Important! Starting in October, all KBC rides, Wednesday night Hammerfest included, will start at 5:30 instead of 6:00.
The season is winding down quickly, and many fewer riders (and ride leaders) will be at the rides during the month of October. Weather conditions may determine if a ride takes place or not..
Calling all past, present, and future riders of the Thursday morning women?s ride (or any women who love to ride) to join us for a special ride on Saturday, Oct. 7th at 11:00am. We'll meet at the NW corner of the parking lot at KVCC where we will ride our 'usual' Thursday morning ride backwards so we can end up at VerHage's Fruit Farm on ML Avenue for DONUTS AND CIDER (bring money)! We will be about 3-4 miles from KVCC at this point. The ride is about 25 miles and average speed is 15/16 (faster or slower, depending on who rides) so join Renee and Jelania for fun, exercise and DONUTS AND CIDER!!!
If you?re not a woman, or are a woman and would like to do a different ride on October 7th than the Donut and Cider Ride listed above, consider the annual Fall Color Ride.
The Fall Color Ride leaves from St. Timothy Church, on BC Avenue, in Richland. Just take M-43 two miles north of Richland, and turn right on BC Avenue. Follow BC Avenue 7/10ths of a mile eastward until you come to the church sign on the right hand side.
The ride leaves at 9:30 sharp and will average 18-19 mph for about 40 miles. There will be chili for all who want it (free of charge!) at the end. The chili was pretty good last year (if I do say so myself - Knute). We make a food stop half way through this ride so bring some pocket change. (No rain date for this ride this year. We won't ride if it's raining on the morning of.)
As the outdoor bicycling season winds down, let?s create some velo vibe and share the wheel truth about our ride experiences! Did you ride your first 30 miler, metric century, or century? Your fiftieth? Did you complete any organized rides that you?d recommend to others? What ride did you enjoy the most, and why? Want to know the real scoop about the FlowerFest, DALMAC, WAM, RAT, Vineyard Classic, and other rides, near and far? What ?pedal pointers? do you have for someone new to cycling who wants to train for an organized ride next year?
This is an informal, adult social event - you are welcome to bring spouses and friends who share your interest in cycling. Food and beverages are on your own, but cycling advice and stories are free!
The BTR Bike race began as an idea conceived by KBC member Tim Mitchell and Bob Mitchell, WMU VP of community outreach, as an event to showcase the Business, Technology and Research Park. The plan grew. KBC members Greg Lawford and Rick Updike provided bicycle-race related knowledge. WMU, Stryker, Denso, Breakaway Bicycles, and SME agreed to sponsor the event. On September 30, the race was held.
More than 100 racers participated on the closed circuit in the BTR park. The juniors battled rain and cold. The Cat 5 men took advantage of clearing conditions. The Cat 1 and 2 men had a dry course and sun. The Men?s Cat 3 and 4 and the Women?s Cat 1-4 had good weather to race in. The Masters had a thunderstorm. I was impressed by the number of folks who raced in more than 1 event. I was also impressed by the representation by KBC in the races: by my count there were more than 20 KBC riders.
In spite of the conditions, I heard many positive comments about the event and the venue. Spectators had many good vantage points to observe the races. Venders were on hand to serve food. There were no complaints from hostile folks on DE Avenue. The event was a success.
On behalf of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club I want to thank Bob Miller, WMU, The College of Engineering, Stryker, Denso, Breakaway Bicycles, and SME for their sponsorship of this event.
I was disappointed about the number of women contesting the Category 1-4 race. There were 5 women represented. The women?s race had to be consolidated with the men?s Category 3 and 4 race. While this is good news for prize money -- $500 to the first 10 places, this is not good news for the sport. I challenge Team KBC or anyone within the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club to come up with an idea to improve the participation of women (of all ages) in the sport of cycling and especially in competitive cycling. Perhaps this could be in the form of Girls on the Run (Girls on the Ride?) or a juniors race camp or the like.
Finally, October 10 is the last day to register to vote in the November 7 election. Please take some time to educate yourself on the candidates and the issues and vote. In an ideal world bicycling and politics would not mix, but we do not live in an ideal world.
Mike Boersma, KBC President
During the November KBC meeting, elections for KBC President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer take place. Anyone in the club may run for one of these positions. If you are interested, please come to the October meeting to put your name on the ballot.
KBC?s regular monthly meeting was held Tuesday, July 11th, 2006 at 7:00 pm at the Kalamazoo YMCA located on Maple Street. KBC President Mike Boersma led the meeting. Others present were: Dave Bishop, Zolton Cohen, Chris Haddock, Jelania Haile, Mark Irwin, Tom Keizer, Jim Kindle, Kathy Kirk, Doug Kirk, Mike Krischer, Renee Mitchell, Elaine Naegele, Terry O?Connor, Joan Orman and Victor VanFleet.
Tom Keizer began with a treasurer?s report: Savings account balance = $2,068.82: Checking account balance = $6,320.93 and Certificate of Deposit 10,281.56.
Mike Boersma reported that the BTR Criterium race is set for Saturday, September 30.
The 501(c)(3) committee, Jim Kindle and Mark Irwin, have decided to wait till winter to begin investigating the feasibility of pursuing this designation for the club.
Dave Bishop, Zolton Cohen, Doug Kirk and Kathy Kirk volunteered to develop an advertisement or announcement policy for the Yahoo group, website and PedalPress, which can be presented to the members for approval.
The Safe Routes to School discussion was tabled.
Zolton Cohen is in contact with Jeff Mitchell from the VBCRC to discuss the possibility of combining the KBC membership with a Kal Haven Trail pass.
Mike Boersma presented the possibility of KBC putting together a table or display at Odyssey Day, to promote Low Emissions/Zero tolerance, held at KVCC. Interested volunteers should email Mike.
Victor VanFleet presented information on Velodromes. He will continue to research areas that have had success with this type of venture, and also will find out if Battle Creek is looking into this, as mentioned in local news reports.
Jelania Haile and Renee Mitchell, ride leaders for the Thursday morning women?s ride, are organizing a final women?s ride on October 7th. Possible stops just might include the cider mill!
Elaine Naegele presented the idea of having a social night where bikers could share rides and stories from the summer.
The recovery party will be held at Megan and Fred James? again this year!
Kathy Kirk is resigning her position as the KBC Webmaster. This position includes updating the KBC website and formatting the PedalPress.
Annual KBC elections will be held in November. Members interested in becoming more involved are encouraged to attend the October 10th meeting!
The Meeting was adjourned at 8:25 PM. The next meeting will be Tuesday, October 10th 2006 at 7:00 PM at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street.
Respectfully submitted, Chris Haddock, KBC Secretary
Have you created your own personal web page? Do you enjoy dabbling in a little html programming code? Well, you could be KBC?s next webmaster!
Responsibilities include updating most of the club?s web site; coordinating with the database manager on updates to the Time Trial web page and Racing web page; formatting the monthly PedalPress newsletter from text to html; adding a link for the newsletter to the web site; and answering web related questions posted to the webmaster.
These tasks generally take around 4 hours each month. Although the site is currently being updated with Dreamweaver, any software can be used to perform the routine tasks. I will gladly show the next webmaster everything I currently do with the site. It?s ripe for someone with a graphic design background! If you have any questions about this volunteer position, call Kathy Kirk at 388-5045 or email email@example.com.
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The morning of Saturday, September 16th, 2006 dawning foggy and cool. Yet approximately 25 adventurous souls gathered at the Kal Haven Trailhead parking lot to participate in KBC?s annual Anniversary Ride and Party.
The riders assembled into various groups; the largest contingent heading out to do the 34 mile route at approximately 18-19 mph. Ron Gauthier, co-ride leader of the Wednesday night 18-20 mph Quarter Fast Ride, remarked that a portion of the route was closed due to construction, and that a detour was necessary. Because of his obvious familiarity with the route, he was immediately appointed ride leader.
A surprise attendee was old friend Randy Putt, KBC?s longtime ride leader, in town over the weekend from his new home in Cincinnati. It will gladden the hearts of his friends in KBC to hear that Randy hasn?t lost a step, and he is still the friendly, open and enthusiastic character he was when he lived and worked here. He claims that the hilly riding around Cincinnati has helped his performance on the ups, and he proved it on Otsego?s terrain at about the halfway point of the ride. Randy and Jenny send along their best wishes to all their friends in Kalamazoo.
At the trailhead before the ride, Jelania Haile and Renee Mitchell, KBC?s Social Directors, did a head count and performed some complex calculations to get an idea on how many pizzas to order for the returning riders.
During the 34 mile ride, riders took turns at the front, riding two abreast and pulling for long stretches. Then they would drift back to sit in the draft for a while. Despite the speed of approximately 20 mph going out, the pace seemed very easy ? possibly due to a tailwind ? and it gave everyone a chance to catch up on conversation with whom they were riding alongside.
After a pit stop near a cemetery at the halfway point, and some confusion about how many riders were behind after the big hill climb on 104th Street, the group reformed and headed back - into the wind this time. The going was much tougher, but thanks to some courageous work up front by a number of enthusiastic riders, everyone eventually made it back to the Trailhead ? to find a veritable feast laid out on the picnic tables there.
The potluck-supplied food (very heavily concentrated on desserts - which is not an entirely bad thing?) complimented the pizzas, and it all disappeared rather quickly. Along the way it was impossible not to notice what a superb job Renee and Jelania had done in terms of making the party a success. From the tables covered with white paper ? which made everything look clean and tidy ? to the garbage bags conveniently taped to fence posts, to the jugs of healthy apple cider they provided in addition to soft drinks, they put thought into everything. And it showed.
Thanks to all who showed up on a day that started out a little adverse but then changed dramatically for the better, and especially to Renee and Jelania, who made the party possible and memorable.
Next year, be sure to include this ride and party among your list of ?things to do.? It?s one of the many ?perks? of being a member of KBC, a great way to meet new people and catch up with your friends who you don?t get to talk with much during the season, and also to enjoy wonderful food in a convivial atmosphere.
Mary Lou Petrulio, a member of the Friends of the Kal Haven Trail, wrote recently to ask if anyone from KBC would be interested in serving on the Friends Board of Directors. The board meets quarterly in the Gobles high school library at 7:00 on the third Wednesday of January, April, July and October.
Petrulio writes, ?While it's not good policy to say that board membership won't represent a lot of work on the potential board member's part, in this case it is true. However, the rewards are great. Board members gain insight from the quarterly report from Van Buren county's Jeff Mitchell, plus members can also contribute ideas that may very well influence the future of the trail. So, though not time consuming, the position is important and we welcome new thoughts and ideas.?
Here is some information about the Friends of the Kal-Haven Trail, copied from the website at: http://www.kalhaventrail.org/.
The Friends of the Kal-Haven Trail, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that works in cooperation with the Michigan Department of National Resources, Parks and Recreation Division. The Board of Directors of the Friends of the Kal-Haven Trail holds quarterly meetings in April, July, October and January.
Incorporated in 1983, the Friends' goals are to provide amenities that are not budgeted by the DNR and to provide oversight of the Trail. The Friends, with the support of sponsors in the area, also publish a brochure that includes a trail map and information about services available along the trail.
The Friends' fundraiser is the annual Kal-Haven Trail Blazer ?Ride into Spring? bike ride.
Over the past several years, KBC has been moving toward an all-electronic format for its communications needs. This newsletter is one example of that effort. The money saved in newsletter printing costs alone has expanded the club?s treasury, making it possible to fund more biking-related activities and endeavors. Plus, with the option of electronic newsletter distribution open to us, we don?t consume resources like paper and ink.
The saving in volunteer labor is also significant. Instead of having someone do the drudge work of picking the newsletter up from the printer, folding, tabbing, stamping and address-labeling each pieces ? and then driving the whole mess to a mailing service - database manager Paul Bruneau and webmaster Kathy Kirk have only to send out a notice via email that the newsletter is ready for viewing. This is not to say that what Kathy and Paul do is easy or quick. But overall the process takes less time than it did before KBC went electronic. And no gasoline is burned in the process.
KBC also has a Yahoo Group. For years many of us have been (incorrectly, as Paul Bruneau points out) calling it a ?listserve.? It?s not a listserve. It?s a Yahoo Group. Yahoo Groups offer many options to a club such as ours, but the one we use is called the ?mailing list function.?
The mailing list function of our Yahoo Group works on the same principal as a giant email list. If you?ve got something you wish to say to the group, you can send ? via email ? a message to the Yahoo Group. Everyone signed up for the group receives your email and can reply either to the group or to you alone. It?s a great, instantaneous way to remind the group of upcoming events such as the FlowerFest Tour or Anniversary Ride, issue a call for volunteers for the KBC/WMU BTR Criterium Road Race, or to ask questions about a certain aspect of bicycling that someone else in the group might have the answer to.
At present, KBC?s Yahoo Group is underused. As of this writing, only 95 of KBC?s 240 members are signed up. The club instituted an ?opt-in? box for the Yahoo group in its membership application form literature several years ago, and some people have taken advantage of that. However, more could benefit from the activity that goes on in the Yahoo Group.
You can sign up for KBC?s Yahoo Group right now if you?re a KBC member. Consider doing so today, using this link from the KBC website: http://kalamazoobicycleclub.org/contact.shtml. Click on the ?Yahoo Groups? title in the gray box on the left hand side of the screen. Paul Bruneau says that if you have trouble with the sign-in, contact him ? but that you need to give it your best effort first. And welcome to KBC?s Yahoo Group!
At the September 12th monthly KBC meeting, several proposals that might potentially benefit the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club, the Kal Haven Trail, and KBC members came up for discussion. Among the issues talked about were ways to possibly ?link? KBC club membership with a discounted seasonal Kal Haven Trail pass.
The KBC Board of Directors requested that contact be initiated with Jeff Mitchell, Special Operations Officer at Van Buren County Road Commission. Mitchell?s response to an email spelling out some of the club?s preliminary ideas was positive, and it appears as though we might be able to come up with a scheme over the next few months that will be advantageous to all involved.
When VBCRC took over operation of the Trail several years ago from the DNR, the state didn?t provide funding for maintenance and other projects. Thus the re-implementation, after years of no fees, of daily and seasonal passes. Last year the VBCRC spent approximately $70,000 on items such as mowing, cutting and removing fallen trees from the trail, printing, and staffing the caboose at the 10th Street Trailhead and at the South Haven venue. And the cost of doing business, of course, keeps going up as gasoline, labor, and materials all rise in price.
In order to come up with the money to fund these operations, Mitchell says the VBCRC must sell passes ? yet it costs money to pay the people who sit at the trail every day in the summer. It?s a conundrum that Mitchell says he would like to do away with entirely; he said he would like nothing better than to be able to offer free access to the Trail for everyone. However, until some generous soul comes up with an endowment that would fund with interest payments the day-to-day expenses, the necessity of selling the passes will remain in effect.
Mitchell and I have been talking for a couple of years about some ways KBC might be able to help VBCRC in their endeavor to keep the Trail open and in the condition it is in today. It is to KBC?s advantage to have the Trail facility up and running. The club uses the 10th Street parking lot as a gathering place for our weekly Wednesday ride, and we hold several events there each year (among them the recent Anniversary Ride and Party). Plus, it can be argued that there is nothing in the Kalamazoo area that promotes bicycling more than the Trail. To many in the community, ?bicycling? means packing your bike in your car and hauling it out to the Trail for a ride. And promoting bicycling is the chief mandate of the club?s constitution.
Maybe even more to the point, if the Trail shuts down or KBC is not able to use the 10th Street parking lot as a gathering site, we?re going to have a very tough time finding another venue on this side of town that offers the amenities we need: parking, toilets, easy access to good riding roads, and space for nearly a hundred bikers to meet up once each week, mill around and get ready to ride.
This year, VBCRC has started to crack down on people who park at the Trailhead parking lot on 10th Street and don?t have a trail pass and parking permit. Some KBC members have received warning tickets under their windshield wipers reminding them that, as per the sign posted near the parking lot entrance, VBCRC reserves the right to tow cars that are parked in the lot illegally. So, if we can figure out a way for KBC members to obtain seasonal trail passes at a discount, it would be advantageous to club members ? and would alleviate the trouble some have experienced when they tried to park in the parking lot for the Wednesday night rides.
One of the problems that came to light with possibly ?linking? a discounted Kal Haven Trail pass with a KBC membership is the fact that KBC's memberships are "rolling." In other words, if you sign up for the club in February, your membership is good until February of the next calendar year. Kal Haven Trail passes are only good for the calendar year - January 1st to December 31st.
Because Kal Haven passes are only good for the calendar year, some opine that if you purchase a season pass in, say, October, you aren't getting a very good deal - and you might not be inclined to purchase a pass at all. So that?s one stumbling block.
To partially circumvent the calendar-year pass problem, to help get VBCRC some money earlier in its operational year, and to offer another "perk" of KBC membership, what if we proposed an "early enrollment period" for KBC members? We could pick a month, say January, when KBC members wishing to purchase trail passes could do so at discount. We could even have them available for purchase at the Recovery Party in order to cut down on the problem of delivering them.
Of course, an early enrollment period could be announced in the PP and on the website in order to let members know about the program. Members who chose to sign up with KBC in the summer would be eligible for the discounted passes next January when the early enrollment period would start again. This is only one of the ideas that have surfaced in discussions about these matters. If you have anything to add to the conversation, please come to the next KBC meeting and make your voice heard.
The following is the email sent to Jeff Mitchell:
When you and I last spoke out at the trailhead on 10th Street a few weeks ago, one of the subjects that came up was the possibility of "linking" a discounted Kal Haven Trail pass with Kalamazoo Bicycle Club membership.
I presented that possibility to our Board of Directors at our monthly meeting on Tuesday, the 12th, and it seemed as though everyone was enthused about the prospect. And a few more things came up as well - some of which could benefit your efforts to fund the Trail's maintenance budget.
I'm going to list them below, in no particular order. These are just things we're batting around to see if we could maybe work something out that would be mutually beneficial for our club members and the Kal Haven Trail. Nothing is finalized or actually written down yet; we wanted to get your input to see what you thought about maybe moving ahead and developing these kind of ideas. And if you can suggest anything that would improve on these concepts, please feel free to tell me.
1. One proposal was to simply give VBCRC the proceeds from what we make on our big FlowerFest Bike Tour every year. We've got a rather large treasury at the moment, and the feeling is that we really don't need to stockpile any more money. Our club's mandate is to promote bicycling in this area, and we recognize that there's really nothing that promotes biking more than a healthy and well-maintained Kal Haven Trail.
In recent years FlowerFest has brought in between about 1300-1500 dollars. By "linking" the FlowerFest Tour with the Kal Haven Trail and making it a fundraiser for the Trail, we might be able to bring in a few more riders, thus raising more money overall.
We've always had a strong cadre of volunteers from the club ready to step up and staff the FlowerFest Tour. However, to assist on your end, we might ask VBCRC for some volunteer help on the day of the Tour - usually the third Sunday in July. Some of the Tour's routes travel over Van Buren County's roads.
This would be a good way to raise the profile of the Trail in the community, by letting anyone come out to get a "taste" of it for free on Wednesday nights, courtesy of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club and VBCRC.
The advantage to this is that you'd get some money pretty early in your operating year, and the selling of a bulk amount of passes would take away the necessity of selling them one by one out on the Trail in the summer. Plus, we'd get to offer the discounted passes as a "perk" of club membership, and it would link the two together in a way that should benefit both entities.
So, what do you think? Do any of these make sense or sound do-able to you?
Last Wednesday night, near the end of the ride, I realized my feet were getting cold. Sure enough, when I arrived home our thermometer read 48 degrees! Wow! If last year's fall came late, this year's seems to be arriving early. The up-side, of course, is that we're already beginning to see some spectacular colors: this morning when I looked across the parking lot the maple in front of me was spangled with some of the brightest red leaves I've ever seen. It's a glorious time of year.
All in all, it's been a good season. As I write, I'm looking forward to the upcoming BTR race--a new event for our club. And we did well with many of the older, established events as well. There's still one more to come--the annual Fall Color Ride, leaving from St. Timothy Church, on BC Avenue, in Richland. Just take M-43 two miles north of Richland, and turn right on BC Ave. Follow BC Avenue 7/10ths of a mile eastward until you come to the church sign on the right hand side. We'll leave at 9:30 sharp on the morning of October 7th, and average 18-19 mph for about 40 miles. There will be chili for all who want it (free of charge!) at the end. The chili was pretty good last year (if I do say so myself). We make a food stop half way through this ride so bring some pocket change. (No rain date for this ride this year. We won't ride if it's raining on the morning of.)
Some people are riding home from our evening rides in the dark without lights. Not exactly a brilliant idea. 'Nuff said, and pardon the pun.
And I continue to hear concerns about some group rides where people are riding more than two abreast. Hard to believe, isn't it? Not to mention any names--you know who you are Wednesday night hammerheads! Especially with the back to school traffic and the increasing darkness, let's make a real effort to ride responsibly, and in accordance with state law! A big thanks to the ride leaders and the people on their rides who have worked this summer to promote the concept of well working double pacelines!
I've really enjoyed our group rides this summer. Hope you too have had a great season! Good luck to all brave souls planning to do the Iceman!
Knute Jacobson, KBC Ride Captain
Important! Starting in October, all KBC rides, Wednesday night Hammerfest included, will start at 5:30 instead of 6:00.
The season is winding down quickly, and many fewer riders (and ride leaders) will be at the rides during the month of October. Weather conditions may determine if a ride takes place or not..
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.
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.
The remaining KBC special weekend rides are listed below with details about the rides at the top of this newsletter.
If you have comments about the above-mentioned rides or have suggestions for other rides, contact Ride Captain Knute Jacobson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com.
Elaine Naegele, ride leader of KBC?s Tuesday night ride (and organizer of the inaugural ?Spoke Tails? gathering detailed near the top of this newsletter), sent in the following email report (in response to a PedalPress query) about the annual Wine and Harvest Festival Bike Tour, held on Sunday, September 10th.
?I rode it, but it was a bit drizzly and at times rainy...I had planned on riding the 60 mile route, but it started raining after only about 10 miles out, so I changed my plans and ended up riding 30. The thought of getting/staying wet and then probably chilled for almost 4 hours just didn't sound like fun. If I had been riding with a group going at a steady pace, I might have been able to convince myself to keep going, but there just didn't seem to be a point in riding 60 miles on my own in the rain. I like to think of these tours as social events! At least I got something of a workout in. I sure did notice the increase in tire/road friction and lack of braking capacity after it started raining! On my ride back, the rain let up a bit at times, but then returned.?
?I left on the ride at about 8:15 a.m., but by the number of cars in the parking lot, it looked like several people left at 7:45 or 8 a.m., and if they did the 60 mile tour, they were probably at 25 or 30 miles when it started raining, so they were committed at that point, and would have had to know the roads in the area to take a different route back as opposed to just going forward on their tour. They probably figured they had 30 more miles in the rain any way they looked at it, either going forward or retracing their route.?
?I did enjoy the course that I did ride, and on a nice fall day, it would be quite nice. No traffic to speak of, and flat to rolling roads on a scenic tour of vineyards and farmland. The first sag stop in Lawrence had a good assortment of food and drinks, and since I went back toward Paw Paw after that, I did not go by any other sag stops (the map said there was another one in Decatur). I saw a couple of sag vehicles while I was riding.?
?There were two massage tables (Kalamazoo Center for the Healing Arts) inside the building at the start/finish, but they were empty, with the massage therapists just standing around. Most people that I saw returning when I did packed up their bikes and left. There was no food or water at the start/end, which was a miss, in my opinion. I think riders need some fuel (water and food) every 20 miles on a long ride, so that means riders need to bring food/water to refuel on their own at the end, especially if they have to travel any distance home.?
?If the organizers want people to stay in town to take in other events (wine tents, the parade, etc.) there was no effort to promote that. Another miss - I read later today in the Gazette that there was a Sloppy Joe lunch somewhere, which I would have gone to, had I known about it while there. The absence of showers probably also contributed to people finishing and just packing up and leaving. No one wants to walk around in wet/sweaty cycling gear. The ride seems to be run with a bare minimum of volunteers, and none were around when I returned, except for a rescue/first aid trailer and two or three guys standing in it (looked like a local group providing support).?
?Grape juice (perhaps even a vino sample at the end, or a ticket for use at a wine tent?) would be so fun at this ride! Or at least grape jelly for the peanut butter! Riders remember a tour if it has a theme or provides some memorable sights or experiences. I think it's a miss for any ride not to provide an avenue for participants to give feedback immediately after the ride (in person, on a comment card, etc.). The organizers could learn so much! Creating "buzz" about a ride is what gets people to try it out, or to return the next year.?
A number of KBC members asked me to remind them when the date for the 45th annual Van Buren County Youth Camp Wild Game and Harvest Dinner rolled around so they could make plans to attend. Please email Zolton Cohen if you want details concerning directions to, time and price of this event. firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Vice President||Jim Kindle|
|Database Manager||Paul Bruneau|
|Newsletter Editor||Zolton Cohen|
|Ride Captain||Knute Jacobson|
|Social Director||Jelania Haile|
|Social Director||Renee Mitchell|
|Safety and Education Chair||Victor VanFleet|
|Flowerfest Director||Michael Krischer|
|Flowerfest Director||"Super" Dave Bishop|
Monthly club meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month February through December at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo. Time is 7:00 PM. All members are encouraged to attend.
Please go to our website at www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org to sign up for membership and for more information about KBC.