Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Newsletter
July 2007

KalTour at the Starting Gate

July is here, and that means it’s time for KalTour (formerly FlowerFest) – KBC’s main fundraiser and largest event of the year! KalTour – a multiple-route bicycle tour of the area - raises the profile of the club in the community, not only because of the scale of the event, but also because half of the proceeds for the next three years will be donated to the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail project. Riding in KalTour is not only fun, it also benefits the community.

What does it take to put on KalTour? A lot of work. More than anyone can imagine. The good news is that most of the “heavy lifting” has already been done by KalTour Director Mike Krischer and his capable cadre of volunteers. The better news is that now you have the opportunity to lend a hand in doing some rewarding work to help advance the cause of bicycling, the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club and KalTour.

Krischer points out that helping out at KalTour doesn’t mean you can’t ride on the day of the event. There are several things that need doing in the days before the tour, and plenty of tasks that can be accomplished in a few hours of morning or afternoon work, allowing you to ride either before or after your volunteer stint. So let’s pitch in and help out…

Krischer writes:

Here is a schedule that covers the need for volunteers to help make KalTour run safely and smoothly:

We can use part-day volunteers. People can bicycle to a sag stop and stay there for a couple of hours (especially useful at the Briar Patch in the middle of the day). We would like people at the Briar Patch in 2 to 3 hour shifts, beginning at 8, 11, & 2, with the greatest number at 11:00. The main task of the 2:00 shift will be to pack up leftover food & supplies.

Volunteers could also work registration for a couple of hours in the morning and then ride. Registration opens at 7:00, and is busiest through 9:00. At KVCC after the ride, starting about 1:00, people can help serve food (I would like to do watermelon if it's hot) and pack up starting about 3:00.

We also need SAG drivers. A couple of hours can help, especially in clearing the routes. (This is probably the least popular job). We do have the radio club people, but we like to pair up one KBC person with one radio club person.

Most important! The route painting date is Thursday July 12 at KVCC at 6:00 pm. If we have a good turnout we can finish in one night.

In general, the volunteer schedule is flexible. People can decide when they would like to help, and I can show them where they will be the most useful at that time.

This year we will be selling red "Yes, There Really Is a Kalamazoo" t-shirts, and all volunteers will receive a free one.

Past volunteers will be contacted. Future volunteers can email mkrisch@chatermi.com or call (323-2014).

Mike Krischer, KalTour Director

President’s Letter, June 2007

Summer has arrived. Long days, warm weather, and good riding conditions are present this time of the year. I hope that everyone is taking advantage of the season to achieve their riding goals.

There are two major Kalamazoo Bicycle Club events on the horizon. The KalTour bicycle tour, the updated and renamed successor to the FlowerFest bicycle tour, will occur on July 22. KalTour needs your help. Volunteers are needed to help paint (mark) the route prior to the 22nd. Volunteers are needed on the day of the ride to assist with check in, food stops, sag service, and picking up at the end. Some of the volunteer needs are early enough in the day so that folks can also ride. And yes, we need riders as well -- register online at www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org. Get the word out. Bring your family along. Come enjoy a day of bicycling.

The second major event is the BTR Bicycle race at Western Michigan University’s Business, Technology and Research Park at Drake and Parkview in Kalamazoo. This is the second annual race. It will be a criterium format, so there will be plenty of up-close bicycle racing. For those interested in racing: there is an online signup option at www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org. There will be prize money and a purse of at least $3500. There will also be preems. Expect a good turnout (and better weather than last year). There is a need for volunteers – as this will be an all day event volunteers will be in shifts. Volunteers are needed for set up, registration, course control, traffic control, and take down at the end. Volunteers will also get a free BTR race T-Shirt. Save August 11 for a day at the races.

With the change in seasons there is also additional road construction and road maintenance. The Wednesday night and Friday night rides are affected. Please be careful when riding on chip and seal or dirt. Discretion is the better part of road kill.

I have also received a number of calls of folks needing tandem partners. While I am not qualified to be a matchmaker, if anyone needs a tandem partner I have contact information for you.

Mike Boersma

Monthly Meeting Minutes

KBC’s monthly meeting took place on June 12, 2007, at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo. Present were David Jones, Doug Kirk, Kathy Kirk, Jim Kindle, Mark Irwin, Tom Keizer, Greg Lawford, Jelania Haile, Elaine Naegele, Dick Nivala, Mike Boersma, Mike Krischer, Victor Van Fleet, Terry O’Connor and Zolton Cohen.

Treasurer Tom Keizer’s report for May

  • Income $1,331.75
  • Expenses $126.41
  • Checking account $4,040.12
  • Savings $2079.32
  • Certificate of deposit $12,641.52

Keizer noted that the CD will mature this month. A motion to roll it over for another 4 months was approved.

It was noted that Kevin Biek thanked KBC for its contribution to the first Xterra race in Fort Custer.

KalTour Director Mike Krischer announced that the date for painting directional signs on the roads for this year’s KalTour will be Thursday, July 12, at the KVCC parking lot, at 6:00 PM. Krischer asks for volunteers to meet at that place and time to pick up assignments for the work. He noted that the more volunteers who show up the faster the work gets done – and the fewer miles each has to log to complete the route painting job.

Krischer also noted that KalTour brochures have been printed and are being distributed by mail and at bike shops and other local venues. KalTour has kazoos, Frisbees, and key chains to give away on the day of the event.

KalTour is looking for volunteers to help out with registration, SAG support and at the food stops. Please contact Krischer at: mkrisch@chartermi.net if you can lend a hand. Krischer said he can organize a schedule for volunteers that will allow riding in KalTour as well as working for a block of time. Volunteers receive a free tee shirt.

Zolton Cohen said that Mary Cohen has volunteered to do an article on Bike Camp for publication in the PedalPress. Doug Kirk mentioned that it might be a good idea to submit it to the Kalamazoo Gazette as well.

Greg Lawford, Race Team Captain, requested KBC’s monetary sponsorship for the BTR Criterium Race in WMU’s BTR Park on August 11. The “Gold” sponsorship designation, for $1,000, would mean KBC’s logo would appear on banners, tee shirts and advertising materials associated with the race, such as Western Herald ads and WIDR Radio spots. The club would also receive 6 paid event registrations for members. Lawford said the BTR competition is being heavily subsidized by WMU, and is turning into a “family-friendly” event, with music and food vendors. Eventually, Lawford said, he would like to see KBC become involved with a club-type ride before or after the racing. Gold sponsorship of the BTR race also allows KBC to set up an informational booth on site.

Discussion about whether or not to grant the BTR race such a substantial amount of the club’s treasury centered on what the benefit to bicyclists not involved in racing would be. There were arguments that an event like the BTR race raised the profile of bicycling in the community and generated interest in the sport, countered by those who said the money could be better used in service or programming for riders who might not be interested in racing. In the end, the vote was 12-4 in favor of the proposal.

Jim Kindle raised the prospect of KBC purchasing the domain name “kalamazoobikeclub.org,” as many in the public think that is the name of the club. Zolton Cohen said he would contact KBC’s webmaster Bob Paksi to find out what would be involved in accomplishing that.

Kindle also forwarded an invitation from the MPI Corporation in Mattawan to attend a bike to work day informational session at their facility – something designed to get more of MPI’s employees to bike to work. Kindle volunteered to staff the event for KBC, and will bring the club’s literature to distribute to those interested in the club’s activities. Senator and KBC member Tom George is involved in a “healthy ways to get to work initiative” that would be a good tie-in to this project.

The Allied Capital Corporation sent KBC a thank you letter commending the club for helping with the successful Bike to Work Day/Taste of Campus Pointe Mall event last month. Text of the letter is located elsewhere in this newsletter.

Doug Kirk reported on some successful encounters recently with the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. Because of a change in leadership, Kirk said, KCRC seems more open to working with non-motorized transportation interests. He met with several members of KCRC and was told that Share the Road signs have been ordered and will be placed around the county on various roadways. Kirk said he was able to suggest several good locations for the signs. KCRC will pay for the signs, though KBC had offered in the past to assist with their cost.

Mark Irwin reported on his efforts with the Barry County Road Commission to establish bike pathways or bike lanes alongside existing roadways in Barry County. Irwin asked members at the meeting what an “adequate” bike lane width would be on a roadway. He said BCRC is able to add an extra 3-4 feet of width to existing roads without too much effort – the substructure already exists and requires only some grading and paving. KBC President Mike Boersma mentioned that state and federal monies are available for such work, and that BCRC could apply for these funds. He also mentioned that it would be a good idea to incorporate bike logos and signage along any new bike lanes in order to differentiate them from the automobile travel lanes.

The meeting adjourned at about 8:05. Next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 10, 2007, at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo.

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

KBC Statistics

Active subscriptions


July Birthdays

Marian Barnes * Larry Baumgart * Mike Birmann * Aric Bostwick * Shawn Busby * Dave De Back * Jeff Dubbeld * Amy Elman * Scott Freer * Robyn Glownia * Sherry Gordon * Zachary King * Justin Machnik * Cliff Muller * Kevin Munson * Matthew Munson * Elaine Naegele * Jim Pankow * Kenneth Polidan * Donn Raseman * Brianna Salome * Brian Seel * LeMoin Shadduck * Bill Strome * Joyce Walker * Allison Kelaher Young

New Members

Colleen Alaniz * Walker Batts * Sean Duross * Gary Feldt * Terri Feldt * Beverly Kluzak * Walter Smolenski

July Expiring memberships

Mike Berry * Eric & Steve Breisach * Brian & Tammy Campbell * Robin Carpenter * Family * Mark DiJulio * John Doyle * Richard Garthe * Tom George * Fabian Gomez * Deb Gray & Al Cergol * Kathleen Hoard * David Jarl * Zachary King * Larry Kissinger * Tim Krone * Michael Louisell * Zach McBride * Doug McDonnell Family * Jim Mishler * Timothy Mitchell * Cliff Muller * Tom Nehil Family * Keoni Nguyen * Tom Owens * Garret Peaslee * Dan & Diane Shugars * Brian Simon * Gordon Snow * Harriet Swanson * Diane Trader * Carl Urbon * Stephanie Walbridge * Mary White Family * Myra Willis * Richard Wolthuis * Chuck Zahnow

Renewed memberships

Tom & Celine Keizer * Rob Nicey * Michele Intermont * Kevin Biek * Terry Florian * Family * H. Knute Jacobson Family * Andy Maxwell * Andy Aardema * Michael Daniels * Paul Marquardt Family * Donn Raseman * Curtis & Tammy Vreeman Family * Nicholas Bishop * Barry Kearns * Stephanie Sabin

July Ride Schedule


The Monday Ride at Texas Drive Park will consist of at least 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. This group may include participants in Bike Camp, and may be led by Paul Bruneau.
  • 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. Depending on the number of riders who show up, this group may be broken into two smaller 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.


The Tuesday Night Time Trial series is up and running for 2007, with the Barnes Family and Team KBC/Little Caesar’s managing the time trial again this year. The ten mile route will be the same as in years past. Start location is at the Pavilion Township Hall at the corner of Q Ave and 28th Street. The TNTT runs on the first and third Tuesday of the month. Sign-in time for the TNTT is 6:15. The start takes place at 6:30.


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 Ron Gauthier, John Olbrot 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 may form, 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.


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: 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.

Due to road construction and lack of interest in establishing a new, southern route, the Tour de Gull route, which goes from Galesburg up and around Gull Lake, has been resurrected.

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 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.

  • July 8, 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
  • August 12, 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.

Note: Some of the special weekend rides may have to be canceled if no one volunteers to lead them. Please contact Knute Jacobson if you can lead a special weekend ride.

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:

My son Paul and I rode the state time trial in Hines Park this past weekend. I don't find time trials "fun", but it was fun to see so many other KBC affiliated people there! At the same time, other KBC folks were racing the Superior Bike Fest in Marquette, or triathlons elsewhere, and still others were leaving for touring rides around the country--or just cruising their everyday training routes. Safe to say, with the weather we've been having, all KBC riders have been enjoying the great sport of cycling.

To my knowledge, all our weekly rides are going well. Many evenings several different rides are offered, to suit a wide variety of preferences. With the warmer weather, remember to bring enough water or, preferably, sports drinks for the longer rides.

Summer is also the season of "Chip and Seal." We encountered quite a bit of it on the Wednesday night rides last week. Doubtless there will be more to come. Remember to use extra caution on chip and seal, especially when turning. And remember also: those evil chips are one of the reasons it's necessary always to carry a pump and spare tube with you on club rides!

Those of you who ride Friday evenings will know that we have recently encountered a new kind of County Road Commission Challenge--a six foot deep twenty foot wide trench across G Avenue, just before the home stretch on 37th street. While the trench is there, we'll use 35th street instead. Cyclo-cross types can try to cross the ditch if they prefer.

Finally, I have not had any response to my emails and articles asking for leaders for the South Haven ride this year, so we will not offer that ride unless one of you notifies me immediately that you'd like to lead it, in which case we'll send out a batch email letting people know the details of what is being planned.

I also am still looking for someone to lead the County Century (it could be a metric century if you prefer) on August 12th, as I'll be away that day.

Knute Jacobson,
KBC Ride Captain

Editor’s Letter

This morning, Saturday, June 23, I woke up and didn’t have Bike Camp to go to. And immediately, I missed it. We had put the finishing touches on the club’s 2007 training and educational program the week before, and now I don’t know what to do with myself.

A long weekend stretches ahead. Sleep in? Mow the lawn? Plant some more beans? Go for a ride? Too many choices to contemplate…

Bike Camp 2007 was a resounding success. The committee of Paul Bruneau, Jelania Haile, Renee Mitchell, David Jones, Jim Kindle and I found it a little easier going this year, as we had last year’s experience with the expanded program to build on. We met some absolutely great people, whose newfound enthusiasm for bicycling was palpable – and energizing. And make no mistake about it; there are good riders in this new group of “graduates.” You’ll be seeing them on club rides in the future and at KalTour as well. We hope they continue to ride and enjoy the pleasures biking can bring.

The Bike Camp Committee could not have pulled off Bike Camp 2007 without the help of a lot of people. Among others, Doug and Kathy Kirk, Brad Fry, Greg Lawford, Paul Wells, Richard Neumann, Chris Haddock, John and Terri Olbrot, Tom and Celine Keizer, Knute Jacobson, Marian and Chris Barnes, Tyler Kindle, Megan and Fred James, Pam McDonnell, Chris Howard, Tim Stewart and Mike Berry all volunteered their time and expertise to fit bikes to Bike Campers, help lead rides, do presentations, and generally were there to answer questions and provide a warm welcome into KBC. These volunteers truly made Bike Camp possible.

In addition, a big thank you goes out to Breakaway Bicycles, Village Cyclery, Alfred E Bike, and Gazelle Sports for contributing merchandise and coupons to the Bike Campers. These local merchants support KBC not only at Bike Camp, but also throughout the year.

Truthfully, Bike Camp is a rewarding revelation to those who comprise its steering committee and volunteer corps. In a sense, it sharpens and revitalizes your interest in the sport when you share what you know about it with so many willing and eager listeners.

So, Bike Camp is over for 2007. There’s still a lot of riding left in this season, and then we’ll look forward to the planning for Bike Camp 2008…

Zolton Cohen,
KBC Newsletter Editor

Bike Camp Wrap Up, by Mary Cohen

At 8:05 a.m. on June 16, birds were still twittering in the morning cool when KBC volunteers began setting up for the final Saturday session of Bike Camp 2007. In the parking lot outside the Portage YMCA annex on Old Centre, Jim Kindle’s vehicle blasted a buoyant instrumental theme from “Pirates of the Caribbean” as he and fellow Bike Camp Committee members Zolton Cohen, Renee Mitchell, David Jones, Paul Bruneau and Jelania Haile went to work creating a cross between a classroom and a workshop under the trees.

In no time a bike stand was set up, tools displayed, handouts stacked. Within minutes, Bike Campers began arriving and at first glance, it looked like any KBC ride. Cyclists unpacked bikes and gear, checked tire pressure, joked with sleepy new arrivals, and took little spins around the parking lot to warm up. But by 8:30 thirty-some people were gathered around a handful of hexagonal wooden picnic tables giving Kindle their full attention. “Let’s get started . . .” he said easily and Bike Camp was back in session.

In 2005, KBC offered its first Bike Camp to lure former riders and biking newbies into cycling for fitness and fun. Only about seven attended the initial one-day, two hour event. But the response was enough to show Club volunteers that they’d hit a nerve. In 2006, the committee moved to expand the number of sessions. Based on feedback, the current Bike Camp format (an introductory weeknight session and five Saturday morning gatherings) represents more fine-tuning. But the crux of the idea – that beginning bicyclists want an entrée to successful road cycling – has remained unchanged. And when asked, Bike Campers confirm that the warm welcome they get from KBC volunteers is every bit as important as the practical information.

“I joined KBC six years ago,” Luanne Cali recalls. “But I only went to rides a couple of times.” Bike Camp has been perfect for giving group cycling another try. “It’s everything we need to get going again,” she says. “It gives you the confidence and somebody to work out with.”

Like most Bike Campers, Cali has her own goals. “I do charity rides, so I can ride a long way. But my goal is to ride faster – and it’s helped! I was at 11 miles an hour or so, but now on the Monday Club ride (from Texas Drive Park) I keep between 13 and 15 miles an hour.” She credits practical information from seasoned riders as one of Bike Camp’s best features. In fact, during one of the first sessions, Kathy Kirk explained a shifting subtlety that’s made rides smoother for Cali ever since.

Bike Camp

Not all Bike Camp information is new, of course, “but it gives you a different point of view,” Cali explained. Sometimes the content reassures riders, other times it motivates, and every now and then it just plain entertains. “Paul Bruneau’s hydration presentation was a hoot,” she remembered with a chuckle. But all of it is useful for riders as they take to the road. “Today I’m really looking forward to the tire changing information,” Cali remarked.

Camper Brian Seel expressed the same interest. “I’ve been mountain biking,” he said, “but I wanted to go farther than 8 or 10 miles.” As a newcomer to road biking, Seel mentioned that the information on spinning was especially helpful – and the chance to try group cycling, too. “But I’m looking forward to the mechanics,” he admitted. “In mountain biking, knowing how to change a flat is not such a big deal. When you’re doing 40 or 50 miles, that’s different.”

During the scant hour of instruction that followed, Seel, Cali, and the other Campers got a show-and-tell that covered routine bike maintenance, cleaning, and equipment from Jim Kindle, followed by the ins and outs of changing a flat from Zolton Cohen (someone who has changed plenty of them on Club rides, according to the KBC volunteers in attendance).

Kindle held up sample chain cleaners, specific tools needed to address specific biking adjustment needs, and talked through why dry lube was better than oil for a chain. He also extolled the value of “any old rag” for cleaning, and a worn bathmat under the bike stand when doing messy routine maintenance. The overall effect on Bike Campers was to make the content more accessible, less daunting.

“Jim, do you clean the sprocket?” one participant asked. “Once or twice a year, I disassemble it and clean it,” he responded. “How about using paper towels?” another camper queried. The relaxed back-and-forth of the session showed just how comfortable attendees had become. By the time Cohen took the floor and asked, “What’s the leading cause of flats?” the group was fully engaged. “Low pressure!” one camper volunteered. “Under-inflation,” another offered.

Talking through every step of the tire changing process, Cohen covered road hazards, explained biker’s lingo (“snake bites,” “lawyers’ lips”), illustrated how to use tire levers, assorted pumps and CO2 inflation devices, and generally made the nuances of tire changing understandable. Road safety tips were woven into the mechanics of the process as a tube was passed hand to hand, then a tire. Bike Campers shifted their positions and moved around, intent on catching every bit of the info-packed session.

Bike Camp

KBC Race Team Captain Greg Lawford, who was there to help lead one of the longer rides, offered a tip of his own – about carrying a spare tubes in a plastic bag into which some talcum powder had been drizzled. When asked, he also spoke knowledgably on the differences between “clincher” type tires and “sew-ups,” and the reasons some bike racers used to “age” tires before they mounted them on wheels for races. By 9:25, the mechanics and tire changing session was drawing to a close, handouts were being passed out, and Bike Camp was shifting gears from instruction to group riding.

In the few minutes between the instruction portion of Bike Camp and the group rides, Mitchell and Haile drew the group into a raffle for gear donated by local vendors, including Breakaway Bicycles and Village Cyclery. At the same time, Kindle, Cohen, and other KBC volunteers broke down the mobile classroom and got ready to lead rides. The efficient use of time, quality of content, instruction, and smooth movement from theory to practice has consistently impressed Terry Norris, another happy Bike Camper. “It’s perfect!” she says. “I’m a teacher and I usually find something to improve in a class, but this is perfect. Handouts, sessions, rides . . . everything!”

Norris and her husband, Pat, are interested in incorporating cycling into vacations and travel and had just bought new bikes. Even so, she and Pat admitted that it would have been easy to feel intimidated at first. Terry explains, “I remember at the first session Zolton said, ‘Don’t be put off by ‘the Lycra factor’ and that helped.” Pat agreed, “It’s been really great; just superb. We are going to do a trip in September to Austria and I feel like writing, ‘What I did after Bike Camp’ for the Club newsletter.”

Some Campers, like Seel, learned about Bike Camp online at the KBC web site. Others, like Joanne and Skip Decker, saw a brochure at a bike store or another community site (in the Deckers’ case, at the Bronson Athletic Club). “We love it!” Joanne Decker offered. “The camaraderie, the friendliness, the practical information,” she said, listing the benefits. Skip added that for him, since he has artificial knees, “having someone to stay with you” during the group rides was appealing. “It’s a great organization,” he said enthusiastically.

One way or another, many Bike Campers were saying the same thing by the time they returned to the meeting place after their group rides. Some had gone farther than ever before (“Thirty-one miles!” Chris Haddock, KBC Secretary and Bike Camp volunteer ride leader, called jubilantly to her group as they rolled in), many had gone faster (“That’s a full mile-an-hour faster than last week,” Cohen announced as his group dismounted), and all were feeling the triumph of their progress in only a few short weeks. “I started out in the ten-mile ride,” said Allison Kelaher Young after her 31 miles jaunt. “Today I could have just kept going. That pace was awesome!”

In another cluster, Lynda Pioch and other Bike Campers were exchanging phone numbers to meet at a KBC ride or just go out for a spin together. “I’ve increased each time,” Pioch said. “It was nerve-racking to ride in a pack at first,” she admitted. But it’s less rattling now, and that’s only one of the reasons she’s glad she came to Bike Camp. “Even if somebody hadn’t ridden for five years or more, you can find a place here,” she said with a smile.

Letter to KBC from MDOT

As some may recall, earlier this spring Doug Kirk composed and sent a letter on behalf of KBC to the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Kalamazoo County Road Commission. The letter spelled out the difficulties area bicyclists were experiencing due to the increased traffic on Parkview and 12th Street during the Oakland Drive/I-94 bridge rebuilding project. He also noted concern with the debris-scattered road surface on 12th Street under the I-94 underpass, and the deteriorating roadway on the Parkview Bridge over 131.

MDOT replied to his letter on May 11. Here is the text of that letter:

Dear Mr. Boersma,

Thank you for your letter of April 16, 2007, regarding bicycle safety resulting from the closure of the Oakland Drive Bridge. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) appreciates your concerns.

The Kalamazoo Transportation Service Center (TSC) has directed the contractor to sweep and clean the shoulder areas on 12th Street under I-94 to provide the safest possible travel route for bicyclists. The Kalamazoo TSC will continue this effort for the remainder of the project.

The Parkview Avenue Bridge is scheduled to be replaced and widened in 2008, and will include widening of the shoulders. In the mean time (sic), MDOT’s bridge crews will review the condition of the bridge deck and complete work that will provide a smoother riding surface.

MDOT is aware that the closure of the Oakland Drive Bridge has caused challenges for travelers and bicyclists. We are committed to expediting the opening of the bridge with the anticipated completion date in July 2007. The July open-to-traffic date is four months earlier than originally planned.

Thank you for your letter. If you have any questions, please contact either me or Pete Pfeiffer, Kalamazoo TSC Manager at 269-375-8900.

Sincerely, Bobbi Welke, Southwest Region Engineer

Vicksburg Old Car Ride Review

KBC’s Vicksburg Old Car Ride, Sunday, June 10, 2007, could very well have been named the “Vicksburg No-Car Ride,” given the relative dearth of automobile traffic the riders encountered while on the 65 mile route. Apparently, the Old Car Festival had wrapped up and left town on Saturday; the only cars in view were modern ones, and those were few and far between.

Nine riders showed up for the 9:00 AM start, on a coolish morning that had the participants debating in the parking lot whether or not to wear arm warmers and vests for the first few miles. The sun warmed things up quickly though, and most set off with only short sleeved jerseys and bike shorts. Hazy sun, a moderate temperature and little to no wind yielded ideal bicycling conditions throughout the ride.

Ride leader Doug “The Human GPS Unit” Kirk had prepared maps of the route, which largely proved redundant, given his encyclopedic knowledge of the roads south of Vicksburg. Without much fanfare, the ride started from the parking lot of Vicksburg High School a few minutes after 9:00.

The pace for the first 20 miles or so was moderate – 17-19 mph. Riders took turns at the front riding, two abreast; alternating when the mood struck. With no wind, the lead duties were easy enough.

The group stopped in Colon for refreshments at a gas station, fueling up on energy bars, fruit, and sports drinks. Jim Kindle and Heather Haydo executed what Larry Kissinger called a “Colonoscopy” by heading back to Vicksburg after the food stop. Due to impending professional commitments in the early afternoon they weren’t able to complete the route with the rest of the riders.

After the Colon stop, the remaining 7 riders meandered through towns like Leonidis, and the nearly boarded-up Burr Oak, while the average pace climbed to 19-20 mph. The group passed many large Amish farms, identifiable by the lack of electric power cables going to the houses and barns. Along the road there was ample evidence of another type of “organic” travel favored by that sect – horses. Though the group never got to exercise Richard Wolf’s “passing horse-drawn carriages protocol,” they did see several of the buggies on the roadway in the distance and parked in farmyards.

Several riders decided to sprint for town and county line signs along the way, with Kirk winning more than his share – an advantage of having both drawn the route map and retraining intimate knowledge of the local roads. Larry Kissinger peeled off and terminated his ride as the riders passed close to his home on Lake Templain.

After another brief refueling stop in bustling Centerville, the pace notched up yet again as the group headed north toward Vicksburg with about 20 miles to go. The diminutive 6-person peloton stretched out into a single line as one rider after another pulled hard at the front on nearly deserted country roads. The speed ramped up to 20-22 mph for the remaining distance back to the Vicksburg High School parking lot. Average speed: 18.4 mph for the 65 mile distance.

There were smiles all around as the group did a brief post-ride rehash in the parking lot. Then everyone got into his vehicle – or, in Kirk’s case, on his bike – to ride back home. It had been a near perfect day and ride – terrific weather, hardly any traffic on decent roads, pretty vistas, lots of conversation and laughter along the way. No flats, no wrong turns, no whining, no worries. Another great KBC special weekend ride in the books. Thanks go to Doug Kirk for leading the 2007 Vicksburg Old Car Ride!

Letter From Allied Capital Corporation about Bike to Work Day

Dear Zolton,

Thank you for all your help, information, contacts and suggestions for our first National Bike to Work Day Event. The teaming of Allied Capital Corporation and the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club seemed to be a good fit. Hopefully, we can make it an annual event, drawing even more bicycling enthusiasts! We could possibly incorporate a bike ride and a grand prize next year with enough advance planning!

Your contacts and sources were invaluable. We could not have made this possible without your help. We look forward to continued collaborations on upcoming events.

Sincerely, Maureen T. Daniel, Executive Coordinator, Allied Capital Corporation

New Use for Bicycle – Knife Sharpener

A man in Kenya named Peter Kahugu uses his bicycle to make a living sharpening knives. He rigged up a device to hold a grinding wheel that clamps to the bike’s top tube. It is linked to his back wheel using pulleys and a long belt made of old bicycle tubes.

Kahugu rides around to his clients, kicks his bike up onto its stand and engages the pulley system and belt. Sitting on the bike while he pedals, he draws knives and other metal implements across the spinning grinding wheel to sharpen them.

Kahugu makes about $10 a day with the bike/grinding wheel system. A YouTube video of him in action on his knife-sharpening bike is available at:


KBC Bike Racing Results Compiled by Joe Kucharski

Any KBC members whose results are being missed, please let me know at singlespeed@charter.net.

Tour of Frankenmuth (Road), 05/26/07

  • Bob Lynch, 10th Cat 5

Tour de Gaslight (Road), 05/28/07

  • Taylor Birmann, 10th Cat 3
  • Brad Fry, 24th Cat 3
  • Mike Birmann, 1st Cat 5
  • Darryl Dolby, 17th Cat 5
  • Cheryl Olson, 8th Women

Hanson Hills Cross Country (Mountain), 06/03/07

  • John Meyers, 3rd Elite
  • Darryl Dolby, 1st Sport 40-44

Tour of Cedar Creek – State Championships (Road), 06/10/07

  • Taylor Birmann, 1st Junior Boys 11-16
  • Stephen Barnes, 5th Junior Boys 11-16
  • Cheryl Olson, 7th Women Cat 1-3
  • Kathy Kirk, 14th Women Cat 1-3
  • Mike Birmann, 2nd Men Cat 5
  • Darryl Dolby, 6th Men Cat 5
  • Greg Lawford, 13th Men Cat 4
  • John Meyers, 5th Masters 30+

20th National 24-Hour Challenge (Road), 06/16/07

  • Mike Boersma, 17th Men 35-39, 182.8 Miles
  • Joe Kucharski, 2nd Men 40-44, 373.9 Miles
  • Mike Birmann, 5th Men 45-49, 373.9 Miles
  • Douglas Freeland, 15th Men 45-49, 304.0 Miles
  • Kenneth Mange, 22nd Men 50-54, 206.5 Miles
  • Al Cergol & Deborah Gray, 7th Mixed Tandem, 145.3 Miles

Lumberjack 100 (Mountain), 06/16/07

  • John Meyers, 6th Men

Wolverine Time Trial – State Championships (Road), 06/24/07

  • Paul Jacobson, 3rd Boys 15-16
  • Kathy Kirk, 2nd Women Cat 1-3
  • Doug Kirk, 12th Men Cat 5
  • Jamie Clark, 3rd Men Cat 4

Classified Ad

For sale, Yakima King Joe 3 bike trunk-mount rack.
I used this 1 week on a rental car. Paid $150. $110 or best offer. I also have a hard cover bike box case for flying or shipping $75.00. email terryf@chartermi.net or phone 344-2015

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: It's the event you've been waiting for... Gazelle Sports' annual Sidewalk Sales!!!

Great savings July 12, 13 and 14.

Enjoy 25-70% OFF selected spring apparel, 25% OFF selected Adidas and Nike soccer footwear and great prices on running footwear and socks, PLUS MUCH 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