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As I See It, Vol. 2, No. 1

MICHAEL VALAZZA | Published on 10/2/2023

October 2023

Hello Free Wheelers, 

When I last wrote to you back in May, I commented that it seemed as if it had been raining on most weekends in April and May.  Well, you can say the same for September as the Club encountered rain during several weekends, including the weekend of our Annual Picnic.  However, thanks to flexibility by both our caterer, BBistro, and the Tall Cedars Picnic Grove, we were able to abruptly move the date to this upcoming Sunday, October 8.   As of this writing it looks that we have 80 members currently registered for the picnic meals.  (This is the red box on the ride calendar.  The rides have a separate registration.  If you are riding and staying for food, please register in both places so that we can capture an accurate headcount for the caterer).

Besides the picnic, I want to mention two other upcoming events that many of you may be interested in, and they are only a few days away.

On Wednesday, October 4, the Princeton Free Wheelers will be holding our annual Octogenarian Day.  This is the day that we honor the club’s elder statemen and statewomen, many of whom represent the bedrock upon which the club was founded.  This year’s 15 honorees are Spencer Halper (89!), Ernie Lee, Fred Goldstein, Ben Blum, Paul & Jane Kimmel, Melinda Reisner, Dennis Whitney, Mike & Phyllis Suber, Albert Mizenko, Mike Ruderman, Norbert Wetzel, Chris Eggers and Mike Hernandez.  Many of the honorees remain active cyclists, certainly a key component to their long and fulfilling lives.  On that day there will be three ride groups going out:  a C-pace (33 miles), a slow C+ pace (89km* – to match Spence’s age), and a faster C+ pace (59 miles).  If you can’t join the ride but still want to join in the celebration, all three groups will meet up at the Olde World Bakery in Smithville at approximately 11:00 AM.  Come out and join us if you can.  More details about the ride routes and distances are on the Ride Calendar. 
*[Note: 89 kilometers = 55.3 miles]

Next weekend, in addition to our picnic, on Saturday we will be holding the 6th Annual Don Sprague Memorial Century.  While our longtime members assuredly warmly remember Don, many of our newer members may not have ever had the opportunity to complete a century ride with him.  During his time with the club, Don Sprague completed over 35 century rides and 4 double centuries.  He also participated in at least six MS 150 rides, five Anchor House rides and four Bike Virginia rides.  Don made completing a century approachable for those who may have been intimidated by the thought of engaging that distance, and many PFW club members fondly recall completing their first century with Don as the ride leader.  I am proud to have created the Sprague Memorial Century rides back in 2018 and am pleased to report that the five previous Sprague Centuries have seen 101 participants, with 10 completing their first century ride.  In 2021 and again this year in 2023 we will have multiple paces completing the course, which changes a bit each year to keep it from getting monotonous.   Our 2023 course begins in Cranbury, heads southeast to Manasquan and Sea Girt, travels north through Belmar and Asbury Park to Rumson where it turns west and returns via Holmdel and Englishtown.

Through September, there have been 957 reported group rides already this year, and the club has ridden a cumulative 259,967 miles.  You may recall that in 2022 there were 1,089 reported rides totaling a cumulative 295,605 miles.  We are on track to easily surpass these numbers.  The month of May is the highwater mark so far this year, with 155 rides totaling 44,101 miles. In fact, the months of July and August also surpassed over 40,000 miles ridden. And so far, 35 ride leaders have qualified for jerseys and 60 members have led at least one ride. 

Membership has maintained a rolling average of roughly 700 members throughout the year as the club finds itself on solid footing.  This has allowed the board to introduce some new wrinkles, like the Food Truck at the Independence Day All-Paces, to provide additional opportunities for members to mingle socially.  Thanks to those who responded to the survey; I would like to report that this event was well received.  Some suggestions were made that were on point and will be factored into any future reprise.


Holiday Party:

If you haven’t already, please mark your calendars with the date of this year’s Holiday Party.  The date is Saturday, December 2, beginning at 6:30 pm at the Princeton Elks Lodge on Route 518 in Skillman, NJ.  There will be some valuable door prizes this year, so you won’t want to miss it.  Keep an eye out for some more details coming soon to your email inbox…


Ride with GPS Route Downloading:

Some members have had difficulty downloading routes posted on the PFW Ride with GPS page.  Please keep in mind that you must log into the Club’s account (not your own account) in order to be able to download the routes.  Contact Jim Brittain for access to the PFW RWGPS page if you don’t have access already.



To make it easier for our members to reach our board of trustees, several board members now have “club email addresses” that can be handed off to successors in the future. 

Cycling is a way for people to get outside and get moving after a day of being indoors at work or school. As a hobby, it promotes good health and physical fitness. In addition, bicycling is relatively inexpensive when compared to other activities.  I guess that’s why we all enjoy it so much!


Well, that’s “As I See It”.


Happy Pedaling!

Michael (Mike) Valazza

President of the Board of Trustees

Please patronize our PFW Sponsors. Clicking on the ad will bring you to their site:

RoadMaestro Bicycle Service
Mobile Bicycle repair based in
Hightstown, NJ
Click on the logo for info.

Ramblin' Wrench
Bike maintenance comes to you!
Discounts to FreeWheeler Members

7 Route 31
Pennington, NJ 08534
Mon-Fri 10-6
Sat 930-430
Sun 12-4

Jay's Cycles
249 Nassau St
Princeton, NJ 08540
Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri 11am-6pm
Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm
Closed Wednesdays

683 Mercer Street 

Hightstown, NJ 08520

Mon, Wed, Fri: 10-6
Tu, Thu: 10-7
Sat: 10-5
Sun: 11-3

Sourland Cycles
53 E Broad St
Hopewell, NJ 08525
Sun: 11am - 4pm
Mon: Closed
Sat: 10am - 5pm

Halter's Cycles
1325 US 206
Skillman, NJ 08558
Mon-Fri 11-7
Sat 10-5
Sun 12-4

Updated 3/1/2024