Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Newsletter
April 2011

April 2011 President’s Letter

LMB Bike Summit Conference

As KBC webmaster David Jones and I pulled into the parking lot of Peckham Industries in Lansing on the morning of Saturday, March 26, 2011, it was easy to see we had successfully navigated (thanks MapQuest!) to the right location. Peckham Industries was the site of the 2011 League of Michigan Bicyclists Bike Summit conference. And nearly every car in the parking lot had bumper stickers that extolled either the virtues of cycling or declared that bikes do, indeed, belong on roadways. Suffice it to say we were in friendly territory.

The friendly feeling extended inside the building, where approximately 80 movers and shakers from state and national bicycling circles came together to discuss cycling advocacy issues. To those of us who are mainly content to just get on our bikes and ride, it was eye-opening to hear about all the political and infrastructure initiatives going on behind the scenes. To cite just one of the projects underway, Jim Sayer, executive director of the Adventure Cycling Association, said during his conference-opening keynote speech that plans are in place to create a national bicycling route network.

You'll be pleased — and possibly surprised, as I was — to hear that Michigan is one of the states on the forefront of that effort. It turns out that we are among the 14 states so far to adopt Complete Streets legislation that ensures bicycle infrastructure is considered in the design of state road projects in the future. Additionally, Michigan has applied for and is in the running to have one of its existing bike routes designated as the first national bike route.

If you're interested in issues like this, take a look at LMB's website at www.lmb.org.

KBC was also represented at the conference by Vice-President Doug Kirk and by Kathy Kirk. A 20 minute presentation given by your President on Bike Camp was very well received; three attendees of that session asked for the PowerPoint files so they could propose doing something similar at their bike clubs. One of those three said KBC had created a "roadmap" on how to teach a cycling course geared toward beginners. High praise indeed; and I was happy to be able to say that Bike Camp is a success story only because of our terrific Bike Camp Committee and the many volunteers who help out during the program.

Bike Camp 2011

And speaking of Bike Camp, please be aware that online registration is now open. If you plan to attend Bike Camp or know someone who would be interested in registering, please visit the club website for additional information. Do so early to save some money and also to avoid being left out. Bike Camp brochures are being printed and will be available soon from any Bike Camp committee member, and will be distributed in local bike shops and fitness centers.

New Website

Driving long distances in a car gives people the opportunity to catch up on things, and so it was with David Jones and me when we carpooled to Lansing. We talked quite a bit about the club website, and his reasons for updating it recently. High on his list of priorities was to make it easier to read. He also sought to make things easier to find. It looks to me as though he has been quite successful on both accounts. Take a look for yourself at www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org. Thanks go to David for using his professional expertise to advance the club's interests in this manner; volunteers like him make this a better club for all of us.

BTR Criterium Bike Race

In order for big events like KalTour and the BTR Criterium Bike Race to come off smoothly, a lot of preliminary planning has to take place well in advance of the actual date of implementation. I've been going to BTR Race meetings for several months now and things are shaping up nicely for the July 16 competition. You'll hear more about this race in the months to come, but circle the date on your calendar now, and also consider volunteering to help out. A bike race is colorful, fun, and exciting, and we're very fortunate to have one of this caliber taking place right in our community.

Also keep your ears open for announcements concerning a locally-sponsored bike road race taking place the following day, July 17, in Lawton. Heck, why not just use a large Day-Glo highlighter to circle that entire weekend to participate in, volunteer at, or attend as a spectator these two events?

Making a Difference

KBC member Jeff Newman recently completed a 4-hour spin class "Bike and Burn" fundraiser for the YMCA's scholarship program. Newman and his cadre of donors managed to raise more than $4,500, which was almost half of all the money accumulated for this endeavor. Congratulations Jeff for extending yourself through cycling to benefit those in the community who otherwise might not be able to afford a Y membership! Well done.

Ride Leader Sanctioning

Just a reminder that if you wish to become a "sanctioned" KBC ride leader – and have rides you lead covered under the club's excess medical insurance policy – you must attend one of the monthly club meetings in person in order to be certified. The meetings take place on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 P.M. at the Maple Street YMCA in Kalamazoo.

Funding Request Draft Proposals Now on Website

In order to fairly and accurately deal with funding requests, the KBC Grant Review Committee has created several documents relating to the granting and follow-up of monetary requests. Drafts of those documents are now on the front page of the club's website.

If you haven't already, please look them over and get back to me via e-mail (president@kalamazoobicycleclub.org) with comments or suggestions. After months of hashing things over we'd like to take action on these proposals at the April meeting.

Riding Yet?

Oh yeah; bike riding. I guess club rides have started up as of March 14. Attendance will be sparse until the weather warms; attendance by your wimpy club President will be delayed until temperatures consistently hit at the least the mid-50's – and until a pinched nerve in his back ceases sending numbness down his left leg. But you go out and enjoy yourselves. Stay safe; obey the law. Don't do anything stupid. Although our club is lucky to have great excess medical insurance as one of the benefits of membership, let's endeavor not to have to use it!

Zolton Cohen, KBC President

Next KBC Monthly Meeting - April 12, 2011

The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend.

Pre–Season KBC Ride Meeting on April 7, 2011

The Annual Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Pre-season Ride Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 7 at 7:00 P.M. The meeting will be held at the Best Western on 11th Street.
As in years past, we will cover the rules of the road, give you the option to sign your insurance paper work, and renew your membership. If you are member of the club, there will be free beer available. A swap meet of bicycling related items will also take place.

11th Annual W Ride

If April comes in like a fool, what does April go out like? Something that isn't foolish, which means, of course, The W Ride! Yes, continuing a tradition that started exactly one decade ago, the 11th Annual W Ride will take place on Saturday, April 30 at 9:00 A.M.
The ride, as always, begins at the east parking lot of Vicksburg High School. We then turn right and travel west on W Avenue until we reach the Van Buren County line. Then, as we gracefully make a 180 degree turn, we ride east on W Avenue until we get back to Vicksburg. After a stop for drinks and a snack, we continue west (on W Avenue, of course) until we reach the Calhoun County line. Then, we make another graceful 180 degree turn and ride west on W Avenue back to Vicksburg High School. It is 48 miles of directionally unchallenging fun.
The speed for the main group of riders, lead by Rick Whaley, will probably be around 16 to 18 mph. But other groups of riders are welcome to ride at any speed they like. One decade ago, a humble KBC member had a dream. He lived that dream (and then lived it 9 more times) and you can, too. Live the dream. Do the ride. You'll be glad you did.

Rick Whaley


A round of applause goes to Joanna Johnson, Managing Director of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission, and Dave Healy, Texas Township Supervisor, for working cooperatively with KBC to adjust KCRC's annual chip/seal schedule so as not to interfere with KBC's 2011 KalTour! Ms. Johnson and Mr. Healy are demonstrating their great interest in helping out the county's bicycling community, when it is possible to do so.

Paul Selden

Consider turning your Kudos acknowledgement into a KBC's Friend of Bicycling nominee; any member can email a nomination to awardscommittee@kalamazoobicycleclub.org.

Monthly Meeting Minutes

The monthly KBC general club meeting was called to order by Zolton Cohen at 7:03 P.M. on Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo. Also attending were Jesse Riegle, Joe Yeager, Mike Mock, Paul Selden, Jason Goodin, Jon Ballema, Dick Nivala, David Jones, Mark Irwin, Jeff Newman, Dave Jarl, Bruce Caple, Aliceann Inskeep, Steve Cox, Zolton Cohen, Rick Whaley, Renee Mitchell, and Kathleen Kroll.

Tom Keizer was unable to attend the meeting, but he provided the Treasurer's Report. There were $439 of income and $398 of expenses in February 2011 and there is $4819 in the KBC checking account and $11,086 in the KBC CD.

The Pre-Season Ride Meeting was discussed and the tentative date for this meeting will be on Thursday April 14 at 7:00 P.M. at the Best Western. Bill and Doug Kirk will work on arranging this meeting with a $300 budget. A swap meet may be included as part of this meeting. (Editor's Note: The Pre-Season Ride Meeting will be held on Thursday, April 7 instead of April 14 at the Best Western.)

The Grant Funding Committee provided a progress report. A form for grant request has been prepared, as well as a process for formal grant requests that include standardized information items that will be supplied by those requesting funds from KBC. This form will be in a format where it will be able to be downloaded from the KBC website. The Grant Funding Committee will make the funding decisions, but they will be subject to Club review. The goal of the committee is to make a decision within a month of the request. KBC will establish a fund budget each year. This process will be used mainly for entities other than those to which KBC has previously donated funds.

Zolton reported that he attended a meeting concerning the BTR bicycle race. The race will be held on Saturday, July 16, 2011. There will also be a road race in Lawton the next day that is unrelated to the BTR race, but Jon noted that the BTR race organization will work with the organizers of the Lawton race.

Renee, Jesse, Jason, David, Jeff, Dave, and Steve requested to become sanctioned ride leaders and their requests were approved.

Paul gave the Road Safety Director report. In the past month, he has contacted Supervisors from the west-most townships in Kalamazoo County. He has learned about the road resurfacing and improvement plans for Kalamazoo County in 2011 and he will try to get the Kalamazoo County Road Commission to schedule their activities around KalTour. Paul also plans to "close the loop" with Gordon Hover of the Van Buren County Road Commission regarding the posting of "Share the Road" signs in the county. David and he are also discussing including a webpage that reports updated road conditions. Paul also noted that riders can report road hazards that they see to him at directorroadsafety@kalamazoobicycleclub.org.

The Public Relations Director appointment was discussed next. This has been tabled until the April meeting when there is a quorum of KBC officers, but the intent is to appoint Brian Gonda to this position.

Renee gave a Bike Camp progress report. Bike Camp will start on Tuesday, May 10 and will also meet on the following four Saturdays starting at 8:00 A.M. Topics of Bike Camp will included bike fit, bike handling skills (including parking lot skills), clothing, bicycle accessories, and bicycle maintenance.

In old business, Dick expressed concern about the process for determining the Friend of Bicycling for 2011. He thought that the process for determining the award was too short and without enough input from KBC members. He suggested that nominees be solicited through the year and that nominees be published in the Pedal Press in November or December. The merits of the nominees would then be discussed at the December Monthly Meeting and that the President of KBC also briefly discusses this at the January Recover Party and encourages feedback from KBC members. Voting for the award would then take place at the February Monthly Meeting. Considerable discussion followed about the pros and cons of Dick's proposal, including the role of the Award Committee in this process and whether or not it would be a good idea to publicize the nominees for this award. Zolton suggested that Paul and Dick get together to discuss Dick's concerns and incorporate them as is practical into the Award Committee's process for determining this award.

Paul indicated that there are various people involved with the maintenance of the roads in Kalamazoo County who would be interested in giving a presentation to KBC. Zolton suggested that we have a presentation at our June Monthly Meeting and see how it goes.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 P.M.

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 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: 264

New members:
Edith Alt · Robert Brennan · Molly Burton · Frank Foley · Michael Foley · Clinton McGee · Susan O·Hearn-Brennan · Douglas Peot · Cullen Stevenson · Mary Warren

April Expiring memberships:
John Avink · Donna Barry · Mike Birmann Family · Katherine Butler · Laura Crocker · Stacey Davis Furgason · Mikie Dould · Paul Gartner · James Heath · Katie Jacobs · Mark Jensen · Kristine King · Doug Knudsen · Michael Koehler · James Kratky · Mary & Mike Kujacznski · Glenn Llewellyn · Cindi MacDonald · Maria Michelaneli · Kristy Mietelka · Duane Neighbors · Donna Pennington · Susan H. Peterson · Jessica Pike · Peter Post & Holly Nibert · Susan Riker · Amy Rop · Mike Schudel · T.J. Seiwert · Rebecca Sinkoff · Lori Stevens · Susan Stoffer Family · Bob Strader · Dan & Terry Stratton · Julie Terrell · Michael Watson · Christine West · Jeffrey Wetters Family

Renewed memberships:
Victor Van Fleet · Jeff Newman Family · David Mitchell · Alan Sylvester · David Jones & Leslie Mars · Bill Braun · Heather Haydo · Andrew Blackburn · Susan Creager · Allyn VanDyk · Jesse Riegle · Ola Wettergren · Ben Bunce · Joseph Yaeger

Paul Bruneau, KBC Database Manager

Editor’s Letter – The Drainage Ditch, a Cyclist's Friend in Need

A few evenings ago, I was reading a book while sitting in my reclining chair, the type of furniture that makes civilized living possible, with background noise provided in roughly equal portions by an NCAA basketball tournament game, a driving rain, and thunder. A particularly bright flash of light, followed almost immediately by a loud "boom" diverted my attention from my book and I thought to myself "Gee, I wish I was outside riding a bicycle right now."

Ummmm . . . . . o.k., Mr. Pedal Press Editor, just stay calm and put the keyboard down. But, if the truth be told, because I'm a somewhat rational human being, I was actually thinking how nice it was that I was in a comfortably warm house that was serving as a shield between myself and the elements and with electric power that was still working.

I also began to wonder how many bicyclists have been killed by lighting. I pondered this on and mostly off for the next several days, and I eventually turned to Wikipedia, the authoritative source for any aspect of human knowledge, for the answer. And while I learned that there are some items that have remained unknowable, even to those exalted figures who write Wikipedia entries, I did learn that that there are roughly 40 to 50 lightning deaths in the U.S. per year and that the odds of a person in the U.S. being struck by lightning in a given year is about 1 in 500,000. To put this in more easily understood terms, this is greater than the probability of being dealt a five card Royal Flush; a frightening statistic, indeed, particularly if you don't play poker and only have the opportunity to be struck by lightning.

I also started thinking about those times in my cycling life when I've gambled with lightning. Four instances came to mind, each taking place in a different area of Ohio or Michigan, and I've lived to figuratively tell the tale each time. So, read on, while I literally tell four spellbinding tales that illustrate one man's will to survive in the face of impossible odds – not that I would ever stoop so low as to engage in the sort of exaggerated trickery that pathetically attempts to fool my fellow KBC members into reading the remainder of my Editor's Letter.

My first experience with lightning while riding a bicycle occurred while when I living in suburban Columbus, Ohio in the early 1990s. Central Ohio is not known for its majestic mountain peaks, but I happened to be riding in the only somewhat hilly area within a few miles of my house when a storm hit. A couple miles earlier, I rather belatedly noticed the dark clouds in the direction where I was riding and I could have taken shelter in a golf course clubhouse that I rode by at about the time I noticed all the dark clouds. But, I did not; rationalizing that the rain and lightning wouldn't be that bad, and I chose to ride towards the rain clouds instead.

As I reached the plateau at the top of a hill, the storm began; lightning, thunder, the whole works. There was no place to take shelter and I thought to myself, this time for real, that there hadn't been a lot of times in my life where the probability of my death within the next couple of minutes was greater than a number with about 10 zeros to the right of the decimal point, but that this was one of them. (Yes, sometimes I really think this way.) I managed to ride through the storm and off of the plateau, however; eventually reaching my house about 30 minutes later. I did not congratulate myself for my foolishness.

In the summer of 1995, while still living in suburban Columbus, I decided to take my first bicycling "adventure" vacation. This involved riding around the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula for five days, riding during the day and staying in motels at night; starting and finishing in Alpena. Since, at that time, I had been in Michigan exactly once in my life, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to do some exploring in a state that was then unfamiliar to me. The morning of the first day of my ride, I awoke to a light rain and gloomy, ominous looking skies, complete with occasional flashes of lightning. I checked the Weather Channel and discovered that in there was rain in only two places in the entire contiguous U.S.; a small area in the Upper Peninsula and another small area around Alpena. I delayed the inevitable until the rain diminished into an occasional drizzle and then I began my ride.

About an hour west of Alpena, the sky darkened again, with more lightning and thunder. Learning my lesson from a couple years earlier, I began to look around for shelter, but there was none to be had, except for the drainage ditch by the side of the road. So, I spent 20 minutes crouched in the ditch, my steel framed bicycle a respectful distance away from me, and I watched the light show. At least the rain was warm. About an hour after I began my ride again, I almost got to repeat this process, but just as I began to determine the section of the drainage ditch along M-32 that best exemplified the five-star hotel-like drainage ditch accommodations to which I had become accustomed, a country store miraculously appeared, and I took shelter there with about 30 seconds to spare. Although I spent the last day of my trip riding from Mackinaw City to Alpena in a steady rain that finally stopped about 15 minutes after I arrived back at my motel, at least I didn't have to deal with any more lightning after those two incidents.

My third experience with lightning while riding a bicycle occurred here in Kalamazoo County in the summer of 2001. I took a ride into St. Joseph County and about the time I reached the Kalamazoo County line on my way back to Portage, I, once again, belatedly noticed the dark clouds that were moving in from Lake Michigan. At first, I thought that I could get back home before the storm hit. Then, I thought I could get to Schoolcraft before the storm hit. Then, I finally realized that the only place I could get to was my home away from home when I'm on a bicycle and there is lightning, a drainage ditch; this one along 16th Street, just north of XY Avenue.

Since the drainage ditch was very shallow, instead of crouching in it, as I should have, I decided to lie in the ditch instead; something that I later learned was a lightning no-no. As I lay there with rain puddles beneath my stomach and my steel framed bicycle, again a respectful distance away from me, while eyeing the metal Water Irrigation Machine of Doom nearby, I began to think of some of the many other hobbies that there are in the world and how I've wasted my life by not taking them up. But, after about 15 minutes, the lightning stopped, I began to ride again, and I soon discovered that it had hardly even rained at my house.

My final brush with death, or perhaps death's second cousin, while riding a bicycle in the presence of lightning occurred while I lived in Dexter. During the summer, the Pfizer office in Ann Arbor closed early on Friday and I would usually take advantage of this by taking a two hour bicycle ride late Friday afternoon. One Friday afternoon in 2007, a few months before I moved back to Portage, the weather forecast was iffy, but I figured that if I started at 4:00 P.M., I could be back at my house by 6:00 P.M., and beat the approaching storm. Of course, I was wrong, this time by about 30 minutes, and when the storm arrived, it made it presence known.

There wasn't very much lightning, but it started to rain so hard that I could hardly see, which also meant that any drivers on the somewhat busy, but shoulderless road could also hardly see. I figured that it would be in my best interest to stop riding and wait out the rain. This time I stood in a rather large wooded drainage area slightly below road level for about 40 minutes, watching the occasional car splash huge waves of water into the air; reaffirmations of the choice that I had made to get off my bike and off the road. When the lightning stopped and the rain finally let up, I was also finally on my way, once again.

What I've learned through these experiences is to treat lightning with a whole lot of respect and if it looks like there will be stormy weather, to stick close to home. I've also learned that there are times when the drainage ditch is my friend and provides a handy place to practice my crouching skills; skills that I hope I won't have to use in 2011, but I won't hesitate to do so, if the need arises. Finally, I've learned that on those rare occasions when I play poker, to be on the lookout for Royal Flushes, although I really didn't need to ride my bicycle in lightning storms to learn this lesson.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

Some Upcoming Area Rides of Interest

Saturday, May 7. Kal-Haven/Kalamazoo River Valley Trailway Trailblazer, Kalamazoo/South Haven. 25, 45, 70, and 100 miles. trailblazer2011@yahoo.com.

Wednesday through Sunday, August 31 September 4. 41st Annual Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw (DALMAC) Bicycle Tour. Five rides over 4 or 5 days, ranging from 283 to 402 miles. Registration has begun and all rides except for the Quad Century fill up quickly. www.DALMAC.org.

Classified Ads

NEW: For Sale – Bike Trainer — Giant Cyclotron Auto II - $189 — Like new — $239.99 retail. Progressive magnetic resistance automatically adjusts over wide range. Precision turned 2" aluminum roller and 1500g (3.3lbs) flywheel. Quick release skewer included. E-mail: careeratpmi@aol.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.comor 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.

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,
LADIES: Tuesday, April 19 is LOLE Day at Gazelle Sports. 20% off ALL your LOLE apparel purchases that day! Check out the latest dresses, casual wear and swimwear styles from LOLE.
Are you signed up for Kalamazoo's first marathon? Time's a wastin'. Get details at BorgessRun.com. Don't want to go that far? Try the Borgess Half Marathon, Borgess 5k Run or the Priority Health 5k Walk


611 W Michigan Avenue, Kalamazo, (269) 56–PEDAL
info@pedalbicycle.com andwww.pedalbicycle.com

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
Ride Captain Bill Figeley
Social Director Janet DeZwaan
Social Director Teri Olbrot
Safety and Education Chair
Director of Road Safety Paul Selden
Web Site David Jones

KAL Tour

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