Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Andy von Guerand

Yesterday I posted on the fatal bike accident in Newton, Masachusetts involving Andy von Guerard, which happened at an intersection I ride through almost every day.

What I didn't realize then was that I knew Andy, who was a Barista at the Taste Coffee House in Newton, where I go almost every day for coffee. He was a friendly guy who knew his customers.  My sympathies are with his family, friends and co-workers at Taste.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sad news about a cyclist in Newton today--from Wicked Local

Sadly, this accident happened on Commonwealth Avenue at an intersection close to my home.  I ride through this intersection almost daily.  As I rode by this morning, there was a small bouquet of flowers there to memorialize the site.

According to reports, on May 17, 2010 the cyclist was killed at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue, Lowell and Homer Streets in Newton MA.  The cyclist's death was the result of a collision with a motor vehicle at about 5:20 p.m.  Reports indicate that the cyclist was traveling eastbound on Comm Ave and the other vehicle, an SUV was crossing from Homer Street onto Lowell Street. 

There is a traffic signal here but it is unclear from the reports who had the green light.  The few bits and pieces of information that have been released are not conclusive of anything.  The name of the cyclist has not been released, but he was 21 years old.

Ironically, the accident happened within sight of City Hall, where the day before the fatal bicycle accident the annual Bike Newton Rally took place.  The purpose of the rally was to encourage bicycling.

Of course, the blame game is alrerady starting even though the facts are still unknown.  It would be nice if people would remember that this is a tragedy for the cyclist's family and wait to see what happened before chiming in with their assessment of who's at fault. 

Edit: the cyclist was Andy von Guerand of Colorado.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gran Prix of Beverly--Press Release

BEVERLY, MA – The hottest month of the year kicks off with sizzling cycling action during Beverly Homecoming. On Wednesday, Aug. 4, downtown Beverly will spring to life with the return of world-class bike racing and the 2nd annual Fidelity Investments Gran Prix of Beverly, presented by Beverly Hospital. Last year, the inaugural Gran Prix of Beverly attracted hundreds of spectators, including many first-time cycling fans, who were treated to front-row views of a stunning series of lightning-quick criterium races. This year, with the Gran Prix newly designated as the official "state championships" and coinciding with Beverly Homecoming, the races promise to be even more of a spectacle.

The Gran Prix will consist of four divisions – Elite Men, Open Women, Masters Men, and Amateur Men – as well as a kids race. All four groups will race the same serpentine course, which starts and finishes on Cabot Street in the heart of downtown Beverly, and winds along sections of Hale and Dane streets. For the uninitiated, a criterium, or "crit," is a high-speed, high-stakes chess match on two wheels. Held on relatively short circuit course – typically on closed city streets – a criterium features brightly clad competitors constantly jockeying for position at speeds of up to 35 miles an hour as they repeatedly circle past spectators, and closer to 45 miles on hour during the final dash to the finish. Each race lasts roughly an hour, and consists of several "races within a race," called primes (pronounced "preems"), ensuring non-stop action.

"The whole atmosphere was so charged," said veteran pro racer Tim Johnson, a native of Middleton who now calls Beverly home. "The transformation of Cabot Street into a race course is pretty amazing. I was so excited about the crowds, three and four deep by the start-finish area, and going past St. Mary's Star of the Sea church, with Father Barnes ringing the church bells for the primes. Everything was amplified."

This year, race organizers scored a major coup by having the Grand Prix of Beverly staged a week earlier, to coincide with the 44th annual Beverly Homecoming, one of the highlights of the city's calendar. This citywide celebration – the quintessential New England summertime festival – guarantees a terrific crowd. The Gran Prix will be held on the same day as another popular Homecoming staple, the annual Lobster Festival.

"It's a real win-win for Beverly Homecoming, with two major events going on mid-week," said Beverly Recreation Director Bruce Doig, who also plays a major role in Homecoming organization. "It looked like a good marriage."

According to Doig, the focus of Homecoming calendar – more than 80 events strong – has recently migrated to Lynch Park along city's coastline, and the Gran Prix will help re-establish the event's traditional ties to the city's main thoroughfare. "It's a huge event," said Doig of the Gran Prix. "It was so dramatic, when you see how fast these racers are going, and the turns they're trying to negotiate. And the businesses look at it as a win-win, because the race is drawing a lot of people to the downtown, and there's plenty of opportunity for them to stay open."

Last year, several restaurants took advantage of local streets being altered into a race course/walking mall, setting up sidewalk tables to create outdoor cafes and enhancing the party atmosphere. And the racing didn't disappoint. In the Men's Elite race, New Hampshire's Benjamin Zawicki of Richmond Pro Cycling won in a furious sprint finish, edging Robbie King of IF/Lionettes and Beverly's own Shawn Milne of Team Type1. Two more top pro riders from Beverly, Johnson and Jesse Anthony, finished 5th and 12th respectively. Former Canadian national champion Lynne Bessette, Johnson's wife, finished second in the women's race, winning the bunch sprint behind Rebecca Wellons of NEBC/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental.

Anthony, Bessette, Johnson and Milne are all expected to return this year, ensuring another top-flight field. Bike races are only as good as the competitors, and the fact that Beverly can bring such star power to the start line is a testament to the cycling community found on Boston's North Shore and to the race organizers, spearheaded by Beverly-based cycling club Essex County Velo. It also reflects Johnson's commitment to the free kids race. "I really want to see the kids race become a must-see event," he said. "That's where we grow our future champions, and future ambassadors of the sport.

For details, contact race director Paul Boudreau, at

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Blue Hills Classic

Spent the AM marshaling at the Blue Hills Classic in Milton with many others from 545 Velo.  The race sold out in advance this year and is joining the ranks of the New England Spring Classics.  It was great to see so many 545 Velo teammates out there volunteering and racing.