyles Fitness Center if you are interested in joining us. Keep in mind you always have the option of just popping in on a class or two as your schedule allows for a nominal fee.

Finally, feel free to email me if you have something to post here on the blog. I'd be happy to copy/paste something in or write it for you. Also, comments are always welcome!

If you haven't had a chance to check out the CCCP flickr site, you can do so by clicking here. There are pictures from group rides, weekly rides, and the end-of-season party. Enjoy! (And if anyone has any photos to post, email me and I'll give you the password to upload photos. It's pretty easy!)

Ride on!