Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Newsletter
December 2008

December 2008 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.

2008 was a good year for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. Bike Camp was a resounding success and the Bike Camp Committee is hard at work preparing for Bike Camp 2009. The weather for KalTour was perfect and the number of riders was up this year. The Third Annual WMU/KBC BTR Race was a success and the race will tentatively be held again in July or August 2009. 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 2009, rider safety and community education will again be the focus of the club. The KBC’s own LCI instructors, David Jones, Renee Mitchell, and Jelania Haile, will be providing advanced bicycle education classes. Paceline skill refresher classes will be held and everyone is strongly encouraged to participate. I believe that part of the reason that major incidents were down in 2008 was due to the early season education programs that were offered this year. I feel that it is much better to avoid an incident than to have the skills necessary to assist an injured party while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

The KBC board is looking for a secretary. If you are interested, please contact me.

Be on the lookout for some new off-season activities sponsored by the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. There are winter cross training opportunities for the days when it is too cold to ride and too nice to ride the trainer. Enjoy the winter season and get ready for the 2009 ride season.

Mike Boersma, KBC President

Mark this Date - January 17, 2009

The annual KBC Winter Recovery Party will take place on Saturday, January 17, 2009. Details about this party will be reported in the January 2009 Pedal Press.

Wednesday Night Dirt Road Rides

Steve Cox would like to know if anyone is interested in a Wednesday night ride on dirt roads in southern Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Cass Counties. If so, you can contact him by phone (372-2169) or via the KBC yahoo groups link for more details. Houston Petersen, his son Rudy, and Steve have been riding on Wednesday evenings from Houston’s house, but anyone wanting to join them can meet them at his house, Steve’s house, or drive to 10th and U Avenue and park by the cemetery on 10th Street, just south of U Avenue. The start time for the ride can vary according to needs of participants.

Steve reports that cyclocross bikes are ideal, but mountain bikes or road bikes are also fine, and that road bikes will perform better if the tires are at least 25C, and will perform even better, if they are at least 28C. He also notes that because the farmers have harvested their crops, there is little or no motorized traffic on these dirt roads to contend with during the evening rides. Single-speeds or fixed gears work fine on the dirt and are a lot simpler and more reliable when the roads are really muddy, but they require a bit more strength on the hills. The circuit is a mix of windy flat and wooded hilly dirt roads.

Monthly Meeting Minutes

Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 7 P.M.

Chair: Mike Boersma, KBC President

Location: YMCA - Maple Street

KBC’s monthly meeting took place on Tuesday, November 11, 2008. Mike Boersma, Tom Keizer, Jim Kindle, Elaine Naegele, Mike Krischer, Rick Whaley, Zolton Cohen, Becky Argue, and Dan Herzberg were in attendance.

Mike B. welcomed everyone to the meeting. All present introduced themselves and, when appropriate, stated their role in KBC. Tom provided a summary of Treasury activities. The Kalamazoo Valley Trail Association sent a thank you note to KBC for our $50 donation.

Knute was not present to provide a Ride Captain report, but Mike B. stated that the weekly rides will resume in March after Daylight Savings Time begins. He also stated that the weekly Kal Haven trail mountain bike rides on Wednesday will likely start soon, but there is no official ride leader, and the start time was not confirmed.

The KBC officer elections took place. All present voted in the new officers for 2009 with the following results: Mike Boersma, President; Jim Kindle, Vice-President; Tom Keizer, Treasurer. The Secretary position remains open. Rick stated that he is interested in continuing as Newsletter Editor. Mike B. offered to contact Knute to ask if he wants to continue as Ride Captain. Any KBC member who wants to be considered for an appointed position should contact Mike B.

Zolton reported that he will be working on a draft agenda for the 5 year strategic plan meeting and that he will bring this agenda to the December KBC meeting.

Mike B. wondered if anyone knew how many people had taken advantage of the free 1 year KBC membership offered to those who purchased a new bike at selected Kalamazoo bike shops this past year. No one present knew the answer to this question. There was some discussion about how the program lacked promotion at some locations and that the KBC fliers had not been distributed. It was agreed that KBC would continue and expand the program in 2009, and Zolton offered to follow-up on some of the concerns that were raised.

The Recovery Party will be on January 17, 2008. The time and location will be confirmed by Mike B. There was some discussion about selling Kal Haven trail passes at the party, an activity that was coordinated by Zolton in 2008. It was noted that this was a popular option last year and it will be done again at this year’s Recovery Party.

Dan noted that, as a member of the WMU Cycling Club, he is doing some preliminary planning for holding a cycling road race in April, 2009 on a 2.6 mile circuit within the WMU campus. This race will not be part of the regular collegiate series of races. With proceeds targeted for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, he thinks that the event will attract student interest and support. Several ideas and names of people to contact were provided to Dan to assist him in planning this event, and he will report back on his progress.

The next KBC monthly meeting is scheduled for 7:00 P.M., Tuesday, December 9, 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, by the 20th of the month before its intended publication.

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

KBC Statistics

Active subscriptions


New members

Paul Pickard

December Expiring memberships:

Aric Bostwick • Mark Bush • Paul Bushnell • Joel Dinda Family • Jeff Dubbeld • David Gay • Doug & Kathy Kirk • Paul Knight • Edwin Micalizzi • Robert Rensch • Mike Vander Meulen

Renewed memberships

Denny Morrison • Keith Boneburg • Michael Boersma • David & Elaine Naegele • Jelania Haile

Paul Bruneau, KBC Database Manager

LCI Corner - Bike Advocacy

Bike Advocacy is one of the most important goals of the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). The League works in conjunction with America Bikes and has made some impressive achievements through the years. The best way to get involved with bike advocacy is to work with your local officials to help them understand the importance of bicycling in your area and to consider joining the LAB to help support their efforts on the national level.

You can visit the League’s Advocacy Center on their website (www.bikeleague.org) to locate local U.S. representatives and tell them how you feel about the latest bicycling issues in our area and throughout the U.S.

Listed below is some current bicycling legislation the League supported during 2008 and continues to support. This information was obtained from the League’s website.

National Bike Bill Passes House

(06.04.08) H.CON.RES. 305, dubbed the National Bike Bill, and sponsored by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), passed the House of Representatives on May 21. The resolution documents the many ways in which bicycling benefits individuals, communities, and the nation, and was a key element of the National Bike Summit agenda in March. The League is looking for Senate supporters for the initiative, and has also been working with several Mayors to introduce a similar resolution at the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors later this month.

Complete Streets Bill in House and Senate

Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced the Safe and Complete Streets Act of 2008 into the U.S. House (HR 5951) on May 1. The bill would make sure that roads built and improved with federal funds safely serve everyone using the roadway, including pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, as well as those with disabilities.

On the Senate side, Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) signed on this week as the first Republican co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, S2686, the Complete Streets Act of 2008, introduced a few weeks ago by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Thomas Carper (D-DE). This is the first time that comprehensive complete streets bills have been introduced in the House and Senate.

The League of American Bicyclists National has championed complete streets legislation since 1994 and is a key member of the Complete Streets Coalition which includes AARP, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the American Planning Association, Smart Growth America, America Bikes, and many other organizations. For more information on complete streets, please visit www.completestreets.org.

Complete Streets Legislation

The Complete Streets Act of 2008 (S.2686), introduced by Senator Harkin (D-IA) and Senator Carper (D-DE), requires states and metropolitan planning organizations to consider the needs of all users when building new roads or improving existing roads while using federal funds. For more details, fact sheets, and other information on Complete Streets, please visit www.completestreets.org/federal.html

Bicycle Commuter Act

The Bicycle Commuter Act would extend the transportation fringe benefit, currently available to transit users and car drivers, to bicycle commuters. The legislation would provide a tax benefit to employers who offer cash reimbursements to an employee who commutes by bicycle, while helping defray the costs of commuting for the bicyclist. The League is advocating that Congress amend the tax code to allow this benefit.

Visit the League’s website at www.bikeleague.org for more information on bike advocacy and to keep informed on what’s being done by the League around the United States in their support of bicycling.

Renee Mitchell, League Cycling Instructor

December's Ride Captain’s Report

Dear KBC Friends:

There’s not much for the Ride Captain to report this month, except to congratulate all those who took part in this year's Iceman Cometh Challenge. Again this year, several KBC riders took podium spots; and just finishing the event is quite an accomplishment!

There are no official KBC rides running currently. I can help advertise impromptu rides if people e-mail me the details. If you like to keep active over the winter months, please be watching for Zolton's advertisements about cross-country skiing, once we have more snow on the ground.

Best regards,

Knute Jacobson, KBC Ride Captain

Editor’s Letter – The Shortest Season of the Year

With the end of Daylight Savings Time, the KBC riding season came to an end (and thanks for that newsflash, Mr. Newsletter Editor). For many of us, this means the beginning of the “sit in the reclining chair and watch basketball games” season or the “riding the bicycle in the basement” season. Yes, if Thomas Paine were alive today, there can be little doubt that he would say that “Theseare the times that try men’s souls,” as the summer cyclist and sunshine pedaler shrink from the thought of having to ride their stationary trainers.

However, there is another season, a season that bridges the gap between the KBC rides that are now of recent history and the inevitable stationary trainer season. It is the “ride in the dark after work before the snow starts falling” season. It’s a short season, lasting only during selected days in November through mid-December, but it is a season with its own unique charms. It’s also a season that I’ve enjoyed for years.

Good headlights and taillights are essential for this season, and, as the years pass, I find myself dressing more and more like a moving Christmas decoration, placing reflective tape on my helmet, and wearing a reflective vest and blinking lights strapped around my ankles. It’s a look that never goes out of style, sort of like the little black dress; not that I own one, of course, and you’ve got to believe me. Then, once equipped, I venture out into the night to zigzag my way up and down the streets of northwest Portage for 30 to 45 minutes.

During my years as a runner, I liked to run at night; it was peaceful, and I always thought that I was running faster than I actually was. Although I never think that I’m riding faster than I actually am when I’m cycling at night, there is still that feeling of peacefulness. I also get the feeling that that those people who are huddled indoors by the flickering light of the TVs that I see through the windows of their houses are missing something. They’re missing a chance to play outside, when the rational adult in them says they shouldn’t. Sometimes, it’s fun to be a kid in my fifties.

But, it’s not always fun. During early November, the weather can still be somewhat balmy (by January standards, at least), but the cold weather soon sets in. I remember starting a ride in 10 degree weather, and after 5 minutes, thinking to myself “This was a bad idea,” and after 10 minutes, thinking to myself “This was a really bad idea.” At that point, the rational adult in me decided to hightail it back home to the comfort of an almost scalding hot shower. Another time, I failed to notice the Mt. Everest of frost heaves and I found myself sliding along the blacktop, the sparks from a scraping bicycle pedal lighting my way. But while I was sliding, I remember thinking, “You know, this actually looks rather cool,” and, aside from ruined tights and some road rash on my hip and leg, it turned out o.k.

Cars can also be a danger. (No, really???) I’ve been able to practice my deer in the headlights imitation, when cars fail to turn off their brights. I’ve learned that it’s really important to look for stop signs at every intersection, because the stop sign you miss may be your last. I’ve also learned that the road not traveled (or very seldom traveled) can make all the difference, although it’s also the case that this difference may not necessarily be a good one. When I lived in Dexter, I found that a good place to ride was on a one mile loop within an industrial park that, except for the occasional truck, had almost no traffic. However, the road wasn’t in the best condition and, to amuse myself one time, I decided to count the number of frost heaves in the pavement. As I recall, there were 79. So, sometimes the road less traveled can indeed make all the difference, if the purpose of the journey is to loosen molar fillings.

Now the snow has already begun to fall and the season is already almost over. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to ride under the light of a full moon, as I have in other years, it’s been a pretty good one. Very soon the “ride the stationary trainer in the basement and watch basketball games” season will begin in earnest. But, I know that, eventually, there will be another spring, then another summer, then another fall, and then another season of riding in the dark. My pupils are already dilating in anticipation.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

Some Upcoming Area Rides of Interest

Thursday, January 1, 2009 – Flying Rhino Polar Ride, Clarkston, MI. 5 and 14 miles. www.flyingrhinocc.com

Thursday, January 1, 2009 – First Dozen Bike Ride, Dearborn, MI. 12 miles. (313) 562-3318. saddleman@yahoo.com

Alternatively, you could stay on this side of the state and watch Bowl Games until your eyeballs fall out.

Classified Ads

For Sale: Early '60's Schwinn bikes, Men's Collegiate 5 speed, Women’s Breeze 5 speed, all original including Schwinn tires! No rust, chrome is immaculate! Some paint blemishes. Collectors would love these, I'd rather sell them to someone local. Call Mike at 385-0196.

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, www.Gazellesports.com

Mark your calendars for Gazelle Sports' End-of-the-Year SALE! Starts December 27 and goes 'til the great deals are gone. You won't want to miss it!

Happy Holidays!


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
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 Janet DeZwaan
Social Director Teri Olbrot
Safety and Education Chair Victor VanFleet 269-375-7691
Web Site David Jones

KAL Tour

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