Cycling Background

Naperville BC

John & I joined the Naperville Bicycle Club which at the time was sponsored by the Naperville Park District.  The club scheduled group rides on Wednesday evenings for ice cream and Saturday mornings for breakfast.   The rides included riders of all abilities, so the stronger riders often took a longer route and/or waited at the food destination for the weaker riders.  Membership was by family, so there were actually more riders than the 200 families that belonged.
As the club grew the number of easy (11-13mph) riders increased; enough so they started easy rides on Tuesdays.  Many of the easy riders looked at cycling as a good exercise that allowed them to socialize during the ride.  From time to time you would hear the comment, "Please ride more slowly so we can keep talking."  
A gravel bike path, The Illinois Prairie Path, was just north of Naperville.  The club started up two rides on it.  Initially a Thursday evening "mountain bike ride" that often used the path.  Later a Friday Beer & Pizza ride went out the path to a pizza place.  
With the addition of Sunday breakfast rides and Monday beginner rides the club had rides every day of the weak during the warmer season.  At times there were multiple rides scheduled on the same day, even during the same hours.  
During the late spring, summer, and early fall there are often two invitational rides in the Chicago area.  Invitational rides are sponsored by a bike club that provides marked routes of 25 to 100 miles, food at rest stop, SAG vehicles for riders who break down for a modest fee, at that time about $20.  The Naperville Bike Club often participated in groups sometimes with as many as 20 riders in a double pace line.  We had six or eight riders in a rotating double pace line with more riders, who maintained their position, following behind.  
In the winter the club modified its Sunday rides from breakfast rides to lunch rides.  The most common locale was FermiLab in Batavia, where we rode from one entrance gate to another.  FermiLab is miles in diameter where a particle accelerator is located underground.  After sufficient riding we gathered at the home of one of the riders for potluck lunch.    
Besides local rides we had away rides – mostly weekends, but sometimes for a week.  The most common location was New Glarus, WI, a village of Swiss immigrants who maintained their traditions.  Except for the residents speaking English, you would think you were in a Swiss village.  We stayed in the Chalet Landhaus and ate at restaurants like the Glarner Stube.  This was in a dairy farming area in Wisconsin, where rush hour traffic was a half a dozen cars and pickup trucks.  We also went to other Wisconsin locations: Spring Green, Sparta, & Plymouth and Amish country in Indiana.
Many of our weeklong away rides had Arizona as the locale, but we also went to San Diego, Texas Hill Country, and New Hampshire.  Arizona started as a way to ride during the cold season, getting a break from the winter – a winter breakaway.  We received some help with routes from members of GABA (Greater AZ Bicycle Assn), who in the beginning led our rides.  We ended up with a dozen routes, more than enough for our week.
Besides rides we came up with one type of non-ride for the winter season.  About one a month we drove to a restaurant, we would have ridden to in the summer getting together for breakfast.  At one time we did this after the club's spinning classes.
The vibrancy of our ride schedule was due to the efforts of one ride director who for several years carried next month's ride calendar with him and got us to sign up to lead rides while we ate.  I haven't ridden with NBC except on a rare occasion since the "good old days" when the club had rides every day of the week, weekend trip every month, and annual trips to a warm clime in the winter.

updated: 10 years ago