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Updates to these articles will be posted as more information becomes available.
Introducing a locally born program to serve our returning combat veterans. Operation Vet-Fit, founded by Bethel Marine, Daniel R. Gaita, provides free 24/7 fitness center usage, personal training, fitness programs, group classes, and veteran oriented camaraderie building fitness related activities.
With the primary mission to reduce the symptoms and effects of combat related post traumatic stress disorder which currently permeates the ranks of our returning combat veterans, Operation Vet Fit provides the one solution that is proven to help; Exercise. In addition, a supportive environment that includes fellow combat veterans, veteran’s parents, soon-to-be veterans, and children of veterans as well as the support of the existing community of members and clients.
Operation Vet Fit founder, Dan Gaita, is a disabled combat veteran recently diagnosed with PTSD and also acts as a direct liaison to the many agencies that currently offer assistance to our vets. Gaita is a member of the American Legion, V.F.W, and a recipient of services offered through the Danbury Veterans Center and the VA.
"One of the biggest challenges our heroes face when they come home from the battlefields is reintegration back to "normalcy".
For too many of us that ends up including drugs and drinking most days of the week. I refer to the phenomenon as "Post Service Behavioral Regression" I have spent sixteen years trying to navigate back to "normal" and I consider my combat experiences minimal at best when compared to today's troops that have served multiple long duration combat tours.
Exercise and fitness has saved my life, and I know it is helping our Operation Vet Fit veterans right now." - Dan Gaita
Gaita is the Owner of Private Studio Fitness, located on Greenwood Avenue in Bethel CT. He's been in the fitness industry since the end of his enlistment following combat and humanitarian operations in Somalia, Bosnia and Haiti.
He has, up until recently, single handedly funded the entire project. But that changed in late June when Help Our Military Heroes co-founder Laurie Hollander donated 8 Spin bikes and introduced Dan and Operation Vet Fit to all of us here.
Through Laurie's growing network of veterans advocates, Operation Vet Fit has begun to receive financial contributions to cover their estimated $20,000 annual cost that will enable us to serve up to 40 combat veterans managing PTSD, at no cost to the veterans.
Operation Vet Fit needs your support. Checks can be made payable to "Operation Vet Fit" and mailed directly to Dan Gaita, 121 Dodgingtown Rd, Bethel CT 06801.
|Ride Leader Season Goals & Ride Level Realignment|
Ride Level Realignment beginning with the 2012 season opening on 3/30
- All evening rides will be begin officially the week of April 1st - sign-in sheets will be requirement
- It is strongly recommended that winter rides sign in riders for insurance purposes. Don't need an official leader, just someone to sign in etc.
- Please make sure each you introduce all new members before the ride starts and please set expectations for this new member - remember they will have no idea what to expect or how to ride in a group with us. Strongly consider assigning an existing member as a "buddy" to these new riders so they feel welcome and understand what's expected of them as part of group ride
- Ride Leader points - after ride computer entry is required in order to receive credit for leading & sweeping a ride.
Please note these levels are designed for weekend rides of distances beyond 30 miles. Riders should consider stepping up a speed level for weeknight rides and rides of less than 25 miles.
Gregg Giddes: A, 18.0 plus - Realigning this group to reduce the speed entry to 18.0, from 19.0 These riders will spilt naturally into two groups when required.
Shin Miyoshi: B, 17.0-18.0 - Realigning this group to keep the current B- group together, but moves them up and into their true speed range as recorded during the prior season based on sign-in sheets
Drew Berescik: B-, 16.0-17.0 - Realigning this group speed range also based on prior results. This will move all the faster C+ out of C+ into this group. B- ride leaders can coordinate with C+ or B- for joint rides.
Mitch Fuchs: C+, 14.0-16.0 - Faster C+ riders, are now part of B-. This group may spilt naturally but if riders exceed 16.0 then they need to move up to B-.
John Dugdale: C, 13.0-14.0 - unchanged
John Beauchamp: D/D+, 11.0-13.0 - unchanged
Gwen Harris: E, 9.0-11.0 - unchanged
Tom Ebersold: Mountain Bike
Nancy Rosett: Touring
|SCBC Members Ride to Remember 9/11|
|Click on any photo to see a larger version.|
|On September 11, 2011 an unofficial club ride took place that became an experience of a lifetime. To do this story justice it would be best to give you the backstory on how it all came about.|
It began 10 days earlier when I received a simple request from John Sohikian, our Rides Director, to post a message on @Chat. The subject read: Interested Cyclists for 50 Miles with Freedom 50/50 Biker. The biker referred to in the subject was Max McManus and the message was about his Freedom 50/50 Tribute Ride to honor the fallen victims of 9/11 and the 9/11 HelpAmerica Foundation.
Max was already into the middle of his 6th week of his Freedom 50/50 ride (50 States in 50 Days) and had travelled over 6,000 miles to that point. Along the way he raised upwards of $20,000 for the 9/11 HelpAmerica Foundation and had received great support from citizens along his ride in the form of food, hotel rooms, and bicycle necessities. The request to Sound Cyclists was that as he got closer to Ground Zero and completing his 7,500 mile bicycle journey, he was looking to gather a following of cyclists who would be willing to make part or all of the 50 mile ride with him from Norwalk to Ground Zero. His intent was to make a big tribute to the 10th anniversary of 9/11 as he rode into the city. Unfamiliar with the area, Max and his team were also looking to find a location where he can meet up with cyclists and start the last leg of his ride. That's where I came in.
The original plan was that Max would arrive in Norwalk some time around around 2:00p on September 11th. From there we would ride to Ground Zero with those who were interested in riding alongside him. A member of his team was working with him to create the exact route he will be taking, which was forwarded to me. But like with all plans, things change and change they did. Right after sending out the initial @Chat message things started to move fast and time was slipping by equally as fast.
They were depending on me to suggest a starting point and to review the route to see if this was even feasible. Getting this thing coordinated with the Freedom 50/50 ride was, to say the least, challenging. Start locations and times were changing right up until the last minute. I spent the better part of the day before redoing the cue sheet to reflect the changes that were being made and adding some critical information that was missing from what was originally provided. There were train schedules to be provided to the riders for their return trip and maps for the crew so they knew where all the street closures were downtown. Because of that, I became extremely familiar with every twist and turn of this very urban route.
Due to the schedule for finishing up the last State Max needed to complete and the logistics of getting down to the new starting point (the Greenwich/Port Chester line), his team's arrival got pushed back a few times. The riders were extremely patient as we waited. We spent time talking about our own 9/11 experiences 10 years earlier. When Max arrived there were the formalities of the meet and greet, handing out of tee shirts and wrist bands, and photo and video ops before we finally starting riding at 2:45p.
Max asked me to lead the group and he would just follow along. He did spend time talking to us along the way. I got the impression he enjoyed the opportunity to talk to real human beings as he rode since up until this point he had been riding alone. Since the ride took us along most of Route 1, it became the ultimate ride clinic. One of the main skills being practiced was clicking and unclicking and clicking and unclicking what seemed to be a billion times during the ride. Traffic lights abounded and we were determined to follow the rules and keep ourselves safe, despite all the "stuff" to be found in the road or where no road existed (New York potholes).
Whatever worry there was riding in The Bronx was dispelled with what one of the riders termed a "cultural exchange." Then there were the cars, buses and cabs to deal with and areas where we never had to cope with the kinds of congestion we did. And with all that, we still managed to stay pretty much together. We did have one puncture but that was handled rather quickly and we were on our way. We were informed during our way through the Bronx that an NBC crew was waiting for us but given the timing I suspected they weren't going to wait around for our arrival, even though Max and I lifted the pace a bit.
Surprisingly, upper Manhattan was very quiet. Hordes of people seems to appear from Union Square on south, since all the actively of the day was located in lower Manhattan. We had to circumnavigate around the people darting across the street along Broadway, the main part of our route to World Trade, which we had to use since it was scheduled to be the only main street open. I had earlier informed Max and his team that any hope of getting close to the area around World Trade was non existent given all the security. All that changed as we approached the area. Since we arrived later than originally planned, barriers started coming down letting foot and bike traffic through to Church Street. Getting close to the site was something I had promised Max I would try to do if I could so he could see the construction of the Freedom Tower up close (photo above).
Unfortunately, some of our group did get separated from us and ended up in Battery Park, where we eventually hooked up with them and Max's crew (minus NBC), but not before I gave Max an opportunity to see the Statue of Liberty as we snaked around looking for the others. We hung around the park for a while and got pictures taken and videos shot. Even a tour bus went by and people started snapping pictures thinking this was a big event. It was to us.
We finally said our goodbyes but I made a promise to those in our group who missed Ground Zero that I would take them back there before heading back to Grand Central. We travelled along a very familiar route of mine from another event and I was surprised to see that security had opened a section of West Avenue This got us a very good view of the World Trade area but since they had a section closed off to traffic right along the immediate area of the site, we couldn't look down into the memorials.
We then headed back up 6th Avenue and over to Grand Central, where we headed downstairs for something to eat and then to our departing train. The conductor opened up an unused bar car for us at the front of the train so we could fit our bikes easily.
We arrived at our designated stations where we had parked earlier in the day and headed home. It was the end of a perfect day.
|Thanks to one of the founding members of Sound Cyclists, Nancy Rosett, a new ride category has been added to the variety of rides we offer. This new designation is called Touring. The listing now appears on the Pace and Terrain page and has been incorporated into our Ride Scheduling System. Nancy attend the last board meeting for the purpose of presenting this concept, which was overwhelming approved.|
"While there is no speed designation, riders are expected to be able to maintain at least an average of 10 mph for the entire ride. These rides are social outings to view the scenery, visit interesting spots along the route and enjoy the company of the other riders. Riders are expected to be self-sufficient. The cue sheets will have designated regrouping spots so riders do not need to stay with the ride facilitator. Riders can ride with the facilitator, ride on their own and stop at the regrouping stops or just do the whole route on their own," Nancy explained to the board.
Another long-standing member of the club, Clyde Gourley, has for years expounded the virtues of touring and now Nancy has brought it to the forefront and made it a reality. To some extent some of our existing rides have been handled with this concept in mind, one being the Block Island ride. In the very near future a few of these rides will be popping up on the schedule so keep an eye out for them.
|As the poster says: I WANT YOU. We really do - for any one of a number of things. So this is your opportunity to get involved and have fun at the same time.|
We are asking all members to consider becoming a ride leader this year. If you are a member in good standing and a responsible person who would enjoy leading fellow members on any one of a number of club rides, the process is easy. You can contact one of our rides coordinators or our rides director to discuss your desire to lead a ride. Sweeps are always needed as well, so consider volunteering at a ride to help out our ride leaders or you can contact them in advance and let them know you are willing to help them out.
We hold a couple of picnics during the course of the year, as well as other events where help is always appreciated. Contact our programs director, Barbara Benedict and tell her what you would like to do.
|Beginner rider... New rider... Novice rider... Just learning-to-ride rider...|
However you describe yourself, the Sound Cyclists Bike Club wants to help you ride more, learn more, and gain confidence and skill on your bike.
We know that a pack of lycra-clad cyclists, chatting casually about their favorite 60-mile route or their 18 mph pace or their favorite monster hill, can be a bit intimidating. Especially if you're still getting used to all those gears and the terrifying clips on the bottom of your shoes!
We know. We've all been there. But we've gotten better as we've ridden more – and we want to help you to the same. For the 2009 riding season, the Sound Cyclists Bike Club is providing new enhancements (such as Instructional Riding Class for New Riders) and new resources (such as Buddy system) for beginner/new riders.
Rides are regularly posted on this site and announced on the club's newsletter. Rides listed as a "E or D" often have shorter distances that might suit your level. And, once you're comfortable with distances around 20-25 miles, come to the regular Friday evenings social rides. You'll generally find riders of all levels at this popular ride.
We look forward to riding with you.
|Travel Boxes Available to Club Members|
|The club has available to its members sturdy shipping boxes for those traveling with their bikes. These boxes will be available on a first come, first server bases. In the event of a booking conflict, the box will go to the member having a record of volunteering for the club. The free use of the shipping boxes will require a $300 security deposit for a maximum period of two-weeks. To book usage of a box, contact Charles Doran at email@example.com.|