Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Newsletter
January 2007

Recovery Party Date and Location Set

It's party time!!!!

KBC's annual Recovery Party will be held on Saturday, January 27th, 2007, at the home of Megan, Fred and Rebecca James, 5220 Ridgebrook Drive in Portage from 7-10 P.M. Ridgebrook Drive is located south of Kilgore Road, between South Westnedge and Lovers Lane, west off of Woodmont Drive.

Social Directors Jelania Haile and Renee Mitchell will make chili (both meat based and vegetarian) and have beer, wine and soft drinks on hand. They are also petitioning Cricket Howard to whip up another batch of his highly popular Recovery Red beer.

We ask that you bring a dish to pass. To avoid 'too much' of a good thing, we suggest that if your name begins A thru H, bring appetizers/breads, I thru R, bring a salad, and the rest bring dessert.

Local bike shops are contributing schwag to give away at a raffle, and there will be a slide show of KBC events. Volunteers to help set up or clean up would be appreciated, and can call Jelania (345-1274) or Renee, (329-7061). Every member of KBC and spouses/friends are welcome to attend. This is a great opportunity to reconnect with your cycling buddies and share great food and company.


Jelania and Renee are asking for a bit of help both before the party to help set up and also afterwards for cleanup.

President’s Letter

I want to wish every member of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club a happy holiday! I hope to see many of you at the Recovery Party in January.

2007 was a good year for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. We put on a Bike Camp with 400% greater attendance than in 2006, which is a testament to the hard work of the Bike Camp Committee. FlowerFest was a success. The first annual WMU/KBC BTR Race was a success and will be held again in August 2007. Bicycle safety legislation that the KBC was asked to testify on was passed into law (A big thank you to KBC member Tom George). The owners of the Kalamazoo Speedway were even willing to allow the club to use their facility for some high speed paceline workouts. The success of these activities is directly due to the time and effort put into them by you, the members of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club.

In 2007 rider safety will again be the focus of the club. The club will also be working on increasing the number of “Share the Road” signs throughout the area. A free first aid and accident scene management class will be offered to club members in February. A preseason KBC orientation and safety meeting will be held.

It is of concern to KBC's Board of Directors that there were several incidents leading to injury in some of the ride groups last year. The size of these groups and the overall bike handling skill level seems to be a factor in bike-to-bike accidents. To address those concerns, KBC offered paceline skill refresher classes in 2006; these easy and low-pressure instructional courses will be repeated next season. Anyone who is interested in learning how to ride in a group safely is encouraged to attend - including those who think they already know everything there is to know about the subject. Although having the skills necessary to assist an injured party while waiting for an ambulance to arrive is important, I feel it is time well spent to avoid an injury-causing incident in the first place.

Be on the lookout for some new off-season activities sponsored by the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. There are also winter cross training opportunities for the days that it is to cold to ride and to nice to ride the trainer. Enjoy the winter season and get ready for Monday, April 2, 2007, the first regular KBC ride of the new riding year.

Mike Boersma

Monthly Meeting Minutes, December 12, 2006

KBC’s regular monthly meeting was held Tuesday, December 12th 2006 at 7:00 pm at the Kalamazoo YMCA located on Maple Street. KBC President Mike Boersma led the monthly meeting. Present were Zolton Cohen, Chris Haddock, Jelania Haile, David Jones, Doug Kirk, Mike Krischer, Tom Keizer, Jim Kindle, Dick Nivala, Bob Paksi, Victor Van Fleet, and Mike Boyd.

Treasurer’s Report - Tom Keizer

  • Income = $80
  • Expenses = $548
  • Checking Acct = $3,394
  • Savings Acct. = $2,072
  • CD = $12,390

Recovery Party - Jelania Haile

The annual Recovery Party is set for January 27th. Volunteers will contact local bike shops asking for donations for the raffle at the party. Social Directors Jelania Haile and Renee Mitchell request some volunteer assistance in setting up and cleaning up after the party is over.

Kal Tour Report - Mike Krischer

The City of Kalamazoo has offered T-shirts to be sold at the event, with no obligation to KBC, and less expensively than the club has been able to offer them in the past. Unsold T-shirts can be returned to the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is also considering donating kazoos to the ride’s participants.

The committee is looking into possibly adding a sag stop at the Kal Haven Trailhead on 10th Street for the 60 and 100 mile routes. The “official” name of the tour is now “Kalamazoo Scenic Bicycle Tour;” the short form of the name is “KalTour.”

First Aid Training for KBC members - Doug Kirk

February 7th @7:00 PM Gilmore Auditorium in Bronson Hospital (Jasper Street entrance). Details in an article in this PedalPress.

Bike Maintenance Classes - Zolton Cohen

Free at Breakaway Saturday, January 6 and 13. Two levels of class, no charge. Please call shop or stop in to sign up.

501 C3 Committee - Jim Kindle

No report

Team KBC - No representatives present.

No report

Health Initiative Proposal - Victor Van Fleet

Victor presented information about his proposal from last month. He is asking for endorsement and commitment from KBC. Members had questions as to whether or not this type of endeavor was in keeping with the purview of the KBC constitution. There was also suggestion that Victor combine his efforts with a similar, established program, Fitness 2006, and then approach the club to become a participant or sponsor. Overall, members at this meeting felt that more concrete information was needed. A motion passed, one opposed, to table the discussion.

New Business:

  • Xterra and Elite Endeavors Triathlon - Tom Keizer shared an email from Kevin Biek regarding KBC sponsorship in this new event, scheduled for May 20th at Fort Custer. Members expressed interest and requested more information! Kevin Biek was contacted and has made a commitment to attend the February KBC meeting.
  • Is there a need for an insurance coordinator position? Who handles accident reports? Are they being filed appropriately?

The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 PM. Important note! There is no January KBC monthly meeting! Next meeting is scheduled for 7:00 PM, Tuesday, February 13th, 2006 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street.

Respectfully submitted,
Chris Haddock,
KBC Secretary

KBC Statistics

Active subscriptions: 232

January Birthdays:

Paul Banner * Deborah Bauer * Eric Berry * Christopher Bloch * Paul Bruneau * James Cates * Mike Cutler * Colleen Donnelly * Jeffrey Hamilton * Alta Herman * Thomas Herman * David Hiebert * Maiya Hoard * Violet Humphreys * Paul Jacobson * David  Jones & Leslie Mars * Sarah Kalkman * Mary Kindle * Gellert Kish * Abbey Lawford * John Mathieson * Renee Mitchell * Kathy Mizikar * Jessica Poling * Gary Rankinen * Travis Shubnell * Richard Smith * Don Visker * Jacob Vreeman * Logan Vreeman

New members:

Jeff Dubbeld

January Expiring memberships:

James Cates * Jeffrey Hamilton

Ramblings from the Ride Captain

As I write these ramblings, it’s 40 degrees again, and there still is no snow on the ground. I know it must be coming sometime, but it does look as though people who are eager to get back on the bike may be able to get started early this year.

The early season is a time for easy riding—to build a strong base or foundation for more strenuous efforts later in the year. Long, slow, distance miles are what the early season should be about. The early season is also a time to work on your form, especially your spin.

What is it that makes some riders look as though they ride so effortlessly, while others seem to labor on the bike? It’s the ability to turn the pedals around quickly. Racers typically turn about 100 rpm. Seasoned tourists typically do between 85 and 90. Power outputs are usually optimal at these cadences. Your ability to spin will also determine how quickly you can fill a gap in a paceline, or respond to sudden accelerations.

Another area on which to work during the early season is the upper body. Your upper body should be relaxed, with elbows slightly bent—to absorb both road shock and the occasional bumps from other riders that can occur in pacelines. Your handlebars should be adjusted in such a way that you can turn your head to look back without swerving to the right or left.

One more area on which to concentrate during those early season rides: are your knees in? Mine often aren’t. They should be - if your anatomy allows it - because keeping your knees close to your top tube reduces aerodynamic drag considerably, allowing you to conserve more energy at any given pace.

All this is doubtless old hat for many of you, but perhaps a few simple reminders will help us ride efficiently and safely during the upcoming season.

Happy New Year KBC friends!

Knute Jacobson

KBC Presents FREE Bike Accident Education Class

What would you do if a fellow rider hit the ground hard on a ride and just lay there in the road not moving? What if—heaven forbid—a car hit your best friend, riding right behind you? What if he was bleeding severely, or was unconscious, or didn’t even recognize you? What if she was lying in the middle of the road, traffic is coming from both directions, and she seems unable to move? Or what if it’s YOU lying in the middle of the pavement all alone, or you suddenly get severe chest pain in the middle of a hard interval session?

Pretty tough questions, wouldn’t you agree? I don’t know about you, but these are the sort of questions I’ve tended to push aside for years, illogically hoping that, if I don’t think about it, the problem will just go away.

After hitting the deck hard twice in the last two years, I finally figured out that what to do in these situations is vitally important, and that I’m pretty darn stupid for not knowing any more than hoping someone has a cell phone and can call an ambulance to come pick up the pieces and see if anyone at the hospital can put me back together again.

We are talking about the very distinct possibility of having to make life-or-death decisions--or decisions that might cause or prevent paralysis. Would YOU know what to do? Let me suggest that EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US SHOULD have some basic knowledge and skills with which to approach such a situation.

After my most recent fall, KBC member Joan Orman made a suggestion so simple I wonder why no one thought of it before—why not get some emergency-scene professionals to give a presentation to KBC members? Why not indeed?

KBC has arranged for a one evening class to teach us the basics in two closely related areas: on-the-scene basic emergency medicine focusing on the kinds of injuries peculiar to cyclists, taught by Bronson Hospital’s EMT liaison Tim Owens; and accident-scene management, taught by KBC member and Kalamazoo County Deputy Sheriff Mike Jones.

The class will be at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 7, 2007 the Gilmore Auditorium located at Bronson Hospital, adjacent to the Jasper St. Parking Ramp (where we can park.) (map). This class is for KBC members and is FREE OF CHARGE.

Let me be completely frank. Unless you already have some EMT and accident scene management training, you owe it to yourself and your fellow riders to make it a point to attend. PLEASE tell your KBC riding buddies. We want as many KBC members as possible to receive this information. We will have KBC membership applications available at the door.

Doug Kirk

New KBC Website Design Makes its Debut

New KBC Webmaster Bob Paksi has started his tenure at that post by redoing the design of KBC’s website at www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org. The site’s new look should make it easy for new and existing members to find their way around. Congratulations, Bob, on hitting the ground running with this upgrade to a critical piece of KBC’s communications infrastructure…

Paksi says about the site’s new look, “Basically, I like websites that are clean, pleasing to read, and easy to get around. So that is what I attempted to do with the KBC website. The navigation and content of the website has changed very little. I just added a new facade onto it.”

”Additionally, under the covers I cleaned and organized what we already had. This will allow us to add more content efficiently in the future.”

”There is still some functionality that the old site had that hasn't been converted yet. So over the next few weeks I will keep adding that back to the website.”

”The feature that I've have heard about the most is the photo albums. Even though we already had that feature, several people have mentioned that they want to see more photos and to have them be more current.” 

”One of my next projects for the site is a legal section. Currently I know very little about my rights and responsibilities under the law while riding a bike. I think it would be nice to have a place where the law (section and code) is presented and interpreted.”

”The last thing is the newsletter will be getting a new look in January. Obviously the content will remain the same, but I'll try and make it a little cleaner and more pleasing to read. I also hope to add a function that will allow the newsletter to be printed directly without requiring a separate attachment. I’m still working on that though…”

Riders at Greater Risk of Being Hit While Wearing a Bike Helmet?

Every December the New York Times Magazine devotes an entire issue to the “Year in Ideas” - the best “ideas” about various topics that emerged during the previous year. The magazine prints summaries of research and data published by scientists, doctors, inventors and those in the arts, mainly items that feature global interests, myth-busting, or quirkiness. In the 2006 Year in Ideas edition, one piece – a study produced by a Dr. Ian Walker, a “traffic psychologist” at the University of Bath in England - has some pertinence for bicycle riders.

Walker conducted a study on the factors that might influence the proximity of auto traffic to bicyclists. His results seem to indicate that bicycle riders are more at risk of being hit by someone in a car, bus, or truck if they are wearing a helmet than if they ride without a helmet. The reason? Auto drivers in the study passed closer to a helmeted bicyclist than they did to a bareheaded one, thus increasing the risk and likelihood of an accident.

Equipping a bicycle with a sensitive ultrasound measuring device, Walker set out to ride half the research time helmeted and half with no helmet. After 2,500 cars had passed him on the road, he tabulated the results and found that traffic passed almost three and a half inches closer when he wore his helmet than when he went without.

Walker discovered that cars passed him at an average distance of 4.4 feet away. Trucks passed 7.5 inches closer, and busses 9 inches closer still. White vans, for some reason, pass approximately 4 inches closer than regular car drivers, according to previous research. Contrary to commonly held belief, there was no evidence during Walker’s experiment to suggest that SUV’s came closer to him than standard cars.

Good news for female bikers: While wearing a wig when on the bike, Walker was given 5.5 inches more clearance when passed by traffic.

As to why all this is so, Walker has developed one major theory. It is that auto drivers perceive helmeted bicyclists to be better, more experienced riders, less likely to swerve into traffic or do something unpredictable than might an unhelmeted rider. As to why the “female” rider was given more maneuvering space, Walker says he doesn’t know if it is a case of the relative scarcity of women on bikes in England, or if drivers believe female cyclists to be less predictable or capable in their bike handling abilities.

Are there lessons to be learned from this study? Certainly. But one of those lessons is not that it is OK to ride without a helmet. Although you might find yourself slightly closer to traffic if you wear one (if Walker’s study can be extrapolated to the auto traffic/cyclist interface in the USA), in the event of an accident it’s better to have a helmet on than not.

Walker also says drivers may squeeze closer to helmeted cyclists because of a drivers’ perception of the two-wheeled set. “We know from research that many drivers see cyclists as a separate subculture, to which they don’t belong,” Walker states. “As a result they hold stereotyped ideas about cyclists, often judging all riders by the yardstick of the Lycra-clad street-warrior.” That carries a lesson for bicyclists who routinely flout traffic laws and generally ride as though they have a moral right to do anything they want to – just because they’re on a bicycle…

Walker was hit twice while conducting his survey, once by a bus, another by a truck. On both occasions he was wearing a helmet.

Perhaps there is a sales opportunity here for manufacturers of bicycle helmets. If Walker’s study is believed to be accurate, there should be a market among the safety-first set for a helmet painted to look like the back of a bare head. And maybe with a detachable pony tail.

Get Bikes to Shops in the Winter for Timely Repairs

In talking to several bike shop owners in the past few weeks (something that’s just about impossible to do during the summer due to their frantic schedules), each remarked that now – winter – is a good time to get your bike tuned up or repaired. Why? Because bikes shops aren’t very busy during this season.

It’s true that if you step inside a bike shop while snow is on the ground you might be the one of only a few customers there. Service is great – immediate and relaxed - and if your bike has some nagging issues you’d like to get taken care of before next season begins, now is a perfect time to bring it in to have it worked on.

If you wait until spring, when everyone and his dog wants a bike tuned or repaired, you’ll likely have to wait several weeks before your work can be woven into the schedule. It’s much better to do it now, before the onslaught, and when mechanics aren’t harried and overworked. You’re not riding your bike outdoors anyway, and chances are good the shop’s mechanics can get going on the work right away. If you wait until weather gets conducive to riding outside again you’ve waited too long. You’re going to be in competition for repair time and might have to be without your bike for a while….

Shop Notes

Alfred E Bike

320 East Michigan, Kalamazoo, (269) 349-9423

Billy’s Bike Shop

63 East Battle Creek Street, Galesburg, 665-5202

Breakaway Bicycles

185 Romence at Westnedge, Portage, (269) 324-5555, www.breakawaybicycles.com

Bike Maintenance Classes:

Saturday, January 6 and 13. Two levels of class, no charge. Please call shop or stop in to sign up.

  • Level one – dealing with flat tires, tube changing and patching, operation of frame and floor pumps, lubrication of drivetrain and other components, proper skewer operation.
  • Level two – Adjustments of derailleur, brakes, headset, minor wheel truing, bike cleaning

Custer Cyclery

104 North Augusta, Augusta, 731-3492

Gazelle Sports

214 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, (269) 342-5996,

Gazelle Sports MOVING SALE!

Gazelle Sports' Kalamazoo store is finally leaving Camp Walgreen’s and heading back across the street to our brand NEW store at the end of January.

Help lighten our moving load by shopping during our Big Moving Sale - January 19-27!

(Note:  Gazelle Sports will be closed January 28-31 for the move.)


4813 West Milham, Portage

Village Cyclery

US 131 in Schoolcraft, 679-4242

KBC Contact Information

KBC Officers

President Mike Boersma 269-720-1409
Vice President Jim Kindle 269-382-8053
Secretary Chris Haddock 269-624-5418
Treasurer Tom Keizer 269-382-4737

Other Important KBC Folks

Database Manager Paul Bruneau 269-343-6016
Newsletter Editor Zolton Cohen 269-344-0200
Ride Captain Knute Jacobson 269-629-0093
Social Director Jelania Haile 269-345-1274
Social Director Renee Mitchell
Safety and Education Chair Victor VanFleet 269-375-7691
Web Site Bob Paksi

KAL Tour

Director Michael Krischer
Director "Super" Dave Bishop 269-679-4522