HERO Wounded Warrior 1,200-Mile Ride

Jeff Masters takes a moment of silence, having finished the 1,200-plus-mile Wounded Warrior Charity Bike Ride.

Jeff Masters takes a moment of silence, having finished the 1,200-plus-mile Wounded Warrior Charity Bike Ride.

A year or so ago, Jeff Masters was telling me about a 1,200-plus-mile bike ride he was planning. I nodded in all the right places and wished him the best. You see, every cyclist has an epic ride in the works the same same way every writer has a great novel in the typewriter. The difference, of course, is that Jeff made it happen.

Funny thing is, Jeff didn’t just plan and execute a bike ride, he created an organization and mission at the same time.

HERO Charity Bike Ride

HERO Charity Bike Ride From the HERO Charity Ride web site…

The HERO Charity Bike Ride is a 28-day bike ride from New York City to West Palm Beach, Florida, to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. United States military personnel serve to defend and protect us every day, putting themselves in perilous situations for our freedom. They make the ultimate sacrifice day in and day out. The Wounded Warrior Project was created to help support, rehabilitate and reacclimate wounded service members after they return home from combat.

The founder of the HERO Charity Bike Ride, Jeff Master, understands how great the sacrifice is for these warriors’ after losing his father in the Vietnam War just four months before he was born. He and his team are compelled to do their part to support our military veterans and their families by riding their bikes to raise money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Daily Blog from the Cyclist

Jeff did a darn good job of keep folks up to date on his progress. Be sure and check out Jeff’s HERO Charity Bike Ride blog. Lots of pictures, maps and videos from the trip.

Sponsors and Supporters Open Wallets

Supporters of the HERO Charity Bike RideWhen Jeff started the project, he hoped that it would raise a couple thousand dollars for the Wounded Warrior Project. Last I heard, his efforts had raised more than $8,000. You can still make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project. I’m pleased that my local bike shop, On Your Mark, was one of the sponsors and the associated club sent riders out for the last leg.

Jeff and On Your Mark finish the 1,200-mile bike ride.

Photos from the Memorial Day Ride Finish

Jeff traveled 1,200 miles and still managed to hit the finish line right on time. You gotta admire that military-like precision.

Jeff Masters arrives at the Memorial Day Picnic after the 1,200-mile Wounded Warrior Charity Bike Ride
Jeff Masters speaks at the Memorial Day Picnic after the 1,200-mile Wounded Warrior Charity Bike Ride
Jeff Masters speaks to Channel 25 at the Memorial Day Picnic after the 1,200-mile Wounded Warrior Charity Bike Ride

Memorial Day 2012

Jeff made it back. No matter what sort of shape you’re in, 1,200 miles in 28 days ain’t easy. Please, take a moment today, between picnics and car shopping, to give thanks to those who gave their lives while in military service, for those that didn’t make it back from whatever distance they traveled.

Jeff Masters and Matt Goforth of On Your Mark

Ladies Cycling Society Night Ride

I’ve been getting invitations to the Ladies Cycling Society Tuesday night rides for some time, but I’ve either been out of town or lightning has scared me off. I’m not saying I DESERVE to be hit by lightning, but why take a chance that Thor is having an off night and misses the target he was aiming at. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)

Riding partner Anne on the mend

Riding Partner Anne has been to several of them, but was afraid she wasn’t going to get medical clearance after a fall that resulted in broken ribs and a punctured lung. She’d like to brag that it happened on her bike, but the real story, while frightening, doesn’t involve road rash or crashing out. (That’s Anne in the pink jersey on the right in the top photo.)

Gender reassignment not necessary

When I got my first invitation from organizer Tyra Forker, I wanted to clear up something first.

Here’s my message to her: “Thank you for adding me to the Ladies Cycling Society. Before I accept the honor, I have to ask one important question: there’s no gender reassignment involved in the membership, is there?”

She quickly assured me that I wouldn’t have to switch to a girl’s bike, but guys are asked to kick in a $5 donation that’ll go toward paying MS150 expenses.

(That’s Tyra, in green, installing a spoke card above.)

Carvel is West Palm Beach institution

Former coworker George Primm and I met Tyra on our way to our first West Palm Beach Critical Mass ride a couple years ago. We were stopped at a red light when a car went blasting through the intersection and almost T-boned another one. She was on one corner and we were on the other.

When the light changed, we stopped to compare notes about what we had seen and started chatting about bikes. She was new in town from Kansas City, down to work on arty stuff at the Armory. We invited her to join us. That marked her introduction to the Freakbike Militia community. We like to thank that chance encounter at a red light has had something to do with her sticking around the area.

Colorful bikes

The rides form up at Carvel Ice Cream on South Dixie on Tuesday nights at 7 P.M. Roll-out, strictly enforced by Tyra is 7:20 SHARP. A coin flip decided whether the group was going south to Lake Worth or north to Palm Beach. The coin came up heads, so Palm Beach it was.

Spoke cards by Tyra

Before we pulled out, though, we were given one of Tyra’s creations: laminated spoke cards to put between our bicycle spokes.

We headed over to Flagler Dr., across the Southern Blvd. bridge, then up A1A to the lifeguard stand on Palm Beach.

As fast as slowest rider

The ride was almost exactly 10 miles from my house, which is only a few blocks from Carvel. It’s a ride that’s billed to be as fast as the slowest rider. My average speed for the whole evening was 9.6 mph. Considering that Anne and I picked up the pace when we were riding back by ourselves, the group ride speed would have been even lower.

A good part of the time was riding in a double line because traffic was so light. If we saw someone coming up behind us, we’d single up. We got lots of friendly waves and had no unfortunate encounters with anyone.

Charlie Brown would have been at home

The invitation said the evening was going to consist of a bicycle ride, a dip in salt water and flying kites. At least three riders brought kites. We arrived at the beach just about dark-thirty. Kites were launched in near – then pitch – darkness. There were a few Charlie Brown moments, but no riders were permanently injured.

A few of the riders headed down to the surf for a quick swim. When Tyra sent an invitation for a swim ride while I was out in the Midwest, I made a suggestion: “Do it sans suits and I bet the guys would kick in more than $5.”

Her response wasn’t exactly a no: “We’re saving the sans suits ride for the calendar photo shoot! Hope you’re enjoying MO besides the heat…”

Getting comfortable on the beach

We had just stated getting comfortable when we saw the glow of a nearly-full moon pulling itself out of the ocean.

Here comes the moon

I had just about decided that this one of those nights when make I’d memories, not photos, when the temptation to grab a few frames got to be too much. I discovered that I’m not capable of hand-holding a camera with an exposure of 8 to 10 seconds. Still, I sort of like the effect.

Just think a couple generation ago, beachcombers might have been illuminated by the soft glow of a campfire. Today, the illumination comes from a smartphone screen.

Waves in the moonlight

You can see from the moon that I was moving the camera around during the long exposure, but the waves came out fairly well.

Goodnight, Moon

Finally, almost too soon, it was time to hop on the bikes and head out. Several of the folks wanted to make a bathroom break, so we rode over to public restrooms in West Palm Beach. (Palm Beachers don’t like to provide those kinds of amenities.) Anne didn’t want to stretch her first bike outing too much since her fall, so we peeled off from the group and headed home by ourselves.

If you are on Facebook, here’s the fan page for the Ladies Cycling Society of the Greater Palm Beaches.




St. Louis Moonlight Ramble

I was stuck in Cape Girardeau, Mo., waiting for a rebuilt transmission to be put in my van so I could return home to Florida. Brother Mark, who lives in St. Louis, encouraged me to come up for the 48th Annual Moonlight Ramble Saturday night / Sunday morning. It attracts 10,000 riders and kicks off somewhere around midnight.

I told him I didn’t have a big problem with midnight, but that I didn’t like the idea of being on streets clogged with a mix of riders.

He assured me that he had ridden the event several times and that starts are staggered, the streets are wide and the 13-mile route is long enough to let everybody have plenty of space.

Mother loaned me her Mazda

I didn’t bother to even try to see if my Surly Long Haul Trucker would fit in my mother’s four-door Mazda until Saturday mid-afternoon just before the two-hour drive to St. Louis. I figured that her two rear seats fold down, giving access to the trunk, so loading my bike would be a piece of cake.

Well, the seats DID fold down, but the access hole was way narrower than I thought. There was no way I was going to get the bike in THAT car without taking off more than I was willing to take off for a 13-mile gaggle.

Enterprise rental is just up the road

I’ll just rent a car. No big deal. Except that Enterprise closes at 1 p.m. on Saturday and it’s after 3. I put in a call to Wife Lila, who tells me that there’s a Hertz dealer just down the road.

They closed at noon.

I’ll buy a rack

I have a Yakima Kingpin 5 on my van, but it’s stuck in the transmission shop. I don’t trust strap-on racks for good reason. Still, I pulled into Cape Bicycle, folks who wouldn’t steer me wrong. They HAD a rack that looked sturdy enough to hold my LHT, but it cost $149. Too much for one-time use.

How about U-Haul?

College is starting up. They didn’t have a piece of rolling stock to rent me, even if it hadn’t been too expensive. They sent me to Budget. They were closed, too.

At that point, I called Bro Mark and said I was bailing. “When you foul off that many pitches, the next one is either gonna be a strike or a beanball. Somebody’s telling me that I shouldn’t be doing this ride. Even if I could FIND transportation, I have this fear that there’s a tanker truck with my name on it somewhere between Fruitland and Old Appleton.”

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard reward

Mark said he’d document the ride with his iPhone, and that’s what he did. It appears that the Ted Drewes Frozen Custard at the end was the high point of the ride for him. (Either that or he was picking up some product placement payola that he didn’t share with me.)

Moonlight Ramble Photo Gallery

Click on any image to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to mover through the gallery.

2011 Tour de Bar June 4

tour-de-bar-2010_094_DSC_8364 Folks keep asking me when this year’s Tour de Bar is going to be held. I don’t know. What I WILL do is pass on this message from a friend who is a member of the Hash House Harriers, described as “the drinking club with a running problem.”


I can’t tell you if the information is correct. You may get there any have to organize your own pub crawl on the fly. It’s not exactly my kind of bike ride, so you won’t see me there. Maybe somebody will provide pix like they have in the past.

Sat June 4 – Tour De Bar ‘11

Come on a pay as you go bicycle pub crawl down US 1

and over to Singer Island with 400 other pub-cycling folks!!

Starting location is

The Brass Ring Pub

200 US Hwy 1

North Palm Beach , FL 33408


Exit I-95 at North Lake Blvd (exit #77) and go EAST

Go EAST on North Lake Blvd 2.5 miles to US 1

Go SOUTH on US 1 and into the shopping plaza

on the WEST side of the road.

Park at the north 4 rows of the parking lot opposite the Brass Ring.

Tour De Bar 2011 will start at noon, 6/4/11.

We will be raising money again to pay for Palm Beach Shores police,

and the remainder will go to the

Give a Life Foundation promoting organ and tissue donation awareness.

100,000 are on waiting lists.

Thank-you again for your continued support of this charitable event.

Let’s rock…

2009 and 2010 Tour de Bar photos