Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Newsletter
March 2008

March President’s Letter

The days are getting longer (but not necessarily warmer) which means that the 2008 Kalamazoo Bicycle Club riding season is rapidly approaching! Monday, March 10 is the official start of the ride season. Dress warmly. Wear bright colors. Be at the start by 5:45 PM.

With the start of the new riding season there are some caveats. First, this past winter has produced a bumper crop of potholes. I have not ridden on the weekday ride routes so I do not know what condition they are in. Please feel free to contact the road commission if there are potholes on the routes. Phone numbers

  • Kalamazoo County Road Commission is (269) 381-3171
  • Van Buren County Road Commission is (269) 674-8011
  • Barry County Road Commission is (269) 945-3449

There have been crashes on KBC rides due in part to poorly maintained roads and I do not want to see any happen this year. Please record the date of your phone call as this may become important if the road is not fixed in a timely manner.

To kick off the 2008 ride season, the KBC will have a pre-season ride meeting on March 25th at 7:00 PM at the 11th Street Holiday Inn (south of the intersection of 11th Street and Stadium Drive). Refreshments will be provided. This is a GREAT opportunity to sign the insurance paperwork. KBC members only have to sign the paperwork ONE time to be covered. I have been informed by KBC’s Insurance czar Joe Kucharski that our insurance will cover a non-KBC rider on one ride only – this is a benefit of club membership so please take advantage of it.

Early season KBC rides are gear limited. Ride Captain Knute Jacobson will provide more details about what gear limits mean, but suffice it to say that the goal is to develop late season power and endurance. If you see folks spinning at high cadences without going as fast as they might, this will be the reason.

May 18 is the date of the Ft. Custer Xterra race. The KBC is sponsoring this race again this year so please save the date to race, help, or watch this event.

Mike Boersma, KBC President

Reminder – Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Road Ride Pre-Season Meeting

This is a reminder that on Tuesday, March 25 at 7:00 PM at the Holiday Inn-West, 2747 S. 11th Street, Kalamazoo, we are having a road ride pre-season meeting. All Kalamazoo area bicyclists who ride any of the KBC Monday through Friday evening group rides are invited. More details about this meeting can be found in the February 2008 KBC Pedal Press. A good time will be had by all, and last, but maybe not least ….. there will be free beer. Please spread the word about this meeting.

KBC Connection Directory & Volunteer Listing

The Social Directors of KBC, Jelania Haile & Renee Mitchell, are compiling the first ever “KBC Connection” directory. The “KBC Connection” will be a list of KBC Members (name, phone number and/or e-mail address) who voluntarily provide their information as a means of staying connected with other members of the club. This is voluntary and you provide only the information you’d like listed. Our goal is to provide a resource where KBC members can find out how to contact their “biking buddies!” This list will not be shared outside the KBC membership! We’re working on a way to make it accessible by KBC members from the KBC website. We appreciate your participation in this effort and know it will be an invaluable resource as the membership of KBC grows.

Another effort under way is gathering volunteers to help out at the variety of events that KBC sponsors and organizes. These events include Bike Camp (May/June), KalTour (July), BTR Race (August), and others. In addition, KBC is always looking for new members to assist with the operations of the club so if anyone would like to become more involved with KBC, please indicate that as well.

To be added to the KBC Connection directory and/or sign up to volunteer at one or more of the wonderful KBC organized events, please email Renee Mitchell at socialdirector2@kalamazoobicycleclub.org or Jelania Haile at jjhaile@sbcglobal.net with the following information:

  1. First and last name
  2. Phone number and/or email address
  3. Mention “KBC Connection” to be included in the directory
  4. List any events you would like to volunteer for (Bike Camp, KalTour, BTR Race, or Other) and/or mention you would like to become more involved with the club.

Thank you for your participation! :)

Jelania Haile and Renee Mitchell, KBC Social Directors

Monthly Meeting Minutes

KBC’s monthly meeting took place on Tuesday, February 12, 2008. Mike Boersma, Tom Keizer, Jelania Haile, Rick Whaley, Elaine Naegele, David Middleton, Doug Kirk, Mike Krischer, Dick Nevala, John Olbrot, Greg Lawford, and Renee Mitchell were in attendance.

Tom Keizer gave the Treasurer’s report. He reported that the main sources of income for the club are memberships, Bike Camp, and the KalTour, while the main sources of expenses are Bike Camp, KalTour, and donations to bicycling-related causes. For 2007, there was $13,583.46 in income and $12,931.52 in expenses.

Invited guest Shawn Kelly provided some information about the Fort Custer Xterra Mountain Off-road Triathlon/Duathlon Race, which will be held for the second year at Fort Custer Park near Galesburg. KBC voted to be a sponsor of the May 18, 2008 event, contributing $500. KBC will be featured at three aid stations and will be given two free entries to the event, which will be raffled off to our club members.

Greg Lawford announced that Alfred E. Bike has agreed to be a sponsor of the KBC/Little Caesar’s Race Team this year. He requested assistance from KBC for the $150 USCF team license and he also reported that the team has made a commitment to have each team member attend and assist at one or more Bike Camp sessions this year. A vote was taken and passed to fund the USCF license funding request. Greg noted that there are openings for the team and KBC members are encouraged to contact him if interested in riding for the team.

League Certified Instructor (LCI) training was discussed. David Jones is trying to organize an LCI training course on April 25-28 in Jackson. Interested parties must have completed a Road 1 training course and the cost will be $200 per person. There was some discussion about whether KBC would sponsor members to attend this course, but no vote was taken concerning sponsorship. KBC members are urged to contact David Jones if interested in attending the LCI course and he will send an e-mail with all the details to those who are interested.

The BTR Bike Race was briefly discussed. It will once again be sponsored by WMU, and the date for this race will be Saturday, August 9, 2008 at the WMU BTR Park using a closed-loop course with several age group and gender-specific races planned.

Mike Boersma reported that he has been contacted from time to time by local people who want KBC to support the Safe Routes to Schools program. This is a federally sponsored program that involves parents and children by helping them to develop safe routes to walk and bike to school. There was some discussion about how exactly KBC would provide support. Mike will ask those who contact him to bring a proposal to a KBC meeting to help members better understand what the program is about and how KBC might be involved.

Jelania Haile reported that the 2008 Bike Camp brochures are ready for distribution. There was some discussion about how the camp will be advertised. Jelania will distribute brochures to bike shops and those in attendance took some brochures to distribute. The Bike Camp Committee plans to meet soon, to be arranged by Jim Kindle, the new chair of the committee. All KBC members are asked to get the word out about this event.

Renee Mitchell reported that the YMCA is conducting a “Raise Funds for Youth” program. KBC voted to donate $500 to this program.

Mike Boersma reported that the League of Michigan Bicyclists Bike Summit will be held in Lansing on Saturday, March 29, 2008. Mike, Jelania, and Elaine Naegele are planning to attend.

Discussion concerning KBC 504(c) (3) status was tabled until the March meeting.

Access to the KBC Connection directory was briefly discussed by Jelania. She will bring this directory to the Spring Ride Safety meeting in March.

Due to the poor weather, the randonneuring presentation was cancelled. Mike Boersma, Doug Kirk, and Rick Whaley informally discussed their experiences participating in randonneuring events. Any club member interested in more information about randonneuring is encouraged to contact Mike.

The next KBC monthly meeting is scheduled for 7:00 PM, Tuesday, March 11, 2008, at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo. All club members are invited to attend this, and every, meeting.

Elaine Naegele, KBC Secretary, and Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor


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, editor@kalamazoobicycleclub.org by the 20th of the month before its intended publication.

For example, if you’d like an article to be published in the April edition (distributed on or around the first of April), have it to the newsletter editor by the 20th of March.

KBC Statistics

Active Subscriptions:


New Members:

Barbara Beck * Bud Morrow * Christine Phillips * William Phillips * Matthew Willerick

March Expiring Memberships:

Mike Cutler * Adrienne Johnson * Harry Kraus * John Mathieson * Cheryl & Mark Olson * Mike Peterson * Alan Phillips * Jeff Robertson Family

Renewed Memberships:

Dave & Jennifer Hauschild * David Mitchell Family * Bob Paksi * Marc Irwin

Paul Bruneau, KBC Database Manager

March Ride Schedule

With the change to Daylight Savings Time on March 9, 2008, we plan to begin this year’s club rides on Monday, March 10th, weather permitting. All March rides will start at 5:45 PM. At the time of writing, we will try to offer rides on

  • Mondays - leaving from Texas Township Park
  • Wednesdays - leaving from the Kal-Haven Trailhead
  • Fridays - leaving from Galesburg High School parking lot

It is likely that these rides will be small, and the pace will depend on who shows up. The ride groups may be combined, and there may be no official "leader." There will be no official club rides if the roads are snowy or icy. On these early season rides, we request that riders restrict their gearing to 53x19 (or 39x14) maximum--to help keep the pace moderate until will get the feel of pack riding again after the winter months.

We expect to begin offering our full schedule of weekly rides in early April, after the pre-season ride meeting.

Ride Captain’s Report

Greetings KBC Friends:

My son Paul and I had a good ride the last Sunday in February. It wasn't too long, and it was on our mountain bikes because of all the salt. But it was out on the roads!!! Sure beats pedaling away on an indoor trainer!

The ride was nice for another reason as well: with only one exception, every car that passed us gave us a really wide berth. I don't think we were looking especially wobbly, so they must have been polite for another reason. Maybe it was because the sun was shining bright and everyone was happy. Whatever the reason, it made me feel really good. It made me feel as though perhaps cyclists are becoming at least a little more accepted on the public roads.

Many of us have hoped for this for years, or even decades. Whether or not it's begun to happen is a matter for time to tell--but high profile events like the Tour of California and the Priority Health Cycling classic (which had billboards along Highway 131) have got to help. And then, just this past week, Andrew Florian, together with my son Paul and I, were at an elementary school in Grandville, representing Priority Health at a Healthy Heart event put on for all the fourth-graders. This is more good press for our sport. I was surprised and excited that cycling was one of the events chosen as a special treat for the elementary students to learn about.

Which leads me to something we in our club try to emphasize at this time of year: if we want good relationships with drivers, we all have to reciprocate!

Riding no more than two abreast; staying to the right side of the road; actually stopping for stop signs; not flipping off drivers--all these things can help smooth relations, and the inevitable frustrations that arise from having two very different types of vehicles sharing the public roadways.

We plan to talk about this, as well as provide pointers about pace line riding, and outline expectations for all our various group rides at our upcoming pre-ride meeting on March 25. We are asking all KBC members (and prospective members) to attend. It'll be a good time for socializing as well.

See you on the 25th............

Spring is on its way!!

Knute Jacobson, KBC Ride Captain

Editor’s Letter

An Introduction, a Thank You, and How I Got from Point A to Point B

“Please allow me to introduce myself; I’m a man of wealth and taste.”

First, I really can’t say that I have a wealth of bicycling knowledge, and, second, no one with any sort of taste would introduce himself in such a cheesy manner, so I’m actually 0 for 2 here. But before I attempt to dig myself out of the hole I’ve dug, I would like to thank Zolton Cohen for his service as editor of this newsletter. This is an important job and Zolton has done it well for a long time. I’ve got big shoes to fill; made even more challenging by the fact that I have only size 8½ feet.

After deciding to take this job, it occurred to me that no child ever says “When I grow up, I want to become an editor of a bicycling club newsletter,” so I began to think about how I ended up doing this. This led to the larger question “How did bicycling end up becoming such a big part of my life, anyway?” There was a TV show in the 1950s that began with a narrator saying “There are 7 million stories in the Naked City,” but that’s about all I remember. The point I’m going to attempt to make, however, isn’t that my memory isn’t what it used to be; it’s that there are a couple hundred stories in our own polyester and chamois covered city about the ways in which bicycling became a big part of our lives. Here’s mine.

I rode a bicycle quite a lot while I was a kid, and I suspect that a lot of you can say the same. Also, like a lot of you, I gave it up during my teen-age years. However, it wasn’t because I discovered the automobile, it was because I discovered my feet, swaddled in running shoes, instead. I started distance running in high school, the sport of choice for those who don’t excel in any other sport, and found that I was reasonably good at it. Moreover, I found that I just plain enjoyed the act of running. So, I started running longer and longer distances, which led to running a marathon my freshman year in college. I thought that this made me unique and weirdly cool, since this was before any sort of marathon running boom and about a year and a half before Frank Shorter struck marathon gold in the 1972 Olympics. By the time I graduated, I had run 8 of them, and I envisioned a future where I’d keep training at least semi-seriously and running distance races, including marathons, for the rest of my life. While most of my body seemed to buy into this somewhat strangely idyllic vision, I began to realize during the indoor track season of my senior year that my knees did not.

What then followed was a 20 year gradual retirement from even semi-serious running. I ran one more marathon a few years after college, but that turned out to be just an intermission between injuries rather than an actual comeback, and I continued to spend more and more time hurt and less and less time running. However, when one door closes, another opens, a door just waiting to be wheeled through. While I was working between times in grad school, I started riding a bicycle on weekends with a professor who my boss, borrowing his 12 year old son’s bike (fortunately, his son was big for his age). About a year later, I bought a 3 speed bike at an auction at a bicycle store that was going out of business for the princely sum of $42.50. A couple years later in 1980, I bought a “real” road bike, a 12 speed Fuji Gran Tourer SE, which now graces my basement as a stationary trainer bike.

What was originally meant to be a means of staying in shape between running injuries gradually became an end in itself. A few years later, I decided to ditch the cut-off shorts for actual cycling shorts. And finally, in the summer of 1993 after my second and third arthroscopic knee surgeries for torn cartilage, I decided that the time had come for me to think of myself as cyclist instead of a runner.

However, it wasn’t until I moved to Portage in 1996 and joined the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club in 1997 that my metamorphosis to a cyclist was completed. I started collecting bicycle jerseys to wear while riding instead of t-shirts. I began to acquire the skills of riding in pace lines. I learned about all the details that need to be done to conduct a successful cycling event. I learned about the peculiar joys of attempting to race a bike for 24 hours and the even more peculiar joys of attempting to train for this. I learned that a very pleasant way to begin a weekend was to ride my bike from Portage to Galesburg after work, hang on the back of a peloton around Gull Lake, ride back to Portage, and top it off with a post-ride pizza. In other words, I learned a lot about what it was like to be a cyclist, as opposed to just thinking of myself as a cyclist.

I’m in the second half of my fifties now, and I’d have to say that my life didn’t turn out quite the way I thought it would when I was 20 years old. This really isn’t any great surprise; I’m sure that most of you of a certain age can say the same thing. But, then, the really interesting question becomes “Did it turn out better or worse than I thought it would?” With regard my sporting life, this isn’t a trivial question, but, to make a long answer short, I’d ultimately have to say that it really didn’t turn out better or worse than I thought it would, it just turned out differently. And, in what I hope to be the distant future, when the only wheeling around that I’m doing is in my wheelchair, I’ll look back on both the times I ran and the times I cycled (with the possible exception of the times on the stationary trainer), and I’ll say to myself, “Rick, that was time well spent.” And it’s also nice to be back in Kalamazoo, and I hope to see you out on the road soon.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

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,


Keith Little has moved ProSport to:

4323 W Michigan Ave

Kalamazoo Mi 49006-5810

Team Active

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

Village Cyclery

US 131 in Schoolcraft, 679-4242

Bicycling Safety Disclaimer

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 Elaine Naegele 269-353-5756
Treasurer Tom Keizer 269-382-4737

Other Important KBC Folks

Database Manager Paul Bruneau 269-343-6016
Newsletter Editor Rick Whaley
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