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APRIL 2020

Potomac Pedalers Calendar of Events

For more information visit our website ride schedule

We'd like to keep rolling with items in the "good news" column for Pedal Patter, so if you have a story about cycling that you'd like to share with everyone, now's definitely the time! Want to tip everyone off to an awesome cycling trip experience? Have you had a great encounter on the road with another rider? Have an embarrassing cycling story you'd like to get out of your head once and for all? Send these stories to , with the subject Pedal Patter Good News, and we'll feature your story in the upcoming issue. 

by Anne C. M. Hyman — President PPTC

In the middle of March, I was interviewed by the Washington Post for an article that covered how to safely and effectively keep moving and exercising in these turbulent times, you can find it here . The author, Matt Fuchs , had seen that we had canceled our PPTC rides until further notice, and wanted to gain some insight as to why we did it. I suggest you all read this article, as it gives other ways of safely exercising outdoors (and inside as well, for those glum days out there). Moreover, I want to highlight two words cited to me in this article: Respiratory Signature

It’s pretty well known around these parts that I have a PhD and background in things that are tiny and want to kill us. I spent six years of my life in graduate school developing a vaccine and a rapid diagnostic test for a bacterium that can wipe out a swine farm’s population in about a week from onset. Why am I giving you my autobiography? Because I've spent a lot of time studying and working with airborne pathogens. It’s equally as important to understand why we get sick as it is to understand how we can get others sick.

A respiratory signature is, in non-textbook terms, the footprint we leave in the air every time we expel air from our lungs through our nose and mouth. This can be anything from simply exhaling, to laughing, talking, and yes, coughing and sneezing. And with that exhalant comes anything that may also be hanging out in our nose, tonsil area, and upper respiratory tract. Things like pollen particles (especially this time of year), mucous, bacteria that live happily in our system without ever causing us harm, and yes, even dangerous viral particles. Those particles, being as light as they are, will stay afloat in the air for a decent amount of time, creating this sphere of breath from the person who coughed, snot rocketed, or even just talked for a while (kind of like I’m doing now). Each person out there has their own unique - or signature - sphere. This is why it’s constantly being drummed into our brain spaces right now to maintain at LEAST a six-foot distance away from another person , especially a person of unknown health status, because that’s typically the radius of our respiratory signature. 

But, what does that look like for cyclists? 

Picture if you can – you’re zipping along on your bike, your lungs are working hard, you’re exhaling hard through your mouth. If you’re like me, your nose opens up and the mucous tap handles fly open. Maybe you’re laughing at how silly you look with snot streaming down your bike frame. Maybe you’re chatting with your riding partner about how gorgeous this spring day is. But the entire time, your respiratory signature is not just a stationary, six-foot sphere around you, but it turns into a comet-shaped trail while you’re at speed. The majority of your signature is still around you in your sphere, but you’re moving fast enough that your sphere starts trailing behind you, where you used to be.

Thankfully you don’t have to picture it. Juan, our amazing PPTC graphic designer, helped us out with that. 
But, picture yourself creating these comets. Or riding through a comet tail. 

And that’s one of the big reasons why our rides are canceled until the experts on the federal and local levels give the all-clear to resume community activities. 

I know you’ve been out riding. Trust me, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the amazing spring weather we’ve been blessed with recently? But I’ve also seen people ask for company on their rides, through unofficial PPTC channels (and I will reiterate- IF you ride with your PPTC friends right now, you are NOT on a PPTC ride and the club has no liability or responsibility for your actions). But, if you do ride with others, think about what you might be putting them through.

Be safe.

by Ed Hazelwood — Member-at-Large
Winter is not the time when most bikes get a lot of love. Yes, some of us still ride them, but usually not as much as in warmer times of year and when we do, our bikes are usually subject to the harsher elements that mother nature has to offer.
This year as we the weather starts to warm, and the daylight lasts longer all of us and our sport have some serious challenges facing us. But it is still time to take a look at springtime cleaning and maintenance (Mx).

Even if you are going to be riding alone or in very small groups safely distanced apart from one another it is a great idea to get your bike ready to be a smooth operator. Give your bike some love.

For starters, Clean Your Bike!

Here’s a checklist from Lennard Zinn, author of  Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance :

  • Wash off winter salt, sand, and grime with low-pressure water from a hose. (High-pressure sprayers can force water where it shouldn’t go.)
  • Check your chain for wear with a chain-elongation gauge and replace it if indicated.
  • Check your brake and shift cables for nicks and proper tension. If you find nicks or fraying, replace the cable. If they’re stretched out, tighten or replace them. If all is well, consider lubing your shift cables with a few drops of chain lube to keep them sliding smoothly.
  • Overhaul your jockey wheels for improved shifting. This should take about 10 minutes.
  • Check your wheels for true and tighten any loose spokes.
  • Check brake pads for wear and replace them if they’re getting thin.
  • Replace that nasty handlebar tape!
  • Lubricate your bottom bracket bearings.

You may or may not feel comfortable doing some or all of this yourself. If you do, great. If not, it’s a very good time to show your local bike shop some love as well. Bike shops can use it. They too are suffering under the onslaught of COVID-19.

Personally, while I am pretty good at doing a lot of the maintenance myself, I took my Cervelo to Spokes in Ballston, VA for the premium clean and tune up just a week or so ago. Turned out one of the cables had serious issues and I knew I needed a new chain. Thrown in tweaking all the adjustments, an ultrasonic cleaning of the rear cassette and my ride is ready to rock smoothly.
by Ed Hazelwood — Member-at-Large
Shortly after 11 am on Friday March 20 a new section of temporary pavement opened up alongside the new W&OD trail bridge that is crossing Lee Highway in Falls Church. PPTC ExCom just happened to be on the scene when some of the very first riders to use this new way of getting around the construction rode along. Due to Social Distancing, no interviews were conducted. Progress is being made on the bridge which will provide a major safety enhancement to the much-used Washington & Old Dominion Trail. The new bridge is scheduled to open in Fall 2020. The previous detour sent cyclists on to nearby streets. It’s possible the old detour may get reimplemented from time to time depending on construction needs. Crews currently are working on the bridge deck by installing steel and preparing for upcoming concrete deck pours that are anticipated to be complete in late April. 
PPTC Lewes Weekend 2020 Has Been Canceled
by Cindy Marisch and Bettina Myers — Lewes Weekend Co-Coordinators
It is with great sadness and greater prudence that we cancel the Lewes Cycling weekend scheduled for April 24-26, 2020.
In consideration of the CDC recommendations and the status of the containment of COVID-19, the only sensible way forward is to not get together. 
We hope this cancellation will further encourage people to stay home and heed the CDC recommendations.
We will reassess the pandemic situation this summer and consider having a fall Lewes weekend. This is also contingent on the availability of the Beacon motel and the caterer. They've been very accommodating to our Club and we'd like to support their hospitality by returning when the time is right.
Online registrants will receive a refund to your credit card.  
In the meantime, we're updating cue sheets to take advantage of the Lewes-Georgetown rail-trail that has been extended from Savannah Rd. to Sweetbrier Road in Sussex county. These changes will keep bikes off of busy Savannah Rd. and no-shoulder New Rd. that parallels it.
Thank you for your support and understanding. We are all in this together, just not physically right now!
For any questions of concerns please email Cindy Marisch at
Best regards,
Cindy Marisch and Bettina Myers
Lewes Weekend Co-Coordinators 
UPDATE: Bike to Work Day 2020 Has Been Canceled.
For more information visit
UPDATE: Tour de Cookie 2020 Cancelation

Tour de Cookie has been canceled due to Covid-19. However, the event will be scheduled to return in 2021!

DC Bike Ride Will now be postponed due to Covid-19.

DC Bike Ride's new date will be on Saturday, November 21st.

Same 20 miles of car-free roads, monumental views, great music, and delicious cuisine. Join thousands of riders in a unique experience through the nation's capitol. Register today with promo code POTOMACPEDALERSBIKE  fora special discount at .

Interested in winning a FREE entry?! Follow both @PotomacPedalers and @DCBikeRide on social media- Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and post any ride of you and your friends on these social media platforms using the hashtags #PotomacPedalers and #BRDC in the caption.

One lucky poster will get the chance to ride for free! Winners announced in two weeks.
Last year we re-launched the coveted summer weekend trip to the Shenandoah Valley! It was a success. The folks on the trip loved it and by the end of the trip were asking when it would be in 2020. We are ready to announce the date! Registration will be open later in the month.

Join us in July for a weekend of rolling hills, sightseeing on pedal and foot, and excellent company. We’re introducing a revamped weekend with an exciting, comfortable new venue in Woodstock, which features a mix of old favorite points of interest and new sightseeing opportunities. Cycling AND hiking routes will take riders and explorers through the New Market Battlefield, close to the George Washington National Forest, and through the rolling and verdant hills of quiet Northwest Virginia.

When: July 17-19 , rides can begin as early as noon on Friday so block some time to enjoy the area!

Where: Our Shenandoah weekend based in Woodstock, VA at the newly-renovated and award-winning Holiday Inn. Rides launching of Woodstock for the weekend will vary in distance, ability, and points of interest.

How: We have plenty of riding and out-of-saddle activities planned, including a warmup ride on Friday afternoon, a welcome social on Friday night, a Saturday BBQ (with new, expanded vegetarian options!), and trips to points of interest that can range from antiquing to fishing, spelunking and wine tasting. Don’t feel like exploring on two wheels? Hikers can enjoy the beautiful National Forest with suggested routes, complete with cue sheets and topographical maps! And, as always, a trip to the famous Route 11 potato chip factory.

Who: PPTC members and non-members are welcome! Pricing tiers will cover single and double occupancy for hotel rooms, the welcome social, the Saturday dinner, and cue sheets. Spouses and non-riders are welcome!

Cost: TBA.

Host POCs, Deb and Butch once again.

More to come!
Back Roads Century 2020 — Save The Date
Choose from 25, 29, 47, 52, 64 or 100 mile routes

The 2020 Back Roads Century now features TWO days of riding! Ride either an all-new metric or half century with us on Saturday, September 26th created especially for this weekend on the 2020 calendar, or choose from the full range of routes for the Century on Sunday. And, for the intrepid riders, we are introducing TWO back-to-back challenges! Complete both days of riding the half/metric routes and either the half/metric or FULL century on Sunday, and earn special gear and bragging rights!