"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
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.
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.
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 ❤️
I have been helping cover lead rides for the Sunday Funday ride since Holly Williams started the ride two years ago.
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 ❤️
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!