Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Newsletter
April 2008

April 2008 Presidentís Letter

March has been a tough month for bike riding. I have more miles on my skis and snowshoes in March than I do on my bike. However, dare I say, April may be beginning with sunny days and 50 degree weather. I look forward to getting on the road!

The same caveat that I gave last month about potholes is true in April. BEWARE! Report them to the proper authorities. Make a note of when you reported the pothole and to whom you spoke. You deserve (and are paying for) a pothole free road system. Demand nothing less.

With warmer weather, ride groups will be increasing in size. Watch your wheel. Point out dangers on the road. Folks in the back of a group or paceline cannot see the crater in the road, so it is VERY important to point our (or even announce) obstacles. Please also sign the insurance forms if you have not done so already. Please obey traffic laws.

Bike Camp will be running in May and June. Please encourage your family, friends, colleagues and anyone else who might be interested to sign up. With gas expected to hit $4.00 (or more) per gallon, you might also suggest that one could save money by riding a bike. Please also consider donating some time to assist with Bike Camp as a ride leader, bike fitter, or role model.

The Bike Co-op at WMU is looking for space for its operation. They are also looking for other resources related to running a co-op. Please stay tuned for further information.

Mike Boersma, KBC President

A Tradition Unlike Any Other Ė The W Ride

The 8th annual W Ride will take place on Saturday, April 26 at 9:00 A.M. If you hate riding a bicycle north or south, this is the ride for you!

We start at the east parking lot at Vicksburg High School. Turning right, we pedal west on W Avenue for 12 miles until we reach the Van Buren County line. Then, we turn around and ride east back to Vicksburg. After stopping to get our bearings and for drinks and snacks at the local convenience store/gas station, we continue riding east on W Avenue for another 12 miles to the Calhoun County line. Finally, we turn around and ride bike to the high school, having ridden the entire 24 mile length of W Avenue twice. Oh, the stories youíll be able to tell your grandchildren!

In the past, the speed for the main group of riders has been about 17 to 20 mph, although there have been other groups of riders as well. Once again, Rick Whaley will ďleadĒ this ride and he wonít even have to travel 100 miles to lead it. Come and experience for yourself this unique cycling event.

March 2008 Meeting Minutes

Date: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 7 P.M.

Chair: Mike Boersma, KBC President

Location: YMCA Ė Maple Street

Recorder: Elaine Naegele, Secretary

Present: Jelania Haile, Zolton Cohen, Rick Whaley, Jim Kindle, Mike Boersma, Elaine Naegele, Mike Krischer, Terry OíConnor, Bill Phillips, Michael Regenold, Victor VanFleet, and David Middleton.

Guests: Donna Whitcomb, Dick Blincoe.

Officer Reports

Because Tom Keizer was on vacation, the treasurerís report was distributed in Tomís absence.

The report was reviewed by all present.

AMBUCS (American Business Clubs)

Donna Whitcomb and Dick Blincoe provided information about their clubís mission, which is to create mobility and independence for people with disabilities, and identified ways in which we could support their mission. These were to become an AMBUCS club member for $25/year and to become a corporate sponsor by providing funds to purchase an Amtryke adaptive tricycle, which cost between $300 and $850. Donna and Dick indicated that their clubs would appreciate consideration by KBC for a donation in exchange for their members assisting with KBC events (KalTour, Bike Camp). KBC members can learn more at www.ambucs.org or www.kzoo-ambucs.com.

The KBC Board and members will consider the request. Mike Boersma invited KBC members to consider how we might partner with AMBUCS to support the mission of both clubs; he suggested we may be able to have some conversations over the next month and discuss some options at the April KBC meeting.

Ride Captainís report - KBC Weekly rides and special KBC rides

Ride Captain Knute Jacobsen sent a reminder to Mike Boersma that KBC weekly rides begin the week of March 10 at 5:45 p.m., weather permitting; the KBC pre-season ride meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 25 at 7 p.m. at Burdickís in Holiday Inn. Rick Whaley reported that the W Ride will probably be held on Saturday, April 26.

Mike urged KBC members to dress warmly, ride safe, and report potholes to the Kalamazoo County Road Commission (269/381-4171) Van Buren Count y Road Commission (269/674-8011) and Barry County Road Commission (269/945-3449). Contact Knute via the KBC website contact if you have questions.

Michigan Bike Summit

This first time event will be held all day Saturday, March 29 in Lansing and will be attended by anyone interested in bicycling; many bike clubs are sending a representative.

Mike, Elaine Naegele, and Jelania Haile plan to attend. They will report on this event at the April meeting.

League Certified Instructor (LCI) training update

Jelania Haile reported on behalf of David Jones that an instructor has been confirmed for the April 25-27 event in Battle Creek. LCI certification will allow participants to teach a Road 1 course locally, teach bike safety in schools, and add credibility to our Bike Camp event as certified instructors. The cost is $200/person.

A vote was taken and passed to fund the cost for KBC members who attend, provided that they participate in future Bike Camps and other KBC bicycle safety events.

Lansing - TV interview with Senator Tom George

David Middleton represented KBC in a 30 minute TV interview with State Senator Tom George about bicycling and bicycle safety.

The interview can be viewed on Cable Cast, and from a podcast from Tomís website. The board thanks David for representing KBC!

KBC Marketing update - Free Membership with new bike purchase

Zolton Cohen reported that according to Paul Bruneau, there has been one new membership. February was a slow month for bike sales in area stores. (Editorís note: Hmmmm, I wonder why?)

KBC members are encouraged to get the word out to friends and family who may be considering a new bike purchase Ė a flier is included with every new bike purchase at Breakaway Bicycles, Alfred E. Bike, and Village Cyclery.

KBC Bike Camp

Jelania Haile reported that two people have already signed up. Bike Camp brochures have been placed in all local bike shops. Jim Kindle is the new committee chair.

Jelania will be seeking volunteers from the KBC membership at the upcoming KBC pre-season ride meeting on March 25 to assist at each Bike Camp session.


Mike Krischer reported that KalTour will be held on Sunday, July 13 and that the event is listed on the League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB) online and printed calendar.

Mike and KalTour co-chair Dave Bishop will hold the first pre-event meeting on Tuesday, March 18 at 7 P.M. at the Portage Public Library.

KBC Website and KBC online forum

There was some discussion about the timeliness of posting website information, and also some discussion about the KBC forum initiated by Joe Kucharski.

Zolton Cohen offered to talk to our webmaster Bob and to talk with Joe about the online forum.

Bike Sharing

Victor Van Fleet called attention to a recent Kalamazoo Gazette article about bike sharing programs in this country and in Europe. He noted that there is a bike sharing blog on the internet for those who want to learn more at www.bike-sharing.blogspot.com.

KBC members are encouraged to think of ways to support bicycle commuting in and around Kalamazoo.

WMU Bike Co-op

Mike Boersma reported that he receives regular requests for information about how to donate used bikes.

Board members will try to contact the WMU Bike Co-op to see if they are still accepting donations.

Next Meeting 7:00 P.M. Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at Maple Street YMCA.

All KBC members are invited and encouraged to attend!

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, fswhaley@comcast.net by the 20th of the month before its intended publication.

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

KBC Statistics

Active subscriptions


New members

None this month.

April Expiring memberships

Holly Bayes * Luanne Cali * Donald Decker Family * Angela Erdman Family * Donna Fitzpatrick * Emily Freed * Steve Hope * Erin Huberty Family * Terry & Kathy Hutchins * Bruce Martin * Marguerite Mosher * Cassandra & Marty Poneí * Roy Richardson * Anthony Roth Family * Kim Solvik * Candace Williams.

Renewed memberships

John Mathieson * Susan H. Peterson * Cheryl & Mark Olson * Harry Kraus * Michael Miller * Jim Kindle Family * Darryl Dolby * Alan Sylvester * James Heath * Brian & Tammy Campbell.

Paul Bruneau, KBC Database Manager

April Ride Schedule - Ride Captainís Report

Greetings KBC Riders

Spring has sprung, and though the weather remains cool, a variety of group rides have already started. Many of you were at the meeting at the Holiday Inn West on March 25th, and already know the low-down. For those of you who weren't, here are some important reminders:

  1. April evening club rides begin at 6:00 P.M., sharp.
  2. Not all rides have started yet. I have asked the website editor to put the listing of our regular club rides back up on the website, along with the names of the people who normally lead these rides. If you have a question about whether a ride is taking place on a particular night, please contact the ride leader directly. In general, it is the faster rides that start earliest in the season--those being the Monday night fast ride, the Wednesday night Hammerfest, and the Friday night Tour De Gull. These rides are suitable for only very seasoned riders. We hope to have a much greater variety of rides up and running by the 4th week of April or early May at the latest.
  3. As you get your bike ready for the season, please make sure your spare tube and pump are serviceable too. In general, we expect everyone to carry a spare and a pump, even on those rides where the whole group stops to provide assistance to those who flat.
  4. A cell phone also is a great security measure, and, if you have one, you'd be wise to bring it with you for the extra protection it affords in case of a mishap or unexpected circumstance.
  5. This is the time of year when it's wise to layer your clothing. On a few recent rides, I've made last minute adjustments to my own "kit" before we left the parking lot, as it's proven to be a little warmer, or cooler, than I anticipated.
  6. Bright clothing is always a plus.
  7. Please remember to ride no more than two abreast on our group rides, and as far to the right side of the road as is practicable (as state law requires).
  8. Please remember that all riders on our group rides are expected to sign a waiver at the start of the season, and that, while you may invite a friend to a ride (they need to sign the waiver too), only paid KBC members are eligible for supplementary secondary health care coverage ($5,000 worth) in case of an accident. Not a bad perk for $15 per year!
  9. Maps of many of our rides are available on our website. If you are trying a new route, or have invited a friend to try one, it would be wise to print out a map to carry with you.
  10. I will be working to try to get some of our special weekend rides lined up. The first of those traditionally is Rick Whaley's famous "W Ride" "straight as an arrow out and back ride"--see Rick's article about this ride in this issue.

Best regards! Have fun! Be safe!

Knute Jacobson, KBC Ride Captain

Editorís Letter

Spring is in the Air (Although not on the Ground)

By the time you read this, it will be April, and the snow will, presumably, be gone. So, I suppose it would be appropriate to write a letter extolling the coming of spring as a time of cycling rebirth, a time when we begin anew, a time to become a better rider; the sort of letter that leaves no spring bicycling clichť stone unturned. So, I suppose I will actually do this.

I got to thinking about Knuteís Ride Captainís Report in our March Pedal Press, where he essentially said that in order to get respect on the road, we need to give respect. Then I got to thinking about all the idiotic things that Iíve done over the years while cycling. This includes a ride in the early 1980s, when I didnít bring a spare tube, got a flat, was unable to patch my tube before sunset, and had to walk 11 miles at night back to my apartment, but thatís not the sort of idiotic thing I want to discuss here. What I do want to talk about is three idiotic things from my recent past where I didnít give respect to those four-wheeled motorized vehicles with which we share the road.

  • Idiocy Item #1: A couple years ago, I arrived at a stop sign in the left turn lane of an intersection towards the end of an after-work ride. About the time I arrived at the stop sign, a woman in a car to my left stopped at a stop sign. Notice how I used the word ďarrivedĒ to describe my approach to the stop sign. Thatís because I never did completely stop. Apparently I had decided that it was going to be too much effort to actually clip out of a pedal and put my foot on the ground. As I rode by her, she rolled down her window and called out ďNice stop.Ē I donít think this was a compliment.
  • Idiocy Item #2: Last summer, I was finishing a ride on Huron River Drive near my house in Dexter, where I lived. Huron River Drive is a very scenic road next to the Huron River (which, amazingly enough, is probably how it got its name), but it is also a road that has a lot of curves with correspondingly poor sight lines. As I approached a stop sign to turn left off this road, I noticed a car just behind me. I considered accelerating and getting in front of him, but I decided to let him pass. However, by the time he passed me, I was getting very close to the stop sign, so, this time I did accelerate, while moving away from the right edge of the road, and then stopping. At this time, a woman in a pick-up truck pulled up to my right, rolled down her window and started yelling at me, telling me how stupid I was and how she didnít want to be involved in an accident due to my stupidity. I looked at her while she delivered her diatribe with a reaction that was more of astonishment than anything else; I simply did not know what she was talking about. This gave me something to ponder while riding the last mile to my house. What I had concluded after pondering was that she must have come around a bend in the road, only to be startled by this bicyclist cutting across the road in front of her. I suspect that she was going too fast, but Iíll never know, and thatís actually the point. I had no idea that another car was behind the car that passed me, a car that could have ended my ride on an ďOther than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?Ē sort of note.
  • Idiocy Item #3: I rode the DALMAC ride for the first time last summer. The weather and scenery were great, so it wasnít an idiotic decision to do the ride, but what was idiotic was something I did on the last day of the ride. I was approaching a T-intersection at a state highway where I noticed a car in the distance approaching me. I was still in a rather high gear, and I thought that I could safety get across the road in front of him and turn left, so I didnít quite stop at the stop sign (notice a pattern here?) and I accelerated across the highway in front of the car. The problem was that the car was traveling faster than I thought it was, so I got to cross his path to the one-note musical accompaniment of his horn. Very shortly thereafter, I passed a cyclist who told me that the driver was going too fast. He was right; the driver was driving too fast. However, if I had been a couple seconds slower, the only comfort to be gained from this fact would have been having the opportunity to haunt him from my grave. Not only that, I donít believe that ghosts are even capable of riding a bicycle, so who would have been the real loser here?

The point is not that Iím a bicycling menace to society and that I should only be able to ride on bicycle paths under intellectually as well as chronologically adult supervision, but that Iíve had some lapses of good judgment over the years. Many of these lapses are due to the fact that for some strange reason Iíve never gotten it through my head that I always need to shift into a low gear when approaching a stop sign. So, when the occasion arises when Iím almost at stop sign and I realize that Iím in too high of a gear, there have been times when I havenít actually stopped, so that the post stop sign acceleration is a little less painful. The vast majority of times, itís been a ďno harm, no foulĒ situation, because there has been no traffic to contend with, but because a bad action can become a bad habit, this has not always been the case, as Iíve illustrated in Idiocy Item #1 and, to a lesser extent, in Idiocy Item #3.

So, this year, I plan to begin my cycling rebirth anew and become a better cyclist by clipping out of my pedal and putting my foot on the ground at each stop sign regardless of what gear I happen to be in, and regardless of whether or not there is any traffic around me. And, on those occasions when Iím attempting to ride my bicycle from a standing start in a 53x16 gear, Iíll at least be able to tell myself that my knees are taking one for the rest-of-my-body team, and that it is better to pump Advil into my veins than embalming fluid. Iíll also be showing the respect that motorists deserve.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

Shop Notes

Alfred E Bike

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

Billyís 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,

Announcement: DO GOOD AND SAVE!

Get 20% off Chaco footwear! Visit Gazelle Sports between APRIL 19 and MAY 4. Bring in a pair of slightly used shoes to donate and we'll give you 20% off a pair of NEW Chaco shoes or sandals! Offer valid only between April 19 and May 4.


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 youíre 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 (269) 324-1577
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