December 2011 President’s Letter

A Really, Really Long Ride

A big thank you goes out this month to Chris Gottwald, KBC member and Race Across America sixth place finisher in 2011. Chris gave a very entertaining and insightful talk to the approximately 30 people who showed up at the YMCA on Tuesday, November 8 for the monthly meeting.

I do have one complaint though. Chris didn't talk nearly enough about suffering – and there surely must have been some during that epic ride and event. But his lack of dwelling on the hardships and focus on the positive is probably more indicative of how he lives his life. And maybe that's something we all can be inspired by – in addition to Chris's superhuman athletic feats.


Also occurring during the November meeting, and operating in step with state and local protocol, was the annual KBC election. I'd like to welcome newcomers to the Executive Board: Mary Gerger,, Secretary and John Olbrot, Treasurer. Vice President Doug Kirk and I were voted to retain our present positions in the club hierarchy. Thanks to everyone who came to the meeting, and for your support! The ticker tape parade down Maple Street was really over the top. . .

As incumbents, (ooh! I almost typed "recumbents!"), Doug and I welcome Mary and John, and look forward to working with them to keep the club going in a positive direction.

Public Relations Opportunity

The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club is in need of a volunteer who can do some public relations work on behalf of the cycling community. The job shouldn't take more than a handful of hours a month and consists mainly of getting word of the club's activities out before the public eye.

We already have developed an extensive list of media contacts and are going to be working this winter on a timeline of events that need to be publicized. So a lot of the work has already been accomplished. Now we just have to find someone to put a PR plan into action.

How about you? If you're interested, please get in touch with me, Zolton Cohen, using the contact information contained in this newsletter or on the KBC website.

Crossing Up

As the days grow short and the cold intensifies, it's important to take a break from the bike for a time. Some people do spinning during the winter and that's great. But your body benefits from doing some cross training, as well.

Most of us put in some weight work in the winter – witness our bulging… uh, abs when spring rolls around.

But there are also sports you can do outdoors in the cold and snow – like cross country skiing. For those so inclined, you might be interested to hear about a cross country ski venue that has been created at the Milham Park Golf Course. After six inches of snow have fallen, an elite corps of crack snow groomers (an exclusive cadre of KBC members) mount a snowmobile – though not all at once – and groom both "classic" inline ski tracks as well as a wide skate ski lane around the perimeter of the course, totaling 2.1 miles.

The venue is open seven days a week, any time of the day or night and there is no charge. Just pack up your skis and park in the lower golf course parking lot off Lover's Lane by the sledding hill. The start of the trail is just a few hundred feet to the north of there.

It's a lot of fun and it gets you out of the house and enjoying winter when it's all too easy to stay inside and become a couch potato. The snow only lasts for a smattering of months, so you may as well learn to like it and get in a terrific workout at the same time. Some skiers have even committed the ultimate blasphemy by declaring the sport even "funner" than cycling! But come out and see for yourself...

Zolton Cohen, KBC President


Monthly Meeting

The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend.


Vote for KBC's 2012 Friend of Bicycling Award on December 13, 2011

Voting for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club's Friend of Bicycling Award for 2012 will take place at our next regular meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, December 13, 7:00 P.M. at the Kalamazoo YMCA. Members in good standing present at the club meeting may vote for one candidate. Four candidates will be on the ballot. In randomly sequenced order, they are:

  • City of Portage, Michigan
  • Department of Streets & Equipment, City of Portage, Michigan
  • Ron Campbell, Freelance Writer
  • Breakaway Bicycles & Fitness – Portage, Michigan

Below, you'll find a list of the candidates, together with explanations of why each deserves consideration (in the words of the person submitting the original nomination).

City of Portage

Portage has constructed an outstanding array of bike routes throughout the city, both on road and separate bike trails. One look at any new road construction job shows that the city really takes cyclists into consideration. Examples: West Milham Road, including the new traffic circle at the west end of Milham Road, and the Celery Flats trail.

Department of Streets and Equipment, City of Portage, Michigan

This year Ray Waurio, Deputy Director of Streets and Equipment for the City of Portage, helped mark dangerous potholes on our heavily traveled Bike Camp routes in the City, and permitted KBC's Director of Road Safety to mark those not marked during their joint personal "ride-along" inspection. Mr. Waurio then scheduled his excellent road maintenance crew so that all of the most serious potholes were filled in prior to our 2011 Bike Camp.

Mr. Waurio was also able to use the last of the city's scarce road maintenance and additional sources of bike lane funding to completely repave some of the worst stretches of shoulder/bike lane on Portage Road, between Gourdneck Lake and Mandigo Road, and elsewhere in the city along Portage's Bikeway system.

This is an example of excellent community support for the area's bicyclists and cooperation with the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club in particular. Mr. Waurio personally demonstrated great sensitivity to KBC's needs in his numerous responsive communications with our Director of Road Safety.

Ron Campbell, Freelance Writer

Ron Campbell wrote the highly readable series about the 20th annual "Michigander Bike Tour" that was published in the Kalamazoo Gazette this past July. Through the series, many people who would not normally be exposed to the joys and challenges of bicycle touring have learned about this unique 340 mile ride through southwest Michigan. Ron's friendly and encouraging writing style made it easy to imagine being on the ride and will undoubtedly help increase the image of our region as being bicycle friendly.

Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness - Portage, Michigan

For many years Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness has supported the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club and bicyclists participating in activities outside of KBC. Their support has taken many forms; including supplying KBC with giveaway items for use at our annual recovery party and Bike Camp, SAG support for the Friends of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trailway at their 2011 Trailblazer ride, having a support tent at our annual KalTour, and providing a rider support van at the 2011 BTR race. I have always received outstanding service at Breakaway, as well. Their discount for KBC members is greatly appreciated.

KBC members may submit nominations for KBC's Friend of Bicycling Award throughout the year. Guidelines for the nominating process plus a handy form for submitting nominees for 2013 can be found on the club's website toward the middle of the page, at

If you have a candidate in mind for nomination this coming year, show your appreciation by submitting a Kudos column item in Pedal Press, as well. KBC's members foster a more bike friendly community whenever we show how much we appreciate those who help bicycling.

Paul Selden, Chair, KBC Awards Committee


KBC Winter Recovery Party – January 28, 2012

It's nearly time for the 2012 KBC Recovery Party! The date is Saturday, January 28, 2012 from 7:00 P.M. until 10:30 P.M. Once again it's at John and Teri Olbrot's, 5146 Burning Tree Road, 49009. To get there from 12th Street and Centre Avenue, go North on 12th Street, then left (West) on Stoneybrook Road, then left (South) on Burning Tree. It's near the end of Burning Tree on the left. Call 327-5127 for any questions.

There'll be a deli tray for sandwiches and some special recipe baked beans, both a vegetarian variety and with meat. Please plan on bringing a dish to pass. Side dishes, salads, desserts, and anything else you'd like to bring will be more than welcome. Soft drinks, beer, and wine will be provided (thanks Jon Ballema); if you require something else you are on your own. And, as always, feel free to bring a guest.

It's a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, meet new ones, enjoy delicious FOOD, wonderful BEVERAGES, excellent SHWAG, and there'll be a SLIDE SHOW (thanks Bill Figeley) to help us remember the Summer of 2011!

Hope to see you there.

John Olbrot


Monthly Minutes

TThe meeting was called to order November 8, 2011, at 7:01 P.M., by President Zolton Cohen. According to the sign-in sheet, those members in attendance were Zolton Cohen, Paul Selden, Kathy Kirk, Doug Kirk, John Ballema, Rick Whaley, Mike Boersma, Michael Krischer, Nancy Clinton, Al Gergol, Deb Gray, John Olbrot, Terry O'Connor, Tom Keizer, Dick Nivala, Mary Gerger, Jeff Newman, Mike Vandeveer, Mike St. Clair, Marc Irwin and David Jones. With sincerest apologies from your new Secretary – I had a little trouble decoding the spelling of 3 names on the sign-in sheet, and will have to do my best with the spelling of these 3 names: Bob Allwardt, Jerry Amrhery, and Doug Howick. I apologize if I am not even in the ballpark with the correct spelling! I checked with Zolton, and he could not come up with anything, please let us know the correct spelling of your names. Please note that the sign-in sheet was very helpful for this new Secretary, as she is learning names and faces, and will be continued for at least a few more meetings. Thanks for your patience! Zolton counted at least 30 members at the meeting; however, there were only 24 names on the sign-in sheet, so apologies go out to those that were missed in the listing of names. We know for sure that our speaker, Chris Gottwald, was not on the sign-in sheet, and he was certainly there!

Introductions were made by everyone present at the meeting.

Outgoing Treasurer Tom Keizer gave his last report as KBC Treasurer:

Checking Account:$6,149.36

Zolton thanked Tom for his seven years of dedicated service as our KBC Treasurer.

Club Elections followed, with all candidates elected by unanimous vote:

President:Zolton Cohen (Incumbent)
Vice President:Doug Kirk (Incumbent)
Secretary:Mary Gerger
Treasurer:John Olbrot

Zolton commented that he was looking forward to a safe and prosperous year ahead for the KBC. He was very happy to report that there were no serious accidents, nor serious injuries, this year and thanked everyone for their commitment to safe riding.

Paul Selden introduced KBC member, Chris Gottwald, as our speaker for the evening. Chris races for the KBC, and is the current Michigan Road Race Champion. Participating in the Ride Across America (RAAM), Chris has raced as part of a team, and most recently, raced solo. He spoke of cycling as a "blessing" in his life, and of learning how to balance family, work – as a career pilot, and cycling. Chris also spoke of how events, such as the RAAM, allow him to spotlight some causes that are very important to him, such as Active Water, which addresses the Global Water Crisis. A very fun, lively, and informative "Q and A Session" followed. Zolton thanked Chris for a "very interesting and inspiring tale."

Zolton called for Committee Reports. Zolton reminded everyone that this evening was the last night to submit nominations to the Awards Committee for the KBC Friends of Bicycling Award. Paul, KBC's Director of Road Safety, reported that in early November, he had met with the heads of major municipalities in the area. He was very happy to report that every city leader was very determined to do everything they could to make their streets more bike friendly. Relating to Old Business, Zolton mentioned the Membership Committee that had been proposed by Victor Van Fleet at a prior meeting. In the November Pedal Press, a request had been made by Victor, for an interested individual to step forward as a Chair for this proposed committee. Zolton reported that as of tonight's meeting, nobody had contacted him about this position.

Under New Business, Paul asked for a new Public Relations Head, as the former head of PR has resigned. Zolton and Paul have been managing this responsibility in the interim. While it is a slow time during the Winter, heading into Spring, things will begin to pick up, and they are looking to fill the position with a permanent person. Zolton stated that this could actually be handled by a "committee with a Chair," instead of just one individual. A note about this will be included in an upcoming Pedal Press.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:47 pm.

Respectfully Submitted,
Mary Gerger, (Incoming) 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, 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.



Active subscriptions: 277

New members:
None this month

December Expiring memberships:
Mike Berry · Barbara Lee · Edwin Micalizzi · Jeff Robertson Family · Stephanie Sabin · Gary Snapper

Renewed memberships:
Lee Anderson · Larry Kissinger · Barbara & John Hart

Paul Bruneau, KBC Database Manager


Editor's Letter – Thanksgiving, a Few Memories at a Time

I paid scant attention to my 5th or 6th football game of the Thanksgiving weekend, occasionally looking at the television screen and wondering which was more annoying, the tomahawk chop or the gator chomp. Earlier that day, I had gone out on a planned 30 mile and actual 40 mile ride, due to my lack of familiarity with the roads around my younger brother’s house.

It was unseasonably warm, a late November bonus day, and I decided to ride east from Kettering to Xenia via the bike path that runs parallel to US 35 before turning south onto the bike path that eventually leads to the Cincinnati suburbs. Several miles later, at Spring Valley, I rode off the path and headed back to my brother’s house via state route 725, a potentially busier road than I would have preferred, but mercifully free of traffic that Saturday morning. I arrived at Bellbrook about 6 miles sooner than expected and I decided I’d start heading east again before reversing direction. When I saw the water tower on the outskirts of Xenia, I knew that I had overshot my mark and I also knew that I’d have to ride hard if I wanted to finish my ride by noon.

I didn’t feel like riding hard, but I did feel like taking a shortcut when the opportunity presented itself. As a result, I found myself riding on an unfamiliar road that was unmercifully filled with traffic and with a shoulder about the width of my shoulder. An unofficial convey of several cars passed me, including a pick-up truck that came uncomfortably close to creating a spontaneous cyclocross time trial. A couple minutes later, a utility truck whizzed by; the driver shouting something unintelligible, but I suspect that it wasn’t flattering. I guess I should have worn a cycling jersey that did a better job of complementing my complexion.

I finished my ride just in time for the start of the Kentucky-Tennessee game, a game that Kentucky won. It was an outcome of little interest between two mediocre teams, unless you’ve spent part of your growing up years living in the shadow of the University of Kentucky and you’ve spent part of your grown up years wondering whether you’d ever see Kentucky beat Tennessee again. I hope I won’t have to wait another 27 years to watch lightning strike twice.

Although you may doubt it by now, the purpose of this Editor’s Letter is not to give you a southwestern Ohio geography lesson; nor is it to bore you with a history lesson about one of the most lopsided rivalries in college sports. It is just to note that those day’s events can be seen as a microcosm of some aspects of my rides this season. Experiencing petty annoyances, like a squeaky chain or a temperamental cyclometer. Rides where I didn’t quite know where I was going and didn’t quite care. Rides where cars were not my friends. And rare and unexpected surprises, like the evening I continued to hang on the back of a small lead group of riders for the entire much faster than “half fast” Wednesday night ride, something that I hope I can repeat sometime within the next 27 years. Once again, a lot of little memories and some bigger memories were made on my bicycle this cycling season, the vast majority of them pleasant ones, and I thank the other members of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club for making some of these memories possible.

The Thanksgiving weekend ended on a more bitter that sweet note; non-bicycling related, but indulge me. While doing a search on the internet Sunday evening for the results of the national and regional NCAA Cross-Country Championship meets, I discovered that the University of Delaware had dropped its men’s cross-country and track and field programs several months earlier. I thought about my time spent as a member of these teams and I thought about the future memories that were needlessly stolen from athletes who deserved better. But at least the cross-country team still exists; albeit as a club sport. And for the runners on this team, I hope that with the passage of time that they will look back and find that their replacement memories will ultimately prove to be more sweet than bitter. And while it would be only right and proper for this program to be reinstated; if not, I hope that there will be those in the year 2051 who will be as thankful for the people who laid the foundation for their club, as I am for the people who laid the foundation for Kalamazoo Bicycle Club 40 years ago.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor


Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

Riding on icy roads can be kind of interesting . . . . .


Classified Ads

Extra large cycling shirt, hardly worn as it was too large for me. Blue and white with Volvo and Cannondale the primary words on the shirt. $30. Dale Krueger at 375-0114 or

Looking for a used women's bike in good condition, hybrid, for paved road/trail rides. Not sure of the size bike needed, but I'm petite, 5'3." Contact Donna at or (269) 968-9674 (home) or (269) 830-1706 (cell).

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: Phone: 269-352-3199. E-mail:

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

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

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


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,
Visit to check out our GIFT A DAY holiday gift giving section. We'll offer you shopping inspiration and suggestions all the way through Christmas Eve... (also known as the favored shopping day for a lot of you fellas out there)! Happy Holidays!

Johnson Cycle Works

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


611 W Michigan Avenue, Kalamazo, (269) 56–PEDAL and

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.