You can look at the history of the Rippers in one of two ways – the soul or the timeline. Let’s start with the soul. It’s what really counts. The Rippers truly started as a rag tag loose peloton of cycling fanatics as our tagline suggests. We didn’t know what we were doing, our equipment was from the 80s, we were coming from other sports, but we found a weekday route that was safe, scenic, mostly rights, and we could be back in time for our work and family obligations. We also found a hill (The Ripper) that truly kicked our bee-hides. Hills are part of our DNA as we just have so damn many around here. Our rides remain the same today.
Something else though was happening too – ladies and gents needed this time. A rhythm started to evolve as our Tuesday, Thursday rides expanded to every day of the week and our push out to Concord on a regular basis became a push out to Acton, then Littleton, eventually Harvard (felt like the Moon) and beyond. There was and is a kinship lost sometimes in our busy lives – a sanctuary of time for connection, inspiration, humor, adventure and discovery. All in a fun way – “loose”. We remain committed to our sport, adamant about safety, our bike shops, passionate about improvement and other cycling groups, and always, always wanting new riders to join on – and help us shape our miles ahead whether on the road, trail or whatever. Just get out and roll! YBs! are shared and membership costs you only a fist bump, after every ride. Connection, good health and a esprit de corps! That’s the Rippers. J
The beginnings of the Rippers started in 2001 with the first “rides” that appeared in my journal on our Ripper weekday route was on May 15 & 17, 2001 – my wife Cindy and me. We knew this route as our friend Dale Criniti (college friends) lived in Bedford near where we fork after the light on Rte 225 and she had told us how “to get back to our house without having to get back on 225, nice country road that takes you over 128”. So we called the route “The Dale Loop” back then. Our house at that time sat on our finishing driveway today, 208 Ridge Street in Winchester (owned today by Ted and Alici Broderick) and just up the hill from “The Ripper” (Waltham Street/Woburn) and The Vinson Owens Elementary School, where we start today. The Ripper sign at the corner of Ridge St and Johnson Road and designed and produced by Ripper and C3 racer Rich Batten still sits at our original starting place from 2001 to 2014 (150 yards from the VO parking lot where we start today).
Michael Hartnett was the first person to join me on July 20th, 2001 for “The Dale Loop”. Michael and Cindy rode that PMC 2001 forming my PMC team FLAMES along with 13 other riders.
The next year, mid July 2002, Bill Aalerud joined Michael and me. We three are the “founders” the moniker many of you have given to me. I cannot have “founded” without these two other riders! And Cindy, of course!
And on July 21, 2002 — I see a ride with Bill Aalerud, Paul and Peter Martini, Michael Hartnett, and my late, brother n Law Dudley Speros to Carlisle and Concord – using weekends to get out beyond Bedford had begun.
August 14, 2002, Jon Morrison joined “the boys”.
May of 2003 the ride became a weekly ride always on Tuesdays. Same route, the “Dale Loop”. Bill Aalerud, Tony Sievers, Jon Morrison (Jon would sometimes start with us but run – we’d pass him quick). Cindy would often ride with us too but start later and meet up, by going a quicker way to our finish area or meeting us on the bike path.
On Sept 30th, 2003 – Jeff Stein joined us. Also Rick Stockwood and Chris Moran would occasionally show too.
And in the spring of 2004, the regular Tues/Thursday “Dale loop” was established. (The word “Dale Loop” or “Roadie Loop” was interchangeable in my journal at this time)
October 8th, 2004 was our first experience with “darkness”. “No light until Bedford Center” it reads, not sure we had lights or not! I don’t think we did!
The next spring of 2005 — Rich Batten joined us on June 5th, 2005. And later that month – Larry Bradley joined on too. We think Bill Goodwin made an early appearance but then took a few years off of additional basketball. Also famous local mountain biker and soccer coach friend of mine, Tom Schneider, joined for a few rides too.
My journal stops using names during this period and just says “with the guys”. But always a number tied to How Many! – July 12th, 2005 – “6 riders!”
What’s interesting is we had not started calling each other “Rippers” or our route the “Ripper route” in 2005 but I see this entry on September 15th 2005 – “(My) Back went out going up ‘the Ripper’”. J So clearly we had started calling our big finishing hill – “the Ripper” in those early years.
Ken Lambert joined on October 18th 2005.
Joop Grevelink on April 29th 2006. John Neal on May 4th 2006 (lives in Salt Lake City now).
Jim Glass joined Michael Hartnett on Tuesday June 13, 2006, and Bill and I the following week. This rider addition, Jim Glass, raised our IQ considerably. We needed an MIT professor!
2006 and 2007 saw Denise Saltosjanes, Dave Sauer, Randy Baker, Bob Cahill (NEBC), Bill Goodwin, Tom Keane (COD), Phil Stern (NEBC) joining us. Attracting riders from other clubs really was important and helped us improve and expose us to rides and riders far beyond our original roots/routes.
And officially my entry on June 6th, 2006 reads: “Roadie with the Rippers” – so we were rolling. YB!
While these riders formed the foundation of the Rippers, today’s Rippers carry that torch that comes with wearing the Ripper colors and redefine and create new fun that we know (us gray beards or moon heads in my case) will perpetuate the Ripper vibe and attract more riders, routes, good health, companionship and fun.
Written by JD Hale for the Rippers Swop on January, 14, 2016 updated 1/21/16
2016 will be the Rippers’ 15th Year!