Charles River Wheelers

Thanks to the CRW

2023-11-20 7:00 AM | Anonymous

By Harriet Fell

I want to thank the board of the CRW for honoring me with a life membership.

As a CRW member since 1976, the club has been important in my life in several ways and I’ll describe a few of those here.

I did not really enjoy CRW rides during my first few years as a member.  I had ridden for 2 years with a club in France and we usually rode in a double paceline, taking turns with the pull, and we always chatted as we rode.  We also always made a stop at a café along the route for an expresso.  The rides were a pleasant social experience.  The CRW style seemed to be “ride as fast as you can and then stand around and brag.”  I was pretty fast back then but it just wasn’t the same kind of social experience as in my French club. 

The first club century after I joined left from the Duck Feeding Area along the Charles river.  I cycled to the start in a slight rain and the only person there was someone in a car who told me it had been canceled because of rain.  I’d done my first 200k in freezing rain so I was surprised to see this century cancelled.

We didn’t communicate online back then and the CRW sent out a printed monthly newsletter listing the club rides and other cycling events.  The first newsletter I received had a clip about a weekend rally in Newport, RI to be run by the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen.  I packed up my bike and cycled from home in Newton Highlands to the hotel in Newport that was the base for the rally.  Cycling with the NBW was more like my experience in France.  We often rode double or in pelotons 3 or 4 abreast. There were more roads in Rhode Island where this felt safe than there are in eastern Massachusetts.

I didn’t have a car at the time so I couldn’t get to most of the NBW rides but I did go on a few that left from Diamond Hill Park, about 35 miles from home so cycling to and from a ride in addition to doing the ride made for a nice century.  I met and rode a lot with Carl Drummond that weekend.  He had been a pro board track racer in his youth and was still a very strong rider in his 60s.  When he found out that I was interested in doing long rides, he got the club to run a couple of double centuries that I went on. 

So, I want to thank the CRW for introducing me to the NBW.

In 1979, I met Harold Lewis.  We met each other on the road as we both lived in Newton and used to go out on early morning rides.  I got to know him and his family.  One day he told me he was going to lead a CRW ride the next weekend and that I should go on the ride.  As ride leader, he swept the ride as was common in the days before cell phones.  So, I rode sweep with him.  We were moving much slower than necessary riding pretty far behind the last participants.  A few late arrivals passed us and I tried to get Harold to move faster and stay with them but he just wouldn’t pick up the pace.  About an hour into the ride, the last of the late starters went zapping by and yelled a cheery “Hi” to Harold as he passed.  I told Harold to get on my wheel because I intended to catch that one. I caught up to him and my first words to him were “You’re riding fixed gear aren’t you.”  The rider was Sheldon Brown and we got married in December of that year.  We went on a lot of CRW rides together and led many ourselves.

So, I want to thank the CRW for introducing me to my husband, Sheldon Brown.

After Sheldon died in 2008, I stayed a club member but rarely rode with the club.  My cycling was mostly commuting with an occasional weekend ride or overnight trip.  In my head, I was still riding long distances and had managed a century about once every decade since my return to the US in 1976. I retired in 2015, the month I turned 71 and I was determined to get back to cycling.  I also started doing volunteer work for the CRW.  I felt cycling had been an important part of my life and it was time for some payback.  I have really enjoyed doing this work.  It’s been a great chance to meet other cyclists chatting while we work.  I, like most cyclists I’ve met, like to talk about cycling and hear about other people’s times on the road.  I’ve gotten back to getting in over 5000 miles most years as well as a few centuries and 200k rides each year.  I do these on my own and then I don’t feel left out when I help run club centuries instead of riding them.

So, I want to thank the CRW for letting me work as a volunteer and for letting me serve on the board. 

Now that I have moved to Oakland, California I hope to hook up with cyclists out here but if/when I get a bicycle set up on a trainer in my apartment, I hope to put my life membership to use by joining some of the club’s Zwift rides. 

Thanks for everything.

-- Harriet Fell

© Charles River Wheelers, a 501(c)3 Organization

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software