Kalamazoo Bicycle Club

 

June 2012 President’s Letter

Bike Camp

I love the smell of fresh bikers in the morning. And many KBC member/volunteers have had the opportunity to experience that sensation this spring, as we work together to put on another successful Bike Camp.

Fifty-eight people are signed up for Bike Camp this year, a record – and a testimony to how well-received prior versions of the program were. Many of this crop of Campers were encouraged to attend by those who had come to Bike Camp in previous years.

Bike Camp could not exist without the large number of volunteers who give of their Saturday mornings in order to help out. In addition, we receive a tremendous amount of support from local bike shops. This year, Dan and Richard from Breakaway Bicycles in Portage and Tim Krone from Pedal in Kalamazoo all did a great job on Bike Fit Day in getting the Camper's bikes to fit the Campers. We also had bike-fitting help this year from a group of CMS Race Team racers who could form their own band; something like the 3-J's (the O'Jays name is already taken; sorry guys). But Jon, Jeremy and Justin did a splendid job, too, in the delicate art of bike fitting.

Alfred E Bike, Breakaway Bicycles, Johnson Cycle Works, all in the Kalamazoo area, and Village Cyclery in Schoolcraft, were generous with donations of useful bike-related items and gift certificates that are raffled off each Saturday. Thank you to all those shops – and let me take the opportunity to remind you that our local shops support not just Bike Camp, but many other KBC and community cycling events as well. We can show our appreciation by patronizing them.

In addition to the members of the dedicated Bike Camp Committee, I would like to publically thank Bike Camp Director Renee Mitchell for organizing and mounting what is one of the club's major yearly efforts. Renee is upbeat, knowledgeable, and hard-working. And Bike Camp wouldn't be the same without her at the helm.

Club Rides

On a pleasant Monday evening in mid-May, I counted 90 bike riders standing in the parking lot of Texas Drive Park, getting ready to divide up into groups to embark on club rides. Turn-outs at both the Monday and Wednesday rides continue to be exceptional.

We're also seeing an increase in new ride leaders willing to lead rides of different speeds. That's a huge help, as it makes dividing up potentially too-large groups much easier. Thanks go to all who are stepping up in this fashion. And, too, thanks to those riders willing to go with a new group in order to spread out the numbers.

What is of particular interest is the number of riders showing up to participate in more moderately-paced rides. Those groups are getting bigger all the time. And that should, I hope, put to rest the perception we have heard in the past that KBC was an organization only for elite, racer-types. This club is for anyone who likes to ride a bike, period.

Zolton Cohen, KBC President

 

Next KBC Monthly Meeting on June 12th, 2012

The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend.

 

KalTour — Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's almost time for KBC's largest annual event, KalTour, on Sunday, July 8, 2012. The starting location is Bronson Athletic Club (just south of I-94 at 9th Street). We offer routes ranging from 13 to 100 miles. Century riders should start by 8:30 A.M. and metric century (62 mile) riders by 10:00 A.M. New this year will be sandwiches from Great Harvest Bakery, as well as routes that reverse directions from previous years.

Brochures have been mailed to all KBC members and recent KalTour riders. KBC members can register for $15 ($30 for a family) by mail or at www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org/rides/kalTour.php before July 1.

We can always use more help. We need people to join us for setup and registering riders (starting at 6:00 A.M.) as well as others who would like to greet returning riders with watermelon after the ride. Please let me know at mkrisch@chartermi.net or (269) 823-2819 if you can help. Non-riding spouses, parents, or children are welcome to join our crew.

Mike Krischer, KalTour Director

 

Request for KalTour Road Painting Volunteers

We have always taken pride in having well marked roads for KalTour. Riders can follow color-coded arrows for each route without referring to their maps. We need your help to accomplish this. Meet in the KVCC parking lot near the tennis courts at 6:00 P.M. on Tuesday, June 26. Spray paint, maps, and directions will be provided. Wearing old clothes is not a bad idea. If you have never done this before, we can pair you with an experienced road painter.

If you would like to help, but this time is inconvenient for you, please e-mail me at mkrisch@chartermi.net or call me at (269) 823-2819. Please call or e-mail if you are coming or if you need to come late.

The rain date for road painting will be Thursday, June 28.

Mike Krischer, KalTour Director

 

Request for Miller Energy Criterium Volunteers

The organizers of the Miller Energy Criterium (formerly BTR Bike Race) are looking for volunteers to help with registration and course marshaling duties. The race will be held on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at the Western Michigan BTR Park off of Parkview Avenue in Kalamazoo. We have professional help with registration this year and primarily need course marshals. Course marshals get free admission to a front row seat at an action packed location on the course. Registration workers get the admiration of their fellow club members. Call or e-mail Rick Updike at 269-207-7320 or rick.updike@yahoo.com to sign up.

 

Mike Cutler's Accident and Handling Road Rage

Some of you may have heard about what sounded like a road rage incident that occurred on Tuesday, May 22, on Ravine Road. A group of cyclists were on a ride that takes off from Johnson Cycle Works on Gull Road.

It is not clear at this point exactly what happened. But the result was that Mike Cutler, an employee of Johnson Cycle Works, fell and was severely injured. According to the information that has been relayed so far, along with a concussion, Mike also suffered a broken wrist that will require surgery, broken ribs, and a broken cheek bone. The driver of the vehicle involved in the incident was ticketed for careless driving.

Channel 3 News did a video piece and an interview with Mike, and with Brad Rose, a rider who was in the group. It can be seen on the WWMT website at: www.wwmt.com/shared/newsroom/top-stories/stories/wwmt_vid_1798.shtml

We wish Mike and his family the very best while he recovers from his injuries.

On a personal note, whenever I hear about something like this, it makes my blood boil. From what I've heard, the riders in this group were following state law and the rules of the road. A driver behind them got impatient, started honking his horn, and then either passed too closely or deliberately moved over into the riders with his car. Whatever the case, the outcome is always the same; a rider has been maimed unnecessarily.

While there are laws that protect riders on the roadway, sometimes they are not known or not followed by car drivers. In extreme cases, a driver will go out of his way to try to "teach a lesson" to bike riders by intentionally using his vehicle as a weapon.

I have been on several rides where such a person confronted a group of riders, yelling at us to get off the roads or to ride single file, or to do something anatomically impossible. What's the best way to handle a situation like that?

In all cases, it is best not to escalate a confrontation. Bear in mind that you, as a bike rider, are standing or riding on a road while virtually naked. Meanwhile, the irate auto driver is in a 3,000 vehicle capable of killing you in split second. He might also be armed.

Ignoring a person who is shouting from a car window is the best policy. Giving a one-fingered salute or throwing a water bottle, though somewhat gratifying at the time, can fan the flames of an angry driver's hatred.

If the driver stops his vehicle and gets out, trying to reason or debate with him is never productive. He doesn't want your opinion; he wants to rant and vent. Your best tack is to not engage in a conversation, but just to say "O.K." a lot, all the while keeping an eye out for a potentially-needed escape route.

Most importantly, it is critical to get the license plate number, description of the vehicle, and description of the person who initiated the confrontation. Those can – and should – be reported to the police, along with other details about the incident.

While you may think that reporting a face-to-face angry confrontation will get lost in busy police files, that often isn't the case. I have experienced excellent follow-up when I have reported such occurrences. And it gets the perpetrator's name on record as someone who may be a little unhinged and bears watching from that point forward.

It can get ugly, to be sure. But don't make things worse by getting angry or violent and trying to retaliate. Get information, report it to the police, and let them do their job.

Zolton Cohen, KBC President

 

Selle An-Antomica Saddle Revie

by Paul Selden

I recently bought Selle An-Atomica's Titanico model leather saddle. Comfort-wise, it is so unlike my previous saddle that I felt compelled to share my experience in case it can help others in a similar situation.

Over this past winter, I become interested in an obscure long-distance biking sport called randonneuring and my rides have been increasing in mileage. Even with padded shorts, my behind would get uncomfortably sore while riding on my 5 inch wide cyclo-cross saddle (aptly named, the "Arrowhead") on anything more than a 40-miler over this past winter.

I could ride from Portage to Three Rivers to the covered bridge and back home without any stress or numbness on body parts like my hands and feet. But I found myself standing at every single gentle downhill slope to relieve my derriere on the way home. The problem wasn't numbness, just soreness.

The Arrowhead saddle that came with my Jamis might be fine for its intended use on a cyclo-cross course. But I've since modified that bike for winter riding and foul-weather touring -- including quick release full fenders with mud flaps, more grippy brake pads, an elevated stem, Velocity A23 rims, and 28mm touring and 35mm studded winter tires. Since I've turned it into an all-season pickup truck of a bike, it didn't make sense to negate those investments by skimping on a decent touring saddle.

None of the approved routes in randonneuring are shorter than a metric century (about 62 miles). Experienced randonnuers know what's needed to stay comfortable on long rides, so I asked Bill Bryant, one of the guiding lights of the sanctioning body Randonneurs USA (www.rusa.org), for his advice. Bill has written a lot about long-distance bicycles and related equipment. He was kind enough to write a detailed reply. In it, he mentioned that he has seen "tons of" Selle An-Atomica (S-A) saddles where he rides in northern California. In fairness, he mentioned Brooks and some (now vintage) saddles, as well.

I did a little more web browsing. Both Brooks and S-A have their devotees in the long-distance bicycling community. User feedback seemed to run like this. Brooks was comfortable, but takes considerable mileage to break in so that the leather conforms to the owner. It is also not weatherproof, so needs to be covered in the rain to prevent softening. On the other hand, Selle An-Atomica saddles were supposedly comfortable "right out of the box," feature water-shed leather, are made in the USA, but are more expensive.

After a little more research I contacted Selle An-Atomica directly. I had a great conversation with their small family company's director of operations, Carol Milton Hosner, daughter of the firm's now-deceased founder. She pointed out that their brown Titanico model was selling for half-price (around $90) on a close-out. I mentioned that none of our local bike shops seemed to carry them, but that I wanted to buy it where I got my cyclo-cross bike. Carol replied that she'd sell the close-out model to Pedal Bicycles for a price that would allow them to sell it to me, and not lose their shirt.

Tim Krone at Pedal listened with interest when I told him that if he was willing, S-A would ship him a saddle and price it so that he could sell it locally. He didn't hesitate; Tim said that he'd make it happen.

When the Titanico arrived, I rode to his shop downtown where the staff mounted the new saddle at no charge. Right from the git-go my brief test ride in the parking lot told me I'd made the right decision. With its slotted design, the 6.34 inch wide Selle An-Atomica Titanico was more comfortable right away than my 5 inch wide San Marco Arrowhead. I didn't mind that at nearly 19 ounces, it was almost twice as heavy. On long touring rides an extra 9 ounces is not as big of a deal to me versus being too sore to sit. I occasionally carry much more than that in extra nutrition, a can of V-8, plus a spare tire (in addition to inner tubes).

I've now ridden hundreds of miles on the Titanico, including a sanctioned randonneuring route from Pedal in downtown Kalamazoo to South Haven and back over the limestone-bedded, chipmunk-holed Kal-Haven Trail, and another that loops around the Battle Creek Linear Park to Richland, and back to Breakaway Bicycles in Portage. Here are my impressions.

The saddle took a fair amount of tuning before I found the most comfortable settings. The first day it was mounted, I stopped a number of times to whip out my Park tool to adjust the fore-aft tilt. The saddle also has a bolt in the nose used to adjust the softness/tension of the saddle slings. I found that after riding it for the first 50 miles or so, I needed to add more tension in order to keep the two halves of the hammock-like saddle from compressing together in the center and overlapping one on top of the other. Because of the sling effect, my seat post needed to be raised higher, as well. In its current position my behind neither feels like it is falling forward, nor sliding back. When I mount up, I feel like I've planted in a sweet spot right away, and don't need to shift around.

I got the saddle dialed in prior to my rando rides. The nature of the saddle helped it absorb many of the shocks on the trails. I finished each of these rides with one of those "wow" feelings I occasionally get when something new really works well.

It's difficult to describe the sensation the S-A provides. Nothing feels pinched. There's almost a cradled feeling of support. The term "glove-like" comes to mind. Whether due to its special weather proof finish, laminated support, or Chromalloy rails, rain doesn't seem to affect it.

Selle An-Atomica has an interesting (definitely not prurient) "butt-cam" video on their website showing the two halves of the saddle moving independently as you pedal. Many colors and models are offered. More information can be found at http://selleanatomica.com/. Locally, Pedal Bicycles has one on display; Breakaway Bicycles doesn't, but can order one.

I'm now dialing in a second S-A Titanico for my road bike.

 

CMS Racing Team

West Michigan Stage Race – Junior Men's Race Summary

The West Michigan Stage Race is a great new race for Michigan cycling. Held on May 19 and 20, the 2 day event involves 3 stages. The juniors rode a 7.2 mile time trial and a 20 min + 2 lap criterium on Saturday, followed by a 30 mile road race on Sunday.

I raced this event last year, finishing fourth, and was excited to return and have another shot at the podium. After the first stage, I was in 3rd place and with the time bonus given to the winner, I was about 40 seconds off the lead. Going into the criterium later that afternoon I felt very good and was poised to win my first race of the season. The criterium was very short (20 min + 2 laps) so my plan was to attack of the gun and try to break away. The plan worked! I broke away with one other rider and managed to out sprint him to win the second stage. The win gave me a 30 second time bonus on the race leader and a 15 second time bonus on the rider who came in 2nd (he was 1 minute behind me in the time trial). The Criterium win put me in the overall lead and earned me the leader’s jersey to wear at the next day’s road race. All this happened in just one day!

The next day would bring a 30 mile road race of rolling hills in Lowell. I was in ideal position for the last stage. I had around a 30 second gap on 2nd place and a little less than a minute on 3rd. The race started off quite fast and I just sat back and waited for riders to attack. I followed a few attacks in the first 10 miles, then disaster struck. At around the 10 mile mark, a rider in front of me crossed wheels with another and went down. I had no time to react. I fell hard on my left knee but managed to get up and start riding with very little time lost. When I caught up to the rest of the riders I noticed my front wheel was badly out of true. I knew there was no time to get a new wheel from the support car so I soldiered on. At the halfway point the same rider who I broke away with in the criterium attacked. I followed him and we managed to create a gap with another rider who was 5 minutes down on me. While we were riding one of the riders made an erratic move and my front wheel hit his derailleur. I managed to pull my wheel away without crashing again but realized quickly that a spoke had broken. Every revolution of the wheel felt like I was squeezing my front brakes. In the final 500 yards, I attacked and managed to hold off the other two riders. I ended up winning the overall by a minute! The stage race was one of the best racing moments of my life and a lot of the credit goes to the CMS racing team for beating me up on our Monday night rides!

Submitted by Dylan Gonda

CMS Race Team Barry-Roubaix Recap

Willow Time Trial (13.2 miles), April 28, 2012:
John Wunderlin finished 10th in the Cat 3 division, while Joe Yaeger finished 4th (31:03) Jamie Clark finished 8th (31:17), Bob Lynch finished 13th (32:10), and Jon Ballema finished 14th (32:23) in the Cat 4 division.

AAVC Spring Training Series Week 4, April 29, 2012:
Jeremy Van Spronsen finished 2nd and Bill Figeley finished 5th, while Ben Clark finished in the pack in the C1 division.

Bill Figeley, CMS Race Team Secretary

 

Kudos

Kudos to chief organizer Monika Trahe and the entire team of participants throughout the community for doing such a great job of making the inaugural Kalamazoo Bike Week such a success on May 13-18. Many forces throughout the community came together to bring the attention to bicycling in all its aspects.

WKZO and Lori Moore deserve a big round of applause from the biking community for hosting a daily bike tip on The Lori Moore Show each morning during Kalamazoo Bike Week! Lori's repartee was always on point and cheerful. Lori is known as being a big fan of bicycling herself.

Submitted by Paul Selden

 

Monthly Meeting Minutes

The May 8, 2012 meeting of the KBC was called to order by President Zolton Cohen, at 7:00 P.M. Those in attendance were Mark Jensen, Paul Pancella, Chris LeBlanc (guest), Michael Krischer, Jeff Newman, Paul Selden, David Jones, Mike Boersma, Rick Whaley, Zolton Cohen, Terry O'Connor, John Olbrot, Mike Berry, Celine Keizer, Bob Strader, Victor Van Fleet, and Mary Gerger.

Treasurer John Olbrot gave the Treasurer's Report:
Income$1,335.48
Expenses$812.61
Checking Account6,118.67
Certificate of Deposit11,113.33

John reported that our income included many Bike Camp registrations, membership renewals, and KalTour registrations.

Paul Selden and David Jones reported on the progress of the Special Interest Groups (SIG). David noted that the mechanism is starting to move forward for communication within the groups.

Director of Road Safety Paul Selden summarized his Road Commission article in the May Pedal Press. He stated that there is a real opportunity to create a community wide network of bike paths and lanes, though there are technical details to be addressed. Zolton noted that thanks to Paul's dedicated work with the Road Commission, the KBC has a voice in this future endeavor.

Zolton reported on the upcoming Bike Camp. He noted thus far, that 41 people had signed up to participate. Zolton urged those interested in volunteering as Ride Monitors or for other activities related to Bike Camp should contact Education Chairperson, Renee Mitchell.

Mike Krischer gave an update on the KalTour, reporting that fliers would be mailed out and available in area bike shops, within the next few weeks. He mentioned Road Painting for the KalTour will be 6:00 P.M. Tuesday, June 26, 2012. Those interested in helping with that should meet at KVCC.

Chris LeBlanc gave a presentation on a youth cycling program he is seeking to develop. Chris had submitted a request to the KBC Grant Review Committee for a grant of $500. His proposal has been reviewed and approved by the Grant Review Committee, pending his ability to acquire sufficient other funding to launch his program.

Those in attendance at tonight's meeting being certified as 2012 Ride Leaders were Bob Strader and Jeff Newman. A brief discussion followed, focusing on the need for dedicated Ride Leaders for the slower rides, including rides with new riders participating in KBC rides, after attending Bike Camp.

David Jones spoke on the upcoming events related to Bike Week on May 13-18. He also thanked Downtown Kalamazoo for their support of bicyclists.

Zolton reported that planning was going forward on the BTR, now renamed for the Platinum Sponsor, Miller Energy.

Zolton reminded everyone the Revised KBC Constitution has been available on the website to be read, and commented upon. Jeff Newman made a motion for a vote of approval, which was seconded by Paul Selden. The Revised KBC Constitution was unanimously approved by those in attendance at tonight's meeting. Our thanks to the Constitution Committee, consisting of Mike Boersma, Doug Kirk, and Zolton Cohen, for all of their dedicated work on this revision.

Paul Selden announced his 6th approved randonneuring route. This latest approved route, "The Kazoo to Big Lake Boogie" is from Downtown Kalamazoo to South Haven, and back to Kalamazoo, a distance of approximately 81 miles. At this time, Paul's routes are the only RUSA approved routes in lower Michigan. Please see www.rusa.org for more information.

Zolton adjourned the meeting at 8:15 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary Gerger, KBC Secretary

 

Masthead

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 July edition (distributed during the first week of July), have it to the newsletter editor by the 20th of June.

 

Statistics

Active subscriptions: 268

New members:
Dwight Bodnar · David Buick · Robert Butkiewicz · Fawn Callen · Rudy Callen · Leah Coleman · Gail Davis · Joyce Demink · Alex Escalona-Obregon · Gary Gifford · Susan Hamilton · Sean Jagels · Mark Johnson · Shari LaBrenz · Thomas LaBrenz · Christopher LeBlanc · Ken Masumoto · Kimm Mayer · Bryan McLeod · Hillary Patterson · Justin Prater · Gloria Price · Greta Salamun · Patrick Salamun · Sean Salamun · Susan Salamun · Tom Scavarda · Caitlin Sullivan · Cary Sullivan · Conor Sullivan · Shawn Sullivan · Monika Trahe · John Vail · John Vanderploeg · Kelsey Vanderploeg · Kim Vanderploeg · Evelyn Vroegop · Eric Zahrai

June Expiring memberships:
Jerry Amrhein · David Bernard · Carol Bradley · William Brandt · Greg Bruner · Terry Butcher · Al Cergol & Deborah Gray · Karen Christensen · Reginald Colby · Ingrid Davis · Bill Duggan · Gary & Terri Feldt · Barclay Finch · Brian & Gillian Gonda Family · Christopher Gottwald Family · Dori Hampton · John Heiser · Susanna Hinkle · Stacey Lyon · Nathan Peck · Jeffrey Pregenzer Family · Jana Serbenski Family · Paul Sotherland Family · Allen Stefanski · Brian Vanderberg · Christine West · Timothy Williams · Jerry Wrenfrow · John Wunderlin

Renewed memberships:
John Mathieson · Robert Schuler · Paul Stevens Family · Jonathan Evans & Monica Tory · Timothy & Julianna Stewart · Mark Jensen · Flint Wiles · Tyson Gilmore · Marcia Bear · Lindsay Craig · Valerie Litznerski

Paul Bruneau, KBC Database Manager

 

Editor's Letter – Three Rides, Three Reasons

Why do I spend my time riding a bicycle, when I could be doing other things, such as tending a garden, learning a foreign language, or playing tetris on my computer? This has been a question that has puzzled many cycling philosophers throughout history, where "many" is defined as "one," "philosophers" is defined as "newsletter editor" and "throughout history" is defined as "while attempting to write an Editor's Letter." But, even upon a not-so-thorough reflection, I can think of a lot of reasons why I ride a bicycle. Three of those reasons are why I participated in three different types of cycling events during the first three weekends in May. And these reasons are as follows:

As a Test of Physical and Mental Fitness: Like many cyclists, there are times when I've been curious to see how fast I can ride a bicycle. As a result, I found myself at a high school on the outskirts of Springfield, Ohio on the first Saturday in May, preparing to ride Calvin's Challenge. Calvin's Challenge is a 12 hour race that I had participated in four times, but I had not been back since 2005. What finally did bring me back was a new event that the race organizers had added in 2008, a 100 mile time trial. I've done many Century bicycle tours over the years, and I've always wondered just how fast I could ride a Century; the sort of Century ride without the camaraderie of my fellow cyclists, the enjoyment of the scenery while riding at a pleasant pace, and the opportunity to gorge on fruit, sandwiches, cookies, and whatever else is available at the SAG stops during the ride. In other words, a Century ride with the fun parts taken out. And now was my chance.

I began the ride with the goal of breaking 6 hours, a goal that looked increasingly doable during the early portion of the first 50.5 mile lap; a portion of the ride that was fueled by adrenaline and a prevailing tailwind. After 20 miles, I was riding at a pace that would have me finishing in 5 hours 31 minutes, but by then I was already starting to hit some headwinds, and I knew that the remainder of the lap would be more difficult, which it was.

I finished the first lap in 2 hours 49 minutes and after a very short break, I began the second lap. This time around, my heart was pumping harder than my adrenaline. At 67 miles, I began fighting off leg cramps in my inner thighs, first one leg than the other, like a two tag team wrestlers. I had planned to "kick it in" the last 10 miles of the race, but while riding up one of the few hills with about 12 miles to go, both legs started cramping simultaneously (hey, that's cheating!), and so I decided that just trying to maintain my speed was a better strategy. I finished the race in 5 hour 48 minutes for the actual 101 mile time trial, an average of 17.4 mph, with about 4 minutes off the bike. I was pleased with this result, and I should also note that the winner of the 55-59 age group whipped me by a mere 77 minutes. Of course, he had a time trial bike, so I feel confident when I say that with aero bars on my bicycle and the body of a cyborg, I could have taken him.

The Enjoyment of Participating in a Bicycle Tour: The following weekend, I returned to Ohio, this time to Columbus, to ride the Tour of the Scioto River Valley (TOSRV), a tour that I have done every year since 1994. This year, I got together with 7 riders from the Toronto area, having ridden TOSRV with a two of these riders numerous times. The 105 mile ride down to Portsmouth, Ohio that I did on Saturday with these two Toronto riders was uneventful, which was a good thing. Although we had a headwind, it wasn't a strong one, and the day was sunny and warm.

However, except for the headwind part, this wasn't the case on the ride back to Columbus on Sunday. It was a pouring cold rain and the temperature was in the 50s as we left Portsmouth, and five of the Toronto riders and I rode as part of a group of about 30 riders during the first 28 mile leg of the ride to Waverly. Ah, there's nothing quite like experiencing the spray of rain from a bicycle tire, courtesy of the cyclist in front of you, for an hour and a half. It takes your mind of the rain hitting you from above, and under these circumstances, I try to be an optimistic "the glass is completely full because it's raining" kind of guy.

Even though I was wearing a base layer, a cycling jersey, a vest, and arm and leg warmers, it didn't take long for me to start getting cold at the Waverly SAG stop, and that was also the case for my riding companions, so our stop was brief. During the next two legs of the ride, we split up, due to SAG stop breaks determined by varying susceptibility to hypothermia, flat tires, etc., but the six of us got back together on a portion of the last leg of the ride, before another flat tire split us up. By then, the rain had changed to a light drizzle, but it was a drizzle that never seemed to end, and we cancelled our plan to stop at a restaurant a couple miles from the finish for pizza and liquid refreshments besides water before completing the tour. We just wanted to be done and to get out of our wet cycling clothes.

So, it wasn't the best of cycling days, but a day spent cycling is never a waste of a day. I got to see some cycling buddies I see once a year and enjoy riding on some scenic (as well as some not-so-scenic) roads. I also managed to avoid dropping my bicycle and cracking the frame while walking down the stairs of the parking garage to my car this year, so there was also that sense of accomplishment.

Adventure: For the vast majority of my rides, I end up where I started, and I don't ultimately travel anywhere. This makes a point-to-point bicycle ride very attractive; which, among other things, provides an opportunity for me to look on a map and say to myself, "I started my ride here and ended up here! Behold, what a manly stud, I am!" Okay, so there's some ego involved here, too, but that's not always necessarily a bad thing. A sense of cycling accomplishment of the not-dropping-a-bicycle variety can also be important to one's well being.

So, when John Olbrot suggested that we do a ride to Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor, it didn't take any convincing for me to agree to do it. I thought it was a great idea. As a result, I spend the last Saturday before I turned 60 with eight other riders on a quest for gourmet sandwiches.

We left the Water Street Coffee Joint on Oakland Avenue at 7:20 A.M. and we rode through quiet country roads in eastern Kalamazoo County and in Calhoun County south of Battle Creek on a route plotted by John. The pace was pleasant, with the occasional hard pull from our cycling hard riders, Terry Butcher, who had ridden 232.5(!) miles in 12 hours two weeks earlier, and Dave Jarl. We took our first extensive break in Homer and then continued to Concord, where we picked up a bike path that took us into Jackson. We took another break in Jackson and continued through Jackson to Grass Lake, turning north just east of Grass Lake and crossing I-94. There, we found a conveniently located convenience store, where we took another break in the even more conveniently located shade of the store, as the temperature had reached the mid-80s. We then completed the final portion of our adventure, riding through Chelsea, then Dexter, then on Huron River Drive into Ann Arbor, arriving at Zingerman's Deli at 3:55 P.M. after riding 122 miles.

We celebrated our adventure with good, but expensive, sandwiches and fountain drinks. (My sandwich and drink set me back 19 dollars, which means that I'll be using Spartan brand energy gel for the next couple months.) From there, seven of us rode to a parking garage, where John and Dave had left their cars the night before, while that overachieving duo of Terry and Jeff Newman rode off to see how far they could ride back to Kalamazoo before dark. (They rode another 60 miles back to Concord before being picked up by Terry's wife.) After John dropped me off at my house, I spent the rest of the evening gazing in wonder at a map of Michigan while contemplating my self-validated state of total awesomeness.

Three rides, three reasons. And if there's one thing I'm know, it's when I'm on my deathbed, I won't be saying, "I wish I had spent more time playing tetris."

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

 

Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

Saturday, June 2. 100 Grand Bicycle Tour. 17, 35, 65, 105, and 141 miles. www.rapidwheelmen.com/100-grand.html.

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.

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. www.n24hc.org.

Saturday, June 23, Habitat for Humanity Bike to Build. Centerville, MI. 10, 25, 40, and 72 miles. (269) 535-0124, carol@arrowheadcove.com.

Sunday, June 24, Berrien County Cancer Service Bike Ride, Stevensville, MI. 15, 25, 42, 62 miles. www.bccancerservice.org.

Sunday, July 8, Kalamazoo Scenic Bicycle Tour (KalTour), Kalamazoo, MI. 13, 15, 31, 62, 100 miles. www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org.

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. www.DALMAC.org

 

Classified Ads

New: Free: 1 pair of Pearl Izumi European size 45 men's bicycle shoes in excellent condition to a good home. Includes Shimano mountain bike type cleats and pedal clips. I wore the shoes for one summer and find them slightly too tight for my feet. Call Mike, 491-9149.

New: Looking for a chromo frame touring bicycle with a 54 to 56 cm frame that is panier compatible. Respond to roachbrown@yahoo.com.

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 dalekrueger@charter.net

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).

 

Shop Notes

Alfred E Bike

320 East Michigan, Kalamazoo, (269) 349–9423
www.aebike.com

Billy's Bike Shop

63 East Battle Creek Street, Galesburg, (269) 665–5202
www.billysbikeshop.com

Breakaway Bicycles

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

Gazelle Sports

214 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, (269) 342–5996,
www.Gazellesports.com
How 'bout a change of pace from bike riding? Gazelle Sports can help you train for a 5k, 10k, half or full marathon. Our Summer Safari Marathon Training Program begins June 9. 5k and 10k training begins July 17. www.Gazellesports.com/training.


Johnson Cycle Works

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

Pedal

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
www.teamactive.com

Village Cyclery

US 131 in Schoolcraft, 679–4242
www.villagecyclery.com

Zoo City Cycle & Sports

4328 South Westnedge, Kalamazoo (269) 552–3000
www.zoocitycycle.com

 

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.