Pedal Press

Fast Track Index

Important News

KBC Anniversary Ride

Is the KBC ready to admit to being another year older? Unlike most of us, the answer is YES! And it's a good thing too, because the KBC Anniversary Ride is almost here. Come out and join the fun on Saturday, Sept 17th. Bring the family, or have them meet you at the trailhead after the ride!

Several rides will leave from the Kal-Haven Trailhead at 10am on that day, returning to the trailhead around noon, just in time for a party. The Club will provide pizza and soda. We ask you to bring a dish to share according to type of bike you usually ride with KBC. If your bike frame is:

Ride details: Riders will leave the trailhead parking lot at 10 AM, on routes of 14, 19, 23, 31 or 36 miles. You choose your route and group, and time your speed to get back at about noon, when the food will show up. Maps of the various routes will be provided. Riders doing the longest route, 36 miles, have averaged about 18-19 mph in the past.

Seating is limited at the trailhead, so consider bringing your own chair too. Mark your calendars for Sat, Sept 17th, and we'll see you then!

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President's Letter

Part 1
There has been discussion about bringing the state road race championship to Kalamazoo. This race would be held on the 6th Street Road Race Course. The folks who want to bring this race to Kalamazoo are not part of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club or Team KBC/ Little Caesar's Pizza (Team KBC).

Many of you are aware that the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club and Team KBC sponsored a USCF race on the 6th Street venue in April. The race was a success from the standpoint of the contestants. The race was a failure from the community relations point of view. The residents along the 6th Street course had many legitimate complaints. The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club, Team KBC, and the WMU Cycling Club made mistakes. The Club and Team have learned from these mistakes. They will not be repeated.

The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club and Team KBC made efforts at reconciliation with the residents along the 6th Street Course. A meeting was held with representatives of the Club and the Team and the residents. The folks who want to run the State road race were not there. The representatives of the club heard the complaints and offered solutions. The residents were extremely angry and made threats against not only future race participants but also against Wednesday night ride participants. The meeting was not a success and there was no resolution.

At the meeting of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club on August 9, 2005, a resolution was passed unanimously opposing the state road race championship on the 6th Street Course. This measure was not made lightly. The State Championship is a premier event and would raise the profile of cycling in the Kalamazoo area. However, the State Championship would be the third race this year using the 6th Street venue (the USCF event and the WMU events were the first two). The community also had an extremely negative reaction to the first two events and made threats against future events. The Club and the Team wanted to make clear to the public and public officials that we are opposed to using the 6th Street Course as the venue for this event. We do not want to add fuel to the fire. We also do not want to have the race shut down due to safety concerns midway through the event.

This resolution is NOT a boycott. If this event is held on the 6th Street Course, the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club will be blamed regardless of the club's resolution. The club leaves participation in the event on the 6th Street venue to the conscience of the members. However, if you are going to participate in this event on the 6th Street venue, please do not wear items with the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club or Team KBC logos.

Part 2
The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club held a special meeting on August 23, 2005 to discuss the State Championship Road Race. David Boboltz, the race director for this event was present.

The following issues were addressed:

Prerace notification -- ALL residents along the race venue, including the residents along DE Avenue will be notified of the event. A press release will be issued to Kalamazoo and W. Michigan media outlets. Businesses in Alamo will be informed that there will be an additional number of customers in the area.

Governmental relations: Alamo Township, the Kalamazoo County Road Commission, and the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department have been contacted and have issued the necessary permits for this event. The Sheriff's Department will be informed that some residents have made threats to disrupt future bicycle events. Additional traffic control will be present.

Event organization and logistics: The base of operations will be the Alamo Elementary School. Port-a-potty(s) will be present. Parking will be provided at the school. Event insurance has been obtained. DE Avenue will not be used.

Mr. Boboltz was questioned in a frank and direct manner by a very interested board and audience. The issues and needs of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club were presented to him. He was willing to listen to advice and to suggestions and was willing to address all of KBC's issues and needs.

Mr. Boboltz asked for support from the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. KBC responded by a board motion to endorse the event. Volunteers from the KBC will be needed to support the event in all areas, from prerace notification to working the event. The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club will not be cosponsoring this event (this was not requested from Mr. Boboltz nor was it offered by the club).

As an endorsed event, the way is clear for Team KBC/ Little Caesars to participate openly in this event.

Editor?s Note: At this special meeting there was one ?no? vote among those present on the question about whether or not KBC should endorse this bicycle race.

Part 3
Volunteers have gone door to door along the race venue. The residents have been appreciative of the notice that they have been given about the race. Their reaction to the race has ranged from neutral to supportive. There is still a need for participants and volunteers for the race itself. There is a need for folks to serve as corner marshals, drivers, etc. I do not know the extent of the need for volunteers (I have been kept in the dark), but I would suspect that the need is great. This will only be a half day event, from say 7 or 7:30 to 12:30 or so, so there will be time for other activities.

From what I have learned about this process, the organization and coordination are as important as the venue to have a successful event. Organization and coordination have been the keys to success at FlowerFest, the weekday KBC rides, the Anniversary ride and picnic, and the Recovery party. KBC has been blessed to have many active volunteers whose hard work has made the club work for its members. Planning will be starting soon for a spring (April 2006?) Team KBC/ Little Caesars race. Your help will be needed to make this event a success.

Mike Boersma, KBC President

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Meeting Minutes

KBC?s regular monthly meeting was held Tuesday, August 9, 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, Victor Van Fleet, Doug Kirk, Kathy Kirk, Dave Jones, and Chris Barnes.

The first topic of business was a report by Dave Jones, head of the FlowerFest Organizing Group (F.O.G.), followed by discussion of the event?s future goals and needs. Jones stated that a lot of the area?s organized rides were down this year in terms of the number of participants, but that FlowerFest was on par with just over 380 riders. He asked the club in what direction it wanted FlowerFest to go, as in his view good events grow and the ones that don?t will slowly die. Questions arose about the possibility of changing the date of FlowerFest, having it on a Saturday, or starting it downtown where the ride could get more exposure, and where cyclists would have the opportunity to ride the Kal Haven Trail via the soon-to-be-completed spur that will link up downtown with the Trail. The consensus by Jones and members present was that feedback is needed from the riders themselves about what they liked and disliked about Flowerfest, along with any changes they would like to see. Jones will make a proposal at the next meeting on how best to get this information by compiling a plan along with a budget to carry it out.

Also discussed was the recognition of FlowerFest volunteers. Mike Boersma and Jones noted that Amy Lehman (catering and artwork) and Cliff Muller (brochure) should be recognized for their outstanding work over the past several years. This was their last year on the FlowerFest Committee and they have both given many years of support to the event. A motion was made by Boersma to recognize the accomplishments of Amy Lehman and Cliff Muller at the Recovery Party. Doug Kirk seconded and the motion was passed unanimously.

Chris Barnes of KBC?s race team (Team KBC), and organizational head of the Tuesday Night Time Trial (TNTT), reported that the team has 28 active members and that everything has been running smoothly thus far in the Team?s inaugural season. He also stated that the TNTT has had as many as 20 riders compete in the event, that it will continue through the month of August, and will finish up with a special surprise format final race and pizza party afterward.

Barnes also noted that there is a move afoot to use the 6th Street Road Race course as the State Road Race championship venue in September. It appears as though a Mr. Dave Boboltz will be trying to run this major race in the vicinity of 6th Street and D Avenue. The WMU/KBC 6th Street Road Race was held in this same area in April, and residents on DE Avenue were upset with the road closures and other bike race related issues. Because of the conflicts with the local residents of DE Avenue in the earlier spring race, Barnes stated that with the club?s permission he would contact the Sheriffs Department, John Byrnes (Traffic Services Director of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission), Mike Hanley (Regional Coordinator of the USAC), and others to express KBC?s concerns about the prospect of running another race this year in this location.

Doug Kirk motioned that KBC produce a statement outlining the club?s opposition to this race. Kirk?s motion, ?It is resolved the KBC Board regrets that it must oppose holding any road race on the 6th Street, 2nd Street, H Avenue course in Alamo Township, Michigan, for the remainder of 2005 due to unresolved issues with area residents? was seconded by Mike Boersma and passed unanimously.

KBC Vice President Jim Kindle proposed that the club organize a day or evening in which to clean and remove trash from bike lanes. After some discussion the members present noted that a task of this nature is very time consuming and labor intensive, and that the club probably would not have enough volunteers to make a worthwhile effort. Doug Kirk mentioned to Kindle that the best possible way to get this done is to contact the road commissions overseeing the areas in question, as they have motorized street cleaners at their disposal to do the job. Kindle will look into this.

Newsletter Editor Zolton Cohen raised a question about the liabilities KBC directors and officers assume, and wanted to know how KBC?s insurance policy addresses that issue. Because there wasn?t a copy of the insurance policy available for review at the meeting, Doug Kirk suggested that the topic be tabled for discussion at the September meeting.

Also tabled for the September meeting was discussion of KBC email service through so that Paul Bruneau, Database Manager, could do some research on the topic.

Treasurer?s Report: Tom Keizer reported that the club had income of $6,996.00 and outgoing expenses of $830.00 in July. The checking account balance is $11,291.00 and savings of $9,043.00.

With no further business to attend to, the meeting was adjourned at 8:25 pm. Next meeting: Tuesday, September 13, 2005, 7:00 PM, Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street.

Respectfully submitted, Mike Berry, KBC Secretary

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Birthdays and Expiring Memberships

Active subscriptions in KBC: 222


Eric Bekker * Joan Bennett * Mike Berry * Melissa Bostwick * Joe Branch * Mary Cohen * Rhonda DeLong * Eric Gautheir * David Hapman * Dave Hauschild * Arianna Holmes * Tanner Hostetler * H. Knute Jacobson * Fred James * Shanna Keller * Larry Kissinger * George Lombardi * Gary Mattox * Shawn Messenger * Ashley Mitchell * Mary Moore * Dick Nivala * Jacob Olbrot * Andrew Peterson * Dave Pierce * Don Pluta * Misty Raynes * Lily Robertson * Tim Stewart * William Tingley * Jim Van Buren * James Wyrick *

New Members

Diana Rankinen * Gary Rankinen

Expiring Memberships

Andy Alexander * Carl Clatterbuck Family * Steven R. Cox * Brad Fry * Rosie Grzebyk * Tom Gushurst * David Hapman Family * Joe Kucharski Family * Jaime Laisure * Shawn Messenger * David & Elaine Naegele * Don Pluta * Scott Powers * Jeff Rohrstaff * David Warwick

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Classified Ads

Road Bike Wheelset

Bontrager mountain bike Race X Lite TL 26 inch wheels

Please contact for more information.

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Lost and Found

Found: One bicyclist?s clip-on rear view mirror (for glasses). Rectangular mirror. Found after the Monday night ride of August 29th. Please contact Zolton Cohen at to claim.

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Gazelle Sports hosts Third Coast Metro Trek Urban Adventure Race

Join Gazelle Sports for the first Third Coast Metro Trek urban adventure race Saturday, September 24 at 6 AM.

This exciting event is unique in West Michigan, combining off-road biking, trekking/orienteering, trail running, on-road cycling, ropes, canoeing and road running.  Teams of two or three, who must stay together throughout the entire event, will collect punches on an official event map at various parks, trails, roads and downtown area businesses in Kalamazoo County.


"We wanted to do something fun and different to celebrate Gazelle Sports' 20 years in business," said race organizer, Shane Dykhuis. "Marking the anniversary with an athletic event made complete sense. And an urban adventure race will be great fun!"


The event will raise funds for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, whose mission is to ensure a healthy Great Lakes and clean water for generations of people and wildlife.

Register at or stop by your local Gazelle Sports to pick up a race application. For more information, please call Gazelle Sports, 269/342-5996.

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Kay Barker Struck Again!

By Brian Barker

Lightening struck again. After a Tuesday night ride, Kay Barker, who was hit by a car while riding her bicycle on April 17th, and Jim Patton were riding home from Galesburg on 37th Street and a wonderful citizen crowded them on purpose (after having had an altercation with another rider seconds before). When they yelled out of reaction this guy slammed on his brakes, put his car in reverse, and tried to run them over. Kay went around the front of the car to talk to him and he accelerated forward and hit Kay and the bike ON FREAKING PURPOSE. No injury to her; just a dished back wheel.

The driver took off. Kay and Jim rode back to the school where the ride originated and called 911.

We had really quick response and they ended up arresting the guy (yeah!!!!) and hauled his butt to jail and impounded his car.

The purpose of this email is to ask all of you to pass this message along and to email the prosecuting attorney?s office. This person Kevin Hale was charged with two felony counts this morning. The officers took this very seriously and they had three cars and officers working on it for hours last night. The more pressure we can put on the Office of the Prosecutor to act on this arrest the better.You can contact the Prosecutor, Jeffrey Fink, at: The case number is 19887. The assistant attorney handling this is Gregory Russell. His email is: .

Please email them and let them know that there are many of us concerned with our safety. Ask them not to plea bargain this down.

Pass this on to everyone you know so we can gather many voices and make them heard. The arrest is a positive step and the outcome of this prosecution can affect us all.

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Ride Schedule

Late Summer Ramblings from the Ride Captain

The weather has been hot this month and we have had many excellent riding days in August. In September, all KBC evening rides start at 6 PM starting with the Wednesday, September 7 ride. Let?s keep the Friday, September 2 TDG and the Monday, September 5 (Labor Day) Recovery Ride at 6:15 PM.

I?ve missed most of the KBC rides in the last couple of weeks. I was either late or could not make it due to work or vacation conflicts.

However, a couple of weeks ago I actually arrived at the Wednesday ride on time, with almost 5 minutes to spare. But I was a bit slow in getting my bike out and doing the little last minute activities to prepare for the ride. I jumped on my bike to join the Half-Fast group and found that the Half-Fast and Quarter ?Fast groups had already departed. It must have been after 6:15 PM because Zolton always starts his groups on time.

Somehow I missed the group rolling out. I pulled out of the parking lot and saw the Half-Fast group rounding the corner on G Avenue. Hey, I thought, they?re not too far ahead and they usually start out easy; I should be able to catch them. I pushed up my pace and rode past the Quarter-Fast group to narrow the gap.

Good, I said to myself a mile or so down the road. They were slowing down for the stop sign at 6th Street, and that slowdown should work in my favor. I descend fast, so I was sure I could catch up by the turn on 2nd St.

I was flying down G Ave, but I wasn?t getting any closer. My heart rate was in time trial mode, so I was working hard. As I turned the corner onto 2nd St, I started losing ground. I rode as hard as I could but kept getting further behind.

I had another chance at the D Avenue stop sign. Finally the group started slowing down. Maybe I could get back into the peloton after all. I started to close again and rode as hard as I could. But the group got organized in a hurry and again I started losing ground. I worked as hard as I could and was approaching my maximum heart rate. It looked like I was doomed to finishing the ride alone.

I kept pushing myself. Hey, I was getting a great workout, but doing so with the group would have been a lot more fun. Maybe, I thought, some riders will start falling off the group and I?ll have someone to ride with. It didn?t happen. Oh well, I said to myself, at least I can ride the D Avenue hills at my own pace and not have to kill myself.

But wait, as I looked in my rear view mirror, I saw a group of riders in the distance behind me heading into Kendall. Could it be the Hammerheads already? Wow, they must have really been hammering. They were not closing on me very fast though, so it couldn?t be the Hammerheads. It must be some of the Quarter-Fast group catching me. My average speed at that point was 21 mph, so how could they be catching me?

I wondered how long I could hold them off and challenged myself to do so for as long as possible, but they finally caught me at 2nd Street and G Ave. When they did, I recognized these riders; they were all familiar faces. They must have been in the lead group of the Quarter-Fast ride. At last, I had some company.

The ride was a great workout even if I rode most of it alone. In retrospect, I don?t know why I didn?t stick with the Quarter-Fast group in the first place. They are a fun group to ride with. I will definitely join them next time.

Ride Around the County: I woke up to thunder and lightning this morning. Today was supposed to be the 8th annual Ride Around Kalamazoo County and we had our first rainout in the history of the ride. It is disappointing, but we do have to adjust our schedules to fit the weather. Maybe we can do the ride sometime in September as an impromptu weekend ride.

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. However, we still plan to continue the Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday rides as well as the 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, please 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 September.

There is still a lot of great riding left in the next couple of months such as:

These rides are a great way to end the touring season.

September Ride Schedule

All Weekday Rides Start at 6 PM Starting September 7th

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 will typically ride the same route. 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 and is as popular as the 17 mph group. 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. The 19 ? 20 mph group will stay together. The 20+ mph group could fragment into smaller groups. These groups may combine depending on the number of riders.

The Wednesday Ride meets at the Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot. KBC offers 3 ride groups:

The Wednesday night Hammerfest will start at Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot at 6 PM when daylight savings time kicks in. The pace of the ride is typically greater than 23++ mph and the route goes to Bloomingdale and back (about 46 miles). Since the route is well known to most of the regular riders, no maps are available for this ride. This group is typically large (more than 15 riders) and consists of racers and other experienced riders. Typically, there is no designated ride leader. The group 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 ? 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 10 AM. 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 has a small loyal group, which is growing in size. Riders of all riding abilities are welcome. The pace is typically 15-17 mph and distance is 20-25 miles (led by Dave Jones 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 here from you.

Special September Ride: Saturday, September 17th, The 34th KBC Anniversary Ride from the Kal-Haven trailhead parking lot. Distance and route ? your choice. Gather for the ride start at 10 AM, return to the parking lot at noon for refreshments. More information about the 34th Anniversary Ride is on the front page of this newsletter.

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.

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 or .

Randy Putt, KBC Ride Captain

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Editor's Letter

The KBC club ride portion of the bicycling season is winding down quickly. Those who ride to the rides are having to scoot home quickly before darkness falls, and shortly we?ll be packing arm warmers and maybe even a pair of tights for the cool down phase of the evening?s activities.

Unfortunately, the season is already over for a several area riders. Kevyn Raynes continues his convalescence following his encounter with an automobile that left him in neck and torso casts for weeks. Kay Barker and another rider, in another disturbing incident, ran afoul of a driver who actually allegedly backed up and tried to run them over with his car. Read more about this in a report forwarded by Brian Barker.

And KBC stalwart Doug Kirk had a bike-to-bike collision that resulted in a broken hip and rib. Kirk is not supposed to put more than 25 pounds on his leg for 4-6 weeks, but reports that the rib fracture is far and away the most bothersome in terms of pain. He?ll miss riding DALMAC for the first time in more than a decade. We wish all these accident victims speedy recoveries and safer days ahead on their bicycles.

Anniversary Ride
Even though the days are getting shorter, there?s still a lot of good riding left to do before this season is over. One of the most popular and well-attended KBC special weekend rides is on the agenda for Saturday, September 17th. It?s the Anniversary Ride that celebrates KBC?s 34th year in existence. We meet at the parking lot of the Kal Haven Trail on 10th Street in Kalamazoo at 10:00 AM and take off on the ride route from there. The interesting thing about this ride is that all riders can ride the same route, but some might choose to take cutoffs along the way in order to do a shorter ride. You can ride five different routes, of 14, 19, 22, 31, or 36 miles, and form your own group to ride with if you prefer. One could even ride the Kal Haven Trail (but be aware that there is a fee involved for riding on the Trail). This ride is always a good time, with good food and conversation at the end. Read more about this ride at the top of this newsletter, and please make an effort to come and participate.

November is Election Season
It?s not too soon to give notification that even as bike season draws to a close, election season is coming up. We?ll know next month how things shake out in terms of the Executive Board positions (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer) and if any of the incumbents are inclined to run again. So far, however, we do know that at least one of the appointed positions, Social Director, will be vacated. Michele Intermont and Megan James, after a splendid two years of sharing the post, are retiring. So, if you?re the social type and like to plan parties and events, consider offering up your name to the Board in October (when nominations are due). Intermont and James found the two-person ?tag-team? approach worked well and enabled them to share the work (and fun!) of being Social Directors. So if you?ve got a friend you like to work with ? or if you?d like to make a friend by including him or her ? this important slot is open. Or, if you?d like to make it a family affair, that would work as well.

Finally, Lance Armstrong was again in the news a few weeks ago, a month after completing his seven victory skein in the Tour de France. This time he was on a mountain bike, riding with President George W. Bush at Bush?s ranch in Crawford, Texas. The two rode for about two hours together, which gave Lance an opportunity to lobby Bush for more money ? a lot more money ? for cancer research. Bush, not one to waste words, at the end of the ride had this to say about Armstrong?s cycling skills and stamina, ?He?s a good rider.?

Bush also had several journalists join him on mountain bikes on another ride during his recent vacation at the Crawford Ranch. At the end of one ride, one of the apparently non-cycling ink stained wretches pressed Bush to designate mountain bike seats ?Weapons of Ass Destruction.?

That?s all from here. See you at the party on the 17th.

Zolton Cohen, Newsletter Editor

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Pressure Punctures Preventable

By Zolton Cohen

At a Seahorse Triathlon a few years ago, I was standing around in the transition zone where the participants had lined up their bikes in bike racks alongside their biking gear. Everything was neatly laid out, ready for the dripping swimmers to emerge from the water and take to their bikes.

Suddenly, the unmistakable sound of a bike tire exploding rent the air. Along with some of the support crew on hand, I helped change the tire on that unknown athlete?s bike. But I always wondered why it had chosen that particular moment to let go.

Now I?ve got the answer to that question, and it has to do with the law. Specifically, the Ideal Gas Law. But it doesn?t stop there. This concept requires forays into Charles?s Law, Boyle?s Law, and Gay-Lussac's Law).

Kevin Biek, president of the Trikats triathlon and multisports club ( sent me all the details ? pages and pages of complex formulas; numbers, letters, croutons, missing Scrabble letter tiles. With all the equations involved it looked like the alphabet and number scales got together on a carnival ride and, after getting off, threw up. And frankly, it?s the kind of thing that used to give my brain deep vein thrombosis in high school.

Fortunately, after I confessed an innate inability to grasp all of the nuances of these laws, Biek also supplied a ?bottom line? wrap-up that ended with this sage advice: ?Don?t throw an aerosol paint can in a fire - ever heard about that? ?Cuz gas expands when it heats up!! The molecules start moving around and get excited and bounce off each other. Oh well, as long as you know it happens, that?s all that matters.?

What does this have to do with bicycling? Well, several times this summer a rider pulled up to a club ride in car, van or SUV only to find a flat-tired bicycle inside - the result of which was either a mad scramble to change the flat before the start, or an abandoned ride.

In most cases these flat tires were real-life illustrations of the Ideal Gas Law (or all those other Laws) at work. In other words, as the temperature rose inside those automobiles, the air inside the bike tires expanded until the rubber tube couldn?t contain it anymore. This brings up the theoretical question: If a bike tire bursts inside a car in a parking lot with no one around to hear it, does it actually make a sound? That?s Biek?s question for next month.

But in the meantime, it?s good to know how temperature variations can affect bicycle tires. This knowledge will enable you to, for instance, preemptively let some of the air out of your tires if you intend to keep your bike in the car when you?re at work. Or, as with the example of the triathlon race noted earlier, Biek suggests not pumping tires up to their maximum in the cool morning hours if you know the temperature will rise significantly before you get on the bike.

Finally, as a person who used to drive out to club rides and kept his bike stashed in the back of his vehicle at all other times, I can also report that high heat inside cars deteriorates the rubber on bike tires abused in this manner. This can lead to splitting, delamination, cracking, and subsequent premature replacement. All in all I?ve found over the years that, for the best tire preservation protocol ? as well as many other compelling reasons ? it?s just best to ride out to the rides whenever possible.

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Book Review of "Heft on Wheels" by Mike Magnuson

Reviewed by Carl Clatterbuck

Fat Guys and Skinny Bikes

Sometimes you just get so disgusted with yourself that you have to do something. Mike Magnuson was fat, really fat, out of shape, prone to incredible excess. He taught English and writing in Carbondale, Illinois, where he had plenty of time to drink and smoke all night long. The last thing you could imagine is his 5 foot 10 inch 255 lb. frame perched on the saddle of spindly racing bike.

That, by the way, was the very thing that got him to do, what he calls in the book, ?his one-eighty.? You may all recall the famous picture of Marla Streb in a national magazine, naked, fit, sculpted, atop a bicycle. This is a picture of form meeting function, a testament to the joyous benefits of cycling. To promote an essay Magnuson wrote for GQ Magazine, they took the same picture of him, all 255 lbs of naked rolls and blubber atop his Trek. Not a pretty thing to see.

Heft on Wheels is about the fat guy who rides with the group, the struggle to hang, always, always getting dropped on the hills, or, for that matter, always getting dropped whenever you go out with the group. It?s about achieving focus, about the hard fought battle to not give up even though you get bashed in the face time and time again. In the end, this book is a document proving you can turn your life around and, in that process, get better and better at doing something you love.

Rarely do we see well-written books about cycling. In this book, Magnuson conveys the passion, the humor, the absolute joy of cycling. You?ll find yourself cheering him on, actually delighting in his over-the-top fanaticism.

Magnuson is a frequent contributor to Bicycling Magazine and has written three other books. Heft on Wheels is published by Harmony Books, New York.

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Axel Kleat

$3.00 a Gallon?So What?

In the afterglow of his retirement after seven Tour victories, and while we all marvel at Lance?s incredible story, we really are all deeply indebted to him for raising public awareness of bike racing, thereby actually raising bicycling to the point that it registers on the average guy?s radar screen. We?re all a little bit safer out there because of him.

And speaking of growing interest in cycling, I had an interesting conversation with a local bike shop owner the other day. It started when I offered up that with gasoline prices higher than ever, more people would be looking for alternate forms of transportation?like bicycling?so business should be booming with new customers looking to park their cars as much as possible.

Hah, I was told, if only it were that simple. All higher prices really mean is that people have less disposable income to spend on non-essentials such as bikes. Hardly anyone who isn?t already involved in bicycling is about to park his four-wheeler in favor of a bike for routine activities like commuting, shopping and errands. The car is too convenient, and people?especially fat, lazy Americans?are willing to pay an awfully high price for convenience.

What might get them interested in bicycling, I was told, is if there were lines at the gas pumps, like in the oil crises of 1972 and 1977. Those lines were a big pain in the butt, and a big waste of time. We didn?t tolerate them too well then, and would be even less likely to do so as our lives became even faster paced these last 30 years.

Actually, I don?t think it?s quite as bad as all that. Economics dictate that the higher the price goes, the less gas people will use?by driving less and/or by using more fuel efficient cars. But I agree that the price is going to have to go way, way up?in the neighborhood of the $5.00/gallon it costs in most of the western world?before many people alter their lifestyles enough to actually look at the bike as a means of transportation.

Of course, another issue is that we have allowed land-use policies that result in more and more people moving out of town where, at least from the point of view of their sorry legs and lungs, bicycling to and from work?or indeed anyplace they might want to go?is just so far that they have to drive. It seems as though people all think that conservation of wetlands, wildlife habitats and farmland is something everyone else should be concerned with - so long as they can all have their own ten acres of manicured grass.

As far as I can tell, these people are so blind that they cannot see that the lifestyle they have chosen is a big reason the oil companies can name their price. This same blindness carries over to their complaints that the deer are eating their flowers. Just where are the deer supposed to go anymore? And believe it or not, these problems are much worse in big cities, where people routinely have hour-long commutes without even getting to enjoy country living, and where bicycling is far more dangerous.

Bottom line: I do not doubt for one minute that the powers that be in Washington, D.C. will do whatever is necessary to satisfy our gasoline gluttony when pressed by gas-hungry hordes. One need only look at the last thirty years for proof. I just might live long enough to see the crude oil reserves dwindle to the point that we have to start distilling the stuff from corn, a situation that would truly alter our land-use policies.

So I?m not exactly holding my breath that bicycling is about to experience a boom. Unless Lance?s Tour exploits and the exposure he - and only he ?could have generated in the mass media, combined with the general public slowly realizing that being thin and fit is the key to a longer and healthier life, somehow ignite a bicycle-for-fitness fad.

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KBC Contact Information

2005 KBC Board of Directors

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
Database Manager Paul Bruneau
  Phone: 269-343-6016
Newsletter Editor Zolton Cohen
  Phone: 269-344-0200
Ride Captain Randy Putt
  Phone: 269-649-1814
Social Director Michele Intermont
  Phone: 269-373-8929
Social Director Meghan James
Webmaster Kathy Kirk
  Phone: 269-388-5045
Flowerfest Director Dave Jones
  Phone: 269-760-8869

KBC Membership Fees

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 to sign up for membership and for more information about KBC.

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