KBCPedalPress www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org   The Newsletter of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club February 2005


President’s Letter


Meeting Minutes

Classified Ads

Team Active End of Winter Party

Ride Schedule

Recovery Party Review

Axel Kleat

Contact Information


Welcome to the Electronic PedalPress


            This issue of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club PedalPress is the inaugural electronic version. Publishing the newsletter in this format provides many benefits for our bike club and for the environment.

            It frees up money that can be used for other biking-related purposes. It reduces volunteer labor that used to go toward folding, tabbing, and delivering the PedalPress to the mailing service. And it reduces the amount of paper and printing ink that used to be consumed when each issue went to press.

            In addition, a web-based newsletter allows the inclusion of photographs to illustrate articles.

            Though this is certainly a big change from the mailed, hard copy of the PedalPress you’ve been receiving for years, we hope you will take the time to look it over, use its new features, and give it a fair chance. The editorial content will remain largely unchanged, but should become more comprehensive due to the removal of space limitations inherent in a printed format.

            If you have any suggestions about how to make this newsletter better, please contact the editor or webmaster (contact information on the last page).


            The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club does not usually publish a February issue of the PedalPress. However, due to this historic change, we thought you might like a glimpse of what we’ve been up to in terms of the new newsletter. So consider this issue a “practice” one; and we also wanted to update you on the outcome of the Recovery Party …

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President’s Letter:


January, 2005

            As I write this month’s President’s Letter, my feet are toasting near the fireplace, a warm mug of tea is within reach, and I am looking at several inches of snow on the ground with more on the way. The roads in my subdivision are buried under snow. Going for a ride is out of the question unless I risk life and limb on the rollers in the basement.

            I did get out to celebrate New Years day, but that seems like a distant memory. I don’t think that I will be on the road until the spring thaw. Such is Michigan.

            I have made a New Years resolution: I am going to do a series of Randoneering brevets. These are endurance bicycle rides of 200, 300, 400, and 600 kilometers. Almost all New Years resolutions are doomed to failure. I hope that mine survives the test of hours (days?) on the saddle. The challenge of dreaming the impossible dream leads to the breaking of self-imposed limits and makes for a better person.

            At the recovery party I had a chance to speak with many club members who have set impressive personal goals for 2005. There are a number of folks who are planning to do full Ironman triathlons. Some riders are planning on doing the extended DALMAC tours on the Labor Day weekend. And still others who will be going on international tours.

            The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club as a club should also dare to dream and to set goals for 2005. Several KBC members have talked to me about what the club can do to make Kalamazoo a more bicycle-friendly community. Goals for the club could be increased community outreach (a club bicycle racing team, bicycle safety education (bike rodeos) etc.); safer roads (two of the more serious incidents last year were in part attributable to unsafe conditions in the road); community education (we do not want to get stopped again by the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department while we are on a ride); and improved KBC rider education (Zolton Cohen’s “chalk talks” last year at the Monday and Wednesday night riders were a great learning tool). The members of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club represent some of the most experienced cyclists in the Kalamazoo area; our knowledge of bicycling is a resource which could be used to make this community bicycle-friendly.

            In 2005, let us dream big. Let us challenge ourselves. Let us become better riders and have fun doing it! Let us make 2005 a year to remember.

Mike Boersma

P.S.      The Recovery Party was a big success! There was a good turnout even though there was a good foot of snow on the street. Thanks to the Barnes family for hosting this event again. Thanks to Michele Intermont and Megan James for their services as Kalamazoo Bicycle Club social directors. Thanks to Alfred E Bike, Breakaway Bicycles, and Village Cyclery for providing schwag. Thanks to Zolton Cohen and Cricket Howard for the slide show – and Cricket for the Beer!
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Birthdays, Expiring Memberships:


February Birthdays
Jay Campbell
Zolton Cohen
Tony Finn
Rachel Fouts
Terry Hutchins
Celine Keizer
Arianne Kindle
Jim Kindle
Tyler Kindle
Joe Kucharski
Jason Machnik
Michael McPhilamy
Mike Miles
Michael Miller
Ann O'Connell
Roy Richardson
Jane Schelhas
Megan Smothergill
David Sperry
Timothy A. Stewart
Zachary Teel
Mary White Family
Mike Wittenberg

New members
George Lombardi

February Expiring memberships
Jay Campbell

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Meeting Minutes:


          There was no January meeting, and thus there are no meeting minutes to report this month. Next KBC meeting: Tuesday, February 8th, 2005, 7:00 PM, YMCA in Kalamazoo on Maple Street.

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Classified Ads:


Serotta Titanium Road Bike: equipped with Ultegra 9 speed gears and other components, two wheel sets: Zipp 404's and Mavic/Wheelsmith (650)’s. This bike is tight, smooth and a good fit for a rider 5'3" - 5'5" with a balanced body composition to longer legged. Finish is half metal, half paint - this bike is sweet and in very good condition. Willing to sell Zipp wheel set separately – package $2,400.00 / Zipp wheels $400.00.  Contact Paul Raynes @ 629-5456. 

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Team Active End of Winter Party


Once again winter has descended on Michigan, and along with winter comes the planning of the Team Active End of Winter Party. This year should be the best party ever featuring another special guest..

            The help and support of the Kalamazoo cycling community is instrumental in our continuing to attract the caliber of guest that we all have enjoyed. Thank you for all you have done in the past to draw people to our event. We really appreciate you including these announcements in your monthly newsletter.


            The 2005 end of winter party information is as follows:


            The party will once again be held in the Dome Room at 25 West Michigan Avenue in Downtown Battle Creek, on Friday, February 25th. The party starts at 6:00 and ends when it is done. We will have representation from most of our vendors, and for the first time ever we will be offering unbeatable pricing on 2005 bicycles in addition to the usual great deals that we have had in the past.

            We will also be unveiling a new program to pay people to ride their bikes in 2005. Everyone is eligible.


            Our special guest is Bob Roll, a 5-time Tour De France competitor, author, former mountain bike racer, and current TV commentator with the Outdoor Life Network. He is an amazing personality.

            We are hosting a private dinner with Bob to give a few people the opportunity to have some one-on-one time with him. Space for the dinner is limited. People interested in the dinner should contact steve@teamactive.com for details.

            Please RSVP to teamactive@teamactive.com or 1-800-841-9494 to reserve your spot at the party. We ask for an RSVP so we can plan food and beverage.

            Thanks again for your help. Please call me at 1-800-841-9494 with any questions you have.


Steve Bessonny

Team Active

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Ride Schedule:


Mid-Winter Ramblings from the Ride Captain


            The annual Recovery Party was held on January 22 on the day of our first major snow of the year. The party was well attended however, and everyone had great time. Many thanks to Chris and Marion Barnes for opening their house to all of us.

            KBC is stronger than ever with many new KBC members including numerous new faces in leadership roles. The 2005 ride season will be starting before we know it, so I thought I would start preparing a bit earlier than usual this year. The weather is still wintry, so we warm weather lovers can only hope spring is on the way. The calendar says it's the middle of January and we can expect a lot of cold weather in Feb and March. But it is never too early to start planning the upcoming 2005 KBC ride season.


            2004 was another great year riding with the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club, with up to 60 riders turning out for club rides some evenings. The Monday, Wednesday, and Friday rides were very well attended. The Thursday ride had a dedicated following of 10 – 15 riders. The ride seasons just keep getting better and better. I expect this year to be no different. 

            We plan to continue the Monday (Texas Drive Park), Wednesday (Kal-Haven Trailhead parking lot), Thursday (Texas Drive Park), and Friday (Billy’s Bike Shop in Galesburg) rides for the 2005 season. The routes for all the weekly rides are well established. We are always open to route changes, as well. Also, we hope to continue a weekly Saturday Ride that was started last fall starting at St Tim’s Church on BC Ave between Gull Lake and M-43. Paul Raynes is the driving force behind this ride.

             A few Pfizer employees and I have done a Tuesday ride for many years from Pfizer on Tuesdays. Larry Kissinger and I recommend we make this a KBC ride on Tuesdays starting from the Pavilion Township Hall at the corner of Q Ave and 29th St, the starting point for the KBC Time Trial. More details about this ride will be forthcoming after we get the particulars worked out.  

            We’re not done yet. I was contact by a couple of women in the club wanting to establish a morning ride during the week. With their help we hope to establish a morning ride this year. The day or days of the week and starting times have not yet been established. Stay tuned for updates on these rides.


            Also, we plan to continue the special weekend rides in 2005. The rides were successful last year once again. We had 10 – 20 riders on each of the special weekend rides and we had a great time. We now have 7 special weekend rides and there is always room for more. Mark your long-range calendars for some special weekend rides this summer. 

·         The 5th annual W Ave Ride (48 miles) from Vicksburg High School, April 30 or May 7 (will Rick Whaley be back from Ann Arbor to lead?)

·         The 7th annual Old Car Festival Ride (about 60 miles) from Vicksburg High School, June 11

·         The 8th annual ride to South Haven with a stop at the beach (100 miles), on July 9

·         The 3rd annual Family Ride from St Tim’s Church near Gull Lake in July (distance TBD)

·         The 8th annual Ride Around Kalamazoo County (100 miles), August 6 or 13

·         The 34th KBC Anniversary Ride, September 17 (15 - 40 mile routes)

·         The 2nd Fall Ride, October 1 or 8 (~40 miles)

            The dates for some of these rides are not firmly established for 2005 yet. If you have comments about the above-mentioned rides or have suggestions for other rides, contact Randy Putt by phone or e-mail.


            Impromptu weekend rides can happen any time the weather is suitable and someone is willing to organize them, especially in February, March, and April. Contact a few friends and spread the word via email and riders will likely come.

            If anyone would like to lead a weekend ride in February or March, give me a call and/or send me a description of the ride via e-mail, or send the ride info to the KBC listserve group. If the roads are dry, there will be riders ready to ride. I have a lengthy e-mail list of riders, so the ride information can be transferred quickly and on short notice. If any of you would like to be added to the e-mail list, send your e-mail address to me at srpbike@yahoo.com or sterling.r.putt@pfizer.com. 

            In March these impromptu weekend rides are likely to become more common. KBC plans to offer at least a partial weekly ride schedule in April as the weather permits. Look for details in the March and April Newsletters.




            There hasn’t been much warm weather so far, so riding your bike on the road is a rare event at this time of the year. The last time I was out riding on the road was during that unseasonable thaw just after New Year’s Day.

            I hope everyone has been doing some sort of off-season training. If you have, you have been doing a lot better than I. There is just too much to do at work and at home. I know there are a few of you who have ridden outside in spite of the cold weather and slippery roads. You are dedicated to be sure. Even more riders have been riding regularly on a wind trainer or rollers, in spinning classes, or maybe have traveled to some exotic location this winter. Even though the road conditions are not suitable for regular riding now, they will be soon. It is time to start to think about the upcoming ride season. Is spring just around the corner?


            KBC had a great group of ride leaders last year and the 2004 ride season was another great year. Attendance at the rides continued to increase with many new faces to be seen. This is my annual solicitation for ride leaders for the upcoming ride season, so it will likely sound quite familiar. 

            The usual cadre of ride leaders could use some help, and KBC can always use more ride leaders. New leaders bring different perspectives to the rides. We especially need leaders in 17 mph and under groups. The more ride leaders we have the better. Please volunteer to lead some rides. It’s fun and it is a good way to get to know other KBC members. 

            The routes are well established for the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday rides. Also, check out the route maps on the KBC web site (www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org). If you have a favorite route to include, send the file to the Webmaster, Kathy Kirk, for inclusion in our map library. Give it a shot. The club will be happy to help get you started leading rides.


            If anyone is interested in leading rides this year, please give me a call at 649-1814. I will be more than happy to discuss how to lead rides with you. In fact, most any experienced KBC rider would be happy to discuss ride leader responsibilities with you. You do not have to wait to be asked. No experience is necessary. You just need the willingness to ride with a great group of people who enjoy riding their bikes. We would be more than happy to hear about other ride suggestions.




            Descriptions of the regular weekday rides are listed below and the full ride schedule will start in May at 6 PM. KBC plans to offer at least a partial weekly ride schedule in April at 6 PM as the weather permits. Look for details in the March and April Newsletters.


New Ride – Morning Ride led by Jelania Haile and Renee Mitchell. The time, day of the week, and pace to be determined.


The Monday Ride at Texas Drive Park will consist of 5 ride groups, which should provide a pace to suit riders of all abilities:

  • 15-20 mile group at 10-12 mph
  • 15-20 mile group at 12-15 mph (led by Mike & Sherry Higgins)
  • 25-30 mile recovery group at 17 mph (led by Zolton Cohen & Randy Putt)
  • 25-30 mile group at 19-20 mph
  • 25-30 mile group at 20+ mph

            The 15-20 mile distance groups will generally ride the same route and are recommended for new riders. These groups will sometimes combine depending on the number of riders present. 

            The 25-30 mile distance groups will typically ride the same route in the early part of the season. KBC recommends the 17 mph group for more experienced riders who are new to the club. This group is very steady and one of the more popular ride groups. The leaders for the 17 mph and 19 - 20 mph groups plan to keep the groups together and at a steady pace. All riders who want to push the pace can do so in the 20+mph group. The 18 – 19 and 20+ mph groups will most likely start riding the more hilly routes after May at the discretion of the riders and leaders.


            Plans for the 4th year of the Tuesday Night Time Trial are in the works. The Barnes family will run the time trial series once again this year and expect to use the same route as last year. The route starts at the Pavilion Township Hall at the corner of Q Ave and 28th Street. The time trial will be held on the first and third Tuesday of the month, starting in May or June.


New Ride - The Tuesday ride is scheduled to meet at Pavilion Township Hall to ride on east side of the county. One ride group is currently planned at an 18-20 mph pace and the group will stay together (led by Larry Kissinger and Randy Putt). It is possible that other ride paces could be offered.


The Wednesday ride meets at the Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot. KBC plans to offer at least 3 ride groups:

  • 25-35 mile group at 16-18 mph (the Quarter-Fast Ride) led by Tim Stewart
  • 25-35 mile group at 22+ mph (the Half-Fast Ride) led by Zolton Cohen
  • 46 mile group at 23++ (the Hammerfest) led by Doug Kirk


                The Wednesday night Hammerfest will start at Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot at 6 PM when daylight savings time kicks in. The pace of the ride is typically greater than 23++ mph and the route goes to Bloomingdale and back (about 46 miles). Since the route is well known to most of the regular riders, no maps are available for this ride. This group is typically large (more than 15 riders) and consists of racers and other experienced riders. Typically, there is no designated ride leader. The group can fragment into smaller groups and the riders oftentimes do not finish together. This ride is hard and is not suitable for inexperienced riders. Some riders can expect to be dropped from the main group.


            Thursday night is a nice and easy social ride night at Texas Drive Park and has a small loyal group, which is growing in size. Riders of all riding abilities are welcome. The pace is typically 15-17 mph and distance is 20-25 miles (led by Dave Jones).


            The Friday Tour de Gull meets at Billy’s Bike Shop in Galesburg and the pace varies depending on who shows up (usually led by Randy Putt). We did have a 16-17 mph group periodically as well as a large 22+ mph group last year. Doug Kirk also established an alternate Southern Route, which was successful in its inaugural year. The fast group typically leads itself. The route for this ride is well established so the ride leader’s job is easy.


New Ride – The Saturday Ride (~40 miles) at 10 AM from St Tim’s Church on BC Avenue between Gull Lake and M-43 (9800 E. BC Avenue, approximately 1.5 miles north out of Richland on M43 turn right on BC and the church is on the right about 0.5 mile from M-43. You cannot see the church from the road, so watch for the church sign. If you come to a big curve in the road you’ve passed the church). Paul Raynes plans to lead this ride most Saturdays. He will need some help leading. I suspect Paul will be riding as soon as the roads are suitable.


An Invitation to Ride


            One of the primary functions of KBC is to offer an opportunity for club members to participate in group rides with other club members. To this end, KBC offers road rides for casual riders, families, tourists, fast tourists, and racers. The club has also offered mountain bike rides from time to time. KBC offers regular rides from 10 to 35 miles at ride paces from 10 to 23+mph. There is likely to be a ride suitable for you in this schedule. KBC also offers longer weekend rides.


            If you have never ridden in a group, the club weekly rides are a great way to get started. Riding with a group is great fun. Kalamazoo County is blessed with many good, low-traffic roads that are suitable for group cycling. If KBC does note offer a ride that suits your needs, contact any club board member or the ride captain and volunteer your services to lead a new ride. We will be happy to get you started.


            You do not need to own an expensive bicycle or clothes to ride with KBC. We do, however, require riders to wear a helmet, and recommend cycling shorts, bringing a water bottle, cycling gloves, a pump, a tube patch kit or a spare tub, and tools (especially tire levers to change a flat tire) for minor adjustments or repair along the road. You will be asked to sign a waiver of liability form when you ride with the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. Club members need to sign the form only once during the season; non-members are asked to sign the form before each ride.


            Flat tires and other mechanical breakdowns do happen on occasion while riding. If you have never changed a tire on the road there likely will be someone on the ride who can assist you. However, it is in your best interest to learn how to perform this task on your own, using your own equipment.

            WE DO REQUIRE THAT ALL RIDERS WEAR A BICYCLE HELMET. This requirement is a matter of safely and common sense and is non-negotiable.


How to Lead a Club Ride


            Ride leaders play an important role in our ride program. There is room in our monthly ride schedule for any ride. Leading a ride is your opportunity to share your cycling pleasure with other club members. It is our opportunity to learn from your experience.


There are nine easy steps in leading a ride:

1.       Call the ride captain (Randy Putt) at 649-1814 and volunteer to lead one of our regularly scheduled rides or propose a ride of you own (newsletter deadline is the 20th of the month prior to the scheduled ride; for example, the deadline for the May ride calendar is April 20).

2.       Provide a map of the ride route (these maps can be added to the KBC website for future use).

3.       Arrive at the starting place of the ride on the scheduled day about 15 minutes prior to the start time in order to greet riders in your group.

4.       Have all riders sign the liability wavier release form (available from the ride captain) as they arrive. KBC members need only sign once during the year while non-members must sign before each ride.

5.       Hand out maps after the rider has signed the release form (most of the regular club rides have established routes, and maps are available on the web page - www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org).

6.       Make needed announcements about the ride.

7.       Make sure new riders feel welcome.

8.       Make sure riders stay with the group and that no one is left alone on the ride, especially newer riders and slower riders.

9.       And most importantly, have a great ride.


If you have any questions about ride leader duties or would like to lead a ride, call the ride captain at 649-1814.

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Recovery Party Review


          Well, wasn’t that a party on Saturday, January 22nd?

            Unfortunately, a severe snowstorm the day before the annual KBC Recovery Party may have kept some potential attendees home. However, those who came (and who braved the foot-deep snow on Evergreen Street, the site of Chris and Marian Barnes’s house) were treated to a lively gathering that featured lots of great food, beer, a slideshow of 2004 KBC events, a swap table, beer, awards, biking paraphernalia raffle items, more food, and beer. Oh, and wine. And food.

            KBC thanks the Barnes family for opening up their home to partygoers for the second year in a row. It is very generous of them to do this once, but then to come back and do it again the following year is quite unprecedented. They must like us. They must really like us. Hopefully, the rented entry mats and coat racks cut down on the mess a party of this size inevitably generates.


KBC President Mike Boersma collaborates with ex-president Doug Kirk to raffle off bicycling schwag donated by Alfred E Bike, Breakaway Bicycles, and Village Cyclery at the January 22nd Recovery Party.


            Megan James and Michele Intermont, KBC’s Social Directors deserve kudus for organizing the event and providing delicious vats of chili (which had all but disappeared by the end of the night). Michele could not attend the party but enlisted Mary Cohen to stand in her stead. Along with Marian’s gracious help, this core group of party planners made everyone feel welcome – and full.


Cricket Howard deserves special mention, as he put together a nearly hour-long slide and music show of 2004’s KBC events. He also made up a special batch of Recovery Red Beer just for this party. At the end of the night, his 1/6th barrel keg was sucking fumes – testimony to a well received beverage. Thanks Cricket, for all your hard work.

            KBC President Mike Boersma did the honors as MC for the President’s Volunteer of the Year Award – bestowed on the Barnes family, not only for the “donation” of their home as the party site, but also for all the work they did in organizing and putting on the Tuesday Night Time Trial Series in 2004. A well deserved recognition for sure. This award comes with a $50.00 gift certificate, this year from Breakaway Bicycles.



            And speaking of bicycle shops, what Recovery Party would be complete without schwag? Alfred E Bike, Breakaway Bicycles, and Village Cyclery donated numerous biking related raffle prizes, ranging from handlebar tape and bike shoes, to frame and floor pumps, jerseys, tubes and water bottles. Thanks go to these generous institutions for their many gifts, not only at the party but throughout the year as well.


            Doug and Kathy Kirk awarded their annual “Best Of” Awards, accompanied by bags of bicycle pasta and Doug’s inimitable oratory stylings, to the following:


Best New Event - Cyclocross at St. Tim's; Tom Cross, Knute Jacobson and Ken Fouts. According to Jim Kindle, KBC’s Vice President, the cyclocross clinic was the most fun – and most tiring - thing he’s ever done on a bike. And the 30 or so panting riders who attended this event agreed.


Fastest Healer After a Crash - Matt Berner, who after landing on his head following an encounter with a pothole on the Wednesday night Half Fast Ride, was back on the bike three days later, bruised but unbowed.


Why Warm Up? Let’s Go Fast Now - Zolton Cohen, who likes to set the tone of the Half Fast ride right from the git (or from the corner of 10th Street and G Avenue, which is very close to the git).


Best Disappearing Act - Deb Gray & Al Cergol, who used to ride with the club quite a bit, but after their marriage last year were seldom heard from again.

Honorable Mention - Richard Wolf, who vanished into a life of toiling away at schoolwork and child rearing duties.

Text Box: Deb Gray displays her "Best Disappearing Act" Award, making husband Al Cergol's face disappear in the process. 

Best Wheel to Suck – Cricket Howard, a tall, lean, chap who not only creates a fantastic draft because of his size, but also can really turn the cranks on a bike.


Most Likely to Blow Up the Paceline – Ken Fouts, who likes to demonstrate his strength and biking prowess to all those behind him.

Perennial Honorable Mention - Steve Cox, ditto.


Most Improved TT Rider - Victor VanFleet, possibly the oldest active KBC member (though still young at heart), who this year put on a time trialing display none of his younger competitors could match.


Most Improved Road Rider - Jim Eckert, on his new Trek, that enabled him to (finally) stay up with the front group of the Half Fast Ride the entire way. His smile could be seen for blocks; his commentary on the incident heard even further…


Text Box: Pastor Dale discusses his 2005 riding plans with Al Cergol, Deb Gray, and Randy Putt.Most Likely to Whip His Old Man Next Year – John Doyle (Fred Doyle’s son). These kids (and we also mention Andrew Florian, Steve Barnes, and Taylor Birmann in the same breath) are so good they’re scary. Why aren’t they at home like their peers, playing computer games, sitting on the couch and eating junk food?  


The Randy Putt "He's Here, Now We Can Go" Award - Mike Boersma, who promises that next year he’ll be on time more often. Really.


Biggest Eye Opener (& Worst Wheel to Suck) – Paul Bruneau. Bruneau, whose name came up in nominations for many KBC awards (including Volunteer of the Year for his work in vaulting KBC into the digital commerce age), was officially the fastest single bike time trialer in 2004. He has grown in his biking ability by leaps and bounds, and still shows upside potential. Unfortunately, he rides a recumbent, so his is the worst, most useless wheel in the club to suck. You can’t get any draft off Paul
Bruneau. But that aside, we like him anyway.


Tough Cookie – Chris Haddock, kicked by a horse and came back riding strong. Stuff it, Mr. Ed!


            The PedalPress would also like to honor some of KBC’s national and international competitors; Megan James, who went to Portugal for a triathlon, Dave Bishop, who went to Switzerland for another, and Kathy Kirk, 2004 State Time Trail Champion.

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Axel Kleat:


Fear Factor


            With that title, I’ll bet you think this is going to be about drunk drivers, or zooming around corners downhill at 40 miles per hour, or getting dropped ignominiously thirty miles from town by the Wednesday Night Hammerfesterers, don’t you. Ha!   


            I’m writing about an indoor fear factor that grips most of you riders right down to your cleats every winter and keeps you from the best off-season rider-improvement tool available. I’m talking about a fear so strong that only a few of you are able to muster the wherewithal to conquer your irrational thought processes and reap the benefits of—Oh My God—the rollers! I know what you’re thinking…what if I fall off?


            Every winter, I see all you so-called riders sitting on bikes clamped to trainers scientifically designed to eliminate the need for any skill or effort other than making the cranks go ‘round. Riders retreating to hoity-toity health clubs to straddle two hundred pound spinning machines that aren’t going anywhere without a refrigerator dolly, featuring flywheels heavy enough for a Peterbilt in order to smooth out the worst pedal strokes. 


            Guess what? These gadgets can make you stronger, but that’s all they’ll do to make you a better rider. In fact, trainers require no cycling skills whatsoever. It’s all fine and good to generate more power, but it’s not going to help much if you don’t improve your other skills at the same time.


            Real bicycling requires balancing the bike, not to mention being able to ride smoothly and in a straight line. Rollers don’t just require all the basic skills of riding; riding rollers will improve all your basic riding skills, guaranteed. 


            Because the rollers are only about fifteen inches wide and the wheels sit atop cylindrical drums rather than flat pavement, you’ve got to ride straight and smooth—very little wobbling allowed. If you don’t pay attention or if you aren’t smooth, you’ll ride right off one side or the other, guaranteed.    Rollers are without a doubt far more sensitive than are trainers to the quality of one’s pedaling. But here’s the key—falling off is not the end of the world. Not even the end of life as you know it. Most likely, no one will even see you, so you don’t even have to be embarrassed about it. And it’s highly unlikely you’ll get hurt if you do fall. 


            Rollers are all about the quality of the effort you put forth, not the quantity. And the quality rollers foster is also the most important quality in bicycling—a smooth, fast cadence. Pick any aspect of the sport—climbing, sprinting, pack riding, steering. Among riders of equal strength, the smooth rider is not only the faster rider, he’s the rider you enjoy riding with. 


            Anybody can hop on a trainer and flail away. Only skillful riders last more than a few seconds on the rollers. To which camp do you belong? And why are (most of) you afraid to use the off-season to truly cultivate the skills cycling rewards? 


            Go ahead. Take a Brave Pill and use your off season to actually become a better rider. Beg, borrow or buy a set of rollers and adjust them so that the axle of the front roller is barely in front of the bike’s front axle.  Use the big chainring and one of middle cogs to start. It’s OK to ask someone to help you out the first time or two.


            Yes, you might look a bit awkward getting on and off the first few times, but if you set the roller frame up in a doorway so that your head is behind the doorframe, mounting and dismounting isn’t so bad. Hold onto the doorframe with one hand while you get the feel for it, and—gulp—let go. Then work on your spin—the faster the better.


            Yes, you can fall, and the bike is about four inches higher, too. But you grab the doorway on the way down and it’s not a big deal. Mountain bikers fall all the time and keep getting up. No, the bike will not shoot across the floor even if you’re spinning 35 mph at the time. The wheels just stop.


            Want to be a better rider?  Get on some rollers.

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Contact information for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club


2005 KBC Executive Committee:


President:  Mike Boersma         Phone: 720-1409                     email: m_e_boersma@voyager.net

Vice President:  Jim Kindle       Phone: 382-8053                     email: remax.kindle@charter.net

Secretary:  Mike Berry Phone:  427-7204                     email: tourmalet03@yahoo.com

Treasurer:  Tom Keizer Phone: 382-4737                     email: tom.keizer@juno.com


Other Important KBC Folks:


Database Manager:  Paul Bruneau         Phone: 343-6016         email: paul@ethicalpaul.com

Newsletter Editor:  Zolton Cohen          Phone: 344-0200         email: zcohen@ameritech.net

Ride Captain:  Randy Putt                     Phone: 649-1814         email: SRBike@aol.com

Social Director:  Michele Intermont       Phone: 373-8929         email: intermon@kzoo.edu

Webmaster: Kathy Kirk                        Phone: 388-5045         email: klkirk@ameritech.net


            Monthly club meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month (except January), at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo. Time is 7:00 PM. All members are encouraged to attend.


Membership fees for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club are as follows:


Yearly Adult Membership-----------------------------$15.00

3 Year Adult Membership-----------------------------$40.00

Yearly Family Membership---------------------------$17.00

3 Year Family Membership---------------------------$45.00

Yearly Senior (60+) Membership--------------------$13.00

3 Year Senior (60+) Membership--------------------$35.00



            Please go to our website at www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org to sign up for membership and for more information about KBC.

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