Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Newsletter
December 2010

December 2010 President’s Letter

Elections for positions in the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club administration were held at the November, 2010 monthly meeting. Bill Figeley was re-elected Secretary, as was Tom Keizer for the Treasurer's post. Newcomers were Doug Kirk, Vice President, and me, Zolton Cohen, President.

Immediately following the landslide, unanimous, unopposed victory, I couldn’t help thinking about a key scene in the Woody Allen movie, "Bananas." The guerilla general who had just taken the country over by coup d'etat issued a statement saying that, henceforth, underwear would be worn on the outside of clothing and that the new official language of the Spanish-speaking banana republic would be Swedish.

Have no fear; I have no plans for such measures. . . yet. It is perhaps a confirmation of this type of my presidential magnanimity that, so far at least, US senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Kentucky) has not vowed to make my tenure a one-term presidency.

Enough about politics though; there are more important doings afoot.

Number one is to express gratitude to three important KBC members who have answered the call and invested much time, energy, and good will in bettering the club. Joe Kucharski has stepped down from the post of Insurance Coordinator, after having defined and elevated that position during his term. Thanks to Joe, we now have a working model to offer members of this vital component of the club’s benefits.

Mike Boersma, outgoing President, has held that title for so many years that the question of who was in that post before him may very well appear as a raffle trivia question at the upcoming Recovery Party. I'm not giving away the answer here though. You’ll have to think about it if you want to win a prize.

I've said several times that I sometimes consider it Mike’s greatest accomplishment that he has kept the more passionate among us from tearing out each other’s throats. Cycling is a sport to which many people feel great personal attachment and negotiating the various wishes and demands of the many members of a club like ours is a difficult job. Mike has handled those issues smoothly and professionally. In addition, we have all benefited from his interest and enthusiasm for promoting the sport, not only within the club but also in the community at large. Mike is a big guy, both physically and in heart. He wears big cycling shoes; I hope to be able to fill them as president.

Victor Van Fleet tendered his resignation as Safety and Education Chair as well. Although Vic and I disagreed over many matters of the years, I never doubted his commitment to cycling and fitness. Just the fact that he is out there riding at all at his age is a testimony to his physical condition and desire to keep active and moving. Many people over the years have said that Vic is their role model, and it’s hard to argue with that. We'll look for Vic in the spring to again spearhead the popular Lanterne Rouge Ride on Monday nights.

As new president, I'm thrilled that Tom Keizer and Bill Figeley have agreed to re-up for another year as Treasurer and Secretary, respectively. It makes the transition a lot easier to have these two steady and committed volunteers on board right from the start.

Doug Kirk, newly elected as the Vice President, as many know, has been involved in KBC for years. At various points he has held Secretarial, Newsletter Editor, Presidential and "Resident Curmudgeon" posts. He also is one of the club's many volunteer ride leaders and knows more about the sport than just about anyone. Lately, he has been building high-end custom aluminum bike frames as well.

With that resume, Doug had no compelling reason to do anything more for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club; he could have gone his way with his legacy intact. But I asked Doug to stand for election as Vice-President not only because of his encyclopedic knowledge of the club and local cycling, but because we do not always agree on everything. In fact, we have in the past been diametrically opposed on several important issues. But I encourage constructive and civil debate, and a very suitable devil's advocate is what you can expect when you go toe to toe with Doug. He makes you sharpen your arguments and I hope that will bring out the best ideas in all of us as we move forward with the club’s business.

Saying farewell to industrious volunteers like Joe, Mike and Vic is always difficult because they contributed so much to the club. But it is a fact that life goes on, and several members have recently stepped up to pitch in with their expertise and enthusiasm. Terry O'Connor has graciously agreed to the new insurance coordinator. His contact information will appear on the website and in the Pedal Press, should you need to get in touch. We look forward to Terry's genial manner and professionalism to continue the good work that Joe Kucharski put into motion.

Additionally, Paul Selden, a recent Bike Camp graduate, after observing some of the conditional deficiencies present on the area's roadways, suggested creating a Director of Road Safety position in the club hierarchy. Immediately upon taking charge of the post, Paul started making contact with local road commissions and other entities that deal with road infrastructure in order to talk about how surfaces can be improved and roadways made safer for the cycling public.

Paul's outreach efforts will prove important to the club in the future. Not only has he already been able to get several dangerous potholes filled along KBC's regular riding routes, but he is also putting a face to the club's name with many of the organizations whose primary focus has always been the automobiling public. Paul's work will contribute toward having the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club be the “go-to” source for information on local bicycling – something that will stand all of us in good stead as we strive to increase awareness of cycling issues.

With all that to say I've pretty much run out of room to lay out my plans and visions for the future direction of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. But here's one brief point: I'll try not to screw anything up. Mike Boersma has had the club running so smoothly for so long that it is easy to take it for granted that things will always get done. I know that's not the case. So, at least for this month, I see no reason for changing anything. But know for sure I won't require wearing underwear on the outside of your cycling shorts. Having them on underneath is already uncomfortable enough . . . Skoal!

Zolton Cohen, KBC President

Next KBC Monthly Meeting - December 14, 2010

The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend.

Hit and Run!

Part 2 – The Insurance Claims Process

By Paul Selden, Director of Road Safety, KBC

In Part 1 of this series, I described how, this past July, I was sideswiped while riding my bicycle on D Avenue. This was while climbing a hill on the shoulder, about 1/4 mile from US-131. The driver drove off without stopping. Fortunately, another driver witnessed the event, called it in to 911 (thank you again!), and followed her until she was apprehended by a Kalamazoo County deputy. It turned out that the suspected hit-and-run driver was so drunk that she was taken to a hospital instead of jail. As if this wasn't bad enough, the driver was accused of driving with a revoked/suspended license. Even though the left side rear titanium skewer had been hit hard enough to bend it, fortunately, I was able to keep the bike upright. Thankfully, I didn't need immediate medical assistance. On the other hand, my "baby," my six month old carbon-fiber bike, was unrideable. Thanks to fellow KBC'er Dale Krueger, I got home safely (but I'm sure the deputy would have been happy to take me home).

In the months following the accident, I've learned a lot about insurance issues connected with being in a bicycle-automobile accident. In this part of the series, I'll describe what I uncovered in hopes you can benefit.

The accident happened on a weekend, but the first step in the insurance claims process was simply to report the incident to law enforcement and stay put after the accident. This allowed me to get a case number from the deputy.

Just by looking at it once I got home, I couldn't tell how severely my bike was damaged. The left side of my rear titanium skewer was bent, but none of the joints, stays, or bars was obviously loose or broken. The left pedal looked as though it might have been sideswiped, so I didn't know whether the crank, bottom bracket, or internal bearing surfaces had been damaged. I looked in my Specialized manual. From what I gleaned, after such an impact I should not ride the bike until it had been thoroughly inspected. There could be a hairline crack not visible to the naked eye.

This was depressing. After riding more than a hundred miles a week in preparation for my first century ride, I couldn't stand being off a bike even for a short while! Fortunately, my trusty Trek hybrid was waiting in my garage. I guess it would do in a pinch.

The accident occurred on a Saturday, and I didn't think my Auto-Owner's agent would be in the office. Regardless, I left a message in order to establish the basis for what might turn out to be a claims process. Though I didn't know what the bike inspection would reveal, I believed that if I failed to at least make the report, it might jeopardize an eventual claim.

The next week, my Auto agent phoned back. She wasn't certain whether my bicycle was covered under my auto or my homeowner's policy. Knowing that my bike was somewhat expensive and knowing that certain things, such as a boat motor, were covered in separate riders caused me no little anxiety. I didn't know if I was required to have a separate rider on a nice bicycle. I doubted that I had even told my agent that I'd bought the Roubaix. To me as a road bike newbie, I hadn't thought my bike was worth special attention. After all, it was "only" a bicycle. I also hadn't considered that my homeowner's policy might be where it would be covered.

During this same week, I took my bike into Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness. Owner Paul Wells himself inspected the bike for obvious damage. Initially, he told me that, although there was no evidence of a catastrophic failure, sometimes carbon fiber could have hairline or microscopic fractures that are not visible to the naked eye. He sold me an inexpensive skewer out of his spare parts bin and asked me to bring the bike back later, when he could give it a more thorough inspection. In the meantime, he said I could ride it carefully at my own risk if I felt comfortable doing so, but to take it easy.

The next shoe fell when Mr. Ryar Baker, a claims agent from Auto-Owners, called me later in the week. In a professional but courteous way, he informed me that since the bicycle was not a motorized vehicle, damage to it would be covered under my homeowner's policy. Thus, our high deductible would apply. On the other hand, my homeowner's policy had been written for full replacement value, which would be extended to this loss, as well. He informed me that, had the bicycle been covered under a separate rider, things might have been different. He asked whether I would be filing a claim. I told him that whether I filed a claim would depend on the results of a more careful inspection that would be performed by the local Specialized dealer, Breakaway Bicycles. Being my first road bike, I couldn't judge the extent of the damage. I felt a sort of resigned helplessness, but the wheels were in motion, and I had to follow through.

The next step was to take the bike in for a more thorough inspection. About 10 days after my accident, shortly after the inspection, I got a call, then a formal letter from Paul Wells. Specialized advised him that "possible hidden damage could cause catastrophic failure at any time in the future." They further informed him that the bike would have to be replaced, but the Roubaix line was sold out until 2011. This was not good news, but to temper this, I have to say that Paul Wells and the staff of his shop treated me with great courtesy, and were extremely diligent, professional and sympathetic to my situation, helping me without reservation Ð in spite of the fact that, since Breakaway didn't have that model in the showroom at the time I needed to buy it, I'd bought the bike elsewhere. To their letter, Breakaway attached a written quote for the projected replacement cost.

This was definitely a time of suspense and uncertainty. I'd been hit by a drunk driver, but lived to tell the tale. My bike had been damaged, but I couldn't tell to what extent. I had insurance, but I didn't know what the claims agent would say to this latest piece of news. Whether my bike would fail catastrophically if I hit the first, second, or 20th big pothole "at any time in the future," was imponderable, impossible for anyone to predict. Not knowing whether the accused would have to pay restitution either to me or the insurance company was also something that couldn't be known until her sentencing, sometime in the future. What would you do if you were put in my situation?

I took the only rational course of action that I felt was open to me. I filed the claim, glad that I'd kept all my receipts and documentation related to the bike in a spot that would be easy to find again. I filed for the full replacement amount that I would be liable for, if later, I needed to replace my "poor old" Roubaix, noting the price and sales tax I actually paid for my 2009 model only about six months earlier, as instructed on the forms provided. I sent the package of paperwork, receipts, inspection report, written replacement cost, and claims form about two weeks after the accident.

I waited. Mr. Baker called to ask some questions about whether I felt my bike was safe to ride. I said that I couldn't answer that as an expert might. On the other hand, I told him that, so far, I hadn't ordered a new bike, but I didn't and couldn't know whether it would need replacement until the time actually came. He asked whether I could sell it and get some salvage value from it. I told him that I wouldn't feel right doing so, in case it failed while someone else was riding it. He said he'd have to talk with the bicycle shop, and perhaps check with other sources. Uncertainty still hung in the air.

Finally, between two and three weeks after filing my claim, I got a phone call telling me that: a) a check for the amount of my original purchase price, less my (rather high) deductible, was in the mail; b) I could keep my bike and ride it as long as I felt like taking that risk on myself; and c) if it failed within a "reasonable amount of time" I could still apply for the difference between what I'd received and full replacement costs (less my deductible).

You are probably wonderingÉwas I overjoyed? Did I feel like I'd struck the jackpot? No. On the one hand, I felt that Auto-Owners (and Ryar Baker) had dealt with me fairly and with the sort of courtesy you might expect from a detective trained to be on the lookout for fraud, but also trained to be polite to a long-time customer. On the other hand, I felt that everything about the insurance company's decisions was totally practical and mundane. I had a bike that seemed okay but could fail at some point, unexpectedly. They couldn't know when it might fail and neither could I. If and when it failed, I had enough money to cover my original purchase, but this was minus a fairly high deductible, and minus the remainder of the funds I'd need to replace it, and now, minus any more coverage or warranty for it in the future. And to get what some people might feel was "easy money," I'd almost been killed by a drunk driver.

Believe it or not, the story isn't finished. Almost six months after the accident, some of the legal proceedings are still pending, so the next shoe hasn't fully dropped. As in Part 1, I've tried your patience long enough, so I'll wrap up this episode with a few of my bigger lessons learned. What applies to you may vary given your particulars, if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of needing to file an insurance claim on your bicycle.

First, I can't stress this lesson enough. If something bad happens to you and/or your bicycle away from home, I hope you are carrying a cell phone and that you call 911, if an emergency, or, if not an emergency, that you call the appropriate non-emergency response phone number (is it in your phone's address book?) right away. The non-emergency phone number for the Michigan State Police is 269-657-5551; for Kalamazoo County Sheriff, non-emergency dispatch is 269-383-8821. Ask for the case number assigned to the report; you'll probably find it helpful during the claims process.

Second, whether or not you ever think something bad will ever happen to your bicycle, call your insurance agent and at the very least, learn the extent of your current coverage. Even if you know the answer to these questions for other matters you've had a claim for in the past, you may learn that your bicycle can receive much more complete coverage, for a very small additional fee.

Third, make sure that you keep all the documentation relevant your bike purchase in a spot you can find it later, regardless of whether you are a whiz at other forms of record-keeping. You may need your original sales receipt. The insurance company will probably want to know the date you bought your bicycle, how much you paid for it, and where you bought it, at the least.

Fourth, I suggest that you remain patient and as calm as you can be, as the insurance claims process unfolds. Things are taking place that are out of your control. I couldn't file the claim until my bike had been thoroughly and professionally inspected, the manufacturer had been consulted, and a written damage assessment received. This all took time. I have a great insurance company, but from the time I was hit by the drunk driver to the time I received my check, almost five weeks had elapsed.

Your serenity may be tested further if legal proceedings and medical matters are involved, of course. So, if you are in doubt about any of the above, consult an attorney and/or physician.

Coming Up in Part 3 – The Legal Proceedings


A tip of the hat to Dave Rachowicz (Kalamazoo County Parks and Recreation Director), Toni Thompson, (President of the Friends of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail), Tom Hohm (Chief Engineer of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission), together with the great people on their various teams and generous donors to the trail, who were all instrumental in getting the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail planned and constructed. Many of our members have ridden the trail and have commented on its beauty. Did you know that the KRVT is the newest Kalamazoo County Park? There's more to come! You can learn more at this link:http://www.kalcounty.com/parks/krvt/index.html. .

A big thanks to Jeff Mitchell, Special Operations Officer for the Van Buren County Road Commission, and the maintenance team at the VBCRC. A member of our club reported a dangerous washout at the intersection of the Kal-Haven Trail and the F Avenue intersection. Jeff called this week to say that as of mid-November, the problem has been fixed!

Paul Selden

Monthly Meeting Minutes

The monthly KBC general club meeting was called to order by Mike Boersma at 7:05 P.M. on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo. Also attending were Zolton Cohen, Mike Krischer, Dick Nivala, Paul Selden, Rob Nicey, Jon Ballema, Terry O'Conner, Tom Keizer, Doug Kirk, Kathy Kirk, and Rick Whaley

Tom gave the Treasurer's Report. There was $146 in income and $431 in expenses during October. The Treasurer's Report was accepted.

Club Insurance was the next topic of discussion. Zolton had received an e-mail from Rob about an accident that Rob had on the Wednesday night Kal Haven Trail ride in early October and he wanted to pursue an insurance claim through KBC. Zolton wanted to know more about this incident and also wanted to determine if it was indeed a club ride. Rob stated that he delayed reporting this until a couple weeks after the accident when he found out that he had broken vertebrae. He noted that the accident happened when it was daylight and since the ride had been referenced in the Pedal Press, he assumed that it was a club ride.

Mike B.noted that Victor Van Fleet raised the issue of what constituted a club ride in 2009. This was discussed at the June 2009 Monthly Meeting and it was determined at that time that a club ride was a ride that had been announced and publicized by KBC channels by a member of the KBC and has a ride leader. He noted that the Wednesday night trail ride had been publicized in the Special Rides section of the KBC website and that Tom Noverr was the ride leader. Doug noted that Tom N. should make it known that this is still a club ride. Doug did not have a problem considering it to be a club ride, but KBC needs to be clearer about what is and isn't a club ride. Zolton thought that someone should announce that a ride is taking place and that KBC can consider whether it should be a club ride at our next Monthly Meeting. However, Doug thought that this would only delay the sanctioning of a club ride. Mike B. thought that we could speed up the process by sending an announcement to David Jones, the KBC webmaster, to be placed in the KBC website. Based on his conversation with the insurance company, Zolton noted that in order to get insurance, the ride must be conducted and supervised by KBC. Mike B. and Paul felt that KBC should make it easy to make a ride a club ride.

The discussion then turned to the topic of ride leaders. Zolton noted that the ride should have a leader, but Doug and Mike B. wanted to know how to define this. Mike B. noted that the leader doesn't necessarily have to dominate the ride and can be dropped during the ride. Paul thought that we should set up a committee to revisit the issue of what constitutes a KBC club ride. Rick wondered about non-KBC members in a club ride and Doug and Mike B. noted that they can ride, but they will not be covered by the KBC insurance. Kathy wondered whether we should continue to have the Wednesday night trail ride be a club ride. Mike B. suggested that we act on Paul's motion and it was approved. Doug, Zolton, and Rick will be on this committee.

The KBC election was the next topic. Mike B. announced the slate of candidates running for office, Zolton Cohen for President, Doug Kirk for Vice-President, Tom Keizer for Treasurer, and Bill Figely for Secretary. The officers were elected and at that point, as the newly elected President, Zolton began to chair the meeting.

Kathy thanked Mike B. for what he has done during his years as President of the KBC and Mike B. thanked everyone for the assistance that was given to him. Zolton also thanked Mike B. He also thanked Victor for his service as the Chair of the Safety and Education Committee and Joe Kucharski for his service as the KBC Insurance Coordinator. Zolton noted that he will be a strict constitutionalist with regard to following the KBC Constitution and that he asked Doug to serve as the Vice-President because he knew that Doug would challenge him from time to time and he thought that this would be a good thing.

Paul gave the road safety report. He noted that we have new webpages with contacts (the Road Commission, etc.). The Road Commission has a schedule for road repairs, so a repair might not be done immediately after reporting a problem. Paul thought that it was o.k. if other people want to contact the Road Commission directly with any problems and that Victor will also help him. He met with the Managing Director of the Kalamazoo Road Commission, Joanna Johnson, the Traffic Services Manager, John Byrnes, and Tom Hohm, the Chief Engineer. Joanna would be willing to talk with the club. She will also be giving KBC a heads-up with regard to the chip sealing schedule in 2011. Paul will also be meeting with Portage road officials. (Ed. Note: Paul also talked with Jon Start, the head of the Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study. A link for this organization is http://www.katsmpo.org/html/get_involved_.html).

Paul noted that Kudos is a good method of giving recognition to those who help us and he wondered if KBC has an award for someone not affiliated with KBC who has helped KBC promote cycling. Doug noted that we didn't and Doug and Zolton both thought that this was a good idea, although Zolton noted that it would have to be non-monetary. Kathy also liked the idea very much. Paul made a motion that the KBC investigate given this type of award. Mike B. seconded it and the motion was carried. Paul, Kathy, and Terry will serve on a committee to investigate this. Zolton thanked Paul for putting a face and name to KBC to the Road Commissioners and helping them, which, in turn, helps KBC.

Mike K. gave a KalTour report. He stated that the next ride will be on Sunday, July 10, 2011 and that it will be in the League of Michigan Bicyclists 2011 Michigan Ride Calendar.

Zolton noted that Terry O'Connor has agreed to become the new Insurance Coordinator and the Executive Committee present at the meeting (the President, Vice-President, and Treasurer) elected him to this position.

With regard to new business, Terry noted that he had been on the new section of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail (from McKenzie Bakery to D Avenue) and he highly recommends it. Jon also liked it, but cautioned that a large group of riders on this trail need to be careful.

Jon also gave a KBC Racing Report. He noted that some cyclocross races are still going on and that there were four KBC racers in the Ice Man mountain bike race. The BTR race date for 2011 still needs to be determined, but it will likely be determined soon.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 P.M.

Rick Whaley for Bill Figeley, KBC Secretary


The electronically-distributed KBC Pedal Press 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 January edition (distributed on or around the first of January), have it to the newsletter editor by the 20th of December.

KBC Statistics

Active subscriptions: 249

New members:
None this month

December Expiring memberships:
Jeff Dubbeld· Edwin Micalizzi ·Jeff Newman Family

Renewed memberships:
Michael Boersma· Jason Goodin

Paul Bruneau, KBC Database Manager

Editor’s Letter –The End of another Season (The Bicycle Commuting Season)

It's late November as I type this and the 2010 KBC riding season has come to a close. And apropos of nothing, at least when it comes to cycling, so has my 2010 grilling season. I'm not the type of person who stands outside in the bitter cold and dark, wondering whether it would be better to use the red hot coals to cook my steak or to warm my frozen feet. Besides, I'm not exactly a gourmet griller. While I may grill the occasional steak, my grilling specialty is not one, but two hamburgers, cooked simultaneously; an incredible feat of multi-tasking, if I do say so myself. I top them off with the finest American cheese that the Spartan brand has to offer for just that little extra pizzazz; all for my eating pleasure. This year, I've also thrown culinary caution to the wind by brazing boneless chicken breasts with various sauces, although I've yet to braze a chicken with energy gel (mmmmm, chicken l'orange GU). This gives me something to look forward to doing in 2011.

But more relevantly, my 2010 bicycle commuting season has also come to a close. I'm also not the type of person who rides to work in the bitter cold and dark, wondering whether it would be better to use my frozen water bottle to attempt to slake my thirst or to club marauding arctic wolves. Besides, I'm not exactly a hardcore commuter, either. I try to commute to work twice a week, weather permitting, and if that doesn't work out, one day a week will do.

Still, the fact that I've been commuting to work via bicycle at all during the past three years is a welcome change from the last twelve years and has gotten me back in touch with my bicycle commuting roots. I didn't own a car until I was almost 31 years old, so this meant that if I had to get anywhere, I usually had to do it on foot or via bicycle. During my thirties, I still usually commuted by walking or by bike to work. It wasn't until I moved to Ohio and started working in what was then Midsize Pharma that my commuting habits changed.

I suppose that I could blame it on a new dress code; for the first time in my working life, I needed to wear a coat and tie. I decided that lounging around the office in my cycling clothes for the first 20 or 30 minutes of each morning while cooling off and then putting on clothes freshly pulled from my backpack was probably not best way to impress my coworkers with my fashion style. When the company instituted "Casual Friday," I started riding my bicycle to and from work on that day, but after I moved to Portage for the first time in 1996, even my once a week bicycle commutes became a part of my past. I had simply fallen out of the two-wheeled commuting habit.

However, when I moved back to Portage three years ago and began working in downtown Kalamazoo, I started thinking about commuting by bicycle again. So, in May of 2008, I stuffed my backpack with clothing and rode to work. Even with a bike lane, I found that the traffic on Oakland Drive into downtown was a bit more congested than I would have liked, but I made it to work unscathed and returned home in similar condition. I also found that riding with the backpack was hard to get used to again, but a light bulb went off over my head (I believe it was in flash mode), and I realized that I didn't need to ride with a backpack at all. No, I didn't decide that I would wear my cycling clothes all day and really impress my coworkers with my fashion style. Besides, I suspected that strutting my stuff in spandex all day long would do little to improve office morale. Instead, I decided to bring my clothes into the office the day before my commute and take them home the day after my commute. I also decided to ride to work as often as I could on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which would give me the option of doing the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night KBC rides, and would allow me to take my clothes back and forth to work during the weekdays.

I studied the Kalamazoo/Portage map for alternative commuting routes and I soon settled on a route that would take me into downtown via Bronson Boulevard and Burdick Street. This added about a half mile to my commute; to slightly over 7 miles, but it had the advantage of having less traffic. I soon discovered that it had another advantage; I got to ride the Bronson Boulevard hill.

The Bronson Boulevard hill is the highlight of my commute. In the morning, I'm able to glide at least somewhat gracefully down the 3/4 mile long curving hill and in the evening, I'm able to grind at least somewhat gracefully up the same hill. The hill isn't steep enough to get me into oxygen debt, so I'm able to get into a rhythm while I'm riding up it, and it also allows me to indulge in the sort of Alberto Contador fantasies that don't involve the eating of tainted meat. (Mmmmm, pepperoni and clenbuterol pizzas.)

There are also a couple of other noteworthy hills on my route. The downhill and uphill on Kilgore Road between Oakland Drive and Bronson Boulevard can also provide some adrenaline fueled riding, particularly when riding towards Bronson Boulevard, although I find that dodging the occasional pile of brush placed on the bike lane at the bottom of the hill adds a bit more fuel than I actually need. The downhill and uphill between I-94 and Kilgore Road are also capable of providing an adrenaline rush, although this may also be due to the disappearance of the bike lanes during this stretch of road. I've also learned the hard way that unless I have the foresight to get into a very low gear before I tackle the 10 yard very steep hill on Maple Street just before the intersection at Park Street, I'd better hope for some sort of adrenaline rush to get me over this hill, particularly if I have to stop more than a couple of feet before the intersection.

But even the flat sections of my commute, if not as noteworthy, are still pleasant, and my interactions with the automobile commuters haven't been bad, either. During all of my commutes, I've only been yelled at by one driver, who said I was going to get killed. I'm actually not too worried about this, since I'm assuming that no one has taken out a contract on me, but should I wake up one morning with a handlebar at the foot of my bed, I may have to re-evaluate this assumption. And just the other day, as I was stopped at an intersection, a mid-forties looking woman in the right turn lane rolled down the window of her car and shouted out "Way to go, dude!" I've always thought that bicycle commuting brings out the dudeness in me and it was nice to have this confirmed.

So, I've found that bicycle commuting has been a worthwhile addition to my day. I've arrived at work more relaxed and refreshed than I have on those days when I've arrived at work via car. My Tuesday/Thursday commutes also serve as convenient rest days between the harder KBC club rides and they also free up more time in the evening, since there is no need to go riding after I get home. As a result, I have commuted more often each year, from 31 days in 2008, to 46 days in 2009, to 53 days in 2010. The past couple of years I've even been able to commute a few times after daylight savings time ended. However, the combination of shorter daylight hours and colder weather have conspired to end my bicycle commuting, at least for this year. But come next March, when the cold weather is only a very recent memory and daylights saving time begins again; middle aged women, take note. The dude will be back.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

Some Upcoming Area Rides of Interest

Other than your personal "Ride to Work off the Effect of Christmas Dinner," there are no rides of interest coming up.

Classified Ads

New: Free old set of BMX race wheels with tires. I bought them in the late 1980s for my stepson and have been moving them around for years. I would like to give them away to anyone who wants them, preferably a deserving young lad or lass. They are in good shape but I assume the technology has moved on. Contact Rick Updike at rick.updike@yahoo.com.

For Sale – Girls Trek MT-60 (mineral blue) in excellent condition, bought new in May 2007, adjustable for a 5 year-old up to 9 year-old, 6-speed with front and rear grip shift hand brakes, also has front shocks. Our daughter outgrew it and is now in an adult size mountain bike. Owner's manual and matching helmet included, photos available upon request. $125. Please contact Stephanie Sabin at (269) 350-6225 or sabinsms@gmail.com

Kestrel 200 SC road bike with Shimano DuraAce components and EMS composite forks. Campagnolo Omega wheels. White in color, good condition. Not sure how old it is (probably 1990s), but I bought it used in around 2000 and used it for about 15 Olympic distance triathlons, plus about 200 miles per year. Not sure what size it is, but it stands 32 inches high at the top tube. Asking price is $600, but will consider any offer. E-mail Rob at rkengis@hotmail.com or call 269-664-6489.

I am looking for a used carbon fiber bike. Contact Maggie Miller at maggiemiller@rocketmail.com.

Cannondale Ironman 2000 (model year 2003) time trial bike. Size 56 with the CAAD5 Aero frame. Components are Ultegra and Dura-Ace with Spinergy Xaero Lite 650 wheels. Additional race accessories include Zipp 800 full disk rear and Zipp 400 front with new tubular tires. Extra sets of tires included. $1,500 for full setup. Will also consider selling without Zipp racing wheelset. Call 806-7164 or contact Kellam.glen@yahoo.com.

RELIV Nutritional Shakes, they are great! For more info contact Mike @ 269-350-5010, 269–266–2671, or cmock88@att.net Independent Distributor.

Several items for sale. Ultegra 10-speed Crankset 53/39 175 mm ($125). Good condition. 105 10–speed crankset 53/39 172.5 mm ($100), very good condition. Burley delight trailer for two, about six years old – very good condition, the hitch attaches to the rear stays ($200). Slingshot cyclo–cross bike – Origin–8 carbon fork, 105 components, race face compact crank, sun/ringlet flea wheelset. 56 centimeters, not typical slingshot set up; standard frame can be seen on the slingshot website ($1200). Call Jeff Robertson at 269–924–8928.

Shop Notes

Alfred E Bike

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

Billy's Bike Shop

63 East Battle Creek Street, Galesburg, (269) 665–5202 www.billysbikeshop.com

Breakaway Bicycles

185 Romence at Westnedge, Portage, (269) 324–5555,

Custer Cyclery

104 North Augusta, Augusta, (269) 731–3492

Gazelle Sports

214 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, (269) 342–5996,
Gazelle Sports has gifts galore for your holiday shopping! Click here for a coupon that saves you $5 on your $40 purchase. https://www.gazellesports.com/info/99-GGcoupon.html Hurry! Offer expires 12/15/10. Merry Christmas!

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 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 Zolton Cohen
Vice President Doug Kirk
Secretary Bill Figeley
Treasurer Tom Keizer 269–382–4737

Other Important KBC Folks

Database Manager Paul Bruneau 269–343–6016
Newsletter Editor Rick Whaley 269–324–1577
Media Relations Deb Grey
Ride Captain Bill Figeley
Social Director Janet DeZwaan
Social Director Teri Olbrot
Safety and Education Chair Victor VanFleet 269–375–7691
Director of Road Safety Paul Selden
Web Site David Jones

KAL Tour

Director Michael Krischer
Director "Super" Dave Bishop 269–679–4522