KBC PedalPress www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org The Newsletter of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club July 2005
On Sunday July 17th, the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club will present its largest yearly event; the FlowerFest Bicycle Tour. In response to rider’s comments and suggestions, this year’s Tour features some major changes to the routes, as follows:
Century Route: Loop 1 is shortened, getting to the Timber Ridge Sag at 23 miles and the first Briar Patch Sag at 45 miles. Loop 2 remains the same. There is a water stop in Schoolcraft at 90 miles on an expanded Loop 3.
62 mile Route: This route changes the most. It follows the Century Route for the first 45 miles including the Timber Ridge Sag and the 6th Street Hill. Loop 2 (Lawton) is eliminated. There is only one stop at the Briar Patch Sag. Loop 3 which is modified slightly is shared for the most part with the 31 mile Route.
31 Mile Route: Loop 3 is modified and shared for the most part with the 62 mile Route.
(The 15 Mile Route and the Family Ride remain the same.)
As is customary, there will likely be a large contingent of KBC riders leaving the starting point at KVCC at 9:00 AM to do the 62 mile route. This group in the past has done the first third of the distance in the 18-19 mph range, the second third at 20-21, and the final third as fast as anyone can crank the pedals.
Letter from Dave Jones of the Flowerfest Committee
Only a couple of weeks to go before the main event on July 17th! Plans are almost complete for this year’s Flowerfest Bicycle Tour except for a few loose ends and it should be a great series of rides with a couple of new routes. We will have 15, 31, 62 and 100 mile rides and an escorted 12 mile ride for families so everyone should be able to find a ride within their capabilities. As usual, we will be having some great food at the Briar Patch and snacks at our other major rest stop at Timber Ridge. Local bike stores will provide mechanic support at the start – KVCC and at Briar Patch and SAG vehicles will be cruising the routes if you get into trouble on the way. Amy Lehman has designed a very attractive T-shirt for us – have you seen the posters at the bike stores – so be sure to order one as they will be hot items. If you haven’t registered yet, go to the KBC Home Page and click on the link for on-line registration. You can even pay on-line this year. For those who like to wait to see what the weather is doing, you can register on the morning of the 17th at KVCC.
We still need volunteers to help make this a great event. We have openings for road painting on the evening of July 7th, starting from KVCC at 6:00pm. In the event of rain, or a need to finish marking, we will meet at KVCC on July 14 at 6:00pm.
We also need volunteers to help on July 17 for the following:
Registration at KVCC
Clean-up at KVCC
Please support the event by volunteering a couple of hours before, during, or after your ride. To volunteer, contact Mike Krischer at (269) 323-2014 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you on the 17th and have a great ride!
Flowerfest Organizing Committee
Summer has officially begun! July 4th is the
first summer holiday. I hope everyone who has the opportunity to go for a long
weekend of riding takes advantage of this holiday.
The fireworks and the picnics of July 4 sometimes obscure the greater meaning of the holiday. This was the date that the founding fathers of the United States took it upon themselves to declare independence from the United Kingdom. One of the many reasons cited for the necessity to declare independence was the inability to participate in decision making - no taxation without representation!
These many years later we do enjoy the ability to petition the government. There are many reasons why we as bicyclists might want to contact our elected representatives: we would like to have roads free of potholes (who among you actually likes dodging the potholes on AB avenue [the Wednesday night ride] or on East Gull Lake Drive [the TDG] ?); we would like to see educated drivers (perhaps the test for getting a driver's license could include a question on bicycling); or perhaps better bicycling facilities (somehow the City of Chicago has marked bike lanes on almost every road and a bike garage with showers for commuters, and a bike czar to coordinate all of this -- why can't Kalamazoo county even have a coordinated plan?)
The ability to petition the government is empowerment. You do not have to accept the status quo. This is 2005 and our elected officials do have email. You probably do not have to spend more than 5 minutes IN A YEAR to exercise your constitutional right to seek changes. You have the right to contact Ron Reid at the Road Commission about East Gull Lake Drive or about chip and seal. You have the right to tell Portage that they are on the right track with their bikeway plan. You have the right to write letters to the editor of the Kalamazoo Gazette.
If you choose to stay silent, you will be ignored. The folks in county and state government are supposed to be spending a portion of YOUR tax dollars on bicycling and other non-motorized transportation projects. Take charge of how this money is used.
Please enjoy the 4th. The fireworks, the fireflies, the parades, and the picnics are all to be relished. But do not lose sight of the bigger picture. Go out and have a great ride!
Mike Boersma, KBC President
Active subscriptions in KBC: 224
July New Members:
Kirt E. Carter
July Expiring memberships:
Deb Gray & Al Cergol
Terry & Kathy Hutchins
Janet & Mike Teel Family
Bill Watt Family
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KBC’s regular monthly meeting was held Tuesday, June 14, 2005 at 7:10 pm at the Kalamazoo YMCA located on Maple Street. KBC President Mike Boersma led this monthly meeting. Other members present were Jim Kindle, Tom Keizer, Mike Berry, Zolton Cohen, Paul Bruneau, Doug Kirk, Victor Van Fleet, and Kathy Kirk.
Discussed in this meeting was an update on the 6th Street Road race. Newsletter editor Zolton Cohen reported that he and Rick Updike, a member of KBC’s Race Team, had a meeting on Thursday, June 9, with the residents of DE Avenue. Cohen stated: In the end the residents vowed to oppose the running of the race in any way they could if it was to be held in their area next year. Since no one from the race team was present at this meeting, a motion was made by Doug Kirk to contact the race team in order to ask them to come to the August or September meeting and report on this race and what future plans, if any, the team has to run this race successfully in the future. The motion was seconded by Cohen, voted upon, and unanimously passed.
Flowerfest Update: Paul Bruneau stated he has the Online Registration up and running on the KBC website and already has numerous people registered for the July 17th event. Flyers have been put out asking for volunteers for route marking and registration. The route marking has a date of July 12th, which is the same date as our next KBC monthly meeting, so a change to Thursday evening, July 14th, has been suggested. Contact Mike Krischer at (269) 323-2014 or e-mail at email@example.com to volunteer.
Weekday Ride Updates: Zolton Cohen stated that some of the club ride groups are getting too large to be safely manageable. He suggested possibly dividing the largest groups into two sections and holding back the second group 5 minutes before taking off. In some of the faster groups, letting the second group attempt to catch the first group may be one answer to the problem. Ride captains will continue to monitor the rides and make changes as needed.
Mike Boersma stated that he has been contacted by a Boy Scout troop leader about the troop obtaining their Bike Riding Merit Badges. The troop leader asked the club how we might be able to help with this process. After some discussion, the idea of having an abbreviated Bike Camp similar to the one organized by Zolton Cohen on May 21st seemed a good place to start. Giving the Scouts instruction on riding and basic bike repair, along with a 50 mile ride, which is mandatory for obtaining the merit badge, on the Kal Haven trail, seemed like the most reasonable suggestion. Boersma will look into this further and report back to the club.
Paul Bruneau, Database Manager, made a motion, seconded by Tom Keizer, that he become Co-Moderator along with Larry Kissinger of the KBC Yahoo Group. This would allow Bruneau to add e-mail addresses to the listserve when they request that he do so via the membership application. During discussion, Bruneau stated that since the only desirable (and currently used) feature is the message list, we should automatically add the people to the listserve when they ask us to on the form when they sign up as members. As of now the person must do it himself, but some have trouble with the online registration. All members in attendance agreed with the proposal and the motion was voted on and passed unanimously.
On another note, Bruneau asked the club its stand on giving out the members e-mail addresses (as recently requested by other members / individuals) for things like The Ride for Awareness, Flowerfest Notification, and Flowerfest Ride Volunteers. After discussion on the issue it was the decided by the members present that the database be used for PedalPress notification only. Doug Kirk made a motion that we not use the club’s email list other than it is currently being used without the express approval of the board. Seconded by Jim Kindle, a vote was taken and passed.
It was also discussed and agreed upon to give the FlowerFest Organizing Group (FOG) looking for volunteers the phone numbers of members who, on their membership application, checked the ”YES”box that asked if they were interested in working on KBC events.
Mike Boersma brought up the topic of some of Kalamazoo’s downtown streets being changed from one-way to two-way. This, it was thought, might result in possible additional dangers for bicycles. Boersma asked if KBC should take a position on this. Doug Kirk provided insight on the matter gleaned while attending a presentation of a feasibility study on this issue presented by the City of Kalamazoo. Kirk says the one-way to two-way street change proposals do appear to present serious compromises to bicycle safety. With that said, Boersma made a motion to authorize Doug Kirk to be the club’s representative and write a letter on behalf of the club to address safety concerns to change downtown streets from one-way to two-way and ask questions on how this change affects the downtown traffic. Zolton Cohen seconded the motion. A vote was taken and unanimously passed.
Also brought to the table was Texas Township’s plan for a new bike path along Texas Drive, which also bears KBC’s attention and representation. Victor Van Fleet volunteered for this duty. Mike Boersma made a motion that Victor Van Fleet be authorized to be a representative on behalf of the club with regard to the Texas Township bike trail along Texas Drive and report back to the club any information received regarding this project. Zolton Cohen seconded the motion. A vote was taken and unanimously passed.
The Ride for Awareness: Doug Kirk stated he will be leading a ride on Friday June 17th from Billy’s Bike Shop to Bronson Park. Other starting points such as the KVCC parking lot are also planned. Cohen said he plans on getting the information out to all members of KBC though the Yahoo Group and asks all KBC members to wear their KBC riding jerseys.
Jim Kindle stated that he has joined the Safe Kids Coalition Wheel Activity Committee, which has access to a lot of bike helmets for kids. So, if KBC has a need for them, Jim may be able to help acquire them. Kindle also stated that Kim Ditto, who he befriended on his Century ride to benefit leukemia and lymphoma, is a Psychologist for Kalamazoo Community Metal Health Association. She heads up a program for biking on the Kal Haven Trail for these young people. These are needy kids that need bikes and Ditto asked Kindle if KBC would have any resources for bikes and could help them. Since KBC has looked into buying bikes for local police departments, Kindle asked the club if they might look into buying bikes for these kids. Victor Van Fleet also brought up the idea of buying used bikes and then having them reconditioned. Zolton Cohen asked Kindle how many bikes where needed and Jim said he did not know, but that maybe the club could offer something like 3 bikes each summer. He stated he would look further into the matter and report back to the club.
Mike Berry brought up some old business from last month’s meeting about contributing to the Lucinda Means Memorial. Doug Kirk made a motion to send $250.00, which was then seconded by Zolton Cohen. The motion was put to a vote and was unanimously passed.
Treasurer’s Report: Tom Keizer reported that the club had an income of $393.00 and no outgoing expenses. We have $9,034.00 in savings and $3,528.00 in checking.
With no further business to attend to, the meeting was adjourned at 8:40 pm. Next meeting: Tuesday, July 12, 2005, 7:00 PM, Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street.
Respectfully submitted, Mike Berry, KBC Secretary
Early Summer Ramblings from the Ride Captain
As I write this installment of the Ramblings, I am in Taos, NM, having just completed the 4th day of the 7 day “Pedal the Peaks” tour. The ride started in Albuquerque, then to Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Taos, Los Alamos, and back to Albuquerque. The mileage is 80 – 100 miles each day. My average speed has been between 14 and 16 mph, which is 4 – 5 mph slower than usual pace in the Kalamazoo area. The long climbs (5 - 20 miles each) reduced my overall pace considerably.
The route contains long climbs (5 – 10 mph) fast descents (40 – 50 mph), and seemingly endless arid & rolling hills through sparsely populated countryside. Climbing for 1 – 2 hours can really test your fortitude The temperature hovered mid-90s during the day in the arid areas and in the 70s in the mountains.
Yesterday we got caught in a late morning thunderstorm in the mountains, which dropped the temperature by ~20 deg. You never know when or where they will pop up in the mountains, so one should always care rain gear just in case. The earlier you ride over the mountain pass the less chance of getting caught in the rain. This morning it was 48 deg at sunrise and the mid-80s by afternoon. The dry air in this area sucks the moisture right out of you. During the hotter days, I would typically drink 32 – 48 oz of liquid per hour. This is often not enough and you can become dehydrated by the end of the ride. As you can see, riding in NM is unlike anything in Michigan. That is part of my desire to do this ride. The terrain is different, the ride is challenging, and you meet many interesting cyclists along the way. This is my 3rd “Pedal the Peaks” tour and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in riding out west.
As to Kalamazoo, the weather has actually been fairly conducive to riding in May and early June. In fact, summer weather arrived in June. We have actually had a number of days with the temperature near ~90 deg. With the arrival of hot & humid weather comes the risk of overheating during vigorous exercise. In fact, I had a little episode of overheating on the June 10 installment of the TDG when the temp was ~90 deg with high humidity. When my heart rate shot up unexpectedly and I felt a bit funny, I decided to throttle down and take it easy for awhile. It did not take long for me to be dropped from the group. I was feeling good to that point of the ride and was drinking adequately. I hate being dropped, but crashing my bike because of heat stroke or heat exhaustion would be a much worse fate. The point of this story is to remind KBC members to be careful when riding in hot weather. You can be come overheated with little warning, so stay alert.
I rode with the Thursday night group from Texas Drive Park one Thursday evening in June. The group was small (6 riders), but dedicated to the ride and very congenial. The pace was ~16 – 17 mph and steady. Bob Kennedy has agreed to help Dave Jones lead this ride group. Thanks Bob, and welcome to a great group of ride leaders. This is a very social group ride group and I would encourage KBC members to give the ride a try.
It was a clear and warm day on June 11 for the Old Car Ride. There were 5 riders, including the ride captain. I’m not sure why attendance was low on such a gorgeous day. I rode with the group to Fulton and then headed home, since I had other commitments at home and could not complete the ride. The other 4 riders headed to Colon, then Centerville, then over the Covered Bridge and then back to Vicksburg HS. The other riders completed the ride (~60 miles) and hopefully had a great ride. We had a good time the short time I rode with them.
I hope you have been able to do some riding this month. The attendance at the 2005 KBC rides continues strong. We plan to continue the Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday rides as well as seven special weekend rides. KBC is open to other ideas for weekend rides as well. Send your ideas to any KBC officer or the Ride Captain. As always we can use more help in leading rides. Riders have been stepping up to help at the rides. Thanks everyone. Please continue help greeting new riders and making sure they get started with the appropriate ride group. It would be helpful if all members participated with this activity. Introduce yourself to someone you do not know, especially in other ride groups. Riders, if you have not tried a KBC ride yet this year, bring your bike and let's ride. Riders and especially ride leaders bring your cell phones for emergency use. It is desirable to have at least one cell phone per group.
If you have not been out to one of the KBC rides yet this year, I hope to see you in at a ride in July.
JULY RIDE SCHEDULE
ALL WEEKDAY EVENING RIDES START AT 6:15 PM in July through August
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.
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 (informally lead by a number of riders, including Victor Van Fleet)
15-20 mile group at 12-15 mph (informally lead by a number of riders)
25-30 mile recovery I group at 17 mph (led by Zolton Cohen)
25-30 mile recovery II group at 19-20 mph (led by Larry Kissinger, Randy Putt, Tom Noverr, and others)
25-30 mile group at 20+ mph (variety of leaders)
- 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. This group has gained quite a following, usually 10 – 15 riders.
- The 25-30 mile 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 most popular KBC ride groups. The 19 – 20 mph group is a steady group as well for riders who want to ride a bit faster. The leaders for the 17 mph and 19 - 20 mph groups plan to keep the groups together and at a steady pace; these 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 in July at the discretion of the riders and leaders.
The Tuesday Night Time Trial has started and will continue to run on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays in July, and August. The Barnes family is running the time trial once again this year and is using the same route as last year. The route starts at the Pavilion Township Hall at the corner of Q Ave and 28th St.
The Wednesday Ride meets at the Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot on 10th Street in Kalamazoo. KBC plans to offer 3 ride groups:
13 – 15 mph group (informal group led by a number of riders)
30 mile group at 18 - 19 mph (the Quarter-Fast Ride) (Led by Tim Stewart, Terry O’Connor and others)
30 mile group at 22+ mph (The Half-Fast Ride) (led by Zolton Cohen)
The Wednesday night Hammerfest will start at Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot at 6 PM throughout the summer. 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 15riders) and consists of racers and other experienced riders. Typically, there is no designated ride leader. The group typically fragments into smaller groups and the riders often times 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.
Women’s Morning Ride on Thursdays – Would you like to meet other women in cycling? Join Renee Mitchell and Jelania Haile for a women’s only ride on Thursday mornings. 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 features a nice and easy social ride at Texas Drive Park and has a small but 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 and Bob Kennedy).
The Friday Tour de Gull (TDG) meets at Billy’s Bike Shop in Galesburg for a ride around Gull Lake (27 miles). We have a 16-17 mph group periodically as well as a large 22+ mph group. Doug Kirk also established an alternate Southern Route, which was successful last year and is an available route. The fast group typically leads itself. It is a great route of rolling hills and curvy roads, and fast and furious finish for the 22+mph group. The south route is flatter and has minimal traffic. The northern route for this ride is well established so the ride leader job is easy. There has been interest from club members in establishing a 13-15 mph group for this ride. If you are interested, please contact the Ride Captain. We would love to have you.
16 – 18 mph group (leader TBD)(TDG)
19 – 20 mph group (south route) (leader TBD)
22+ mph group led by Randy Putt and others (TDG).
The Saturday Ride from St. Tim's has been canceled for the rest of the summer. It may start up again in the fall if there is interest for a Saturday ride.
Special July Rides
– Saturday, July 9 The 8th annual Ride to South Haven (100 miles) from KVCC on Saturday July 9 starting at led by Larry Kissinger. The pace will be 17 – 19 mph. Riders of all abilities are welcome. Additional leaders are needed for a ride pace other the one posted. The group plans to have lunch at the Sub Shop in downtown South Haven and spend a little on at the beach. It is a fun ride. Ride the whole 100 miles or ride to South Haven and have someone pick you up.
-Sunday, July 17th FlowerFest! Information on FlowerFest is available elsewhere in this issue of the PedalPress and also on the KBC website – www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org.
We now have 6 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 HS was held on May 14 with 9 riders. (Thanks once again, Rick.).
The 7th annual Old Car Festival Ride (60 - 80 miles) from Vicksburg HS was held on June 11 with 5 riders.
The 8th annual ride to South Haven with a stop at the beach (100 miles) in July 9
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.
By Zolton Cohen
Due to complaints of residents along DE Avenue following the USCF/WMU 6th Street Road Race, held on April 9th, KBC Race team coordinator Rick Updike and I met with a group of those residents on the evening of Thursday, June 9th.
Our purpose was to determine what went wrong at the race – in the view of the residents of that area - and to figure out ways we could appease some of their concerns. In addition, we intended to get their input into what would make holding the race in that vicinity next year more palatable.
Rick and David Sperry had received two contacts from DE Avenue residents following the race, each bearing a litany of complaints about the behavior of the racers and spectators, the running of the event, the lack of notification about the race prior to that Saturday, and blockage of the roadway on the days of the races. KBC’s response was to set up this meeting in order to address the complaints and to see what we could do to smooth feathers and answer questions about the running of the 6th Street Road Race.
In many ways, the area chosen for the running of this race is ideal. There is a large parking lot available nearby (the Alamo Little League fields), the course is challenging due to the hills, traffic on roads other than 6th Street is minimal, racers must only make right hand turns on the route, and the finish area is flat – conducive to sprinting at the finish line.
Rick and I understood the importance of preserving relations with nearby residents in order to have their buy-in on the event. Finding and creating a road race course is difficult and time consuming, so we determined to not burn any bridges or make promises we could not keep, or further fan the flames of the resident’s discontent. We made plans to listen to what the residents had to say first, and then respond with assurances that the items we knew had broken down during the 2005 race would be handled and fixed prior to next year. Our goal throughout was to insure that we could use the roadway in that area to race, and to make acquaintance with the residents who are affected by the running of the event.
After a few false starts, “Gail,” who seemed to be in a leadership role with the residents, and Rick came to agreement on a meeting time and date. Our first inkling that we might be getting into more than we had bargained for came when Gail emailed Rick that we probably couldn’t meet at Fricano’s Restaurant because there weren’t accommodations for groups over 15-20. So Gail volunteered to have the meeting at her house and we met on her front lawn, everyone sitting in lawn chairs in the heat.
I didn’t get an accurate count on the number of DE Avenue residents who showed up, as there were some stragglers who came in late. But as the meeting began there were about 20, and Rick and I representing KBC and its race team.
Gail’s husband Mike started things off by saying, “Frankly, you really pissed us off.” And that turned out to be one of the more cordial things said during the meeting. Others followed with their complaints about how things were run during the race. Here are some I jotted down:
1. Bike racers “took possession” of the road during the race.
2. DE Avenue was blocked to residents trying to get in and out.
3. Someone pounded sign stakes into resident’s yards without asking permission first.
4. One resident owns a business on 6th Street and was not able to get to that business without going around the block.
5. A volunteer firefighter lives on
6. The start/finish booth was set up on land without the owner’s permission.
7. The loudspeakers bothered the horses penned in the corral behind the start/finish booth.
8. Many car drivers and residents claimed to have been “flipped off” by bike racers.
9. There were children playing with the horses and climbing on the horse fence without permission.
10. It was claimed that only two residents along DE Avenue had been notified that there was going to be a bike race on April 9th.
11. Spectators and bike racers trespassed on private property without permission.
12. After the race there was trash in people’s yards.
13. Some residents heard profanity being used by racers.
14. Several residents said they observed public urination.
15. Spectators were in the roadway as cars were trying to drive past.
By far the biggest complaints centered on the issue of the lack of notification prior to the race. One gentleman, after the meeting, said that he was very obedient, and if someone gave him a plan he could adhere to it. But lacking one – lacking notification of the race – he was upset that he had to make contingency arrangements for getting to and from his house on the fly. Others, during the meeting, said that they considered the lack of notification “rude” on the part of the race organizers.
While most of the people attending the meeting were courteous and seemed to understand the complexity of running a large event – though that didn’t blunt their anger at not having been notified about the race and at the behavior of some of the bikers and spectators – others were not. Two residents in particular clearly viewed bike racers, bike riders, and bike race spectators as subhuman. One boasted that she had told one of her neighbors who was having trouble getting out of her driveway, “Hey, if they’re in your way, just run ‘em over!” She later threatened, if the race was held on DE Avenue next year, to put marbles on the road.
Additionally, this resident said that she resented “city folks” coming out and telling her she couldn’t drive on “her” road.
Despite all the exhortations it still seemed at one point to Rick and I that we could work with the residents to get through the anger and bitterness last year’s race engendered. We explained how the notification team had failed to do its job – something we only learned about afterward – and we apologized for that.
Rick also stated that holding two days of racing (WMU held a team time trial on the Sunday following Saturday’s race) was agreed to be too much of a burden to place on any one area, and said he would recommend to WMU’s Cycling Team that any event subsequent to a Saturday race be held at a different location.
Rick also apologized for the poor manners exhibited by some of the participants and spectators and said that language could be inserted into the application forms for next year that would threaten disqualification if a racer was caught displaying such anti-social behavior.
In short, we vowed to clean up our act, to tighten control of the proceedings, and ride herd on everything we could in order not to run afoul of residents in the area.
Rick carefully explained how a road race was run, everything from the lead and follow vehicles to the philosophy of the final sprint – and the importance of hills on a race course to help break up the larger groups into more manageable size.
In response, we endured “suggestions” from the residents about how we would be better off having the race on the Kal Haven Trail, or over by Bedford, where there are also rolling hills, or on a “closed course somewhere,” in order to not offend drivers.
The discussion spilled over into ride group behavior on Wednesday night rides – groups taking over one lane entirely, making it hard for cars to pass. One resident related a story of how a bike group “deliberately” moved over into the passing lane just as she was about to pass on a blind hill. She passed anyway, only to be met by a car coming in the opposite direction, which nearly caused a crash – a story at which Rick and I visibly blanched.
There were other comments made about car drivers paying taxes on property and gasoline that support road building and maintenance, and the fact that bicyclists do not pay licensing or any other types of fees. This argument, of course, conveniently ignored the fact that both Rick and I drove automobiles to the meeting.
Rick attempted to explain the financial benefits holding such a race has on an area, plus the exposure to Southwest Michigan it gave riders from different locales. All of this, every scrap of apology, every extension of goodwill, every assurance, seemed to fall on deaf ears. It seemed as though most of the residents could only see things from their own point of view.
At the end of the day we saw there was no compromise to be had, no meeting of minds, no willingness to work things out, no grudging offer to give race directors another try at getting things right.
The anger and bitterness about what had occurred two years running between bike racers and DE Avenue residents seemingly ran too deep. The residents vowed to oppose the running of the race in any way they could if it was to be held in their area next year. In light of that, Rick said that he had no choice but to recommend to the KBC and WMU race teams that they find another venue for a 2006 race.
This is as unemotionally and true as I can report what went on at this meeting. These words are my own and not Rick’s. He may have a different take on things, but it seems as though, when we had a chance to discuss things semi-privately following the conclusion of the meeting, we were pretty much in agreement about what went on.
Several residents came up to us after the meeting, shook our hands, and thanked us for coming out to listen to their grievances. A couple of them seemed as though they were not as traumatized about the race as the others were – and if we had been dealing with them only we might have been able to work out an agreement about racing on DE Avenue in the future.
Unfortunately, anger carried the day.
Compiled by Cheryl Olson
If I’ve missed your race results, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. With so many events on the local calendar it’s difficult to find them all without a bit of help!
Fort Custer Stampede MTB 5/1/05
John Meyers: 6th (Elite Men)
Cindy Gippert: 7th (Expert Women)
Dan Frayer: 3rd (Expert 20-29)
Kevin Vichinsky: 9th (Expert 30-39)
Scott Steurer: 2nd (Expert 40+)
Mike Birmann: 9th (Expert 40+)
Joe Kucharski: 5th (Singlespeed)
Taylor Birmann: 3rd (Sport 14 & under)
Bobby Keller: 1st (Sport 30-34)
Rick Gippert: 17th (Sport 40-44)
Stephen Barnes: 1st (Beginner 11-14)
TK Lawless MTB TT
John Meyers: 12th (Elite Men)
Cindy Gippert: 2nd (Expert Women)
8 Hours of Pando MTB 5/14/05
Joe Kucharski: 2nd (Individual Singlespeed)
Mike Birmann: 3rd (Individual 40+)
Dan Frayer: 3rd (Individual 20 & under)
Taylor Birmann: 5th (Individual 20 & under)
Cheryl Olson: 4th (2 Person Advanced w/ Amy Stauffer)
John Meyers: 14th (Elite Men)
Louie Kuznia:24th (Cat 3)
John Doyle: 26th (Cat 3)
Zach McBride: 29th (Cat 3)
Jeremy Woolcock: 39th (Cat 3)
James Whitsides: 51st (Cat 3)
Scott Steurer: 18th (Masters 35+)
Cheryl Olson: 8th (Women cat 1-3)
Jeff Hamilton: 2nd (Cat 1-3)
Chris Barnes: 19th (Masters 45+)
Cheryl Olson: 6th (Women Cat 1-3)
Tour of Cedar Creek RR 6/5/05
Mark Olson: 29th (Cat 1-2)
Luke Kujaczaski: 37th (Cat 1-2)
Cheryl Olson: 2nd (Women Cat 1-3)
John Doyle: 21st (Cat 3)
Jeremy Woolcock: 10th (Cat 3)
James Whitesides: 32nd (Cat 3)
John Meyers:6th (Elite Men)
Dan Frayer: 4th (Expert 20-29)
Scott Steurer: 1st (Expert 40+)
Some late results from the weekend of June 23:
At the Willow Lake 40 kilometer Time Trial Mike Peterson took first place in Elite Category 5; Jamie Clark finished 8th in that category. John Meyers placed second in Master’s Men’s 40-44. Paul Bruneau was 4th in the “open” category on his recumbent.
On the evening of Wednesday, June 15th, KBC Vice President Jim Kindle and I gave a talk on “Beginning Bicycling” at the Portage Public Library. Actually, Jim did most of the talking. My main role was to, shockingly and unexpectedly, slip out of my street clothing at a critical juncture in Jim’s presentation to reveal the full clutch of road bicycling gear I had on underneath. Though brief, my turn as a model was exhilarating. And so, Jim said, was his opportunity at the lectern to share his passion for riding.
Aside from the fact of Jim and I giving up a Wednesday night ride on one of the premium riding nights in the summer, what did anyone gain from this endeavor? Well, the half dozen of so people who came to hear us speak seemed to enjoy having the chance to query “real” bikers for advice on what kind of bike to ride, where to buy the type of bike they were interested in, and what gear makes riding more comfortable and safe. For illustrative purposes Jim had brought in his mountain and hybrid “comfort” bikes; I had my new Trek 5000 road bike, plus all the gear that goes along with it – helmet (of course), tire levers, spare tube, pump, taillight, bike shoes, Camelback, and gloves. Jim also explained the concept behind the new, comfortable “Townie” bikes that have become popular with city riders.
As our talk progressed I came to the realization that there really are people interested enough in learning about riding bicycles that they are willing to attend instructional events such as these. However, when I also considered the attendance and experience level of the attendees at KBC’s Bike Camp earlier in the summer, I also realized that, as a bike club, we’re kind of out of the loop when it comes to type of bicycling most people do in this area. At both Bike Camp and the Portage Public Library presentation the participants were universally mostly interested in riding bicycles on the Kal Haven Trail.
The Kal Haven Trail is a great asset to the
community, there’s no doubt about that. And to many people around here,
“bicycling” means riding on the Trail – pretty much exclusively. The parking
The irony of this is that there are a heck of a lot more bicyclists out there riding on the Kal Haven Trail than we have in our club. On the other hand, maybe people who ride on the Kal Haven Trail don’t need or want to gather in groups the way we do to ride on the roads. Maybe they’re content to either ride alone or with a friend or two, or with family. The Trail is quite a good place to bring kids whom you’d worry about riding on the road in traffic. So from a safety standpoint it’s a good venue.
But don’t you suppose at least some of those bicyclists could benefit from riding in a group? I can’t tell you how much information I’ve gleaned over the years from people I’ve ridden with. Much of the success and fun I’ve had in the sport has come due to tips and advice from others – and also from observing how other riders ride. And isn’t it possible that, influenced by exposure to more experienced bicyclists, some of the riders who currently view biking as something done only on the Trail might be enticed to join one of our club rides?
Now I’m not suggesting anything here; not asking for volunteers to set these poor souls right. But it’s just an interesting thing to think about. I guess my point is that many of us consider KBC kind of the be-all and end-all of biking in the community, yet right under our noses many more people are out riding on the Kal Haven Trail, in their neighborhoods, and around their own blocks. And we never know who they are.
On another note, I encourage you all to participate in KBC’s FlowerFest Tour this year. There are many different routes to choose from so you can make it as easy or as strenuous as you’d like. It would be great if you could ride in it; even greater if you volunteer to help out either before or during the event; and nirvana if you decide to do both. I’ll try to do what I’ve done for the past several years; ride in the morning, work in the afternoon at a SAG stop, and take photographs throughout.
If you’d like to volunteer but don’t want to ride and work on the same day, consider giving a hand with the road painting duties that take place in the weeks before the event, or helping set up and organizing the registrations the night before. It’s fun and you meet a lot of great people by pitching in like this. Plus, it gives you a sense of commitment both to KBC and to the community at large. Not a bad trade-off for a bit of time invested. I hope to see you all there. Information on volunteering for FlowerFest is available elsewhere in this PedalPress.
Zolton Cohen, KBC Newsletter editor.
On the evening of Friday, June 17th KBC members and many others in the community gathered together in Bronson Park to complete the “Ride for Awareness.” The Ride for Awareness started in this area to commemorate a bike/car collision between a van and two local women, Amy Mack and Kay Barker on April 17th, 2005. Both Barker and Mack were injured, Mack most severely; she spent 11 days in intensive care and still is confined to a hospital bed at home with multiple fractures of the spine, legs, and other internal injuries.
As requested by the Ride’s organizers, KBC sent two groups off toward Bronson Park; one from Billy’s Bike Shop in Galesburg (the starting point of the usual Friday night Tour de Gull club ride), the other from the KVCC parking lot. The intent was for all the groups (there were other groups of bicyclists, runners, and walkers) to converge in the park at about 7:30 PM.
Local media outlets covered the event, and when the 400 or so participants finally reached the park they were treated to a speech by well-known KBC member and pastor of St. Timothy Church in Richland, Knute Jacobson. Jacobson spoke forcefully and passionately about his love for bicycling – and also his worry that automobile drivers are not aware of those who use non-motorized transportation. He called to action those who would like to see increased awareness of other uses of the state and local roadway systems.
The Ride for Awareness rally, coverage in the media, and general concern about the issues involved with this type of accident have induced several people to write letters to the editor of the Kalamazoo Gazette and Viewpoint articles. One rebutted Lt. Terry VanStreain, of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department, who in an interview with the Kalamazoo Gazette said that he advocated changing the current law that requires bicyclists to ride with traffic. VanStreain said that he thought facing traffic would give riders more time to take evasive action when confronted with an oncoming vehicle, as opposed to the case when one approaches from the cyclist’s rear.
Organizers of the Ride for Awareness claimed to be thunderstruck by the numbers of people who turned out for the rally, and said that it was necessary for good of the community to keep this type of commitment and awareness going.
For more information about the Ride for Awareness and new information about the cause of raising awareness for bicyclists, runners, and walkers, visit www.rideforawareness.org.
Acting City Manager Ken Collard
Mayor Robert Jones
Dear Mayor, Acting Manager and Commissioners:
As a representative of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Board of Directors as well as an owner of both a law firm and real estate located at the northeast corner of the Westnedge/Lovell intersection, I am very interested in the proposal to convert Michigan and Kalamazoo Avenues as well as South, Lovell and Edwards Streets to two-way traffic.
I attended the June 9, 2005 presentation by the planners with whom the City contracted, and as a result of my report to the KBC Board of Directors at their June 14, 2005 monthly meeting, am authorized to write this letter of concern on the Board’s behalf.
Our concern is that this plan will result in a significant reduction in bicycle and pedestrian safety, a result which the presenters did not deny when questioned at the presentation. In fact, the written material handed out at the presentation mentioned this very problem.
Some of you will hopefully remember the Commission meeting several years ago at which the Commission received the City’s Non-Motorized Transportation Plan, a comprehensive blueprint to make our city more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. This plan, well over one hundred pages in length, reflects literally hundreds of hours of work by City employees such as Richard Skalski, dozens of community volunteers (myself included), and four private planning or consulting firms which received many thousands of dollars for their work.
Yet despite the obvious and dangerous implications to bicyclists and pedestrians, the two-way street planners at the June 9th meeting appeared not to have consulted the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan at all. Not one of the presenters even intimated that they had reviewed the Non-Motorized Plan, and IF they had, they would have observed that the map for proposed bicycle routes (located at page 4-11 of the Non-Motorized Plan) shows both South and Lovell Streets becoming THE east/west bike routes through downtown.
One need not possess a degree in urban planning to imagine the dangers to cyclists and pedestrians resulting from two-way traffic on these streets. The lanes will be narrow—by necessity. Bike lanes will be an impossibility, and certainly were not included in the two-way street proposal. Traffic congestion will increase—even the presenters at the meeting agreed this was so. Drivers failing to yield properly when making left turns will cause an increased number of accidents with other cars, as well as cyclists and pedestrians.
Presently, cyclists can traverse the downtown area east-and-west on South and Lovell in relative safety, and would be safer once the bike-lanes in the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan are implemented. Two-way streets will dramatically increase the danger, and, no doubt, the frequency of accidents. The City may even face liability issues and litigation as a result.
On behalf of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club, my point is simple: this proposal simply does not adequately consider the needs—nor the safety—of non-motorized travelers in our community. Until it does so, consistent with the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan, this two-way street proposal should go no further.
Doug Kirk, President Emeritus, Kalamazoo Bicycle Club
By Axel Kleat
Those of you whose interest in bike racing doesn’t go much deeper than the Tour de France—or the latest KBC time trial results—would be unaware that the 2005 United States Road Race Champion is Chris Wherry.
Chris was one of the Saturn team riders we were lucky enough to have show up and ride with us at our Flowerfest tour before the Saturn dropped its sponsorship of bike racing. I think he was here in 2001 or 2002. Many of you will remember him: a tall, slender, lanky fellow who showed up alone but made friends easily. He was totally relaxed and jovial even though the town, the roads and most of all every single person here, were completely new to him.
One thing I remember about him was that, as far as I could tell, he did the entire 60-mile Flowerfest route in the same gear—big chainring, smallest cog—53 x 12. It must have been good training for him because he won a big race in Colorado a week later. I keep vaguely informed about the domestic road racing scene, and Chris has done very well the last few years. But I’d venture to say that he’d agree that winning our national professional road race championship—the biggest, most important one-day bike race in the United States year after year—is the highlight of his career.
The race is held in Philadelphia every June, is about 156 miles, and is open to both American and European professional teams. That means many of the same teams compete in the Tour de France, the Giro, et al. The U.S. champion is the highest placing American in the race, though more often than not the overall winner is European.
But this year a trio of Americans broke away near the end and refused to be caught. They worked well together, but Chris had the legs when is mattered, and I hasten to add that having the legs to do anything—much less power away to victory—after racing 156 miles on a hot, humid June afternoon is nothing short of wondrous in the eyes of this old codger.
So quite a few KBC folks, including yours truly, can rightly say we’ve ridden with a true American champion—and that we did so right here in Kalamazoo.
Tired of Tires:
If you ride a skinny-tired bike and have only begun doing so in the last ten years or so, I wonder if you realize how lucky you are. Twenty years ago racing tires rarely lasted 700 miles. For anyone who rode seriously flats were, if not weekly affairs, certainly monthly. Riding through a batch of broken glass almost certainly meant at least one flat, and the tires were much harder to pry off the rims back then too. I bet I averaged close to fifteen flats a year back then.
Nowadays, tire failures are so rare that my routine is to replace a worn out rear tire with the tire I’ve been running on the front, and put new rubber on the front. That way I’ve always got a new tire up front, where the proper tread profile and depth is most important.
I find that I get 2000 - 2500 miles on each end of the bike—a total of 4000 - 5000 miles—from a high quality tire this way.Very little tread disappears from the front tire in a couple of thousand miles—it looks nearly new when I switch it to the back.
I actually find that more of my flats the last few years are from the metal valve tearing loose from the innertube (poor quality tube construction) than from something penetrating the tire and tube.
Of course, there’s only one reason why good quality clincher tires cost more than some automobile tires—which not only have far more material in their carcasses and far more tread, but must also be safe to triple digit speeds while carrying a thousand or more pounds apiece. It’s the same reason gas prices are so high. Clods like me are willing to pay what those manufacturers ask!
2005 KBC Board of Directors Executive Committee:
President: Mike Boersma Phone: 269-720-1409
Vice President: Jim Kindle Phone: 269-382-8053
Secretary: Mike Berry Phone: 269-427-7204
Treasurer: Tom Keizer Phone: 269-382-4737
Other Important KBC
Database Manager: Paul Bruneau Phone: 343-6016
Newsletter Editor: Zolton Cohen Phone: 344-0200
Ride Captain: Randy Putt Phone: 649-1814
Social Director: Michele Intermont Phone: 373-8929
Social Director: Megan James Phone:
Webmaster: Kathy Kirk Phone: 388-5045
FlowerFest Director: Dave Jones Phone: 760-8869
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
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.