Another benchmark for the Breakfast Club

By on November 29, 2017

The Warwick-to-Ephrata Rail Trail has become a popular recreation route for walkers, runners, and bicyclists. Photo by Dick Wanner

Fourteen members of the Lancaster Breakfast Club East bicycled their way to the park at the Warwick Township municipal campus on a recent Saturday morning, on their way to Wally Otto’s Manheim Township home where the plan was to drain his coffee pot.

But first they took a moment to dedicate a bench the club donated to the township as a token of their appreciation for the township’s role in the construction of the Warwick-to-Ephrata Rail Trail. About three-and-a-half miles of the trail is in the township, most of it has been completed, and club members ride it frequently.

They were a cheerful group, despite the fact that they had hit the road around 5:30 that morning. They ride most days of the year, which means in most kinds of weather. Members typically rack up 5,000 miles a year on their bikes, and one of the group said he’ll hit 8,000 miles before the end of 2017.

Except for Otto’s coffee pot on weekends, riding, rather than breakfast, has been the club’s focus since it formed some 40 years ago, or maybe it was 30 years, or 28. Most organizations that have been around that long have charters, by-laws, rules, organization charts, directors, officers, annual dues and official records. We didn’t ask, but it appears the Breakfast Clubbers, if they have such trappings, don’t pay them much heed.

But the club does have a motto: “Lending credibility to craziness for 40 years.”

Their very credible bench and the slab upon which it sits cost about $1,000, and 19 of them — pretty much the entire membership — pitched in to pay for it.

Ed Hamme read some prepared remarks as part of the dedication ceremony. He talked about the club’s founder, Jay Humphries, who, some 30 years ago left with a group of fellow bikers from his home on Jackson Drive, in Lancaster Township’s School Lane Hills neighborhood, and went on to Columbia Avenue and Charlestown Road, and back home again.

“Jay didn’t know it then, but that ride was the beginning of the Breakfast Club,” Hamme said. “He drew other cyclists in with his magnetic personality and the group began to grow.

“Jay was a lawyer by trade, married by choice, and was a natural athlete and leader. He excelled at all he attempted and he attempted just about everything.

“He was a swimmer, a mountain climber, a motorcycle racer, a skier, a bicyclist, a sailor and much more.

“Sometimes I look at Wally and I think how proud Jay must feel knowing that Wally was the one who picked up the bicycling mantle and grew it until it became this wondrous collection of cyclists we have here today.”

After Hamme’s remarks, biker Andrew Mead called for a blessing on the bench. He ended his prayer with, “…So, Heavenly Father bless this bench and may all who come by feel comfortable; and keep them out of harm’s way and allow us to continue to lend credibility to craziness for many more a day.”

While the Breakfast Clubbers may or may not have a clearly defined organization, it was clear from the few minutes we were present to take their picture that this group of bikers does have a history, a lot of fun, and a sense of humor.

Dick Wanner is a staff writer and photographer, and former editor-in-chief (1972-75), of the Record Express. He welcomes reader feedback at rwanner.eph@lnpnews.com.

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