Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On a Roll

The Ridgefield Bicycle Sport club: riding, safety, fun



Members of the Ridgefield Bicycle Sport Club enjoy food and drink following a regular Thirsty Thursday.

I’ve never been much of a joiner. Whether it’s a gym, a job, or a church, I follow Woody Allen’s self-loathing philosophy that I would never want to belong to a club that would have me as a member. So when I was invited to go for a ride with the Ridgefield Bicycle Sport Club, my first question was: “Do I have to join?” 

Joining any club is an act of courage. No one likes to be the new guy. And biking clubs can be particularly intimidating—what with the gear, jargon, and tight, padded pants. Plus, I’ve invested too much time in judging obnoxious cyclists on the road to actually become one. 

If you’re relating to me so far, I have two things to say: First, shame on you. You’re better than that. And second, meet Jacqui Dowd, founder of the non-profit Ridgefield Bicycle Sport Club. “Our goal is to make it easy to get into cycling,” says Dowd. “We want to include everyone, at all levels. We want to welcome everyone. This is about something bigger than cycling. It’s about being part of a community.” 

RBSC began six years ago, not long after Jacqui and husband Sean bought the grumpy, little bike shop on Catoonah Street, eventually expanding it and moving to its current location on Danbury Road. They began organizing a few casual rides—nothing too formal. And the group quickly coalesced around experienced road cyclists and racing enthusiasts. 

But Dowd didn’t want the group to become elite or clubby, so she organized RBSC around all skill levels, from beginner to Breaking Away—or A, B, and C levels as the club puts it. 

She also preaches strict adherence to safety and following the rules of the road. This culture of responsible riding permeates the club. “I’ve actually seen drivers look at us sideways when we stop at a stop sign,” says Mitchell Fink, a founding member and Thirsty Thursday ride leader. “They’re just not used to that.” 

Thirsty Thursday is perhaps the best representation of the ethos of RBSC. These are weekly rides for all levels of cyclists. They are led by experienced riders, last about an hour, and finish at a different local business every week. Drinks are served, food shared, and revelry ensues. It’s nothing but good, clean fun. 

On a recent Thirsty Thursday, I rode with the beginner group, led by Dowd herself. Dowd is a mother of three and a former third-grade teacher, and her nurturing nature was evident throughout the ride. She educated us on group etiquette, communication protocols, and, of course, road safety. Dowd is on a one-woman diplomatic mission, hell-bent on brokering peace between cyclists and motorist with a steady diet of smiling, waving, and rigidly obeying all traffic signs. “It’s kind of my thing,” she says. 

Her thing is working. Today the club has 400 members, a full house of sponsors, and hosts road rides, trail rides, clinics, flat-tire-changing classes, destination rides (to places such as Kent, Lime Rock, and the Walkway Over the Hudson), and “century rides”—100 miles in length. It offers members supplemental insurance. It partners with Ridgefield Running Company on runs and track workouts. 

RBSC members find it hard not to sound corny when they describe the impact the club has had on their lives. Vinny Liscio moved to Ridgefield to be closer to the club. “It’s no exaggeration to say that this club changed my life.” 

And Mark Mischenko went from overweight and out of shape to entering an Ironman Triathlon this summer. “When I started, I was huffing and puffing, bringing up the rear,” says Mischenko. “But here were these other riders, patiently waiting for me, encouraging me, talking to me about nutrition and health. What other riding club does that?” 

True to form, Dowd is quick to spread credit for the club’s success around. “There are a lot of people contributing time and good energy to make this happen,” she says. “It’s not about who’s winning, but about who’s getting out there. And that’s what we’re trying to celebrate.” Now that sounds like a club I wouldn’t mind taking for a spin.  

 

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

            

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Got Milk, Sheik?

Local couple advocate camel milk at One Hump Farm

At Your Service

Caterers in the Bedford area

Ready, Set, Go, Go, Go

Places to go this holiday season in Ridgefield

Secret Bailey’s Treats

Bailey’s Backyard excels at Farm-to-Table

Upstairs Downstairs

Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar serve excellent food in both an elegant and casual setting

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

January 2019

Soprano Anna Netrebko joins the ranks of Renata Tebaldi, Montserrat Caballé, and Renata Scotto, taking on—for the first time at the Met—the...

Cost: Tickets: $25 | Members & Seniors $20 | Students $15 Ridgefield Library card hold

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Support from The Ridgefield Press and Whistle Stop Bakery
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy a story from the book Auroraand then paint your own nightscape featuring the Northern Lights using watercolors. Add trees, buildings, snow, and more to create your own beautiful scene...

Cost: $15; $13.50 member

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Simon Russell Beale returns to National Theatre Live screens following broadcasts of Timon of Athens and King Lear, and his recent role in the National Theatre’s critically acclaimed...

Cost: See Website

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Road
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Do you have a child or teen with emotional or behavioral difficulties?  Join a powerful group course and discover a wealth of facts about mental health conditions and how best to...

Cost: Free

Where:
First Congregational Church of Ridgefield
103 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: NAMI Southwest CT
Telephone: 203-984-8329
Contact Name: Karen West
Website »

More information

Do you have a child or teen with emotional or behavioral difficulties? Join a powerful group course and discover a wealth of facts about mental health conditions and how best to support...

Cost: 0

Where:
First Congregational Church of Ridgefield
103 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: NAMI Southwest CT
Telephone: 203-984-8329
Contact Name: Karen
Website »

More information

Simon Russell Beale returns to National Theatre Live screens following broadcasts of Timon of Athens and King Lear, and his recent role in the National Theatre’s critically acclaimed...

Cost: See Website

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Road
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Caring for a loved one with a mental health condition can be overwhelming and stressful. Family-to-Family is a free, 12-session education program for family, friends and significant others...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Greenwich Hospital
5 Perryridge Road
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: NAMI Southwest CT
Telephone: (914) 527-2994
Contact Name: Janet
Website »

More information

We invite you to join us at Dojo Fairfield on Saturday January 19, 2019 when we host the founder/CEO of C.O.B.R.A. Self-Defense, Chris Sutton, for a one-day self-defense/ASRP (Active Shooter...

Cost: $129.00

Where:
DOJO FAIRFIELD
2317 Black Rock Tpke.
FAIRFIELD, CT  06825
View map »


Sponsor: DOJO FAIRFIELD
Telephone: 203.319.9989
Contact Name: Karina Gramesty
Website »

More information

Celebrate Helena Hernmarck’s materials and processes at our monthly free admission day. Work with teaching artists and Museum staff on warm wintery projects while enjoying hot cocoa and seasonal...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

Here’s a holiday idea for the whole family – a private tour of the Peter Parley Schoolhouse! The Ridgefield Historical Society maintains and operates the 1756 Schoolhouse, also called the...

Cost: Suggested donation $10 for adults, kids are free

Where:
Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Intersection of West Lane and CT Rte 35
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Historical Society
Telephone: 203-438-5821
Contact Name: Peter Parley Schoolhouse
Website »

More information

Join artists and crafters Amelia McIsaac of Flowering Heart and Susannah White of Carapace Farm Puppetry to explore the process of felting. Work with plant-dyed wool from their small family flock...

Cost: $15; $13.50 member

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Comedian, actor, and impressionist Frank Caliendo has been making people laugh his entire life.  He is well known for his impressions of famous personalities: Donald Trump, Morgan Freeman, Al...

Cost: See Website

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Road
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Telephone: 203-438-5795
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags