Meet the Board
Tulio Bertorini, President
Member Since: 2009
First Bike: Metallic Blue Schwinn Scrambler
My Biking Story: I spend most of my time riding the road bike, but drop it as soon as cyclocross season kicks in locally.
Most all of us started riding bicycles as children. So I will not bore you with my entire History. My main passion for cycling started in 1992 where I started mountain biking with a nice entry level bicycle. As I rode more I began to become more involved with cycling. I did this by joining a local mountain bike race team called the River City Wheelmen. There I was part of the board and helped organize the Down and Dirty Mountain Bike Race. Years later the road bug hit and I joined the Marx-Bensdorf Team. After I realized Road Racing was not for me and Cyclocross was my game I worked with a group to organize the Amphitheater of Pain Cyclocross Series along with a few mountain bike races and Run/Bike/Runs. Then there was a big gap in my cycling history, but the passion could not stay away long. I was talked into riding with the IP Cycling Team in 2008 to ride in the 2010 Fed Ex Rock N Roll MS150 and it started again from there. I joined the Hightailers board in 2009 and have been more involved in cycling every year since.I have help various position on the board from Ride director, Marketing Director, to Education Director. I have a great passion for cycling and would love to see every one riding a bike. Not only do I want to see them riding a bike, but I want to see them do it safely.
Bill Ramia, President (past)
My Biking Story: My first bike was a red Western Flyer I saw “Santa” pulling out of the attic on Christmas Eve, when he thought I was asleep. I have very few memories of that bike that survived the emotional scarring of finding out FOR SURE the real identity of Santa Claus. My next bike, though, was a Schwinn StingRay with big handlebars and a banana seat. Man, I loved that bike, and I always felt like I looked pretty cool when I was riding it. As I grew, I saved my money and bought my first 10-speed Huffy from Sears. It was bright yellow, and you could see me a mile away! Later, I bought a French bike called Gitane, but I was clearly not skilled enough as a bike mechanic to have such a finicky bike, so it sat around a lot! I was in Boy Scouts, though, and I spent a whole summer earning the Cycling merit badge. I remember I had to do 6 - 25-mile bike rides, and one 50 mile ride. Those were my favorite memories of riding as I was growing up. It was also the first time I saw an adult who rode a bike…. I thought adults all drove cars!
Well, time-jump forward about 30 years, and I am back on a bike, and loving it. I have a Lynskey Helix bike, and it is great. I regularly ride many of the group rides we offer as a club. I did the Year-Rounder Challenge in 2012 where I rode (at least) one century a month for a year. That was a big year for me! I have done several triathlons, but knee trouble forced me to give that up. Thankfully, I was able to give up swimming at the same time! Now, I just enjoy riding with my wife Patricia and other folks and seeing parts of the countryside I never would have seen otherwise! A wise man once told me, “If you want to really see a place, ride your bike!”
I also love being with other men and women who enjoy cycling. For me, the Hightailers is more than a recreational outlet. Our club is a group of like-minded people from all walks of life who have this one thing in common, and it brings us together when we might not have otherwise even met. I’ve met riders who are old, young, fat, skinny, tall, short, rude, patient, pleasant, grumpy, black, white, brown, yellow, Christian, Jew, Muslim, and Atheist. I’ve seen slow people on fast bikes, and fast people on slow bikes. I’ve seen folks who seemed too timid to ride a bike, and I’ve seen folks who needed more timidity. I’ve seen road rage, and I’ve seen just the opposite when a rider has had an accident, and almost always one or two drivers will stop and ask to help.
The bottom line is that cyclists are people, with all the variety and complexity that make up the rest of society….. the biggest difference, you ask? Cyclists Have More Fun!! I have enjoyed serving on the Board the past few years, and am excited about many of the new things we are doing as a club. If you are too, then consider serving your fellow members for a year or two. You’ll be glad you did!
Lynn Shields, Director at Large
Info Coming Soon
Dawn Verwers, Volunteer Coordinator
Info Coming Soon
Peter Sarfas,Vice President
Member Since: 2012
My Biking Story: I bike to keep fit and be out in the fresh air!
Back home in Scotland, I had a road bike, but I would say I was a more casual rider, but not able to get much riding in between driving buses on tours all over Europe. The most I would do was about 20 miles.
I started back cycling during the spring of 2012 after an eleven year absence/hiatus for two main reasons: to lose weight and lower the number of medications I am on – it could be argued the medications are cheaper than biking! During 2012, I dropped over 50 lbs and my medications were lowered. I also completed my first metric century, which was also a milestone in itself. In 2013, I completed three century rides which I didn’t think I would be able to do. I have done a lot more cycling now than I ever did when I lived in Scotland.
I regularly ride the Mellow Mushroom ride on Tuesday nights, lead the Farmington Folly ride, which I started in August 2014, on Thursday nights and usually the Panera Bread ride on Saturday, although I have also been seen on the Saturday Morning Social Ride from Super Lo. I also assist with the BCB 100 Training team, so I can also be found on that ride!
I joined the Memphis Hightailers board in October 2013 and I am currently the Events Director, which means if you have to register for a MHBC Ride, MHBC Buddy Event, or to purchase special pre order Hightailers gear, I set up the registration pages.
Russ Beatse, Director of Weekly Rides
Member Since: 2012
My Biking Story: I have been a member since 2013. I started riding in the fall of 2012 to improve my health and fitness.
After riding some by myself, I started attending the Cameron Brown Ride Easy ride and grew from there. Since then, I have had the privilege to ride in most of the group rides and many of the special club rides. In the spring of 2014, I joined the board of directors for the club.
I was asked to coordinate the weekly group rides. We have a great bunch of ride leaders that have worked hard on educating themselves and their riders. I also lead the Collierville Saturday C Ride. I look forward to watching the club continue to grow. I currently ride a Felt Z85.
Ricky Gipson, Webmaster
Member Since: 2012
First Bike: Red BMX Huffy
My Biking Story: I started bike riding out of necessity. Gas prices were through the roof, and I lived about four miles from work. So I bought an old Cannondale to ride back and forth as a money saver. I immediately fell in love with it. Since then I've upgraded my wheels, dabbeled in mountain biking and joined the Hightailers. I joined the board in 2014 to assist with maintenance and design of the Highailers website. Hopefully with my love of cycling and love of design, I can help take our website to new heights.
Drew Bailey, Membership Director
Member Since: 2011
My Biking Story: Drew has been involved with the Hightailers since 2011, and has been a board member since 2013.
He served as the editor for the weekly newsletter, “The Tailwind,” for a year and a half before moving into his current role as the Membership Director for the club.
Drew enjoys riding both road and mountain bikes, of which one is a Cervelo R3, and the other a Scott Scale 29er. He rides as often as he can for both fun and fitness and enjoys riding as many club rides as possible with his wife Sara.
Donna Rowe, Director of Advocacy
Member Since: 2014
My Biking Story: I began riding in 2014 to incorporate low-impact cross-training into my running work-out regimen to build endurance, strength in my upper legs to relieve pain in my knees from running, and to gain a full body cardio work-out. The last time I had ridden a bike was when I was 17 years old! I never really had my own bike as a child – I rode (or rather, took over!) my Dad’s Blue 10-speed in 1974 and rode that bike everywhere!!! It was pure freedom at it’s finest! Some of the best times I had in childhood revolved around that bicycle and the places it took me.
Little did I realize that forty years later when I finally committed to purchasing a ‘real’ road cycle and walked out of the Peddler Bike Shop with my newly purchased Trek Lexa (the White Goose) that I was about to begin a journey that would give me back that feeling of freedom and an entire family of cyclists to go along with it!
My first ride on the White Goose was with the IP Cycling Team in May 2014 – I knew nothing about how to ride or shift a 21-speed cycle or how to ride with a group – they fostered me and mentored me and gave me the confidence I needed to ride. A few months later with only a single 30-mile group ride under my belt, I rode the MS150 2014 (every blessed mile of it). From that point on I was hooked and have since become a MHBC Ride Leader of the Rest’er Day Ride, joined the BCB100 Training Team, rode the MS150 2015, did my first century ride at Clarksville Sunrise and ride six days a week on the MHBC Group Rides. There is no comparison to the free therapy of a cycle, the wind in your face, and the freedom and comradery of sharing the love of the open road with others.
I have a passion for cycling and ensuring everyone enjoys the ride. What better way to support and promote the Memphis Hightailer’s Bicycling Club in the Memphis area than by sharing this exhilaration of freedom and being a part of a cycling family than by growing the sport of cycling with everyone in the community.
Cycling is my “Peace” and I intend to be an advocate in making it a “Peace” of Memphis!
Catherine Lyon, Secretary
Member Since: 2013
My Biking Story: I tried biking first by renting a bike at Shelby Farms after a series of running injuries. I find that many of my riding friends tried biking for the same reason. After about a half mile all I could think of was how much more fun biking is than running and I’ve been biking since that day.
My first bike was a Trek Neko hybrid that I’ve also used a couple of times mountain biking. I started with a friend at the Cameron Brown easy ride in 2013 and completed my first metric century that year at the BCB100 Ride in the fall. A week later I rode the 90 mile round trip Tanglefoot Trail.
Shortly after, I purchased my road bike, a Specialized Amira. Since then, I’ve ridden the 90 mile Tanglefoot Trail again, joined the BCB Training team in 2014 and completed my first century at the Clarksville Sunrise Century ride. I’ve done many of the club rides and enjoy them all. For 2015, I’ve joined the BCB Metric Training Team and am looking forward many fun bike rides with friends.
I’ve been the secretary on the board since January 2014 and enjoy working with everyone in the club.
Matthew Collins, Newsletter Editor
Member Since: 2013
First Bike: 2013 Diamonback Edgewood
My Biking Story: In the summer of 2013, I purchased a hybrid bicycle as a way to travel to the University of Memphis from Shelby Farms for a music teaching course.
When the class was cancelled, I used the spare time to start riding the Greenline, the trails of Shelby Farms, and around in the Bartlett area.
Towards the end of the summer, I decided to start riding in group rides. I joined up with the Cameron-Brown Ride Easy and the rides from Bike the Planet. That August, I decided to join the Memphis Hightailers and participated in other rides around town. That fall, I participated in my first Bluff CIty Blues ride where I finished my first Metric Century.
Last year, I upgraded to my first road bike, a Felt F95, which I first rode at the St. Patrick's Day Ride. I also got more involved in the club by doing other weekly rides and even starting up the Bartlett Station Ride to cater to my area of town.
I see cycling as a means for adventure. It has allowed me to see the city and surrounding areas in a whole new way which I hope will continue for many years. As an educator, I believe in the power of learning new things, whether it be how to safely transition a group from one lane to another or the strategy for winning a crit race. I hope you find every time you saddle up as a way to explore and learn more.
Jim Greer, Education Director
Member Since: 2013
First Bike: 1967(?) Schwinn Panther? hand-me-down
My Biking Story: I rode various bikes (Schwinn, Huffy, K-Mart) through my early teens, stopped, and re-started a couple of years ago.
I admit I was looking for some form of exercise I thought I might enjoy and that was expensive enough to guilt me into practicing it. Biking has apparently succeeded in both regards.
A couple of years ago (February 8th, 2013 to be exact) I got a bike, rode the Greenline, and fell over. A weekend later I rode the Saturday Social ride with 2 other Hightailers. Since then I've become a fairly regular rider of a number of Hightailer rides, ridden the BCB 100 twice (thanks to Mitchell, Larry and a cast of hundreds), and recently found myself participating in both an American League of Bicyclists' Traffic Safety 101 course and the League Certified Instructor course.
I am passionate about the acceptance of biking in Memphis and the surrounding area, and see safe biking as a vehicle that will help non-bikers and bikers better understand traffic etiquette and safety.
Frank Pitts, Jr., Treasurer
First Bike: Purple Schwinn Sting Ray with a Banana Seat (it was so cool!)
My Biking Story: Twelve (or so) years ago I decided to get off the couch and get some exercise. I went to Walmart and bought the best bike I could find.
I did not want to spend a lot of money in case this was just a phase. That did not work so well.
I tried again. My son had gotten a hybrid bike from the Peddler to take to college. It looked pretty good and I bought one and rode around the neighborhood.
I had heard of this group called the Hightailers. They were having a ride out in Rossville (Wolf River Cafe ride) and I decided to try it out.
Who doesn’t want catfish after a ride. I drove out there - met Mike Lewis (the President at the time) - gave him some money. He opened his trunk, gave me a MHBC hat and I was a member.
We all started off - me on my hybrid - everyone else on their road bikes - on an unmarked route with an outdated cue sheet. After about a mile I was alone (nothing has really changed today).
I do remember stopping somewhere on Hwy 194, asking a homeowner for some water and sitting under a tree for awhile.
Seven (or eight) hours later I came back - I was so tired I did not care about catfish.
I finally got a road bike - joined the MHBC board and the rest is history.
My initial riding experiences set my goals - to help make the ride experience good for all members with things like marked routes and SAGs,
I have handled the ride SAGs for the last few years and now I interface with the bike shops.
They are great supporters of the club and we are always trying to find ways to make that relationship beneficial to both sides.
Larry Graber, Bike Shop Coordinator
Member Since: 2008
First Bike: Schwinn American...bought at the Schwinn dealer, Memphis Bicycle Company store on Summer Ave.
My Biking Story: I have the fondest of memories when my dad took me to buy my first real bike. As a young kid, I thought the bike store was the most magical place on earth. Like most, biking when I was a kid was our means of transportation. Back when nobody knew what a bike helmet was. I do recall knowing every uneven crack of every sidewalk for a two mile radius around my house. We were masters of our universe, but we never ventured too far from home. And I proudly trucked along on my swanky red single speed coaster brake made for comfort not for speed Schwinn American. After learning how to drive and getting busy with life, most of my fitness activities revolved around racquetball. I played for over 30 years...until I started having back problems. About 8 years ago, I rediscovered bicycling as an enjoyable and robust form of fitness. A friend told me about Bikes Plus in Bartlett. I went down there and without any hesitation I bought a Trek 5200. I still ride the same bike today.
I discovered MHBC shortly after I bought my Trek and began riding group rides during the week and riding with my friends on Sunday mornings. Over the years, I don't know that I'm riding a lot faster as I'm clearly in the "C" category, but riding in group rides allows me to meet really interesting people. And I tell people this all the time: Group rides are the safest way to bike. I look forward to my position in the club as Bike Shop Liaison.