Notes from the Chair – November 2016

by Matt Birnbaum

As I head into the twilight of my two-year tenure as chair of the Club, I can again begin to step back and reflect on the undertaking of this year’s Back Roads Century and all of the other great activities that simultaneously occurred over the past month. This of course includes the annual Farm Tour, the large number of Club rides offered every day across the District, Maryland and Virginia metropolitan region, as well as the behind-the-scenes care in administering the Club’s day-to-day operations.

We give much attention in this newsletter to the wonderful achievement of pulling off the Back Roads Century in our new home in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. It was a great accomplishment for more than 1,850 cyclists who had opportunities to ride on two consecutive days in further branding our event as a fantastic weekend destination every September. We again maximized spending as much money locally as possible. In addition to procuring many food items and supplies with area firms, we also partnered with a new array of local community groups in running the rest stops and helping with other key functions. Outside of the tens of thousands of dollars in direct spending we made in Shepherdstown and surrounding communities in running the Back Roads Century weekend, the riders and volunteers additionally spent in excess of approximately $235,000.

While the Farm Tour was a smaller event, it also was a complex endeavor. About 450 riders enjoyed a fantastic tour due to the efforts of around 45 volunteers. The event again went off flawlessly. A shift in registration fee structure led to a much higher significant grant to the Montgomery Countryside Alliance through the net revenues of this sold-out event. While it provided a more fruitful source for grant making, it also presented a more efficient means for administering the Club in relieving the burden of having to consider making a grant to a worthy organization out of general operating funds.

It is beyond the scope of this article to thank every volunteer who was involved with both events. While I was not involved with the Farm Tour this year, I did spend more than a few hours on the Back Roads Century and want to thank these awesome folks who assisted with the planning for the Back Roads Century over the spring and summer months; (1) Jim Quinn and Eric Pilsk for fine-tuned the design of all routes offered over both days including the cue sheets and managing over 20 volunteers in sweeping the roads, marking the roads, and placing and picking up over 700 signs; (2) Linda Kolko and Debi Strong for recruiting and managing over 115 volunteers; (3) Martine Palmiter and Bob Bernstein who coordinated various aspects of the weekend event, including the purchasing of food, creation of an event handbook, and organizing of the free tours to Antietam; (4) Stephen Krill and Dave Helms for helping coordinating traffic control and introducing the presence of 35 bicycle marshals; (5) Paul Huey-Burns for legal expertise; and (6) and Sherri Core and Brenda Ruby who worked behind the scenes in handling the administering the details for the registrations and communications. We also are grateful to our two local event planners, Kathy Lusby-Treber and Marianne Davis, and our sponsors – Shepherd University, Shepherdstown Visitors Center, Eastern Panhandle Traffic Net, Mount Airy Bicycles, Spoke Bicycles, District Cycle Works, Eastern Panhandle Bicycles, and Element Sports.

I could easily start to name many other volunteers who have done great things for the Club. However, rather than do this, as one small act of appreciation, if you volunteered for the club in some way over the past year, please mark the night of Saturday, December 10 on your calendar. We are going to celebrate with an awesome party. Stay tuned for more details!

Happy spinning,


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