MICHIGAN BICYCLIST | Winter 2010
Connie Ramsey had broken a spoke. Of course, it was on the cog sideof the rear wheel.She and her husband, Vern, who never rode far ahead of or behind her,were awaiting a SAG when I happened to pedal by. I guess I thought I wasdoing what Boy Scouts used to call a “good deed.” More likely, I neededa socially redeeming excuse for carrying spokes, a chain tool, and a cogremover on a sagged ride.Connie and Vern were grateful and, as always, gracious. Needless to say, I didn’t knowI was “rescuing” two people who thought nothing of riding from Detroit to Ann Arbor, orLansing, or Flint, Toronto, Chicago, or Washington, DC (and back), and had taken a train toSeattle and ridden back. All these were self-contained touring, without touring companyguides or fancy accommodations.I also didn’t know that they had been active, long before I even thought of group or clubriding, in the Metro Council of American Youth Hostels, the group I joined later. By then,they had fallen among more formidable company. Vern says of their rst ride to Flint andback with the Wolverines, “I was never so glad to see Eight Mile in my life.”But, as with everything they did together, they also said, “We can do this!” — and so theydid. Vern, slim, tall and ripped at 72, was the original athlete; Connie cheered him on. Later,the roles reversed. If you’ve been lucky enough to ride with them, you know about their amaz-ing gift for coaching. Even today, Vern encourages me to do a long-deferred sea-to-sea ride.If I had the guts, I’d want to do it with him.Charlene McNary started cycling to help her avoid diabetes, which runs in her family. Tenyears ago, she started Sisters Cycling as a 50-woman team in the American Diabetes Asso-ciation’s Tour-de-Cure to ght diabetes. Connie and Vern were there to coach them, fromexperienced rider to novice. Connie even ran bike repair classes in their garage. (I also didn’tknow Connie was an Effective Cycling Instructor.) She (and Vern) became a mainstay of thesuccessor Sisters Cycling Club.But that was no big thing for Connie. She played the same role in everything she did. Of particular signicance for us, Connie represented the Wolverine Sports Club at the Lansingmeetings that created the League of Michigan Bicyclists. If not for Connie, we might not behere today.Connie sewed a sampling of their many tour patches onto jackets that now commemorate
By DANTE LANZETTA, LMB Board Chair
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Connie Ramsey with daughter, Constance Montgomery, and grandson, Zackery.