Zwift’s BMTR Asst. Director Leads 9 Group Rides for 8 Teams in 7 Days for One Purpose

"Zwift Community rides make friendships, people who care about one another, and we truly make a difference." - Jim Nelson

The Bear Mountaineers #BearWithIt #BMTR! began as a group of cyclists who enjoyed Centuries and Endurance rides with challenging climbs, like their namesake Bear Mountain which rises from the west bank of NYs Hudson River. Founded by Bryant Stafford, the group grew a presence on Zwift riding virtually when the harsh upstate NY weather didn’t allow it. Paul Zucker is the director, and Briant Kelly handles the racing side of things.

Assistant to the director Jim Nelson has been on Zwift since 2017 and watched the BMTR membership grow to over 2,000 riders. He accepted the position of assistant director almost two years ago. During that time, BMTR has gone from two to eight weekly rides.

Jim promotes the rides he leads on Facebook with pre-ride invites and post-ride reviews. The rides he leads are casual-paced social events with constant chatter that are upbeat and humorous. Jim is known for his typos in the rides, almost a legendary trademark. Or, as he might type, Tirade Markd:-)

The Nine-Eight-Seven-One Project

I started the project to raise awareness of how great the community group rides are. I hoped that new riders who had not tried a community group ride would give them a try. There are so many wonderful groups available. Try some out and find one that works for you. Some rides are geared to increasing your strength and endurance, while others are geared more to the social aspect of a group ride. For example, the BMTR rides always start the same way, with friends greeting their other friends. Asking about accomplishments, families, pets, and how each other is doing. So many friendships led to IRL meetups. Virtual avatars with real people and genuine friendships.

BMTR Short Adventure Ride
BMTR Short Adventure Ride Friday, April 15, 2022, at 8:00 am est.

The BMTR team has been my home for the last two years. After Monilee Keller introduced me to the Director, Paul Zucker, of the BMTR, I knew this group was a perfect fit for me. 

AHDR Friday Funday Ride
AHDR Friday Funday Ride Friday, April 15, 2022, at 3:00 pm est.

I have been helping out and leading the Friday Funday rides when needed since John ‘Bison’ Coyle started the ride in March 2021. John is well known and loved in the Zwift community.

BMTR Short Adventure Ride
BMTR Short Adventure Ride Sunday, April 17, 2022 at 9:15 am est.

The Short Adventure ride has grown from one to three weekly rides, with ride attendance reaching 670 riders in the past winter. Thanks to the Wonderful Short Adventure D Team ❤️

TBR Sunday Funday Ride
TBR Sunday Funday Ride Sunday, April 17, 2022, @ 3:45 pm est.

I have been helping cover lead rides for the Sunday Funday ride since Holly Williams started the ride two years ago.

Pride Ride
Pride Ride Sunday, April 17, 2022, @ 4:30 pm est.

The Pride is a special ride for me. I have teammates actively involved in the LGBTQ+ community. They needed help covering some of the ride leads. I was thrilled to help out and led the Sunday 4:30 pm ride for about eight months. My ‘twin’ Lynne Boudrias has been the Red Beacon right from the start. Thank you so much, Lynne. You are Awesome ❤️

Velocity Vixens Ride
Velocity Vixens Ride Monday, April 18, 2022, @ 8:30 am est.

I have known Dawn Bardon for several years and have ridden her Velocity rides for quite some time. This lead happened at the absolute last minute. I mentioned my ride project to her late Sunday night, and Dawn immediately put in the ECR form at 11:15 pm. The update was made by Monday morning for the 8:30 am ride. Thank you, Dawn!

Revo Social Ride
Revo Social Ride Tuesday, April 19, 2022, @ 8:00 am est.

I have been helping sweep the Tuesday 8:00 am ride for four years. I have ridden with two of the Leads, Stacey Larkin and Gail Kocher, for some time. They got special permission from the Revo Board to let me lead the ride. It was truly special as I have been helping sweep rides for Natasha Williams, Stacey, Gail, and many others. I was also the first male lead for a Revo ride. I was very honored.

DIRT Family Values Ride
DIRT Family Values Ride Tuesday, April 19, 2022, @ 5:30 pm est.

I have been helping out with the Family Values ride with Dave Hardy since 2018. Dave is a fireman and sometimes would not be available (fires, rescues, delivering a baby) and sometimes would get calls mid-ride. Always an adventure. No ride has more Dad jokes than this ride.

ZSUN vFun Ride
ZSUN vFun Ride Thursday, April 21, 2022, @ 4:15 pm est.

I am very new to this group. I have known the wonderful Iliada Bolton for years but only recently started as a lead backup. Iliada was riding IRL with Natasha Williams Thursday, so I was thrilled to step in and lead the ride.

Zwift rider list

Did you know this about Jim Nelson?

  • He was a BIG high school football standout from NJ that went to college in Bowling Green, Ohio.
  • He and talk show host, comedian, and social activist John Stewart went to the same high school at different times together.
  • He participated in the first BGSU-sponsored Triathlon in May 1980.
  • He has logged the most hours of any American on Zwift.


                                   Most of all! He is a BIG guy with an even bigger heart!

Bowling Green State University triathlon

I hope this will bring more people into the community of group rides. Anyone can hop on and do a free ride by themselves, but if you would like more conversation, laughter, fun, and friendships, hundreds of group rides are waiting for you.

BMTR Asst. Director Jim Nelson

Special thanks to Jim’s ole’ college buddy and co-founder of DIRT, Doug Mastroianni, for spilling tha’ beans! In case you were wondering, Doug beat him in the triathlon! In return, Jim showed Doug the ways of Watopia! Belong, Stand Out, Go Far!

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