July 2011 President’s Letter

July is always a busy month for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. Though club rides have been in full swing for some time, they pick up attendance as members who are granted summer vacations now have time and the autonomy to attend. July features warm days, too, eliminating the "it's too cold to ride" excuse. And days stay light later, so there's not the worry of being on the road after dark during an evening club ride.

Plus, July is KalTour month – it occurs on Sunday, July 10th this year!

KalTour, the club's one-day bicycle tour, is administered by über-volunteer Mike Krischer. It is the club's largest event, biggest fundraiser and has the highest profile of any activity the club does in the community. It also serves as a destination for bike riders from across the region, state, and even the country as enthusiasts converge on Kalamazoo to participate.

But, perhaps even more important than KalTour's benefits to the club, it also gets people who don't normally ride on the roads out on their bikes and riding in groups. That experience can furnish convincing evidence that riding in groups is fun and safe – and can be challenging and enjoyable.

Plus, for the past four years, KBC has donated half of KalTour's proceeds – after expenses – to the Kalamazoo River Valley Trailway project. The club has also donated $300 yearly to Alive After Five – an AMBUCS organization that provides adaptive tricycles for children with disabilities – in exchange for that group's helping out at the Briar Patch SAG stop. So, riding in KalTour benefits these biking-related endeavors.

Be sure to make it a point to come and ride KalTour on July 10th. It really is a terrific, well-run event and you'll join others of similar interests for a day of fun and exercise.

Remember that KalTour's starting point has been moved to the Bronson Athletic Club. The Bronson Athletic Club is located in "The Groves" on 9th Street just north of KVCC. Look for the sign on the stone wall at the southwest corner of the I-94/9th Street Interchange (Exit 72).

A Long, Long Ride

Congratulations go to KBC member Chris Gottwald, who finished 6th in the male, solo, under–50 division in the Race Across America (RAAM) this year. His official time for the 2,989.5 mile distance was 9 days, 18 hours, 50 minutes. That's an overall average of 12.73 mph. The division, and the overall race, was won by Chris Strasser, who finished in a mind-boggling 8 days, 8 hours and 6 minutes, for an average of 14.94 mph.

In looking over some of the statistics from Chris's RAAM ride, one item made a big impression: How would it feel, after having checked into the first time station 57 miles into the race, to learn that you had 2,932.28 miles left to go? Consider, too, that Chris averaged 305.5 miles every 24 hours for over nine days. These are some tough, tough people. The physical toll is extraordinary. But the mental discipline it would take to ride that far, that long, and that fast, is truly off the charts.

KBC will be inviting Chris to talk to the club about his RAAM experiences at an upcoming monthly club meeting. In the meantime, if you happen to see him on a ride around town, give a tip of the helmet to an exceptional, world–class athlete.

Weather or Not

For the umpteenth stupid time, I made the mistake of believing the weather forecast and didn't go on the Monday, June 27th club ride. Thundershowers were predicted. Walnut-sized hail. Lightning! Thunder! Pitchforks and hammerhandles. There were even rumors of impending hog–drownings and gully–washings. Noah's ark was touted as the transport medium of choice.

And then it turned into the most perfect evening. Mild; no rain. Heck, not even any wind. It would have been wonderful to have been out on the Monday night Schoolcraft route, looking at sandhill cranes standing tall in raking–light lit farmer's fields and enjoying the low-traffic roads with other members of the club as we rode past bee-loud glades. (Sigh.)

But they double–crossed me again! When will I ever learn? I'm just too trusting. With all the technology available to weather forecasters these days, you'd think they'd be better at not ruining a guy's day by predicting dire weather and then having it turn into something just the opposite! I want my money back. . .

Zolton Cohen, KBC President


Monthly Meeting

The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street.


KalTour – July 10, 2011

Don't forget that KalTour, sponsored by the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club, will be taking place on Sunday, July 10, 2011. Rides range from 13 to 100 miles. More information about KalTour can be found at the KBC website, www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org/rides/kalTour.php. Volunteers should contact Mike Krischer at mkrisch@chartermi.net or 323-2014.


BTR Park Criterium

Western Michigan University and the CMS Racing Team are presenting the BTR Criterium on Saturday, July 16, 2011. These are a series of criterium road race taking place throughout the day at the Western Michigan Business, Technology, and Research Campus in Kalamazoo. Information and registration can be found at the website www.truesport.com.


Priority Health Race for Wishes

The Priority Health Race for Wishes will be taking place on Sunday, July 17, 2011 in Lawton, Michigan. It's a bicycle race and a whole lot more. Events include

  • USAC/MBRA Bike Race
  • Blue Devil Challenge (Gran Fondo fun ride)
  • Kids Bike Race (FREE) (plus 3 bikes will be raffled for free)
  • Adult Biking Basics Class (FREE)
  • Kids Biking Basics Class (FREE)
  • Volunteer (PRICELESS)
Net proceeds will be donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Michigan. For more information, check out the event website:


Come join the fun! We'd love to have you participate in the events or volunteer.

Bill Braun, Priority Health Race for Wishes Promoter


KBC Member Finishes the Race Across America (RAAM)

Chris Gottwald recently completed the 30th annual Race Across America (RAAM), a 3000 race from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland. For further details about his race, see the July 2011 President's Letter in this issue of the Pedal Press.


Ride to South Haven

This year, the Ride to South Haven will take place on July 23, 2011. The ride will begin at 8:00 A.M. from the southwest corner of the KVCC parking lot on O Avenue and will be led by Rick Whaley. We'll ride to South Haven (that's why we call it the "Ride to South Haven") and back, stopping in Lawrence in both directions for a short break. We'll take a longer break in South Haven in order to dine on the traditional Ride to South Haven subs and maybe even some ice cream. We'll also discover that Lake Michigan is larger than Gull Lake. The ride will be 102 miles and the pace will be around 15-18 mph, but other groups are welcome to ride at other speeds.

Riding, eating, and Gatorade Drinking. What better way to spend the day?

Rick Whaley


Monthly Minutes

The monthly KBC general club meeting was called to order by Zolton Cohen at 7:02 P.M. on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo. Also attending were Doug Kirk, Mary Gerger, Jeff Newman, Rick Whaley, Victor Van Fleet, Mark Irwin, Charlotte Moriarty, Adam Moariarty, Larry Kissinger, Paul Pancella, Mike Krischer, Mike Boersma, Jon Ballama, Paul Shelden, Brian Gonda, Tom Keizer, and Steve Stepek (guest)

Steve Stepek, the Senior Transportation Planner for KATS, gave a brief presentation about the Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study (KATS) and provided handouts giving an overview of KATS to the meeting attendees. KATS is the Kalamazoo area's metropolitan planning organization and they decide how to spend federal money on transportation projects, which is spent through the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). KATS also helps design and implement these projects. KATS is responsible for producing a long-term 20 year plan, a short-term transportation improvement program, and an annual budget. Victor asked Steve is the members of KATS are volunteers or paid employees. Steve responded that they are paid employees, but that there also is a citizen's advisory committee of volunteers that provides input to KATS. Steve also noted that they are producing a non-motorized transportation plan for next year. The website for KATS is www.katsmpo.org.

Tom K. gave the Treasurer's Report. There was $1,517 in income and $197 in expenditures in May. There is $5,968 in the KBC checking account and $11,093 in the CD.

Based on recommendations from the Grant Review Committee, Jeff reported that KBC will be giving a donation of $475 to the AMBUCS program to provide adult trykes to disabled veterans. The amount of this donation was a compromise from various donation amounts that were suggested, both by AMBUCS and by members of the Grant Review Committee. The next tryke giveaway will be in October. Jeff also noted that there have been discussions about giving the AMBUCS Alive After Five Chapter a percentage of the KalTour profits, since members of this organization work the Briar Patch SAG stop. In return for a percentage of the profits, they may become even more involved with management of this SAG stop. Currently, KBC gives the Kalamazoo Valley River Trail organization 50% of the KalTour profits, but this is the last year of this agreement. Rick asked that if we do this, whether we should give AMBUCS Alive After Five a minimum amount of money if the KalTour doesn't return a profit and there was general agreement that this should be done.

Victor stated that if the amount that we donate to an organization depends on whether they help KBC, then KBC should let organizations know this when they are requesting money from KBC. Jeff replied that currently we do not do this and that the AMBUCS Alive After Five organization came to KBC to volunteer their services during KalTour. A motion was made to give AMBUCS Alive After Five a portion of the KalTour profits beginning in 2012 and this was approved, the portion to be determined.

Zolton gave a Bike Camp Report. There were 35 people at Bike Camp this year and they were a good natured group. Zolton thanked all the volunteers who made Bike Camp possible. Jeff noted that Zolton and Doug were interviewed by the radio station WMUK about Bike Camp.

Mike K. provided a KalTour update. He stated that the flyers for KalTour have been printed and distributed. He noted that volunteers for the event are still welcome, particularly for registration during the middle of the day on the day of the ride. He also noted that the course road painting will begin at 6:00 P.M. on Tuesday, June 28 at KVCC. Zolton thanked Mike for all the work he's done for KalTour, both for this year and in previous years.

Paul gave a brief Road Safety Report. In the past month, he has continued to talk with various people involved with road maintenance in an effort to make the roads in this area safer for cycling.

Larry and Mary requested to become sanctioned ride leaders. Victor also stated that Bob Strader would also like to become a sanctioned ride leader, but is unable to attend KBC's Monthly Meetings due to a conflict with another meeting. Victor vouched for him as a ride leader. During this discussion, Bob arrived at the meeting and all three requests were approved.

In new business, Steve noted that there will be 5 new bike lockers that will be placed in the downtown area. DKI will manage these lockers and determine how to rent these out. Paul noted that he could get other speakers to talk about transportation issues at the Monthly Meetings and Zolton and Paul agreed to discuss this further. Bruce noted that he received good feedback from the Bike Camp WMUK interview and that he will be taking some videos of the Monday Night Ride and the Tuesday Night Time Trial in the future.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:48 P.M.

Rick Whaley for Bill Figeley, KBC Secretary



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Editor's Letter – The Jazz Rider

A couple Sundays ago, I started riding to Mendon from my house in Portage and ended up in Galesburg. Three possible reasons for this are:

  1. In the bizarro world that I inhabit, north is south, south is north, and humble bicycle club newsletter editors are capable of winning the Pulitzer Prize.
  2. I am incredibly directionally challenged and I will soon be soliciting charitable donations for those of us cursed with this affliction. Not-quite-as soon, I will be retiring in a country that doesn't have an extradition treaty with the United States.
  3. I simply changed my mind during the ride about where I wanted to ride.

The actual reason, of course, yes, of course, who could possibly believe anything else, ha, ha, ha, ha, is C. (And someone should pay me by the comma for these Editor's Letters.) In this particular instance, I headed east, planning to ride south on 34th Street, eventually winding up on Nottawa Road, and riding into Mendon. However, soon after I started riding south on 34th Street, I thought to myself, "I'm close to Scotts; I haven't ridden through there in quite a while; maybe I should do so." And so, I rode to Scotts, where I was disappointed to find that people weren't lining the streets offering to buy my old coins and gold and silver jewelry, but I chalked it off to the fact that it was rather early in the morning, and I rode on.

At this point, I started thinking, "Well, I'm heading north now, and I'm also farther east than I had planned, so why don't I make this more of an east-west ride, and ride to Climax. The wind is from the east and I'll get a nice tailwind most of the way home." So, I started riding to Climax with the rather vague intention of then riding into Calhoun County, turning south then west, and riding through Fulton, on my way home, while taking advantage of the aforementioned nice tailwind.

However, once I got to Climax, I changed my mind again. I started thinking, "You know, I'm not sure if I've ridden on Mercury Drive and into Battle Creek since I moved back to Portage, so let's do that." And so, I did. I then rode on some industrial park roads with which I was not familiar and they were just as scenic as you might have expected. I wound up on Armstrong Road during this "Trek" (I have no shame) and I eventually reached M-96/Dickman Road on the Kalamazoo-Calhoun County line. I was going to turn left on M-96, but because of the bad shoulder pavement, I decided to continue riding north on 48th Street and I learned where the Battle Creek VA Hospital is located. I like to think that I've ridden on just about every paved country road in Kalamazoo County, but as I turned left and rode west on Fort Custer Road, I realized that this was another road that I had never ridden on before. From there, I rode on M-96 through Augusta and continued on M-96 and its gradually disappearing shoulder (fortunately, the traffic was light) to Galesburg, and back to Portage and home. So, I rode approximately 50 miles, as planned, but on an almost completely unplanned route.

While the above ride was an extreme example, I've found that a lot of my rides end up being different from what I had planned at the start of the ride. I'm not a rider who decides that he's riding from Point A to Point B and back, chooses his route, and sticks with it. I may decide to ride approximately X number of miles before I begin a ride, but how I actually do it also begins with a certain amount of mystery. I like playing it by ear and making it up, at least to some extent, as I go along.

And something that I think we may take for granted is that we're lucky enough to live in an area where we can make it up as we go along, because we have plenty of paved roads to choose from. Don't feel like riding on R Avenue? Then ride on S Avenue. Don't feel like riding on 36th Street? Then ride on 38th Street. (And don't feel like riding at all? Then stay home, and if you don't feel like eating cheese twists, eat corn puffs.)

I can't help but compare this area with the Ann Arbor area, where I lived between my times spent living in Portage. When I chose a route in Washtenaw County, the Unpaved Country Road Capital of the Universe, I was stuck with riding that route, unless I wanted to ride on one of the many (see earlier part of sentence) dirt roads in the county. For example, I had a 31/50 mile route that took me south and west of Dexter where I lived. It was a 31/50 mile route, because those were my choices. Sixteen miles into the ride, I had to make a choice; 31 miles or 50 miles, because there were no other paved road options, except for riding on M-52, which would not have been pleasant. In contrast, in the Kalamazoo area, I can constantly adjust my ride, adding a couple miles here, subtracting a couple miles there. Or even ride in a completely different direction, if I feel like it. These are nice options to have.

So, I guess I'll continue to ride in this somewhat nomadic style, because it suits me and because I can. Each ride has a start and finish, but there's no telling what takes place in between. Sort of like life, if you think about it. Or making sausage.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor


Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

Saturday, July 9. One Helluva Ride 35th Annual. Chelsea. 15, 30, 39, 64, 76, and 100 miles. www.aabts.org.

Sunday, July 10. Kalamazoo Scenic Bicycle Tour (KalTour). Kalamazoo. 12, 15, 31, 61, and 100 miles. www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org. Ride or volunteer in support of your club's ride!

Saturday, July 16. Holland Hundred. Holland. 18, 36, 67, and 100 miles. www.macatawacyclingclub.org/hollandhundred.

Saturday, July 16. Ability Tour. Lansing. 8, 30, and 50 miles. www.abilitytour.org.

Thursday through Sunday, July 28-31, 2010. The 24th Wish-A-Mile 300 Bicycle Tour. 3 day, 300 mile tour from Traverse City to Chelsea, MI. One day 50 mile ride on July 31 at Chelsea. www.wishamile.org.

Saturday, August 6. Ride for the Cure. Ann Arbor. 27, 57, and 97 miles. http://midmichigan.info-komen.org/site/TR/RacefortheCure/LAN.

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

2008 Trek Madone 4.5 (size 56). Less than 400 road miles due to injuries and surgery. $1500. See the specs at the following link: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/2008/archive/madone45. Phone: 269-352-3199. E-mail: ox7fresh@gmail.com.

For Sale – Girls Trek MT-60 (mineral blue) in excellent condition, bought new in June 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

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,
Don't miss Gazelle Sports' annual Sidewalk Sales - July 28-30. Great deals on footwear, socks and more. PLUS lots of other fun things going on in Downtown Kalamazoo!

NEW: Johnson Cycle Works

5309 Gull Road, Kalamazoo, (269) 226-0001.


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