Prez Sez Happy New Year!

Greetings BCI members.
First, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New year, with best wishes and hopes for many more enjoyable and safe bike rides in 2017. Looking back on this last year, I can say that it was a good year for BCI, with many good rides and activities. Riders at all levels were able to participate in rides that matched their abilities and I am happy that BCI was able to provide a venue that made that possible. BCI has always defined itself as a social biking club rather than a racing club, so it has always been somewhat of a challenge to satisfy as many levels and needs of riders as we have been able to, so to those of you who have contributed to that effort, both past and present, thank you from all of us.

We are once again at that time of the year when BCI Board Member elections are about to take place. In the last news alert the nominees for board positions were published and nominations closed 12/21/16. There was only one nomination for each position, so the board needs only to be formally voted on and duly elected, and that will happen at the Annual Meeting dinner on Jan 21. Hopefully as many of you as possible will be able to attend and participate. The 2 directors at large will be appointed by the incoming board at the first board meeting on Jan 25. Anyone interested in serving on the board in that capacity should advise one of the board members prior to that date.

This year 5 board members have decided to step down.  Penny Poorman - Vice President, Suzanne McCord - Hospitality, Norm Moyer - Ride Coordinator, Ann Reichling - Treasurer, and Monica McCarthy - Membership. All have done an outstanding job of coordinating and organizing so many activities. Penny, the general meetings, booking the rooms, getting speakers, scheduling board meetings, along with so many other activities during the year. Suzanne, supplying the food and nourishments at our meetings and social gatherings, and maintaining the inventories and sales of Club Jerseys,  Norm, rides posted online, route slips kept updated, insuring rides always available, the most crucial of responsibilities. Ann, everything pertaining to the monies, bill payments, insurance monitoring, income maintenance, a key responsibility. Monica,  maintaining membership lists and collection of membership dues, helping with remote rides, the Bike Rally, staying on top of so many things. To all of you, thanks so much for all of your efforts. You will all be missed.

Those who will be staying on are Bob McHenry, our secretary, who prepares the monthly minutes of the board meetings,  Marc Urias, our Statistician, who records and maintains member mileage, Bill Sellin, our communications director, and of course, our founder, who keeps everyone posted online with all club upcoming activities, Jim Norman, past Treasurer and Director at Large, a key contributor to our new web site, and consultant on insurance policies as well as many other issues, who will be stepping up as our as our next Ride Coordinator. And finally, yours truly, who will continue as President. Thanks for all you do. Glad you will still be with us.

As to the four new board members. Maya Zeigler, who is be our Vice President-elect is an old-timer in the club whom I have known for many years, and I look forward to working with her. Jane Schrenzel; Hospitality, Deby Six; Membership are not new to the club and although I have not gotten to know them well yet, come highly recommended. I met Steve Buescher at the general meeting in October when he volunteered to put his name in as treasurer and we accepted his nomination at that time. I am excited and looking forward to working with the incoming board in 2017.

It may seem like a lot to say about the board happenings, but then without the board there is no club. We show up on a given day to ride, with certain expectations. A route slip to choose from, an enjoyable ride, a fairly decent rest stop with coffee, a pit stop, some socializing, and then we're off. Of course being able to go online and check out upcoming rides and other events? And how about if you're one of the few that gets into an accident, and suddenly has a need for the insurance that's in place to cover your medical expenses. What does it take to keep all that in place? A tremendous amount of time and effort. It's' the board members who take care of all that, on their own time, with no remuneration except the good feeling of contributing to and being a part of BCI in a meaningful way. So a word of thanks now and then is a well appreciated token of respect and gratitude.

OK, on to another topic. On Saturday, January 21, the first "Bear" Training Ride will be held. Old-timers remember this as being a series of 10 bi-weekly Saturday rides dedicated to giving members the opportunity to work on and improve their hill climbing abilities. They will commence on the 21st and occur every two weeks afterwards. I created this series of rides way back in the early 90's and the purpose was twofold. First, it gave an excellent opportunity for those who wanted to participate in the OC Wheelmen's Ride Around the Bear, a 100 mile century ride which went from Redlands up to Big Bear Lake, then on up to Onyx Summit and down Rte 18 back to Redlands, a total of 9,500 ft of climb. Second, it was also for those who wanted simply to improve their hill climbing abilities. You could do them all, or some of them, or one or two, whatever your preference, or quit wherever on the ride you were if you felt you had enough.

The training rides became a tradition over the years. I was not able to do them in the least several years due to my back problems and resulting surgeries, and they became sort of a combination  of OC Wheelmen and BCI coordinated rides. This year I decided to put them on again in the old format but we have found recently that the Wheelmen will no longer be putting on that century. We will still put in the training rides but now we don't have a name for them. On the one hand the name Bear Training Rides has been a mainstay over time. One suggestion was to call it Hill Training Rides but somehow that's kind of flat. I hear the Wheelmen will make their Breathless Agony Ride their ride of the hills this year so another suggestion was to call it Breathless Training or Breathless Agony training. I think that name might discourage a good number of BCI riders, which defeats the purpose of the rides. I thought maybe I'd call it "Not Bear" training rides for no reason other than the humor of it. In any case, the rides, name or no name, will start Saturday, Jan 21, at 9 AM out of Deerfield. Don't look for me to keep up on the rides. If I do ride I'm so slow I'll be so far behind you won't see me anyway. I'll be sort of a sweep, and may have to shorten my own ride. So do your own pace, and as slow as you might be, don't try to keep up with the faster riders. That may work for a bit on flats but not on hills. Ride your own pace.

On another topic, we are talking about the possibility of designing a new club jersey. We are looking for a few volunteers who would be interested in participating in creating some options to present to the board. Alex Lim has offered to head up this group and Jim Norman will be the liaison between the group and the board. If you're interested in participating you can email Jim or Alex.

 On that note I'll close for now. I look forward to seeing you on a ride or at one of our meetings or social functions. Enjoy your rides and stay safe.

Mike Farrell