January 2014 President’s Letter

Recovery Party Moves Uptown!

Well, more properly, the Recovery Party is actually moving downtown. Thanks to the generosity of KBC member David Jarl, we're holding it at Eckert Wordell, Jarl's architectural firm located in the Haymarket Building in downtown Kalamazoo. The address is 161 East Michigan Avenue.

The date of the party is Saturday, January 25. The start time is 7:00 P.M. So put that on your calendars now! You don't want to miss this highlight of the KBC social season.

The Recovery Party is a potluck. Please bring something to share - a salad or dessert. We'll supply plates, utensils, napkins, soft drinks, beer, wine, and some small sandwiches.

Wait. Let me start over. I should list those items in order of importance. First up is the beer! CMS/KBC Race Team Captain Jon Ballema's friend in the brewing business is whipping up several concoctions. And if you've been to previous Recovery Parties and sampled his wares, you certainly will recall why the beer is a highlight of the event. Come hungry - and thirsty!

Here are some other details you might like to know....

Eckert Wordell's offices are on the second floor of the Haymarket Building. You can enter through either the front or the back doors on the ground level. The stairway to the second floor is through a door at the rear of the lobby. There will be a sign on the door directing you where to go.

Parking? Well, "everyone" knows parking is a problem in downtown Kalamazoo. Except it really isn't. It's like parking in any other city, only less so. There is a parking lot in the back of the Haymarket Building, as well as on-street parking along East Michigan and some of the less busy streets to the north. It's easier than you think.

Eckert Wordell's offices, shown in the photos that accompany this letter, are quite beautiful - and spacious enough to hold many Recovery Party revelers. If in the past you were intimidated by the prospect of coming to a private home for this party, you can put that trepidation to rest this year. I think you're going to like it.

We'll have some awards to hand out, give-aways from local bike shops, and general frivolity. The Recovery Party has always offered up a good chance to catch up with people you know and to meet people to whom you haven't yet been introduced. So, block off the January 25, 2014 date and start counting down the days until the Recovery Party. E-mail me if you have any questions.

Oakland/Parkview Intersection Issues

As many of you know, Vice President Doug Kirk ran across by happenstance the fact that the Oakland Drive and Parkview Avenue intersection is scheduled to be rebuilt in 2014. At a Kalamazoo City Commission meeting on December 2, 2013, he asked commissioners why there are no new bike lanes being added to Parkview heading west.

As a result of his speaking up about the issue, the commission delayed voting to approve the project until further study could be completed. Two weeks later, at the next City Commission meeting, Doug, and a number of KBC members, as well as others in the community, expressed their opinions about the oversight.

As it turns out, due to a lack of real estate, no new bike lanes can be added to the roadway at this time. However, city engineers said that "sharrows" - a lane marking system used to alert auto drivers that cyclists may be sharing a lane - can and will be deployed on Parkview. As KBC PR Director Marc Irwin said in response, sharrows are "...not the best solution, but better than not doing it at all."

This was an important issue; the Oakland/Parkview intersection is one used by many cyclists and pedestrians. The biking community voiced its concerns and was heard. Although things didn't turn out ideally, at least there was some effort made to accommodate non-motorized transportation usage. It could be a beginning, I think, to an era where city infrastructure is not exclusively devoted to the automobile.

But for that to happen, we - KBC - have to continue to press points about making life safer for bicyclists. And the more voices we have out there talking about situations like the Oakland/Parkview intersection, the better results we can expect in the future.

Thank you to Doug Kirk, Director of Road Safety Paul Selden, and others who helped to bring this important question to the fore.

No KBC Monthly Meeting in January!

Don't forget that there is no monthly meeting scheduled for January. The Recovery Party serves as the "meeting."

Zolton Cohen, KBC President


No January 2014 Monthly Meeting

There will be no KBC Monthly Meeting in January. The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend.


Kalamazoo River Valley Trail Caution

I like the Kalamazoo Valley River Trail a lot. It's a true feather in the cap of our local government and it's the sort of thing that's a real selling point for our community. But a word of caution is in order.

On a warm, humid, slightly foggy early December day, wife Kathy and I decided we'd ride the trail to avoid cars. We headed north toward the Nature Center. The fun began right away. No cars, and great scenery that's more and more beautiful the further north we went.

Great ride until, with a suddenness I still hardly believe, both our bikes flew out from under us and we were unceremoniously and painfully tossed to the asphalt. Wham! And OUCH! That really, really hurt. What the heck happened?

The coefficient of friction dropped pretty much to zero, that's what. Between the wet asphalt, whatever oil rose to the surface or some tree droppings (there were no leaves on the trail at all), the instant we touched our brakes for a downhill corner (and I do mean just touched), our wheels locked right up and we were down before we had a chance to react.

We managed to ride painfully home with a fine collection of bruises, sprains and strawberries, but the next day a coincidence showed us how lucky we'd been. We saw a woman walking with a crutch, and feeling her pain more personally than I might otherwise, I asked her what happened to her leg. "I broke my femur riding on the KVRT last August," she said, "I hit a wet spot at the bottom of a hill and my bike flew out from under me!" She was alone, too, and mighty glad she had a cell phone. It was a different spot on the trail. I asked.

What's the lesson here and why doesn't this happen on the road? Beyond remembering how dependent we are on the roughly two square inches of rubber we ride on, for me, the lesson is to stay off the KVRT, or any asphalt bike trail, if it's wet. Or at the very least noodle along real slowly. I figure this isn't a problem on roads because car tires are pretty effective at cleaning up pretty much anything, even greasy stuff.

Yet another reason why it's nice that the old Kal-Haven Trail is crushed limestone!

Doug Kirk



Kudos to the leadership and staff of the City of Kalamazoo for the series of actions taken that will make the reconstructed Oakland Drive/Parkview Avenue intersection a little more bike-friendly than it would have been otherwise during 2014. Special thanks go to the Kalamazoo City Commissioners who voted to postpone their approval of the intersection as originally submitted. This critical step allowed more time for the needs of bicyclists and other non-motorized users to be considered. The Commission also deserves our kudos for vowing to keep input from bicyclists and the city's plan for non-motorized facilities in mind in the future.

Thanks also are due to the city engineering staff. They listened to input from bicyclists and were able to propose an affordable solution under the current budgetary and timing constraints, while leaving the door open to more complete solutions in the future (such as those that would depend on acquisition of more land for dedicated bike lanes on Parkview). Many KBC members (three cheers for Doug Kirk) and area bicyclists played a critical role in this watershed set of decisions, as well.

Paul Selden

Monthly Meeting Minutes

The December 10th, 2013 meeting of the KBC was called to order by President Zolton Cohen at 7:04 P.M. Those in attendance were: John Olbrot, Rick Whaley, Jon Ballema, Paul Pancella, David Jones, Paul Selden, Kathy Kirk, Doug Kirk, Zolton Cohen, John Idema, Terry O'Connor, Michael Krischer, and Mary Gerger.

John Olbrot gave the treasurer's report:

Checking Account$7,808.87
Certificate of Deposit $11,130.98

Insurance Coordinator Terry O'Connor summarized an insurance webinar that he participated in with the KBC's insurance provider, American Specialty Insurance. According to Terry, ASI is "one of the few companies to cover athletic activities. Normally, general liability is restricted with other firms." Our KBC insurance rates will increase in January 2014. There will be another ASI webinar Monday, January 13, 2014, so please contact Terry with any questions you would like him to ask during that session. Zolton commented that the insurance coverage provided to all KBC members is one of the biggest perks offered by our club. He mentioned that KBC had a very good, safe year in 2013, with no reported accidents. Zolton stated that we will continue with ASI as the KBC insurance provider in 2014.

Doug Kirk reported that he had attended a recent Kalamazoo City Commission meeting after learning that the Oakland/Parkview intersection rebuilding project was on the City Commission's agenda. Doug expressed his concerns regarding the proposed plan and what it means for area bicyclists. Further discussion by the City Commission, and subsequent vote on this project, was tabled for 2 weeks. Doug was hopeful that KBC members would attend the next meeting and provide comments to the City Commission. Director of Road Safety Paul Selden mentioned he had e-mailed pictures of "sharrows,"' bike sensors, and signal changers to several individuals, hoping to encourage the consideration of some options that are available for this and future projects.

Kathy Kirk announced the four nominations for the KBC's 2014 Friend of Bicycling Award. They were: Athletic Mentors, the Kalamazoo Gazette/MLive, Safe Kids of Kalamazoo County, and the Open Roads Bike Program. Members in attendance cast their votes, and the recipient of the 2014 Friend of Bicycling Award is the Open Roads Bike Program. Congratulations to all of the nominees, and special congratulations to the Open Roads Bike Program. "Thank You" to all of the nominees for your contributions helping to make the Kalamazoo area a more bike friendly community!

Zolton led a brief discussion on the venue search for the annual KBC Recovery Party. More information regarding location, date, time, parking, etc. will be provided as soon as possible. (Editor's Note: See the President's Letter for more details about the party.)

David Jones reported on the status of his bicycle tire recycling project. He is targeting spring 2014, just prior to the start of Kalamazoo Bike Week.

At Doug Kirk's request, Jon Ballema reported on the BTR bike race and the upcoming funding and sponsorship challenges presented to race organizers. According to Jon, there won't be many changes for the 2014 race. However, they will continue to streamline expenses and are hoping to line up more sponsors in order to meet the funding challenges affecting the future of the BTR bike race.

Zolton adjourned the meeting at 8:10 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary Gerger, 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 e-mail 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 February edition (distributed during the first week of February), have it to the newsletter editor by the 20th of January.


Active Subscriptions:

New members:

Roger Behnke · Derek Dalzell

Expiring memberships:

Mike Berry · Valerie Litznerski

Renewed memberships:

Lee Anderson · Renee Mitchell Family · Mike Birmann Family · John Idema · John Murphy

David Jones, KBC Database Manager

Recovery Party Etiquette

About the time that the afterglow of Christmas has faded and winter is its dreariest, there comes an event so spectacular and so incredible that not only will you be cursing the day that you were born if you miss it, you will also be cursing the days that your parents were born. No, I'm not talking about an Art Van furniture sale; miss it and there will be another one next week. I'm talking about the once-a-year KBC Recovery Party, where we can mingle with our fellow clubmates outside of our natural habitat in biped form. Of course, this may take some getting used to, so as a public service in my role as Mr. Pedal Press Editor, I thought I'd give some advice on how to make the Recovery Party a party to remember for the right reasons. You can thank me later (or don't thank me at all; I can take your slights, you ingrates).

  • When dressing for the party, remember that the shirt pockets go on the front.
  • If you insist on bringing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as your contribution to the potluck dinner, make the sandwiches first; don't just bring the ingredients and a knife.
  • Despite what you may think, GU is not a dipping condiment, which may explain why there is no guacamole or ranch flavored GU.
  • Nor is strawberries dipped in Chocolate Outrage GU an elegant potluck dessert.
  • And nobody want to see Clif Bars on the dessert tray, either.
  • Bringing Fruit Punch Gatorade in clear unmarked bottles and exclaiming "Hey, everybody, look at me, I'm Lance Armstrong!" will not be as amusing as you think.
  • Riding to the party on a bicycle is acceptable, if the bicycle has morbidly obese tires, and the lighting accessories are visible from Pluto.
  • When entering the party, remove your shoes, especially if you are wearing cleats. And if you are wearing cleats and did not ride your bicycle to the party, a reassessment of your footwear priorities may be in order.
  • The path from the entrance of the party to the beer keg is not a Strava segment.
  • It is bad form to walk behind someone on the way to the beer keg, only to sprint by him 10 feet from the keg while saluting the sky in celebration.
  • And, once there, do not attempt to pour beer into your Camelbak.
  • When someone says "I didn't recognize you without your bicycle clothes," assume that this is a complement, provided that you are actually wearing clothes, because it probably is. However, those of us of the male persuasion should keep in mind what we look like in bicycle clothes, and evaluate the magnitude of this compliment accordingly.
  • Spotting a threadbare patch of carpeting, then pointing and shouting "Hole right," as you walk past it will not endear you to the host.
  • Do not refer to the potluck buffet table as the "sag stop."
  • While squeezing past someone on the way to the buffet table, a simple "Excuse me" will do. It is not necessary to yell "On your left!"
  • And remember, when it comes to eating, there is no such thing as "the fast group."
  • Do not discuss religion, politics, or choice of bicycle frame material.
  • Do not judge your fellow partygoers by the color of their bicycle frames, but by the content of their character.
  • Refrain from taking out your wallet and showing everyone pictures of your bicycles.
  • No matter how secluded that potted plant in the corner may look, please, please, please use the bathroom.
  • Do not attempt to fix any squeaking furniture or appliances with chain lube.
  • Resist the urge, particularly after imbibing, to wear a lampshade on your head; it's been done before. And, even if it's never been done before, also resist the urge to slash holes in the lampshade, and then pretend that it's a bicycle helmet.
  • In the unlikely event that a conga line breaks out, it should rotate in a clockwise direction. However, if there is a draft, adjust the direction accordingly.
  • If you win a raffle drawing, it is unnecessary to celebrate this achievement by setting the host's couch on fire.
  • If you don't win a raffle drawing, you will not impress anyone by accusing all the raffle winners of doping. (Unless you can prove that they all did.)
  • Stuffing extra food in your pockets before leaving is unsightly, uncouth, and unnecessary, not to mention uncomfortable while in a sitting position. You will not "bonk" on the drive home.
  • When it is time to leave, thank your host by saying something like "Good party." In consideration of your host and the other guests, do not remove your clothing, towel off, and put on a change of clothing before leaving.
  • Finally, riding home from the party on a bicycle is acceptable, provided that you're not stealing one from your host.

So, if you can keep this advice in mind, come the first KBC after work ride of 2014, your fellow clubmates will be happy to see you, and they will look at you with respect and, perhaps, even admiration. But not if you're wearing a lampshade bicycle helmet.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

What are you looking here for?

Classified Ads

NEW: Cycleops PowerTap SLC+ Power Meter (with accessories) - $2,000 (Best Offer). Accessories: Electro Pack, CycleOps matching front hub, Salsa skewers, Mavic Open Pro rims (hubs currently strung within). Cassette Type: Shimano. Electro Pack: YES.

Technical Specifications
* Wireless 2.4 GHz transmission with ANT+Sport
* Ceramic bearings
* 15mm alloy axle
* Carbon/alloy hubshell
* USB download
* Coded heart rate
* Hub weighs a mere 402 grams
* Patents issued and pending
* Displays and records:
* Peak Power
* Time in Zones
* Power (current, average, max.)
* Heart rate (current, average)
* Cadence (current, average)
* Speed (current, average, max.)
* Energy expenditure (total kjoules)
* Ride distance (miles or km)
* Ride time
* Programmable odometer

Contact Fred Hoffman at good2go49001@yahoo.com or (269) 312-2036.

NEW: Garmin Edge 705 - $250 (Best offer). Garmin Edge 705/Bundle Item is a GPS-Enabled Cycling Computer. Includes Heart Rate Monitor and Speed/Cadence Sensor. Contact Fred Hoffman at good2go49001@yahoo.com or (269) 312-2036.

2012 Jamis Nova Pro 'cross bike (54 size). Carbon fiber seat stays and fork; road bike oriented 50-34 chainset paired with awesome 11-32 climbing cassette. Tremendous all-purpose bike: road, trail, dirt/gravel, and cyclocross, but way lighter than the typical hybrid. Brake and stay clearance for even wider tires and fenders, but works great with narrow tires. Tires and rims unused except for bike shop test ride. Almost new brake pads with relatively few miles on them. Maintained by Pedal Bicycles including full tune up this winter. Includes two bottle cages and original owners manual. Selling to make room for a touring bike. Purchased for approx. $1530 - will sell for about half what I paid: $775. For detailed specs, see http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/road/nova/12_novapro.html. E-mail directorroadsafety@kalamazoobicycleclub.org to discuss.

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,
Gazelle Sports End of the Year Sale is going on NOW! Great savings on shoes, running apparel, casual apparel, jackets, accessories, socks, and MORE. Sale goes 'til the stuff is gone!

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.