|Date||May 20, 2006|
|Where||Meixner house, Mullica Hill|
|Who (else)||July Allison and Malcolm Boyd Marji and Rich Andreas, Helen and Bob Bird, Betsy and Bernie Carlson, Barbara and Tracy Cate, Annemarie Cooke and Bob Lian, Michelle Emerson and Dan Dodson, Tom and Jo-Ann Figurelli, Jane and Paul Kimmel, Team Neibauer, Laura Nesbitt and Pete Sklarow, Cheryl Prudhomme and Mark Cook, Linda and George Wells|
Route Slips [PDF]: 20 mile 30 mile 40 mile
[Paul Meixner report]
After several years of membership in the DOGS, Doubles of the Garden State, and participation in one tandem ride in each of the past two years, we hosted our first club ride this past Saturday. Hosting means submitting a ride notice to be posted on the web site, providing cue sheets, circulating sign-up sheets, planning the post-ride dining, and running a sweep of the course if needed.
Typical DOGS rides tend to have about 6 or 8 teams. Persistent lobbying by the leaders of the DOGS (Team Wells) resulted in a terrific total of 14 teams. Stokers ranged in age from 6 to above 80. Tandem brands seen included a preponderance of Co-Motions, but also Santana, Cannondale, Bushnell, Burley, and a Rans Screamer.
Weather report for Saturday in southern NJ had only a 20% chance of rain. From about 8:00 to 8:30, we endured 100% light rain. The roads were dry by the 9:45 start time. Weather was breezy, partly sunny, high temp of about 70.
We provided cue sheets for three loops - 23, 30, and 41 miles. All three shared the initial 18 miles. At the convenience store/ice cream stop, the rides diverged.
A good time was had by all. Folks pitched in for the post ride barbecue, from shucking 20 ears of corn to running the grill. Plenty of excellent food was brought, from appetizers through desserts (cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and chocolate covered strawberries).
Linda and I eagerly anticipated the ride last Saturday titled "Exit 2 Explorations" and hosted by Team Meixner (Paul and Nora and Amanda and Silvija, their 6 and 8 year old daughters ). Of course, making the 0945 planned start time meant that Team Wells had to be ready to go on Friday night and get up at Oh:Dark:30 Saturday morning (4:30 AM)--a small price to pay for riding with our fellow DOGS. During the drive down the Turnpike, where Linda and I made a "pit-stop" at the Molly Pitcher area, just back on the turnpike and the cell-phone rang. It was Bob Lian reporting that he was enroute to Tandems East to pick up his recumbent and it was "pouring." We then called Team Meixner who reported that there was a passing shower but it had already cleared the area and the ride was still on, so we called Bob and relayed the information.
Linda was so worried that very few teams would make the trek south, that she sent an e-mail to just about all the DOGS who live in South Jersey. You know that we have held to the rule that a 10% participation of the membership of a volunteer organizations is a success. Their were a total of 14 DOGS Teams at this first South Jersey ride of the season -- 20% turnout. (And that includes almost 30% of all South Jersey DOGS, because, including our new team, we have 19 South Jersey DOGS! Was that ride a success, or was that ride a success!!! The following teams showed up and rode with us Teams: Our Leaders/hosts for the day--Meixner (Paul and Nora and Amanda and Silvija), Wells, Bird, Allison/Boyd, Kimmel, Sklarow/Nesbit, Neibauer (drove in from Pennsy), Cook/Prudhomme, Dodson/Emerson, Carlson, Cate, Figurelli, Bob Lian and Annemarie Cooke, and Andreas (Rich and Marji--our newest DOGS Team who are also neighbors of Team Meixner). We now we have 71DOGS teams this with current paid memberships this year.
Several of the teams who attended this ride are new teams while others have been faithful members of the DOGS for awhile but just haven't had a chance to attend our North and Central New Jersey Rides. So, for Team Wells, there were some familiar faces as well as some new faces participating in the ride.
Team Meixner planned a series of loops that started and ended together but provided rides of varying distances and challenges -- 23, 29 and 41 miles -- a choice for those who wanted shorter or longer distances. The plan was for everyone to be on the roads for about 2:30 hours. With so many teams present few DOGS wound up riding alone. Team Wells hooked up with Team Bird for the 41 mile loop and stayed with them for the entire ride. (If you want to, the rest of you will have to report on the rides with whom you rode).
The first few miles were an introduction to Downtown Mullica Hill and there was a bit of motorized traffic but nothing that we DOGS could not handle. Then we made a right hand turn and the traffic reduced to a trickle of cars and trucks. It's always a pleasant surprise to remind ourselves that when we say, "We live in South Jersey," it isn't always flat. There were pleasant rollers, but not any really significant climbs for those of us who rode the 41, and we know it did include more than just Teams Bird and Wells!
The frontal boundary that caused the passing showers also brought a wind gradient with it, and while the showers passed, the wind remained. As we rode farther inland towards the area that still makes NJ "The Garden State" those winds got a bit stronger because there are large fields and no trees or buildings to block the wind. Tailwinds would have been nice, but we got few of them. Headwinds are tolerable because the wind signature of a tandem is much like a single bike but with two engines. Crosswinds, however, are pretty tough on a tandem because there is no avoiding the larger surface of a long-bike and two riders. Teams Bird and Wells traded leads in the headwinds and tried to alternately shield each other in the cross winds. This day was, to use the Team Wells term, "character-building."
As we approached Mullica Hill on the return we caught up with our hosts Team Meixner aboard their triple with trail-a-bike heading up the road. What a limousine! We exchanged greetings and headed towards Team Meixner HQ where a spread of DOGS Food, awaited the riders.
As always, the DOGS food was excellent, and too much. The discussions were animated and lively. We all had a great time and one-by-one headed home from a great day of tandeming with our fellow DOGS. This was the season opener for the Southern NJ Season, and we're looking forward to more explorations of Southern NJ led by our fellow DOGS members. There are lots of open weekends on our calendar, but as the season heats up, they will be booked.
Oh yes, the next scheduled ride is being run by Team Wells and if some of our Southern DOGS would like to take a run at the smaller hills of Northern NJ we also are offering a series of progressively longer and hillier routes that mix suburban and rural roads. Hope to see you on 10 June.