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President's Letter

KBC has again received complaints that some riders who gather at the Kal Haven Trailhead on Wednesday nights continue to urinate behind the men?s outhouse. This practice must stop.

Not only does it jeopardize our use of the Kal Haven Trailhead facility as a gathering place for sometimes over a hundred riders on Wednesday nights, it is also illegal.

MCL 750.167 states:

Sec. 167.

(1) A person is a disorderly person if the person is any of the following:

(f) A person who is engaged in indecent or obscene conduct in a public place.

Sec. 168.

Any person convicted of being a disorderly person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are punishable by up to a 90 day jail sentence and a $500 dollar fine. Please do not urinate behind the outhouses at the Kal Haven trailhead!

On to other subjects:

ARTICLE 2 of the Constitution of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club states:

The purpose of the Club shall be to promote bicycling; to encourage and facilitate touring, races, bicycle outings, and all forms of recreational bicycling activities; to defend and protect the rights of bicyclists; to secure a better understanding and recognition of the need for safer riding conditions; to encourage the allocation of facilities for bicycling on public lands; to cooperate with the public authorities in the observance of all traffic regulations; to provide an opportunity for members to socialize with others who have an interest in bicycling; and to recognize bicycles as vehicles used for pleasure, fitness and transportation. The Club will cooperate with other organizations with a similar goal and purpose.

The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club takes this article seriously. The most visible of the activities of the club are the weekday rides. However, the Club or its members are involved in Bike Camp (PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!), one of the bicycle education activities of KBC; the FlowerFest Bicycle Tour; Team KBC/ Little Caesars Race Team; the WMU business research park Criterium and Family Ride; the Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study (a transportation planning organization that is developing a non-motorized transportation plan for Kalamazoo County); the City of Kalamazoo?s transportation planning process; and the City of Portage?s transportation process. Several members of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club were invited to testify to the Michigan Senate in Lansing. The City of Kalamazoo even recognized the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club in a resolution regarding bike to work week.

Article 2 of the constitution of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club is inclusive, not exclusive. The vision of the drafters of this article was for the KBC to promote bicycle for ALL persons who ride bicycles, not merely for those bicyclists who happen to be members of KBC. The only activities of the Kalamazoo Bicycle club that are limited to members are membership in Team KBC/ Little Caesars and participating in the Tuesday Night Time Trial and Kalamazoo Speedway events. The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club strongly urges that all riders who participate in KBC club rides become members.

There are other bicyclists in the community. Not everyone who rides a bicycle rides with KBC. Some of these bicyclists may be interested in Bike Camp. Others might be inclined to ride with KBC but for the Lycra, bright colors, and shaved legs sported by some KBC riders. There may be other, not-so-obvious reasons that have kept folks from joining KBC in the past. There seems to be a perception, right or wrong, that KBC is an ?elitist? organization; something which I would like to dispel. The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club currently has members who span the spectrum in riding interests and abilities - and attempts to accommodate all bicyclists who are interested.

Why join the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club? First, so that Zolton Cohen does not have to pursue you around the parking lot to get your signature on the waiver of liability release form! Second, because membership has some important benefits. For the first time in the memory of some of the folks who have been KBC members for many years, government bodies at all levels want to hear about the needs of bicyclists and are pursuing the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club as representing bicyclists in the area. Politicians respond to organizations which can either help them or hurt them, so increased membership in the KBC will give additional voice to bicyclists in the Kalamazoo area. This is an exciting time to be involved. Please bring your friends into the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club to participate in the future of bicycling.

PS Don?t forget to get the word about Bike Camp out to your spouse, significant other, family members, Boy and Girl Scout organizations, religious organizations, and anyone else who might be interested.

Mike Boersma, KBC President

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Bike Camp Applications Being Accepted

The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club has kicked off its drive to promote Bike Camp ? a multi-session bicycle training and education program ? by printing and distributing informational flyers. There is an extensive overview of Bike Camp on the KBC website, at

Bike Camp is designed for beginning bicyclists, and also for those who have bicycled in the past and would like to get back into the sport; families are welcome. Campers will train for distance goals at KBC?s FlowerFest Bicycle Tour on July 16th.

There are seven Bike Camp sessions scheduled, starting with a general meeting at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, June 6th, at the Oshtemo Campus of KVCC, Room 1510. The subsequent training and educational sessions, starting June 10th, on Saturday mornings at 9:00 AM, in the southwest corner of the Oshtemo Campus KVCC parking lot, each consists of an informative lecture followed by a training ride.

Bike Camp concludes with participants riding to their distance goal at the FlowerFest Bicycle Tour.

The first Saturday training session will focus on ?bike fitting.? Local experts will adjust participant?s bikes so they fit comfortably. After a discussion on bike safety, Campers will go for a ride on Kalamazoo County?s lovely country roads, led by members of the Bike Camp Committee. Riders will be split into several groups to accommodate each individual?s fitness goals and riding expertise.

Subsequent Saturday sessions will include information on bike safety, nutrition, how to ride in groups safely, what to wear to make biking more comfortable, how to make pedaling more efficient, and the best way to train for a distance goal at the FlowerFest Tour. There will also be a session that goes into simple bike maintenance tips and instruction on how to change a flat tire while on the road or trail. After each informational session, Bike Campers and Committee members will go for a ride.

Bike Camp fees are:

Bike Camp is a good way to introduce a friend or spouse to the joys and pleasures of bicycling. If you know anyone who is curious about biking, wants to lose a few pounds, and is interested an exciting adventure this summer, please tell him or her about KBC?s Bike Camp.

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KBC Statistics

Active subscriptions in KBC: 224


Scott Ashford * Kevin Cleary * Caitlin Freer * Tahni Gauthier * Ron Hall * Heather Halseth * Heidi Halseth * Jerry Hutchins * Richard James-Jura * Judith Jones * Paul Marquardt * Justin Merkling * Jessica Munson * Cheryl Olson * Joan Orman * Anne Pancella * Sally Pitt-Van Buren * Jeffrey Pregenzer * Jenny Putt * Sally Van Sweden * Libby Walters

New Members

Holly Bishop * Paul Bushnell * Robert Chaffee * Laura Ciccantell * Jim Curtis * Jonathan Decker * Barclay Finch * Emma Flores-Chaffee * Douglas Freeland * Steven Gibbs * Bette Hall * Ron Hall * Daniel Hoff * Lee Painter * Claren Schweitzer * Brittany Shubnell * John Shubnell * Sandy Shubnell * Travis Shubnell * Lydia Thornburg * Tom Thornburg * Dalton Vedder * Curtis Vreeman * Jacob Vreeman * Logan Vreeman

Expiring Memberships

Deborah Bauer * Kathryn Breese * Kirt E. Carter Family * Dan Cole * Beth Davis * John Doyle * Bill Duggan * Fred & Susan Einspahr * Beth & Jeff Freeman * Sherrie Glas * Jeffery M. Harrison Sr. * Michael Hertz * David Karnes * David Lane * Mostyn Lumbard * Paul Marquardt Family * Stephen & Susan Maslen * Doug McDonnell Family * Darren Moroziuk * Kathleen A. Nederhoed * Jeff Robertson Family * David Schram * Dan Traugott * Daniel Victor * Paul Wells Family

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Meeting Minutes

KBC?s regular monthly meeting was held Tuesday, May 9th, 2006 at 7:00 pm at the Kalamazoo YMCA located on Maple Street. KBC President Mike Boersma led the meeting. Other members present were: Paul Bruneau, Zolton Cohen, Tom Keizer, Jim Kindle, Dave Bishop, Kathy and Doug Kirk, Vincent Houston, Jelania Haile, Renee Mitchell, Mike Krischer, Dick Nivala, Chris Howard and Chris Haddock.

Tom Keizer began with the treasurer?s report: Savings account balance = $2,064, Checking account balance = $2,055 and CD = $10,130. Expenses this month were $604.

Mike Boersma read a note from ride captain leader Knute Jacobson, who proposes ride leaders be identified with a specific Jersey. Estimated cost for outfitting KBC?s ride leaders in such jerseys is $300. Discussion surrounding this proposal included questions about the need and actual impact of these jerseys, also whether or not the ride leaders would want to wear the same jersey every ride. A decision was postponed and discussion tabled until next month.

Jacobson also reported receiving several complaints from motorists about the size and width of KBC bicycle groups on the roadway. Vice President Jim Kindle and Jacobson met with one of the people who had filed a grievance with the club, and Kindle reported that the meeting had gone well. He said that things ? at least with that particular motorist ? had been smoothed over.

Doug Kirk volunteered to offer a Paceline Instructional ride on Monday, June 12th at Texas Drive Park, 6:15 PM.

Zolton Cohen reported on preparations for KBC?s Bike Camp. There are fliers out in the community. The overview and information night is June 6th with educational sessions and rides beginning on Saturday, June 10th.

Mike Krischer and Dave Bishop reported on the ongoing work leading up to FlowerFest. A tee shirt design has been chosen and the brochures are at the printers. Route painting is scheduled to take place on July 6th and 11th. Volunteers are needed for route painting, registration, food stop helpers and sag drivers. Volunteers can work a whole day - or a half day if they would like to ride too. Each volunteer receives a free tee shirt and food while working. Tee shirts from previous FlowerFest Tours will be sold at the registration table at ?fire sale? prices.

Kathy Kirk proposed that KBC invite professional riders from the Priority Health Cycling Team to ?lead? a faster group at the FlowerFest Tour, with that group starting at 9:00 AM.

Member Chris Howard suggested KBC look into obtaining stickers that could be affixed to bike helmets in order to identify current club members. Chris?s idea received a positive response. Paul Bruneau will look into the cost and feasibility of purchasing and distributing the stickers.

Chris also brought forward discussion as to the Wednesday night ride ?sit up spot?. He felt that the top of the hill might be a dangerous choice and perhaps the corner of 2nd Street would be better.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:30 pm. Next meeting will be June 12th 2006 at 7PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Chris Haddock, KBC Secretary

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Ride Captain Report

Dear KBC Friends:

From what I've seen, this year's early season rides have been going quite well. Interestingly, Monday is becoming one of our larger ride evenings, usually offering a variety of pacing options. Doug Kirk has plans underway to offer some pace-line training on Mondays. That should be helpful (see my "Ramblings" article).

Tuesdays at the track (we have permission to use the Kalamazoo Speedway) have been going well too, and this year's KBC time trial series began on May 17th.  

All our weekly rides have been running pretty smoothly, and Rick Whaley's legendary "W Ave" ride also came off well--there was no rain, and not a soul got lost. I always appreciate the "maps" Rick passes out to illustrate the straight route we'll be taking: this year they were long sandwich cookies. 

I still have not heard from anyone wanting me to send out a group mailing advertising an "impromptu" ride. Please remember that I'm willing to send out such mailings, and that to be added to the "Impromptu Ride List" you just need to send me an email asking me to add your address in my address book.

Happy Riding!

Knute Jacobson, KBC Ride Captain

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Ramblings from the Ride Captain

On one of my first mountain bike rides in West Virginia, I got royally lost. The sun was setting and a fog was rolling in. I knew I had to get down the mountain--but I couldn't figure out which side of the mountain I had parked my car on.

Imagine my delight in finally coming upon another rider seated by the trail. "Which way down to the parking lot?" I asked. "Don't know Buddy, I'm lost too" he replied. And then he added, "Care for a smoke?"

To this day, I don't know what he was smoking. But I was struck by how laid back Mountain Biking culture can be.

We Roadies often tend to be at the opposite extreme. Too bad, because that can keep us from asking and learning about techniques, etc., that make road riding exciting and fun. Which is why I really enjoyed Axel Kleat's last article about gearing. Axel helped us all learn a little - or remember what we learned some years ago.

Today, I want to talk about pacelines.  Here's what I believe about them:

A paceline is a construct where riders follow a leader, and draft off that leader, saving about 30% of their energy in the process.

Paradoxically, having people behind you actually increases your own speed too--physicists can show that an envelope of air develops which actually helps propel even the lead rider forward.

But, still, no one can, or should try to lead too long.

The best pace lines are shaped like rolling donuts. They are two lines of riders riding side by side, with the windward row of riders moving slightly faster than the leeward row. Thus, the windward row continually rotates a new leader to the front. That leader "swings off" to the slower row after he or she has pedaled a few revolutions at the front. No one gets too tired, and the group moves steadily forward, even into a headwind.

The best way to learn to ride a paceline is to watch one work. Some riders do this by sitting a little off the back until they see how things are working. Going to Doug Kirk's Monday evening pace line practice will also be a good way to learn. And, despite the fear and intimidation Lycra-clad Roadies sometimes inspire, I'm sure any KBC rider will be happy to explain pacelines, and give some friendly direction to all who ask!

Pacelines help make group cycling fun, and a smoothly working one is beautiful to watch ? and also to participate in. Getting them to work for at least a portion of our June group rides might be a good goal for us all to try.

If you?re interested in learning how to paceline, be sure to attend Doug Kirk?s Paceline Instructional Ride on June 12th at 6:15 PM at Texas Drive Park (the starting point of our Monday night rides). Doug will take a group out and ? well, put it through its paces?

Ride safe!  Ride smart!  Enjoy!

Knute Jacobson, KBC Ride Captain

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June Ride Schedule

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 mile 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. The10-15 mph group have 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.

Tuesday Night Time Trial: Greg Lawford, captain of the KBC/Little Caesar?s Race Team, reports that the Race Team has taken over the Tuesday Night Time Trial, and that it is up and going.

The format, running dates, starting location and route for the TNTT are all the same as in years past. Parking is available 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, along the measured ten mile course.

Updates to the TNTT, according to Lawford, include race numbers for participants, and an Excel spread sheet that automatically does timing, MPH calculations, and placing for the event. There is no waiting at the end for results. Instant gratification! 

The Wednesday Ride meets at the Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot. KBC plans to offer 3 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 begin 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 Wednesday Night Hammerfest starts at the Kal-Haven Trailhead Parking lot at 6 PM throughout the summer. The pace of the ride is typically greater than 23+ mph and the route goes to Bloomingdale and back (about 46 miles). Since the route is well known to most of the regular riders, no maps are available for this ride. This group is typically large (more than 15 riders) and consists of racers and other experienced riders. Typically, there is no designated ride leader. 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 consists of a small but loyal group. Participation is expected to pick up as the weather turns warmer. Riders of all riding abilities are welcome. The pace is typically 16-17 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.

Mark your long-range calendars for some special weekend rides this summer. Several rides are being planned for the summer months.

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 Ride Captain Knute Jacobson at

Impromptu weekend rides can happen anytime the weather is suitable and someone is willing to organize them. If you?re interested in being informed of these impromptu rides, send KBC Ride Captain Knute Jacobson an email to get on the impromptu ride contact list:

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Boersma, Mack, Barker Testify Before State Senate

On Tuesday, May 2, KBC President Mike Boersma, Amy Mack, and Kay Barker (the latter two were hit last year by a motorist while riding their bicycles), traveled to Lansing in order to testify to a Senate Committee regarding proposed changes to Michigan?s Motor Vehicle Code. Mike?s report and a summation of the bills follow this introduction.

Bill # 1224, a clarification of existing law in the Motor Vehicle Code, was proposed by Senator Michele McManus; Co-Sponsors are Wayne Kuipers, Patricia L. Birkholz, Tom George, Valde Garcia, Jason Allen, and Burton Leland.

The outcome ? and reaction to - Mike, Amy, and Kay?s testimony (and also to some who sent letters to Senator George in support of the bills) was positive. On May 9, the Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved sending SB1224 to the floor for debate. This bill would modify the Michigan Vehicle Code as it relates to bicyclists. SB1225, a bill that would require teaching bicycling issues in driver?s education courses, is under further review at this time.

Boersma represented KBC at the hearing, along with Kay Barker and Amy Mack. Also present were people from The League of Michigan Bicyclists and the Michigan Mountain Biking Association. Overall there were approximately 50 people in the hearing room - of which 7-8 were bicycle advocates. Also present were: Senator McManus (R), sponsor of SB 1224; Senator George (R), sponsor of SB 1225; and the Senate Transportation Committee: Senators Gilbert (R), Kuipers (R), Goschka (R), Leland (D), and Basham (D).

The hearing on the bicycling bills took approximately an hour.

Boersma writes, ?Although I testified as President of KBC, Kay Barker and Amy Mack, in my opinion, clearly had the most impact on the committee. Their story is compelling. The committee posed multiple questions to them. Their experience was eye-opening for members of the committee who have little experience as adults riding bicycles.?

?There were a number of questions about the proposed legislation, to the effect of ?will this give more rights to bicyclists?? Some of the senators on the committee are much like the folks who complain to Knute or me via email regarding riding two abreast (I get the odd email every once in a while from someone complaining about bicyclists riding two abreast and blocking the road). Senator Goschka was especially vocal in complaining about driving behind slower bicyclists.?

?Another scary detail: Senator McManus, in response to a question from a Senator on the committee, stated that she did not have firsthand knowledge about basic bicycling. I do not know who assisted her with her bill. But, overall, I did not get the impression that the provision regarding riding two abreast would be struck from the bill. I also did not get the impression that the bill would be killed.?

?Senator Tom George represents Kalamazoo County in the State Senate. He lives in Texas Township. I arrived early at his office in Lansing and we had a chance to talk briefly. Amy Mack and Kay Barker were also present. Senator George is a fitness advocate and he has recently bought a ?new? used bicycle so that he can exercise without hurting his knees. Senator George related that his big bicycle adventure took place in the 1970?s when he pedaled from Flint to the UP and then back with some friends from high school.?

?After that, we went to the committee room. The committee room is a big room with seating for 50 or more people. There is a raised dais in front of the room where the Senators and staff sit. The folks who testify sit at a table with some microphones and look up at the senators.?

?First to talk was Senator Michelle McManus, a Republican representing a district near Traverse City. She spoke of her bill, SB1224, which was intended to clarify section 660 of the Motor Vehicle Code (MCL 257.660). She was asked a few basic bicycling questions by the committee; her response was that she did not have answers to the questions as she did not ride a bicycle.?

?Senator Tom George next spoke regarding his bill (SB1225), a measure intend to require bicycling information to be included in driver?s education courses. There were some technical questions relating to amendments to laws which will expire this year.?

?Amy Mack then testified. Many of you may know Ms. Mack?s story. In the spring of 2005 she and Kay Barker were bicycling on a clear, sunny day. They were riding to the right side of the road to the right of the white fog line. They were traveling single file with Ms. Mack in the back and Ms. Barker in front. A woman driving a minivan at 55 mph veered out of her lane and hit them, causing severe injuries. The driver claimed that she never saw the two bicyclists. Ms. Mack?s story was compelling. There were several questions from the committee to Ms. Mack and she was able to educate the committee.?

?Kay Barker then testified. In addition to being injured along with Mack in the accident with the minivan, Ms. Barker was also the victim of a ?professional family man (of the cloth)? who assaulted her with his automobile. Ms. Barker?s story was also compelling. Most people are not aware of what goes on between some drivers and bicyclists. The committee asked Ms. Barker several follow-up questions as well. I think that it was clear from the reaction of the committee that Ms. Mack?s and Ms. Barker?s testimony had an impact.?

?I testified. I attempted to use my statements to clarify and answer some of the questions posed by the committee to previous witnesses. I also added my own experiences as president of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club to address some of the concerns raised by the committee.?

?The current motor vehicle code as applied to bicyclists is filled with ambiguity; the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club has had to seek from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff?s Department a legal opinion as to how the motor vehicle code, as applied to bicyclists, would be enforced (kudos to Doug Kirk). I also receive emails from angry residents who complain about bicyclists blocking traffic; my response has been to explain that under current law, bicyclists may ride two abreast on the right side of the road. I also testified that a driver?s education component involving bicycle law was a ?no-brainer?.?

?Following my testimony there was some testimony from the League of Michigan Bicyclists and from the Michigan Mountain Bike Association in support of the legislation. There was testimony from the Secretary of State in opposition to Senator George?s (SB1225) legislation.?

?The major concern from at least one of the Senators, Senator Goschka, was whether or not Senator McManus? bill grants more rights to bicyclists. Several witnesses, myself included, stated that her bill only served to clarify existing law. Another concern voiced by the committee was a universal lack of knowledge of existing law. There was confusion as to whether helmets were mandatory for bicyclists. There was confusion also as to whether flags or orange triangles are required for cyclists. Folks have been riding bicycles in Michigan for more than 100 years. Good legislation for bicyclists is not rocket science.?

?Senator McManus?s bill and Senator George?s bill are incremental steps towards improving safety. Should they become law, Michigan will not become the Netherlands or even Chicago in terms of bicycle friendliness. There is a continuing need to tell policy makers how to make Michigan a better place to bicycle.?

?I thanked Senator George for his invitation to testify. I also invited Senator George to go for a ride with the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club.?

Mike Boersma, KBC President

Senator George sent the following note to the KBC newsletter editor:


Thanks for sending your written testimony regarding SB?s 1224 and 1225. Mike, Kay and Amy did an excellent job with their presentation to the committee.

Subsequently, 1224 was advanced by the committee to the full Senate. My bill, 1225, has been delayed by the Secretary of State?s office, which raised questions about its implementation. I hope my bill will be voted on later.

I appreciate your input and that of KBC on this issue.

Sincerely, Tom George?

The main points of SB 1224 are listed below. For detailed information on the bill, go to the following web site:

 SB 1224, states that a person operating a bicycle upon a roadway would have to ride as close to the right-hand curb as practicable, except as follows:

SB 1224 also changes the following:

Yielding to bicyclists in crosswalk ? The use of crosswalks by bicyclists is becoming more common with the proliferation of off-road trails. Oftentimes the only means to cross a street is the crosswalk. Children are the largest group that uses crosswalks on their bicycles. All non-motorized users should be protected while in the crosswalks and automobile traffic should have to yield to them. 

Elimination of the Mandatory Side Path Rule ? Since bicyclists have the same rights, duties and responsibilities as any other road user, there is no reason for them to be relegated to a side path, which studies have shown to be more dangerous. It is good fiscal sense to change this because of the liability exposure that results from mandatory use of facilities known to be hazardous. 

Setting exceptions to the ?as far right as practicable law? ? Currently it is defective because it does not permit cyclists to leave the right edge in many circumstances where it is unsafe or impractical to keep right. When there are hazards in the roadway such as debris, damaged roadway, or even broken-down vehicles, it makes sense for bicyclists to move away from the far right to avoid these. Not doing so creates an unsafe condition.

When approaching a corner where there is a right-hand-turn lane it is very dangerous for a bicyclist to remain to the far right when he/she is going straight. It is also confusing for the motorist trying to determine what the bicyclist is going to do.

When making a left turn, the bicyclist, just as the automobile driver, must gradually change lanes until in the proper lane to turn left safely. It is dangerous to turn left from the far right lane in an automobile; it is even more dangerous to turn left from the far right lane on a bicycle.

Allowing bicycle parking on sidewalks ? In order to facilitate the use of bicycles for short trips (i.e., bank, post office, etc.) we need the ability to park our bicycle on the sidewalk in front of the store or business. We should permit parking bicycles on sidewalks, with reasonable restrictions, as in the current version of the national Uniform Vehicle Code.

Please review the summary and the actual bills, and let Senator George know if you are in support of this legislation. He can be emailed at

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KBC Receives Proclamation from Kalamazoo City Commission

At the regularly scheduled Kalamazoo City Commission meeting on Monday, May 15th, 2006, City Commissioner David Anderson proclaimed May 15-19th, National Bike to Work Week in Kalamazoo.

KBC member and dedicated bike commuter Paul Pancella provided Anderson with the language for the proclamation, and he and President Mike Boersma were on hand to ?receive? the official proclamation document. Wording of the proclamation can be read below.

In private conversation with Anderson after the meeting, the PedalPress was interested to hear him speak of perhaps having something tangible to ?roll out? for Bike to Work week next year. He will be soliciting KBC?s input on exactly what that might be.

?State of Michigan, United States of America Proclamation National Bike to Work Week, May 15-19, 2006.

Whereas, the League of American Bicyclists has designated May 15-19, 2006 as National Bike-to-Work week, and has established May as National Bicycle Month for over forty years, and

Whereas, the "Ride of Silence" will take place in Kalamazoo (and over 200 other US locations) this Wednesday, May 17, to remember those who have been injured or killed riding bicycles and to raise awareness of cyclists' rights to use public roadways, and

Whereas, a general lack of exercise has led to an obesity problem which is now affecting our children, and will certainly increase the already high costs of health care in the future, and

Whereas, those who commute by bicycle in our city already contribute to better air quality for all by reduced burning of fossil fuels, and are helping in a small way to reduce emissions which cause global warming, and

Whereas, the increased use of bicycles for transportation and recreation, especially when such use replaces automobile trips, can actually save money for local government, by reducing traffic congestion and decreasing the wear and tear on our roads, and

Whereas, the increasing price of motor fuel is causing more people to seek alternative means of transportation, and

Whereas, the City of Kalamazoo has already incorporated non-motorized transportation facilities into its master planning process, and

Whereas, the Kal-Haven trail will soon be joined by the Kalamazoo River Valley Trailway to provide a non-motorized trail network from Lake Michigan to Battle Creek, passing through Kalamazoo, and

Whereas, a large number of local citizens, many of them members of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club, have worked for years in many ways to improve conditions for cycling in this area,

Now, therefore, I, Hannah McKinney, Mayor of the City of Kalamazoo, on behalf of the City Commission do hereby proclaim May 15-19, 2006 as National Bike to Work Week and recognize that bicycling is an important component of the transportation mix in Kalamazoo, and pledges its continued support for efforts to make bicycling easier and safer in this region.

Hannah McKinney, Mayor.?

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The Future of Bicycling in the City of Kalamazoo

The PedalPress had the opportunity to meet with Richard Skalski, Senior Construction Engineer for the City of Kalamazoo, on May 24th. Skalski is the person in charge of (among many other things) mobilizing Kalamazoo?s Non-Motorized Transportation Plan.

For those who question the existence ? or are cynical about the implementation ? of the NMTP, rest assured that it is alive and well. Since its adoption by the City Commission in 2000, Skalski has been working to put its many facets together and into place. He sees the NMTP as an important tool for meeting the needs of people who are seeking to lower their motor fuel bills, or who might be inclined to get on a bicycle for recreational and fitness reasons.

The task is not easy. City and county government is rife with land ownership and lease issues; jurisdictional discrepancies; and, of course, funding constraints. But the plan is moving forward.

One major piece of the puzzle is being put into place this summer with the rebuilding of Michigan Avenue from Drake Road east to Howard Street. Skalski says the new road will be flanked by 5 foot wide bike lanes on each side. It is his hope, Skalski said, that the new bike lanes might convince a few students to give up their automobiles and instead ride bikes onto campus from outlying apartment complexes.

The Michigan Avenue project is a good example of how the content of the NMTP has to come together in bits and pieces over time. It?s not feasible from a cost standpoint to rip up roads that are currently in good condition merely to add bike lanes. However, when roads are rebuilt, that is an opportunity for bike lanes to be added ? if there is room and the topography is conducive to their construction. Adding bike lanes often requires land acquisition, which is expensive. But the fact that the City is indeed acquiring land and funding for bike lanes is an indication that the NMTP is being taken seriously, and is being implemented.

The pace of progress can be slow and frustrating at times. Consider the ?downtown? spur of the Kal Haven Trail; the extension of the Trail from the 10th Street Trailhead east into downtown. Plans were in place several years ago for the City to lease land a railroad owns to continue the Kal Haven into downtown Kalamazoo. However, the price the railroad was asking to merely lease the land would have paid for the land outright in about ten years. So the City ended up purchasing the land from the railroad. Final details are being worked out, but Skalski is hopeful that trail construction can be started by Labor Day. Negotiating all that took a lot of time and energy, but the trail will eventually be brought online.

Incidentally, the ?downtown? spur section of the Trail will be paved. Funds that were originally earmarked to construct a bridge over 131 were saved when the tunnel under the highway was constructed at approximately half the cost. Some of that money is now available for upgrades to the downtown spur trail ? an indication of the type of juggling Skalski has to do in order to keep the NMTP moving forward.

Skalski indicated that the many sections of non-motorized trails being constructed through and around the city will ?link communities.? And, looking at the long term planning, that?s exactly what will occur. As an example, part of the ambitious River Valley Trail project will pass through Kalamazoo and link up with trails already in place in Battle Creek?s Linear Park, some 20 miles away.

When asked what the City has planned to encourage bike commuting, Skalski said there was nothing in the NMTP to, for instance, create bike lanes on side streets such as South or Lovell. These streets, he said, are considered ?low speed? streets, and bicycles should be able to travel on them safely at near-automobile traffic pace. Thus, there is already opportunity to commute through the city, providing one utilizes that type of street.

The final comment Skalski had on bike commuting has to do with Kalamazoo?s new ?transportation hub? that is currently being constructed downtown on Kalamazoo Avenue. That?s where city and other busses ? and trains ? will converge in one central location. Skalski said his department was going to assess what bike commuters? needs are once the facility is finished, and then look into the possibility of adding bike storage lockers - and maybe even showers in bathrooms ? if they can be justified.

Overall, it was an illuminating discussion with someone who not only rides a bike himself, but is well aware of the needs of bicyclists in this community. While the pace of progress on the NMTP sometimes frustrates even Skalski at times, he is on the job ? and is willing and committed to carrying out the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan.

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Editor's Letter

Every now and again you get the opportunity to get your head turned around on something. And Tuesday, May 22nd, that happened to me.

At Doug Kirk?s urging, I went out to the Kalamazoo Speedway to look into what ?Tuesday Night at the Track? was all about. My primary mission was to take some photos of the riders in action, but I also wound up doing quite a few laps myself ? and that?s what riding out there really means; doing laps.

Doing laps. At 3/8 of a mile in length, it?s possible to rack up quite a few on the banked track at the Speedway. The banking is not a problem at all to negotiate. You hardly even notice it, going at the pace bicycles move ? unless you?re able to crank your steed up to the 111 miles per hour cars average out there. And I?m not.

What?s cool about the track is that there are no distractions. No potholes; no cars. Just you, your bike, and the asphalt under your tires. You can focus utterly and completely on what you?re doing.

It reminds me of my days as runner in high school. Even during cross country season, when we mostly ran on golf courses around town, I would sometimes sneak off to a track on a Saturday or Sunday and just bust 10 miles on that flat, even surface. 40 laps. Going nowhere, but able to put all my energy and concentration into just running. It might sound boring, but it?s not. It frees your mind in ways that are difficult to describe until you experience it. In the end, it feels more relaxing than hard.

An added bonus was that, every foot of the way at the Speedway, it felt as though the track was going downhill. The riding seemed pretty effortless. I wasn?t pushing the pace, as some of the riders out there were doing, chasing each other around like greyhounds after a rabbit. But I was able to ride comfortably with less effort than I would have thought possible. 19 mph at 17 mph effort?

So that was nothing but fun. I didn?t think it would be at first, but now I?m convinced.

Riding in all sorts of weather..

As the summer riding season kicks into high gear, there?s a lot of activity at KBC. Bike Camp is about to get underway. FlowerFest plans are being put into place. Special weekend rides begin to show up on the calendar. Club rides are up and running ? and have been for a month or more. The TNTT has already started, alternating weeks with Tuesdays at the Track (Kalamazoo Speedway). Attendance seems a little down right now at the club rides, but that could be attributable to the capricious weather we?ve had lately. It?s difficult to decide whether or not to ride when the weather service is calling for golf-ball sized hail and a temperature drop from 68 to 45 degrees in just a few hours.

Over the years I?ve missed out on a lot of good rides, and a lot of good experiences, when I decided at the last moment not to ride because of ?impending? weather. Often, people who do the rides I skipped out on report later that there was actually no rain at all on the route, or that they only got slightly wet just a mile or so from the finish. And then I feel like a dope and wimp for not at least making the effort to come out.

So my new philosophy is to make the best of things ? and to decide on whether or not to ride ? judging on conditions as they are at that moment. To ride ? or at least start to anyway ? when it is dry. And to keep riding even if I?m caught out in it. You never know what?s going to happen next, and that?s why you have to keep showing up. If you don?t show up you?ll never know what you missed. I hope you?ll join in, whatever the forecast?

Please Read This Newsletter - All of It?

While reading about legislation concerning bicycles is probably not anyone?s idea of a stimulating time, I would urge each of you to make a little effort in doing just that in the articles in this newsletter. There are significant changes occurring in the State Legislature, and KBC?s efforts, largely spearheaded by President Mike Boersma, are helping to steer the conversation toward more bike-friendly legislation. This is important stuff, and critical to retaining bicyclist?s rights in this state. Do yourself a favor and keep informed on these subjects.

KBC is also making its voice heard in local government. The club is monitoring City Hall as it moves ahead with the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan adopted in 2000, and is funding signage that (it is hoped) will make motorists more aware of bicyclists on the roadways around town.

So, please read about these important steps your club is making on your behalf. And consider becoming involved yourself. It?s a good way to protect your interests?

And One More Important Thing?

Finally, as this issue of the PedalPress went to (electronic) press, KBC received another complaint about public urination at the Kal Haven trailhead parking lot. Mike Boersma addresses this issue in his President?s letter in very strong terms. I?d like to add that if we lose the use of the Trailhead parking lot due to some completely preventable action like this, many people are going to be poorer for it.

Think of the possible consequences of losing the use of this facility. Where would a hundred or so riders go to get together on Wednesday nights? Who would have us? What would be the advantage to any entity, such as a church, to having us show up at their parking lot on a weekly basis, likely urinating in their bushes? And what other public place offers parking, toilets, and easy access to rideable roads the way we have it at the Trailhead?

The way I see it, we can?t afford to get kicked out of the Trailhead. We?ve got too much to lose. So that?s why we all need to take part in eliminating this public urination deal out there. If you?re doing it, stop. I used to, yet I was able to discipline myself sufficiently to the point that I now use the toilet. If I can learn this skill, you can too. If you know of someone who does it ? or if you see someone doing it - speak up. If you don?t, we could have a club ride with no meeting place in the very near future?

Zolton Cohen, KBC Newsletter Editor

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Axel Kleat

'Round and 'Round

You might have heard that the Club has arranged for us to have the use of the Kalamazoo Speedway (at the corner of Ravine and ?D? Avenue, about 7 miles northwest of downtown Kalamazoo) on various Tuesday evenings this summer. I missed the first outing but made it a point to show up for the second. What a great time!

Before I get into the story, a little background. Back in the early 1990s, KBC also arranged to use the Speedway for training. I?ve talked to a few riders who were there back then and they all agreed that it was lots of fun, though the pavement wasn?t very good in spots.

Well, the Speedway has changed hands since then, and a lot of money has been invested in improvements, not the least of which is new pavement. The Speedway bills itself as the fastest 3/8 mile paved oval in the Midwest, and what that means for our purposes is that it has very good pavement. It?s just over a quarter-mile around the inside and almost three-eights of a mile around the outside. It?s four generous lanes wide and the turns are banked.

For comparison, a proper cycling velodrome is 250 meters around the inside, while the Speedway is about 400 meters. The Speedway is about four times as wide, but a velodrome is banked at least twice as steeply. And velodromes are generally paved with wood or composites, not asphalt.

So overall, the Speedway is an extra long, extra wide velodrome. The fact that the Speedway isn?t banked so steeply is no problem since it?s so much further around. Besides, the first time you get out there on your bike, I bet you think it?s banked just plenty.

So, what makes going around and around in circles so much fun? For starters, no cars. Hard to overstate how much of a difference this makes. In addition, stop signs, driveways, crossroads, potholes, gravel, glass, and other maladies that afflict the public roadways are non-existent. Even though it?s easy to imagine the stock cars roaring around, one quickly forgets all about cars. Nobody there but us bikers.

Go ahead, drive your car onto the track and down the banking (Hey, this is kinda steep here,) do a lap before you pull into the pits, just like a real racer. Get out and look around at the grandstands and skyboxes and the big timing board. Read the advertisements on the walls surrounding the track and see if you don?t know one or two of the businesses. It?s all a little awe-inspiring, and makes you start wondering how fast you might go.

Slip on some spandex and take a few warm-up laps around the inside lane. See if you seem to be going a couple of miles per hour faster than the same effort takes you outside. Cut an angle up the banking, across all four lanes, and realize that you are maybe ten feet higher than when you are on the inside. Then swoop down across the lanes to the inside and feel the exhilaration as you drop down the banking. Yee-ha!

Once a few cycling buddies show up, the real fun begins. There?s no better place to work on sprints, paceline skills, or most any other sort of fast bicycling. We?d send a fast guy halfway around the track then see how long it took the rest of us, working as a group, to chase him down. Then we?d sit up for a lap or two and do it again. Or we?d divide in half, start on opposite sides, and see who could catch whom. Tell you what?you can really get your heart rate cranked right up that way.

And if the pace gets too hard, just pull out for a lap or two and soft pedal until they come around again. Actually, for an old guy like me, I think maybe that?s the best part. Most of you have felt that awful feeling (usually on a Wednesday or a Friday ride) when somehow the pack is just going that little bit too fast and the hammerheads on the front have no idea how bad you?re suffering back there. You know what I mean?you?re getting dropped, and it?s a long way back home.

Not a problem at the Speedway. If the pace is getting a bit too high, just pull out of the group and head up to the high banking. It doesn?t matter how fast they are, they?ll be coming around again shortly, you?ll have plenty of time to gauge their speed, and you can dive down off the banking and swoop right back into the pack.

Riding at the Speedway is a perk of your membership in KBC. It?s a lot of fun, and it?s a great way improve your skills as well as your speed. Anyone who is riding any of the 18 mph or faster KBC rides will definitely have a great time at the Speedway. Our next outing is set for June 13th at 6:00. Get there a little early, the entrance to the track is around the back side of the parking lot.

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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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