Pedal Press

Fast Track Index

Printer Friendly version of the April PedalPress

President's Letter

April 3rd is fast approaching. That?s the date when regular Kalamazoo Bicycle Club weekday rides will be starting up. There will be some new faces this year: Knute Jacobson will be replacing Randy Putt as the Ride Captain. I encourage KBC members to spread the word about the weekday rides so that there are other new faces on the rides as well.

The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club and Team KBC/ Little Caesars have been asked by Western Michigan University to organize a bicycle event at the WMU Business Park at the corner of Parkview and Drake. (Kudos to KBC member Tim Mitchell for coming up with this idea!!) The plan is to have a criterium race on the road loop inside the business park and to have a family bike ride (similar to the family ride at Flower Fest) that would leave the Business Park and have a distance of 15 miles or so. Team KBC would be responsible for organizing the race while KBC would be responsible for organizing the family ride. WMU would provide marketing and venue and sponsorship of the event; the business tenants would provide some sponsorship as well. Greg Lawford and I will have more information to share in the next weeks. This will be a high profile event for KBC and Team KBC.

Bike Camp is coming along. The goal of Bike Camp is to take an entry level cyclist and equip him or her to be able to ride safely and to be able to complete one of the Flower Fest rides. Please feel free to get the word out to friends, spouses, and anyone else that might be interested in developing ride skills.

May is ride to work month. The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club is working with the City of Kalamazoo on encouraging folks to ride to work (at least on Ride to Work Day, May 19) and to develop safer routes to cycle on in the City of Kalamazoo (you may start seeing Share The Road signs around Kalamazoo which are part of the KBC?s contribution to this effort).

With the advent of spring, get ready to ride! Please also consider helping out with the activities of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club.

Mike Boersma, KBC President

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Infamous "W" Ride Returns!

The first of KBC?s special weekend rides gets underway on Saturday, April 29th, at 9:00 AM at the Vicksburg High School parking lot. Ex-Kalamazooan Rick Whaley will return once again to helm the ride he started years ago.

The W Ride?s main ?feature? is that its route is one on which it is next to impossible to lose your way. The ride starts at Vicksburg High School, heads west on W Avenue to the county line, returns to the High School, and then heads east (again on W Avenue) to the other county line. The final leg returns riders back to the High School. The route is approximately 42 miles in length, all of it on W Avenue. Upon completion of the ride you?ll have completed the entirety of W Avenue in Kalamazoo County, stem to stern.

Rick writes, ??of course, there will be no wind or rain during this ride.?


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Kal Haven Trailblazer Bike Tour

As mentioned in last month?s PedalPress, the Friends of the Kal Haven Trail will sponsor the Kal Haven Trailblazer Bike Tour on May 13th. This ride is a fund-raiser for the Friends.

Registration is from 7:00 AM until noon at either the Third Reformed Church on 10th Street between West Main & H Avenue, or the trail head in South Haven.

The 25, 45, 70, and 100 mile road routes all start from 10th Street trailhead.

Fees for pre-registration are: individual $15; family $32. Same day registration fees are $20 for an individual; $42 for families.

The SAG stop in Bloomingdale will feature Vegetarian Sloppy Joes. The other stops in Kalamazoo, Kendall, Grand Junction and South Haven will provide bananas, cookies, PBJ sandwiches, water and sports drinks.

For more information on the Kal Haven Trailblazer ride, and a downloadable sign-up form, visit: If you would like to volunteer to help staff the Trailblazer, please call Ron Stolk at (269) 373-9013.

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March KBC Meeting Minutes

KBC?s regular monthly meeting was held Tuesday, March 14th, 2006 at 7:00 pm at the Kalamazoo YMCA located on Maple Street. KBC President Mike Boersma led the monthly meeting. Present were Mike Boersma, Jim Kindle, Doug Kirk, Kathy Kirk, Zolton Cohen, Victor Van Fleet, Mike Irwin, Mike Krischer, Dave Bishop, Dick Nivala, Jelania Haile, Terry O?Connor, and Chris Haddock.

Dave Bishop and Mike Krischer of the FlowerFest Committee reported that FlowerFest is scheduled for Sunday, July 16th 2006. The routes and stops will be the same as last year. Mike Krischer and other members of the committee are currently working on flyers and sponsors, as well as on-line registration. Organizational meetings will be starting soon; many volunteers will be needed to make this annual event a success!

Doug Kirk presented a proposal to team with the City of Kalamazoo in putting up 12-14 ?Share the Road? signs around heavy biking areas. The board passed a motion to contribute up to $500 for this cause, with the city matching this donation.

Mike Boersma reminded all present of the upcoming preseason ride meeting on Thursday, March 30th, at Damon?s. All Kalamazoo Area bicyclists are invited to attend this informational meeting. Beer and pop will be provided!

On the news of Randy Putt?s departure to Cincinnati, KBC?s Executive Board appointed Knute Jacobson as the new KBC ride captain.

Lastly, Western Michigan University and Team KBC/Little Caesars are beginning to plan a Criterium Road Race and Family Ride in September. Mike Boersma and KBC Race Team Director Greg Lawford will meet with WMU representatives on March 29th, to further discuss the planning and expectations for this event.

The meeting adjourned at 7:50pm. Next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 11, 2006 at 7:00 PM, at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street.

Respectfully submitted,
Chris Haddock, KBC Secretary

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Birthdays, New Members and Expiring Memberships

Active subscriptions in KBC: 212


Christopher Barnes * Charlie Branch * Emily Eckert * Ervin Fulkerson * Rachel Gauthier * Ronald Gauthier * Cindy Gippert * Brady Hostetler * Marc Irwin * Hannah Kallewaard * Lauren Keller * Kathy Kirk * Colleen Kish * David Lane * Sandy Larsen * Haley Lawford * Mark McCormick * Thomas A. Moore * Bob Paksi * Stephen Penix * John Peterson * Jennifer Pregenzer * Rick Updike * Molly Wells

New Members

Colleen Kish * Gellert Kish * Sandor Kish * Tom Kish * Robert Lynch * Richard Morse * Mark Nelson * Libby Walters * Michael Ziemelis

Expiring Memberships

Kevin Biek * Timothy Brady and Susan Pritchard * Michael Daniels * Nicole Finn * Ervin Fulkerson * John Hostetler Family * Tomme Maile * Mary Beth Minarik * Monty Rainwater * Randy Salamon * Steve & Virginia Stapleton

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?In the Zone Fitness? to Present at Next KBC Meeting

Stephanie Walbridge, of In the Zone Fitness, in Hickory Corners, contacted KBC to ask if she could do a presentation of her company?s fitness testing capabilities at the next KBC meeting, on Tuesday, April 11th, 7:00 PM, at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo.

Walbridge will use KBC Webmaster Kathy Kirk as a test subject, and will demonstrate how In the Zone does metabolic testing that includes VO2max, anaerobic threshold, fat and carbohydrate utilization, aerobic base conditioning, heart rate training zones, calorie consumption and power. Walbridge said she would offer a group discount rate to KBC members interested in getting fitness-tested.

All KBC members are welcome to attend this meeting. For more information on In the Zone?s testing procedures, visit their website,, or contact Walbridge directly at 207-4988.

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The Road Report

By Doug Kirk

I attended the Kalamazoo County Road Commission (KCRC) meeting on March 21st, 2006 for two reasons:  1) There are three areas of roadway that I asked to be patched:  6th Street between G & H; Parkview just west of the US 131 bridge; and Miller Road just east of the bridge over I-94.  2)  I wanted to make a pitch to make 11th Street south of Parkview and N Avenue between 11th and 9th into primary roads--which means shoulders, white line on the right side of the lane, etc.

Hopefully the three bad pavement areas will be addressed soon, but as to 11th and N, I did learn good news--that these roads have now been designated by KCRC as primary roads, which means that when they get resurfaced, they will get widened and striped so that they will be like South 12th Street.

I tried to get an idea of when this might get done, and all I learned is that KCRC is in the process of re-evaluating its various priorities, and that we might be able to get an idea in around six weeks.

KCRC DOES plan to rebuild North 6th Street from M-43 to H Avenue later this year.

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Meet KBC?s New Ride Captain, Knute Jacobson!

KBC has been very fortunate over the last several years to have had Randy Putt in the position of Ride Captain. His solid and passionate interest has helped promote safe and fun bicycling in this area, and especially throughout the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club.

Recently, Randy?s job with Pfizer was eliminated, and he and wife Jenny are headed down to Cincinnati to begin a new chapter in their lives. KBC wishes them well in this new endeavor, and thanks Randy once again for his part in making KBC a better, stronger institution.

While Randy?s departure is an unwelcome and sad event, the Club is pleased to announce that Knute Jacobson, another well-known and well-respected area bicyclist, has been appointed by KBC?s Executive Board to assume the Ride Captain position. The PedalPress interviewed Knute in order to introduce him to those readers who have not already made his acquaintance.

PP: Knute Jacobson, you've just been appointed by KBC's Executive Board to assume the role of Ride Captain. Randy Putt held that post for many years. What do you see yourself doing that might be different from what Randy did as Ride Captain?

KJ: Randy did a terrific job. His enthusiasm and steady guidance have helped bring KBC to where it is today. He will be greatly missed. As far as any changes, my sense is the club continues to evolve year by year, and even month by month as the interest in cycling continues to grow. In general, I have been pleased to see new rides developing, offering more opportunities for group riding for people just coming into the sport. I also think the upcoming March 30th meeting at Damon?s will help us address some of the safety issues that have arisen in connection with our faster rides.

PP: Currently, KBC offers a pretty full ride schedule, both for the regular weekday rides as well as special weekend rides. Do you anticipate any changes to that schedule this year? Any additions or subtractions?

KJ: My suggestion would be to keep things as they are, but be open to new ideas, especially if ride leaders step forward to help lead them. It?s the ride leaders who really help things go. I know some clubs have a regular Saturday morning breakfast ride that is well attended, and meets the needs of people with a cyclo-touring orientation?we might want to consider adding one of those.

PP: Tell us a bit about your background in cycling.

KJ: I got started on a Schwinn Collegiate when I was in high school (too long ago to remember). In those days a lightweight bike weighed somewhere under 40 pounds. I raced with the Wolverine Sports Club out of Detroit when I was in college. Since then I?ve cycled pretty steadily, especially since the late 1980?s when my wife bought me a mountain bike that helped rekindle my interest. Cycling is a real passion for me, and a great counterbalance to a job that involves a lot of sitting.

PP: Many people have enjoyed the cycling events you have held at St. Timothy's Church, where you are pastor. There was a cyclocross clinic a few years ago, and a lovely fall ride last year, with a chili potluck following. Are you planning on continuing with those?  

KJ: There?s still some chili left over from last year, so that ride is definitely a go! As for the cyclocross, if we can get Ken Fouts and Tom Cross to mark the course off for us again, I think that might be possible too!

PP: Your son Paul is also involved in bicycling. Tell us some more about your family.

KJ: I have four sons, Peter, Paul, John, and Matthew. All play basketball. Paul is the only one who really enjoys cycling. He?s ridden the Friday evening rides, some Tuesday Night Time Trials, the 6th Street Road Race, etc. Last summer he also rode a race at Superweek in Wisconsin. My wife Rosemary enjoys recreational cycling with some of our neighbors. Rosemary is a pianist and an accountant, and is very busy right now!

PP: What do you see for the future of KBC's club rides? We've experienced an explosion in interest in cycling in the past several years, and attendance at the rides has grown. How do you anticipate dealing with the larger ride groups?

KJ: The willingness of people to step forward and lead new groups is helping promote both ride safety and ride ?fit,? as people can choose the average pace at which they wish to ride. There have been some creative suggestions as to how to divide up some of the larger rides, and we may have to look at them again, depending on the turnout this year. It?s great to see such enthusiasm, but if rides get too large, safety can be compromised. Cycling, though beautiful, involves risks. I think it is wise to take pro-active steps to minimize those? 

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Early Spring Ramblings from the Departing Ride Captain

As I write this note, Jenny and I are enjoying our final days of vacation in Siesta Key, Florida near Sarasota. Sorry to rub it in, but the weather has been fantastic; in the mid-70s and sunny every day. I was able to ride most every day in shorts and a jersey, which was a welcome change. I will have to get re-acclimated to riding in Michigan spring weather, such as riding with tights, a jacket, shoe covers, and gloves. It was great to ride without the extra clothes to keep out the cold, but I look forward to returning to Michigan roads and my riding buddies in Kalamazoo. Siesta Key is a great place to visit, but I would not want to live there. Jenny and I did enjoy ourselves during our stay at Siesta Key. It?s time to get back to reality and dig out my cool weather clothes.

It is spring in Kalamazoo, so the weather should start warming up soon. It?s about time to put winter behind us. I?m anxious to get back home and ride with KBC members again after a long winter. All the weekly KBC rides will start as soon as the time changes after the first Sunday in April. Not all ride groups will be in action, but there will be riders at each of the weekly rides. As the weather cooperates, come on out and ride. I know, most of us are out of shape and have to go through the slow process of getting back in riding condition. Take your time and put in your base miles to prepare for the upcoming season.

As most of you know my job at Pfizer was eliminated recently. I will be starting a new job at Patheon Pharmaceuticals in Cincinnati in April, so Jenny and I will be re-locating to Cincinnati as soon as we sell our house in Vicksburg. It has been a great run and I will miss all of you. I will likely be commuting back to Vicksburg on weekends until our house sells.

As a reported in the March newsletter I am resigning my position as Ride Captain of KBC. It gives me great pleasure to recommend Knute Jacobson as the new Ride Captain for KBC starting April 1. Many of you know Knute as a regular rider on Wednesday and Friday evenings. Knute is an accomplished rider and very knowledgeable about cycling. He has an easygoing personality and will do a great job as the new Ride Captain. This will be my last ?Ramblings from the Ride Captain? in the newsletter. I do plan to remain a member of KBC to keep up on the progress of the club. My email is, so please stay in touch. Look us up if you are ever in the Cincinnati area.

The rides from 2005 are continuing in 2006. In addition, we have arranged to have access to the Kalamazoo Speedway (at the corner of Rvine and "D" Ave on Tuesday nights. Jeff Hamilton will be leading these rides, which will give racers and others interested in track-riding and sprinting skills a safe, wide, and banked 3/8 mile asphalt oval track to learn these skills. We also plan to have a ride on Monday nights devoted to pearning and practicing paceline and group riding skills. Renee Mitchell and Jelania Haile initiated a Thursday morning women?s ride in 2005 with a small group and plan to continue in 2006 and build on their success. The KBC ride calendar just keeps getting better and busier. I expect this year to be no different, especially with a new Ride Captain.

We are always open to route changes, as well, and Knute may want to make some changes. Stay tuned for updates on these rides.

Randy Putt, KBC Ride Captain

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Proposed 2006 Ride Schedule


There are likely to be fewer riders in April, so there may not be enough riders for all the ride groups. Hey, it is time to put in base miles, so speed is not important, right? Additional ride leaders are 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.

Impromptu weekend rides can happen any time the weather is suitable and someone is willing to organize them in April. Contact a few friends and spread the word via email and riders will likely come. If anyone would like to lead a weekend ride in April, give Knute a call and/or send him a description of the ride via e-mail, or send the ride info to the KBC e-mail group. If the roads are dry, there will be riders ready to ride. I have a lengthy e-mail list of riders, so the ride information can be transferred quickly and on short notice. If any of you would like to be added to the e-mail list, send your e-mail address to Knute at and I can be reached at .

Descriptions of the regular weekday rides are listed below and the full ride schedule will start in May at 6:15 PM. KBC plans to offer at least a partial weekly ride schedule in April (after daylight savings time starts) at 6 PM as the weather permits. Look for details in the April Newsletter.

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. The group has gained quite a following, usually 10 ? 15 riders in 2005.

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 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.

All riders who want to push the pace can do so in the 20+mph group. The 18 ? 19 and 20+ mph groups will most likely start riding the more hilly routes after May at the discretion of the riders and leaders.

Plans for the 5th year of the Tuesday Night Time Trial are in the works. Members from Team KBC/Little Ceasars will be running the time trial this year. The route starts at the Pavilion Township Hall at the corner of Q Ave and 28th Street. The time trial will run the first and third Tuesday of the month, starting in May or June. Also, as noted in above, KBC has arranged to have access to the Kalamazoo Speedway (a banked, 3/8 mile asphalt oval race track at the corner of Ravine and "D" Ave) on Tuesday nights beginning April 18thfor people who want to learn track riding and sprinting skills. Jeff Hamilton will be leading these rides at the start. Generally, this will be "'speed work," short, fast, intense races where riders will practice riding in close proximity to one another, using the banking, and sprinting on a closed course not open to motor vehicles.

The Wednesday Ride meets at the Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot. KBC plans to offer 4 ride groups:

The 13-15 mph group decides the route at the ride start.

The 30 mile groups typically ride the same route and the groups may together. The 16-18 mph and 19-21 mph groups will try to be steady at the pace indicated. The 20+ group will likely break up into smaller groups.

The pace of the Hammerfest 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. The group usually 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 10AM. The pace will be 15-16 mph with a distance of 20-25 miles.

The Thursday Night Ride is a nice and easy social ride night at Texas Drive Park and has a small, loyal group (10 ? 15 riders), 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 Elaine Naegele.

The Friday Tour de Gull meets at Billy?s Bike Shop in Galesburg and the pace varies depending on who shows up (formerly led by Randy Putt). We did have a 16-17 mph group periodically as well as a large 20+ mph group last year. The fast group typically leads itself. The route for this ride is well established so the ride leader job is easy.

We will also likely have several one-time rides again this summer, though the only one firmly set for now is the "W" Ave ride (described in detail near the beginning of this newsletter). Other rides likely to be repeated are:

The dates for some of these rides are not firmly established for 2006 yet. If you have comments about the above-mentioned rides or have suggestions for other rides, contact Knute Jacobson at or Randy Putt by phone or e-mail.

Impromptu weekend rides can happen anytime the weather is suitable and someone is willing to organize, especially in March and April. Contact a few friends and spread the word via email and riders will likely come. These impromptu weekend rides are likely to become more common this month. KBC plans to offer at least a partial weekly ride schedule in April as the weather permits.

Be a Ride Leader

KBC had a great group of ride leaders last year and the 2005 ride season was another great year. Attendance at the rides continued to increase with many new faces. This is my annual and maybe my final solicitation for ride leaders for the upcoming ride season as the KBC Ride Captain. The usual cadre of ride leaders and the new ride captain could use some help and KBC can always use more ride leaders.

If anyone is interested in leading rides this year, please contact Knute at and he will be more than happy to discuss how to lead rides with you. I will be happy to discuss the ride leader role as well. You can contact me at In fact, most any experienced KBC rider would be happy to discuss ride leader responsibilities with you. You do not have to wait to be asked. No experience is necessary. You only need the willingness to ride with a great group of people who enjoy riding their bikes.

Randy Putt, Ride Captain

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KBC Rules of the Road

We ask that every rider on our group rides not only read what follows, but also take it to heart.

1) These Are Group Rides; Everyone Is Your Teammate.  Ride fast, but ride your bike with consideration for other riders at all times--everyone on KBC rides is your teammate.  We encourage you to go racing, but not on training rides. 

2)  No Crossed Wheels.  You are responsible for protecting your own front wheel. Be aware that allowing the leading edge of your front wheel to be ahead of the rear wheel of the rider in front of you is extremely dangerous, to you and riders behind you. 

3)  Hold Your Line And Be Smooth.  Riders around you have every right to expect you to ride predictably at all times, even when sprinting or standing up.  Always strive for smoothness.  Every move you make should take into account how it will affect those around you.

4)  No More Than Two Abreast.  Especially in corners.  State law is not suspended for KBC rides, and the law is no more than two abreast.  We understand there are brief times that three abreast might be necessary, but this should be no more than a few seconds and the exception, not the rule.

5) Eyes Front.  Unless you're already at the back, looking back in a group is a set-up for disaster.  Don't do it, or get a mirror.  It's up to those in the back to shout forward about cars, etc., in back

6)  Leave Your Ego In The Parking Lot.  If another rider says something to you about your riding, don't take offense.  Listen to what's being said from that person's point of view.  Competition definitely has its place on our rides, but keep it safe and friendly. We're all teammates. 

7)  Buy In To The Bike Club.  Our group rides are fun because it's a good group.  Support the group.  KBC dues are only $15 per year.  We sponsor a race team, put on a tour, put on a great party every winter, work with local governments to improve bike lanes, e-publish a monthly newsletter and maintain a KBC website,,  And we're the ones who've been behind these rides over thirty years.  If you are doing our rides, you should join.  You can join online at the website easily. 

8) Helmets Are Required. ?Nuff said.

9) No Using Aerobars or headphones. Aerobars have no place in group rides or pacelines. Don?t use them on group rides. Unless you have no choice, please leave them at home. Even if you like to ride alone with headphones, take them off for group rides.

10) Regroup After Stop Signs. Groups have to pause for stop signs or other impediments, and riders in front should make sure the group gets back together afterwards. Leaving part of the group off the back is just plain rude.

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Volunteers Requested for WMU Bike Race, April 8-9th

This just in from Dave Boboltz, director of the WMU Cycling Race:

We're looking for volunteers for the upcoming collegiate races on April 8th and 9th. If any KBC member is interested in lending a hand with this event, we would be most appreciative. Here?s what we need:

Saturday, April 8th- 747 East Clay Street, Schoolcraft (the old high school, present Middle School).

The start/finish on Saturday is near the Schoolcraft football fields. This road race course is flat, flat, flat, with distances between 30 and 82 miles. 

Sunday, April 9th - Main Campus, WMU, parking lot off Knollwood Avenue and Howard Street

Sunday?s race starts at the parking lot near Howard Street and Knollwood Avenue. The finish is at the top of West Michigan on the other side of campus by McCracken Hall. This is a circuit race, circling WMU's Main Campus, with distances between 14 and 35 miles. 

We?re hoping to have near 150 riders each day from Wisconsin-Madison, Ohio State, U of M, MSU, Indiana University, University of Illinois, Purdue, and Marian College to name just a few. This is a collegiate-only race this year. 

If anyone is interested in helping out or have any questions, please email me at or give me a call at (616) 901-4861. 

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Tandem Bike Partners Needed

by Sherry Gordon

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

No surprise?the tandem bikes were, by far, the most popular event at the SEC last year!! The SEC will be held May 10-12, 2006. The tandem biking events will take place on Wednesday evening (first year participants); Thursday evening (advanced participants); and Friday evening (competition). We will be riding on the WMU Parkview Campus. This is the same venue as last year and it was a great place to ride!! Come out and share in the fun and help us to encourage the sport of cycling with our youngsters.

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

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The Adventures of Axel Kleat E-Book

The PedalPress cornered KBC cyclist and writer Axel Kleat at a party the other day. When asked about sales of his first e-book, The Adventures of Axel Kleat, through, Kleat remarked that, while he won?t be able to retire on the royalties and become the bicycling curmudgeon to which he aspires, he is pleased with the project so far.

The PedalPress editor confesses that he is one of those who contributed to Kleat?s potentially early retirement. The e-book format is easy to read (if you don?t mind sitting at a computer to do it, though it also could be printed out onto paper), and comes through one?s computer in just a few minutes after providing the server with a credit card number. Very quick and easy.

The reading is what?s the most fun though. There are some 80 of Kleat?s stories, reminiscences, and ruminations on the sport and pastime of bicycling. There are a lot of local references, and thoughtful, interesting comments and insights. Some laughs as well. The PedalPress?s bottom line? Two cycling-gloved thumbs up?

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MS 150 Bike Tour

Several KBC members (including Jeff and Graham Newman, and Kevin Biek) help raise funds for multiple sclerosis through the MS150 bike tours. The first of these events is scheduled for June 10th -11th. It leaves Grand Rapids and features an overnight stay in dorm rooms at Hope College in Holland. The distance is 75 miles per day, with a 25 mile additional loop option to make a dual century ride possible.

The second MS150 tour is set for July 15th -16th, and leaves Clarkston en route to MSU for the overnight. This tour offers a mountain bike option on Sunday. Please contact Mark Davis at or at 517-646-0807, if you have any questions about these tours. Online registration is available at:

Regarding the MS150 Tours, ex-Trikat president Kevin Biek writes:

?I am participating in the 2006 General Motors MS 150 Bike Tour on Saturday & Sunday, June 10th & 11th. A group of my friends and I will be riding 100 miles on both days along with hundreds of other cyclists to help raise money for this great cause - the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

I am asking that you consider making a small donation on my behalf. If you visit this link you can make on-line pledges. I sincerely appreciate your time, help and support.

Regards, Kevin Biek?

Jeff and Graham Newman raised over $1,000.00 for the cause last year, and are shooting for $1,200.00 in 2006. Their contact page for the MS150 (including photos of Graham trying to swallow a water bottle, whole) is at: 

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My First, Most Memorable Bike

by Zolton Cohen

Others have written about their experiences with their first bicycles. Here?s my story.

I don?t know if this is a story about my actual first bike though. I don?t remember having a bike as a very young kid. So maybe this was the first bike my parents could afford. But it was certainly my most memorable.

It?s not that we were poor growing up. Impoverished would be a better word. While our circumstances didn?t stop my dad from purchasing a brand new AMC Rambler every six years, his wealth didn?t trickle down. As kids we only had dirt to play with. Some new kids moved into a house down the street from us and we were envious because they brought gravel from their previous neighborhood. ?Oh,? we?d taunt the oldest boy, ?What?s Mr. Richie Rich?s dad going to buy him next? Twigs?? I guess it was mean, but we didn?t think so at the time.

As many things did back then, my most memorable bike came about through my dad?s, well, frugality. Our house needed painting. My dad wasn?t going to do it, and he dang sure wasn?t going to pay anyone to paint it. So he ?hired? me. He said if I painted the house, he?d buy me a new bike at the end of the summer.

I hadn?t had much painting experience at 12 or 13, my age at the time. But with the lure of a new bike waiting at the completion of the job, I was game to try it.

Our house was dark gray, a one story kind of modern ranch model, and the siding was vertically scored cedar shingles. The paint I was to use on the cedar wasn?t actually paint; but stain. Gray stain that I became intimate with over the course of the summer. It was so thin it ran down my arm whenever I picked up a brush to apply it to the surface. And it spattered all over the sidewalks around the house, and all over me. It was a messy summer.

After I had the body of the house painted, I had to do the trim. My dad gave me a lesson in how the trim paint was to be applied. He took a small, angled sash brush and dipped it into the paint can, carefully brushed out the green paint on a 2 x2 inch section of window trim, stood back, and announced, ?And that?s how it?s to be done.?

My painting wasn?t quite that accurate ? and I had a dozen windows, all the fascia and soffit, and three exterior doors to do. But I persevered and got it all done just before school started. After an entire summer of painting, we went shopping for bikes at the Kalamazoo Bike Shop, downtown on Harrison Street.

The Kalamazoo Bike Shop was a chaotic, dirty, bird?s nest of parts, wheels, bearings, gears, new and used bikes all jumbled together. The two brothers who owned it were old, gruff, and had hunchbacks. Johnny ? and I forgot the other one?s name.

My old man made a grand entrance into the shop, announcing to anyone who would listen that he was there to buy his boy a bike ? with no mention of all the work I had done to earn it. I fixed on an ?English Racing? type bike, 10 speed, royal red; a Royce. Dad didn?t think that was appropriate and wanted me to pick one of the many one-speeds Johnny pointed out to us. They were cheaper, too.

But I won out. And after my dad, ashen at the price, ponied up the $75.00 cost, I was the proud owner of my new bike and promptly named it Storm.

First thing, after I got it home, I disassembled it as much as I was able to. I don?t know why. I guess I just wanted to see what made it work. But when my dad came into the shed where I had it all apart, he absolutely blew up. What a haranguing. He slammed out of the shed, leaving me in tears. But I got it all back together again, with the exception of a few washers and nuts, which I?m sure weren?t all that important anyway.

The first thing I needed to do was turn those weird, twisted handlebars down. That was the casual, cool look I was after. I could then cruise the neighborhood looking stylish and mean. Neighbors could then hear the wind roar when I streaked past, feeling it push their curtains aside, as they?d say to one another, ?There?s that Cohen kid on Storm again. Gee he can ride fast??

Due to a popular TV show and movie, the legend of Davy Crockett had overtaken the nation a few years earlier, and our neighborhood was not immune. Every kid owned at least something that bespoke Crockett?s rugged demeanor; a set of cap pistols in leatherette holsters, a buckskin shirt with tassels that swung to and fro. Although the white heat of the fad had pretty much subsided by the time I earned Storm, I still yearned for something that would connect me to my celluloid hero. Charitably described as a ?late bloomer,? my prize Davy Crockett possession was an old coonskin cap someone had discarded in the trash. I wore it a lot. The mangy ?coon tail hung down the back of my neck. When I was on Storm though, that tail stood straight out behind me in the wind.

On a day that was not much different than any other in my childhood, I pedaled dreamily down the street on my block, coonskin cap my head, bike handlebars pointed toward the ground. Suddenly, in testimony to my sketchy mechanical skills, one of the brake levers on my handlebar slipped off the end of the bar. The cable to which it was attached swung it into my front wheel?s spokes. As metal clashed into metal, my front wheel?s forward progress stopped. Mine didn?t.

I catapulted over the handlebars and landed flat on my face on the hot asphalt. My faithful bike Storm continued its arc and landed, seat first, in the small of my back. Death, or something like it, swept over me. I couldn?t breathe.

A neighbor ? picture Wilford Brimley when he?s not hawking diabetes supplies or oatmeal on TV ? hurried to the roadside to check me over. He asked if I was all right. In that time-honored defense mechanism employed by embarrassed boys of every generation, I croaked, ?Oh yeah, sure. I?m fine. I meant to do that.?

Brimley rolled me over, untangled me from the bike, and dragged my near-lifeless body over to the side of the road. That done, he turned his attention to my beautiful Red Royce, Storm, now lying in a twisted wreck on the pavement.

?Son?? he said, pointing a finger at my Davy Crockett hat, impaled in the broken spokes of the front wheel, ?I?m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but I don?t think your dog?s going to make it.?

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KBC Contact Information

2006 KBC Board of Directors

President Mike Boersma
  Phone: 269-720-1409
Vice President Jim Kindle
  Phone: 269-382-8053
Secretary Chris Haddock
  Phone: 269-624-5418
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 Knute Jacobson
  Phone: 269-629-0093
Social Director Jelania Haile
  Phone: 269-345-1274
Social Director Renee Mitchell
Safety and Education Chair Victor VanFleet
  Phone: 269-375-7691
Webmaster Kathy Kirk
  Phone: 269-388-5045
Flowerfest Director Michael Krischer
Flowerfest Director "Super" Dave Bishop
  Phone: 269-679-4522

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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