Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Newsletter
August 2008

August 2008 President's Letter

There are multiple happenings in the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club in August. The club is offering Road 1 bicycle training to KBC members. The BTR race is taking place. The leadership of the club is debating whether to pursue 501(c)(3) status and is beginning the process of long term planning for the club. All of these are exciting developments and reflect the dynamic nature of the club and its members.

Over the past year, the KBC and three motivated volunteers - Jelania Haile, Renee Mitchell, and David Jones - invested in bicycle education to reflect KBC's interest in this area. David, Renee, and Jelania attended the League of American Bicyclists "League Certified Instructor" training and are now League Certified bicycle Instructors. They are going to be teaching the Road 1 course, a challenging advanced class intended to make cyclists more aware of hazard avoidance and to become fully integrated vehicular cyclists, to KBC members on August 21 and 23. More information about this course will be provided elsewhere in the Pedal Press. Please consider attending - it will be well worth your time.

The third annual BTR race will be held on August 9. This will be an all day affair with a full slate of exciting racing. The KBC is a major sponsor of this race again this year. The venue is challenging for the racers and accessible for spectators. Please come out to watch. Please also consider volunteering either on August 8 for set up, or in the A.M. or P.M. on August 9 for the race. Bring your friends, neighbors, and family members out to watch.

At the board meeting in July, the KBC received information about obtaining 501(c)(3) tax status. What this means is that folks or organizations that donate to the KBC may be able to deduct their donation from their taxes. The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club has existed since 1971 without this status and the decision of whether or not to pursue this status is a major decision given the effort and money needed.

Having 501(c)(3) status would have little or no impact on the major activity of the KBC, the weeknight rides. The KBC members who just want to ride would see little change. KBC members might be able to deduct their dues and other contributions to the KBC from their taxes.

Where this status would have the biggest impact is with Team KBC, Bike Camp and Bike Ed, KalTour, and with other activities that the KBC might become involved with in the future. Team KBC would benefit because sponsorships would become tax deductible. They would also be able to save money on mailing, which would lower their cost of operations further. Bike Camp and Bike Ed could expand their offerings and seek contributions from community organizations and foundations. KalTour would benefit because the cost of mailings would decrease and organizations that made contributions would be able to take a tax deduction. Future programs might also benefit from this as well.

Obtaining this status is not free. A local attorney, Steven Brown, has agreed to provide his services pro bono. However, there is still a major information gathering process that is associated with the paperwork that the IRS requires and this would require time and effort from KBC volunteers.

Stay tuned for more information.

Finally, there has been a proposal that the KBC do long term planning to determine a focus for activities in the future. Historically, KBC projects like the Flowerfest/KalTour, BikeCamp, and Team KBC have come about because a group of motivated individuals coalesces around an idea and nurtures it until it blooms. This has worked, but a long term plan might have goals and objectives that the club can work towards. Long term planning will require the input from a cross section of the KBC to be representative and will require some work.

Mike Boersma, KBC President

LAB Road 1 (Confident Cycling) Course for KBC Members


This two-day course, developed by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) and taught by certified instructors, is designed for cyclists of all abilities (ages 16 and up) to give them the knowledge they need to ride safer, faster, and more confidently in traffic. The first session on Thursday evening will be in a classroom setting, covering general information about cycling, pre-ride safety checks, basic bike maintenance and repair, principles of traffic law, and bicycling in traffic. The second session on Saturday will be in an outdoor setting and will consist of on-the-bike lea rning. Participants will learn and practice basic handling skills and emergency maneuvers and will apply what they have learned throughout the course by participating in on-road vehicular cycling.


Thursday, August 21, 5:30 P.M - 9:30 P.M.

Saturday, August 23, 8:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.


Thursday: The Atriums - Arienne Associates 4341 S. Westnedge Ave., Suite 2212, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

Saturday: Location to be determined.


Jelania Haile, David Jones, and Renee Mitchell

League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors Fee

Cost is $25.00 per member. Signup is required in advance.

To register for this course, contact

David Jones



Fee includes

League of American Bicyclists Road 1 Manual and other course materials. Your payment will hold your place in the class. Class size is limited to 10 cyclists so register early!

Equipment required

Bicycle is good working order, helmet, and water bottle (filled) on Saturday.

Renee Mitchell, LCI Instructor

Bike Crash Site Protocol

A recent crash on a Monday night KBC club ride left a rider with a broken collarbone and assorted scrapes. From all reports, other riders stopped to capably assist their fallen fellow. Traffic was managed, and steps were taken to assure that he was kept from further harm.

A Good Samaritan with a large SUV transported the rider back to the Texas Drive parking lot, where the victim was met by his wife and subsequently taken to a hospital. In all, everything went about as well as could be expected, and everyone pitched in to help when help was needed. The rider is recovering from the accident and expects to be back out on the bike again in a few weeks.

However, the report of this incident and its aftermath raised a few questions at the next KBC monthly meeting. It is unfortunate, of course, that the accident occurred at all. But that wasn't the main topic of discussion. It was what occurred after the rider hit the pavement that was of concern.

Certainly, it was very gracious of the gentleman in the SUV to take the time to ferry the injured party back to the ride's start site. But should the rider have been moved at all? Could he potentially have been further injured by getting into the vehicle and making that trip by auto? Who on a club ride is in a position to make those types of determinations after a crash?

The Board of Directors wanted some professional input into this subject, so this article is the result of interviews with two club members with experience in this realm; a primary care physician, and a physician's assistant and former collegiate athletic trainer. They were asked to come up with a very basic list of guidelines to help people with no medical training (like most of us on club rides) to assess whether a fallen biker needs to be transported by ambulance, might be all right to get back on the bike and ride, or could be transported by car either home or back to the ride start site.

Right from the outset, both interviewees stressed the difficulty of coming up with a comprehensive roster of things to check for - items that people are likely to remember in an emergency, and that can be administered on site in a non-medical setting. They said that, first and foremost, everyone must use common sense and make the best attempt at dealing with the situation with regard to what is in the best interests of the injured rider.

As a side note, some of these protocols were covered in KBC's Bike Accident Safety meeting, held several years ago at Bronson Hospital. For new members, or for those who were not in attendance at that meeting, here's a refresher course.

With those caveats aside, in general, it is best to call for an ambulance when:

  1. A rider has obvious broken bones. Broken bones underneath the skin can cut arteries, leading to internal bleeding.
  2. The rider hits his head and appears confused after the accident. If asking him basic questions like the day of the week, month and year, or his name and address, don't yield cogent answers, he may have suffered a head injury and needs to be dealt with by professionals. Also, if a rider loses consciousness for any period of time, that's a sign that the rider's night is over and he needs to get medical attention via an ambulance.
  3. There may have been a neck or spine injury. This can possibly be signaled by a broken helmet or an oddly shaped position while lying on the ground. Any of these signs mean the rider should not be moved - not even to the side of the road - and an ambulance should be called.
  4. A rider complains of internal pain, or has large patches of bleeding skin or a wound that will not stop bleeding. Impaired lung function could mean a collapsed or punctured lung. Bleeding from the mouth or ears are danger signs, as is any major loss of blood.

An important thing to keep in mind is that a rider who has just had an accident may be in shock. This may lead to his own impaired judgment about his actual condition. He may appear to be willing - or even eager - to get right back on the bike and continue with the ride even though he is hurt more severely than he thinks at first. Even if a rider who has fallen appears to be all right at first, it's a good idea to wait around for a little while for things to settle down before letting him back on the bike.

It may, in fact, become necessary to stall for time to prevent an overeager rider from climbing back on the bike too quickly. In that case, those who have stopped to help can undertake a thorough (and time-consuming) examination of the bike to assess whether it is suitable to ride - a good idea in any case.

By their very diverse nature, accident aftermath assessments are always very tough to call. You may think the rider is unhurt, but others - perhaps those who know the party in question better than you - may see things differently. In those cases, the interviewees point out, it is always better to err on the side of caution and to let those with medical training (EMTs) take over.

Zolton Cohen

Random Notes on KalTour

Some observations on KalTour 2008, July 13, 2008 from Zolton Cohen.
  1. 1. For those on the Bike Camp Committee, it was a real thrill to see so many Bike Campers show up to ride KalTour. Paid entry to KalTour is part of the Bike Camp package, and many Campers took advantage of the ideal riding day - and of their training - in order to accomplish their distance goals. One Bike Camper, Ken, came into the Briar Patch SAG stop on his way to his 60 mile target. He said he didn't yet feel confident enough to bite off the entire "official" 62 mile route, so he first rode the 30 miler and was next going to do the 17 and 12 mile routes - and then ride around the KVCC parking lot if he was a mile or so short after that. His "can do" spirit was typical of the Bike Campers this year, and the Bike Camp Committee is very proud of all the "graduates" and their new-found competence and enthusiasm on the bike. As a side note, several of the Campers are now riding regularly on Monday nights, swelling the ranks of the club riders there.
  2. Triathlete Terry Hutchins's KalTour day ended earlier than he had anticipated, due to a severe equipment failure. He rolled into the Briar Patch complaining that his bike was acting up, and that the trouble had surfaced eight miles earlier, during a hard climb. Hutchins reported that he had heard a "crack" from the front end of the bike, and then his steering starting going south. Examination of the head tube on his titanium Litespeed time trial bike revealed a large crack in the threadless headset - which is actually part of the frame itself. Hutchins was shaken to think he had ridden so far after the headset failed, and that he had been in very great danger of losing his entire front fork and wheel. He and his bike were transported back to KVCC. Hutchins said Litespeed will fix the bike, but that it was unfortunate timing for him, as he had an important race coming up the next weekend.
  3. KBC's respected ex-Ride Captain Randy Putt drove up from Cincinnati to ride KalTour this year. It was great to see him and to catch up with what he's been doing both personally and professionally. Randy took the opportunity to connect with people he had ridden thousands of miles with in the past, and got in a nice workout to boot. The bad news is that, at present, Jenny and he have no plans to return to the area. Good luck to him where he is though. He's always welcome at any KBC event.
  4. KBC donated a sum of money to the Ambucs/Alive After Five (AAF) group earlier this year, and asked that, in return, they volunteer some time helping out at KalTour. And did they ever come through! AAF showed up at the Briar Patch five strong, and worked the SAG stop like veterans. Their infectious friendliness and enthusiasm was much appreciated by tired riders stopping in for refreshment. And the fact that they showed up ready to work and pitch in was a major help to the KalTour organizing committee. The impression they left was highly favorable, and the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club would be well served by some synergistic activities in the future with AAF. Speaking of which, AAF's mission is to help disabled people increase their mobility. One of the ways they do this is by providing individuals with specially-designed bicycles and trikes. They had one on display at the Briar Patch, a shiny red job, complete with fenders. AAF's mission has some similarity to KBC's - to support and encourage bicycling in the area.
  5. Veteran KBC'er Dan Kalleward should be eligible to win some sort of prize for his knowledge of obscure bicycling trivia. A KalTour participant at the Briar Patch wondered aloud what the word "SAG" meant - referring to a SAG stop during a bike tour. A quick poll of other bikers standing around came up with nothing solid: "stop and gas" and "stop and go" were quickly rejected as incorrect. Kalleward, with no visible mental strain, was able to pluck the words "support and guidance" from his memory bank without batting an eye. Good job Dan. We'll know who to turn to with the difficult questions from now on.
  6. Big thanks go to Breakaway Bicycles for maintenance help at the KVCC starting location, and Keith Little from ProSport at the Briar Patch. Keith's frame pump got a good workout filling up soft tires as the day and miles wore on.
  7. In the "Lost and Found" department, KBC newsletter editor Rick Whaley rolled into the Briar Patch in a state of confusion. He had no idea how many miles he had ridden up to that point. The reason? His new wireless cyclometer had slipped its mooring on his handlebars "somewhere along EF Avenue" - according to Whaley's best guess. Whaley said it was not the first time the cyclometer had slithered away. But this time he didn't notice it until he had ridden a good distance. So he figured it was lost forever; run over by a car, absconded with by a weasel, or another fate. Not so. Someone actually found the diminutive computer and turned it in to KalTour management at KVCC. Whaley was looking forward to being reunited with his erstwhile cyclometer, though he had heard it had been damaged. Rick, try a length of duct tape next time. Never fails.
  8. In years past it has proven difficult for KalTour organizers to exactly anticipate where and when food needed to be at all the SAG locations. That had occasionally resulted in some temporary shortages at some of the SAG stops when large groups of riders suddenly appeared on the horizon, famished. Through better coordination, that problem was largely eliminated this year, with only a 10 minute sub shortage experienced at the Briar Patch later in the day. And that was quickly relieved when Mike Krischer pulled up with several tubs of the Subway fare, just in time.
  9. Two elderly ladies showed up at the Briar Patch to purchase plants at the Briar Patch during the height of KalTour. Evidently they had failed the remedial reading class that would have enabled them to interpret correctly the prominent "Close on Sundays" signs that were hanging all around the site. Not wishing to disappoint them, a KalTour volunteer took their check for the plants they selected, adding Michigan State Sales Tax to the bill, and will turn the $23.83 over to the Briar Patch forthwith. KBC is a full service bike club.

KalTour Committee Co-Chair Mike Krischer had these additional notes:

About 260 rode KalTour, a lower number than in previous years; perhaps due to gas prices (for those from out of the area) and the economy in general. We need to do more local and regional publicity.

I picked up one rider who had a flat and did not have a spare tube or a pump, nor did he know what tire irons were (he was riding a new and fairly expensive road bike).

Jeff from Breakaway responded to one crash and took the rider home (apparently not far away). I also saw one rider at the Briar Patch with a bloody elbow.

My wife drove me back to KVCC at about 6 P.M. to pick up the truck, and the last two riders came in while I was there. They had completed the century, being the last to leave Lawton at about 2:30 and the Briar Patch (almost 4:00) when I was loading the truck and getting ready to pull out. At that time, all they wanted was water. The man was older (maybe in his 60s) and the woman said she was preparing for RAGBRAI, so I guess she's ready now.

While driving the Lawton loop, I counted at least 30 riders and this was in the latter part of the ride, so I'm sure that even more did the century.

Marian Barnes said she had at least 20 on the family ride (12 miles) and there were some younger children with some fairly small bikes when I saw them come back. She said one woman had three children with her who all rode at different speeds. One mother kept telling her child to slow down and not ride so fast.

Zolton Cohen and Mike Krischer

(Editor's Note: Next month, KalTour pictures!)

Ride to South Haven Report

Seven riders, Paul Stevens, Doug and Kathy Kirk on their tandem, Roy Richardson, Chris and Marian Barnes, and Rick Whaley, gathered at the KVCC parking lot on the morning of July 26 for the Ride to South Haven. Make that five riders, as Chris and Marian announced that they were actually doing The Ride to Lawton (for breakfast), and they were true to their word, leaving the rest of the riders to carry on without them. Make that possibly four riders, as Roy announced that he would decide at Lawrence whether or not to continue to South Haven or return to KVCC. After a rest stop in the aforementioned village, he decided to do the former, and so the five riders and four bicycles continued their journey to the sea, which sounds better than "journey to the lake."

After arriving in South Haven, gazing at the lake, dining on a gourmet meal of subs, chips, and cookies, gazing at the lake again, and dining on ice cream (for Rick and Kathy), the group headed back to Lawrence for their next rest stop. After a very brief break, Doug and Kathy, needing to get back home, decided to forge ahead. Paul, Roy, and Rick thanked them for the strong pulls that they did for almost all of the first 80 miles of the ride, watched them ride away from the sunset (had the sun actually been setting), and then left for KVCC about 10 minutes later.

Although the three remaining riders broke up into pelotons of size one during the final few miles of the ride, they all arrived at KVCC within a few minutes of each other, where they enjoyed the fruits of their 102 mile labor - Gatorade and pretzels not shaped in the form of any map. All agreed that the weather was very good, and so was the ride. It was a pleasant way to spend a Saturday.

Rick Whaley

Monthly Meeting Minutes

KBC's monthly meeting took place on Tuesday, July 8, 2008. Mike Boersma, Elaine Naegele, Tom Keizer, Rick Whaley, Mike Krischer, Jelania Haile, Renee Mitchell, Jim Kindle, Paul Bruneau, Zolton Cohen, and Nicole Newman were in attendance.

Mike Boersma welcomed everyone to the meeting and all present introduced themselves. Tom Keizer provided the Treasurer's report and also reported the KBC received a letter of thank from AMBUCS for the donation from KBC.

The question of whether KBC should apply for 501(c)(3) status has been brought up several times over the past two years. Mike B. invited Steve Brown, a local lawyer and fitness advocate, to provide some information on the benefits and requirements of a 501(c) (3). He explained that 501(c)(3) status and non-profit designation is conferred by the government based on a review of an application completed by an organization.

The benefits of 501(c)(3) status include the ability to seek grant funding and avoid paying sales taxes. The best reason for pursuing this status would be if KBC wanted to solicit donations from individuals and organizations and foundations. Some individuals and groups, and almost all foundations, will not give funds to a group if it does not have 501(c)(3) status, because these donations would not be tax deductable. Examples of 501(c)(3) organizations include The American Red Cross, Goodwill Industries, The Salvation Army, United Way, and Habitat for Humanity.

The requirements for obtaining 501(c)(3) status include maintaining transparent financial records, a demonstrated involvement in activities taken for the public good, and filing a yearly tax return. The paperwork required to apply for this status is also rather tedious and would take about 40 hours of time and a $300 filing fee. Steve offered to donate his time to KBC to assist in completing the application, if the club decides to pursue this.

Mike B. suggested that all those present at the meeting consider the pros and cons of moving forward to apply for 501(c)(3) status. This matter will likely be discussed and voted upon at a future KBC meeting.

Mike B. reported that articles about bicycle riding may appear in the Kalamazoo Gazette soon. One article will promote the rules and regulations that cyclists and automobile drivers should follow and the other will feature cycling on rural roads in the Kalamazoo area. (Post-meeting note: A front page article appeared in the Kalamazoo Gazette on Sunday, July 13, the day of the KalTour, coincidentally enough.)

Mike Krischer reported that KBC had received the bandanas for the KalTour and that volunteers were needed for various activities.

Jelania Haile and Renee Mitchell reported that that Jelania, Renee, and David Jones plan to offer a Road 1 course to KBC members age 16 and up. This two part course will take place on August 21 and 23. Details concerning this course will appear in the August Pedal Press.

Mike B. brought up some concerns about a lack of a standard protocol or procedure for actions that take place after a crash during a club ride. These concerns were raised after a crash occurred on the Monday night ride to Lawton on June 30. A discussion followed about using common sense after a crash, as well as the possible need for a short checklist to determine if emergency services should be contacted. Zolton Cohen offered to speak with a physician who is a KBC member to develop these short guidelines and to present some suggested guidelines that KBC should use in an article in the August Pedal Press.

Nicole Newman reported that she is interested in leading some rides this summer to local food growing destinations (farms, wineries, etc.) to purchase food items. Riding speed would not be a priority. Mike B. advised her to contact Knute Jacobson, KBC's Ride Captain to provide him with more details. Nicole will also post news of upcoming rides on the KBC yahoo groups e-mail and on the KBC forum. A vote was taken and passed to provide $50 to Nicole for use during an end-of-season potluck open to all KBC members.

A vote was taken and passed to provide $116.93 to Joe Kucharski for Al Sabo trail maintenance and support.

Zolton suggested that a Retreat be held this coming winter as an opportunity for KBC to determine its future direction. This will be discussed at future meetings.

The next KBC monthly meeting is scheduled for 7:00 PM, Tuesday, August 12, 2008, at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo. All club members are invited to attend this, and every, meeting.

Elaine Naegele, KBC Secretary


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 you'd like an article to be published in the September edition (distributed on or around the first of September), have it to the newsletter editor by the 20th of August.

League Cycling Instructors (LCIs) Corner - Getting What You Give

Motorists and cyclists have been going back and forth (sometimes literally) about who has the "right" to the road. As we are seeing more cyclists, and more cars, we are hearing more complaints.

Both sides have some validity to their complaints. Before you judge me as being on the side of the motorists, hear me out. I am both a driver of a motorized vehicle and a bicycle. I suspect most of us in the club are as well. Since taking the Road 1 and LCI training, I find I have a somewhat different attitude than I used to have when I'm behind the wheel of my car or on my bicycle. The difference is that no matter what I am using to get through traffic, I am the driver of a vehicle.

The League of American Bicyclists teaches that "cyclists fare better when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles." Vehicular style cycling leads to fewer complaints from motorists. We share the right to use the road. If we want to be treated equally by drivers of cars, we must act accordingly.

If a motorist sees a cyclist ahead who maintains a non-wobbly line, clearly signals his or her lane changes, stops for a red traffic signal and stop signs, gives the appropriate right of way and is visible, most motorists will behave in kind. Cyclists who exhibit dangerous and rude behavior are more likely to encounter rude motorists. A cyclist's attitude is important because this is conveyed to motorists through body language, which motorists also respond to in kind.

Both motorists and cyclists should heed the "Share the Road" signs. They are meant for all of us. So, be nice.

Jelania Haile, LCI

Editor's Note: Renee Mitchell, David Jones, and Jelania Haile have recently completed training through the League of American Bicyclists and are certified League Cycling Instructors. They welcome your comments and questions concerning bicycling handling and safety and will be discussing these issues in a new monthly column for the Pedal Press.

August Ride Captain's Report

I hope you all are having a great summer. With the exception of a little more wind and rain than usual, it's been a great summer for riding.

Personally, I want to thank Rick Whaley for resurrecting the South Haven Ride, and the website managers for getting the weekly ride list back up on the net. This list shows our complete current ride offerings. If you have questions, drop me an e-mail, or, better yet, contact the listed ride leader. He or she should be able to let you know what's been happening recently on that particular ride.

As we approach the fall, I'd like to remind the more touring oriented riders among us that some great century rides are coming up. The fall weather is often a perfect time to try one of these, as we tend to be in good shape, and the weather is not too hot.

I also want you to know we will be planning another Fall Color Ride (leaving from St. Timothy's Church in Richland, date TBA), and another cyclo-cross clinic, also at St. Timothy's Church. I'll keep you posted as these events shape up.

For the time being, have fun, and watch out for all the fresh chip and seal on the road. Corners, edges, and the center section of freshly chipped roads can be particularly tricky.

Best regards, and happy riding.

Knute Jacobson, KBC Ride Captain

Editor's Letter - Living Vicariously Through the Tour de France

Thanks to Versus (the channel formerly known as The Outdoor Life Network), I've come to associate July with the Tour de France, at least when it comes to television. For three weeks in July, my life settles into a comfortable routine. During the weekdays, I set my VCR (Mr. Cutting Edge of Technology still doesn't own a DVD player) to record the live broadcast of the day's stage. Then, after a not-so-physically hard day of work, a bike ride of my own, and dinner, I settle down into my reclining chair, the greatest piece of furniture ever invented, to watch the day's race unfold. On the weekends, I either continue my weekday ritual, or I actually watch the live broadcast live.

Why do I do this? Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen are two reasons. Listening to the prime time commentary of Craig Hummer and Bob Roll is fine, I guess, but there is no substitute for the two Ps. Listening to these two announcers is like overhearing a conversation between two very knowledgeable cycling sports fans. They're entertaining and informative, and over the years, I've learned a lot about the strategies involved in bicycle racing just by listening to them. For my money they're among the best sports commentators in any sport.

Why else do I do this? The mountain stages. There is the drama of the breakaway in the flat stages of the Tour, the uncertainty of whether or not the breakaway riders will be caught by the peloton. I always root, root, root for the breakaway; if they don't win it's a shame. But it's one, two, three strikes they're caught, at the end of the day's stage, at least most of the time. The sprint finishes are exciting, although it would be nice to get a sideline camera angle of the race as they approach the finish line, the better to judge how close the riders are to each other. However, I suspect that this may be logistically difficult. The time trial stages bring out the statistics nerd in me, which is actually a pretty easy thing to do, as I compare the splits of the riders at each checkpoint of the course along with Phil and Paul (yes, we're on a first name basis now) in order to determine how well the riders are doing. But it's the mountain stages that I really enjoy.

"Bring it on!" I shout at the TV, "I'm capable of watching the steepest climb!" And watch I do, witnessing attacks by riders on climbs that tell me how pathetic I am when I whine while climbing the 6th Street hill. Man versus man, man versus nature, man versus himself; it's all here, and what in the world was Ernest Hemingway thinking when he decided to make his book about a fisherman? Those guys in the Tapout commercials that I've seen (or, more accurately, fast forwarded past) countless times should forget about crossing the country to search for what they consider to be the next "badass." They should come over to the Pyrenees or the Alps in July, if they want to find the real deals. The heart that some of these riders show battling their fatigue while climbing these mountains is actually quite inspirational.

But why do I continue to do this? Sometimes I feel like Charlie Brown attempting to kick the football of a drug-free Tour de France, while the drug cheating Lucys of the peloton continue to yank it away from me. I've managed to mangle a metaphor, but I think you get the idea. I could pontificate about the not-so-proud tradition of doping and bicycle racing, but I won't. What I will do, however, is ponder something that Riccardo Ricco, the 2008 Tour de France Cheater of the Year, said after he won the 9th stage, before his EPO bust. He said that he had had high hematocrit levels "ever since I was little." This struck me as a really curious statement. I can't say that I recall my hematocrit levels when I was little, but maybe Italian schools do blood testing as part of their elementary school curriculum. If so, I bet this made for some really interesting student-teacher conferences. "Riccardo, your penmanship is poor and you need to apply yourself and learn the multiplication tables. On the other hand, your red blood cell count is very good and .... Riccardo! Stop licking the radiator!"

So, I take the good with the bad, admiring the skill of those riders who come by their skills honestly, while also discovering facts about riders with whom I can feel a distant kinship. For example, I now have a Tour de France hero, France's David Moncoutie, having learned that when he is not attacking he always rides at the back of the peloton, just like yours truly (but only the riding in the back part). I also found out that America's Christian Vande Velde, this year's 5th place finisher, and I share the same birthday, and I will be available for autographs at the next KBC Monthly Meeting. And when the Tour finally ends, as it has now, I feel a sense of loss. How can I fill this suddenly empty time? And then it hits me. I can finally sit down and write my Editor's Letter. So, here it is.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

Some Upcoming Area Rides of Interest

Classified Ads

  • Tri-bike, Titanium LightSpeed Catalyst, 56 cm frame, aero bar shifters, 105 Shimano components. $800. Call Mike at 327-0387.
  • Rockymountain 56cm Solo 30AC, aluminum and carbon (rear-triangle). The bike has 105 10-speed components throughout and Easton EC90SLX carbon fork (330gr); wheels are Richey DS Pro. The bike is in great shape with less than 500 miles on it. Looking to get $1200 or best offer. Call Jeff at 269-965-3560.

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: Attention adventure racers! Mark your calendars for Gazelle Sports' 3rd Coast Metro Trek set for September 27 in Downtown Kalamazoo and the Chameleon Adventure Race taking place October 11 somewhere around Grand Rapids.  For more information, see here and here


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

Zoo City Cycle & Sports

4328 South Westnedge, Kalamazoo, (269) 552-3000

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