October 2011 President’s Letter

Please note that the start time of KBC evening club rides changes on October 1st to 5:30 P.M. As the days get shorter we want rides to conclude while there is still some light so you can get home safely. And, as my pal Victor Van Fleet likes to remind us, if you wear brightly colored clothing and utilize head and tail lights on your bike, it helps auto drivers see you as you ride on the road.

Don't give up riding this early in the fall though. There's still quite a bit of the season left to enjoy, as evidenced by the approximately 24 members who showed up for the KBC 40th Anniversary Ride and Party on Saturday, September 17. Though the day started off cool and overcast, it warmed and brightened later, and everyone who came seemed to have a good time. Post-ride pizza, soft drinks and cider were furnished by the club, with participants contributing appetizers and desserts.

My world was rocked twice on this day of celebration; first when Becky Argue exclaimed, in a crowd, "Zolton, I've never seen you with clothes on before!"

The other incident occurred when I went to pick up the pizzas I had ordered from Little Caesar's on West Main. On the receipt was an identification notation made by the counter boy who had taken the order. He had written on it, "Older gentleman in a hat."

Dang. That hurt. Couldn't he have said I have a beard or wear glasses? Or mentioned I was chewing a toothpick? The singular feature, besides the hat, that stood out to him was that I am "older?" Harumph. I take solace only in the fact that I could probably crush him on the bike. And, not that this is in any way related to the above incident…but how would some nice submarine sandwiches taste for next year's Anniversary Ride?

Notwithstanding that personal affront, thanks go to Ride Captain Bill Figeley for helping organize and carry out this pleasant KBC event.

One final Anniversary Ride note: As I sat in the parking lot, pizzas in the back of my vehicle, waiting for the KBC'ers to finish their rides, I had the chance to observe a number of the other people who came out on that Saturday to ride on the Kal-Haven Trail.

This was the Huffy bike crowd; quite unlike what we're used to seeing on our club rides. Helmets? Definitely optional. Bike seats were generally adjusted much too low; tires half-flat. Jeans and sweatshirts seemed to be the dress code. Grinding big gears instead of spinning was the technical characteristic.

But the fact is they were out there enjoying themselves, and for that you've got to give credit; staying active and moving their bodies. It might not be the way we ride, but for many people, packing your bike in your car and driving out to the Kal-Haven to do that Saturday morning ride on the Kal-Haven Trail "means" bicycling. And it's important to remember that there are probably a lot more people doing that kind of cycling than show up on our regular rides.

I wondered though, what could our bike club offer riders like that?

Monthly Meeting Notes

At the September monthly club meeting, a very large contingent of KBC members was treated to a presentation by Joanna Johnson, Managing Director of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission.

Ms. Johnson, a vivacious, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic proponent of all things road and traffic, talked about the challenges faced by road commissions during the present economic downturn. The KCRC's funding graph in the handouts she distributed look like an elevation view of the Rocky Mountains – if you're standing to the north and looking at the peaks dwindle off downward to the west.

How does that relate to the bicycling community? Well, it's a certainty that chip and seal road refurbishment is here to stay. Ms. Johnson said it is five times less expensive to lay down tar and gravel than it is to repave a mile of roadway.

It was good, however, to hear that the KCRC is aware of cyclists' issues, and impressive that the organization thought it worthwhile enough to send one of their top staffers to come and talk to us. Now we know a bit more about them – and they about us. Thank you to Paul Selden, Road Safety Director, for setting up this interesting session, and to Ms. Johnson for representing all transportation interests so responsibly and well.

Elections on the Horizon

KBC's constitution states that potential Executive Board committee members (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) must make their intentions known during the October meeting. If you have a yen to run for any of those positions, please plan to attend the meeting and throw your helmet into the ring.

Other club positions are Executive Board-appointed. These include Social Director, Database Manager, Webmaster, Director of Road Safety, Newsletter Editor, and Ride Captain. If any of those appeal, please plan to come to the October meeting and submit your name for consideration.

I would like to point out that the club is currently lacking a Social Director (or two). This position has, in the past, been shared by several club members and we're suffering from that deficiency. Although we are thrilled and relieved to learn that Teri and John Olbrot have again volunteered their spacious home for the Recovery Party, we do need a person – or persons – to plan and organize it and other KBC social events.

So, as President, I invite you to get involved with the club on this level. It's fun; there are a lot of other volunteers with whom you can work, and it helps make the club stronger and more attractive to potential members. What do you say? Want to party? Or help plan one?

Zolton Cohen, KBC President


Monthly Meeting

The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend. KBC member Chris Gottwald, the current Michigan State Road Race Champion and Race Across America veteran, will be speaking at the November Monthly Meeting on November 8.


Call for KBC Friend of Bicycling Nominations

The best weather for bicycling is closing; the hours of daylight are shrinking. Now is the time to think about...that indoor bike simulator/trainer you've always wanted...what snow tires to use on your winter bike...and...KBC's Friend of Bicycling Award!

Actually, this is a great time of year to reflect on all these thing – especially about the people and groups who have made the season such a success and who make our community such a great place to bicycle.

So, if over the course of this past year, you have come across a particularly noteworthy individual or other entity (KBC members not eligible) you feel is worth nominating for KBC's Friend of Bicycling Award, be sure to e-mail their name and contact information, with some reasons why you feel the nominee has significantly advanced the interests of bicycling, to awardscommittee@kalamazoobicycleclub.org.

A handy nomination form and guidelines for submitting your nominee can be found at www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org/club/community.php.

The Awards Committee will be meeting shortly after our November board meeting to screen nominees (to make sure they meet club requirements for eligibility), so make sure you e-mail your nomination before the November 8 meeting or hand it to one of us at the meeting. We'll be voting on the eligible candidates at the club's regular December meeting.

Submit your nomination now, while you are thinking about it!

Paul Selden, Chair, KBC Awards Committee


Where Can We Ride? – An Interview with Rich Moeller, Executive Director, LMB

Where are bicyclists permitted to ride on our Michigan roadways? On August 30, 2011, I spoke with Rich Moeller, Executive Director of the League of Michigan Bicyclists, about this issue. The question always seems to vex motorists and bicyclists alike. His answers were interesting and well worth sharing with KBC members.

Paul: Some motorists become hostile when a bicyclist is riding on the road. Does the law say that bicyclists must ride in the shoulder – to the right of the white fog lane?

Rich: Absolutely not! Nowhere in the code does it say that bicyclists have to ride to the right of the fog line or in a bike lane (except by rare local ordinance). The road authorities have determined the roadway to be between the fog lines and maintain that this does not require them to maintain the area to the right of the fog line the same as the "roadway."

Paul: Another thing that seems to bother some uninformed motorists is when bicycles are not riding single file. What does the law have to say about that?

Rich: The issue of two abreast vs. single file is up for interpretation. The code does not say that riders must ride single file when they are not passing one another. It says as far to the right as practicable. I don't see a problem with riding two abreast and riding as far to the right as practicable, at the same time. When two abreast, the rider nearest the yellow line is riding as far to the right as is safe since there is another rider to the right. What is safe is up for interpretation, of course. Riding more than two abreast is illegal and often very rude to others.

Paul: One of our members has looked up the meaning of the word "practicable." In essence, it means "capable of being done." How does affect the picture?

Rich: Since riding two abreast is permitted, the two riders should each ride as far to the right as safely possible. Since riding conditions are so dynamic, more space needs to be allowed than motorists may realize. For a true definition, we need legal precedent. In most of these cases a legal precedent simply does not exist. However, I just reviewed a pamphlet from the Secretary of State's office that is a good interpretation of the law. It reads:
"Michigan law prohibits bicyclists from riding more than two abreast on a public road or highway. Road surface and weather conditions, heavy traffic, time of day, and the speed limit may make riding side-by-side difficult. Use good judgment when deciding to ride side-by-side."

At some point common sense and safety must prevail. Sharing implies that two parties must participate. If we want cars to share the roads, then we as bicyclists must share the roads as well.

Note: This information is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the counsel of an attorney or any other professional whose service may be required in the situations discussed above.

Paul Selden, Director of Road Safety


Monthly Minutes

The monthly KBC general club meeting was called to order by Zolton Cohen at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo. Also attending were Jon Ballema, Doug Kirk, Mike Krischer, Paul Selden, Rick Whaley, Dick Nivala, Mike Boersma, Victor Van Fleet, Andrea Fore, Don Fore, Kathy Kirk, Ed Micalizzi, Terry O'Connor, Bob Ullrich, Mike Mock, David Jones, Joe Yeager, Mary Gerger, Bill Figeley, and Joanna Johnson (guest).

Joanna Johnson, the Kalamazoo County Road Commission Managing Director, gave a short presentation concerning the activities of the Road Commission and provided a handout to those attending the meeting. The commission has jurisdiction over most of the roads in Kalamazoo County. The commission consists of 5 appointed members who have 6 year appointments. They are not a part of the Kalamazoo County government. The commission has no taxing authority and receives most of its funding from the Michigan Transportation Fund. The commission also receives federal and local road funding. Most of their budget is spend on road improvements and preventive maintenance. The KCRC has communicated with KBC in the past with regard to chip seal projects and is also participates in planning to help make the communities in Kalamazoo County more bicycle friendly. Their website is www.kalamazoocountyroads.com.

The Anniversary Ride Party was discussed next. Zolton will provide the maps of the rides, which are 12, 18, 24, 31, or 36 miles. The rides will begin at 10:00 A.M. on Saturday, September 17 and the picnic will begin at noon. Pizza and soft drinks will be provided by KBC.

Zolton announced that John and Teri Olbrot have volunteered to have the Recovery Party at their house again this winter. However, the club needs volunteers to help organize this party.

Zolton reported that after 7 years, Tom Keizer will be resigning a KBC Treasurer at the end of the year. Bill stated that he has been the Secretary for 3 years and that he will resign at the end of the year, if another person is interested in assuming this position.

Terry discussed the Willis Foundation bicycle ride and handed out ride brochures. This is a 4 day sponsor based ride and in 2011 it was from Mount Pleasant to Battle Creek. The funds for this ride are used for college scholarships for children who have had a parent killed or permanently disabled in combat. KBC may help publicize this ride in 2012.

Activities of the Better Rides Committee were discussed next. Bill reported that e-mails have been circulating with suggestions for better and safer rides. Doug is chairing this committee and the committee would like to survey the club for more suggestions.

Paul stated that he will write an article about an interview that he had with the Executive Director of the League of Michigan Bicyclists. (Ed. Note: This article appears in this issue of the Pedal Press.) Paul has also participated in "Bicycle Friendly Community" meetings, meeting that include bicycling shops, cycling clubs, and racing clubs

Ed wondered if KBC would be interested in helping with the Bicycling Rodeo for Safe Kids in 2012. This has been done in conjunction with the National Night Out in previous years. The club will consider this.

Paul stated that the end of the year is coming and that we have the KBC Friend of Bicycling Award to give. (Ed. Note: An article about this also appears in this issue of the Pedal Press.)

In old business, Zolton noted that nominations for KBC officers in 2012 will take place at the October Meeting and the election will be at the November meeting. Nominees for these positions will be published in the November Pedal Press.

In new business, Paul noted that John Howson, Director of the Portage Kids Triathlon was hit by an automobile on Cox's Drive in Portage earlier in the month. He suffered a concussion, a separated shoulder, a partially collapsed lung, and lots of road rash. Paul also mentioned that Chris Gottwald, the Michigan Road Race Champion and KBC member will be speaking at the November meeting. It was also noted that another KBC member, Kathy Kirk, is the Michigan State Time Trial Champion.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 P.M.

Bill Figeley, KBC Secretary



The electronically-distributed KBC Pedal Press 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, editor@kalamazoobicycleclub.org by the 20th of the month before its intended publication.

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



Active subscriptions: 273

New members:
Clay Spencer

September Expiring memberships:
Mike Berry · Michael Boersma · Jason Goodin · John & Barb Hart · Barbara Lee · Edwin Micalizzi · Jeff Robertson Family · Stephanie Sabin · John Shubnell Family · Gary Snapper

Renewed memberships:
Steve Stapleton · John Idema · Katie Whidden

Paul Bruneau, KBC Database Manager


Editor's Letter – Shakin' All Over

"When I tense up coasting down a hill.
That's when I get the shakes against my will.
Quivers down my head tube.
I got the shakes in the top tube.
Shivers down the seat tube.
Shakin' all over."

On the next-to-last day of the DALMAC tour last month, I began the ride from Central Lake in the rain. The rain stopped after a few miles, but almost on cue, just after I finished riding (using the term rather loosely) up the exceeding steep hill known as "The Wall," it started to rain again. Since what goes up must come down (with the possible exception of winter weight), a few miles later on the outskirts of Boyne City, I began to coast down a rather long steep hill. I'm a rather cautious descender, but I've also learned to just let momentum do what it does. However, as I began to pick up speed, I became increasing uncomfortable with the damp pavement under my wheels, the lack of visibility thanks to my rain splattered glasses, and the increasing number of patches in the pavement. As I began to get more nervous, my inner voice decided to do its part to help defuse the situation by shouting "Relax, you stupid %!@@!#!, or else you're going to put yourself into a speed wobble!" (My inner voice will never be used to soothe crying babies.) So, sure enough, I tensed up even more and my bike began to shimmy.

Riding a bike down a hill while it is swaying from side to side isn't a pleasant experience, especially while traveling over 30 mph. I had only had this happen to me once before, a few days after buying my bike, and one speed wobble experience was enough. But he who doesn't learn from history is doomed to repeat it, so here I was. Fortunately, even though I wasn't exactly enjoying myself, I also knew that things weren't as bad as they seemed. Even though my bike was rocking back and forth, my wheels remained on course. I also knew that if I refrained from braking and clamped the top tube between my knees that the wobbling would eventually stop. So I did so and it did so, just before I reached the bottom of the hill.

Afterwards, I thought I'd learn more about this phenomenon, so I did an internet search. (And across America, children are asking "Mommy, what's an encyclopedia?") I found a few speed wobble videos mostly featuring motorcycles and skateboards(?!), but there were a few featuring bicycles and here's a link to one of them. www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=VfngbsIUSj8. There was another interesting video giving a rider's eye view of what happens during a speed wobble when a cyclist is riding no-hands. Apparently, speed wobbles are more common while riding no-hands, begging the question of why anyone would actually want to ride no-hands down a hill. Personally, it wouldn't impress me unless that rider is also juggling chain saws.

I also learned is that a speed wobble or shimmy is a somewhat complicated phenomenon that has to do with the fact that the front wheel can turn about its steering axis and that a bike can move from side to side as well. Factors that can increase the chances of a bike shimmy include having a bike with a large frame size, a lighter front wheel, and a smaller "trail," which is defined as the distance between an imaginary line drawn through the center of a bicycle's head tube to the ground and the point at which the bicycle wheel touches the ground. With regard to factors that are not related to bicycle geometry and our under our control, gripping the handlebars too tightly and distributing weight towards the rear of the bicycle also can increase the probability of a shimmy and can make an ongoing shimmy even worse.

In contrast, getting into a more aerodynamic position, keeping one pedal down, and moving slightly out of the saddle during a descent can help avoid a speed wobble. However, if it is too late and you're already in a speed wobble, clamping the top tube between the knees (as I've noted before) and, if you haven't already done so, shifting weight slightly off the saddle can help stop a speed wobble. Touching the brakes can make the shimmy worse, because we tend to grip the handlebars more tightly while braking, but when the bike is again under control, breaking gently with only the rear brake at first is also a good strategy.

Based on my experience as a somewhat white-knuckled descender, these all seem intuitive to me, at least with regard to the factors that are under our control. I've noticed that when I do start to get nervous on a descent, my arms tend to lock at the elbows and stiffen up, which can result in what is known as a handlebar death grip. Bending my elbows and relaxing my grip early during the descent helps me feel more comfortable, as well as getting in a more aerodynamic position, which involves shifting my rear end back a little bit, but putting more of my body forward. Furthermore, I've found that lifting my weight from the saddle slightly and putting light pressure on the front of the handlebar drops also helps me. I've never consciously kept one pedal down during a descent, but I plan to add this to my bike descending repertoire.

However, knowing these things and actually doing all these things while descending are two different matters, while one is starting to pick up speed down a hill, particularly when one's inner voice is not always the voice of reason. As a result, I've found that I have to relearn many of the these things during each long descent and that there are times, such as during the DALMAC ride, when I realize that I'm a slow learner, and that I do indeed have to repeat history.

I've also found that an unfortunate consequence of experiencing a speed wobble is that I'm more likely to coast down a hill with even less reckless abandon than usual, at least for a while. For example, at the Anniversary Party ride, I found myself braking before picking up much speed while traveling down the 8th Street hill, which meant that I was about 50 yards behind all the other riders by the time we got to the bottom of the hill. Similarly, on a recent Wednesday night ride, I found myself doing the same thing while coasting down the Van Buren County 388 hill east of Kendall, which meant that I had to pedal furiously to catch up with the group that had left me behind during the descent. But I know that eventually I'll again become more comfortable while descending, particularly if I keep reminding myself to take my own advice. I also know that I'll eventually become tired of having yet another reason for getting dropped.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor


Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

As the cycling seasons winds down ……

Saturday, October 15. Colorburst Bicycle Tour. Lowell. 17, 30, 62, 100 miles paved. 30, 62 miles unpaved. www.rapidwheelmen.com/colorburst.


Classified Ads

Looking for a used women's bike in good condition, hybrid, for paved road/trail rides. Not sure of the size bike needed, but I'm petite, 5'3." Contact Donna at doandres@att.net or (269) 968-9674 (home) or (269) 830-1706 (cell).

2008 Trek Madone 4.5 (size 56). Less than 400 road miles due to injuries and surgery. $1500. See the specs at the following link: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/2008/archive/madone45. Phone: 269-352-3199. E-mail: ox7fresh@gmail.com.

For Sale – Girls Trek MT-60 (mineral blue) in excellent condition, bought new in June 2007, adjustable for a 5 year-old up to 9 year-old, 6-speed with front and rear grip shift hand brakes, also has front shocks. Our daughter outgrew it and is now in an adult size mountain bike. Owner's manual and matching helmet included, photos available upon request. $125. Please contact Stephanie Sabin at (269) 350-6225 or sabinsms@gmail.com

Kestrel 200 SC road bike with Shimano DuraAce components and EMS composite forks. Campagnolo Omega wheels. White in color, good condition. Not sure how old it is (probably 1990s), but I bought it used in around 2000 and used it for about 15 Olympic distance triathlons, plus about 200 miles per year. Not sure what size it is, but it stands 32 inches high at the top tube. Asking price is $600, but will consider any offer. E-mail Rob at rkengis@hotmail.comor call 269-664-6489.

I am looking for a used carbon fiber bike. Contact Maggie Miller at maggiemiller@rocketmail.com.

Cannondale Ironman 2000 (model year 2003) time trial bike. Size 56 with the CAAD5 Aero frame. Components are Ultegra and Dura-Ace with Spinergy Xaero Lite 650 wheels. Additional race accessories include Zipp 800 full disk rear and Zipp 400 front with new tubular tires. Extra sets of tires included. $1,500 for full setup. Will also consider selling without Zipp racing wheelset. Call 806-7164 or contact Kellam.glen@yahoo.com.


Shop Notes

Alfred E Bike

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

Billy's Bike Shop

63 East Battle Creek Street, Galesburg, (269) 665–5202

Breakaway Bicycles

185 Romence at Westnedge, Portage, (269) 324–5555,

Custer Cyclery

104 North Augusta, Augusta, (269) 731–3492

Gazelle Sports

214 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, (269) 342–5996,
Visit Gazelle Sports and try on the latest from New Balance... the barefoot-inspired newSKY running shoe. It's stylish, comfortable and has an upper made of 95% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles! Check it out here www.newbalance.com/newSKY.

Johnson Cycle Works

5309 Gull Road, Kalamazoo, (269) 226-0001.


611 W Michigan Avenue, Kalamazo, (269) 56–PEDAL
info@pedalbicycle.com and www.pedalbicycle.com

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.