Year Four of the Fletcher Flyer – 2007
by Charlie Clogston
In 2007, Joe Sechler applied his creativity to many areas of the Fletcher Flyer. He initiated BRBC’s first on-line registration process through Active.com, with the help of Val Smith. He had gotten feedback that the after ride meal of hot and not dogs was not well appreciated. Even the cold turkey wraps the previous year had been in the back of the refrigerator and some had frozen. Joe explored alternatives and served a full BBQ lunch with ribs/chicken, all the sides, and even pie for dessert. This was definitely a step forward.
Joe had also received feedback from the riders that the profit of the Fletcher Flyer should go to something more cycling related than the WNC Alliance. So Joe worked with the Asheville Greenways Foundation, who would take over the rest stops in exchange for the profits of the Flyer. It was a huge job to train them to do the rest stops, but it was done successfully. The ride in 2007 was a big success and we were able to give the Asheville Greenways Foundation a check for $10,000.
Bruce Rogers took over leadership of the radio operations when Nelda Williams retired, in addition to his SAG responsibilities. Bruce did a great job in both areas.
In response to riders’ comments that the route markings were confusing with 50, 62, and 100 mile routes intersecting, Joe used different colors for each route. For the first 25 miles, where the routes were identical, Joe used a fourth color, rather than paint three different colored arrows for this section.
Joe was also concerned that the portable megaphone used for ride announcements at the start could not be heard the previous year and rented a very powerful speaker system that could be heard by all the riders. He used the system to explain the marking system. However, we learned that while riders may be able to hear the pre-ride announcement, getting them to listen to them was another matter. A group of riders at the end of Lindsay Loop did not follow the Fletcher Flyer route, but followed some markings from the Hilly of the previous year. They ended up climbing Bearwallow Mountain Road, which most certainly was not part of the Flyer route. The leader of this wayward group was none other than Robbie Sweetser, who became ride director of the Flyer in 2009 and 2010.
At the end of 2007, Joe retired from being FF director, but he made many improvements that have lasted to this day and brought the Flyer to a whole new level of professionalism.