Welcome Freewheelers to the 2022 cycling season. Your Ganaraska Freewheelers Executives (Barb, Lilianne, Jennifer, Tara and Ruth) and Ride Coordinators (Brian & Gail, Sue & Marshall) are pleased to officially launch the 2022 cycling season.
Last year’s cycling season started with our traditional Easter Friday ride. And then COVID-19 interrupted us yet again until June when the fun began again. Our Bring Your Own Picnic (BYOP) post-ride socials continued to be a hit, blessing us with the gifts of fitness, food and especially, friends, right up to the end of October.
We were also blessed with the company of our dear member Mel who, despite her valiant battle with cancer, joined us on a few rides and picnics. We cherish these last special moments with her and she remains forever in our hearts. Her husband Mich plans early in the season to guide us on one of her favourite rides through the waterfront trail system and up hills North of Bowmanville and Newcastle.
Let’s all invoke her presence as we share our love of cycling in 2022 – maybe this year enjoying a full season and one that allows us a bit more social freedom. Who knows, maybe even hugs, high fives or handshakes?
As there are changes in the way we’ll manage communications this year, please take the time to read this entire post. If you have a printer, it won’t hurt to print it out so you have it for future reference.
This season opener post contains updates on:
- AGM 2021 decisions regarding club communications
- Ride Coordinator reminders
- Ride Calendar 2022 summarizing our season at a glance
- Facebook Group EVENTS postings replacing website postings
- Password-Protected member pages – one fewer!
- New member openings
- Safety reminders
In mid-October last year, we were treated to a quasi-outdoor AGM, thanks to the gracious offer by Gail and Steve to host it in their barn. Thanks as well to outgoing secretary Brenda for her minutes in case you want to refresh your memory about our meeting.
At the AGM, we had a good discussion about the need to change how we track and communicate rides to lighten the load on your Web Administrator’s weary shoulders. For those who were not able to attend, Ruth invited support for her process of issuing two posts per week, and updating the calendar over a 7-month period. She would continue to maintain the site so that pages are up to date and new features are added and be a communications backup for Ride Coordinators when they’re out of town or on holidays.
As she heads into her 10th year as your web administrator, she is so very grateful for everyone’s willingness to try a new approach – i.e., Ride Coordinators were open to learning how to update the ride calendar; members to accommodating a shift to Facebook or another app to replace the website’s twice weekly postings.
Last month, the Exec team, along with Ride Coordinators Sue, Brian and Marshall met to debate the options. In search of a solution that would be the easiest for both Ride Coordinators and members, we concluded that we needed to limit our new approach to no more than two technology tools we’re already using – i.e., the website’s Google Ride Calendar and the Facebook Group. We decided not to add to the mix the CycleClub app that we discussed at the AGM, because this would require club members to download and learn a third technical application.
While our goal is to minimize members’ stress, we suspect there will be one or two challenges on the road to implementation. So thank you in advance for your continued understanding, patience and feedback along the way. For this year, as we experiment with this new approach, our motto needs to be “do it, try it, fix it until we get the formula right!”
The biggest changes for members are described in a little more detail in the next few sections. There is one relatively small change for members and one fairly big change:
- Small change for members: The club’s Google Ride Calendar is now public, therefore no longer needs a password, and has a place on the main menu. It will pretty much look and act the same – but the Ride Coordinators rather than Ruth will keep it updated. Keep in mind that although small for members, it is a big change for Coordinators and they need your support.
- Big change for members: Coordinators will post each ride as an Event on Facebook and members will interact through Facebook to confirm attendance and find out about last-minute updates.
2022 Ride Coordinators
Brian H. will look after the Friday rides until Gail takes over in August. The first Friday ride will be on Easter Friday, April 15, hosted by Wayne & Brenda at 10:00 a.m. from their home in Baltimore.
Tuesday rides start on April 19, after the official Good Friday season opener. Sue will be your contact for the first half of the season. Marshall will take over for the second half of the season from August to the end of October. The first ride will be from the Bewdley Community Centre starting at 10:00 a.m.
2022 Ride Calendar
We’re happy to announce that the 2022 Ride Calendar has been updated for the first half of the season as we test this new approach.
If you click on any date that says “Ride needs Host,” you will find in the description the name of the respective Ride Coordinator, as well as a reminder of the details you need to provide for your ride.
Claim your rides as soon as you can commit to a date! That part hasn’t changed. Sue and Brian have received their basic training and are ready to roll with updating the first half of the calendar as your requests come in. Gail and Marshall will receive their training closer to the second half of the season, when they’ll take over.
What has changed regarding the Google Calendar?
Good news – henceforth our Ride Calendar is public, therefore NO PASSWORD is required to access it. It has its own location on the main menu. We made the decision to go public to make life easier for existing members, prospective new members and Ride Coordinators. Members can quickly remind themselves of ride details or confirm which dates are still open. Guest riders or prospective new members can decide which ride they wish to attend.
However, to protect the privacy of members, only PUBLIC starting locations will be in the Google Ride Calendar. If the ride starts from a member’s home, and you don’t know the address, double check the member directory to confirm these details. If for whatever reason, you cannot access this directory, you can:
- post a question in the FB group and someone will message you individually OR
- call/email a friend or Ride Coordinator who can help.
The Google Ride Calendar that you access on our website summarizes all rides for the entire season. You can also subscribe to this calendar so that the entries appear in your own Google calendar, where you can choose to view them month by month or week by week or day by day. As changes occur to the central calendar, the details will be automatically updated in your subscribed calendar. You then wouldn’t need to visit the website to access it. Each ride entry contains all the details you need, but it DOES NOT HAVE the interactive capability of the Facebook Group EVENTS feature described next.
Facebook Group EVENTS
The Facebook Group EVENTS feature replaces the website’s weekly Tuesday and Friday ride postings. If in the past you followed the website, you would have received an email for each posting. If you were not a fan of email, you would visit the site on your own to find out about the ride. If you made a comment on the posting, you could choose whether to receive any additional comments; if you did not comment, you would have to navigate to the comment thread to learn about any changes or additional details.
How will this change as we move our ride postings to Facebook EVENTS?
Coordinators will use the details from the Google Calendar to create an EVENT for each ride and post it to the GFW Facebook group a few days before the ride. The big difference from the Google Calendar entry is that on the Facebook EVENT, members can let hosts know they’re coming, ask their unique questions, get updates on rides if weather is iffy and thank their hosts. This restricts all of our wonderfully hilarious comments that used to go public on our website to a limited but welcoming audience!
But here’s the catch that makes using Facebook EVENTS a big change for some members. In order to access and comment on these EVENT postings, you must be a member of the GFW Facebook Group. The membership of the Facebook group is reviewed annually and consists of current members ONLY (with one exception), thus ensuring privacy to a small community within the Facebook empire. At the current time, we know of only two members who are not either Facebook members or have a spouse who is a member. We’re working with these two members to bring them on board, but also encourage spouses who are not currently Facebook members to create their unique profile so you can join in the trial. If you are concerned about being tracked in the Metaverse, feel free to use an alias, rather than your own name – just make sure you let us know what your alias is so we can approve your request to join.
Although all members of the GFW Facebook group have the functionality to create an EVENT, we ask that this EVENT feature be used ONLY by Ride Coordinators to create official Tuesday and Friday ride EVENTS. This is to make it as easy as possible for Club members to access the important information pertaining to these rides. The ideal scenario is that members only see posts containing essential information about our official Tuesday and Friday rides when clicking on the EVENTS tab. Members are more than welcome to post details of “pickup” rides and other events such as hikes, cross-country ski outings and community cycling events, but we would like you to post such invitations by using the DISCUSSION rather than the EVENTS tab. Also, we strongly encourage members to post their wonderful ride pictures but, again, post these in the general DISCUSSION area.
Note that if you wish to receive an email notification of each FB ride EVENT posting, as you did with the website postings, you may need to update your Facebook notification settings.
Those less familiar with Facebook will find many enthusiasts in the club who can help you set up your profile and/or change your settings. We’re also in the process of putting together a tipsheet for both Facebook and Google Calendar that we’ll share soon!
There will be only three pages for which you need your password:
For now, the password is the same as last year. Look for an email from us that will provide you with the 2022 password.
The Membership Directory and Emergency Contact list have been updated, but it is possible that a tiny detail can be wrong! So please visit the member directory and the emergency contact directory and check your details, clicking on anything that links.
Send any corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org which goes to Ruth, our Web Administrator. Please use this club email address instead of her other email addresses which you might have for her – she visits Yahoo very infrequently, she no longer works at UTSC and her personal Gmail account is the subject of many lost emails because it requires an easily over-lookable double “l”.
We’re open this year to accepting new members and therefore welcome guest riders in 2022. If you would like to invite a friend for a ride who might be a prospective member, contact Barb to check with her on how best to proceed. Feel free to share the New Member pages with anyone you think might be a good fit with our club!
Safety in 2022
Safety in 2022 continues to be a priority. In addition to reminding members to read up on cycling safety and club risk management expectations, we need to emphasize with you a few points related to COVID.
Indoor gatherings are now allowed without masks. As members will have varying degrees of comfort with respect to social gatherings, we leave it to the hosts’ discretion to determine whether you would prefer to continue our new custom of outdoor Bring-Your-Own-Picnic (BYOP), or instead host a potluck picnic, suggest a restaurant event or tidy your home for a traditional indoor potluck.
All those who renewed their membership have signed the GFW COVID 19 Waiver and agreed to follow the rules set out in the GFW Response to COVID 19. If you have not renewed but still intend to do so, please bring your membership forms and signed waivers to your first ride and give it to one of the Execs or the Ride Coordinator. If you invite a friend, please download the form from our member forms page, and make sure to also download and have your friend sign the waivers.
Although the rules in Ontario have relaxed with respect to COVID, the status can change at any time as infection rates increase. We need to be prepared to pivot in the worse-case scenario. Below are reminders we’ve sent out the last couple years that are worth reviewing and practicing where and when appropriate.
1) Stay at home and do not ride or attend club events if you feel unwell even if symptoms seem mild. Symptoms related to COVID-19 can be:
- headache / runny nose
- difficulty breathing
- pneumonia in both lungs
- chest pain or pressure
2) Avoid all physical contact before during and after rides and maintain a 2-metre distance from other riders – no handshakes or hugs. Remember to bring a mask and be prepared to wear it if entering a public space or supporting riders to change a tire, make a bike repair or fold a change tent to put it inside its holder.
3) Practice good respiratory etiquette and cough or sneeze into your elbow well away from other riders.
4) Refrain from spitting and/or blowing your nose while riding if possible. If you must clear your nose or throat, fall well back behind all other riders to do so. Wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer as soon as possible after.
5) Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
6) Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds after riding, before eating, and after using the bathroom. If there is no hand-wash basin available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 70% alcohol and use enough to allow hands to remain wet for 15 seconds. Consider carrying a small container of hand sanitizer in your jersey pocket or bike bag on all rides.
7) Launder riding gloves between each ride along with jerseys, shorts, riding sleeves, skull caps, etc.
8) Wash, rinse and sanitize water bottles after each ride – sanitize using a mild bleach solution containing 1/2 teaspoon regular household bleach in 1 litre of water.
Your Execs and Ride Coordinators feel blessed to be in the company of such wonderful cycling buddies. Thank you again for your enthusiasm, energy and efforts in support of our club.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, don’t hesitate to comment on this post.
Aim to join us on April 15 at 10:00 am. at Brenda & Wayne’s for our first ride of the season. Even if you can’t ride, consider swinging by, at the beginning or end of the ride, to say hello.
From your 2022 Exec & Ride Coordinator Team
- Executive Team: Barb, Jennifer, Lilianne, Tara and Ruth
- Friday Ride Coordinators: Brian & Gail
- Tuesday Ride Coordinators: Sue & Marshall
Anyone else out there excited that Spring is around the corner? Your GFW execs are meeting today to get the ball rolling on our 2022 cycling season. We’ll be updating the website in the coming week and will get you the details soon via an email and a website post – if you have any suggestions or requests in the meantime, don’t hesitate to comment.
And just when you thought it was time to put your cycling shoes and spandex to bed for the winter, hark, we have one more ride!
Join us at Pete and Ruth’s for the last official Tuesday ride of the season starting at 10:00 am. The route is one we’ve done before from our place. We’ll have printed maps available – distances range from 34 to 50 km.
Sunshine is called for, but bring your cold weather gear. If that doesn’t keep you warm, the hills in our area are sure to bring on the body heat. Picnic to follow – maybe a fire if conditions permit and hot chocolate for sure!
This Saturday, October 30 is our final ride of the season!
Bess is going to be our host, and it starts at 10 am from her home. Address is in the member directory and the calendar.
Doug Barlow is going to be our ride leader, and we will follow him wherever he takes us!
Plenty of space on Bess’s lawns and many great views in all directions. A wonderful place to celebrate our friendships, and put to rest the season. Please bring your picnic, chairs, etc etc.
We’re returning to the Baltimore Arena where another totally successful Freewheeler cycling season began way back on Good Friday, April 2nd. Did someone mention a Pandemic?
Marianne is hosting this Tuesday’s club ride and she invites you to join her on a fun ride through some of the best biking roads in the area as we begin the wind down of this year’s biking season. Maps will be provided at the start. Park close to the back of the arena so that you won’t have far to carry your lunch and comfy chair to our end of ride picnic.
This Saturday’s ride, the Warkworth Variant, will be hosted from Harold’s estate near Castleton. Ride commences at 10am. Maps will be available from the host with the most!
Plenty of room for visiting and picnicing with friends on the lawn after the ride.
Harold is looking forward to seeing everyone who can join.
Paul is hosting this Tuesday’s ride from his home/farm in Cavan (address can be found in the club directory on our website and in calendar). He invites you to join him at 10:00 for a beautiful fall 50 K ride followed by our “after ride picnic”.
Refer to the “Map with GPS” link below for a look the route. Hardcopy maps will be provided at the start.
Mich is hosting Saturday’s ride at 10 am. Meet at the parking lot at the south end of Toronto Street in Newcastle, near the waterfront. See his details below.
The ride can be exactly the same as the summer ride – very flat. During the ride, if we want new roads, we can decide to do Squair Rd instead of Pollard, or even do Concession 5 past the neat pond at the south end of Orono and then Lawrence to rejoin the route.
All those routes would be about 51 kms. We can decide what to do when we get to Pollard Rd.
Usually we stick together through the paths and last time we stuck together till almost the end of the ride.
I can have a map with shortcuts. Shortcuts would be about 25 and 35.
We would start at the parking lot at the south end of Toronto Street – the usual spot we start this ride from. There is no washroom though.
A picnic lunch would be nice, weather permitting.
This is a nice ride for E bikes since there are no hills to drain them and we ride slowly through the paths.
Let’s hope for a sunny day.
Please join Doug & Joanne at 10;00 am for a peddle around East Durham Region.
Starting…ALGOMA Orchards, 201 Regional Rd #42, Newcastle L1B 0T9
Please park at the North west side of the building.
Feel free to pack a lunch, OR there are lots of food & drink options in their store.
There is a bathroom & a few picnic tables & benches for us to sit on after the ride.
We will have maps.
Our Friday Ride Coordinator has cancelled the ride for this weekend as there was no host, members reported being quite busy or away and weather is looking iffy.
Note that there are still two weekends without hosts – the 23-24 weekend and the 30-31 weekend. It’s up to the host whether the ride is Saturday or Sunday. Please contact Katherine if you are up for leading a ride.