Who are the North Shore Cyclopaths?

Founded in 1974 by Av Hammer, Bill Cantor, Sheldon Brown and the late chief justice Sam Zoll, the North Shore Cyclopaths have been riding together for nearly four decades. The group has grown over the years to more than 45 riders, ranging in age from 14 to 89. Many of the Cyclopaths have been riding together for more than 20 years. With riders of varying speeds, (many riding at a social pace), and mileage determined by our breakfast destination, we are often accused of being a "breakfast club" more than a cycling club. (We don't mind!) We may not be the fastest cycling group out there, but with a great sense of humor and a good breakfast, we definitely laugh the most.

Where do you meet?

During our regular cycling season we meet at the "bus stop" on the corner of Washington Street and New Derby Street. (Where "Tavern on the Garden" is located.) It is diagonally across from the Salem Post Office and across Washington Street from the Dunkin Donuts. (Parking is tricky in downtown Salem for those who don't bike to the start. Be sure not to park in a 2 hour limit area or you will be ticketed.) Midweek rides vary. Check under "Rides/Events" for more info.

What time do you head out?

In early Spring we roll out at 8:00 a.m., moving to 7:30a.m. through the month of May, and then bumping it even earlier to 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. through the summer. If you're unsure of the start time, check the blog beforehand. It is usually posted in the left column of our home page at the top.

What if I arrive late? How do I know where you are headed if I want to catch up?

We try to write our destination on the road in chalk at the bus stop... but that's if someone has chalk. (Usually we depend on Donna Cohen for this task.) A safe bet is to text someone you know is riding to find out where we are headed.

Are the original founders still riding?

Of the original Cyclopaths, Av Hammer (82) and Sheldon Brown (80) still actively ride, although Sheldon stays closer to home these days. Longtime Cyclopaths often join us for breakfast by car. Bill Cantor passed away last fall at age 90, at the time still the oldest rider in the PMC. Our boisterous leader Sam Zoll lost his battle with cancer in 2011. Both Bill and Sam are dearly missed. The original Cyclopaths were wild and crazy back when they started riding together and were known to ride throughout the winter, through blinding snow storms, heavy winds and hail, up into the mountains and all along the North Shore. They were a hardy group.

Where did the name North Shore Cyclopaths come from?

Laurie Hammer is credited with naming the group back in the 70s. In addition to being called "Cyclopaths", the group has often been referred to as a band of locusts.

How many riders are there?

It varies. There are more than 45 Cyclopaths in the group, although there is a core group of 8-10 who ride consistently these days. Some folks take time off from the bike for a while but may join us for breakfast. The age range of our riders is currently 14-89. Once a Cyclopath, always a Cyclopath.

Is there a membership fee?

No. It's not that kind of group.

Is it really a breakfast club?

We joke about it, but yes, it really is. Our mileage is often determined by our breakfast destination, and we head out together as a group. Traditionally, those who wish to continue on for more miles, (especially those training for the PMC or other long-distance events), do so after breakfast. That's how it's been for decades. If you don't want to stop for breakfast, that's fine, but realize you may be riding alone. Often there are a few riders who don't want to stop at an early breakfast stop and continue on. That's your choice.

How many miles do you ride?

In the Spring we start off with low mileage while riders return from winter hiatus. Some riders have been training through the winter, so they might ride a little further. In general, though, it's a slow build up of base miles over the course of a few months. Early spring rides may be in the 15-20 mile range. After we move to an earlier start, rides become longer. Many riders are training for an event.

There are always options to shorten a long ride. For example, a 35 mile (RT) ride to Gloucester will pass through Manchester (a 15 mile round-trip from Salem). Several riders may stop in Manchester for breakfast and then head back to Salem, while others might continue on to Gloucester (either before or after breakfast.) Many of our longer route choices have shorter ride options.

How fast are the rides?

It depends on who shows up at the start. We like to honor a no drop policy so that no one gets left behind. As the season moves into summer, we occasionally split into groups after the start -- a lead group of fast riders (16+), a group in the middle (12-14), and those riding at a social pace (10-12 mph). (All mph is approx.) It's not a formal split -- it just kinda happens. It's nice when we start together and finish together, although it doesn't always work out that way. You're on your own to choose what pace you'd like to ride.

Are there pacelines?

No, it is a social paced ride, though Lynda and Lisa are known to pull a group at a fast pace.

What if I need to pick up the pace and the ride is too slow?

If you're in a hurry and don't want to regroup with the back of the pack, that's fine, just say so and continue on. (Communication is key.) Folks often make other plans on Saturday afternoons and need to get back. That's understandable. You are under no obligation to stay with the group. However, if you're waiting at a regrouping point for slower riders, please don't huff and puff, roll your eyes, and look at your watch when the slower riders catch up. That's just not necessary.

Is there support on your rides?

On a regular Saturday ride, no, not really, though Wally Kurz, Paul Guertin and Cape Cod Mike (when he's with us) are experts at fixing flats and bikes. On some rides including the Sea Glass Ride that Ethan organizes, and the famous Tri-State Cohen Classic, support may be available.

Does everyone ride the PMC?

No, though most have participated in the PMC at some point in it's 36 year history. Our long-time PMCers include Brenda White (35 year rider), Bill Cantor (31), Sheldon Brown (30), and Brian Carver, Jeff Brand and Ed Parish (now volunteering) 29 years for each. Donna Cohen has also topped the 20 year mark; Michael Kelleher, Tam Cronin and Ethan Forman passed the 10 year milestone.

Who and what are team captains?

Several of our riders participate in various charity rides and form small teams for those events. Team captains are usually the person to contact if you wish to join that ride. Our largest group charity ride is the Pan Mass Challenge. Anyone who wishes to join the Cyclopaths PMC Team should contact Drew Nelson to get placed on the team. Other charity rides include the MS150 (Great Mass Getaway), Best Buddies Ride, Tour de Cure, The Sea Glass Ride, The Rodman Ride for Kids, Harpoon Point to Point, Hub on Wheels, and others. Contact people for those rides are listed on the blog.

Who should I contact if I want to join you on Saturdays?

No need to get in touch -- just show up! If you want to join us for a ride but would like to contact us beforehand, contact Tam Cronin or Donna Cohen.

How can I get a jersey?

We have several jerseys available from Hincapie in limited sizes. All are currently mens sizes -- large, XL, and 2XL. Women's cut are no longer available. Jerseys are a $40 donation to the Jimmy Fund and should be made directly to the North Shore Cyclopaths PMC fundraising page. Contact Tam if you would like to purchase a jersey. Additionally, t-shirts and other items are available online through Cafe Press -- simply order those your own.

Will you be ordering jerseys again?

No

Who writes the blog and Facebook page?

Tam Cronin, when she is motivated. If you have something you'd like to see posted on the blog or on our Facebook page, or you wish to be added to the email loop, get in touch with her. She keeps the communication flowing. (Email link is in the menu bar at the top of this page).

Anything else I should know?

Helmets are required. Bring along a sense of humor and money for breakfast.