May 2012 President’s Letter


In a perfect world, bicycles and expanded public transportation facilities would begin to outnumber single-user automobiles on the roadways at some point. But, although things are changing to some extent with regard to that situation, that day still looks to be some time off in the future.

So, the fact is that we, as cyclists, will have to continue to deal with auto drivers; and they with us. It is no secret that the problem of the two mixing is exacerbated by the many competing interests for the attention of the auto driver. Forget cell phone usage, which these days seem nearly ubiquitous. Those who live around university campuses are now only too aware of the propensity for (mostly younger) drivers to text while they drive.

In short, it's a dangerous world out there, and getting more so all the time.

This point was brought home to me, personally, three years ago in June. I suffered an auto/bike accident on Oakland Drive. The way the incident came about, and its aftermath, changed the way I ride.

My friend Jim Eckert and I were headed out to the Monday night ride on that evening. As there is on any weekday around 5:00 P.M., there was a lot of traffic on Oakland – mostly commuters headed home after working in the City all day.

In the southbound bike lane I was doing everything correctly. I stayed centered in the lane, obeyed traffic signals, and was watchful both in front of me and also behind; the latter through the use of my glasses-mounted rearview mirror. My speed, at around 17 mph, wasn't excessive.

The problem came as I was passing cars that had stopped at a red light at the corner of Oakland and Winchell. A van had stopped far enough behind the car in front of it that a hole in the line of cars had formed. An auto driver in the northbound lane took advantage of that opening to turn into her driveway, right in front of me.

The driver of that SUV, her view of the bike lane blocked by the van, never thought twice about whipping into her driveway. I wasn't on her radar, visually or mentally. She wasn't on mine, either. What bike rider would ever expect a car to suddenly dart perpendicularly out of a line of stopped cars?

I had eight feet in which to react. Locking up the brakes on both wheels, I also tried to veer to my right in order to not ram into the vehicle head-on. In both techniques I was partially successful. We still hit, but I had scrubbed off a lot of speed. And the glancing impact was much gentler than it would have been with a direct hit.

Still, I went up over the handlebars, landed on her hood, and then fell backward onto the road. My water bottle popped out of its holder and was crushed flat by her right front tire. Soft tissues on my body violently rammed into the hard surfaces on my bike and her car. A day later, huge purple bruises appeared on my legs and trunk. Some were, seemingly, larger than my physical body.

I managed to avoid serious, life-altering damage. But any way you cut it, running into something hard like that is a wrenching experience, both physically and mentally. I was very, very lucky. If I had been nine feet further down the bike lane she would have broadsided me…and Mike Boersma would probably still be President of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club.

The truth is, though, I had grown somewhat cavalier about the prospects of getting hit on my bike. In approximately twelve years of serious bike riding at that point, nothing like that had ever happened. My subconscious conclusion from that streak of good luck was that nothing ever would. And I had let my survival skills grow somewhat rusty as a result.

So now I'm more careful again. I still hope for the best, but I also plan for and expect the worst. Though I hope a car driver sees me before I make a turn at a four-way stop, I expect that he won't. And I don't proceed until he acknowledges my presence by waving me across in front of him.

There are other things I do – and you should too – to insure you're riding defensively. The most important thing though is to pay attention; you can't take anything for granted. Mixing it up with cars on the road is dangerous enough when everything is going according to plan. Adding in the prospect of distracted drivers – and distracted bike riders – makes it even more critical that we look out for our own interests, and our own hides, when we're on our bikes.

Ride safe.

Zolton Cohen, KBC President


Next KBC Monthly Meeting on May 8th, 2012

The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend.


Be a Part of Bike Camp 2012!

Happy Spring KBC Members,

Looking for a fun and rewarding activity to do on a Saturday morning, one where you can share your passion for cycling with others? Volunteer at KBC's 2012 Bike Camp and help campers learn all there is to know about this wonderful sport!

What's involved:

  1. Show up at Bike Camp on Saturday morning(s). (You can do one, two, or all four Saturdays).
  2. Be friendly and encouraging.
  3. Share your cycling experiences with campers.
  4. Assist with group training rides to provide encouragement and support.
  5. If you're a former Bike Camper, we'd love to have you come back to help and share your experiences.
Dates: Four Saturdays beginning May 19th through June 9th.
Time: 8:30 A.M. to approximately 11:30 A.M.
Where: Portage YMCA on Centre Street.

KBC is in its seventh year of offering this wonderful community outreach program and we need your help to keep it going. Please help us out by e-mailing me at with the date(s) you'd like to volunteer. If you signup to volunteer before Tuesday, May 15th, we invite you to join us for our Bike Camp Orientation meeting held that evening at KVCC. More detailed information on Bike Camp 2012 can be found at

Volunteering at Bike Camp is very rewarding and a great way to support the Club and its efforts in promoting safe and smart cycling. We look forward to seeing you at Bike Camp!

Renee Mitchell, KBC Bike Camp Committee Chair


Tuesday Night Time Trial

Well, it's about that time of year again. The time of year when you might ask yourself, "Isn't the Tuesday Night Time Trial starting soon?" The answer to that is a resounding, YUP! So, here's what you need to know.

The TNTT is organized through CMS Race Team and it happens the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month through the end of August. This year it kicks off on May 15th. The sign-up will be at 6:15 P.M. at the Pavilion Township Hall on the corner of East Q Avenue and South 29th Street ( and we'll be sending riders off in 30 second intervals at 6:30 P.M. sharp.

We will once again be offering the most fabulous prizes of any locally run time trial series in the greater Pavilion/Scotts/Climax area. (Prizes are provided by Alfred E. Bike and CMS Race Team and they range from awesomely bad to awesomely awesome.)

The time trial series is open to anyone who is a club member and has a desire to test their speed against the clock. There are people of all ages and speeds who attend and it truly is an open and encouraging atmosphere. It really is too much fun to be legal, so I suggest you get in on the action before it becomes a crime.

Something new this year ... as you probably know, drafting is not allowed in a time trial, otherwise it would be considered a team time trial. Which actually sounded like a really good idea. So, this year, you'll be allowed to compete as a team time trial in either 2 or 3 person teams. The timer stops when the last person in the team crosses the finish line. Change it up a little and recruit a teammate or two.

Patrick White, Supervisor of Pavilion Township, has offered the participants use of the facilities at the township hall (assuming the doors are unlocked) and has also asked that we park on the north side in their the township parking lot, east of the pine tree on their lot, as it can sometimes be very hard to see around that corner. Thanks in advance and see you on the road.

John Ballema, CMS Race Team Captain


KalTour 2012

The day is Sunday July 8, 2012, the place to be is Bronson Athletic Club (just off I-94 at 9th Street), and the weather will be ??? Do you want to ride 100 miles or an escorted 13 miles or something in between? This is the 21st consecutive year for KalTour which began under its previous heading of Flowerfest. It has become one of the highlights of summer bicycling in Southwest Michigan because of the scenic rural roads, the support, the food, and the value provided for your entry fee.

Many aspects of this year's KalTour will be familiar, such as the common lunch stop at the beautiful Briar Patch Plant Nursery, but there will also be changes, such as sandwiches provided by Great Harvest Bakery and cookies from Victorian Bakery. Also the routes will vary somewhat from the past few years with the century and 62 mile riders heading to Lawton in the morning. The century riders will finish up the day up north with the 6th Street hill coming on the way back to the starting point.

You can sign up through the KBC website right now, or you can send in the registration form from the brochure that will reach you shortly. Remember that preregistration before July 1st saves $5 for an individual or $10 for a family and that there is an additional discount of $5 for KBC members on preregistration only.

KalTour could not exist without its volunteers, and we can always use more help, starting with route painting at the end of June. If you can help us get started in the morning on July 8th before you ride, or if you want to ride and then help out, or if you (or a spouse) is not riding, please let me know via email at or call me at (269) 823-2819.

I look forward to seeing you all on July 8th.

Mike Krischer, KalTour Co-Director


The Ride of Silence — May 16th, 2012

Dear Fellow Cyclists:

The 10th annual "Ride of Silence" ride is on Wednesday, May 16 at 7:00 P.M. hosted by Johnson Cycle Works at 5309 Gull Road. This ride joins thousands of cyclists worldwide in a slow-paced (maximum 12 mph) silent procession for approximately 10 miles to

  1. Honor those who have been injured or killed while riding on public roadways.
  2. Create awareness of the rights of cyclists.
  3. And to ask that motorists SHARE THE ROAD.
HELMETS are MANDATORY and flashing lights are highly recommended. Please show up early to be ready for a 7:00 P.M. departure. Ample parking is available behind the bike shop.

More information on the Ride of Silence organization can be found at

Johnson Cycle Works will be providing fabric armbands for participants, black armbands to honor a cyclist who was killed, and red armbands to honor a cyclist who was injured by a motorist.

There are a few things that we could use some help with.

  1. We could use help bringing positive media exposure to this event. If anyone has connections to help get the word out, please do so. We are available to answer any questions via phone or e-mail, contact information below.
  2. If anyone has contacts to arrange a police escort for this ride, please let me know; again, the contact information is below.

Please share the news of this important event with your friends, family, and co-workers. All are welcome to join us in creating awareness and honoring those killed or injured.

Many thanks,

Steve Johnson, Johnson Cycle Works LLC
cell (269) 370-5846
shop (269) 226-0001
fax (866) 866-9973


Three Rivers Bicycle Ride — June 3 2012

There will be a 45 mile bicycle ride in Three Rivers on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 9:00 A.M., beginning at 823 East Street. Breakfast and lunch will be served with homemade food. The course is mostly flat with a couple hills in middle of the route and passes by 5 lakes. The cost of the ride is $10. For more information, contact Mary Warren (269-273-8860 or 269-816-0530) or Mike Mock (269-266-2671).


Kalamazoo Dirt Road Challenge Ride

by Steve Cox

Announcing the Kalamazoo Dirt Road Challenge Ride, date to be determined in September. This unsupported ride has a tentative distance of 125 miles on mostly dirt/gravel roads. Ride on scenic Purgatory Road near Constantine and see where Joe Louis had a training camp and where Al Capone is rumored to have had a summer home. Climb the fantastic dirt road hills near Swiss Valley Ski area on Sodaman, Mann and Bald Hill Roads. Will your legs tell you that Mt. Zion Road is really mountainous? This will be an unsupported ride starting from Texas Township Park with stops in Vandalia, Dowagiac, and Russ County Park. For more information, contact Steve Cox at


Community Service as Destiny

by Victor Van Fleet

The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club, Inc. (The Club), as a non-profit organization, might find it appropriate to investigate/endorse/support/encourage/promote a variety of beneficial community/county biking programs. A few suggestions: A bicycle marathon to raise money for a charity, an abbreviated free Bike Camp to get people started, time trials for the biking public, a variant of the Biggest Loser program to combat obesity. As a project it might be worthwhile to take on the problem of OBESITY which according to most authorities causes and/or aggravates more health problems than all other health issues combined. Otherwise the main benefits targeted would be social, economic, and health values. As club members it is quite possible that the importance of these benefits is a part of your current biking promotional efforts.

The Club has the necessary talent and funds to prepare and present programming on various biking topics for non-biker groups, young and old, slim and not so slim. Rules of the Road, bike maintenance, importance of suitable clothing, health aspect, economic values, and social benefits are a few of the topics that could be covered. You may have some pet subjects relating to beginner biking that could result in an interesting program and provide a valuable community service. A Power Point presentation of your idea would be a good start.

Now you need an audience. Well, there is no end to the audience opportunities! The first groups that come to mind are public and private schools and churches of all faiths. If approached these entities, in most cases, would welcome with open arms instructive biking programs for their membership. There are many other groups such as Service Clubs, Trade Association, employee groups, large, medium, and small businesses, neighborhood developments, condo associations, and the list goes on and on. These groups could benefit from biking programs resulting in safer biking, more enjoyable biking and a healthy exercise that would be a health benefit to the individual as well as the community.

The benefit to The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club would be beyond imagination! Recognition by Community and County governmental agencies would go through the roof! It might result in additional KBC memberships, more Bike camp enrollments, and more KalTour participants. This would enhance our financial situation and thus enable us to do more charitable community/county bike promotional activity.


Bicycle Planning Route Update

I've asked members of KBC and a number of other organizations to e-mail me their commuting and regular club routes. I've been passing these on to Steve Stepek, Senior Transportation Planner, of the Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study (KATS). Throughout the year, he told me he will input them into the KATS mapping facility. Thanks to everyone who has contributed your commuter routes, so far!

Mapping the routes is a step in the direction of any number of infrastructure objectives intended to help make our community even more bicycle friendly. Another example of an infrastructure objective is to post of bicycle related safety signs, such as "Bike Route," "Bike Lane," etc. Other objectives include, but are not limited to, providing maps, directions, and paths.

On February 29th, Josh DeBruyn, Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator for MDOT, presented an up-to-date look at key bicycle and pedestrian roadway designs and court decisions. (You can e-mail our club secretary, Mary Gerger, requesting a copy of this presentation.) Currently, the courts have been deciding in favor of a "bicycle friendly" direction, limiting aspects of legal liability connected with design features such as bike lanes, and signing rural road/shoulders as bike routes.

On Monday, April 9th, Texas Township approved the purchase and installation of 20 bike safety related signs; so in particular, the issue regarding signage is very current.

On April 12th, I participated in a bicycle route planning meeting attended by Chris Barnes, Director, Transportation and Utilities, City of Portage, Joanna Johnson, Managing Director, Kalamazoo County Road Commission (KCRC), Kyle Lewis, KRVT Program Coordinator, Kalamazoo County, and Steve Stepek, Senior Transportation Planner, Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study.

What I learned about how professionals go about bike route planning was interesting, so I thought I'd update the club.

Infrastructure planning follows principles that have been set forth over time for the same reasons as in any engineering discipline. Principles related to consistency, clear visual cueing, economy, and cost-benefit apply to many disciplines. Similar principles also apply to roadway infrastructure design. For example, traffic engineers recommend posting permanently placed signs to cue users to the presence of permanent or highly predictable features, to improve traffic flow and improve safety.

As one example, a sign prior to an upcoming low bridge would typically be placed, whereas a permanent sign that posts a seasonal and changeable recreational bicycle route, such as the "XYZ Bicycle Club's Thursday Night Ride" where a ride leader changes the route each week, or cancels it based on poor attendance, would be placed only if additional reasons for placing such a sign were very compelling.

On the other hand, signs justifiably mark directions to permanent public parks, and their bicycling counterparts, such as the Portage Bikeway and the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail. Such signs improve the flow of traffic, reduce possible confusion, and help prevent traffic accidents. Incidentally, such signs also serve as an ongoing reminder to users that they can take advantage of a public good. Signs directing the way to major overpasses and bridges could be considered as universally helpful to motorized and non-motorized users.

Standards such as the "Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities" published by AASHTO, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, are used to help engineers design a wide variety of infrastructure improvements, including where to place bicycle related signs. Generally speaking, such guidelines recommend that a certain amount of shoulder width (e.g., four feet) bounded by a fog line be available for a route to be considered a viable bicycle route. Such considerations are just one part of criteria used when deciding whether to mark it with bike route signage. Under current Michigan law, as long as the bicycle path is separated from the portion of the highway that is "designated for vehicular travel," there would be limited liability to transportation agencies arising from "issues" involving a bicycle path. Simply posting a sign would not provide the same degree of protection to bicyclists, than would, for example, physically separating the bicycle path from the motorized portion of the road.

Who posts bicycle signs, how they are funded, their background color and font style and size, and the symbols used, involves jurisdictional considerations as well as engineering judgment. This adds to the complexity of decision making and planning, which typically adds time to the overall process from initial conception to implementation.

With all this in mind, over the coming year a collegial county-wide route planning effort will continue. The plans will dovetail with existing long-term plans for non-motorized facilities, and the Complete Streets initiative. It is very likely that the plans will then go through a process of public meetings where citizens will also get the chance to comment.

All this will not be accomplished overnight. But then, that is the nature of a worthwhile, professional effort that impacts the public on a fairly large scale.

Want to pitch in and contribute?

Members of KBC can play a big role in this effort by continuing to e-mail your commuter routes to (Again, many thanks to all of you who have e-mailed me your commuter routes, so far!) By contributing your routes, you are helping to build a better bicycling environment for the future.

If any of you would also like to get involved with a Safe Routes to School effort, please let me know that, as well.

Paul Selden, Director of Road Safety


CMS Racing Team

CMS Race Team Barry-Roubaix Recap

Lowell 50, March 31, 2012: In the 28 mile race, Jon Ballema finished 3rd in the 30-39 age group. In the 50 mile race, Lewis Henrickson finished 3rd in the 19-29 age group, Jesse Riegle finished 4th in the 30-39 age group, and Tom Noverr finished 10 in the 50+ age group.

OSRS #3 Harrison's Tomb (Cincinnati, OH), April 1, 2012: Jeremy Van Spronsen finished 10th in the Cat 5 race.

Germantown RR (Cincinnati, OH), April 14, 2012: Jeremy Van Spronsen finished 2nd in the Cat 5 race.

Fisk Knob Time Trial (17.36 miles), April 15, 2012: Bob Lynch finished 5th (44:09) and Jamie Clark finished 6th (time of 44:10) in the 40-44 age group, while John Wunderland finished 5th (44:50), Peter Post finished 6th (46:10), and Bill Figeley finished 13th (54:01) in the 45-49 age group.

OSRS #5 Lynchburg Road Race (Cincinnati, OH), April 22, 2012: Lewis Henrickson finished 3rd in the Cat 3 race and Jeremy Van Spronsen finished 16th in the Cat 4 race.

AAVC Spring Training Series Week 3, April 22, 2012: Bill Figeley finished in the pack in the C1 division.

Yankee Springs Mountain Bike Time Trial, April 22, 2012: Joe Thomas finished 7th (1:31:36) in the Elite division, Jesse Riegle finished 4th (1:37:36) in the Expert 30-39 division, Dylan Gonda finished 8th (1:03:09) in the Varsity 15-18 division, Darryl Dolby finished 21st (59:10) in the Sport 45-49 division, Ben Clark finished 16th (58:48) in the Single Speed Sport division, and Ray Falkerson finished 1st (1:37:42) in the Expert 50+ division.

Bill Figeley, CMS Race Team Secretary


12th Annual W Ride Report

The forecast for the 12th Annual W Ride looked ominous, (so, what else is new), but weather was actually better than expected, as the Ride Leader (RL) drove to Vicksburg the morning of the W Ride. It was in the mid-40s, it was windy, and there was that nasty looking green and yellow blob on the weather map southwest of Kalamazoo, but at least it wasn't currently raining. The RL wasn't sure if anyone else would show up, but his faith in the hardiness of KBC members was rewarded, as Bill Bernhard, Dick Fridley, Paul Selden, and Scott Kirklin arrived at the Vicksburg High School parking lot by car, and the even the more hardy KBC members Terry Butcher and Mike Vandeveer arrived by bike, having ridden from Portage and Kalamazoo, respectively.

Most of the riders prepared for the ride by applying layer upon layer of clothing; Paul in particular prepared as though he was participating in a bicycle/ark riding duathlon by donning a bright yellow rain suit. Taking the opposite approach, Dick rode without any covering over his cycling shorts, explaining later that if you can't feel your legs, then they must be o.k. The riders then turned left from the parking lot unto W Avenue, heading towards Calhoun County and into an east wind.

Paul dropped back to ride at his own pace, while the remaining 6 riders formed a two-abreast paceline with Terry and the RL in the lead. The first 12 miles of the ride passed rather uneventfully, the temperature hovered around 45 degrees, and the rain continued to hold off as the riders arrived at the Calhoun County line at a rather relaxed, albeit into the wind, 14 .7 mph pace. However, while stopping for pictures by Terry, the green blob had finally arrived and the rain began.

The next 12 miles were accompanied by a steady rain, while the temperature quickly dropped down to 39 degrees. A couple miles after turning around, the RL thought he saw a meteor coming towards him, but it was merely Paul. Due to some very strong pulls by Terry with occasional help from Mike, Bill, and the RL, and the constant help of a rather strong tailwind, the riders reached speeds of over 20 mph during several stretches of this portion of the ride, and the 6 riders arrived back at Vicksburg soaking wet and in need of refreshment and some temporary warmth. The cumulative pace was now 16.7 mph.

Riding with the tailwind for the next 12 miles to Van Buren County, Terry continued to set a torrid pace. It continued to rain, but the temperature had risen to 41 degrees and the RL was tempted to take off all of his clothes, but that could have been the hypothermia talking. Actually, the RL was pretty comfortable despite the cold, except for his arms, ruing the fact that he left his arm warmers in his car.

At the Van Buren County line the 5 riders waited for Scott, who had dropped off the pace, and then headed back into the wind for the homestretch. At this point, the cumulative pace was 17.5 mph, and the rain had actually stopped. Terry then continued to push the pace with some help from Bill and Mike and, in a move a questionable intelligence, the RL decided to do his part with about 4 miles to go by taking the lead. That lasted for about 200 yards before his energy completely ran out and he soon found the other riders riding on without him.

Terry, Mike, Bill, and Dick arrived back at the parking lot shortly after noon and the RL arrived about a minute later, having averaged 17.4 mph for the ride. The riders dined on Gatorade, 2012 W Map pretzel logs, and sourdough pretzel nibblers, congratulating each other on their manliness. Then, Terry and Mike rode back and Bill and Dick drove back from where they came. Scott arrived a few minutes later and enjoyed the same repast. The RL was getting cold, so he left a Gatorade for Paul and drove home in search of a hot shower. Paul later reported that he had finished the ride averaging 12.5 mph.

So what did we learn from this year's W Ride? We learned that there are 7 KBC tough guys who don't let a little rain and cold stop them from experiencing the most enjoyable ride of their lives, which I'm sure is only a minor exaggeration. Next year, this could be you!

Rick Whaley, W Ride RL



A big KBC round of applause to Patrick White, Supervisor of Pavilion Township, home of KBC's Tuesday Night Time Trials. You may not know this, but Pat is a big supporter of bicycling and rides as often as he can with his wife on the beautiful roads of Pavilion Township. Pat has not only offered to allow our riders and volunteers to park in the township hall parking lot, but in a recent e-mail, he also wrote, "if the offices are open when you come out, feel free to come in and fill water bottles with cold water and also use the facilities, if needed."

Submitted by Paul Selden


Monthly Meeting Minutes

The April 10, 2012 meeting of the KBC was called to order by President Zolton Cohen, at 7:03 P.M. Those in attendance were: Zolton Cohen, Doug Kirk, John Idema, Terry O'Connor, Mike Vandeveer, Rick Whaley, Victor Van Fleet, John Olbrot, Mike Boersma, Paul Bruneau, Mike Krischer, Marc Irwin, Becky Powers, Scott F. Powers, Mike Mock, David Jones, Paul Selden, and Mary Gerger.

Treasurer John Olbrot gave the Treasurer's Report:

Checking Account5,663.97
Certificate of Deposit11,111.97

John reported that our insurance costs have gone up for 2012. He also noted the KBC income for this month included many KBC Membership Renewals, KalTour Registrations, and Bike Camp Registrations.

Mike Krischer gave an update on the 2012 KalTour. He indicated that varying the route was under consideration, though the rest stops and starting location would remain the same. One of the goals of the route change would be to allow riders to decide whether or not they were going to ride 62 or 100 miles at a point as far along the route as possible. He will be posting the possible routes on the Yahoo Groups.

Director of Road Safety, Paul Selden, reported that Texas Township Supervisor Dave Healy had contacted him regarding the Township approval of 20 "Share The Road" signs, to be put up within the Township. A short discussion was held regarding the different issues involved with making this a reality. In response to a question about the cost of these signs from Victor Van Fleet, Paul reported that he had a discussion with Paul Cunningham regarding the cost and placement of these signs, and that they could keep the cost down by utilizing poles that were already in place. Paul also stated that Mike Wise, Superintendent of Streets for the City of Portage, contacted him regarding how well he thought the marking of Bike Lanes was going within Portage. Zolton thanked Paul for all of his hard work, resulting in the KBC becoming the "Go To" organization in this area for bike-related issues.

On a related note, Paul reminded everyone that Bike Week is coming up in Kalamazoo.

Paul reported on Special Interest Group (SIG) news. He expressed thanks to David Jones for setting up the Yahoo Groups, and indicated that SIG respondents are already set up for communication with each other, through Survey Monkey.

Zolton led a discussion related to the weekly Club rides. The question of "How many rides are still active?" was addressed. The issue of how to keep the weekday rides safe and orderly as the size of the various groups increase was discussed. There were several suggestions made as to how the various groups could be broken up into smaller ones. Zolton addressed this in last month's President's Letter.

The Constitution Committee, comprised of Mike Boersma, Doug Kirk and Zolton Cohen, reported they are making progress, and are comprehensively going through feedback from Paul Banner regarding the revised KBC Constitution. They have posted the revised KBC Constitution on the website for comments and suggestions.

Zolton reminded everyone of the Pre-Season Ride Meeting on Tuesday, April 17th at 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. at the Best Western on 11th Street.

Those in attendance at tonight's meeting being sanctioned as 2012 Ride Leaders were Doug Kirk, John Idema, Terry O'Connor, Mike Vandeveer, Becky Powers, Scott F. Powers, Paul Bruneau, and Renee Mitchell. These members join the others who have already been sanctioned at previous KBC meetings. The benefits of becoming a Sanctioned Ride Leader were discussed, including the extra insurance benefits this provides members when they are on KBC-sanctioned rides.

Education/Bike Camp Chair Renee Mitchell reminded everyone of the Friday morning Women's Ride. She also discussed the 2012 Bike Camp. Renee stated there is a need for Volunteers, including Ride Monitors for Bike Camp. Zolton said they would like to have three Ride Monitors per group of riders. Renee stated she will get the schedule and information to those interested in volunteering. There are Bike Camp brochures available for people to distribute. Zolton pointed out that one of the benefits of Bike Camp is to build a bigger bike community. He feels that Bike Camp is a great first step into the sport, helps build awareness of bike issues, and that many Bike Camp attendees have gone on to become active members of the KBC. Renee also mentioned there were other opportunities for Volunteers in 2012, including "Safe Kids" (Bike Rodeo) and the Portage YMCA Triathlon, in the Summer.

Under New Business, the "W Ride" was discussed. The date of the ride is April 28th at 9:00 A.M. (Vicksburg High School). The big change for this year is direction! Riders will be riding to Calhoun County first.

Victor Van Fleet asked if there was a Publicity Chairman. Zolton responded that since no one has volunteered to fill that position, he and Paul Selden have been handling this. Paul said if there is an event a member would like to publicize, there is a process in place for doing that. Please see Zolton or Paul if you are interested in doing so. Mike Mock passed out information at the meeting for a 45 mile ride in Three Rivers on Sunday, June 3, 2012.

Doug Kirk asked for suggestions regarding how KBC could attract younger people to the monthly meetings. A brief discussion followed.

Zolton adjourned the meeting at 8:00 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary Gerger, KBC Secretary



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Paul Bruneau, KBC Database Manager


Editor's Letter – I'm (Almost) 60, So Now What?

The day before I turned 30, I decided to stay up until midnight to watch the end of what was left of my youth. At the time, this wasn't a particularly difficult task. At about a quarter to twelve, a powerful thunderstorm began moving through the area, and the clock struck midnight to the accompaniment of lightening lightning, followed by thunderous thunder. ("What, Mr. Pedal Press Editor, no windy wind, too?") Nature had apparently decided that my youth wouldn't end without a fight. I, on the other hand, had accepted the inevitable, and it was bittersweet.

That was half a lifetime ago, as I am now preparing to turn 60 years old later this month. Logically, there isn't anything more impressive about turning 60 than there is about turning 59 or 61; it's only the turning over of the age odometer that makes this so important, an artifact of humans having 10 fingers. If humans had been born with 12 fingers, this birthday wouldn't be as important. ("Yeah right, Mr. Pedal Press Editor, then you'd be 50.") Okay, so if humans had been born with 14 fingers, this birthday wouldn't be as important, and there'd also be some really impressive piano players.

Nevertheless, one of the interesting things about the number 60 is that it is divisible by so many other numbers, so that I can review the passage of my life in increments of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, or 30 years. ("Please, Mr. Pedal Press Editor, proceed to review your life for us in 2 year increments. I bet ages 36 and 37 must have been fascinating!") I'll spare you a review of my life in 2 year increments, since I'd even bore myself, but when I look back on my cycling life, 15 year increments do seem appropriate.

Age 0 to 14: I learned to ride a bike and bicycles were my main source of transportation throughout much of my childhood. I (actually, my parents) favored the single speed JC Higgins bicycle, which was an object of derision for a couple of snobby Schwinn bicycle riders in my elementary school neighborhood. I won't say that I was traumatized by this, but it's just as well that I haven't noticed any Schwinn bicycles on our club rides, since I still dislike them. And don't get me started about having to eat fish sticks as a kid; I still dislike them, too. (My words to live by during the last 40 years are "A day without fish sticks is a day.") Anyway, bicycle riding was a reasonably important part of my life.

Age 15 to 29: When I was 15, I started running and when I was 16, I started driving. These two events conspired to put my bicycle riding on hold for the next decade or so. Between the ages of 16 and 24, I doubt that I ever even sat on a bicycle seat. When I was 24, I started doing some occasional bicycle rides on a borrowed bike, and I bought a 3-speed bicycle ("Gosh, Mr. Pedal Press Editor, you actually bought a bicycle with GEARS??!!") when I was 25, followed by a 10-speed bicycle when I was 28. I had started riding again, but bicycle riding wasn't that important a part of my life, at least between knee and other running injuries.

Age 30 to 44: Although I didn't know it at the time, my last serious running race took place when I was 29. I spent my 30s riding a bicycle more and more often, and by the time I reached my early 40s, bicycle riding had become my primary athletic activity. I also did an unsupported multi-day bicycle ride when I was 43. Bicycle riding was becoming a more important part of my life.

Age 45 to 59: I joined the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club a couple months before my 45th birthday and I started doing club rides a few months after turning 45, something that I have done ever since, at least while living in the Kalamazoo area. I also started getting involved in the day-to-day activities of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club and, because I missed the racing aspect of running, I began a not-so-successful, somewhat sporadic career as an ultramarathon bicycle racer. ("No one likes a braggart, Mr. Pedal Press Editor.") Bicycle riding had become an important part of my life.

I'm (almost) 60, so now what? An age like this drives home the point that I'm getting older and my fastest riding days are well behind me, something that is also bittersweet. But that doesn't mean that I have to just have to just accept the inevitability of my now long lost youth, as I did 30 years ago, because with age comes wisdom, at least when it comes to this. My 60s are going to be a cycling adventure, with the form of these adventures still unknown, but that what makes it rather exciting. I also know that I'll be retiring sometime doing my 60s, probably sooner rather than later and that also opens up a lot of cycling opportunities that I have previously not explored.

And in the short term, I'm actually thinking about getting back in the saddle on the race that has thrown me numerous times (figuratively speaking, of course, since this would make absolutely no sense, literally), my nemesis, the National 24-Hour Challenge. I'm not saying that I actually will sign up for the ride; I've still giving myself until the end of the month to decide. Even though I've gotten in more miles than usual at this time of year (thank you, March!), I still don't think that I'm in that all that good shape. And, yes, I'm getting older, and yes, the pride may indeed become before the fall, which can be defined as falling off a bicycle, exhausted. But on the plus side, I kind of like the idea of welcoming my 60s by riding the National 24-Hour Challenge as an act of age defiance, even though I really don't have anything to be defiant about. So, let the drum roll, roll! (Wow, Mr. Pedal Press Editor, no one turns a phrase like you.) My age is just my age. I'm (almost) 60.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor


Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

Saturday, May 12. Trailblazer 2012. Kalamazoo and South Haven, Michigan. 25, 35, 45, 70, and 100 miles.

Wednesday, May 16, 7:00 P.M. Ride of Silence. Johnson Cycle Works, 5309 Gull Road, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Saturday, May 19. Ride Around Kent County (RAKC). Johnson Park. 150 miles with 50 and 100 mile bail-outs.

Saturday, June 2. 100 Grand Bicycle Tour. 17, 35, 65, 105, and 141 miles.

Sunday, June 3. Three Rivers Bicycle Ride. 45 miles. Mary Warren at (269) 273-8860 or (269) 816-0530 or Mike Mock at (269) 266-2671. See the article elsewhere in this issue of the Pedal Press for further information.

Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17, National 24-Hour Challenge, Middleville, MI. 0 to 400+ miles. See how far you can ride a bicycle in 24 hours.

Wednesday through Sunday, August 29 – September 2. 42nd Annual Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw (DALMAC) Bicycle Tour. Four rides over 4 or 5 days, ranging from 286 to 404 miles. Registration has begun and all rides fill up quickly.


Classified Ads

Extra large cycling shirt, hardly worn as it was too large for me. Blue and white with Volvo and Cannondale the primary words on the shirt. $30. Dale Krueger at 375-0114 or

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 or (269) 968-9674 (home) or (269) 830-1706 (cell).


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,
Are you or someone you know looking for a new job? Breakaway Bicycles & Fitness of Portage is now accepting applications for employment in both sales and service. We are looking for a few full or part time salespeople as well as a full or part time mechanic. Experience is a plus, but not essential. If you are interested, please visit our website at and click on the careers link on the bottom left of the page for an application.

Custer Cyclery

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

Gazelle Sports

214 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, (269) 342–5996,
We have beautiful Kalamazoo Marathon fanwear! Check it out Click on "Fanwear" under "Category" on the left.
PLUS – It's time for Gazelle Sports' Spring Sock Sale! Buy 3, get a 4th pair FREE! Sale runs NOW - May 31st.

Johnson Cycle Works

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


611 W Michigan Avenue, Kalamazo, (269) 56–PEDAL and

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.