Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Newsletter
July 2008

July 2008 President's Letter

Summer has arrived. Long days, warm weather, and good riding conditions are present this time of the year. I hope that everyone is taking advantage of the season to achieve their riding goals.


There are two major Kalamazoo Bicycle Club events on the horizon. The KalTour bicycle tour, the updated and renamed successor to the FlowerFest bicycle tour, will occur on July 13.  KalTour needs your help.  Volunteers are needed on the day of the ride to assist with check in, food stops, sag service, and picking up at the end.  Some of the volunteer needs are early enough in the day so that folks can also ride.  And yes, we need riders as well -- register online at www.kalamazoo.bicycleclub.org. Get the word out. Bring your family along.  Come enjoy a day of bicycling.


The second major event is the BTR Bicycle race at Western Michigan University’s Business, Technology and Research Park at Drake and Parkview in Kalamazoo.  This is the third annual race.  It will be a criterium format, so there will be plenty of up close bicycle racing.  For those interested in racing: there is an online signup option at www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org.  There will be prize money and a purse of at least $5000 (up from $3500 in the past).  There will also be preems.  Expect a great turnout.  There is a need for volunteers – as this will be an all day event volunteers will be in shifts. Volunteers are needed for set up, registration, course control, traffic control, transportation (there will be golf carts to take folks from the parking area to the venue), and take down at the end. Volunteers will also get a free BTR race T-Shirt.  Save August 9 for a day at the races.


I want to formally extend an invitation to first time women and junior racers to consider participating (even if you have never raced anywhere before).  The criterium format is a great way to try racing – the course is flat with only slight elevation gains.  The women’s and junior races have historically had light turnout.  Races are categorized by experience; those folks racing for the first time are only racing against other folks with similar experience, not folks who have been racing for years.  The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club and Little Caesars Racing are considering putting on a pre-race “Race Camp” on an evening to introduce interested folks to criterium racing.  The KBC and Little Caesars are also considering picking up the cost of the race license for first time women and junior racers. Please contact Greg Lawford or myself as soon as possible to get more information.


With the change in seasons there is also additional road construction and road maintenance.  All routes may be affected!  Please be careful when riding on chip and seal or dirt.  Discretion is the better part of road kill.


I have also received a number of calls of folks needing tandem partners.  While I am not qualified to be a matchmaker, if anyone needs a tandem partner then I have contact information for you.


Mike Boersma, KBC President

Reminder – The KalTour Ride is Coming Soon

The KalTour Ride will be taking place on Sunday, July 13 at the KVCC Texas Township Campus.  If you’d like to volunteer to help with this ride, contact Mike Krischer at kaltour@kalamazoobicycleclub.org or call 323-2014 (afternoons or evenings).

New Tuesday Night Ride

Joe Kucharski and Mike Birmann will be leading a mountain bike ride on the trails of Al Sabo on four Tuesdays in July and August.  These dates are July 8 and 22 and August 12 and 26.  The ride will leave from the Texas Township Park lot (where the Monday night rides begin) at 6:15pm  The group will divide according to ability, if necessary.

Ride to South Haven

After an absence of a couple years, the Ride to South Haven is back and will take place on Saturday, July 26.   Rick Whaley will be leading this ride, which will begin at the southwest corner of the KVCC parking lot near the tennis courts at 8:00am.  This ride will be approximately 100 miles, taking in the scenic sights of western Kalamazoo County and Van Buren County until we get to South Haven.  There, we’ll refuel with subs and ice cream cones, and then catch the sea (o.k., lake) breeze (if we’re lucky) back to KVCC.   The pace will be around 16-19 mph, but other groups are welcome to do the ride at a pace that they deem to be more suitable.            

Thanks to the Tandem Captain Volunteers

Thank you!!  Thank you!!  Thank you, KBC members!!


Many thanks to all the KBC members who came out to the annual Michigan Blind Athletic Association’s (MBAA) Sports Education Camp, held May 7, 8 and 9 and captained a tandem bike. 


The turnout of KBC members was awesome!  Many thanks to all who rode as a captain of a tandem bike.  The athletes were awed – since many had never ridden a tandem bike before this event.  It took a lot of hard riding volunteers, like many of our KBC members, to make this event such a great success.


On Friday evening a competition ride was held.  The athletes had a great time competing in the 8/10 mile route.  Many friendships were started and a great time was had by all who attended!


Thanks again and hope to see everyone again next year!


Sherry Gordon, Tandem Bike Coordinator

MBAA Sports Education Camp for visually impaired youth

Monthly Meeting Minutes

KBC’s monthly meeting took place on Tuesday, June 10, 2008.  Mike Boersma, Elaine Naegele, Tom Keizer, Rick Whaley, Mike Krischer, Victor Van Fleet, Jelania Haile, Renee Mitchell, Jim Kindle, David Middleton, David Jones, Dick Nivala, Jacob Nivala, Joe Kucharski, and Marian Barnes were in attendance. 


Mike Boersma welcomed everyone to the meeting and all present introduced themselves.  Tom Keizer provided the Treasurer’s report.

Mike B. read some letters of interest sent to KBC, including a letter of thanks from FitMI for the club’s $250 donation and a letter from Antwerp Township in Van Buren County thanking us for information that we provide them relating to the development of a trail system in their township.  Individuals interested in helping the township with this can contact Ron DerHammer at RKD60@kalamazoo.net


Jim Kindle reported that the Bike Camp has gone well and that there are just over 40 participants.  Renee Mitchell expressed thanks to all the volunteers who helped this year.


Mike Krischer reported that yellow bandanas with navy KBC graphics will be included with the registration fee this year and that they will also be available for sale.  Julie Bierman, a KBC member, assisted with the design of the bandanas. 


Mike B. announced that David Jones will make updates to the KBC website with assistance from Paul BruneauDavid’s e-mail address will be added as a contact on the website.  


Mike B. reported that Steve Brown has offered to help KBC explore the option of obtaining 501c3 status.  Mike B. will ask Steve to make a presentation at the July meeting to discuss the benefits and responsibilities of this status.


Mike B. asked if the 3 new LCIs (Jelania Haile, Renee, and David J.) have any plans for additional community education.  They will present their ideas at the July meeting.


Mike B. continued the discussion from last month’s meeting concerning people who cycle in the community by necessity rather than by choice and cannot afford any other form of transportation.  These cyclists often do not wear any protective or safety gear.  David J. proposed that KBC might make available a $46 kit consisting of a helmet, reflective vest, and light to help them.  Discussions concerning the cost of the items, how these cyclists would be identified, and how they would be distributed followed.  Victor Van Fleet suggested that a press release in the Kalamazoo Gazette would attract interest.  Others suggested that various organizations, such as Goodwill and the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, could be contacted, and that this could be advertised when bicycling commuter classes are offered.  David J. will continue to explore these ideas. 


Mike B. noted that the BTR race will be on August 9 and that there will be additional activities at this year’s event.  Anyone who has any ideas for this event should contact Mike B.


Victor presented two options for KBC to participate at the Kalamazoo County Fair; as greeters at the entrance to the Fair, or to rent a table for $100 and have club members manning the table for five day (August 5-9) from 9:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.  Having a table at the Fair would enable the club to promote KBC and attract members and to promote cycling safety.  The issue of manning the table was discussed and it was determined that we would likely need 2 to 3 people in three 4 hour shifts.  Mike B. will send out an appeal for interest in volunteering to determine if this will be practical.  


Marian Barnes reported that she has been talking with Michelle Fakler at the Chamber of Commerce Kalamazoo County Visitor’s Bureau about the possibility of the Michigan United Tandem Society (MUTTS) hosting the Midwest Tandem Rally in Kalamazoo in 2010.  Marian suggested that KBC could help identify routes, be involved in manning rest stops and in other activities.  This event is usually held on Labor Day weekend.  A vote was taken and passed that KBC will agree to support the event in some fashion, based on the preliminary information presented.


Joe Kucharski stated that he will be leading a mountain bike ride at Al Sabo on Tuesday nights at 6:15 P.M. with parking at Texas Township Park on Texas Drive.  Joe also talked about the Kalamazoo Trail Movement, an informal group that does trail maintenance at Al Sabo, since this is not done by the county.  He wondered if KBC would help fund the repair of signs and other costs, such as gasoline, spent on maintenance work.  Mike B. asked Joe to submit a budget proposal and to provide contact information so that those who wish to assist with trail maintenance can do so. 


Jelania and Renee announced that this will be their last year as Social Directors for the club.  Their last event will be the Anniversary Ride and Social in September.  Anyone interested in learning more about the duties of Social Director is urged to contact Jelania or Renee.  New directors will be nominated at the October meeting and appointed at the November meeting for 2009. 


The next KBC monthly meeting is scheduled for 7:00 PM, Tuesday, July 8, 2008, at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo.  All club members are invited to attend this, and every, meeting.


Elaine Naegele, KBC Secretary


The electronically-distributed KBC PedalPress comes out on or around the first of each month.

If you have an article or a notice that you want to go into the PedalPress, please email it to the newsletter editor, fswhaley@comcast.net by the 20th of the month before its intended publication.

For example, if you?d like an article to be published in the July edition (distributed on or around the first of July), have it to the newsletter editor by the 20th of June.

KBC Statistics

Active subscriptions

Active subscriptions: 250

New members

Dan Frazee • Bill Fritsch • Lisa Hardy • Vicki Hessen • Matthew Johnson • Gayle Kokmeyer • Jeffrey Kokmeyer • Erin Kozminkse • Garrett Kozminkse • Gillian Kozminkse • Greg Kozminkse • Barb Lait • Jim Lait • Brent Liedke • Kevin Patmore • Garthe Richard • Jacquelyn Taylor • Patricia Thomas-Gapske • Brian Vanderberg • Robin VanderRoest • Richard Vanenk • Carol Wiseman • Chris Zywicki • Joseph Zywicki • Terry Zywicki • Victor Zywicki

August Expiring memberships

Gabor Antal • Kathryn Breese • Lyn Brown & Dan Hoff • Rodney & Heidi Butler Family • Suzanne Cooper • Alan Dahl • Daniel Goldberger • Sherry Gordon • David Hageman Family • Larry Kissinger • Barbara Lee • Peggy Marcelletti • Paul Marquardt Family • Charles Martell • Tony Masullo • Jim Ross • Stephanie Sabin • Harriet Swanson

Renewed memberships

Terry & Pamela O'Connor • Steven R. Cox • Steven Kuntzman • Roy Richardson • Randall Button • Daniel Victor • Dan Traugott • Cassandra & Marty Poné • Paige Peterman • Beverly Kluzak


Submitted by Paul Bruneau, KBC Database Manager

Ride Captain's Report

The season is in full swing, and KBC is currently offering a wide variety of rides.  There should be something for everyone, especially now that we are offering a regular mountain bike ride as well, led by Joe Kucharski and Mike Birmann.  Further details are reported elsewhere in this newsletter. 


Another new--touring type--ride is being proposed by Nicole Newman.  Nicole is planning rides to local farms.  It's an interesting idea.  For more information, I suggest you contact her directly at nnewman@kvcc.edu.


Finally, I'm pleased to say that Rick Whaley has offered to lead the ride to South Haven this year.  It will be good to have this old favorite back on this year's calendar--the details appear elsewhere in this newsletter.


As always, I'd like to remind all riders to ride safely and to be courteous to other road users.


One more observation: in addition to carrying a pump and spare tube on all KBC rides, make sure you have tire irons!  The pump and tube won't do you any good if you can't get your tire off!  Also, good ID with all pertinent medical information and emergency contact numbers is a must!


Be safe, have fun!  Happy riding!


Knute Jacobson, KBC Ride Captain

Editor's Letter - The Year of the Flat

If you’re feeling nostalgic about the 1970s, feel free to sing the above title.


I think that one of the biggest improvements in bicycle technology over the past 20 years has been the increased durability and toughness of tires and tubes.  This is not an original thought on my part; I believe that Axel Kleet himself made this same point a couple years ago, and I suspect that other long-time riders have realized this as well.   Each cycling season during the 1980s and 1990s had its annual rites of passage, the first 70 degree ride, the first sunburn ride, the first flat tire out in the middle of nowhere ride.  Ah, those golden memories of squatting on some sun baked, shadeless patch of ground, wrestling with the tire (always the rear tire, the better smear grease on oneself), and discovering either that it was almost impossible to take the tire off the rim or to put the tire back on the rim.  Then, after inflating the tube so that the tire had the consistency of a loaf of Wonderbread, courtesy of a semi-functioning frame pump, I’d head straight for home, hoping that I could make it there before the tire went flat again.  Then, as though locked into some Groundhog’s Day type of infinite do loop, I’d have to repeat this so-called annual rite of passage at least a couple more times during the year. 


However, in the past few years, I think I’ve only averaged about one flat tire per year and these flats have been slow leaks that I’ve noticed the day after a ride; allowing me to patch the tube and change the tire in the comfort of my own home.  As a matter of fact, I can’t remember the last time I actually had to change a flat on the road.  That is, until this year.


My first flat occurred in mid-April, when the riding season had barely begun.  I was getting ready to put my bike in the car and drive over to the Monday night ride, when I noticed that my rear tire was half flat.  Thinking that this must be a very slow leak, I pumped the tire up and hoped that it would stay firm during the ride.  It did so, and I patched the tube after the ride in, yes, the comfort of my own home.  Except for the fact that this was quite early for what was now my really annual flat for the year, this was rather unremarkable and actually rather lucky.


My second next flat occurred in early June.  Once again, this was a slow leak on my rear tire, which was due to a small piece of broken glass embedded in the tire, and I was able to fix it in TCOMOH.  However, my luck ran out a few days later when I experienced my third flat, again on the rear tire, about 56 miles into the National 24 Hour Challenge.  (And, the answers to last month’s questions are “A flat tire, no, yes, yes-twice(!), no, no, and about the way you think it would sound.”  I guess there’s always next year.)  At least I was able to find a shady spot in which to fix the tire, and I rode away, only to discover at the 71 mile rest stop that I had not secured the head of the pump and that it had fallen off, rendering my pump useless.  Upon further inspection, I noticed that my tire had several small gashes.  So, now I was faced with depending on the kindness of strangers with bicycle pumps, if I got any more flats, and I decided that I at least ought to replace my tire.  So, I did so at the 96 mile rest stop and avoided any more flats for the remainder of the Challenge, a task made easier by my intentional strategically planned long rest breaks.  (And my nose is now typing this letter.)  


My fourth flat occurred a few days later.  I’ve started commuting to work from my house in Portage to downtown Kalamazoo about one day a week, to commune with nature, to save some money on gas, and to enjoy the wind rushing through my hair and everywhere else thanks to the draft of my fellow commuters who happen to be on four wheels.  I’ve been experimenting with various routes, and have settled on a route that takes me to downtown via Oakland Drive, Meadowbrook Drive (parallel to Kilgore), Bronson Boulevard, Burdick Drive, and into downtown.  Bronson south of Whites Road really needs to be resurfaced, but that’s not where I had my flat.  It was on Burdick, banging my front wheel on the mini-curb that signifies that a rider has crossed the pavement construction depression on Crosstown Parkway.  My tire immediately went flat, and rather than fix it on the spot, I thought I’d take a stroll with my bike for the remaining mile to work and then patch the tube in the comfort of my own office.  In doing so, I could also avoid putting a new tube on the tire.  After walking about a quarter mile, I realized that this wasn’t a very good idea, because I remembered that my replacement tube wasn’t new and had been patched, and, of course, because I was walking in cycling shoes.  After arriving at my office, I then began my work day by putting on the replacement tube in my tire and pumping the tire back up.  A happy worker is a productive worker.  


I don’t like the pattern that I’m experiencing here.  With three flat tires on two different bikes in the past couple weeks, by August, I expect to be awakened to the sound of spontaneously popping bicycle tubes every night.  I’m thinking about asking Sharon Stone for some insight into what sort of bad karma could be causing this.  But, I guess it’s always possible that I’ve just been lucky the past few years and now my luck is catching up with me.  At least my chain hasn’t started breaking – yet.                          


Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

Some Upcoming Area Rides of Interest

(Make that “Ride.”  Late July and August are slow months for area rides.)


Sunday, August 3 – Minard Mills Bicycle Tour & Wienie Roast, Jackson, MI.  17 – 100 miles.  (517) 262-0018, www.cascadescyclingclub.org.

Classified Ads

Tri-bike, Titanium LightSpeed Catalyst, 56 cm frame, aero bar shifters, 105 Shimano components. $800. Call Mike at 327-0387.

Rockymountain 56cm Solo 30AC, aluminum and carbon (rear-triangle). The bike has 105 10-speed components throughout and Easton EC90SLX carbon fork (330gr); wheels are Richey DS Pro. The bike is in great shape with less than 500 miles on it. Looking to get $1200 or best offer. Call Jeff at 269-965-3560.

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

Custer Cyclery

104 North Augusta, Augusta, 731-3492

Gazelle Sports

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

Announcement:  Mark your calendar for Gazelle Sports' annual Sidewalk Sale... July 10-12!  Save up to 70% on selected spring apparel, 35% on selected running shoes, and 25% on selected soccer footwear. Plus get great prices on ALL kinds of other Gazelle stuff like socks as low as $3.99 and the Timex iControl watch at 40% off!  Open at 8 am on Thursday July 10. Hurry in for the great buys!


4323 W Michigan Ave

Kalamazoo Mi 49006-5810

Team Active

22 W Michigan, Battle Creek, 1-800-841-9494

Village Cyclery

US 131 in Schoolcraft, 679-4242

Zoo City Cycle & Sports

4328 South Westnedge, Kalamazoo, (269) 552-3000

Bicycling Safety Disclaimer

Important: Riding a bicycle is an inherently dangerous activity. There are risks of injury or death. You could ride over something and fall, or get hit by an automobile or strike or be struck by another bicyclist. There are many other dangers to bicycling as well.

While nothing can eliminate all risks associating with bicycle riding, to minimize the danger, make sure you and your bicycle are in good riding condition. Know the rules of the road and also of the group you?re riding with, and ride in a manner consistent with the protocols of that group. Always wear a bike helmet, use bike lights if riding in the dawn, dusk or dark, and consider purchasing and riding with additional safety equipment such as reflectors and rear view mirrors.

KBC Contact Information

KBC Officers

President Mike Boersma 269-720-1409
Vice President Jim Kindle 269-382-8053
Secretary Elaine Naegele 269-353-5756
Treasurer Tom Keizer 269-382-4737

Other Important KBC Folks

Database Manager Paul Bruneau 269-343-6016
Newsletter Editor Rick Whaley (269) 324-1577
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