Club History

The Big Wheels Bike Club

Think Sunshine

Albert G. Rowe

". . . an enthusiastic member of Big Wheels, a Tonawanda-based bicycling club."

As Club Historian of Big Wheels Bicycle Club of Tonawanda, NY, I thought I would gather some information about Al from our records.

Albert and Ruth Rowe are on the August 1, 1991 Membership List

Al wins 3rd Place Mileage Trophy for the 1994 bicycling year - This is presented to him at the November 5, 1994 Banquet.

Al is an active Board Member January, 15, 1996 - August 4, 1998. He worked on the mid-winter meeting Pot Luck Dinner, March, 1996 and the spring Membership Meeting April, 1998.

The mileage log in the Spoke 'n Word Newsletter May-June, 1999 showed he rode 13 rides with total miles 224.

As Membership Chairman, I recall Al showing up at our Annual Spring Membership Meetings April 1, 2006 and 2007. He also paid his membership dues in June, 2008.

Al believed in contributing to the community. He contributed an annual gift on behalf of Big Wheels Bicycle Club to St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, Town of Tonawanda . . . "going back a dozen years."

Vern Rischard


Vern Rischard was an active member of Big Wheels Bike Club in the early 1970's.  He served as Vice President and President.  According to the Spoke 'n Word Newsletters of the 70's, he was always sharing Safety Tips and he received many awards for the club's Century Rides.


We get the quote "Think Sunshine" from Vern Rischard.  He was known to have a sign on his bike which read:  "Blessed are those who go around in circles, for they shall be called Big Wheels"   Sounds like a fun guy.







From the Spoke'n Word, The Newsletter of the Big Wheels Bicycle Club, August 2003:

Larry Schlimgen was one of the original riders and founders of the Club in the early 1970's. He was treasurer of the Club for many years and a very active member. He was the first one in the Club to reach the 40,000 mile mark. He helped organize picnics, the banquet, and had a group of Big Wheels bike in a July 4, 1976 parade in Tonawanda.

The first Bagel Ride was held in 2000. Larry died during the night from a heart attack August 23, 1999. He biked the short Sunday ride that day with a group of Big Wheels, stopping for bagels and coffee in the same spot as Bagel Jay's (on Klein near Hopkins).

Larry would help anyone change a flat or fix bike problems. He was a very caring friend. That is why we have the bagel ride in August in his honor and why some people have the turquoise T-shirt that says: "Larry's Ride, Bike with friends, Stop for bagels, Makes the day . . ., PERFECT!"

His wife Shirley, also a very active member, designed the T-Shirt. She also did many of the decorations at our banquets over the years and as well as coordinating desserts for the banquet, Pot Luck activities, and the food at the Vern Rischard ride. Larry is missed by everyone who knew him.

Lawrence J. Schlimgen June 20, 1927-August 23, 1999