Author Archives: Roy

The State of the Club – 2015 – SIBA Annual Dinner Speech


Welcome fellow SIBA members and guests. I want to first introduce our Board Members

John Warner,  Michele Pirone,   Jack Halpern,  John Cigari,  Armando Lisojo,  Nancy Lisojo,

Linda Benedetto,  George Sutton,  Sheila Obonago, Michael Balwierczak, and myself, Roy Fischman

Together,  we have planned and occasionally  implemented many of the trips, events, and policies to make our club  vibrant and growing, and strengthen the comraderie among our members.

Our last season had many activities and rides.

Our first event of the season was the New and Renew ride that again ended with a lunch at the Harvest Cafe (this year it will be on May 9 so mark your calendar.)

Then we had the Bike and Bagel rides in July, August and September with a breakfast at South Side Bagels.  And finally we had our annual BBQ which was again graciously hosted by Michele in the backyard of her house.

This last season we had a large increase in the number of our Sunday New Jersey rides which were enjoyed by more and more of our members.  So many in fact, that it may have been more economical to hire a bus, compared to the total cost of gas paid, for all the cars we drove to New Jersey. Most of these rides were planned and lead by Steve Urcia and Armando Lisojo, using their Garmins. We are grateful for that very useful technology. And we are very appreciative to Steve and Armando for all the work they have done for those Sundays and Saturday rides as well.

SIBA led rides were not the only rides our members rode.

There was the Kent County Spring Fling, The Ramapo Rally, The Dover Delaware Amish Country Bike Tour, etc. It was because of our club that our members found friends to go with to these rides. In fact, many would not have gone on these rides if there were no one from the club, to go with.

Our club also played a part to improve bicycling for everyone. About 18 of our members attended the Verrazano Bridge bicycle / pedestrian path rally at the Alice Austin House and, many of us signed the Transportation Alternatives petitions to make Clove Rd. and Richmond Terrace safer for all forms of transportation.

(There are pictures of many of our rides and events on our picture board.) And please remember to take and send pictures on the rides and events you attend this year so we can add to our club album.

This year we met twice during the long cold winter just to enjoy the company of each other, our guests, and have the rare opportunity to see each other in non-cycling clothes. We met at the Colonnade Diner in February and the China Chalet in March.

Now we are at the beginning of another bicycling season.

You can expect to see a full season of Sunday trips to New Jersey. However, we can’t rely exclusively on only a few leaders and planners for these trips. I am calling on all experienced riders to consider taking out some trips. That way we can ensure that we have a trip planned for every Sunday. By the way, the Sunday trips are only open to club members.

Also this season we will have some Staten Island “Bring a Friend” rides. We hope everyone can think of a friend who is not a strong rider but would like to try a club ride. These rides will be at a relaxed pace and will stop during the ride for breaks and a sit down lunch.

So far this year we have 24 riders who chose C as their ride level. Accordingly, we will have more C rides this year both on and off the Island.

Tomorrow, Transportation Alternatives will run their Tour de Staten Island ride. 8 SIBA members have volunteered to be Marshals for the ride. I will be at the SIBA table at the Finish Fest in front of the Flagship Brewery with our picture board, handing out our new flyer and hoping to sign up new members.

We are aware that many of you want to show your affiliation to the club by wearing club clothing. New this year is the club T-shirt. We have John Cigari to thank for most of this effort and he is the one to contact for all your SIBA clothing needs.

And, we continue to work on upgrading the SIBA website. That is being developed by Jack Halpern and other Board members.

As you can see we have a growing and active club. We encourage your suggestions for new events, rides, and changes to our usual routine. (We may even listen to some of them ) Our brain is like a 10 speed bicycle. Most of us have gears that we never use. So use some of those gears and send us your ideas.

Thank you for coming tonight and when you are bicycling on the roads I offer this thought, “Don’t be so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of you that you don’t take the time to enjoy where you are.”

I propose a toast: To our memorable season past, may we have a successful new season, and may we continue to have members who want to want to make SIBA a great club.

Colts Neck – July 10, 2016

Three Groups went out on the fifty mile Colts Neck Ride this past Sunday.  Roy Fischman led the A Group and was accompanied by Bekim and Joseph.  John Warner led the B+ Group joined by Jack Halpern, Leon and Gary Warner among the six in his group.  I had the pleasure of taking out the B Group.  It was the largest of the three groups.  There were eleven of us, Alexa Halpern, my wife Nancy, Corie, Gale, Nahide, Nanette, Rolf Freerks, Frank Katalenas, Jay, Alex Ginsburg and myself. 
The Ride was one of our favorites because of the long stretches that allowed you to get into a tempo and zone out.  Zoned out to the point where turns (like in our past rides) were missed, making U turns on this ride has become the norm.      
Navigating the streets with a large group of riders created some concerns when getting around the turns and crossing the intersections with traffic lights, luckily for me, I had the help of Frank and Alex, I can’t thank them enough for their help. They took turns staying behind the group signaling me after all riders had cleared the turns and the intersections.
Thirty miles into our ride we stopped at the Breakfast Club Diner for rest and brunch.  There we met up with the rest of the groups.  We ate our food and exchanged conversations until it was time to move along and finish our ride.  The last twenty miles of our ride went smoothly all the way back to Monmouth County Battlefield Park were we had started.
At the end of the ride all of us had such a good time we were smiling from ear to ear.  It was a great day with wonderful weather and with a great bunch of friends.  I personally was pleased because we started and finished with the same amount of riders in the group.  No one was left behind.
Honorable Mentions go to the two C members that joined us on this ride, Jay and Nanet.  They stepped up to the occasion by keeping up with the pace from start to finish.  It was their first B level Sunday Group Ride and their first fifty mile ride.  Welcome to the B group guys.        

The Cheesequake to Atlantic Highlands ride – July 3, 216

cheesequake1We did the Cheesequake to Atlantic Highlands ride on July 3, 2016. It has been awhile since we last did this ride. (Last year bad weather cancelled it )

The start to this ride is the closest of any NJ rides, 15 minutes from the Outerbridge. The parking lot we pulled into is just off the Garden State 120 exit.
The route took us from there over to our rest stop at mile 25.8 at a Quick Chek. There were some uphills along the way but we all persevered with our low gears and afterward enjoyed the downhill payoff.
Only two flats during this ride and Armando, the quick flat fixer, once again showed his skills.
After the rest stop the route led up to the Mt Mitchill Scenic Overlook.  The view from there is panoramic.  The Sandy Hook peninsula is below, the ocean beyond, and in the distance, the Manhattan skyline.
The best downhill of the route is right after this on Ocean Blvd.  A long winding road.  You soar down this incline shaded by the canopy of trees overhead and wonder when it will end.
At the end of the ride, Joe Ribaudo, one of our new members, received his First Sunday NJ ride initiation, the water bottle soaking (OK I admit it was his second but it wasn’t done last time )
Won’t  it be great when the Outerbridge is done, with the new bike path,  predicted to be 2017, and we can do some NJ rides without driving there in a car?

Flemington area ride, ( Hunterdon Hundred metric) 10/30/16 – report


Beautiful weather day!  When we started the ride it was 65 F and when we finished it was 80 F.

This is a wonderful area to cycle in. There were many back roads with few cars and country scenery.   One of the highpoints was riding around the rim of the Round Valley reservoir.
There were a good amount of climbing hills but the payoffs were the health benefits of getting our heart rates way up there, the conditioning for our legs, and the descents – reached 40 mph!
Soon after Round Valley reservoir we stopped around mile 22 at “Jerry’s Brooklyn Grill”. A cozy place that has some special pancakes.  I had the Black Forest pancakes.  Neal had the fresh fruit pancakes.
Though it was not a farmland area,  we did pass a corral with some cattle. The farmer came out to chat with us and said the bull in the picture was about a year and a half old. ( No horns because he was  bred to be without them )  He said he raised the bull in his basement.  And now all he has to do is tell the bull if he wants him in the corral or the field and all the other cattle follow his bull. ( no pun intended )
This ride has a first hilly loop of 40 miles and then a fairly flat second loop of 22 miles,  The end of the first loop went right by our cars so we gave in to the temptation and ended our ride.  Next time we’ll take a ride on the “Flateau” area.

Colonial Hopewell 10/16/16


Congratulations to the two new ride leaders that emerged from this past weekend’s ride, the Sourland’s.

Gene Garber led the B+ group that consisted of John Warner, Allan, Mike Shoan and Aziz Gabriel.  This by the way was Aziz first SIBA Sunday group ride.  Corie Lorocco lead the B’s, the group consisted of Nancy, Jay, Edgar and Gary and myself. Both did great, thank you.

It was a winter like morning this past Sunday for the Sourland’s ride.  Leg and arm warmers, my wind jacket and long fingered gloves was how the ride started for me.  The morning’s dense fog and cold blistering air on my cheeks had me wondering why I didn’t put my Bennie on.  The temperature certainly called for it and my frozen ears had me regretting not having done so.  The weather also had me wondering if this would be the last on my New Jersey Sunday rides for the season.

Similar to two other rides we have coming out Colonial Park, we ride out of the park and a couple of turns later we’re riding along the Canal.  At the seven mile point we turn right, this is when it stops from being similar.  At this point we start to ascend and I quickly forget the frigid temperature.  Seventeen miles into the ride we approached our rest stop the Brick Farm Market, the temperatures have warmed up and the fog is gone.

After our rest stop we headed for the hills.  We hit some long climbs and I kid you not when I say long.  One of the climbs went on for just over 4 miles, at times it would taper and level only to introduce to you the next grade you’d be graduating to.  The scenic views at the top of these climbs were rewarding and I can’t remember encountering any cars while in the mix of a climb.  There was a point we had approached, an intersection where the roads opened up, here you could clearly see we had reached the very top.  But that didn’t mean there was no more climbing and it didn’t matter because knowing we reached the top meant it wouldn’t be long before we start descending.

We barreled down a hill that had to have been at least three miles long, some of the riders (I heard mention) reached speeds as fast as thirty six miles per hour on the descent.  For the rest of the ride there would be some more hills to reckon with but nothing of the likes of what we left behind and all had settled within the last eight miles of the ride.

Special Note: The Sourland’s ride is a ride that was shared with us by Gary Warner, we will add it to our rides rotation (can’t wait to do it again).  The Brick Farm Market (our rest stop) is a place worth stopping even if you’re not riding but happen to be in the area

Incidentally, we found a perfect spot two miles before the finish for a photo opportunity, we embraced the moment and took a few (see attached).



The not Warner Brothers, John and Gary led several SIBAs on this nice route through central Jersey in beautiful cycling weather. Gary led the B group, of which I, along with Roy Evans, Corrie, Jay, and a new member, Edgar, participated in. John Warner led the B+ group.

As noted the weather was sunny but cool. The sun was bright so our journey along tree lined roads was a mixture of sun and shade, typical of our NJ rides. During the earlier hours of the ride, I found myself hoping to ride along a sunny section rather than looking for the shade, as I would have been doing just a few weeks ago. It was chilly. The good part about the cool weather was the fact we weren’t consuming as much water as we would have if the weather was hot. This turned out to be a blessing, because when we reached the 37 mile mark, where we expected to have a nice sit down at the planned lunch stop, a cute diner with pictures of ’40’s and ’50’s cars, we found the place HAD BURNED DOWN 😨
There we were in the parking lot staring at this shell of a once nice diner, thirsty, hungry and in need of an outhouse. Fortunately, some of us had extra jells and snacks which we shared, while sitting on a low wall in the abandoned parking lot.
After a short break we rode on till we came to a 7 eleven and those that needed to replenish their water supplies and get something to eat were able to do so. Roy Evans managed to down 2 slices of pizza during our short break.
One of the things we discovered on this ride is that it is definitely NOT FLAT because as Gary noted we’d done about 1200 feet of climbing and were only at the halfway mark. Even so we agreed we were glad we were doing this ride vs the Twin Lights ride as we encountered groups of riders along the road where the routes for the two rides merged.
When we finally got back to Brookdale college we all agreed it was a good ride. Ther B group put in a solid 14.7mph average which is at the top of the category’s 13-15 expected pace.
Congrats to Jay who said this was the longest ride he’d done in years. Corrie rode her usual solid ride and provided the group with her unique take on things. She even showed us how not to come to a stop at an intersection with a fine demonstration of elan and humor. I’ll let Corrie fill the curious in on the details.
Thanks Gary and John for leading the ride🚴



2016 Amish Country Bike Tour – Sept. 10, 2016

2016 Amish Country Bike Tour

This year’s Amish Country Bike Tour was the fourth one for me.  The first one was four years ago.  John Swofford and I were the only two that rode in the event that day.  John’s wife Coral and my wife Nancy were also there with us.  It was my first century ride that day and one of John’s many.  Since then our group of riders has grown for this annual ride event.

Who was there?  Twenty members attended this year’s event, among them were our clubs President and Vice President, Roy Fischman and John Warner.  Congratulations to SIBA’s new members Joe and his wife Susan attending their first event and completing their first 50 mile course.  Other attendees were the usual, Lex, Marion, Carlos and Corie.  Hugo, having just recovered from his recent injuries joined us along with Linda, Gail, Roy Evans, Neal Secher, Rolf, Nahide and Ira.  In addition, John Swofford, his wife, Nancy and myself.

Social Nights.  We had two Socials that weekend, seventeen members attended the first nights social at the Piazza Mia Restaurant where we enjoyed good food, some drinks and talked about our upcoming ride.  The second social took place on the evening after the event at the Country Eatery, sixteen members attended and again we indulged to the likings of great food and desserts.

The Ride.  The weather on ride day started overcast with cool gusty winds but as the morning progressed it became warm and muggy with the winds picking up at certain times.   Soon after, the sun was out and the winds lingered.  The temperatures climbed, it reached 94 degrees and I heard at one of the rest stops that the heat index was at 104.  We took full advantage of all the rest stops to cool down.  It was a day where many riders after stopping at a rest stop didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to get going again.  As we rested at the rest stops many riders reminisced how this year’s ride was similar to the one two years ago, I remember it well.

Many of our members rode the fifty mile course and some the Metric while others tailored the course creating a distance not offered, not by choice.  Corie, Gail, my wife Nancy and myself started together to do the intended Century ride but somehow my wife and I managed to get separated from the rest. Nancy and I did finish the Century together and Neal and Roy Fischman teamed up and completed the Century as well.

Other Rides.  The day before the event, a few of us managed to get a short ride in.  Short enough that I referred to it as “an equipment check ride” but long enough to break a sweat and loosen up.  Sunday morning the day after the event John Swofford took us out on a twenty five mile recovery ride.  John will be moving to Idaho soon and he’ll be missed.  I wish him the best in his new adventure and hope that this event is not the last time we get to ride together.

Posted by: Armando

PS:   Of the four Amish Country century rides I’ve completed, none have been the same (see past years’ blogs).  The course is as flat as a pancake but the weather conditions packed a punch.  It was so hot that for the first time at every rest stop I had to pour cold water on my head and neck in order to cool down.

Report on our Tour de Montana social – 8/24/16

The last social evening for our club was on August 24. We met at the Manor Restaurant on Manor Road.  There, club member Neal Secher told us about the extensive bicycle experiences he recently had.  And presented pictures of these on the big screen TV.

He had traveled solo to Montana in his custom made van to ride in the Tour de Montana. He gave us descriptions of many of the other trippers, (the total number of trippers was about 35 ).  And he told us about riding the route and the experience of being catered to from the organizers, the Missoula,  “House of Cycling” crew.
After this he visited and rode in the areas of Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone and Custer National Park. He said he would have visited other areas but a breakdown of his van’s a/c caused him to cut his trip short.
Neal picked the best of his pictures to show us. Bison walking alongside cars, the President’s monument at Mount Rushmore and the Yellowstone National Park landscape.The tales of unfortunates falling into acid ponds at Yellowstone was fascinating.
Many had questions for Neal about his experiences. And Steve Urcia had some stories of his own experiences in some of those areas.
The food at the restaurant was excellent. Many ordered food and some ordered drinks.
Since Neal had so many bicycle hill climbs on this trip he has agreed to share his hill climbing techniques with us.  Look out for the e-mail about

Tony’s Sunday August 28, 2016 Ride

To celebrate my 80th birthday and my 28th year in the club I decided to come out of retirement and lead a NJ bike ride. For those of you who don’t know me or forgot me, I used to be known the Greatest Ride Leader on the Planet however and thanks to my good buddies Lex & Marion I have been upgrade from Planet to Universe. “Nuff” about me.

On Saturday’s ride Lex asked if two new members Sue & Joe could join us. I said of course. Then I noticed they rode hybrid bike and I wasn’t so sure. After riding with them I saw they were capable riders and would not have a problem on the ride.

Sunday morning we met at the bagel store, attending were: Lex, Marion, Linda, Sue, Joe and my riding partner Bob. Sue & Joe confided in me that they still were somewhat apprehensive about the ride. I assured them they would do just fine and they believed me!

We departed the bagel store and drove to the ride start; Brookdale College. We were going to ride Dale 2 Dale a ride of 44 miles. After parking and while unloading the cars I heard a scream of delight. It turned out to be Lex, she found out the bathrooms were opened. Some people find delight in such simple things.

After all did their thing we finally got started. About half mile later I stop the ride, I realized I forgot my cell phone and went back to my car to get it. So much for the

Greatest Ride Leader etc.-etc!

The weather wasn’t too hot and the road provided a lot of shade. Everyone was together as I set a blistering pace of 14 mph and we were on mostly flat roads. At the 20 mile mark we stopped at the Manasquan Reservoir for a rest stop and of course a bathroom break. I really don’t like to stop there but if I didn’t the four women would probably cause a mutiny! We were off again and the road had a few climbs and who should pass me but Sue & Joe, so much for being apprehensive. We arrived in Farmingdale for lunch and stopped at The Breakfast Club, a club favorite.

On the return ride Linda hit a pot hole and flatted. I immediately sprang into action. I removed the wheel and pulled the tube out and put a replacement in however the value stem seemed to be a ¼ inch long and we were unable to attach the pump. So I had to remove the tube and install another. When suddenly it dawned on me, I was doing all the work while all the “youngins” were standing around watching me! They claimed they were learning, yeah right! I could not get the last bit of tire on the rim and gratefully Joe finished the job.

We were back on the road and very happy to see the entrance to Brookdale College.

When we made the last turn I heard someone behind yelling “we did it” It was Sue, her and Joe had just completed their first NJ ride and they rode 44 miles the longest ride they ever did at an average speed of 13MPH and they did it riding hybrids! Congratulations to both of them and when they get road bikes, they will do just fine.

What a difference from the morning, this time Lex almost had a nervous breakdown when she found out the bathroom was not opened!!

As a long time ride leader it always gives me a sense of satisfaction when I take new riders on their first NJ ride and see how much they enjoyed the ride. It also makes the ride more enjoyable for me.

See you next time.

Tony I

SIBA’s Friday Night Social – July 8, 2016


SIBA had a Friday Night social July 8th, at Broadway Joe’s at 4029 Hylan Boulevard in Great Kills.

We had 20 attendees, including: Jack & lex Halpern, Allan Helale, Gary Warner, Jason Rosenberger, Jay Langholtz, Corie LaRocco, Nanette Rivera, Laura Barlament, Gail Mercuri, Susan & Joseph Deangelis, Frank Katalenas, Nahide Icinsel & Rolf Freerks,  Nancy & Armando Lisojo, Roy Fischman and John Warner (See photo attached).

Six of the attendees are new to the club this year.

We pretty much had the room to ourselves, so we were able to move around and chat. The group was lively, with multiple discussions going on at any one time. The Pennsylvania trip and our upcoming Sunday rides were the subject of some of the discussions. Others involved the merits of various models and types of bikes and previous bike excursions taken by the individual members.

Additionally, we had access to the pool tables, and, after the initial appetizers and beer, the tables were used by Armando, Joseph Deangelis, and other members in a friendly? game of pool.

Broadway Joes had a large variety of imported and domestic tap beers, including Heineken, Ginnis, Yingling and Budweiser. Wine, mixed drinks, and soda were also served.

Appetizers were brought out and put on the table throughout the social. The appetizer plates were huge, and they were never left empty. the consensus was that the appetizers were cut above other restaurants on the island.

The appetizers included buffalo chicken wings, fried Mac and cheese balls, pulled port Lollipops, chicken fingers, cheese nachos, and more.


SIBA’s socials are a regular feature of the club, and we will have another social in a month or two. Broadway Joe’s will be added to the short list of great places to have socials. If you haven’t attended one of our socials, you’re missing a unique and enjoyable night out.


1 Attached Images