Some of us will recall the Ride for Awareness rally in Bronson Park in June. Some will remember meeting at points around Kalamazoo County to ride into Bronson Park. I will remember the kindness of Ron Newhouse, for he is the reason that there is a “tale of the tire.”
On the way to Galesburg to meet a group that was heading to Bronson Park for the Ride for Awareness, I flatted. It was not just any flat, it was a casing slash from the newly laid chip and seal the Kalamazoo County Road Commission had placed on ML Avenue for bicycling enjoyment. Casing slashes are fatal blows to tires: even if the tube is replaced, the slash will allow sharp objects to puncture the new tube, or the new tube to protrude and subsequently explode. As Zolton and I were fixing the flat, Ron Newhouse and his daughter rode up on their tandem. Ron offered his replacement folding tire so I could continue the ride that night. Call it kismet. I accepted, mounted the tire on my wheel and away I went.
I replaced the tire and carefully folded Ron’s tire to return to him. We have yet to meet on any Kalamazoo Bicycle Club rides. The tire remained in my bike trunk.Part Two
The bicycling challenge I set for myself in 2005 was to do a brevet series. A brevet series consists of several long - and several very long - unsupported bicycle rides. Riders must be self sufficient, among other things.
At 4:00 AM on June 26 it was raining buckets. Rain, as many of you are aware, tends to make debris stick to your tires, often leading to flats (Editor’s note: Read the Editor’s Letter for more information on this subject). I was on my bike at this time doing one of the brevet rides (sleep is for slackers). I flatted. I changed the tube and rode on. I flatted again. It is a miserable experience changing a flat at 4:00 AM in a pouring rainstorm. The only thing worse is having to do it again. I pulled the tire from the wheel and inspected it by the light of my little LED light. There was a casing slash. The tire was toast. Wet toast.
In my bike pack, I had packed the folding tire. I carefully unfolded it and placed it on the wheel. After changing the tube, I was off. The tire performed admirably and I finished the 370 mile bike ride later that evening.
I replaced the tire and carefully folded it to return to Ron Newhouse. Weeks passed and I did not see him. The tire remained in my bike trunk.Part Three
I volunteered to drive SAG for the Flowerfest bike ride. I figured that I would bring some tools, my floor pump, a couple of spare innertubes, and the rest of the contents of my bike trunk along for the ride. Included in this kit was Ron’s tire.
As I was driving along ML Avenue, I spotted a group of Kalamazoo Bicycle Club members with their hands raised. Bicyclists with their hands raised is the sign for the support car. A little further down the road was a biker with a sidewall blowout. His tire was finished. I offered the folding tire to him, and after filling the tube with air, away he went. As far as I know, he finished the ride.
The moral of this story is that an act of kindness will be repaid. The second lesson is that you are only as good as your spare tire. To Ron Newhouse, I offer my gratitude for lending me your tire. I hope to return it to you as soon as possible.
Mike Boersma, KBC President
Stage 9 in the Tour de France found me sitting at my computer wasting huge amounts of time (and that wasn’t – by far - the only day I did this) listening to the live commentary on the OLN website. It began to rain in France that day, and one of the announcers said in a very assured tone, “Well, as soon as the roads start to get wet, we’ll soon see a rash of tire punctures.”
Sure enough, within minutes of that pronouncement riders in the peloton starting rupturing tires as though someone had thrown handfuls of tacks out onto the roadway.
What is there about a rainy riding day that makes tires go flat? I had never heard of that before, never experienced it, and it got me curious. So I sent around an email through the KBC listserve, polling members for more information. I got back an amazing list of theories about rain and tire punctures. Here are some:
Of all the rejoinders, #4 had the most support – and it sounds the most logical as well. #2 is also plausible, though local conditions could vary considerably. Paul Bruneau suggested I try a test to see which would pick up more debris from the side of a road, my dry finger or wet tongue. I may have fallen for that a few years ago, but I’m older and wiser now. So I just did the experiment with chocolate chip cookie crumbs. And by golly, he’s right! The tongue is more sticky – and it has more taste buds than do the fingers, so that’s a bonus.
So, unless I hear otherwise, #4 and #2 are going to be my answers about the rain/tire puncture issue from now on – and more sustenance for the already-long set of reasons I don’t like to ride in the rain….
FlowerFest: In my working stint at the Briar Patch SAG stop on Q Avenue during FlowerFest, I got to see many of the riders who did the tour that day. I relieved Bruce DeDee, Celine Keizer, and a woman named Kathy, who had all been there since the morning. As it turned out I really didn’t have a lot to do, as their organization of the site was impeccable. So I turned my attention to the riders, conversing with many, trying to glean their impressions of FlowerFest 2005.
Many commented that they liked the course changes, liked the food and friendliness of the volunteers at registration and the SAG stops, and thought the entire thing was well run. Negatives mentioned were the last-minute, fresh chip-and-seal gravel on Q Avenue in particular. Apparently, the presence of the stones forced some riders to ride further out into the roadway than some auto drivers thought acceptable. As a result, there were a couple of reports of car passengers yelling and screaming at riders, and one verbal confrontation with a driver of a pickup truck who had pulled off the road to vocalize his displeasure.
I also spoke with Rick and Kim Lanting, past President and Treasurer, respectively, of the Grand Rapids Rapid Wheelmen. We had met last year at FlowerFest and talked at some length about the challenges of running, and volunteering to work at, a bicycle club. The Wheelmen were going through a lot of upheaval at the time due to disagreement between the club’s leadership about whether or not to publish their ride schedule on their website. The Lantings felt that doing so would enable riders to just show up, do the rides, and not have any incentive to join the bike club – that there would be no “benefit” to membership.
This year, Rick and Kim elaborated on how those issues had shaken out. The bike club does now publish their ride schedule online. The Lantings also related how contentiousness within the hierarchy of their club had caused them both to quit. It was pretty sobering, and it struck me that the Rapid Wheelmen had lost a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and experience when Rick and Kim left. I wished them well and hope to see them next year.
But back to our FlowerFest. The day was hot. Hot and humid. So much so that many riders arriving at the Briar Patch looked as though, after dismounting, they had jumped into a nearby lake or stream before they hit the food tables. At some points there were actual lines (though short) at the water and Gatorade buckets, and it kept us hopping to keep them topped off and iced. This year I had made mention to the FlowerFest Organizing Committee that I didn’t want to run out of food at the SAG stop the way we had near the end of the event last year, and we didn’t. There was plenty of food right down to the last rider to arrive, and the leftover subs went to food banks and homeless shelters in Kalamazoo.
Another thing I noticed both at the start and at the SAG stop was that there were many more riders I did not know than riders I did. The riders - and their bicycles as well - came in all shapes and sizes. The KBC membership was well represented, but I also observed hundreds of people I’d never laid eyes on before, each out having fun riding a bicycle. It was good to see – and it also reminded me that, though KBC has a large constituency, there are a lot of bicyclists out there whose lives we only touch on the day of FlowerFest. It would be good to see them during the rest of the year.
In all, it was a good day. KBC was responsible for getting nearly 400 bicyclists outdoors on a day so hot and muggy that many would probably have preferred to stay inside. They had fun, got some exercise, and saw a bit of the countryside around Kalamazoo. I got a lot of photographs that I’ll work with Webmaster Kathy Kirk to mount online. See you at FlowerFest next year!
Zolton Cohen, KBC Newsletter editor
Active subscriptions in KBC: 235 (339 Individuals)
Andy Alexander * Stephen Barnes * Aimee Brooks * Linda Bruneau * Alex Clothier * Deeann Dopp * John Doyle * Paula Eckert * Michael Foley * Charmaine Hostetler * David Jones * Katie Jones * Josh Kalkman * Austin Kucharski * Tomme Maile * Melania Marquardt * Jeff Robertson * Fred Royce * Tyler Stevens * Tyson Vonderfecht * Matt Wells
Lindsay Bucher * Joseph Doe * Mike Dunn * Robyn Glownia * Bill Goodrich * Linnell Goodrich * Michael Parr * Donna Sandefur * Nick Schwartz * Rob Schwenk * Arend Voorman * Richard Voorman * Myra Willis * Cris Wolthuis
Lee Anderson * Laurie Anderson * Charles Barnes * David & Diane Bishop * Michael Boersma * James Bray Family * Kay Chase * Martin Coffey * Deeann Dopp * Michael Foley * Dan Frayer * Ronald Gauthier Family * Laurie Homrich * George Jarvis * Frank Machnik Family * Zach McBride * Michael McPhilamy * Tony Nelson * Jennifer Niedzielski * Antony Randall Family * Cal Samra * LeMoin Shadduck * Carl Shinabargar * David Sperry * Timothy A. Stewart * Kevin Waterstradt * Rick Whaley * Joe Williams
KBC’s regular monthly meeting was held Tuesday, July 12, 2005, at 7:00 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, and Victor Van Fleet.
The first topic of business was from Database Manager Paul Bruneau. Bruneau stated that although he is now the Co-Moderator of the KBC Yahoo Group and able to add e-mail addresses to the listserve, he has not done so as he has been busy with the Flowerfest applications. As soon as that has been taken care of, he will add those addresses to the listserve.
Bruneau also delivered to the group the new, color KBC brochures. He had volunteered to get three quotes from printers for lots of 500 and 1000 at the May meeting, and with great success was able to get a printing of 2000 at a cost of $750 or approximately $.40 apiece. This is a substantial savings; in the past the brochures cost approximately $1 apiece. They will now be distributed to local bike shops.
Flowerfest report: Since Dave Jones who is the head of the Flowerfest Organizing Group (F.O.G.) was not present for this meeting, discussion on this topic amongst members present centered on how and when the group needed help to mark the routes and help with SAG stops and registration. The consensus was that members should meet on Thursday night, July 14, at 6:00 pm at the KVCC parking lot to help mark routes and at that time get further instructions from the F.O.G. on where and when help is needed on the day of the event, Sunday July 17.
Victor Van Fleet, who volunteered to represent KBC at the Texas Township meeting on June 27 at 7:00 pm to gather information on the new bike and walking trail that is about to be put in along Texas Drive near the Texas Drive Park area, reports that even though the trail is a done deal, the members of the board welcomed KBC’s input. On matters concerning bicycling in the community, Van Fleet proposed that KBC be a cooperative entity and attend future meetings to express bicyclist’s concerns and ideas. After some discussion, it was agreed to have Van Fleet continue to champion KBC’s involvement at these meetings.
Van Fleet also expressed his desire for KBC to sponsor “Healthy Habits” bike rides to address the health crisis of overweight/obesity and to increase membership. Mike Boersma stated to Van Fleet that two opportunities presently exist for club input: (1) working with Leo Goddeyne (Scout Master) and his Boy Scout troop on their Bicycling merit badge; and (2) an opportunity to work with Lakeside Treatment and Learning Center to fix up bikes for the kids in residence to ride. KBC has helped Lakeside in the past to repair and refurbish bicycles. Stated Boersma, “Maybe these are two opportunities for the bike club to get involved with educating these youngsters on the benefits of healthy habits.” Zolton Cohen will contact Mr. Goddeyne to see how KBC can assist the Boy Scouts in their bicycling quest.
On another topic, Van Fleet asked the club if it would get behind, promote, and endorse an indoor venue for bike riding. Such a setting would allow bicyclist to ride at night, during times of inclement weather, and during the winter months. Discussion on this topic had everyone present in agreement that the club could get behind an indoor venue development if and when it presented itself. Van Fleet was referring primarily to the vacant GM plant on Sprinkle Road. He will inquire as to the feasibility of using this facility for bicycling in the future.
Providing news media with frequent PR releases regarding KBC activities and/or accomplishments was also a topic of discussion. Zolton Cohen thanked Victor Van Fleet for all he has done for the club recently, as the club has had more exposure in the community due to his efforts. In particular, he asked Van Fleet if, in fact, he might like to be a guest on a local radio show since he would be, and is, a good spokesman for the club. Van Fleet said he had not given it any thought but would be willing to do so and will continue his efforts to get more exposure for the club with the local media.
KBC Race Team Report: Neither Dave Sperry nor Rick Updike were at this meeting so there are no updates this month on the team’s situation regarding locating a new race venue. The club hopes to hear from the KBC Race Team at the next monthly meeting.
Treasurer’s Report: Tom Keizer reported that the club had income of $2,343 and outgoing expenses of $820 this month. The checking account balance is $5,128 and savings of $9,038. Keizer stated that most of the income was from the approximately 105 Flowerfest registrations. Keizer also noted that the club has sent a check in the amount of $250 to the Lucinda Means Memorial on behalf of KBC. This was the amount agreed to and voted on at the May meeting.
With no further business to attend to, the meeting was adjourned at 8:00 pm. Next meeting: Tuesday, August 9, 2005, at 7:00 pm, Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street.
Respectfully submitted, Mike Berry, KBC Secretary
As I write this installment of the Ramblings, the Michigan Senior Olympics (held in Kalamazoo), the annual Ride to South Haven, and Flowerfest are in the history books, and Lance is closing in on his 7th Tour de France win. July has been a busy and exciting month for cycling in KBC.
The weather has certainly warmed up; in fact, it has been down right hot in late June and July to date. In fact, tomorrow is predicted to be the hottest day of the year, 97 degrees. We have had numerous days with the temperature near or above 90 degrees. We have had plenty of rain in the last couple of weeks, so there have been a few cancellations of KBC rides. Along with the hot summer temperatures come road repairs. The county road crews have been busy laying down new chip and seal on numerous roads in Kalamazoo and adjoining counties. All of our usual biking routes have one or more roads with new chip and seal. Keep a careful lookout for loose gravel. It can be treacherous.
It was a clear, calm, and warm day on July 8 for the annual Ride to South Haven. We had a great turn out of 20 riders. The group maintained a 17 mph average speed to South Haven with a steady pace. There was lots of conversation among the riders. What a great way to spend a Saturday! We enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Subs’n’More, along with the classic car show in downtown South Haven. After lunch the group headed back to Kalamazoo with a favorable tailwind. The trip back was a bit faster and steady pace. The overall average speed for the 102 miles was 18 mph. I think everyone had a good time. I know I did.
I had the good fortune of participating in the Senior Olympics in July. The biking events were held July 15 and 16 starting at the Pavilion Township Hall. Several other KBC members (Victor Van Fleet, Harriet Swanson, Mark McCormick) and Kalamazoo area residents (Jim Henderson, Dan Hoff, Dick Nivala, Dallas Townsend, Robert Unser) participated in the biking events. My apologies if I missed anyone from KBC or the Kalamazoo area. Participants came from all over the state of Michigan.
There were about 50 riders total, men and women, from 50 to 86 years old. There were 4 events; 5K TT (Time Trial), 10K TT, 20K road race, and 40K road race. The weather was hot and humid. In the time trials the riders were sent out at one minute intervals for the race against the clock. The road races were a mass start with all riders. The road races were fun, with tactics and strategy. In the 40K road race the temperature was quite warm. My legs were cramping by the end, so I was happy to finish. With races this short the win came down to a final sprint of the pack, 10 riders in the 40K and 15 riders in the 20K. The times for the 5K TT ranged from 7.5 minutes to 18 minutes, 10K TT times ranged from 16.3 minutes to 27 minutes, 20K road race times from 34 minutes to 56 minutes, 40K road race times from 1.1 hours to 2 hours.
Medal Results for area participants including Name, Age Group, Event, Medal(s)
I was impressed by the fitness of the participants. Everyone seemed to have a great time. I found it to be a rewarding experience and would highly recommend the event next year. The Senior Olympics will be held in Kalamazoo again next year and I hope there is even a better turnout, especially from Kalamazoo area riders. Victor Van Fleet and I hope to get KBC more involved in planning the biking event for next year. Bryon Bierema led the organization of the biking event with help from Ken Mange. I hope Bryon and Ken are willing to work on the event next year as well. There were numerous other volunteers in supporting roles. The events were held on the KBC TT course and the biking event headquarters was at Pavilion Township Hall. Pavilion Township did a great job and I thank them for their hospitality. The volunteers and participants made this event very memorable. Thank you.
I just learned this week that more research jobs will be leaving Pfizer and Kalamazoo in the next few months. There are several KBC members affected who will be making some life changing decisions soon. Some will find other jobs in this area, some will retire, and others will be pursuing new opportunities away from Kalamazoo.
I hope you have been able to do some riding this month. The attendance at the 2005 KBC rides has dropped off a bit as we enter into vacation season. We plan to continue the Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday rides as well as 6 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 at a ride in August.
All weekday evening rides except the Hammerfest start at 6:15 PM in August
The Hammerfest on Wednesday nights starts at 6:00 PM
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:
- 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 often ride the same route in. 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. The 17 mph and 19 – 20 mph groups may combine depending on the number of riders present. These groups are riding the Schoolcraft route, which is mostly flat.
- All riders who want to push the pace and ride hills on the Lawton route can do so in the 19 -20 mph group or 20+ mph group. These groups may combine depending on the number of riders.
The Tuesday Night Time Trial continues. The Barnes family is running the time trial once again this year and is using the same route as last year. The ten mile route starts at the Pavilion Township Hall at the corner of Q Ave and 28th St. The time trial will run the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays in August. Start time is 6:15. Please come early to warm up and sign up.
The Wednesday Ride meets at the Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot on 10th Street, west of Kalamazoo. KBC plans to offer 3 ride groups:
The Wednesday Night Hammerfest also starts at Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot at 6 PM. 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 usually 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.
Women’s Thursday Morning 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. Meet at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC- south-west parking lot by the tennis courts) on Thursday mornings at 10AM. The pace will be 15-16 mph with a distance of 20-25 miles.
Thursday Night Ride is a nice and easy social ride night at Texas Drive Park and is 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 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 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 hear from you.
The 8th annual Ride Around Kalamazoo County (100 miles) is scheduled for August 20 led by Randy Putt and others TBD. Meet at the KVCC parking lot (SW corner near the tennis courts) and be ready to ride at 8 AM. The pace of the ride is generally in the18 mph average range. The pace depends on the riders in the group. I encourage riders of all abilities to attend. We need leaders to accommodate other ride paces as well. Contact Randy if you are interested in leading a group at another pace. Bring your own food and some money to refuel along the way. The group plans to stop at least 3 times (Richland, Galesburg and/or Climax, Vicksburg) along the way for food. A map will be provided or obtain one from the KBC web page.
We 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 dates for the later-season 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com .
Randy Putt, KBC Ride Captain
Below you will find the race results for one of the summer’s greatest cycling weekends - and it is right here in Michigan! This festival is well worth the journey to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This bike festival offers activities for everyone in every age group, of any ability with any bike.
Some of the many events include a twilight criterium, road races of varying lengths, mountain bike races of varying lengths, gravity events, mountain climbs and so much more. The criterium draws out the locals in droves, ringing the 350 cow bells that the local dairy donates. It is a fantastic atmosphere to race in or for spectators on the shores of Lake Superior.
The road races are rolling and scenic and best of all, they are point to point – no riding in circles!! The mountain bike race course is the best in Michigan, using the full elevation available at Marquette Mountain’s ski resort. In addition to the multitude of events offered, the town offers a friendly atmosphere with tons to do for the non-cyclists in the family. Mark your calendar for next year, as it is always the weekend after Father’s Day. Visit http://www.superiorbikefest.com for more information or ask someone about it whose name appears in the race results below.
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!
We did have some minor glitches, including a couple of spills on the new chip and seal on Q Avenue (but no serious injuries); some reported instances of “road rage” from drivers; and a few logistics issues. These will all be factored into our planning for next year’s event.
I also extend my thanks to the other KBC members who volunteered on the day of the event to help at Registration, the rest areas, SAG and clean-up, as well as Breakaway Bicycles and Prosport (Keith Little), who provided mechanical assistance at the start of the ride and at the Briar Patch SAG stop. Kudos also to Fred Doyle and Subway for supplying and delivering all the tasty subs, and our many corporate sponsors who donated food, money, and volunteers – notably Center for the Healing Arts and their massage artists. Lastly, thanks to all the KBC riders who participated and made the day a great success.
We will be starting to plan for Flowerfest 2006 in September and need at least two (or more) volunteers to join the Committee to take over the responsibilities for artwork, catering and the brochure. If anyone is interested, please e-mail me at email@example.com and I will be in contact with them when I get back from a two-week ride around the state.
Thank you one and all!
Dave Jones, FlowerFest Organizing Committee Chair.
2001 Klein Quantum Race road bike, 51cm with Shimano Ultegra components, Rolf Vector rims and Profile Design aero bars - Silver Cloud (white and silver fade) paint scheme and it looks like it's straight out of the box. Asking $1,000. Contact Jinny Ahrens at 269-217-2199 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a photo.
Keith W. Little, proprietor of Prosport Bike Shop, has announced that his bike shop, which has seen numerous locations over the last few years, is back in business in a small strip mall at the southeast corner of 12th and Milham Streets. It is on the corner opposite Wedel’s, and just a few miles from the start of the Monday night KBC rides; convenient for last-minute tire or tube acquisition. Prosport’s phone number is (269) 370-5261.
Unfortunately, the Kalamazoo County Road Commission had just laid fresh chip and seal stone coating on just over half of the course. The prospect of riding on the treacherous gravel, apparently, kept rider numbers down to eight. The good news is that the cameraman got some decent footage of the start, finish, and the “during” part of the event. In her televised report Smith did an excellent and accurate job of relaying information not only about time trials in general, but also about the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. She also noted that the WWMT.com site now has a link to KBC’s website.
Among interviewees who made the final cut were TNTT organizer Chris Barnes; Houston Peterson and his son Rudy, age 10; Doug and Kathy Kirk; and Mike Boersma. John Meyers’s bright yellow Zip wheel disk and drivetrain were prominently featured in one shot, as was the official KBC stopwatch ticking the seconds away. Boersma, the Kirks, and Bob Kennedy were shown in action while riding the course, and a certain grizzled newsletter editor also appears, sending the riders off using both English and French to count down the final seconds before each start.
All in all it was great exposure for KBC through the electronic media, and the club was well represented by those who spoke on behalf of not only our local cycling activities, but also about cycling in general. Video footage of the Channel 3 report is available at: http://www.wwmt.com/features/fitnessfirst.shtml. Database Manager Paul Bruneau also plans to digitize the tape and mount it on the KBC website.
In Print: This summer has been a good one in terms of publicity for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. Thanks in large part to Safety and Education Chair Victor Van Fleet, several articles about bicycling - illustrated with photographs - have appeared in the Kalamazoo Gazette. Some of the PR had to do with the Senior Olympics, which were held in Kalamazoo this year, but there are also recurring announcements about the club’s riding schedule in the Bulletin Board section and other bicycling-related articles. In addition, the Sports section has done quite a comprehensive job of covering the Tour de France.
On the other side of the coin, the print and electronic media have also covered several bike-car accidents this year, including one on Sunday, July 17th, that put KBC member Kevyn Raynes in the hospital with serious injuries. Raynes was riding east on M-96 in the area where the Tour de Gull ends its final sprint when an automobile driver plowed into him from behind, going approximately 55 miles per hour. The impact threw Raynes over the hood of the car, into the windshield, and then into the air, crushing a vertebra in his neck. He is expected to recover, but will wear a neck brace for months and have his activities curtailed for even longer.
For more insight into car-bike accidents, please read the piece written by Paul Pancella on this subject in this PedalPress. This article also appeared as a Viewpoint in the Kalamazoo Gazette, and is one of the most logical, forceful, and well-reasoned bits of writing you’ll find on this issue.
Media exposure such as KBC has received this summer is beneficial not just in that it serves as a recruiting tool for club membership. It also helps to raise awareness of bicycling and other forms of non-motorized transportation – and perhaps may reduce the necessity for reporting on car-bike accidents in the future.
Texas Township is in the process of installing a walk-way/bike-way on the south side of Texas Drive from Texas Drive Park to the intersection with 8th Street. When it was suggested that a widening and striping of the roadway would be more practical and useful to bicyclists, the response was that the walk-way/bike-way is a done deal and anything involving the roadway is the responsibility of the County Road Commission.
Additionally, 10th Street is to be rebuilt/resurfaced this summer and will include a four-foot bike lane on both sides - providing funds are available. Texas Township seems to be very supportive of non-motorized traffic and as such has a township map showing proposed pathways and connection with contiguous jurisdictions.
Proposal: That KBC go on record as a cooperative entity in any township efforts to increase/ improve/provide safe non-motorized routing to and from various points of interest in this and the surrounding area.
Overweight/obesity is a national health crisis that involves over 60% of our population, young and old. Commonsense eating habits (less fat, sugar, salt and more fiber) and more exercise (30 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise 4 or 5 days per week) would solve more health problems than all the medicine in the world. Biking (KBC and bike stores) in cooperation with running/walking (Gazelle) could eventually make a significant difference in overall health in this area by sponsoring, promoting, training, encouraging and supporting individual and family participation in a Healthy Habits program.
Benefits: Better health, look better, feel better, more energy, less sickness, less medical expense, less insurance expense, increased life span plus unlimited happiness. The benefit to KBC could be a dramatic increase in membership. If enough of us started biking to and from work, stores, etc, we might see the price of gas go down!
Proposal: That KBC endorse/promote/support/fund/approve/sanction a community plan of action extolling the virtues of better nutritional habits and better physical exercise habits as the road to vastly better physical/mental/spiritual/social well being.
Local bicyclists could use a facility where night riding, cold weather riding, inclement weather riding, road biking, mountain biking, training sessions, bike repair and maintenance classes could take place.
Possible Locations: Mid-Link (the old GM plant) as a separate entity or in cooperation with existing businesses. Soccer Zone may be another possible location, or Vicksburg in the building that was formerly a paper mill. Hovius and his airplane facility currently occupy part of this building.
Proposal: That KBC explore the possibilities and potential for a self-sufficient indoor venue which would include bikers, runners, walkers as well as various equipment vendors i.e. bike shops, athletic shops etc.
By Paul Pancella, Chairman of the Physics Department at Western Michigan University
(Editor’s note: This Viewpoint article originally appeared in the Kalamazoo Gazette and appears here with Pancella’s permission.)
Thanks for publishing Barbara Walters’ excellent story about the aftermath of cars running into bicycles (Monday, June 13). All of us feel sympathy for the plight of the young women featured. Is such suffering the inevitable price we pay for our mobility, or is there something we can do to reduce the frequency and severity of car-bike collisions?
I believe that, as a society, we have many opportunities to improve this situation. Lt. VanStreain of the sheriff’s department says that the law should be changed so that cyclists ride against automobile traffic on two-way streets, as pedestrians are advised to do when there is no sidewalk. With all due respect for the lieutenant’s long experience, this is exactly the wrong thing to do. There are many reasons why cycling against traffic is much more dangerous for the cyclist than operating like all other vehicles on the road. (http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/traffic/wrong.htm is one of the best summaries on the web.) Unlike pedestrians, bikes can’t simply leave the roadway every time an oncoming car approaches in the same lane, especially when there are curbs. Cyclists travel much faster than pedestrians, thus going the wrong way more than doubles the number of car-bike encounters on city streets. It also increases the relative speed if there is a collision, leading to more serious injuries. Every intersection and driveway becomes a far greater hazard, etc. Even with the law requiring bicycles to travel on the right, as it now does throughout the US, the few who travel on the left already account for a significant percentage of bicycle fatalities and serious injuries.
This advice also reveals a pervasive prejudice: that it is primarily the cyclist’s responsibility to avoid “accidents” with cars. The theory is that by facing oncoming traffic, the cyclist would be better able to “take evasive action.” I suggest that changing this attitude would go a long way toward reducing injuries to cyclists caused by cars. (Much of what is said here applies equally well to pedestrians.) We should place the primary responsibility for avoiding collisions where it belongs, with the automobile drivers. Why should car drivers bear the greater share of responsibility in encounters with cyclists? For the simple reason that they have far greater potential for damaging life and limb.
Periodically, it seems necessary to restate the obvious. The privilege of driving an automobile on public roads does not come for free, it demands certain responsibilities on the part of drivers. Tops among these responsibilities ought to be “do not drive forward unless you can see that the way ahead is clear of obstacles.”
Traffic laws are written to reflect this, but we are way too reluctant to prosecute drivers who strike pedestrians or cyclists. As your statistics show, cars hit walkers and bikers routinely, here in Kalamazoo and all over the country. Rarely do the drivers even get a citation, let alone get charged with a crime. Yet many of these incidents happen in broad daylight, like the one you profiled. The driver almost always says “I didn’t see him/her,” or the equivalent. Instead of being a mitigating excuse, such a statement should be understood for what it is: an admission of the gross negligence the sheriff says he has trouble proving. If car drivers really can’t see person-sized objects directly in front of them, then they are operating a deadly vehicle in a way that is bound to maim or kill, and they should be prosecuted. The body lying on the ground is proof enough that it happened.
I suppose we tolerate such behavior because nowadays we are all drivers, and we want to cut ourselves some slack. But there are still some folks outside the cars, and they have a right to walk and ride the public streets. It is simply wrong to allow automobile drivers to kill and injure them with impunity. As cars get larger and more armored, with more airbags and restraints for drivers and passengers, there is much less physical incentive to drive responsibly. If we don’t enforce the laws that exist to penalize drivers who run over people, we are sending exactly the wrong message, and we can only expect the carnage to continue.
I just returned from a summer bicycling vacation, and I found a great way to get a long way from home pretty quickly so I was able to spend nearly all my time riding in the area I wanted to visit rather than spending too much of the vacation time cycling to and from my destination.
I took the train, and believe me, train travel is a whole lot more civilized than air travel. I also learned it’s much easier to deal with your bike on the train than when flying. Although the Amtrak trains that come through Kalamazoo do not allow bikes on board (there’s no baggage car on the Kalamazoo trains), the trains passing through South Bend, Indiana do. Those trains go to Chicago and New York, and connect to all sorts of other cities all over the country.
Turns out that Amtrak keeps bike boxes at the stations on lines that allow bikes. The boxes cost ten dollars and they charge an additional five dollars for the actual shipping. The boxes are plenty big, too. All you have to do is turn the handlebars sideways and remove the pedals. Then just roll your trusty steed into the box and use the packing tape they supply.
The baggage cars are enormous, as you might imagine, and you need not fear that your dream machine is under half a dozen suitcases. Generally, the baggage car isn’t one-tenth full. Most of the passengers on board keep their stuff with them, and don’t have anything at all to share space with your wonder-bike.
I biked to South Bend (85 miles), and rode the rails overnight from South Bend to Buffalo, New York, thereby eliminating four or five hundred flat miles and three large cities (Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio, and Erie, Pennsylvania). In the morning, I ate a nice, civilized breakfast on the train and stepped down three steps to the platform. My bike box was there in moments, and I was ready to ride less than an hour after I stepped off the train.
An hour and a half after that I was biking past Niagara Falls before heading east across northern New York state. And speaking of New York, I hasten to add that the riding in upstate New York is truly excellent. Very good roads, minimal traffic, and challenging terrain—especially in the Finger Lakes area (in the central part of the state), and the Adirondack Mountains to the east.
Further, the New York Department of Transportation has developed three cross-state bike routes—on good shoulders of lightly traveled roads. The routes are reasonably well signed and the NYDOT also publishes really good maps of each route (I ordered mine in advance after Googling New York Department of Transportation). These maps are so good they even show elevation changes and list what services are available in the towns along the way.
And the scenery is stunning. The Finger Lakes area is some of the most lush, rolling countryside in the Midwest. As I continued east, I could see the three thousand foot high Adirondack Mountains. Before long I found myself in territory every bit as rural and uninhabited as anything I’ve seen east of the Mississippi River -including our own Upper Peninsula.
Turns out big, tall mountains within spitting distance of Lake Ontario also mean hillsides punctuated with beautiful, tree-lined lakes, and rivers and waterfalls wilder and faster than anything in the Midwest.
Actually, my plan for the tour had been to get across New York pretty quickly and spend as much time as possible in Vermont before heading back to the train at the Vermont/New York border. But I actually found northern New York to be better riding—with clearly better pavement, safer roads, nicer drivers and better scenery. New York was also much less expensive.
I never thought I’d be recommending central and northern New York for bike touring, but it sure is a pleasant surprise to do so. I plan to return.
2005 KBC Board of Directors
|Vice President||Jim Kindle|
|Database Manager||Paul Bruneau|
|Newsletter Editor||Zolton Cohen|
|Ride Captain||Randy Putt|
|Social Director||Michele Intermont|
|Social Director||Meghan James|
|Flowerfest Director||Dave Jones|
Monthly club meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month February through December at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo. Time is 7:00 PM. All members are encouraged to attend.
Please go to our website at www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org to sign up for membership and for more information about KBC.