Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Newsletter
September 2007

Special Announcements

Ride Start Time Change Notice! Starting September 1, KBC weekday club rides will start at 6:00 PM rather than 6:15.

Final 2007 TNTT Time Trial Scheduled for Tuesday, September 4

Chris Barnes has announced that the final Tuesday Night Time Trial of the 2007 season will take place on Tuesday, September 4, at the regular start time. There will be a “pizza party” immediately following the event.

KBC Anniversary Ride and Picnic – Saturday, September 22, 2007

Come one and all to the KBC Anniversary Ride and Picnic being held on

Saturday, September 22nd, starting at 10AM at the Kal-Haven Trailhead parking lot on 10th Street in Kalamazoo.

The Anniversary Ride is a great opportunity for KBC members and their families to ride together in a relaxed atmosphere, and it provides a chance to catch up on summer adventures and gear up for the fall season. Bring the family, or have them meet you at the trailhead after the ride for good food and fun!

Several road rides will leave from the Kal-Haven Trailhead at 10 am on that day. There may also be a ride on the Kal-Haven Trail. The idea is to return to the trailhead around noon, just in time for a party. The Club will provide pizza, soda, cider, and tableware. We ask you to bring a dish to share according to your primary helmet color.

If your primary helmet color is:

  • White or Silver: Please bring a salad
  • Black or Blue: Please bring an appetizer
  • Red or Yellow: Please bring a dessert
  • Other: Surprise us!

Ride details: Riders will leave the trailhead parking lot at 10 AM, on routes of 14, 19, 23, 31 or 36 miles. You choose your route and group, and time your speed to get back at about noon, when the food will show up. Maps of the various routes will be provided. Riders doing the longest route, 36 miles, have averaged about 18-19 mph in the past.

Seating is limited at the trailhead, so consider bringing your own chair. Also, bring your trail pass and parking permit if you have one. If you don’t, don’t worry. KBC has made arrangements with the Kal Haven Trail management so that everyone can enjoy the morning at the trail - no charge to you, it’s on us (KBC)!

So, mark your calendars for Saturday, September 22nd, pack up the family, bikes and food - we look forward to seeing you there!

Jelania & Renee

KBC Social Directors

September President’s Letter

The second annual BTR Bike Race was a success this year. Almost 200 racers came out to compete in the races. The weather was beautiful. The event went smoothly. The races were fun to watch. There were no doping scandals to cloud the event. The BTR Bike race drew about twice as many competitors as the first race last year and there is still room to grow. Western Michigan University was happy with the event, so look for details about the third annual BTR Race in the coming months. Please feel free to share suggestions about improving the event for next year.

I remain concerned about the level of participation by women in the BTR race. There were only 12 or so women competing in the women’s events. There were no women competing in the junior’s race. I realize that low turnout by women in road cycling competitions is not new; change will require a new approach to this problem. I urge folks to be creative and to share suggestions with the KBC board. I would hope that a goal of 10 women from the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club competing at the 3rd Annual BTR Race could be met (which would roughly double the number from this year).

The days are getting shorter. Please remember that bright clothing is easier to be seen by motorists than dark clothing. Lights also make your bike visible on dark or cloudy days. Lights are also required to be used when riding one half hour before sunset. Please think “Close Encounters” when riding to and from KBC rides for the rest of the season.

The Anniversary Ride is coming! Please keep the date, Saturday, September 22 open. There is more information about this event elsewhere in the newsletter.

Mike Boersma


The electronically-distributed 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, zcohen@ameritech.net, 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 by the 20th of February.

Monthly Meeting Minutes

KBC’s monthly meeting took place on Tuesday, August 14, 2007, at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo. Present for the meeting were Jim Kindle, Heather Haydo, Jonathan Evans, Paul Pancella, Mike Krischer, David Jones, Tom Keizer, Jelania Haile, Victor Van Fleet, Brad Fry, Chris Haddock, Jason Pridmore, Elaine Naegele, Barb Lee, Dick Nivala, Mike Boersma, Renee Mitchell and Zolton Cohen.

Tom Keizer began with the Treasurer’s report:

  • Savings account = $2, 081
  • Checking account = $6,145
  • CD = $12,725
  • Expenses this month = $4, 141

KalTour Director Mike Krischer reported that the numbers of participants in KalTour 2007 was slightly higher this year, at about 350. There were requests to post the route maps on our website and possibly move the date of KalTour earlier in July next year. It was also mentioned that there is a need for a larger committee to oversee the operations of KalTour 2008.

Team KBC member Brad Fry brought news of a positive response from the WMU/KBC BTR race last Saturday. There were almost 200 racers participating; twice the number as last year, and many volunteers from KBC and the community at large.

Jelania Haile reminded all of the 2007 Anniversary Ride on September 22nd, 10:00 AM at the Kal Haven Trail. More information about this ride and party can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.

David Jones presented information about the League of American Bicyclists Road I certification course that will be offered in Jackson on September 29th. There was a motion for KBC to sponsor up to 5 members to attend this 8 hour certification course. The participants will then be responsible for presenting what they learned to the membership at large via informational sessions. The motion was seconded and passed.

Mike Boersma posed the idea of KBC developing an area commuter bike map as a winter project.

Zolton Cohen presented information on KBC’s Excess Medical Insurance coverage for members, details of which can be found elsewhere in this newsletter. KBC is looking for a member of the club to act as an "Insurance Commissioner." This will be the go-to person after an accident has occurred. An incident report form must be filled out and sent in whenever an accident occurs at a KBC sanctioned event.

Newsletter editor Zolton Cohen announced his "retirement," as of December 2007. The Pedal Press is now looking for a new newsletter editor. Interested persons can contact Zolton for more information.

Zolton Cohen presented an idea for increasing club membership. It would include granting a free trial membership in KBC with each new bicycle purchased at a local bike shop. Members present at the meeting were intrigued by the idea and discussed it at length. A committee, consisting of Cohen, Heather Haydo and Vice President Jim Kindle, has formed to further develop the proposal. There will be additional discussion on this subject at next month’s meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:20 pm. Next meeting will be Tuesday, September 11th 2007 at 7PM.

Respectfully submitted, Chris Haddock, KBC Secretary

KBC Statistics

Active subscriptions


September Birthdays

Eric Bekker * Joan Bennett * Melissa Bostwick * Mary Cohen * Eric Gauthier * Kimberly Grabowski * Chris Howard * H. Knute Jacobson * Fred James * Richard Jura * Larry Kissinger * Shawn Messenger * Ashley Mitchell * Dick Nivala * Jacob Olbrot * Andrew Peterson * Misty Raynes * Lily Robertson * Tim Stewart * Alexandra Stoycheva

New Members

Kelly Knechtel * Andy Seiser

September Expiring memberships

Carl Clatterbuck Family * Eric Feucht * Jeff and Wendy Hutchison * Michael Miller * Renee Mitchell Family * Kurt Sherwood * Stoyan Stoychev Family

Renewed memberships

David Jones & Leslie Mars

Help Wanted – Newsletter Editor Position Opening Up

KBC is looking for a new newsletter editor. The job will start with the January 2008 issue of the PedalPress.

The KBC newsletter editor is responsible for writing and editing the club’s newsletter, published monthly throughout the year. Applicants should have strong writing and organizational skills; good judgment regarding what is pertinent and interesting to a variety of local cyclists; be detail-oriented and a stickler for accuracy; and have a commitment to and interest in cycling and the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. Rudimentary digital photography skills are a plus, as is a willingness to attend, get involved in, and record for posterity KBC events.

For more information or to apply for this position, please contact: zcohen@ameritech.net, or attend the next KBC meeting.

September Ride Schedule

Ride Start Time Change Notice! Starting September 1, KBC weekday club rides will start at 6:00 PM rather than 6:15.


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
  • 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.


Final 2007 TNTT Time Trial Scheduled for Tuesday, September 4

Chris Barnes has announced that the final Tuesday Night Time Trial of the 2007 season will take place on Tuesday, September 4, at the regular start time. There will be a “pizza party” immediately following the event.

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.


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 Galesburg 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:

Only two more special KBC rides remain for the 2007 season. Be sure to plan on attending at least one..
  • The 36th KBC Anniversary Ride, Saturday, September 22, 10 AM (16-40 mile routes)
  • The 4th Fall Ride (~40 miles)

The date for the Fall Ride is not firmly established 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.

Editor’s Letter

Well, the BTR Criterium Bike Race, held on August 11, 2007, is in the books. And, after spending the entire day out there, my opinion is that KBC was amply rewarded for its investment in the event. It was fun, colorful; fast and furious. It promoted the sport of cycling and bike racing very well indeed.

Because criteriums are held on short, closed-loop courses, the racers come around again and again, so the spectating is, well, spectacular. And come around they did. I was astonished to learn from KBC’er Paul Raynes, who participated in the CAT 5 race - the lowest classification - that their average speed was just north of 25 mph. In the early part of their race, the Pro 1/2/3’s featured the riders ramming around the 1.1 mile course at just a little over two minutes a lap. Put away your TI-380. I’ll do the math for you. That’s about 30 mph. The sound of high pressure tires humming on the pavement still rings in my ears…

The only organizational glitch I observed, and a minor one at that, occurred when someone drove a steel fencing stake through an underground sprinkler pipe right in front of the replacement wheel pit. Wisely, no one tried to uproot the stake, and it staunched much of the flow. However, the water flowing out of the pipe eventually turned that area a bit muddy. Course volunteers later in the day simply moved the wheel pit area a few yards to the south and that was that.

Several things struck me about this race. One was that KBC members showed up in droves in order to volunteer as course marshals, registration facilitators, and general helpers-out. Thanks go to all of those who gave of their time and themselves to make this race the success it was.

Another was that out-of-town racers were very impressed with the course and the running of the event. Time after time, in the course of my photographing the podium winners, I heard positive comments about the condition of the roadway, the appropriateness and beauty of the route, and the friendly volunteers the racers encountered along the way. One competitor told me that he could see this race growing significantly larger in the future as word spread throughout the ranks of regional bicycle racers.

Finally, it was great to see so many local KBC bikers not only participating in the race, but doing well at it. Zach McBride won the Men’s Elite 3 race; Andrew Florian took first in the Juniors event. Kathy Kirk, Monica Tory and Marian Barnes represented well in the women’s race, and Nikolai Minka, progeny of longtime local racer Marty Minka, nailed down the Kid’s race with a devastating final sprint to the finish.

Kudos especially go to KBC’s BTR race organizers Greg Lawford and Rick Updike. Greg displayed great deftness at multitasking in the weeks and months preceding the event by not only doing just about everything there was to do involved in planning beforehand - and running around like a chicken with its head cut off on the day of the race - he also managed to pick off sixth place in the Men’s 4 Elite race as well.

So, well done BTR Criterium Road Race. We’ll look forward to this event next year.

A Dressing Down

A few weeks ago, on a Wednesday Half Fast ride, I got a comeuppance. Not in terms of riding fast and hard yet still coming up short of the lead group on that ride. That’s a weekly occurrence; nothing unusual and not worth noting. This came afterward, in the parking lot, as a bunch of us stood around rehashing the ride.

It seems I’d done something stupid out there on the roadway, and one rider who had seen my transgression let me know about it.

Since 2nd Street has been chip and sealed, some of us on the Half Fast ride have been coming up 6th Street hill on our way back in order to avoid the loose gravel – and also to add another punishing dimension to the ride. That means, on our way back to the Kal Haven Trailhead parking lot, we approach the 6th/G Avenue intersection from the north.

On that night, as I came up to the stop sign at that crossroads, two cars were approaching from my left and right on G. I reached the intersection first, which would give me the right of way to continue through first after I came to a stop. But I didn’t stop. In fact, I barely slowed down. I just made eye contact with the drivers of the two cars and sailed on through the stop sign.

It had been a hot, competitive night. I was just in front of two riders I’d been trying to drop for most of the ride, and I just utterly lost sense when I came to that intersection. The rider who dressed me down in the parking lot afterward was one of the ones I’d been attempting to lose; he’d seen the entire tableau from a hundred yards or so behind.

His point was that, regardless of whether or not I had reached the intersection first, I needed to make it clear to the auto drivers that I was obeying the stop sign. He went on to say that my behavior had just painted with a broad brush every other rider on the roadway. It put into those drivers’ minds that bicyclists don’t feel as though they need to adhere to the rules of the road. No argument there. It’s true that one act of carelessness like this can destroy the good efforts of many others who actually do make it a point to pay strict heed to the motor vehicle laws.

The ironic thing is that I’m one of the people who takes this aspect of cycling very seriously. In fact, KBC Vice President Jim Kindle and I had had a conversation about this very subject earlier in the summer. He said (and I do this as well), that he tries to put on a “really good show” at each intersection when cars are present. He’ll very visibly look all around at the traffic coming from the side streets, stand on his pedals, and only after he’s made eye contact with everyone involved, proceed through when he has the right of way. It’s a way of letting drivers know that you’re paying attention, and it makes you more visible at the same time. An added benefit is that it shows drivers that bicyclists know the rules of the road - and obey them.

But I became blind to all of that in the heat of the moment, and as a consequence may have besmirched some of the good will that has developed between cyclists and auto drivers in this area. There’s no excuse for it. I’m embarrassed by what I did; doubly so after having had that very public remonstration. It won’t happen again. This is something worth keeping in mind: What we do on the roadway – our interaction with others who share the road – can have lasting effects, both good and bad. It’s a lesson I relearned the other night. I won’t soon forget it.

Zolton Cohen, KBC Newsletter Editor

You’re Covered: KBC Insurance Information – and a Volunteer Opportunity

Did you know that one of the benefits of KBC membership is that you’re covered by an insurance policy? It’s true. For years, the club has been paying premiums (about $1.75 per member per year) to keep both a general liability policy and an excess medical coverage insurance policy in place.

During the last month, KBC obtained copies of the insurance policies the club purchases through the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) and American Specialty Insurance. Here’s a review of the policies provided by KBC’er and insurance adjuster Bill Strome, who qualifies the following by saying, “I am not a claims representative for the club's insurance company and I am not an attorney. My opinion should not be construed as the offering of legal advice.” But, in general, here’s what KBC’s insurance policy means for you…

Strome writes: “The Mutual of Omaha policy is the one that is probably of most interest because it is the one that would provide the excess medical coverage in the event of an injury to a club member. There is $5000 for accidental death, plus portions of that available for a "specific loss" (loss of an eye, finger, etc). The limit for excess medical is $10,000, which means that they could pay up to that amount, less a $500 deductible, after someone's primary health carrier has paid their share, or if the person had no collectible health insurance.”

”On a side note, if you are injured by being hit by a car while riding your bike (or vice versa) that would be considered to be a motor vehicle accident and therefore subject to the No Fault automobile statute. You would be entitled to receive Personal Injury Protection benefits under your own auto policy, or another auto policy down the line in what is known as the priority of benefits. In the case of a motor vehicle accident it would be unlikely that the Club's accident policy would be involved.”

”It is important to note that they have a requirement for prompt notice of an occurrence, which is written notice within 30 days of the occurrence or "as soon as reasonably possible." The "reasonably possible" time period is somewhat nebulous and gives room for interpretation. However, the club should be mindful of the necessity to provide prompt notice to avoid any issues. Claims are like dead fish. The older they are the worse they smell It is always better to report claims sooner rather than later, so the executive board should be mindful of that.”

”The general liability policy is pretty standard stuff, with a $1,000,000 limit of liability for claims by a third party. There are too many ins and outs such a policy to summarize, but it is typical of a commercial liability policy.”

Strome also said that his analysis of the policy is that KBC members doing solo rides or riding to club rides would not be covered in the event of an accident. He writes, “I believe that the policy read that the occurrence would have to be during a club sanctioned event, so a club member would not be able to avail themselves to coverage if injured during a solo ride or during a ride that didn't involve a club activity.”

“Riding to or from a club event is a less obvious answer, but my opinion is that the policy would not cover someone injured in that scenario based on the language in the coverage agreement. Frankly, I was hoping not to get many "what if" questions because I would have to qualify most answers with the fact that the matter would have to be investigated and the insurance carrier would have to decide. One of the difficulties of hypothetical questions for an adjuster is that the response you can give may not satisfy the person asking the question, but there can be a number of variables that can affect the outcome and there may not be a simple "yes or no" answer.”

So, one of the benefits of membership in KBC is that when you ride a club ride or special event ride, you’ve got excess medical coverage. That’s the good news. Now the rest of the story…

Up to this point, no one from KBC has been available to be the go-to person for this insurance program. Therefore, despite the several crashes that have occurred in recent years on club rides and KalTour, no one has filed a report with the insurance company.

Fortunately, crashes are an infrequent occurrence within the club’s auspices. But, to administer the insurance program, someone needs to be available to fill out a two-page incident report each time an accident occurs. It’s something that could probably be accomplished during a ten minute phone call. As Strome said, timeliness is an issue here; the sooner an incident can be reported the better. KBC needs a volunteer to step forward to take the lead with this important member benefit.

If you are interested in helping out with this important position, please contact KBC President Mike Boersma: m_e_boersma@voyager.net, or Newsletter Editor Zolton Cohen: zcohen@ameritech.net.

Finally, to cap off the insurance information – and to deflect the inevitable question – no, neither of these insurance policies will pay to get your bike repaired in the event of a crash. It’s for “excess medical” only. And “excess medical” doesn’t include your steamy new carbon fork, no matter how much you consider it a part of your body and soul…

Erie Canal Bike Ride Tour, by Jim Hainen

Well, the Erie Canal Bike Ride is now history for me. It is called the Erie Canal 400, but I recorded 459 miles on my bike. This doesn't sound like a lot of miles. But when you consider it is done in eight consecutive days, it is not a walk in the park. On a scale of one to ten in hard work I would call it about a seven.

I am sure it is the best planned ride for bikers in the world. There were over five hundred and fifty people on this ride and all were well cared for each day. It must take at least a year of planning for this ride. Each day's stop is well planned and when you arrive at this destination, everything is ready for you. Camping areas were mostly at school grounds and a couple of parks. Snacks and drinks of various kinds were readily available at the camp site, as well as well-planned dinners for everyone except for one or two nights when we were on our own. Very good breakfasts were also served each morning. When we were on our own, there were good eating places nearby. The tent city area was really something else. Several hundred tents and everyone enjoying the evening. A little entertainment was the usual for each evening after dinner.

An added luxury available every evening was a huge semi-truck van that contained six wonderful showers for men and six for women. Very good hot and cold pressure water also. Sinks and so on set up outside of the van. What a wonderful system. Clean toilets were available every day, and plenty of them. These kinds of luxuries make the trip very pleasant even though you have had a tough day biking.

The ride is through the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York. The history of this area is very important to the United States. It is the cradle of much of the history of the Revolutionary War. The significance of the Erie Canal is another whole story. It was a hand-dug canal that made possible the shipment of all manner of goods, as well as people from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. It also opened up the settlement of the Midwest. The canal has been modernized and now is used primarily for pleasure boats traveling from and to the Great Lakes from the Ocean. While riding along the canal I saw a number of boats traveling in both directions. It is also interesting to watch the locks at work on the canal.

The bike ride was on gravel-packed paths along the canal as well as on many roads in the area. A little of both are used for the bike ride. The many villages, towns, and cities we passed through were of great interest, as was the Early American architecture. The trip was a great history lesson.

Each morning about half way to noon a rest stop was available with drink, fruit, cookies, snacks, and coffee. Then, in the afternoon, another rest stop would be available with more of the same. These stops supplied the needed carbohydrates to keep our bodies going on the ride. There were a lot of flat areas, but also some long rolling hills on the roads, and a few pretty good sized ones to tax your strength. It so happened that it was a very hot week with some days reaching into the high nineties. Well anyway, that’s better than cold days with a raw wind to push against.

There was a celebration dinner on the last night, with everyone having a good time and realizing that after the next morning's ride the tour would be completed. The morning of the last day's ride was exciting because you knew that you could make it and you had successfully completed a long and difficult ride in very hot weather. Of the five hundred and fifty or so people on the ride I believe I was the third oldest of the group. There was a man of seventy eight, and one that was seventy five, just two months older than I. I am not sure the seventy eight year old man made it. The median age was about forty for the tour.

My good friend Jesse Roberts of Alaska rode with me. He and I have ridden together several times in Russia. It was a real pleasure to have him along with me.

My wife was one of the volunteers that set up and worked the rest stops each day, and she used our van to haul food to the rest stop each morning. She also enjoyed the trip and has kept a journal of her experiences.

On the last day's ride, I kept counting off tenths of a mile on my odometer. In the last five miles my legs were starting to feel like rubber bands that had been stretched too many times. When I finally saw the end and the welcome committee I was overwhelmed with the feeling of accomplishment. There had only been about ten people finish at this time. It was not that I rode fast, but that I just kept my feet on the pedals with never more than a minute or two for stops for water, etc. And then it was all over. The goodbyes were said and there was somewhat of a mental letdown for a little while.

The ride was from Buffalo, New York to Albany, New York. When driving back to Buffalo from Albany in the car at seventy miles an hour, it seemed like a very long distance and taking all day at that speed.

I would highly recommend this ride to all bikers, as to my way of thinking it is the finest planned ride in the world with a group that large.

Jim Hainen

Fall is Cyclo-cross Season, by Jonathan Evans

This time of year is awesome. Autumn is just around the corner and all that hard work you have put in on the bike over the summer is about to pay huge dividends. What? You thought the season was winding down? The best part is just getting started. Of course I’m referring to cyclocross. Now’s the time to jump on the fast-moving wagon of the quickest growing segment of cycling in North America. Races are popping up like daffodils in April.

I appreciate that some folks may not know exactly what cyclocross is, so here’s a definition cobbled together; Cyclo-cross (sometimes Cyclocross, CX, cyclo-X or 'cross) is a form of bicycle racing. Races take place typically in the autumn and consist of many laps of a short (1–2 mile) course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, mud, sand, steep hills and a couple of obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike whilst navigating the obstruction and remount in one graceful motion. Races for beginners are generally between 30 minutes and 45 minutes long; the distance varying depending on the ground conditions.

You’re thinking, “great now I need to buy another bike.” Not so. You can, and many people do, use your mountain bike (no bar ends please). Of course if you love cross as much as I do, sooner or later you’ll want to buy a cross-specific bike. Cross bikes look just like road bikes but have cantilever brakes and greater frame clearance for larger tires (700x35). If I had to own only one bike I’d pick a cross bike. I’ve ridden it out at Fort Custer, Al Sabo and at Iceman. Throw on racing tires and you can do the Wednesday Hammerfest Ride - and then commute to work the next morning.

So where do you try out cyclocross? We have fabulous cross races right in our backyard. Rick Plite does an amazing job with the KISScross series in and around Grand Rapids. His races are fun, simple (thus the name), inexpensive, and you can win Founders beer. This is what grass-roots cycling is all about. This year Rick is adding a third category just for beginners. I can’t urge you enough to try out a KISScross race. Find out more at www.kiscross.com.

Want to race more? Tailwind has an excellent series on the east side of the state. The now-famous cyclocross rider, Jonathan Page (he won silver representing the USA at worlds this year), is racing his Cervelo at the UCI cyclocross weekend September 22/23 at Davisburg, MI. That’s like George Hincapie showing up to ride the BTR criterium race. The Tailwind races have a bit more of a formal feel (you need a USCF license, a one-day is ok) and the courses are great. If you are only going to do one Tailwind race, take your friends and family to check out the Ann Arbor course. You can see the entire course from one spot while taking in a Zingerman’s bagel and a cuppa joe (the roadhouse is just across the street). Please go towww.tailwind.net for all the details.

My wife Monica and I are going to try to race every weekend from mid-September right through until mid-December. KBC members Alan Dahl, Sean Busby, Cricket Howard, Sean Kelly, Mike Peterson, and Joan Orman all have the cross bug too, and were spotted on the 2006 race circuit. I really hope you can join us for one, a few, or many of the races, and give cyclocross a try. It really is very fun and a great way to maintain the fitness and health you have worked hard to nurture this summer. If you have any questions about cyclocross please contact me day or night at jonathan.m.evans@gmail.com

Jonathan Evans

New Bike Lanes on Nichols Road

Those who ride on Nichols Road were pleasantly surprised to find it resurfaced and reconfigured this summer. Replacing the older, rutted 4-lane thoroughfare is a two-lane with center-turn lane road. There’s spanking new asphalt and wide – very wide – bike lanes on both sides. The bike lanes extend from the intersection of Nichols and West Main north to Grand Prairie.

Nichols Road runs in front of King Westwood Elementary School, so it would be possible for kids who live in that neighborhood and attend King Westwood to use the bike lanes to ride to and from school.

Whether or not children will actually use the lanes for transportation is an open question. However, for recreational bicyclists it’s a welcome change; riding on a designated bike lane offers a “sheltered” or “protected” feeling. And, in this instance, the new lanes offer another easy and safe way for bikers and bike commuters to access the City of Kalamazoo from outlying areas. Heading south from the West Main/Nichols intersection and the new Nichols bike lanes, there is an additional bike lane on Howard Street (Howard is a one-way street at this point, and Nichols Road becomes Howard at that intersection), extending nearly to WMU’s western campus.

Judging by this latest addition to Kalamazoo’s bike lane system, it seems as though the needs of non-motorized transportation is being taken seriously at governmental levels.

Safety in Colors: Bright Colors That Is!

The birds are singing, the bees are buzzing; the grass is growing and you are out on your bike enjoying all that life has to offer. You are mesmerized by all the beauty of the surrounding countryside. You can’t imagine anything more tranquil than biking up and down the rolling countryside over roads shaded by a canopy of towering oaks along the "smooth as silk" roadway when suddenly crash, bang, crunch and you find yourself going head over applecart through the air. You finally land in the ditch on your back and believe it or not are still alive. The bad thing about this is that your bike is a wreck and you are somewhat banged up. The good thing about this episode is that at least you are alive and looking up!

Suddenly a crowd gathers around you. Someone calls 911. Others attempt to make you comfortable. Out of nowhere a voice sobs out, “I didn’t see you! I’m sorry! I didn’t see you until it was too late!”

Prompt EMS and good medical attention at a local hospital put your broken body back together. Insurance monies help defray the cost of a new bike and you are able to once again enjoy the outdoors on the seat of a bicycle. It might be interesting to note here that many if not most car/bike accident victims wind up with the biker in the morgue rather in the hospital.

So what went wrong in this case? As in many situations, we as bikers decide on the spur of the moment to hit the road for an hour or two of recreational biking. We may put on black bike shorts or perhaps wear whatever we had on already. The top could be anything handy, which is what happened in our example above. In any event it was not a standout visible color and your helmet was no better. The weather was clear and sunny at the beginning of your ride. As the day wore on it became overcast with the threat of rain. And to top it off you elected to return to your starting point via a densely shaded roadway. Big mistake! Under these conditions it is almost impossible for a motorist to see a biker in time to avoid an accident.

It is for sure that you can see the danger of this situation. Bikers in ALL circumstances should wear bright neon visible upper garments that can be seen and recognized by motorists. It could be an added benefit to have your helmet/head protected by reflective tape and/or a blinking light. Your bike should be equipped with a visible blinking tail light and a white blinking front light. When biking in subdued light, common sense should dictate that you activate your bike lights and observe the rules of the road.

What will all of this cost? Well, compared to your life it is peanuts. A neon green/yellow colored jersey from LL Bean runs about $50.00. For less money a reflective vest that road workers and contractors wear is available at Menard’s, Lowe’s and other hardware stores for about ten bucks ($10.00). Headlight and taillight from your local bike shop - $60.00 to $100.00. It pays to buy good lights because they are much brighter and therefore much more visible in poor lighting conditions. Our own KBC jerseys are OK in bright light circumstances but not so hot after sundown or in shady, overcast conditions. This also applies to many other promotional jerseys.

As to bike lights and other rules, please refer to Michigan Vehicle Code Pertaining to Bicycles: 257.662 BICYCLEC; EQUIPMENT; VIOLATION AS CIVIL INFRACTION, Sec 662 (1) (2) (3) (4) (6). The above Code information can be found at www.lmb.org/michcode.htm

Submitted by Victor Van Fleet, Safety and Education Committee Chair

BTR Race Review, by Greg Lawford, KBC/Little Caesar’s Race Team Captain

BTR race day started at about 6:00 AM for most of us, at a very pleasant 62ºF. When I arrived at registration there were already several volunteers present and almost ready to go. Within a few minutes we had our first racers showing up to get registered. Things went very smoothly, and there were plenty of people available to get it done without having to scurry around. Overall, I was very pleased with the number of people who showed up to help out in all areas of the event.

Over the next hour the course was brought to the ready by setting up signage and cones to redirect motor traffic and close the course. The first race kicked off at 8:00 AM sharp, with 26 participants -19 of whom finished with the group. Included in that group were Caesar’s Cycling’s own Paul Raynes and Stephen Barnes.

All the races came off without incident with the exception of the men’s CAT3. In that race there was a crash just after turn 2. It occurred just a short time into the race, and at least five riders went down. Two were seriously injured; one with a broken collarbone, the other with a fairly large laceration to the left side of his face. Both were treated by the on- site EMS staff but declined a ride to the ER for further treatment; cyclists are way tougher than they look in their spandex kits.

There were a few more ladies registered this year, with notable showings from Monica Tory, Marian Barnes and Kathy Kirk, all of whom put on a great race for the spectators. I was, however, still very disappointed in the number of women racers that signed up; there are far more very capable women’s cyclists out there - I know; I’ve ridden with you! Come out and help promote the sport by participating. It’s great fun. All in all it was a great day for racing, with a lot more racers than last year and twice as many volunteers.

Thank you very much to all who helped out and made this event what it was. I would also like to thank all the folks from WMU that put in a huge amount of work to get this event to happen; Bob Miller, Donna “already done” Marks, Sue Ketcham and Hanna Wells. Thanks to the WMU Cycling Team for supplying volunteers on the “day of” as well.

Huge thanks go out to all the gracious and generous sponsors of the event, KBC in particular.

Most of all, thanks to Rick Updike, without whom the event would not have happened.



Rick Whaley Set to Return to Kalamazoo

The PedalPress received notice right at press time that Rick Whaley, longtime KBC rider and volunteer, is moving back to Kalamazoo. Veterans of the club will know that Rick moved to the Ann Arbor area a few years ago when his job with Pfizer was eliminated in Kalamazoo.

Though Whaley was based in Ann Arbor for the past several years, he always made it back at least once in the spring to lead the infamous “W” special weekend ride that he inaugurated some eight years ago. In recent years, he also managed to return to ride in FlowerFest (now KalTour) several times, an event on which he volunteered voluminous hours when he lived here.

Whaley’s time in the next few months will be taken up with selling the home he purchased on the other side of the state – into what he calls “a not-so-booming” market. Looking on the bright side, though, he says that he understands it’s more of a “buyer’s market” over here. If everything goes well, he’ll be starting work here at Innovative Analytics in early November. For those who might wish to contact him, Rick’s home email address is: fswhaley@comcast.net.

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: Gazelle Sports – Grand Rapids welcomes World Champion Adventure Racer and Ironman Triathlete ROBYN BENINCASA!

Team Merrell's Robyn Benincasa will discuss adventure racing, triathlon and valuable life lessons learned by one of the world’s toughest endurance athletes on Thursday, September 27, 7 pm at Gazelle Sports in Grand Rapids, 3930 28th St SE. DON’T MISS THIS!


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 Bicycling

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