Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Newsletter
May 2007

Don’t forget!

Beginning in May, KBC rides will start at 6:15 PM.

The two Wednesday night Hammerfests will start at 6:00 PM throughout the season.

Also, the first KBC special weekend ride, the “W ride,” - 48 miles of straightforward riding - will take place on Saturday, May 5, 9:00 AM, at the Vicksburg High School Parking lot. Check out the Ride Captain’s Report in this issue of the PedalPress for more details…

Bike Camp 2007 Set to Launch May 15

On May 15, 2007, Bike Camp 2007, a training and educational program directed at beginning bicyclists and those returning to the sport, will get underway with an evening orientation and educational meeting. The initial meeting’s agenda, slated for 7:00 PM in room # 5830 at KVCC’s Texas Township campus, will introduce bicycle safety, efficiency and comfort concepts, and provide participants with information about the five upcoming Saturday training and educational sessions. KBC Vice President Jim Kindle will be the keynote speaker.

The five 8:30 AM Saturday sessions will take place at the Portage YMCA, at 2900 Old Centre, starting on May 19. The first session involves “bike fit.” Expert bike fitters from the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club and Breakaway Bicycles will, if necessary, make adjustments in order to better fit Bike Camp participants to their bicycles.

Subsequent Saturday sessions focus on training techniques, nutrition and hydration while on the bike, clothing and accessories for better safety and comfort while riding, basic bike maintenance and fixing a flat tire. After each Saturday educational session Campers will embark on training rides in groups based on their current fitness level and goals. The rides will be led by members of the Bike Camp Committee and KBC volunteers.

In addition to the Bike Camp programming and training sessions, participants receive membership to the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club for one year, their registration for free at KalTour, KBC’s annual bike tour, on July 22, and are encouraged to partake in KBC’s regular weekly rides.

Fees for Bike Camp are:

  • $50 – individual registration signing up before May 1
  • $60 – family registration signing up before May 1
  • $60 – individual registration after May 1
  • $70 – family registration after May 1

More information on Bike Camp, online registration, and a downloadable registration form, please go to: www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org/bikecamp

For further assistance, contact Jelania Haile: jjhaile@sbcglobal.net, (269) 345-1274, or Zolton Cohen: zcohen@ameritech.net.

April President’s Letter

The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club ride schedule is getting up to speed after the April snowfall. Snow is not expected to return until November. Improved weather means that good riding can be expected, so if you have not done so already, get out on the road!

May is National Bike to Work Month. Friday, May 18th is National Bike to Work Day. The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club has been working with a number of diverse groups including the Kalamazoo City Commission, Campus Point Mall, and WMU students to stage a Bike to Work event. Please stay tuned for more details. Please also consider riding to work at least one time this month. Gas is not getting any cheaper, and you can always justify paying for improvements to your bicycle as saving gas money.

May 16th is the date for the Ride of Silence. Joan Orman has indicated that she will be leading the KBC contingent on this ride. The Ride of Silence is to remember bicyclists who have been killed while riding. Over the past year, there have been several bicyclists in Kalamazoo County who have died from car/ bike crashes. Please consider taking one Wednesday off to participate in this ride.

Bike Camp is rapidly approaching. Please get the word out to your friends, significant others, family, youth groups, neighbors and anyone else who might be interested in learning how to ride more effectively. Bike Camp will also need volunteers to lead rides on Saturdays. Contact Zolton Cohen or Jelania Haile if you wish to volunteer; registration for Bike Camp is available online at www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org.

Mike Boersma

Ride of Silence, May 16


On Wednesday, May 16 at 7 PM the Ride of Silence will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.

In 2003, Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed.

The Ride of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph and remain silent during the ride. There is no brochure, no sponsors, no registration fees and no t-shirt. The ride, which is held during Bike Safety month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for those who have been killed or injured by automobiles.

Mark Rose is the organizer of the Kalamazoo Ride of Silence. The group will leave from Western Michigan University parking lot #10 located just off Oakland Drive on Oliver Street. (For reference, the parking lot is directly behind the Waldo Stadium press box.) The ride goes south on Oakland from Kalamazoo to Portage and back again. Please contact Mark with questions: mark@thechaingang.net

Now, 12 miles at 12 mph is a far cry from the usual great Wednesday night rides we typically enjoy, but consider giving up one Wednesday ride to participate in this critical mass action with a very important message. We have a right to ride on the roads! We are all vulnerable out there, and the more awareness we can bring to motorists, the safer we will be.

Even racers at Gratten will take time out to do a 12 mph silent lap prior to the start of their event.

More information at www.rideofsilence.org

Kal Haven Trailblazer Ride Set for May 12

The Friends of the Kal Haven Trail have announced that their popular early-spring tour, the Kal Haven Trailblazer, will be held on Saturday, May 12, 2007. The Trailblazer Ride is used as a fundraiser for the group in order to help provide financing for special projects on the Kal Haven Trail.

The Trailblazer ride offers riders a choice of either road or on-trail routes of 25, 45, 70, or 100 miles. Food stops and SAG wagon services are available. The fees are $15 for individuals ($20 if signing up after May 4). Families can ride for $30; ($40 after May 4).

There are three check-in sites on the day of the event: The People’s Church on 10th Street; the Bloomingdale Depot in Bloomingdale; and the South Haven Trailhead. Registration runs from 7:00 AM until noon.

More information on the Trailblazer can be found at: www.kalhaventrail.org, including a downloadable registration brochure.

Several contingents of KBC riders usually do this tour. Check the KBC YahooGroup in the weeks before the event for messages pertaining to groups forming to ride together.

Monthly Meeting Minutes,
April 10, 2007

KBC’s regular monthly meeting was held on April 10, 2007, with Victor Van Fleet, Brad Fry, Tom Keizer, Dick Nivala, Paul Bruneau, Kathy Kirk, Zolton Cohen, Jim Kindle, Paul Pancella, Elaine Naegele, Renee Mitchell, Mike Krischer, Joan Orman, David Jones, Mike Boersma, Doug Kirk, Phillip Heasley and Victor Manske in attendance.

Phillip Heasley shared with the meeting attendees his experience of living for 14 years without an automobile (story elsewhere in this issue of the PedalPress).

Officer Reports: Treasurer Tom Keizer reported income in March of $687.27 and expenses of $933.89.

Total in the KBC treasury at the end of March was:

  • Checking, $2,306.81
  • Savings, $2,076.93
  • Certificate of Deposit, $12,554.89

Jim Kindle, of the 501(c) 3 committee, reported that he had spoken with Jim Mishler, past president of the Tri-Kats Triathlon club, about seeking this type of tax-exempt status for KBC. Kindle noted that the club might have to become more community-focused rather than member-focused in order to meet the standard imposed by the IRS. Discussion followed, including questions about whether or not it would be in the best interests of the club to change its current format for the sake of achieving the 501 (c) 3 designation.

Doug Kirk requested KBC’s permission to write a letter on the club’s behalf to the Kalamazoo County Road Commission and the Michigan Department of Transportation to address concerns with the condition and safety of the roads at the Parkview 131 overpass and on 12th Street under the I-94 overpass. Kirk will write a draft and send it the Executive Board and newsletter editor Zolton Cohen for review (final draft of the letter, and a preliminary response from MDOT, appears elsewhere in this issue of the PedalPress).

KBC President Mike Boersma brought up for discussion KBC’s possible role in making Kalamazoo a more “Bike-Friendly” city; part of the “Bicycle-Friendly Cities” project. Discussion then branched off into what it would take to make Kalamazoo more bike-friendly. Kalamazoo City Commissioner David Anderson’s name was mentioned as someone interested in providing more biking facilities – possibly more bike racks or “cycle-safe” storage boxes - in the downtown area. Boersma is seeking other ideas and input from KBC members about this aspect of cycling, citing its importance with respect to global warming, redevelopment downtown, and reducing traffic and wear and tear on city streets.

Brad Fry, representing the KBC/Little Caesar’s Race Team, reported on the club’s activities. The team will host a criterium race at WMU’s BTR Park on Parkview Avenue on August 11. Membership on the team currently is 14, and there is room for another 3 riders. After approving payment of the race team’s $150 fee to the United Cycling Federation, meeting attendees requested better communication from the race team about its activities this season.

Jelania Haile and Renee Mitchell, of the Bike Camp committee, reported that planning for the program is going well so far. 10 people had signed up for Bike Camp at last report, ahead of last year’s numbers. Haile and Mitchell cited the need for volunteers to help out at the informational and training sessions. In particular, “ride monitors” are needed to help lead the Campers on training rides on Saturdays from the Portage YMCA on Centre Street when Bike Camp is in session. Bike Camp starts with an evening meeting and orientation session on Tuesday, May 15, at 7:00 PM in room 5830 at KVCC’s Texas Township campus.

KalTour Director Mike Krischer reported that brochures for the tour are being printed, and will be available for distribution at this year’s Kal Haven Trailblazer ride on Saturday, May 12 (information about which is located elsewhere in this issue of the PedalPress).

Paul Pancella, KBC member and a fund-raiser coordinator for the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail project, requested that half of the profit proceeds of the next three KalTours be donated to the KRVT. The KRVT is a proposed trail that will eventually link Battle Creek’s Linear Parkway with the Kal Haven Trail trailhead in Kalamazoo. Voting was unanimous to grant Pancella’s request. Pancella also noted that a “kickoff” event to publicize the beginning of fundraising for the KRVT is scheduled for May 10 at 5:00 PM at the Arcadia Festival Site in downtown Kalamazoo (information about which is located elsewhere in this issue of the PedalPress).

Joan Orman noted that the world-wide Ride of Silence will occur at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, May 16 (information on the event is located elsewhere in this issue of the PedalPress).

KBC President Mike Boersma, who was recently elected head of the Board of Directors at the League of Michigan Bicyclists, said LMB is seeking ways to increase membership. He requests ideas to help with that goal. LMB, Boersma said, is currently comprised primarily of bicyclists engaged in bike touring.

Safety and Education Chair Victor Van Fleet requested that KBC’s website add a link to “Fit 2007,” the community-wide health and fitness program, and that 5 free registrations to KalTour be donated for prize give-aways. Both requests were voted on and passed unanimously.

The meeting adjourned at 8:55 PM. Next meeting, at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo, is scheduled for 7:00 PM, Tuesday, May 8.

Respectfully submitted, Zolton Cohen, in lieu of Chris Haddock, KBC Secretary,
KBC Secretary

KBC Statistics

Active subscriptions


May Birthdays

Gary Brooks * Katie Marie Brooks * James Buck * Paul Bushnell * Luanne Cali * Alex De Back * Laurie Doering * Darryl Dolby * Anna Farrell * Chris Haddock * James Heath * Kevin Hoard * Linda Hoard * Stephanie Hoard * Katy Jackson * Kay Kalkman * Doug Kirk * Michael Louisell * Mostyn Lumbard * Patricia Machnik * Julie Mathieson * Andrew Mitchell * Timothy Mitchell * Pamela O'Connor * Terry O'Connor * Teri Olbrot * Wade Poling * Randy Putt * Paul Raynes * Erin Rogers * Catherine Salome * Janice Selby * Kurt Sherwood * Violeta Stoycheva * Julie Terrell * Curtis Vreeman * Rick Whaley

New Members

Holly Bayes * DJ Cooper * Donald Decker * Joanne Decker * Angela Erdman * David Erdman * Donna Fitzpatrick * Emily Freed * Dayle Hadden * Karen Hadden * Steve Hope * Erin Huberty * Bruce Martin * Marguerite Mosher * Cassandra Pone’ * Marty Pone’ * Anthony Roth * Kim Solvik * Joyce Walker * Candace Williams

May Expiring memberships

Martha Aills * Paula M. Allred * Jenne & Doug Arndt Family * Matthew Berg * Holly Bishop * Nicholas Bishop * Gary Brooks Family * Lynette Burleson * Paul Bushnell * Laura Ciccantell * Jamie Clark * Roger & Pat Clark * Zolton Cohen Family * Steven R. Cox * Jim Curtis * Jonathan Decker * Colleen Donnelly * Jonathan Evans And Monica Tory * Angie Farrell Family * Emma Flores-Chaffee Family * Terry Florian Family * Douglas Freeland * Steven Gibbs * Vickie Gordon * Ron & Bette Hall * Steve & Linda Hoard Family * Daniel Hoff * H. Knute Jacobson Family * David  Jones & Leslie Mars * Barry Kearns * Glen Kellam * Susan & Donna Leversee * Shelley Masion * David Mitchell Family * Max Mizikar Family * Jason & Cecily Nicolai * Lee Painter * Shannon Poortenga * John & Sandy Shubnell Family * Nancy Sundberg Family * Tom Thornburg Family * Sandy Timmermans * Sue Turnquist * Jim And Sally Van Buren * Curtis & Tammy Vreeman Family * Diane Whalen

Tandem Ride Volunteer Opportunity

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--For the past many years, the tandem bikes were, by far, the most popular event at the SEC!! The SEC will be held May 9-12, 2007. 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 encourage the sport of cycling with our youngsters.

Please contact Sherry Gordon, either by e-mail: sdgordon78@sbcglobal.net or by phone at 383-4144 or by cell phone at 599-9391 to obtain further details. Come and have fun and help to make this event a great success!!

Letter to MDOT and KRCC to Address Road Safety Concerns

Mr. John Byrnes
c/o Kalamazoo County Road Commission
3801 E. Kilgore
Kalamazoo, MI 49002
Ms. Bobbi Welke
c/o MDOT
1501 E. Kilgore
Kalamazoo, MI 49001

April 12, 2007

Dear Mr. Byrnes & Ms. Bobbi Welke:

This letter is the result of a motion passed by the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club at its April 10, 2007 regular monthly meeting, and concerns a serious problem with bicycle safety resulting from the closing of the Oakland Drive Bridge over I-94.

A significant portion of the traffic that used to use the Oakland bridge is now appearing on Parkview Avenue and 12th Street. The resulting increase in automobiles on Parkview Avenue and 12th Street creates a dangerous situation for bicyclists. Both Parkview and 12th Street are primary arteries for bicyclists as well as motor vehicles needing to cross I-94. Many cyclists within the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club have noticed that these roads have become dramatically less safe due to the additional traffic and construction on I-94 where 12th Street passes under the freeway.

The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club is therefore asking that you take steps to ameliorate this problem. While we realize no one can make the traffic go away, there are specific measures we believe would help the situation.

First, please recognize that the Parkview Avenue bridge over US-131, which has no shoulder area at all, is a big safety concern. Auto drivers routinely pass cyclists with virtually no room to spare and the pavement is in poor condition in several spots. The entire width of the Parkview bridge lanes (and the approaches on each side of the bridge) needs to be well-paved, with no fissures or pot-holes. We ask that MDOT and the Road Commission work together so that the entire width of the road and the bridge in this area can be repaired immediately.

Second, we ask that the contractors working on the bridges over the 12th Street underpass be required to keep the shoulders on 12 Street in good, useable condition, rather than littered with dirt, sand and gravel (and occasionally glass) as they have been most of the time since construction began.

Third, we ask that the Road Commission place warning signs on 12th Street similar to or the same as the “Share the Road” signs (with pictures of bicycles) the City of Kalamazoo has already placed on Parkview. We ask that these be left in place after construction is complete; they are especially important in the vicinity of the I-94 underpass.

Other safety changes are certainly possible, and might include lowering the speed limit or asking the Kalamazoo County Sheriff to utilize radar speed checks on 12th Street. We certainly do not mean to limit options, but we do want to bring to your attention this serious safety problem and ask for your help. We hope to hear from you in the very near future.


Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Executive Board
Mike Boersma, President
Jim Kindle Vice President
Tom Keizer, Treasurer
Chris Haddock, Secretary

Late update

KBC President Mike Boersma spoke with a representative from the Michigan Department of Transportation about this situation. His report:

“I talked to Michelle from MDOT this morning regarding the letter that KBC sent. She indicated that she was aware of the letter and had personal knowledge of the conditions. She told me that the MDOT person responsible for supervising the 12th Street Bridge reconstruction project would be contacting the contractor for the project. She indicated that there were other problems with the design and/or the contractor and that the project was behind schedule. As the project progresses the issues should diminish or go away (a retaining wall is to be poured which should eliminate the erosion problem).

As for signs or enforcement, those are KCRC and KCSD issues. MDOT cannot help with these.

Michelle also indicated that the Parkview Avenue bridge is to be replaced in 2008 and that the new design will be more bike friendly.”

Snakes Alive!

Yet another hazard in the sport of bicycling has raised its ugly head. KBC member Paul Pancella sends the following story and photograph, taken by his friend Jerry Holdenried, of Austin, TX.

The photo shows a good-sized rat snake curled up under the seat of Jerry’s bike. The bike was an abandoned junker that we found and restored while living in Houston in the '80s. He has used it since then (though not a lot of miles) and only recently upgraded to some kind of Trek hybrid. It was while preparing this bike for donation to Goodwill that he discovered this interloper, very nearly grabbing it in a way that the snake could have taken exception to. (This is not a poisonous species, but they do bite.) Animal Control was called and saved the day.


Groundbreaking and Campaign Kickoff for the KRVT

All cyclists and other potential trail users are invited and encouraged to come to a special event on Thursday, May 10, 5:00 pm at the Arcadia Festival Place in Downtown Kalamazoo. The event is a combination groundbreaking and campaign kickoff for the Kalamazoo River Valley Trailway.

Construction of a paved multi-use (non-motorized) trail segment from the present Kal-Haven trailhead at 10th Street to downtown Kalamazoo will soon get underway, and will be completed this season. This is just one part of a 16 million dollar regional trailway project (www.kaltrailway.org). With a one-to-one match of government and private funding sources, this community is being asked to donate half of this amount, so that this trail network can be built and maintained for the benefit of all. The May 10th event is intended to open this fundraising campaign with a splash.

There will be a few speeches and ceremonial shoveling of dirt by some dignitaries; the whole thing should only last about 45 minutes. This is mainly a media event; a big crowd will look good and show that this project has broad support. So come on down, bring your bike (and, optionally, your checkbook) and join the start of this long-awaited project. Feel free to contact Paul Pancella (Paul.Pancella@WMich.edu) if you would like more information.

May Ride Schedule

Don’t forget! Beginning in May, KBC rides will start at 6:15 PM.

The two Wednesday night Hammerfests will start at 6:00 PM throughout the season.

In the early part of the season not every ride group will be represented, and the posted average speed of the rides will likely not be as fast. As more riders show up as the season progresses more ride groups may be added as demand dictates. The schedule below reflects the probable full, mid-season schedule.


The Monday Ride at Texas Drive Park will consist of 4 ride groups, which should provide a pace to suit riders of all abilities:

  • 15-20 mile group at 12-15 mph, led informally by a number of riders
  • 25-30 mile (Recovery and paceline) group at 17-18 mph, led by Zolton Cohen and Doug Kirk
  • 25-30 mile group at 20-22 mph, led by Joan Orman
  • 25-30 mile group at 22+ mph, led informally by a number of riders

The 15-20 mile group is generally recommended for new riders.
The 25-30 mile groups will typically ride the same route in the early part of the season. KBC recommends the 17-18 mph Recovery and paceline group for more experienced riders who are new to the club, those wishing for an easy spin on flat roads, or anyone interested in learning how to ride in a rotating paceline. Participation in the paceline in this group is not mandatory. This ride is very steady and consistent, and one of the club’s most popular ride groups.
The 20-22 mph group is recommended for more experienced riders who want to ride faster, and on hillier terrain.
All riders who want to push the pace can do so in the 22+ mph group.


Plans for the 6th year of the Tuesday Night Time Trial are in the works. The Barnes

Family and Team KBC/Little Caesar’s plan to run the time trial again this year; the ten mile route will be the same as in years past. The route starts at the Pavilion Township Hall at the corner of Q Ave and 28th Street, and will run the first and third Tuesday of the month, starting in May or June. Check the PedalPress Ride Schedule in the coming months for more information on the TNTT.


The Wednesday ride meets at the Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot on 10th Street. Remember that if you drive to the trailhead and park in the parking lot you must display a Kal Haven Trail parking pass on your dashboard. Parking passes are issued with the purchase of a seasonal or daily trail pass. Those passes are available for purchase at local bike shops, Gazelle Sports, and at the trailhead itself when a staff member is attending the caboose.

KBC plans to offer 5 ride groups:

  • 13 – 15 mph group, led informally by a number of riders
  • 30 mile group at 19-20 mph (the Quarter-Fast Ride), led by Jim Eckert, Ron Gauthier, and others
  • 30 mile group at 22+ mph (The Half-Fast Ride), led by Zolton Cohen
  • 46 mile group at 23+ mph (as yet unnamed), led by Doug Kirk
  • 46 mile group at 24+ mph (the regular Hammerfest), led by Jeff Hamilton and others

The 13-15 mph group decides the route at the ride start. The 30 mile groups typically ride the same route. The 19-20 mph Quarter Fast group will try to be steady at the pace indicated. The 22+ Half-Fast group will likely break up into smaller groups.
The regular 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 24+ 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.
This year, a new Hammerfest-like group has formed, as yet unnamed, and will be led by Doug Kirk. This group will cover the same route as the regular Hammerfest, but at a pace a mile or so per hour slower. The emphasis in this group will be working together in single and double pacelines to share the workload, following KBC riding rules.
Riders in the two Hammerfests will be asked to restrict their gearing to 75 inches (39x14 or 53x19) in the early season in order to produce riding speeds 1-3 mph below those attained during mid-season.


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, led by Elaine Naegele, is a nice and easy social ride and has a loyal following. It starts at the Texas Drive Park at the regular KBC ride start times. Riders of all riding abilities are welcome. The pace is typically 15-17 mph and distance is 20-25 miles.


Notice: Several things about the Friday “Tour de Gull” have changed for 2007.

The Friday ride now meets in the parking lot at the new high school, 1/2 mile east of Galesburg, at the corner of 37th Street and M-96. The route of this ride has changed from previous years and now travels south over rolling terrain. Distance is about 32 miles.

The pace of the main group varies depending on who shows up, but is usually in the 20-22 mph range. Members interested in riding the new route at a 17-18 mph pace are encouraged to attend this ride and get the ball rolling on a new group.

KBC’s Special Weekend Rides

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

  • The 7th annual W Ave Ride (48 miles), Saturday, May 5, 9:00 AM, from Vicksburg High School. Led by Rick Whaley, who has vowed to be back from Ann Arbor to lead the ride he created.
  • The 9th annual Old Car Festival Ride (about 60 miles) from Vicksburg High School
  • The 10th annual ride to South Haven with a stop at the beach (100 miles)
  • KalTour – the Kalamazoo Scenic Bicycle Tour (formerly FlowerFest Bicycle Tour), Sunday, July 22
  • The 10th annual Ride Around Kalamazoo County (100 miles)
  • The 36th KBC Anniversary Ride (16-40 mile routes)
  • The 4th Fall Ride (~40 miles)

The dates for some of these rides are not firmly established for 2007 yet. If you have comments about the above-mentioned rides or have suggestions for other rides, contact Ride Captain Knute Jacobson at hkj@jasnetworks.com.

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: hkj@jasnetworks.com.

Ride Captain’s Report

Dear KBC Friends:

I just got home from the Wednesday night ride. Despite the cool, damp weather, there were about 24 riders out. The biggest so far--but still not quite enough for us to offer two different rides. Come May, as the weather continues to improve (hopefully) all the rides should be bigger, with more options for everyone.

So far, the rides seem to be off to a good start. Thanks to all the ride leaders who organize them, and keep them going.

Thanks also to those KBC members who help organize special rides. The first of those this year is Rick Whaley's famous "W Ave Ride" from one edge of the county to the other on--you guessed it--W Ave! Here are the details--straight to us from Rick himself.

Hope you can get this one on your calendar, come out, and enjoy it. It's approaching fast!

Best regards,

Knute Jacobson

KBC Ride Captain

Presenting the 7th Annual W Ride,
9:00 AM, Saturday, May 5!

"W" pleasure, "W" fun, if your definition of fun includes riding a bicycle on W Avenue, at the 7th annual W Ride!

Where do we ride during the W Ride?

We ride on (yes) W Avenue. Starting at Vicksburg High School, we ride west until we reach the Van Buren County line. Then we make a 180 degree turn and ride back to Vicksburg. After stopping at the local convenience store/gas station for a break, we then continue to ride east until we reach the Calhoun county line. Then, we make yet another 180 degree turn and ride back to the high school, basking in the accomplishment of having ridden the entire length of W Avenue in Kalamazoo County, not once, but twice. And if you get lost, it's your own fault.

How far do we ride?

We ride 48 miles, or 77 kilometers, which sounds even more impressive.

How fast do we ride?

In the past, the main group has ridden about 17 to 19 mph, although we have split up into other small groups. Although it should be noted thatin the past couple years, even the main group has been quite small, which is another reason for doing the W Ride - by completing this ride, you will be an even more unique person than you already are.

When do we ride?

We start at 9:00 AM on Saturday, May 5.

Who leads this ride?

Rick Whaley will be coming back from Ann Arbor (actually Dexter) to lead this ride, at least in theory, once again.

What makes this ride even more special this year?

This could be Rick's last year leading this ride, since, due to Pfizer, who knows where he'll be living by the time W Ride 2008 rolls around, although it won't be in New London, CT.

Knute Jacobson,
KBC Ride Captain

Kalamazoo’s Heasley Family: 14 Years Without a Owning a Car

At the April KBC monthly meeting, Phillip Heasley, a local accountant, described in detail his family’s experience not owning a car for the last 14 years. Heasley, his wife and nine-year-old son get around town by bicycling, walking, riding the bus and, when needed, borrow a car from a neighbor or friend. Heasley says he does most of the biking in his family; his wife prefers to walk rather than ride a bike.

One secret to being able to go car-less, Heasley said, is “Location. Where you live must be bikeable and walkable.” In order to be able to conduct daily business like food shopping, getting to work and school, Heasley says it is necessary to be in relative close proximity to locations that you need to get to. The Westnedge Hill neighborhood where Heasley lives has that attribute. He can walk to work, his son’s school is two blocks away, and his wife can walk or take a bus to her work at Western Michigan University.

Of secondary – but not unequal importance – is having friends who own a car and are willing to loan it on occasion in exchange for a gas fill up, a washing, gas card, or rental fee. Heasley says his family is fortunate to have such a support network when, for instance, he needs to haul lumber from a home center.

Heasley’s experience with car-free living began when he and his wife lived in Madison, Wisconsin, a town well known and respected for its bicycling culture and infrastructure. They were graduate students at the time, without much money, and one day their car expired. Heasley’s brother-in-law bet the couple a hundred dollars they wouldn’t be able to go a year without an automobile. After collecting on the bet they decided to keep going without a car. They took a course in “Effective Cycling Techniques” in Madison, which taught them about dealing with traffic and how to get around safely in a car-centric world. Heasley says that although their families resisted the idea at first, they eventually came to accept their somewhat unusual lifestyle. Friends purchased a Burley trailer for them when their son was born; it was waiting at their house when they got back from the hospital. Heasley still uses it for grocery shopping.

Another requirement for living a car-free life, according to Heasley, is “Organization. You’ve got to be able to plan ahead for the time the transportation takes, and grouping errands helps you manage your time effectively.”

Heasley says, “Going without a car doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. We don’t really think about it; it’s just what we do.” He noted, however, that bicycling transportation is easier in Madison than in Kalamazoo. Madison has a plethora of bike lanes and other amenities. It was quite a change moving from Madison to Kalamazoo, which Heasley describes as “more car-oriented.” Kalamazoo seems to be changing a bit in that regard though, Heasley said. He’s noticed more recreational bikers and bike commuters in recent years.

As much as Heasley is involved in the car-free life, there are some places he refuses to ride a bicycle – South Westnedge Avenue being one. He also criticized the mentality of thinking that everything must be done by car, especially prevalent in cities which have been set up almost exclusively around functionality related to automobiles. In Madison, Heasley said, the attitude is, “How does what we do affect cycling?” Heasley said he would like to see cities like Kalamazoo share some of the resources that currently go into automobile-related facilities in order to create a more bike-friendly environment - for instance devoted more effort into establishing lanes and installing bike racks.

As his son grows older and becomes more involved in activities outside the home, like soccer, it has become somewhat more difficult to deal with not owning a car. For now, Heasley said that his family is the beneficiary of a ride sharing network that involves other parents.

Heasley rides a “beater Specialized hybrid commuter bike,” suitable for the transportation, carrying and towing he does. Because of the salt and grit on the roads in the winter, he says, a bike must be durable and relatively trouble-free. His is equipped with reflectors and front and rear lighting, as some of the riding he does is at night. Quality clothing suitable for the weather conditions is also essential to someone who is going to do a lot of commuter bicycling, Heasley noted.

The subject of an article on car-free living in the Kalamazoo Gazette a few years ago, Heasley said he would like it if, in the future, what his family does on an everyday basis is not viewed as an exception so worthy of note...

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Shop Notes

Alfred E Bike

320 East Michigan, Kalamazoo, (269) 349-9423

Billy’s Bike Shop

63 East Battle Creek Street, Galesburg, 665-5202

Breakaway Bicycles

185 Romence at Westnedge, Portage, (269) 324-5555, www.breakawaybicycles.com

Custer Cyclery

104 North Augusta, Augusta, 731-3492

Gazelle Sports

214 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, (269) 342-5996,

Announcements: Now on SALE at Gazelle Sports - Brooks running shoes!

Get the Adrenaline 6 (regular price, $90) for only $59.99. Or pick up a pair of Radius 6 (regular price, $85) now only $69.99.

Also, visit gazellesports.com for information on our training programs and FREE clinic series. Prepare for a marathon, 10k, 5k or triathlon, plus try out Nordic walking and learn about nutrition, injury prevention and more!


4813 West Milham, Portage

Announcements: Prosport - Corner of 12th and Milham across from Wedel's. Open 10-6 Daily, 9-4 Sat. Nineteen years serving Kalamazoo bicyclists. Guaranteed two day service. Friendly and knowledgeable. Ride over soon.

Team Active

22 W Michigan, Battle Creek, 1-800-841-9494

Village Cyclery

US 131 in Schoolcraft, 679-4242

About the PedalPress

The KBC PedalPress comes out on or around the first of each month.

If you have an article or a notice that you want to go into the PedalPress, please email it to the newsletter editor by the 20th of the month before its intended publication.

For example, if you’d like an article to be published in the March edition (distributed on or around the first of March), have it to the newsletter editor (contact information is in the “Contacts” section at the end of this newsletter) by the 20th of February.

On Bicycle Safety

Important: Riding a bicycle is an inherently dangerous activity. There are risks of injury or death. You could ride over something and fall, or get hit by an automobile or strike or be struck by another bicyclist. There are many other dangers to bicycling as well.

While nothing can eliminate all risks associating with bicycle riding, to minimize the danger, make sure you and your bicycle are in good riding condition. Know the rules of the road and also of the group you’re riding with, and ride in a manner consistent with the protocols of that group. Always wear a bike helmet, use bike lights if riding in the dawn, dusk or dark, and consider purchasing and riding with additional safety equipment such as reflectors and rear view mirrors.

KBC Contact Information

KBC Officers

President Mike Boersma 269-720-1409
Vice President Jim Kindle 269-382-8053
Secretary Chris Haddock 269-624-5418
Treasurer Tom Keizer 269-382-4737

Other Important KBC Folks

Database Manager Paul Bruneau 269-343-6016
Newsletter Editor Zolton Cohen 269-344-0200
Ride Captain Knute Jacobson 269-629-0093
Social Director Jelania Haile 269-345-1274
Social Director Renee Mitchell
Safety and Education Chair Victor VanFleet 269-375-7691
Web Site Bob Paksi

KAL Tour

Director Michael Krischer
Director "Super" Dave Bishop 269-679-4522