Capital City Cyclist’s First 15 Years

As I was working on the new club website for Capital City Cyclists, I came across the clubs article archives.  I soon found myself totally immersed and was meandering through the many wonderful snippets of cycling history from Tallahassee over the last 30 years!  I would encourage you to peruse the Article Archive for yourself. I would like to share one of my personal favorites – the first 15 years of the club…

 

Enjoy!
Zach Finn
Capital City Cyclists President 2012

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A look in the helmet mirror

by Robbie Brunger, June 1, 1997
Capital City Cyclists is 15 years old this fall – an appropriate time to compile as complete a listas possible of all of the people who have volunteered to come forth and serve the cause of promoting bicycling in Tallahassee over the past 15 years. Thus, without further ado, is the roster of our very own heroes!

1982
TOSRV (the tour of the Suwannee River Valley) began with 62 riders, with MarthaCunningham‘s potato salad singled out as a highlight. Sixty bicyclists appeared at City Hall in favor of bike lanes on Miccosukee Road, and Robert Craig, Dan Burden, andRobbie Brunger spoke to the motion, but in vain; the City Commission defeated it on a 3-2 vote. Sunday rides began at City Hall, John Elder organized time trials on SpringhillRoad, pictures of bicycling vacations were prominent features of Club social meetings, andsomeone even arranged to hold a bicyclists’ garage sale!

Robert Craig, President; Lys Burden, Vice President; Doug Lee, Secretary; Thaxton Springfield, Treasurer; John Robertson, Ride Coordinator;and Doug Lee, Newsletter Editor.

1983
John Elder argues in the newsletter how we ought to do more to encourage young riders. The Uptown Cafe opens and soon becomes the venue of choice for several years worth of Club social meetings; at one of these a local racing enthusiast will demonstrate how to ride the rollers TOSRV now has 101 riders, and the Capital City Century held in the fall (also called the Huff and Puff ) had 31 participants, one of whom suggested that when held again, it should not have any headwinds.

Quentin Collins, President; Bill Armstrong, Vice President; LizGordon, Secretary; John Elder, Treasurer; John Robertson, Ride Coordinator; and Doug Lee, Newsletter Editor.

1984
Kathy Blaha reports of some interest in converting the almost-forgotten former St. Marks Railroad into a trail that would be suitable for bicycle riding. TOSRV South (now called the Tour of Springtime Rural Vistas) has 166 riders and goes to Albany, Georgia. On September 16, Club member Greg Hunter is killed by a drunken driver while on a Club ride. The Cyclist first appears with colored paper. The City Commission almost succeeds in scrapping the city bikeway program, but it gets a last minute reprieve. The new fall ride, Spaghetti 100, is organized by Greg Wilson, who reports that 35 people rode, and had a few more eaten dinner, we’d have broken even.

Bill Armstrong, President; Mary Sprinkles, Vice President; MarsyMiller, Secretary; John Elder, Treasurer; John Robertson, Ride Coordinator; and Doug Lee, newsletter editor.

1985
The Greg Hunter Biathlon begins its brief, but very interesting, life as a regular item on the Club’s calendar of regularly scheduled events, but the Spaghetti 100 apparently has a year off. [RB.: I have virtually no other news for this year of the Club’s past. If you have some old newsletters tucked away somewhere, this would be a good time to come forth with them!]

John Elder, President; Robert Seidler, Vice President; Jerry Herting, Secretary; Greg Wilson and Ken Schilling, Treasurer; JohnRobertson, Ride Coordinator; Doug Lee, Newsletter Editor.

1986
The city and county commissions actively consider proposals to ban bicyclists from riding on anyof the canopy roads. Club President Larry Workman becomes the first Club member to climb Mt. Mitchell. Several developmental meetings are held as the St. Marks Trail begins to take shape in people’s minds. The Club develops and distributes an informational brochure.

Larry Workman, President; Marcus Busted and Jenny Vedros, Vice President; Jerry Herting, Secretary; Bonnie Draper, Treasurer; Greg Wilson, Ride Coordinator; Jay Sherwin, Newsletter Editor, with Doug Lee doing the layout; Bill Hudgens, Membership Chair.

1987
Kathy Blaha begins her long tenure as newsletter editor, with Doug Lee continuing to do the newsletter layout. (She also does double duty as Club President, an unprecedented feat not likely to happen again!) Jim Mann rides his first TOSRV Southand finds it quite an experience. The summer picnic at Wakulla Springs and the Christmas Partyboth make their debut this year, thus further heightening the already considerable social ambience of the Club.

Kathy Blaha, President; Amy Seidler, Vice President; Marc Saiz, Secretary; Bonnie Draper, Treasurer; ??, Ride Coordinator; Kathy Blaha, Newsletter Editor, with Doug Lee doing the layout; Bill Hudgens, Membership Chair.

1988
Julia Winter makes her first appearance as director of TOSRV South, with ridership over 300 now. A typical newsletter of this era is four pages long, and the Bike Shorts column makes its debut. The city of Tallahassee hires a bicycle coordinator. There is much discussion about why the Sunday rides are so successful, but no one wants to ride on Saturday. On November 12, the St. Marks Trail officially opens, but in the weeks preceding it occur the first prototypical Friday night trail rides. Spaghetti 100 has 80 riders heading north from the Unitarian Universalist Church into deeply threatening and stormy skies; some riders still living recall that ride as the definitive Tram Road headwind.

Bill Hudgens, President; Amy Seidler, Vice President; Marc Saiz, Secretary; Doug Lee, Treasurer; ??, Ride Coordinator; Kathy Blaha, Newsletter Editor, with Doug Lee doing the layout; Bill Hudgens, Membership Chair.

1989
The first off-road rides are held under Club sponsorship, and NORBA has a high profile race atwhat comes to be known as the Red Bug Trail, for reasons that some people become intimatelyfamiliar with. The Saturday morning Food Lion rides begin and, unlike all other attempts to getriders going on Saturday, it is a big success, although it is quickly dominated by A group types. The Club social in March (at the ever-popular Uptown Cafe!) features a video of the Assault onMt. Mitchell and a pep talk by Dan Lopez, which has the galvanizing effect of prompting 10 Club riders to take it on as a challenge. The Cyclist is taking on a noticeably literary quality.

 

Amy Seidler, President; Dan Lopez, Vice President; Kathy Blaha, Secretary; Doug Lee, Treasurer; ??, Ride Coordinator; Kathy Blaha, Newsletter Editor, with Doug Lee doing the layout; Bill Hudgens, Membership Chair.

1990
With the city and county appointment of the Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Council, The Cyclist asks rhetorically, Can this be the same city, which less than five years ago refused to put bikelanes on city streets because they would remove parking opportunities?

Meanwhile, however, Mike Eakin writes, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that it is no longer sensible to train on some of our beautiful canopy roads. Club rides still use them, though, and all rides still meet at City Hall. There’s an exception: a growing number of rides are now starting at the St. Marks Trail Head, and several Club members (Linda Vaughn, Charlie Hofacker, Tony Johns, and Sara Brunger ) use the Friday night trail rides as the basis for training for their first century at Spaghetti 100. The ride category system begins, Old Plank Road is now paved, and the Fat of the Land off-road bicycling club has a few brief splendid months of life.

Dan Lopez, President; Jim Mann, Vice President; Deborah Hodges, Secretary; Doug Lee, Treasurer; Lee Berger, Ride Coordinator; Kathy Blaha, Newsletter Editor, with Doug Lee doing the layout; Amy Seidler, Membership Chair.

1991
The Snails make their first appearance at the Food Lion, and the Hot Line (847-8433) makes itsdebut. TOSRV South turns 10, with Amy Seidler directing it one last time. The Club donates $1,000 worth of bicycling books and videotapes to the Leon County Public Library. Greg Wilson is appointed as bicycle coordinator for the city of Tallahassee. No less than 13 Tallahasseeans goto Iowa to do RAGBRAI (but no one seems to do BRAG in those days, which is practically nextdoor). Doug Lee, truly an Ironman quality hero of labor for the Club (founding member, 10-year veteran of the newsletter, and treasurer for four years, not to mention ride leader for uncountable numbers of rides), departs Tallahassee at year’s end, but not before being decently roasted at a post-ride breakfast in his honor in the town of St. Marks.

Jim Mann, President; Donna Adams, Vice President; Karen Girard, Secretary; Doug Lee, Treasurer; Lee Berger, Ride Coordinator; Kathy Blaha, Newsletter Editor, with Doug Lee doing the layout; Amy Seidler, Membership Chair.

1992
Dues rise for the first time since the Club’s founding, from $8 to $12 for single membership, andthe Club budget is now $3,500. We become a USCF affiliate and solidify our ride categories,while the ride list grows to several pages in length. The Munson Hills Off-Road Trail becomesvery popular very quickly, and becomes a model of how to do such things that is later applicableto the Red Bug Trail. A commuting survey (the most ambitious newsletter project of all time)concludes that slightly over one-fourth of Club members sometimes ride their bikes to work, andthat a lack of showers at the workplace is more of a factor than are traffic or road conditions in keeping people from riding to work more often. On a 38 degree morning, 26 people show up foran off-road ride. Tallahassee gets bike cops, and there is talk of a Club bumper sticker beingavailable soon The first pick the winner of the Tour de France contest is won in a flourish by John Flynn, who correctly picks first, second, and third places! The Food Lion ride has 62 riders in early August, Scafidi’s Restaurant begins to eclipse La Fiesta as the place to go after the Friday Night Trail Ride, and the Bastille Day Ride and the Winter Solstice Century make their respectively quirky debuts on the local cycling scene. Kathy Blaha, the woman most responsible for the St. Marks Trail, five-year veteran as newsletter editor, and former president and secretary, leaves Tallahassee.

Jim Mann, President; Nancy Simmons, Vice President; K. C. Laiche, Secretary; Dennis Wirth, Treasurer; Tripp Andersen, Ride Coordinator; Robbie Brunger, Newsletter Editor, with Lisa Harris doing the layout; Charlie Hofacker, Membership Chair.

1993
The Club plays a pivotal role in creating and developing the Red Bug Trail, while planning beginson the Goose Pond Trail, and discussions begin on an even more speculative venture, the Carrabelle Trail. The Board talks a great deal about liability, but it also gives away $2,500 insupport of the bicycling education program in the Leon County schools. An article by E. M.Forster on bicycling appears in The Cyclist, the first of an occasional series of short pieces bygreat writers. Ken Schilling becomes the grand anjandrum of trash, supervising the Roberts Road cleanup. Membership peaks at 327, and we appoint our first off-road ride coordinator, Ken Foster . The Riders of the Future article in the November-December issue of The Cyclist is subsequently copied by three other bike club newsletters in Florida and nationally by Adventure Cycling. At least 15 Club members attend the Rails to Trails Conference in Dunedin. At the Christmas Party, the previous year’s resolutions were unexpectedly unearthed and read, prompting a certain amount of merriment and embarrassment.

Tripp Andersen, President; Lesa Dixon, Vice President; DickRogers, Secretary; Dennis Wirth, Treasurer; Elwood McElhaney, RoadRide Coordinator; Ken Foster, Off-road Ride Coordinator; Robbie Brunger, Newsletter Editor, with Lisa Harris doing the layout; Charlie Hofacker,Membership Chair.

1994
B-BoPP begins to promote bicycle commuting (and other alternatives to the single-occupancyvehicle), the Red Bug Trail opens, and TOSRV South offers a metric alternative that is very wellreceived. The Cyclist runs its first article on bicycling and the internet and now offers information on the hours of sunrise and sunset. John Birch carves a wooden Trail Head for the St. Marks Trail and also fixes childrens’ bikes in his spare time. Chez Pierre sponsors a Bastille Day bike race downtown, with some Club member articipation. Brenda Locke is killed in an in-town collision with a car. The Club picnic is canceled because of tropical storm flooding of Wakulla Springs. There are almost one-third as many riders from Tallahassee doing the Six Gap Century as the Spaghetti 100 (32 compared with 98).

Tripp Andersen, President; Christine McDannell, Vice President; Dick Rogers, Secretary; Elwood McElhaney, Treasurer; Trish Rogers, Road Ride Coordinator; Jack Shank, Off-road Ride Coordinator; Robbie Brunger, Newsletter Editor, with Lisa Harris doing the layout; Lisa Harris and Jane Ann Mann, Membership Co-chairs.

1995
TOSRV South has a new starting point, in Quincy; statistics show that TOSRV South brochuresgo to Tallahassee area folks (29%), elsewhere in Florida (37%), Georgia (24%), Alabama (2%),and elsewhere (8%). Mary Knight emerges as a true leader of snails, Neil Dimicali (and other Club members) appear regularly in a column in the Tallahassee Democrat, and Van Freed does an organized bike ride through Viet Nam. Club business cards make their debut, and the newsletter ad schedule is overhauled (from $40 for a full page to $9 for a business card ad). The Carrabelle Trail encounters stiff opposition, particularly in Wakulla County. At the September social at Shoney’s, 26 people watch with fascination as Ken Schilling shows us new tricks in changing tires. The Club withdraws its sponsorship of the Food Lion ride because it is too unsafe. Spaghetti 100 has 170 riders, including several doing the new easy rider 30 mile option.

Jim Mann, President; Dick Rogers, Vice President; Larry Pushor, Secretary; Elwood McElhaney, Treasurer; Trish Rogers, Road Ride Coordinator; Linc Clay, Off-road Ride Coordinator; Robbie Brunger, Newsletter Editor, with Lisa Harris doing the layout; Lisa Harris and Jane Ann Mann, Membership Co-chairs.

1996
On its 15th anniversary year, TOSRV South has 413 riders, magnificent weather, and a new shortcourse option. The Carrabelle Trail controversy heightens, while planning for the Goose Pond Trail continues, and a Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway is under development. A task force prompts Club donations totaling $5,000 to the Leon County schools bicycle education program, and other worthy bicycle-related community projects. The Florida Legislature passes a mandatory helmet law for children under the age of 16. At least 14 Tallahasseeans do the Bike Ride Across Georgia (BRAG), and Dave Stotts proselytizes Mormons with bicycling literature. After being a staple item on the Club’s agenda since at least 1989, Larry Pushor just does it, and voila!: the Bylaws are finally made appropriately modern.

Larry Pushor, President; Neil Dimacali, Vice President; Amy Mann, Secretary; Elwood McElhaney, Treasurer; Trish Rogers, Road Ride Coordinator; Cindy Irvin and Tripp Andersen, Off-road Coordinator; Robbie Brunger, Newsletter Editor, with Lisa Harris doing the ayout; Lisa Harris and Jane Ann Mann, Membership Co-Chairs.