January 2012 President’s Letter

Christmas is a few days past as I write this, and I hope you all found the bike-related gear you wished for under your tree. And I hope Santa and Santa's local representatives shopped wisely at an area bike shop to get your gifts. Remember, these are the businesses that support KBC's efforts throughout the year with generous donations of their products, time, and energy. It makes sense for us, members of the largest bike club in the region, to return the favor by patronizing these establishments.

Snow, finally, is falling. It's very late in December and substantial snow is finally coming down. It's not expected to last though, just the way a couple of previous, less significant snowfalls melted quickly away. And that fact has extended the bicycling season around here to a degree seldom seen...

I received several e-mail invitations to ride centuries this December, and I know many club members took advantage of the clear roads and reasonable temperatures to log some additional miles. At some point, winter must truly set in and make outdoor riding impossible.

Dale Krueger is one of those hearty riders who won't let late-season weather intrude on his cycling pleasure. On his 80th birthday in December, Dale rode 80 miles with his friends Paul Selden and Terry O'Connor. Congratulations to Dale for that feat. Reading and hearing about it made me decide that that's what I want on my 80th birthday – I want Dale to ride 80 miles. Sure, it's 20 years away. But if he keeps going the way he's riding right now, there's a distinct possibility we'll see him capable of clocking that 80 miles at 100 years of age. For myself, I fully expect to be too decrepit 20 years hence to do much in the way of pedaling. But Dale? He is built of sterner stuff.

The Boring Bits

At the last KBC meeting, Vice President Doug Kirk, President-Emeritus Mike Boersma, and I volunteered to look into updating the club constitution. It had last been done in 2003, and since then the club has grown larger and several new positions have been created that need to be incorporated into the roster of the Board of Directors.

In addition to that, Doug and Mike, both lawyers, have taken on the distinctly un-lawyerly task of trying to make parts of the document easier to read and understand.

So far we're making good progress, and should have a draft ready for review and comment within the next month. Thanks to Doug and Mike for taking the time to toil on what can only be described as an unglamorous project.

Recovery Party

Although, unfortunately, the club currently has no social directors, fortunately, we have many socially-directed members who are willing to step up and take a turn of pace at the front in terms of helping to organize the annual Recovery Party, scheduled for Saturday, January 28, 2012. And that sentence lasted longer than most of my pulls at the front of the Wednesday night La Pamplonas Ancien ride paceline this past summer. You'll find more information about the Recovery Party elsewhere in this newsletter.

So, especially if you're a new member or someone who went through Bike Camp this year, please make it a point to attend. There's always a lot going on; terrific food, door prizes supplied by (who else?) local bike shops, and free beer. Yes, you read that right; it's not a typo. And people. People who need people. They'll be there, too. You can meet them. New friends!

KBC/CMS Race Team Captain Jon Ballema, who knows more than a little about such things, has enlisted the same friend who brewed up the fantastic fermented beer beverages we all enjoyed last year to do the same again. Nectar of the gods indeed.

So, it's a date? January 28th? See you there . . .

Zolton Cohen, KBC President


Monthly Meeting

There will be no KBC Monthly Meeting in January. The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend.


Dale Krueger Rides "80 on 80"

The next time you roll out of bed in the morning and need inspiration to get your creaky joints in gear, think about how bicycling can work as a real-life fountain of youth. It has worked for long-time KBC member Dale Krueger.

Dale celebrated his 80th birthday with an 80 mile round trip to South Haven with cycling buddies Terry O'Connor and Paul Selden, on Thursday December 1, 2011. Fortunately, the roads were clear of snow and ice after a recent storm, and the passing motorists all gave us wild and crazy guys a wide berth. After a lunch at Clementines, Dale successfully fought off challenges posed by the distance, brisk temperatures hovering around 40F, and a flat tire just a couple of miles from home. He arrived in the deepening dusk to get (another) big birthday hug from wife Ruth.

Dale's secret for health and longevity in the saddle is to fit in a dose of regular riding. For Dale, that prescription means logging often 100 or more miles per week. And being happily married to a loving, "bike-habit" supporting wife for 50 years.

Dale, a retired Lutheran Pastor, has logged thousands of miles on his trusty Cannondale, many of them on international adventures with other KBC members. In 2004, he and Terry O'Connor traveled 1400 miles on their bicycles along the Danube River from Germany to Austria, making gut-wrenching-mountain climbs skirting steep drop offs, and taking very scary bike rides through Swiss tunnels (which, unbeknownst to the Americans, is illegal). In 2006, Dale and KBC companions Terry O'Connor and Charlie DeVries cycled 1000 kilometers around the Emerald Isle of Southern Ireland…where a helmet mirror and habits need to be readjusted because the natives drive on the "wrong side" of the road! Pastor Dale is someone who truly knows how to pack light. He's proven that he can live for a month at a time with all his worldly possessions (tooth brush and change of clothes) in just his rear panniers.

Domestically, each year Dale establishes a goal of doing the Dick Allen Mackinaw City (DALMAC) ride, a 322 mile four day bicycle tour from MSU to the Mackinac Bridge plus riding 4000 to 5000 miles per year on top of that. He has refined his DALMAC technique in a progression of growing sophistication, from setting up his own tent, to Shuttle Guys, who set up tents for you, to motels (which all civilized riders know is the best way to go)!

When challenged with adverse conditions such as rain, wind, hail, snow, or blistering cold weather, Dale's response is just "Keep Pedaling."

Give a shout out to a guy who truly sets a high standard for cycling: Pastor Dale Krueger!

Dale, Terry, and Paul

(Terry, Dale, and Paul at the start of the "80 on 80" ride – Current temperature 26F)

Terry O'Connor and Paul Selden


Want to Participate in KBC Special Interest Groups?

In many organizations, members who have similar interests connect with each other through so-called special interest groups – SIGs for short.

If you stop and think about it, KBC already has a number of special interest groups without calling them that. Our "Education SIG" has Bike Camp. Our "Social SIG" participates in our various get-togethers. Our "Road Ride SIG" rides almost every night of the week during the season. Our "Sanctioned Race SIG" takes the form of our sponsored team, our Tuesday night Time Trial participants, and individual riders who want to fly the flag of KBC Racing. You get the idea.

However, it's possible KBC can offer even more opportunities to connect with other like-minded members. We may be missing something. But we won't know what we're missing unless hear from you.

At our last Monthly Meeting, we discussed and agreed that it would be good to informally survey our members to assess the degree of interest in forming some additional groups. In this way we are also following up on long-time member Victor VanFleet's oft-repeated reminders that KBC can broaden its appeal to serve the needs of a variety of bicyclists. We need your input to let us know about your interests.

To make your input easy to tally, we're asking you to take a simple five question (plus one for comments) Special Interest Group survey. To take it, simply click on http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HJNGFKH.

The survey is hosted by the so-called Survey Monkey facility familiar to many of you. The site does not require you to register personal information. It is the same site trusted by many non-profits and large companies to be virus-free and easy to use.

This is a busy time of year. People may not see this article. So, please be patient as we repeat the call to take the survey in a group e-mail or additional articles. We will report initial results as early as February's Pedal Press and Monthly Meeting. Depending on the results, we may then follow up asking for contact information, suggest how we see the SIGs getting off the ground, and so on. In the meantime, if you are reading this article, please click on http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HJNGFKH to take the survey so we get a sense of where things are going.

KBC wants to be responsive to its members more than ever in the coming year. Make your voice heard. Then stay tuned for a great 2012!

Paul Selden


Reminder - Winter Recovery Party on January 28, 2012

The KBC Winter Recovery Party will be held on Saturday, January 28, 2012 from 7:00 P.M. until 10:30 P.M at John and Teri Olbrot's house on 5146 Burning Tree Road in Texas Township. For more details, see the December 2011 issue of the Pedal Press.


Monthly Minutes

President Zolton Cohen called the December 13, 2011 meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. Thanks were expressed for the large box of wonderful baked goods from the Victorian Bakery that were provided for the meeting. Introductions were made, and those in attendance were: Mike Boersma, Kathy Kirk, Dale Krueger, Terry O'Connor, Michael Vandeveer, Emmett Paul, John Olbrot, Rick Whaley, Paul Selden, Michael Krischer, Zolton Cohen, Doug Kirk, Jon Ballema, Mary Gerger, Tom Keizer, Celine Keizer, David Jones and Mike Mock.

Zolton was happy to announce that KBC member David Jones is the new Region 7 representative to the League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB).

Zolton called for Officers' Reports:

The Treasurer's Report was given by John Olbrot, who stated that there was "not much activity to report this month."

  • Checking Account: $6,035.10
  • Savings Account: 0.00
  • CD: 11,106.45
  • Expenses: 114.26

Director of Road Safety Paul Selden reported that he had met with three city planners, focusing on Kalamazoo County becoming a more "Bike Friendly Community." Discussions centered around the master plan for the entire county and what the different municipalities and departments would be doing to accomplish this. Everyone Paul spoke with affirmed their commitment to make this happen. There were thirteen objectives that have been identified. One objective is resolving the ongoing issue of who is actually responsible for maintaining the shoulders of roads and is one that the KBC has been very involved with. Bike Route planning was also discussed during these meetings, as was the posting of copies of old ride maps for community review. Paul explained that there are four entities involved with all of this: Kalamazoo, Portage, Kalamazoo County, and MDOT. Zolton asked a question about providing old KBC ride maps. Paul said that providing ride maps to these departments could help with how some road funds are dispensed and the scheduling of road maintenance. Another "spoken and unspoken goal" that was discussed was that of posting Bike Route signs. It is not known what will happen when those routes went into neighboring counties as part of the route. It is exciting to Paul that we, as bicyclists, fall under the category of "Non-motorized traffic." All of these things are linked into the "Complete Streets Initiative."

More discussion was held about the posting of favorite bike routes for club members, recreational bicyclists, commuters, etc. The suggestion was made to put out a general call for people to get involved and provide their favorite routes. Doug Kirk suggested an article to be published in the Kalamazoo Gazette.

Zolton asked for an update of the January 28th Recovery Party preparations. John stated that "things were coming along" and asked members to bring a dish to pass. It was noted that the KBC Recovery Party will have high visibility in the Pedal Press this year, as well as follow-up with e-vites through Yahoo, and event invites through Facebook.

A status report on the PR Committee was given by Zolton. No volunteer has stepped forward to lead the committee. Paul and Zolton are handling it for now, and the event list is already started for 2012. The need for PR right now is very minimal, but will begin to increase. The December 13, 2011 KBC meeting was posted in the Upcoming Events/Community Calendar section of the Kalamazoo Gazette.

A vote for the 2012 "Friend of Bicycling Award" was called for by Zolton. The nominees for this award were Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness (Portage, MI), the City of Portage, MI, Ron Campbell (Freelance Writer), and the Department of Streets and Equipment, City of Portage, MI. Before the vote was taken, Doug asked about the separation of the two City of Portage nominees. Awards Committee Chair Paul Selden responded that the Awards Committee believed each of their contributions to be unique, and decided to keep them as separate nominations. Treasurer John Olbrot collected and tabulated the ballots from those KBC members present, and announced the Department of Streets and Equipment, City of Portage, MI, as the winner of the 2012 "Friend of Bicycling Award." Zolton requested that a new plaque be ordered, and a date for the presentation of the award (possibly in February) to be set. Paul said that the presentation date was usually based on the availability of the award recipients, and would have to be determined.

By a show of hands, the Executive Board (President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer) voted to approve the following Board-Appointed Positions:

  • Newsletter Editor: Rick Whaley
  • Webmaster: David Jones
  • Director of Road Safety: Paul Selden

Appointees for the positions of Database Manager and Ride Captain were not present at the meeting and were not voted upon. The position of Social Director remains vacant at this time.

Old Business:

A discussion was held regarding the KBC Constitution. This was in response to a question re: the position of "Director of Road Safety" and the position of Safety/Education Chair. Zolton stated that some of the board-appointed positions are not currently listed in the Constitution. The last time the KBC Constitution had been amended was in 2003. Zolton said the Constitution does need to be updated to include some of the new board-appointed positions. Doug, Mike Boersma, and Zolton will review the Constitution with respect to this matter, and will bring it up for discussion at the next KBC meeting in February. Celine Keizer asked that if revisions were to be made, that the Constitution be revised with some flexibility, allowing for positions to develop. Zolton pointed out the need to define the various positions in the Constitution, with guidelines.

Celine asked about the status of the Grant Committee. A discussion was held indicating that four grants were awarded this year and that the process worked very well. For one entity, the process worked completely, as they filled out the requested follow-up form that the other three did not. Zolton stated that with regards to the Grant Committee, it would be good to revisit and reflect on what worked and what did not. Celine offered to host a meeting to discuss this, at a date and time to be determined.

New Business:

Doug Kirk called for a standing ovation for Pastor Dale Krueger, who rode 80 miles on his 80th. Birthday! Wow! . . . and Congratulations from all of us!

Paul reminded us that there are all kinds of bike riders out there, and wondered about sending out surveys/questionnaires to try and determine the kinds of bike-related things that people were interested in. A lively discussion followed on this particular topic, including how the information would be used, when would be the appropriate time to have people indicate their interests (example: signing up as a new member, with a follow-up at some point, and surveys going out to current members at various times). In response to a concern expressed during this discussion, that people might decide to take their own groups and head off on their own, it was pointed out that among other things the KBC offers, the KBC Insurance would encourage people to stay with the club and not splinter off in a separate direction. A question was asked if this was to be an online survey, a paper survey, or both. Webmaster David Jones said that he would talk to Database Manager Paul Bruneau, about the feasibility of an online survey. Zolton suggested that one of the questions should include asking if the person is interested in working on KBC events. Celine wanted to know, "Who is the current Membership Chair?" Zolton responded that there is no Membership Chair. Paul reminded us all of Victor van Fleet's comments about increasing membership, and pointed out that our Charter states that the KBC is to serve the needs of the Bicycling Community. In order to accomplish this, Paul suggested that perhaps a simple survey now would be appropriate, with a more elaborate survey to follow at a later date. Zolton asked Paul to put together an article for the Pedal Press. He also asked for volunteers to put together a Survey. Thanks were expressed to David, Jon Ballema, and Paul, for agreeing to work on this.

Mike Boersma announced that the dates of the League of American Bicyclists Summit in Washington D.C. will be March 20-22, 2012. It was mentioned that this event and the League of MI Bicyclists (LMB) Summit, are great events to attend. Among other things, participants will learn "Best Practices," and we need to think about entities higher than just the County Government to accomplish our goals of increased funding for road safety and improvements, bicycle safety, bike trails/paths, etc.

Zolton adjourned the meeting at 8:10 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,
Mary Gerger, 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 February edition (distributed on or around the first of January), have it to the newsletter editor by the 20th of January.



Active subscriptions: 271

New members:
None this month

January Expiring memberships:
Tom Cross ·Richard Morse

Renewed memberships:
Mike Berry

Paul Bruneau, KBC Database Manager


Editor's Letter – Give that Rider a Big Hand, Please

There's a Twilight Zone episode where a married couple who had been at a party and drank too much, wake up and find themselves in a strange house in a strange town. As they become increasingly uneasy with their surroundings, they eventually find the train station and attempt to leave town by boarding the train, only to find that the train goes in a circle. They leave the train and, all of a sudden, a giant hand reaches down from the sky, picks them up, and sets them back down in the town. There's a logical explanation, of course, for all of this, and it wasn't that they had been drinking peyote cocktails the previous evening. It turns out, wouldn't you know it, that they had been abducted by a race of giant human-like aliens and were in a model train layout as pets of a giant little girl. Hey, I've been there. Except for a few minor details, such as the drinking, the abduction by space aliens, and the fact that I was riding my bicycle, I, too, have had a similar experience.

This experience occurred during one of our unseasonably warm weekends last month. I was riding my bike on R Avenue from Portage to Lawton on the Monday after work ride route, but after entering Van Buren County and reaching the T-intersection shortly thereafter, I turned right instead of left. I then took the next left at 63rd Avenue, crossed another road, and after a bend, I arrived at another T-intersection, this one at Drape Road. At this point, I wasn't sure which way to turn. I saw the train overpass a couple hundred yards to my right and I decided that I should ride in the opposite direction.

After another bend in the road, I reached yet another T-intersection, this time at 66th Avenue. I hadn't been paying very close attention to the names of the streets that I had been riding on, and at this point, for some inexplicable reason, I turned left instead of right; then left again instead of right, and, to complete the hat trick of inexplicable decisions, I then turned right. By this time, I was riding in the opposite direction of Lawton, but I didn't realize this until I saw "What Hill?" painted on the road, and I realized that I was riding up the KalTour 63rd Avenue hill; which was both unpleasant and unnecessary. So, I made a U-turn and continued to ride on 63rd Avenue, not realizing that this was the street that I had ridden on in the same direction a couple miles earlier, until I reached the T-intersection and saw, once again, the train overpass to my right. At this point, unlike our Twilight Zone married couple, I would have welcomed a giant hand reaching down from the sky, in the hope that it would pick me up and put me down in Lawton, since it appeared that I would never get there on my own. But, eventually, I did, by taking the same left turn, but then turning right on 66th Avenue.

What this illustrates is that I am capable of getting lost on roads that I have ridden on an embarrassingly large number of times before. But, at least, this lack of directional sense only cost me a couple miles. I've done worse over the years, particularly on a 300 kilometer randonneuring brevet ride that I did in Columbus, Ohio in the spring of 2006.

I wrote about a brevet that I rode in the October 2009 Pedal Press, so I won't rehash the rules for these rides. I'll just mention that these rules can be found on the website www.rusa.org. But what I will also note that self-sufficiency is very important while doing a brevet ride. For example, the roads aren't painted with directional markers; riders get only a cue sheet to navigate the course. With this combination of lack of visual clues and my less than optimal directional sense, it doesn't take a Twilight Zone scriptwriter to realize that this has the potential to turn out badly.

Actually, I didn't do too badly for most of the ride. However, once we reached Tar Hallow State Park after 130 miles of riding, things changed. Maybe the 23% grade hill that I rode up, using the word "rode" as a synonym for the word "walked," had dulled my senses. Or maybe my luck had finally run out. Whatever the reason, I got lost twice while riding through this park, adding a few miles to the route. However, those adventures in bad cue sheet reading were only a prelude to what happened soon after.

I reached a T-intersection while traveling west and the cue sheet was rather ambiguous, at least to me, with regard to whether I should turn north or south. Even though I knew that Kingston, the next town on our route, was north of where I was, I decided that the route went south, which also, conveniently enough, was downhill, as opposed to turning right and riding uphill. Of course, the topography played no part in my decision. However, after reaching the bottom of the hill, about a quarter mile from the intersection, I decided that I'd better study the cue sheet again. After deciding that I going in the right direction, after all, I saw two other riders turn right instead of left at the T-intersection. They wouldn't have been able to hear me shout that they were going the wrong way and they were too far away to chase them up a hill. So, I rationalized that they'd eventually realize that they were going the wrong way and I went on my way.

Within a few miles, I realized that I was hopelessly confused. I was seeing road names that were not on the cue sheet and the mile marker indications on the cue sheet were worthless now. I stopped and consulted the cue sheet several times. I asked for directions from a man working in his yard; directions which were of little help. I rode up and down a couple mile long stretch of road three times, looking for an intersection with another road that didn't turn out to exist. But eventually, I got back on the route just outside of Kingston through no skill of my own, after wasting almost two hours.

About 10 miles north of Kingston, I arrived at a convenience store in Circleville where I met a rider from Indianapolis who had also gotten lost several times. It was getting dark and we decided to ride the last 40 miles together, figuring that if we got lost, we'd at least have company, and that one of us would be a good source of food for the other, if it came to that.

It took us almost 4 hours to ride the last 40 miles, mainly because we stopped at almost every intersection to study the cue sheet by the light of our bicycle headlights. Every so often I'd look at my watch, thinking, "We should be finished by X," where X was defined as 11:00, then 11:30, and then midnight, as the ride went on. We finally finished just before 12:30 A.M. and were the last two riders to complete the brevet. I had added about 25 miles to the ride, making this my own personal 340 kilometer brevet. My newfound riding buddy and I congratulated each other on a ride not-so-well done and went our separate ways. I located my motel room without getting lost, took a 1:00 A.M. shower, to the must-have-been delight of the occupants of the next room, and got a good night's sleep.

That morning, I checked a map to see where I went off course and it was no surprise to discover that the two wrong way riders that I saw were actually the right way riders. Ah, but why trust their judgment when my directional judgment has always been so impeccable. I drove home and celebrated my birthday the next day. Five years later, I'm still waiting for my sense of direction birthday present.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor


Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

I'm sure there are some good upcoming rides in Florida, but Florida isn't in our area.


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 dalekrueger@charter.net

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 doandres@att.net or (269) 968-9674 (home) or (269) 830-1706 (cell).


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,
Thinking of trying a triathlon? How 'bout a 5k running race or even a half- or full-marathon? Check out the training program offerings at Gazelle Sports –
to check out our GIFT A DAY holiday Also, visit Gazelle Sports to see what's still available at our End of the Year Sale. Save up to 50% on selected shoes, sportswear, running apparel, socks and more!

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.