DOGS New Member Welcome

New members receive the following information by email from (and by) George and Linda Wells. Some of it, especially the club's history, should interest prospective and current members.

DOGS History

On a clear, crisp January day, a group of strangers gathered in the dining room of the AT&T Learning Center in Basking Ridge, New Jersey for the first of what would be many meetings to establish the 1997 Eastern Tandem Rally (ETR '97). While we ate, conversations started--people getting to know one another. As with all first encounters, it was a bit strained, but soon, all talk turned to tandeming--our shared passion.

The progression to the above date had its roots in the Summer of 1996 when Linda and George Wells attended their first-ever ETR that was held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. While at the Saturday evening banquet, we all heard that ETR '97 would be held in Central New Jersey. Later we found out who was going to run the event and Linda and George offered their assistance. At that time, George was an AT&T employee (now retired from that great conglomerate) and had access to renting the new AT&T Learning Center for the event. Unfortunately, the original lead team encountered a family health crisis and could not lead the effort for 1997. Therefore, that task fell into the laps of Team Wells.

Back in a conference room at the AT&T Learning Center on that January day, we began to understand why we were all there. We were dividing up the responsibilities that would result in ETR '97. None of us had ever before run anything like this, yet we thought we were up to the task. Team Wells would be the overall leaders and the contact with the ETR board of directors. Team Isherwood (Brenda and Larry, respectively) would be in charge of finance and developing a logo for the event. Team Geisler (Bonnie and Rob) and VOmax, the company that made our jerseys, took Larry's logo and, together, they designed the jersey around it. Team Witt (Karen and Cam) would plan the routes for all the rides (and there were plenty of them)! Team Rutch (Joy and Joe) would work the registration. Team Noble (Allison and Tab) would plan the Super Great Saturday picnic for ETR '97. Team Smith/Witz (Ann and Gisela, respectively) would coordinate with the local governments, so that they would be aware of our event, and to assure that emergency support would be available in case there were any accidents. Team Nick (Carol and Richard) was in charge of the "Welcome Package" that was given to each team and Team Friedman (North) (Ann and Bob) would serve as advisors since they were long-term ETR board participants.

Ideas flew around the room as the Winter sun moved toward the western horizon. We finally had to stop in order to take that short, promised, tandem ride, prior to sundown. We agreed to meet monthly in different homes to track the progress of ETR '97 into its August date. As we mounted our tandems for that short ride, little did we know that we were about to give birth to twins. ETR '97 and the DOGS had been conceived that day.

The ETR is a weekend of riding our tandems together, which, for many of us can begin on Friday afternoon, but registration for all teams is definitely Friday afternoon and evening and Saturday morning, before the "Big" ride really begins. Thursday, the evening prior to the beginning of ETR '97, all the teams mentioned above, were gathered together in one of the large conference room at the AT&T Learning Center, putting together those Welcome Packages we talked about in a previous paragraph. During our "stuffing party," Joe Rutch, (one-half of the registration team for ETR '97), reminded us all, that after ETR '97 ended, that the next time we "might" see each other would be in a year, at ETR '98. This was very depressing because of the camaraderie that we now all shared until Joe made a suggestion: "Why not start a tandem club?" Everybody liked the idea and, since he and Joy, (his wife/Stoker/Rear Admiral), had all the ETR registration forms, they sent everybody a membership form to be filled out and returned to them, if a team wanted to be "on the ground floor" of our new venture. Well, as the phrase goes, "Like Topsy, we grew." We continued having tandem rides all throughout our great State of New Jersey. In the North, we have the hills (but wherever there is an up, there is often a "screaming down"), Central New Jersey is flat to rolling and South Jersey is what we, up here in Northern New Jersey, call "pancake flat"--what a diversity!

Joe kept everybody up-to-date with e-mail that he sent out regarding the rides that were planned by the members of the club and also how much we had in our treasury. In his most "infamous" e-mail, he told everybody, "Now that the New Jersey Tandem Club (NJTC), (that's what we were calling ourselves in the beginning), was "a-rockin-an'-a-rollin," that we should give ourselves a "cutsey-wootsey" name. He devised a plan. "Let's have a contest. Everybody send me an e-mail with a name that you would like the club to be and I'll make the final decision and send you all an e-mail with our club's new name." (Linda and George were just as happy that we remain the New Jersey Tandem Club (NJTC)--a couple with no imagination)! We don't know who it was who came up with Doubles of the Garden State (DOGS), but we can never say thank you, enough, to that team. (You will understand why as you read on).

In the Fall of 1999, Joe called Linda and George and told them that he was so busy at work, that he didn't have the time to give the DOGS the attention that our new, little club deserved. He asked Team Wells if they'd take over the leadership of Doubles of the Garden State (DOGS) since they had been the leaders of ETR '97. Of course, they said yes and requested that, whenever possible, that Joe and his stoker ride with the DOGS (which they often do). Joe leads tandem rides annually. One of them includes his request to DOGS Captains, who he asks to join him so that blind stokers can experience riding a tandem. Joe was on that great ride from Ground Zero to the Pentagon in September, 2002. When he returned home, he sent the DOGS a very touching ride report of all that occurred during that ride for him and his "three" Stokers.

We may call ourselves the Doubles of the Garden State (DOGS), but our membership is also in New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. As of November, 2002, we have 78 teams and we continue to grow.

DOGS Rides

All rides begin with the Ride Leaders having everybody fill out the "Sign-Up Sheet," making their ride an "official" DOGS Ride. Anybody can ride with the DOGS, so for those who are non-members, not only do they fill out the Sign-Up sheet, but we have Waivers for them to sign. Of course, we'd be happy to have them join the Kennel, so our Membership form is on the reverse side of the Waiver. (Kinda sneaky, aren't we)? To date, there have been more club rides in 2002 than any since the club began, five years ago. This might have to do with having "Ride Coordinators," in various locations of the state. Brenda and Larry Isherwood are the Ride Coordinators in Northern New Jersey; Trish and Ed Troike, in Central New Jersey; and Barbara and Mel Kornbluh are the Ride Coordinators in Southern New Jersey. Dave Kristol of Team Kristol/Brandriss (Dave and Marji, respectively) is the DOGS Webmaster, so that we ask that any/all teams who would like to lead a ride to send an e-mail to Dave so that he can put all rides on the Web. Those teams who have led rides in the past can go into the DOGS Website and print out the appropriate paperwork. We ask that the teams who are planning to lead a DOGS ride for the first time, send an e-mail to Team Lantern Rouge (that's our other name), so that we can snail-mail you all the appropriate paperwork that is needed for your DOGS Ride. The information that we will send to all first-time ride-leaders will explain everything that they will need to know about leading a DOGS ride.

DOGS Jerseys

We were so proud of the ETR '97 jerseys that we asked Larry Isherwood if he'd like to try his hand at designing a DOGS jersey. The guy's an artist! They're spectacular! And VOmax did another fabulous job when they made them for us. Even when they are not on DOGS rides, the members of the club wear their jerseys to other cycling events and have been told how great they look. We have just completed our third run of DOGS jerseys and have plenty more to sell. They are $68 each. If anybody is interested in buying a jersey, please speak to Linda and George. We will send you a Jersey Form that you can fill out and return to us with your check. We ask that you measure your favorite, most comfortably fitting jersey and compare it to the sizing chart that is on the Jersey Form. We are hoping, in that way, your jersey will fit properly.

DOGS Parties

Tandeming is the "social" side of bicycling, so once a DOGS ride has ended, instead of "packin'-it-in-an'-goin'-home," we all stay around for some pleasant conversation. DOGS enjoy eating, so sometimes a Team will make some delicious goodies, or we may go to the lead team's favorite restaurant (Dutch Treat, of course), or we have even gone to their home for a picnic. (Everybody brings something.) The only responsibility that the lead team has is pertaining to the DOGS ride. Anything that occurs following the ride is at the discretion of the lead team.

27 years ago, when Linda and George were married, they decided that they were too busy with all of their many projects and instead of having children, they have "baby replacements,"--two Bluepoint Siamese Littermate Kittens, Molly and Muggles. Around Thanksgiving, 1998, when Joe was still the "Head of the Pack," Linda and George thought about the many DOGS friends that they had been making, and sent an e-mail to many of those teams, asking them if they'd like to get together for dinner at Fred's Fish Market and Restaurant (a local restaurant on Blackwell Street (the main street) in Dover) on the Saturday in December that was closest to the Winter Solstice. That first party was attended by four teams (eight people) and doubled in size by the next one--The Saturday closest to the Spring Equinox in March (1999). The parties continued and the numbers attending each party continued to grow. Following each party, several of the teams returned to the home of Team Wells for more conversation (about tandems and tandeming, of course). The attendance at the DOGS parties were beginning to take over the dining room in that small restaurant and the venue changed. Each team is now making something delicious and bringing it to the home of Team Wells and sharing it with the other teams... and the attendance at each party continues to grow.

Something very special occurred on that January day and it continues whether we are riding our tandems together, chowing down on some delicious "DOGS Food" (check out the website for recipes from some of our parties), or just having a nice, old-fashioned conversation. Friendships were started that day and continue to grow. (You notice how we continue to say the word, "continue")?

New DOGS are always welcomed into the Kennel due to our shared passion, tandeming. Welcome, one and all.

Happy Pedalin' Everybody!

(a.k.a., Team Lantern Rouge)
Leaders, Doubles Of the Garden State (DOGS)
Last modified: 20 November 2002