Bridgewater woman is newest Bicycling Hall of Famer
Published: Tuesday, November 30, 2010, 7:49 AM
Photo by Frank Mustac
HERS IS A FAMILIAR NAME in competitive bicycling circles. Dottie Saling is
active in organizational work and officiating, but she still loves to ride her
By Rick Epstein
BRIDGEWATER - Because the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame is now in California
instead of Somerville, Dottie Saling of Bridgewater had some distance to travel
for her induction ceremony.
Although she was chosen for her administrative work at the national level, she
started bicycle racing in 1957 and at age 66 is still at it. But there were
interruptions for college, child-raising and injuries. One of those
intermissions was in 2000. She was riding in national time trials in Indiana
when a dog ran out in front of her. “I T-boned the dog and ended up with six
fractured ribs, a punctured lung and a dislocated shoulder.” She was in the
hospital for eight days.
She also rode all the way across the country — at age 49 and 61. “What a way to
see this beautiful country of ours!” she said. “I like cycling for the challenge
and adventure, besides the health and fitness aspect,” she said. “I have a
Saling comes from a Hunterdon County bicycle-racing family. She grew up in
Readington and Raritan townships and graduated from Hunterdon Central High
School in 1962. Her father, Bob Yard, was a well-known East Coast bicycle racer.
He was one of the Jaeger Wheelmen, who used to have a wooden racing track near
Sergeantsville. Her brother Bobby continued the family tradition.
Although Saling credits her mom, Florence, with teaching her to ride a bike, in
her acceptance speech in California, she also thanked Bobby “for taking me
training and bringing home one of his training partners” Joe Saling of
Bridgewater, who married her 48 years ago.
Joe Saling is a 19-time national champion, five-time Pan American champ and a
longtime member of the Somerset Wheelmen.
The Salings bought Fred “Pop” Kugler’s bike shop in 1965 and operated it as
Saling’s Schwinn Cyclery first in Somerville, then in Branchburg, selling it in
1981. Dottie would also be remembered by the alumni of Branchburg’s middle
school as their school nurse. She was known for riding her bike to work.
Joe encouraged Dottie to become involved with national bike racing
organizations, which she did eagerly even though there were few women among the
“good, old boys” running the sport.
Dottie was one of the four inductees chosen this year because of her decades of
support of the sport of cycling. From 1978 to 1993 she served as a member of the
USA Cycling Board of Directors and was also president of the board of the
Bicycling Hall of Fame from 1996 to 2000, when it was still in Somerville.
She was a member of the International Games Preparation Committee of U.S.
Olympic Committee for multiple Pan American and Olympic games, as well as a
contributing member of many other bicycling organizations.
Currently, Dottie is a cycling official for various national championships and
serves as treasurer of the Somerset Wheelmen, the group that founded the annual
Tour of Somerville bicycle race in 1940.
Pop Kugler, the founder of the Tour of Somerville and the first Hall of Fame
inductee, encouraged her to officiate and promote races. “He taught me how to
dot the I’s and cross the t’s when organizing an event. He was a generous man
and a father figure,” she said.
The Salings have two daughters, Amy Anderson, who lives next door, and Beth
Granigan of Cape May Courthouse; and four grandsons. Two of them, Dag Anderson
and Noah Granigan, “represent the fourth generation of racers and are my best
contribution to the sport,” Dottie said. Dag, 16, is racing cyclo-cross, and
Noah, 14, is making a name for himself in track racing.
Dottie continues to ride her 12-speed Jamis every day, as long as temperatures
are above 40 degrees and the roads are dry. She still races, but does not find a
lot of competition in the over-65 women’s category. Never a sprinter, Dottie’s
events have been 25-mile time trials and long road races. Her specialty is
endurance — and longevity.
Rick Epstein can be reached at 908-948-1243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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2 posts • Page 1 of 1
Man, inspiration is all around us! I feel fortunate to have met and spoken with Dottie on many occasions. She's even officiated a race or two of ours.