KBC PedalPress  www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org    The Newsletter of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club            May 2005

Fast Track Index

Lucinda Means Passes Away  
President’s Letter

Birthdays, Expiring Memberships

Pedal Off Pounds from Victor Van Fleet

Bike Camp – for Beginning Bicyclists

Classified Ads

Bike Training Opportunities

Farm Daze Tour

USCF 6th Street Bike Race Wrap-up

Editor’s Letter: Bike Racing and Bikeless Briefly      

Meeting Minutes

Tandem Volunteers Needed to Ride With the Blind

Blessing of the Bikes

Ride Schedule

Tuesday Night Time Trial (TNTT) Set to Begin

Endurance and Road Racing Event Opportunities

Axel Kleat

Lucinda Means Passes Away

KBC just received this sad news from Phil Wells (Paul's brother) about Lucinda Means, the executive director of the League of Michigan Bicyclists. I met Lucinda a few times when she came to Kalamazoo to ride in Flowerfest, and we corresponded after that by email regarding newsletter stories and her (and our) fight against the proposed Senator McManus bill that came up last year. Her type of enthusiasm for a cause is only seen rarely.

Bicycling in Michigan has lost its fiercest advocate; we're poorer and sadder for her passing. 

-Zolton Cohen

It is with deep sadness that I report of the death of Lucinda Means, Executive Director of the League of Michigan Bicyclists, on Wednesday, April 27. Lucinda, 49, died in her sleep at home. The autopsy report is pending, but all indications point to natural causes.

Lucinda became LMB's first Executive Director in January 1997. Under her tireless and skilled direction, LMB has become a leading force in transportation policy in Michigan. Just hours before her death, Lucinda--along with Todd Scott, her counterpart at the Michigan Mountain Biking Association--taped a TV interview with a State Senator about pending legislation to clarify and strengthen cyclist's rights on the road. Todd was the last person to see and talk with her before her death.

Lucinda came to Michigan from San Francisco where she was a volunteer leader in cycling advocacy. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts.

The LMB Board and staff are committed to honoring Lucinda's legacy by moving forward in making Michigan a bicycle-friendly state. This includes cycling advocacy, sponsorship of the annual Shoreline Bicycle Tours, information and education, and other activities that Lucinda--along with her staff, board of directors, and dedicated volunteers--raised to a new level.

There will be no traditional funeral service or viewing/visitation. Lucinda's Michigan friends and colleagues are planning an event to celebrate her life and work. This will probably take place in Lansing on May 19. Not coincidentally, this is the first "Smart Commute" week in the Lansing area--which, as you might expect, Lucinda has been much involved in organizing. You will receive more information as soon as it is available.

Also, suggestions will be forthcoming for those wishing to make a financial contribution in her memory.

The LMB office will remain open during regular business hours. The work of the league is continuing.

To those who had already received this notice, I apologize for the duplication.

Philip Wells
Chairman, Board of Directors
League of Michigan Bicyclists

P.O. Box 16201
Lansing, MI  48901-6201

Office@LMB.org       www.LMB.org

Tel:  (517) 334-9100       Fax: (517) 334-9111

We are Working to Make Michigan a Bicycle Friendly State

First in the news:


1. Starting in May, all KBC club rides will start at 6:15 PM – with the exception of the Wednesday night Hammerfest, which will continue its 6:00 PM start time throughout the season.


2. KBC’s first special weekend ride is slated for Saturday, May 14th. It’s the always popular, always thrilling “W” Ride, led by Rick Whaley. As some of you know, Rick moved to Ann Arbor a few years ago because of the Phizer purge, but has come back each year to lead the ride he started. Details about the W Ride are in the Ride Schedule section of this newsletter.


3. The Tuesday Night Time Trial Series will start this year on Tuesday, May 17th. Check out the article about it near the end of this PedalPress.

4. Bike Camp, an approximately two hour seminar designed to encourage beginning bicyclists to enter the sport, and those have gotten away from biking to enjoy it again, will be held on Saturday, May 21st, at 9:00 AM at the Kal Haven Trailhead on 10th Street in Kalamazoo. More on Bike Camp in this PedalPress.

President’s Letter: May 2005

April was a good month for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. We began our “official” riding season on April 4. The 6th Street Race was a success. The weekday rides have been well attended.

At the end of April, Doug Kirk and I attended a meeting of the Southwest Michigan Area Recreational Trails (SMART). This is an organization that has as its goal creating a map of the southwest counties in Michigan. The map will contain bicycle-relevant information such as identifying roads with paved shoulders, bike shops, bike parking facilities, etc. Apart from Doug and me the folks at the meeting were persons with vested interests in trails like the Kal Haven Trail or the Portage Creek Trail.

At the end of the meeting I asked the group what resources are available to fix the roads we ride on to make them more bicycle friendly. After all, we as a club ride thousands of miles each year on the road, and only a few occasions on trails for organized rides. In addition, there are many KBC members who have at least some interest in commuting by bicycle. By fixing the roads, not only do we as bicyclists benefit but the larger community does as well by having good roads to drive on. It seemed to me to be a no-brainer kind of question. However, the response I received from the panelists was not what I hoped for. Many of them indicated that new trails were planned and that we should be happy that there are trails to ride on. The trails community does not appear to be interested in using money to improve roads to make them more bicycle-friendly.

It seems that there is a perception in the community that clean and sober people do not commute by bike. While it is true that many people who commute by bike do so because they have lost driving privileges or because they do not have access to a car, KBC club members who commute generally do so because they want to.

It also appears that there is a perception in the community that those who bicycle on the roads - as opposed to trails - are a fringe element. Because folks who ride bikes on roads are not in the mainstream, the powers that be can discriminate by not seeking out the views of bicyclists.

I do not wish to paint every community with the same brush. The City of Portage has an excellent, bicycle-friendly system on their surface streets. Chris Barnes, KBC member and bike czar and chief engineer for the City of Portage, has done an excellent job. However, this bright spot only magnifies the gap between Portage and the rest of Kalamazoo County.

The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club has a Safety and Education Committee. As it now stands, this committee has one member, Victor VanFleet. The charter of this committee, as contained in the bylaws, is to promote bicycle safety, bicycle education, and related community outreach in Southwest Michigan.

Therefore, I’d like to send out a “recruitment call”:

Help Wanted: Volunteers interested in serving on the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club’s Safety and Education Committee. Volunteers must be willing to engage in the long term goal of developing community awareness of bicycling. Volunteers must be willing to educate policy makers and the public about infrastructure needs and safe bicycling practices. Training is available. If you are interested, please attend the next Kalamazoo Bicycle Club meeting on May 10, or contact Victor VanFleet or Mike Boersma.     

It is in the interest of all members of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club to educate the public as to our needs as bicyclists. The roads around Gull Lake or down by Schoolcraft are not going to magically be paved by elves. I do not want to be forced to use a trail when I go for a bike ride. So please consider assisting with the Safety and Education Committee.

Mike Boersma, KBC President

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Birthdays, Expiring Memberships:

This news presented by Paul Bruneau, KBC’s database manager.

Active subscriptions in KBC: 226 (only 15 unknown emails left)

May Birthdays:
Kevin Biek
Laurie Doering
Darryl Dolby
Anna Farrell
Austin Gippert
Chris Haddock
Kay Kalkman
Robby Keller
Doug Kirk
Michael Louisell
Patricia Machnik
Andrew Mitchell
Pam O'Connor
Terry O'Connor
Teri Olbrot
Randy Putt
Paul Raynes
Janice Selby
Kurt Sherwood
Brian Wachlarz
Rick Whaley
Rachel Wolf

New members:
Timothy Brady
Ervin Fulkerson
Mary Beth Minarik
Susan Pritchard
Monty Rainwater
Randy Salamon

May Expiring memberships:
David Bauer Family
Mike Berry Family
Gary Bigelow Family
Joe Branch
Darryl Dolby
Doug Gaff Family
David Hageman Family
Jim Humphrey
David Mitchell Family
Jim O'connell Family
John Olbrot Family
Jane Schelhas
Matt Siebert
Tyler Smith
John Thome
Rick Updike Family
W. Sargeant White

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Pedal Off Pounds

by Victor Van Fleet

As we read our newspapers and magazines it becomes painfully clear that as a society we have a full fledged health crisis on our hands. And far too little is being done to reverse the trend. You guessed it correctly - it is overweight and obesity. It's not only adults/parents with the problem. It is children, pre-teens if you please, on through young adults. According to cdc.gov the overweight factor aggravates or is the cause of more health problems than all other health issues combined. The cause(s) are improper and/or poor nutrition/diet and the lack of sufficient exercise.


As a bicycle club we have a golden opportunity to make a difference when it comes to exercise. We have talent galore and without exception most are willing to share their talents, skills, time and to some extent their money. A good start is the KBC-sponsored "Bike Camp" May 21, where attendees can discover the "How To and Why" of biking. This program will enable novice riders to learn the fundamentals of bike repair, bike fit, bike maintenance, etiquette, etc.


Once the participants are properly indoctrinated, it would be appropriate to make available a selection of ride venues and a summer schedule of three rides per week for neophytes and other wishing to improve their overall physical condition.


Consider this: moderate biking burns 300 to 400 calories per hour, vigorous biking, like uphill, sprints etc., burns two or three time as many calories per hour. At 3500 calories per pound, it is easy to see that biking could be a fabulous way to significant weight loss and better overall physical condition for both adults and young people. Exploring the wonders of this area, socializing with people with similar objectives and improving your personal health are the principle benefits of regular biking.


The Kalamazoo trading area is comprised of approximately 90,000 households; and almost without exception every family has one or more bicycles. With KBC support and encouragement many of these families, kids included,  may see the light  and get involved in biking for the sole purpose of improving family health (read - losing weight).


Assuming a good community turnout for Bike Camp, it might be possible to support an indoor venue so that biking could be enjoyed the year around regardless of weather. More on this at a later date.


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Bike Camp – Saturday, May 21st


On Saturday, May 21st, The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club, in conjunction with area bicycle shops, will present its first ever “Bike Camp,” an approximately two hour long seminar directed at beginning bicyclists and also those who have been out of bicycling for some time and wish to get back into the sport. Location will be the Kal Haven Trailhead parking lot on 10th Street. Start time is 9:00 AM; there is no charge for the seminar.


The purpose of Bike Camp is to give those interested in getting more involved in bicycling information about the many road and mountain bicycling opportunities available in the Kalamazoo County area. Local cyclists will speak on topics such as the health benefits of bicycling; the purpose and pleasure of riding in groups; necessary safety equipment and protocols; and will give insight into the many trails, paths, and roads suitable for bicycling in the vicinity.


Representatives from local bike shops will speak on getting your bicycle to fit you properly, so biking can be about pleasure and not pain; how to change a flat tire; and what styles of bikes are most suitable for certain types of cycling.


Participants are encouraged to bring their bicycles to the seminar to get them fitted and checked for safety, and also to join others in rides on the road and on the Kal Haven Trail following the seminar. The rides will be led by members of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. Van Buren County has offered Bike Camp attendees the use of the Kal Haven Trail free for the day.


Bike Camp is looking for some volunteers to help lead rides on the Kal Haven Trail and on the roads following the seminar. Speeds will likely be relatively slow; distances relatively short. The purpose of the rides will be to encourage beginning bikers to ride in groups, and to give them a taste of that experience. Other volunteers are also requested to help with organization, setting up, and meeting and greeting with Bike Campers. Please contact Zolton Cohen, zcohen@ameritech.net, if you can lend a hand.


If you have a friend or a spouse who has expressed interest in bicycling, Bike Camp is a good opportunity to introduce him or her to the sport – a low-pressure, low-intensity, informal setting at which beginners can get their questions about bicycling answered.

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Classified Ads


*Geeked out tri-bike, Titanium Light Speed Catalyst, 56 cm frame, aero bar shifters, Shimano 105 components.  $1200.  Call Mike:  327-0387


*Co-motion Cappuccino Tandem, 23X20, Soft Ride beam, carbon fork, Ultegra group, Ultegra cranks, hardly used, selling due to divorce, compare at co-motion.com, $3,400, Call:  Tomme Maile, 501-1778


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Bike Training Opportunities

Many bicycle riders (and other athletes as well) would like to get better at what they do. The answer to a goal like that is proper training. If access to professional training is your desire, there are opportunities available right here in our own back yard from professional mountain bicyclists Cheryl Olson and her husband Mark. Together, they make up Athletic Mentors LLC www.athleticmentors.com. But who, exactly, are Cheryl and Mark; and what qualifies them to hang out their shingle as athletic mentors?

Cheryl is a professional mountain bicyclist with the Advantage Benefits/Endeavor team and holds CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) certification through the National Strength & Conditioning Association. This certifies her to do training with high school, collegiate, and professional level athletes.

Mark also rides for Advantage Benefits/Endeavor, and is currently filling in for Robbie Ventura as the Director for the ABG/ Endeavor Pro Men's cycling team. He has been the assistant coach for Mattawan's hockey team for the past 2 years and he is also the Strength and Conditioning coach for Northern Michigan University's hockey team.

Although Cheryl and Mark train and advise elite level athletes, they will work with anyone at any level who is trying to improve health and fitness or find their potential. In addition to the classes listed below, they also are available for personalized, one-on-one training programs either at their training facility in Delton, or at a site of your choosing.

Beginner Mountain Biking For Women

This 3 day class is for the true beginner. You’ll learn to use all those gears, proper trail riding skills and techniques and you’ll gain fitness riding on the trails.  Improve your confidence in a non-threatening environment. You must have your own bike and helmet. This class will be instructed by professional cyclist, Cheryl Olson.

Class Dates: Thursdays; May 19, 26 & June 2

Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Cost: $40

Location: Fort Custer


Intermediate Mountain Biking for Women

This 4 day class will focus on developing technical skills on the trail. We’ll spend lots of time working on climbing hills and tackling obstacles such as rocks, roots and logs. Lots of trail time, so you’ll improve your fitness as well. Your own bike and helmet are required. Clipless pedals are recommended but not required. This class will be instructed by professional cyclist, Cheryl Olson. 

Class Dates: Mondays: June 6, 13, 20 & 27

Time: 6:00 – dusk

Cost: $50

Location: Fort Custer




Bike Maintenance Class for Everyone

Learn the basics to ensure you are not stuck in this woods (or the side of the road) this summer! This class will teach how to properly care for your bike, how to change a flat, repair a tube and repair your chain. This is a “hands on” class where you will practice what you learn.


Class Date: Friday June 17

Time: 6:00 – 9:00pm

Cost: $25

Location: Athletic Mentors’ Facility in Delton


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Farm Daze Tour

As you might imagine, the KBC mailbox fills every spring and summer with announcements about bike tours and other events. Here’s one that caught our eye, one reason being that it is located relatively close to KBC area of influence:

Mark your calendars for the 2nd Annual Farm Daze Tour on May 21, 2005 .


This tour will start at the MSU Physical Plant Building (To see where the Physical Plant Building is located on campus, go to www.msu.edu/dig/msumap/centermid.html.) and meander in the MSU farm areas and surroundings. There will be 25, 50, and 100 kilometer routes. A registration form is available at the MSU Bike Project web site: www.msu.edu/~bikes/. The fee is $25 for adults, $15 for youth and $50 for a family of four or more if registration is postmarked by May 1. After May 1, it will be $30, $20, and $60 respectively. A t-shirt will be available on a pre-order basis only if ordered prior to April 15, 2005. On site registration will be accepted from 8:00 to 10:00AM.


The starting/ending location will allow for indoor registration. Showers are available. Box lunches will be provided at the completion of the tour. For more information, you can visit our website at http://www.msu.edu/~ bikes/. The contact person is Gus Gosselin at 625-7322 or gasgoss@hotmail.com.


The MSU Bike Project is an effort dedicated to transforming recycled bicycles into a fun, economical, environmentally friendly and healthy transportation alternative for the MSU campus community. We are a subcommittee of the University Committee for a Sustainable Campus. Our aim is to make bicycles available free to members of the MSU community. Our eventual goal is to provide free bikes for hundreds of riders on campus; our initial aim is to make free bikes available to departments and programs. Each unit will lease one or more bikes for a yearlong term, and will be responsible for making it available to people within the unit. General inquiries can be emailed here: bikes@msu.edu.


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6th Street Road Race Wrap-up

Highlights From The 6th Street Road Race

David Sperry

24 April 2005


On April 9, 2005, Little Caesars and Western Michigan University (WMU) Cycling Teams hosted the inaugural 6th Street Road Race. Excellent weather and a challenging course drew in an impressive 169 cyclists to race in eight different fields. Over $1,700 in prize money was given out among the men’s and women’s groups, representing a range of ability levels. A host of volunteers from KBC and elsewhere came together to work many different jobs to make the event a success.


Little Caesars Cycling is the newly formed United States Cycling Federation (USCF) racing team created within KBC. In order to be registered with the USCF, the team is required to host one race each year. Many will remember that in 2004 the WMU Cycling Team hosted a collegiate event on the same course. In planning the event again for 2005, WMU collaborated with Little Caesars Cycling and the two teams took advantage of the fact that everything was already set up for the collegiate race. Thus, the USCF 6th Street Road Race was born. 


The race runs on a 10.2 mile course starting on DE Ave. near the Alamo Little League fields, heading east towards 6th street.  The course then heads south on 6th street where the riders are presented with the course highlight, the 6th street hill, with approximately 250 feet of vertical climb. The course continues south on 6th all the way to H Avenue, where the riders turn west and start their long sweeping decent. The gradual downhill continues to 2nd street where the course turns back north. This section of the course was very fast, made more interesting by the slight jog as 2nd street crossed G Avenue. The course continues north back to DE Avenue, where the riders turn right and are then provided with a flat, smooth finish near the Little League fields. USCF racing started at 9:00 AM. Depending on the Category, riders completed between 2 to 6 laps. The collegiate races used the same course, and started immediately after the finish of the USCF races.


Team member Rick Updike took the lead as the Race Director, orchestrating all of the activities necessary to run the race. Many volunteers came out to help with registration, traffic control, and lead-follow vehicles. Bob Vliestra was very helpful in giving us access to the Little League fields, which we used to stage the event. Members of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff department worked several key intersections on the course for the entire day. The Team is very grateful for the all of the help provided by these generous people. It is clear that the race wouldn’t have happened without them. 


Competition in the men’s Pro/1/2 field was bolstered significantly by the presence of the Advantage Benefits-Endeavour pro team. In addition to sweeping the podium in this field, they also added an international flair to the event, bringing in two riders from the Southern hemisphere. Graham Howard from Grand Rapids took first, while second and third went to Karl Menzies and Richard England from Ulverstone, Tasmania, and Melbourne, Australia respectively. The women’s race had a total of 15 riders, with two KBC members placing; Cheryl Olson took 3rd in the CAT 1/2/3 field, while Kathy Kirk won the CAT 4 field. The men’s CAT 4/5 race attracted a host of local riders, bringing the field to a total of 61 racers in which Zach McBride and Brad Fry both placed. The final two fields were also well represented. The Juniors had 6 in the field and CAT 3 had 24.


Overall, the race was a great success for a first-year event.  We are looking forward to hosting again next year.

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Editor’s Letter:





Bicycle racing sure is a fascinating sport. This editor was a volunteer, spectator, and photographer at KBC and WMU’s 6th Street Road Race, held on April 9th. And I learned a heck of a lot in the hours I spent signing people up to race, watching the truth unfold on the 6th Street hill, and also afterward as I scrolled through the 600-odd images I took during the day’s excitement. A few observations:


KBC’s Race Team, in collaboration with WMU’s Cycling Team, did a heck of a job putting this thing together. Make no mistake about it, this was a major event involving hundreds of people, and everything seemed to go off as it should. There were no long lines at the sign-in station, the starts happened right on time, and the volunteers did their jobs cheerfully, enthusiastically and well. Kudos especially go to the volunteers who got there in the wee morning hours to help set things up, and those who drove lead or follow vehicles for the race categories. Thankless jobs all, and the race could not have happened without them. Special thanks go to Breakaway Bicycles for their neutral wheel sag wagon and emergency mechanical services.


It is impossible to tell who is who, and who is going to make an impact on a race, when the competitors first show up in street clothes. I signed up the two guys, one from Australia and one from Tasmania, who took second and third place in the CAT 1/2 race, and they sure didn’t look superhuman at 7:00 in the morning. In fact, they looked like they had just gotten out of bed. But on their bikes? Like torpedos. Low and lean and fast and relentless. It was a thrill to watch racers of that caliber on our local roads.


On the other hand, it’s also not possible to predict how a race is going to end merely by observing the start or the first few kilometers. In the Men’s A collegiate race, a rider from the University of Michigan broke off the front, and after the first lap held a tremendous lead of nearly five minutes. But, as WMU’s Josh Tarrant explained to me later, everyone in that race knew who he was and knew he couldn’t keep up that pace, so they just let him go. Eventually the pack reeled him in and swallowed him up, just as they often do with breakaway riders in the Tour de France. It was pretty cool though to see him so far ahead for while.


Kalamazoo area bicyclists did very well in the USCF race, proving we’re no backwater when it comes to fast cycling. Check out the results at www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org/racing for the complete list; there are many KBC members and other area riders with podium and otherwise strong finishes, including KBC webmaster Kathy Kirk, who won the women’s CAT 4 division. Congratulations also go to Paul Jacobson, Andrew Florian, and Steve Barnes, who represented KBC well in the Juniors 10-18 division.


Finally, into each life a little rain must fall. As much a slam dunk as the races were for bicyclists, there were some local residents unhappy about having to be inconvenienced by the necessity of closing and restricting access to roads during the event. KBC Executive Board officers and others received several emails describing, from a different viewpoint, how the races were conducted.


Complaints ranged from an alleged lack of notification about the races prior to the day of the event, to racers zig-zagging between lanes during the race, to the aforementioned inconvenience of residents having access to roads closed to them, and alleged rudeness to residents on the part of both race volunteers and participants.


KBC, its race team, and the WMU Cycling Team are taking these complaints seriously. All involved are seeking ways to work with residents in the affected area to alleviate difficulties prior to next year’s race.


Bikeless. Briefly.


This spring my riding became pretty erratic. It wasn’t only the fact that the weather didn’t finally cooperate until pretty late into the start of the season. That would have more to do with my riding schedule being erratic, which it was, too. But my actual, physical riding was getting pretty sketchy. I’d pedal along in my usual fashion, try to maintain a straight line, and then suddenly swerve to the left or right. I’d misplaced my equilibrium. 


Most of us, after a long season off the bike (and, as Axel Kleat would have it, after not having ridden the rollers during the offseason) require a few rides to not only get our legs back under us, but also to regain some of our lost bike handling skills. So I chalked it up to that – for a while at least.


But when my riding didn’t get better – in fact it worsened - I realized there was something wrong with my bike. And it was making me nervous. So, at a recent Wednesday night ride I rode up to the first biker I saw who has more experience than me – which on any given night encompasses most of the gathering crowd. It happened to be Greg Lawford, and he not only instantly diagnosed the problem, but also gave an excellent explanation about how the bike had gotten that way.  


Greg said, “Your headset is shot. You need a new one. How old is the bike? Nine years? Original headset? Oh yeah, you’re overdue.” That’s the way Greg talks. Short, declarative sentences.


And he was right. My headset was damaged and that was making my bike handling so off-kilter. The “headset,” by the way, describes the bearings that allow the front fork to rotate side to side in the frame; there are two sets of bearings and races, one on top and the other on the bottom of the bike’s front tube.


Over time, Greg said, the bearings start to dig or wear impressions into the bearing races. This can be exacerbated or accelerated by allowing the headset to become loose, which causes the bearings and races to slam together whenever the bike goes over a bump. Eventually, the impressions in the races start to act as a detent mechanism with the bearings, and the headset temporarily locks up and cannot swing smoothly from side to side. When that occurs while you’re riding down the road, you feel the need to correct your steering by making a small adjustment with the handlebars. But because the bearings have fallen into the tiny depressions in the bearing races you have to apply excess sideways force on the bar in order to spring the bearings free. That causes an overcorrection of the steering, and thus a swerving (and unnerved) rider.


Replacing a headset looked to be a bit beyond my mechanical ability, so I took my bike into Breakaway Bicycles to see what my options were. Paul Wells opened up the headset, swiped away the grease on the bearing races with a rag, and revealed little longitudinal dimples in the metal (most headsets contain ball bearings, but mine had needle bearings). That was clear proof my headset needed replacement, and that I was not entirely at fault for my unusual riding stylings this year. The problem was going to be obtaining the right parts. Most new bikes these days come equipped with threadless headsets that do not use conventional headset bearings and races, so shops are gradually phasing out in their parts inventory the type of headset found on my bike. We had to order a new one, which left me without a working road bicycle for the first time in decades.


And that, my friends, was pretty traumatic. More so than I expected. It’s easy, I guess, to take bicycles and riding for granted – until the day you can’t do exactly what you want to do, which is ride. I confess that I got a bit twitchy and anxious with no outlet for those feelings - until I called Mike Lahaie to see if I could temporarily “borrow back” the 1990 vintage Specialized Allez I had loaned him a few years ago.


Mike was amenable and I picked up the bike on a weekend, rode it once then, and again on the Monday night ride. The best that can be said about that bike is that it does roll down the road. I suppose it was probably considered a pretty good bicycle at the time, but it now feels outdated, heavy, and cumbersome. Even compared to my nine year old carbon fiber bike the Allez, with its tank-like steel frame, barrel-hoop type rims, and handlebar-end shifters (though they are indexed shifting – kind of), feels like something from the last century. And hey, it is.


Times have surely moved on for bicycles. They’ve evolved; gotten lighter by a considerable margin; are more high tech, more comfortable, and, some would argue, more beautifully engineered. Sure, any bike will have to do in a pinch, and I’m glad I had the option, through Mike’s generosity, to keep riding. But I missed the modern comforts of my more modern bike. And I also made arrangements to see how far bikes have progressed in the years since mine was new by purchasing a new one….


See you out there,  Zolton Cohen, KBC newsletter editor


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KBC Meeting Minutes

KBC’s regular monthly meeting was held Tuesday, April 12, 2005 at 7:00 pm at the Kalamazoo YMCA located on Maple Street. KBC Vice President Jim Kindle led this monthly meeting as President Mike Boersma was unavoidably delayed and arrived late. Other members present were Tom Keizer, Mike Berry, Zolton Cohen, Paul Bruneau, Doug Kirk, Victor Van Fleet, and Chris Howard. A Motion was made by Jim Kindle to accept the minutes of the last meeting. With no discussion the motion was approved.

Discussed in this meeting was the tentative schedule of events for Bike Camp. Bike Camp is scheduled for Saturday May 21st. Further details of this event will be in the next issue of the PedalPress.


FlowerFest Update: Zolton Cohen stated he still has not been in contact with Dave Jones, who is head of the FlowerFest Organizing Group (FOG), for a report. But Tom Keizer, Treasurer and former FlowerFest committee member, briefly talked to Dave Bishop who is currently on the committee. Bishop stated to Keizer that everything is going fine.


Club member Doug Kirk asked about the financial status of KBC’s race team, (Caesar’s Cycling). As David Sperry, (KBC race team captain) was not present, this could not be answered. But it is assumed everything went well at the April 9th USCF 6th Street Road Race. All members present agreed that the race was a success and were excited about how many of the KBC faithful were involved in the racing and volunteering aspects of the event. Further details of the race will be in the next issue of the PedalPress and race results can be found on the KBC website.


Paul Bruneau, KBC database manager, stated to the club that he is continually signing up new members and that they will be listed in each new issue of the PedalPress.


Zolton Cohen has informed the club that he has come up with a short, to the point, and inexpensive information handout about KBC. This is a one-page information sheet that touches on Club Rides, the PedalPress, the Website, Tours, and KBC Membership. The handout can be passed out anywhere bicycling interest exists. Cohen also stated that he has been unable to find the color brochures that are given out as handouts to local bike shops in the area. Anyone having knowledge of where these might be please contact Zolton Cohen.


Cohen also expressed interest in starting an additional Friday night ride starting in the intercity. Being that it’s such a long distance to get out to the Gull Lake area for the traditional Friday night Tour De Gull ride for many, this may be appealing to more members to ride with the club on Friday nights.


Treasurer’s Report: Tom Keizer reported that we have $9,027.66 in savings and $3137.04 in checking.

With no further business to attend to, the meeting was adjourned at 7:45 pm. Next meeting: Tuesday, May 9, 2005, 7:00 PM, Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street.


Respectfully submitted, Mike Berry, KBC Secretary

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Second Annual Blessing of the Bicycles


Fr. Chris Yaw

St. Thomas Episcopal Church

16 E. Van Buren St.

Battle Creek, MI  49017




Battle Creek :  It’s turning into an annual rite of Spring… local bicycle riders and their bikes are invited to The Second Annual Blessing of the Bicycles at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 7 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church.


 The short service will consist of Scripture reading, prayer and a blessing of the bicycles.  “This is a great way to celebrate the healthy and fun activity of bicycling within the economy of God’s creation”  Said The Rev. Chris Yaw , Associate Rector of St. Thomas .  “The idea of the Blessing of the Bicycles is to pronounce God’s blessing upon the bicycles and the riders with the prayer that God will watch over them and keep them along their journeys.”


St. Thomas Episcopal Church has been serving the people of Battle Creek since 1836.  Community events include the St Thomas Music Guild Series, Adult Education Forums as well as various outreach ministries to the city. The parish is located at the corner of Van Buren Street and Capital Avenue in downtown Battle Creek.  Sunday service times are 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and are open to the public.


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Tandem Volunteers Needed May 4-6th


For the past several years, many members of the KBC have assisted the Michigan Blind Athletic Association with the Sports Education Camp (SEC) for youth who are blind or visually impaired. Again this year, I am coming to the KBC to ask for your assistance, your expertise and your tandems!!


No surprise—the tandem bikes were, by far, the most popular event at the SEC!! The SEC will be held May 4-6, 2005. The tandem biking events will take place on Wednesday evening (first year participants); Thursday evening (advanced participants); and Friday evening (competition). We will be riding on the WMU Parkview Campus. This is the same venue as last year and it was a great place to ride!!


Please contact Sherry Gordon, either by e-mail: sdgordon@voyager.net or by phone at 383-4144 or by cell phone at 599-9391. Come and have fun and help to make this event a great success!!


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Ride Schedule

Spring Ramblings from the Ride Captain


It is spring in Kalamazoo and the weather has warmed up nicely. April has been a great month for riding. My trip to Florida in early March is now a distant memory since the weather has been nice in Kalamazoo. I hope the weather continues to be favorable for cycling. Attendance at the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday rides has been tremendous so far this season. We are having mid-summer attendance in early April. It is amazing how well everyone is riding at this point in the season. Three new rides (Tuesday evening, Thursday morning, & Saturday morning) will be continuing in May.


The new Tuesday evening ride from Pfizer in Portage and the Thursday morning women’s ride from KVCC have gotten off to a slow start so far this season, which is not unusual for new rides. Join Rene Mitchell and Jelania Haile on the Thursday morning ride from KVCC for 20 – 25 miles at 15 – 16 mph. Rene and Jelania are working hard to make this ride a success. Come on out and support them. 


In addition, join Larry Kissinger and Randy Putt on Tuesday evenings (more details about this ride in the Ride Schedule) for a steady paced ride of 25 – 30 miles at 18 – 20 mph. The early season distance and pace will be at the shorter and slower end of the ranges. This is the only KBC ride on the Southeast side of the county. The Saturday ride from St Timothy’s Church near Gull Lake started on April 16 and will continue into May on a weekly basis.


If you have not been out to one of the KBC rides yet this year, I hope to see you at a ride in May.






The full ride schedule begins in May. Additional ride leaders are still needed for all the ride groups. The more volunteers the better. Ride leaders make every attempt at keeping each group together although the 20+ mph groups may not stay together.


Descriptions of the regular weekday rides are listed below and the full ride schedule will start in May at 6:15 PM.


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 (need leaders)

·        15-20 mile group at 12-15 mph (led by Mike & Sherry Higgins)

·        25-30 mile recovery group at 16-17 mph (led by Zolton Cohen)

·        25-30 mile group at 19-20 mph (Randy Putt)

·        25-30 mile group at 20+ mph


The 10-15 miles 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 groups will typically ride the same route in the early part of the season. KBC recommends the 16 – 17 mph group for more experienced riders who are new to the club. This group is very steady and is one of the more popular ride groups. The leaders for the 16 – 17 mph and 19 - 20 mph groups plan to keep the groups together and at a steady pace. The 16 – 17 mph and 19 – 20 mph groups may combine depending on the number of riders present. All riders who want to push the pace can do so in the 20+mph group. The 18 – 19 and 20+ mph groups may 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 plans to run the time trial once again this year and plan to use the same route as last year.  The route starts at the Pavilion Township Hall at the corner of Q Ave and 28th St. The time trial will run every other Tuesday starting on May 17th. More information about the TNTT is available elsewhere in this issue of the PedalPress.


New Ride - The Tuesday ride is scheduled to meet at the Pfizer B298 parking lot (NE corner of Portage Rd and Romence Rd) 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 if there is enough interest (need ride leaders).


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

·        30 mile group at 16-18 mph (the Quarter-Fast Ride) (Led by Tim Stewart starting in May)

·        30 mile group at 22+ mph (The Half-Fast Ride) (led by Zolton Cohen)


The Wednesday night Hammerfest will also start at Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot at 6 PM. The pace of this 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.


New Ride – Would you like to meet other women in cycling?  Join Renee Mitchell and Jelania Haile for a women’s only ride on Thursday mornings beginning April 7.  Meet at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC- south-west parking lot by the tennis courts) at 10AM.  The pace will be 15-16 mph with a distance of 20-25 miles.


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 (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 faster group typically leads itself. The route for this ride is well established so the ride leader job is easy.


New Ride – The Saturday Ride (~40 miles) at 10 AM from St. Timothy’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 passed the church. Paul Raynes plans to lead this ride on the second and fourth Saturdays during biking season, starting in May - except for May 14, the date of the special W Ave ride. He will need some help leading.


Special May Ride – Saturday, May 14

·        The 5th annual W Ave Ride (48 miles) from Vicksburg High School will be held Saturday May 14 at 9 AM, led again this year by Rick Whaley (you read it right, Rick has agreed to come back from Ann Arbor to lead the ride he founded). Join us on May 14 and welcome Rick back to the Kalamazoo area for the ride.


Also, we plan to continue the special weekend rides in 2005. The rides were successful last year once again. We now have 7 special weekend rides and there is always room for more. Mark your long-range calendars for the special weekend rides this summer.


·        The 5th annual W Ave Ride (48 miles) from Vicksburg High School on May 14 (Yes, Rick Whaley will be back from Ann Arbor to lead the ride he created. Thanks once again, Rick.)

·        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) in 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 (~40 miles)

·        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.


If you have any questions about ride leader duties or would like to lead a ride, call the ride captain at 649-1814 or send an email to srpbike@yahoo.com or sterling.r.putt@pfizer.com .

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Tuesday Night Time Trial Series Set to Begin

KBC’s popular Tuesday Night Time Trial Series will kick off its season on May 17th. For those who have never done a time trial or experienced one as a spectator or volunteer, here’s what it’s all about:

KBC’s time trial is a ten mile race against the clock. Riders gather at the starting point and are individually set off on the route at one minute intervals. Volunteers record the starting and finishing times of each rider and the final results are available shortly after the race ends. 

Who is a candidate to ride in a time trial? Anyone, regardless of age, experience, or fitness level. KBC has had riders in their early ‘teens to well into their 70’s. Many riders use the time trial series to gauge and record their fitness progress throughout the bicycling season.

WHEN:  1st and 3rd Tuesdays in June, July, and August; RAIN or SHINE. Sign up at 5:45, start at 6:15 sharp. Due to popular demand, this year the first time trial will held on May 17th.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED:  Any bicycle, a helmet, and any of your preferred aero gear.

WHY:  A time trial is a good measure of your own fitness measured by your time to complete a standard 10 mile course. The course is smooth asphalt pavement with three right turns. Weekly Prizes will be awarded to the contestants, not necessarily for the fastest time, but for the most improved.

WHERE:  Pavilion Township Hall at the corner of 29th Street and Q Avenue. Please be considerate of the township’s goodwill in offering this parking area to us, and do not park adjacent to 29th St.

COST:  Free to Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Members. Membership forms available at the start.

QUESTIONS: Chris or Marian Barnes, (269) 327-8972. barnesmc@net-link.net

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24 Hour Challenge and Grattan Race Series

On June 18-19, the 23rd National 24 Hour Challenge Race returns to Middleville, at the Thornapple Kellogg Middle School. KBC members who have competed in this event describe it as one of the most difficult things they’ve ever done on a bicycle.

The idea of the 24 Hour Challenge is to ride as far as you can in a 24 hour period over a monitored course. Some riders do in excess of 400 miles, with older cyclists regularly placing quite well in the overall standings. There are categories for single bikes, tandems, recumbents, and tandem recumbents.

The format of the 24HC requires riding an initial 126.5 mile loop during the day; followed by loop two, 23.7 miles; then as many of the 7.5 mile night loops as you can fit in under the time limit.

More information about the 24HC is available at www.n24hc.org.


The Grattan Bicycle Road Race series at Grattan Raceway Park in Grattan, Michigan, will begin the weekly road racing season in May. Racing continues each Wednesday night through August. Gratten Raceway Park is located at 7201 Lessiter Avenue in Gratten, 9 miles north and 15 miles east of downtown Grand Rapids.

Grattan features “A” and “B” class road races of 30+ miles, with prizes awarded for weekly, monthly, and season winners. There are also children’s races ($2.00 entry fee) on the last Wednesday of each month. Entry fees for adults are $15.00 per night, with discounts available for monthly or season-long entry packets. Registration times are between 5:30 and 6:30 PM; with starts beginning at 6:45 PM.

More information on the Grattan Racing Series, and a downloadable entry form, is available at www.mwsport.com

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Fixed Feet Flail at Fisk

By Axel Kleat


Early each spring the Fisk Knob Time Trial marks the beginning of the racing season around here, and having finally overcome my dread of racing against the clock last season, I returned for my second foray April 2nd. 


One disappointment I’d learned last year was that I was absolutely, positively not a threat to win my age group. One guy a year older than me turned in the 3rd fastest time overall, beating me around a fifteen mile course by nearly four minutes—meaning he’d pedal close to a mile and a half further in the same amount of time. No way I’ll be catching that guy—he’s clearly made of ‘way better protoplasm. 


A philosophical question: what’s the use of racing if I have no chance to win? Is that much suffering really all that much fun? As fate would have it, a distraction drew my attention elsewhere. I ran into an old friend even more gray in the beard than I, and he mentioned that back in the dark ages of bike racing, the Fisk Knob TT began as an event in which only fixed-gear bikes (one speed, no freewheel) were allowed. Its original name was the Fisk Fixed Frisk (just try saying that two or three times in a row!)


Back then, conventional wisdom was to ride fixed-gear bikes for the first thousand miles or so each season, the theory being that spinning away helped smooth one’s spin, or souplesse, as the French refer to a really smooth pedal stroke. And fixed gear bikes have no derailleurs, extra sprockets or cables to get crudded up with early-season mud. But nowadays index shifting has us all spoiled, and fixed-gear bikes are a curiosity anywhere outside a velodrome.


That night I pulled out an old Fuji another buddy gave me a few years ago after cleaning his basement. I’d turned the thing into a fixed-gear by replacing the freewheel with a track cog and ditching one chainwheel, the rear brake, and the derailleur. I rode it around the block to be sure it worked and promised myself I’d ride it. Instead I just watched as more and more stuff pile up on top of it in the back corner of the basement.


I had forgotten its truly light Mavic tubular rims and Campy hubs slotted to allow bladed spokes—the state of the art twenty years ago. The sew-ups were beyond hope and I had to fiddle with the axle spacers, then re-dish the rear wheel to get the chain line straight, but otherwise everything was fine. Would anyone else even show up to contest the fixed-gear class? Maybe I could win by default!


The tricky part would be the course. Those frisky Fisk fixed-gear riders had picked just about the hilliest course they could find—presumably to add to the fun of the fixed-gear experience. In addition, the start features a half-mile 35 mph downhill (if you have the gear for it) which one must also ride back up at the end of the out-and-back course.


Once I arrived on race day, I checked every bike I saw for cassettes, and was pleased to see a multitude of sprockets on every bike I spied. I spun down the big hill for practice and turned around to slog my way back up, just to be sure I could do the climb (with fresh legs) in my chosen gear. Within a hundred yards of my official start, I was spun out as I flew down the hill as fast as my feet would go. 


Most of the rest of the ride was pretty ordinary, other than a really big wind to add to the joy of the fixed-gear experience. And when I got to that climb at the end, I stood up and just cranked and cranked and cranked. Turned in a reasonable time, too, mid-pack among the 125 or so riders there. And when they posted the results, indeed I had won my class—over precisely one other fixed-gear head that I never did spot.


Now my secret’s out—it’s lots easier to win when you lose most of your competition—so I imagine next year a few other folks will figure out their odds of winning back their entry fee will be much improved if they too get their TT bikes fixed.


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Contact information for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club

2005 KBC Board of Directors Executive Committee:

President: Mike Boersma          Phone: 269-720-1409             

email: president@kalamazoobicycleclub.org

Vice President:  Jim Kindle       Phone: 269-382-8053             

email: vicepresident@kalamazoobicycleclub.org

Secretary:  Mike Berry             Phone:  269-427-7204

email: secretary@kalamazoobicycleclub.org

Treasurer:  Tom Keizer             Phone: 269-382-4737             

email: treasurer@kalamazoobicycleclub.org

Other Important KBC Folks:

Database Manager:  Paul Bruneau         Phone: 343-6016        

email: databasemgr@kalamazoobicycleclub.org

Newsletter Editor:  Zolton Cohen          Phone: 344-0200        

email: editor@kalamazoobicycleclub.org

Ride Captain:  Randy Putt                     Phone: 649-1814        

email: ridecaptain@kalamazoobicycleclub.org

Social Director:  Michele Intermont       Phone: 373-8929        

email: socialdirector1@kalamazoobicycleclub.org

Social Director:  Megan James  Phone:

email: socialdirector2@kalamazoobicycleclub.org

Webmaster: Kathy Kirk                        Phone: 388-5045

email: webmaster@kalamazoobicycleclub.org

FlowerFest Director:  Dave Jones         Phone: 760-8869

            email: flowerfest@kalamazoobicycleclub.org


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.