March 2012 President’s Letter

Constitutionally Speaking

I have spent quite a few hours over the past several months meeting, both in person and via e-mail, with President Emeritus Mike Boersma and Vice President Doug Kirk. We've been working on revising the club's constitution in order to reflect some of the changes that have occurred since it was last updated in 2003, and to make it more easily readable.

According to the last version of the constitution, any proposed changes need to be made available for members to peruse and comment on. We'll be doing that now, by providing a link to both the old and new documents on the club website.

Please take the time to look them over carefully, and send comments back to me, at the e-mail address listed in the contact information in this newsletter. ( The deadline for doing so is March 31, 2012.

What you'll find in the new constitution is that the basic functioning and purpose of the club, along with its elected and appointed officers, haven't changed. But we added new appointed positions, generally described their duties, replaced some instances of the word "shall" with "may," and did some reorganizing in order to make the constitution more understandable and accessible.

After I receive comments and suggestions and Mike, Doug, and I confer on their incorporation, we'll publish a final draft in the Pedal Press and on the website, and then call for a vote on accepting the new constitution during the April meeting. It must be ratified by at least a two-thirds majority of club members attending that meeting in order to be approved.

I'd like to thank Mike and Doug for working so diligently on this important club document. It got tedious at times, but we persevered. And I think we've improved the constitution measurably. Take a look and let me know if you agree.


And speaking of the club's officers and duties, our Board of Directors consists of both the Executive Committee (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) and Appointees. For the first time in many years, every one of these positions has a volunteer at the helm.

When my stepson was participating in Little League baseball, one of his coaches, in an effort to pump up the confidence of the players when the team was about to bat, would read the names of the top three batters to his assistant coach like this: "Hey, Bruce? We've got Michael, Scott, and Brian up this inning. Sounds like hits to me!"

Our Executive Committee and Appointees are the top hitters in our club. When I look over our lineup, I have great confidence that we're headed into the season going in the right direction. When you see them next, be sure to thank them for the things they do to keep the club at the top of its game.

Vice President: Doug Kirk
Secretary: Mary Gerger
Treasurer: John Olbrot
Newsletter Editor: Rick Whaley
Membership Database Administrator: Paul Bruneau
Ride Captain: Bill Figeley
Social Director: Chad Goodwill
Director of Road Safety: Paul Selden
Webmaster: David Jones
Race Team Delegate: Jon Ballema
Education Chair: Renee Mitchell
Insurance Coordinator: Terry O'Connor
Awards Committee Chair: Kathy Kirk
Grant Committee Chair: Celine Keizer

The Season Begins

On Monday, March 12, the day after we "spring forward" and daylight saving time begins, the KBC ride season officially gets underway. Regularly-scheduled evening rides during the month of March will start at 5:30 P.M.

Don't expect large turnouts – or many ride leaders to show up – until the weather warms up a bit. Plus, it will still get dark early enough in the evening that finishing a club ride in the dusk or dark is a distinct possibility. Ride distances are likely to be shorter and average speeds lower as riders begin the process of getting into condition.

Although many of us have ridden outside during every month of this supposed "winter," it still takes some time to get acclimated to riding in a group again. So keep in mind that your skills will likely be rusty. Pay attention to what you're doing, ride a straight, predictable line, and bear in mind that those you ride with are just getting going as well.

Similarly, auto drivers haven't seen many bikers on the road this winter and they need a bit of a ramp-up to the riding season, as well. Their vision isn't yet attuned to watching out for us. Give yourself the best chance of being seen by wearing bright clothing, using lights, and riding defensively. Don't assume a car driver sees you.

Lastly, I can't recommend a glasses, handlebar, or helmet-mounted rear view mirror highly enough. Mine has saved me several times from drivers approaching too close from the rear. Mirrors provide you with a more complete picture of your overall riding environment as you move down the road. It's the best twelve or so bucks you can spend to increase your safety. Although we're happy to have Terry O'Connor's name listed under the club's insurance coordinator position, you really don't want to have to contact him in his official capacity. . .

Zolton Cohen, KBC President


Next KBC Monthly Meeting on March 13, 2012 with a Guest Speaker

The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend. Mark Olson of Athletic Mentors will be our guest speaker at this meeting. He'll be talking to us about how to design bike training programs.


KBC Ride Season to Begin on March 12, 2012

As noted in the President's Letter, the KBC ride season will begin on Monday, March 12 and the rides will begin at 5:30 P.M. However, the ride season doesn't really get going until April and these rides will begin at 6:00 P.M.


Biking Opportunities in Greater Kalamazoo

by Paul Selden

I was prompted to write this article by the great ideas submitted in our recent discussions about Special Interest Groups. Talking to some of our newer members at our January Recovery Party added further motivation to get 'er done. We'll be working to post a version of this to our web site as well, so that new members to KBC can get a quick update on the many biking opportunities in greater Kalamazoo as time goes on.

Bicyclists new to the area or to the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club have a huge variety of biking opportunities available to them, with a growing number of possibilities in the works each year. The following is an overview of the area's current bicycling smorgasbord, plus a glimpse into the not-to-distant future, and is not intended to be a complete catalog. If you are aware of other categories not mentioned below, please let me know and they can be added to the list. Who knows? Maybe one day we'll see a resurgence of BMX in our area.

Adventure / Touring: If a bike ride through Europe or scenic parts of the U.S. is your thing, you are thinking about what is otherwise known as adventure touring or vacation bicycling. Adventure touring often takes place on a grand scale, with national and international self- and leader-guided tours available. Many of our KBC members have participated in the annual multi-day Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw tour (DALMAC). Also, in 2011, the 20th Annual Michigander Bicycle tour passed through Kalamazoo County.

A quick web search or browsing through bicycling magazines should turn up plenty of additional ideas, since groups like the League of Michigan Bicyclists, the Adventure Cycling Association, the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance (just to name a few) feature many group tours and self-guided routes in Michigan. More local touring opportunities are available, however. Our region is filled with many parks, lakes, rivers, places of historical interest, ice cream parlors, and wineries, all of which make great destinations for a day trip or practice runs for overnight adventures.

Bike Camp: The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club hosts an annual Bike Camp, an event that no newcomer to road riding should miss. The camp is great for kids, but it is especially important for adults of all ages who might want to brush up on how to ride in a group. Over the course of an orientation meeting one evening and four Saturday mornings of hands-on presentations and riding, Bike Camp covers skills that are not usually learned by casual riding, growing up as a kid. The camp covers critical topics such as rules of the road, ingredients for riding and equipment safety, proper helmet and bike fitting, nutrition and hydration, bike maintenance, how to ride in a pace line, and many more. The modest fee includes covers snacks, many worthwhile handouts, and entry to our annual KalTour. Bike Camp is currently held at the Portage YMCA, in late May through early June. Watch for announcements in the Pedal Press.

Bike Commuting: The area is home to many bike commuters, and people who like to save the environment and their dollars by using their bikes to run errands. (One of our members bikes from his home in the Oshtemo area to Battle Creek many times a week, year round.) Major cities in the county (including Kalamazoo and Portage) have trail and on-road bike lane systems that are too extensive to describe here. Many of the surrounding communities take advantage of the fact that the county boasts more paved rural roadways than almost any other county in Michigan. Of course, Michigan winters pose seasonal challenges to riding year round; some of our busiest major streets do not always have dedicated bike lanes. Nevertheless, many KBC'ers regularly find a way to commute and run to the post office on a regular basis.

Century and Metric Century Rides: A century ride is a 100 mile long social ride held on a specific date. In the Kalamazoo area, KBC hosts the annual KalTour, which features a century ride, plus shorter rides such as a "metric century" (62 miles long), and fractions thereof, all the way down to a group 13 mile (20 km) family ride. Some of the shorter riders are led by an experience group leader and followed by a "sweeper" who keeps slower riders company, so no one is left behind. A century ride is not a race. Within guidelines set by ride organizers, riders may start when they want, stop for refreshments and rest along the way, and finish whenever they arrive back at the starting point. KBC's KalTour is set among scenic western portions of Kalamazoo County, with portions taking place in neighboring Van Buren County. Riders may expect to encounter hills, lakes, and vineyards are along the way. There are so many century rides available in the region that avid riders vow to do a "century of the month." Check our web site for more KalTour information.

Cyclocross: Cyclocross activity in the Kalamazoo area is heating up, big time. If you are not familiar with this sport it may because it is relatively new to the biking scene. Cyclocross takes place on such varied terrain that competitors are more or less forced to get off and carry their bikes up and over the steep hills and rugged obstacles they encounter along the way. Mud, sand, tight corners, short, steep inclines, and low, hoppable obstacles are common course features, but since the riding often takes place during colder months of the year, snow is also possible! Courses are shorter than many other bike races, and they end after a certain amount of time has elapsed (such as an hour) rather than after a set number of laps. The shorter course sometimes allows spectators to watch riders' progress over more of the course than in some other events. If you are new to the sport, you don't need to pit yourself against anyone but yourself. A common goal among cyclocross racers is simply to finish the event!

Mountain / Off Road: Many people buy a mountain bike because their shock absorbing features and wider knobby tires make them an apparently good choice for biking in just about any terrain, then they never ride them off road! There are many opportunities to take a properly equipped, good quality mountain bike off road in Kalamazoo and neighboring counties, however. North of Kalamazoo is a set of trails in Yankee Springs. On the eastern edge in our county near Augusta is the most highly developed set of mountain bike trails in the area, in Fort Custer. Within Kalamazoo County, there are trails in Al Sabo preserve (access is from the Rota Kiwan Boy Scout camp drive off of Texas Drive).

Randonneuring: Randonneuring is a long distance endurance road ride based on historic traditions of rambling about the countryside on a self-supported bike tour. The rides, or brevets, cover varying distances from 200-1200 km (about 125 to 750 miles) and are open to many types of human-powered vehicles from road bikes to tandems to recumbents. Brevets are not races, but they must be completed within specified timelines and rules. For example, in the U.S., a sanctioned event 200 km long must be completed within 13.5 hours. For certification, riders must stop at checkpoints to receive an official stamp on a course ride card ("brevet card"). Completing the card (and sometimes a successful completion of some questions or delivery of other evidence) entitles riders to his or her new status. Those who successfully complete a sanctioned brevet may consider themselves to hold a variation of the historical title, "Audacious Randonneur," and may purchase a medal attesting to the fact (depending on the course and its sanctioning). Randonneuring is somewhat unusual in that the sanctioning body can authorize do-it-yourself (free route) approaches not limited by an official group start time or set course. Three such courses are sanctioned in northern Michigan. Kalamazoo is the starting point for the first permanent randonneuring free route in the Lower Peninsula, a 200 km route from Kalamazoo to South Haven to Battle Creek and back. See and articles such as for more information.

Road Racing: Kalamazoo area is home to a variety of road races, competitive events, and race teams, including at least one finisher in the ultra-endurance coast-to-coast Race Across America). Road riders from the area are very talented; among our own membership we count at least two 2011 State Champions. KBC is proud to help sponsor the CMS Race Team; a number of our members also race for the Priority Health Team. One major annual race in the area is the BTR Race that takes place on the beautiful new campus of Western Michigan University's Business Technology Park. The BTR Race is a so-called criterium ("crit"), a shorter course that takes place on a closed loop that allows many opportunities to follow progress as laps are completed. Another is the Priority Health Race for Wishes, which takes place among 13 miles of scenic roads in nearby Lawton. Qualified riders of all categories may enter; as sanctioned races, those participating for the first time are urged to become familiar with the rules and entry requirements governing each races. Membership in the governing body is a typical requirement. Michigan is home of many road races; see the Michigan Bicycle Racing Association's website at

Road Rides: Greater Kalamazoo has a very active road riding community, offering organized rides to riders of almost any ability, every weekday during the season. The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club starts its Monday-Friday evening rides at various locations in Kalamazoo County, with rides of various lengths, timed to end before sun down. Most of KBC's rides take place in the four western-most townships, span 15-30 miles or so, and are open to non-members as long as our ride protocol is followed (which includes wearing a helmet). Organized evening rides also head out at various times and distances out of two downtown bike shops: Pedal Bicycles and Alfred E. Bike. These rides tend to head north. Rides out of Johnson Cycle Works, located near Gull Road and Sprinkle, tends to head north and east. These latter rides are also open to anyone, within the guidelines of the ride leader/sponsoring group. In addition to the weekly rides, KBC offers a number of longer rides on an annual basis, including the W Ride (a 48 miler from one end of the county to the other and back on W Avenue), a 102 miler to and from South Haven, and our Anniversary Ride (various lengths) in September. The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club offers a great insurance benefit along with our modest membership fee. Consult our web site for the latest information about this benefit, and many more.

Time Trials: If head-to-head road racing is not your cup of tea, you may be up for the personal challenge offered by KBC's Tuesday Night Time Trials. We run ours as an individual challenge against the clock on a square, relatively flat 10 mile course on the scenic country roads of Pavilion Township in Kalamazoo County. Riders are started at intervals, as individuals, and the course and timing are monitored by volunteers. You can tell the more avid time trialists by their specialized aerodynamic bikes and gear, but bicyclists of many styles and levels come out to see what kind of times they can turn in. Generally speaking, the adrenalin surge caused by seeing a rider ahead, and knowing one is about to be launched behind you, makes for faster personal efforts than when trying to ride this type of route solo. It's a great way to test your personal fitness from year to year, and a great way to enjoy competitive bicycling without worrying about anything but achieving your personal goals. KBC runs its Tuesday Night Time Trials as a local, fun event. Riders interested in sanctioned time trial competition (both individual and team) can go to calendars such as found at for more information.

Trail Riding: The greater Kalamazoo area is a hub of groomed and paved bike and multi-use trails, with more on the way. Riding on such trails through woods, along rivers and creeks, and over and down the more hilly areas makes for a great family ride, or outing with friends, or just a solo commune with nature. From the lakeshore town of South Haven, the Kal-Haven trail follows an old railroad grade, through the northwestern part of our county, all the way to downtown Kalamazoo. Riders can take the Jack Coombs trail from Kalamazoo all the way to where the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail (KRVT) winds through more wonderful scenery at the Kalamazoo Nature Preserve. The Kalamazoo River Valley Trail system will eventually extend eastward, generally following the Kalamazoo River, connecting with the trail system in Battle Creek.

The City of Portage offers an extensive system of biking trails that meander along pretty little Portage Creek, winding through the north of the city off Kilgore Road and Lovers Lane, to the south at the Portage District Library, from Celery Flats on Garden Lane winding through the Haverhill and Amberly neighborhoods all the way to McGillicuddy Lane near Milham. Shortly, the City of Portage trail system will connect with the City of Kalamazoo's near Milham Park, so riders will be able to ride into downtown Kalamazoo without having to leave the trail. The campuses of Western Michigan University and K-College are developing similar links.

Triathlon: You can often spot a devote of the triathlon by their cool swept-back helmets and their crouched-over posture as they lean on those comfy elbow pads with their hands stretched out straight ahead on aerobars. A number of triathlons are hosted in Kalamazoo County throughout the warmer months. Triathlons are race events that combine a sequence of swimming, biking and running. If you don't think you are up for the Ultra distance version we most often hear about as the "Ironman" courses of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile ride, and a 26.2 mile run, take heart. Typical courses vary in length, including the shorter Sprints (750 meter swim, 20 km bike, 5 km run). Triathlons are a well developed sport with too many sanctioned races in the area to list here. More information is available at the web sites of and An active local multisport club, the TriKats, is dedicated to the sport. There are many triathletes among KBC's members.


Biking for the Health of it!

Happy New Year to all KBC members. We have a golden opportunity to make 2012 a banner year that will long be remembered. How? By introducing, encouraging, supporting, and instructing our non-biking friends, neighbors, relatives, and associates the social value, the economic value, and the HEALTH VALUE of regular and consistent biking.

Let's begin by concentrating on the health value of biking for your biking candidates who are overweight or obese and interested in correcting the situation. Statistically speaking two thirds of the adult U.S. population are overweight or obese and one third of our teens and pre-teens are overweight/obese. The overweight problem causes and/or aggravates more health problems than all other health issues combined and this all adds up to staggering, unsustainable medical expenses. Depending on your source of information the medical cost for the overweight/obese person is two to three times the medical expense for the ideal weight person.

Whether it is a government program or a private plan, the healthy pay for the unhealthy. This makes it abundantly clear that a healthier population would, in the long run, significantly reduce health care cost for all of us.

Biking can be the exercise that will do the trick. To those who may be skeptical please refer to the 2010 January/February issue of Bicycling Magazine pages 46 to 53 or go on line and Google search Scott Cutshall. This is about a man who got started on biking at 501 pounds and by biking virtually every day over a period of several years, he got down to 170 pounds, a loss of 331 pounds. Latch on to your overweight friends, help them get prepared for bike riding season this spring, and if the roads are clear of snow it won't hurt to ride during the winter months. Just dress for the weather. Maybe a contest much like The Biggest Loser (Google this for details) would provide the incentive to participate. Could this be a community program that the KBC could successfully promote? Let me know what your thoughts are on this subject. I'll have more on this subject later. In the meantime "Keep Smiling and Biking"

Your biking friend, Victor Van Fleet



Thanks is due again to Joanna Johnson, Managing Director of the Kalamazoo County Road Commission (KCRC). You may recall that last year, Ms. Johnson arranged the county's seasonal chip sealing program so as not to ruin our annual KalTour, held in July. In late January, without any reminders from KBC, she proactively e-mailed me to ask about our plans for KalTour, stating that in 2012, KCRC will also be trying to avoid disruptive road maintenance in that part of the county during the event. We understand that the unexpected may happen and maintenance schedules may be force to change. Nevertheless, this is an example of exceptional community cooperation with bicyclists, for which Ms. Johnson deserves a hearty thank you from KBC!

A big thanks to the City of Kalamazoo and its team at the Engineering Department, for being so persistent in pursuing their vision of linking the major trail systems in the area. Their perseverance in the face of economic, political, and legal obstacles is a testimony to the deep commitment held by their leadership at all levels. Especially notable is the political leadership shown by Major Bobby Hopewell, and the engineering team, which includes Fred Nagler and Steve Skalski. KBC member Timothy A. Stewart was deeply involved in drawing up the engineering plans, through his firm Hurley & Stewart.

My wife and I haven't been to Bell's Eccentric Cafe in a long time. But we enjoyed a nice dinner there recently, and I couldn't help but notice the long row of aesthetically pleasing bike rack/locking stands that now grace the approach to the entrance. Many fantastic people were probably involved in various aspects of their bike rack project. But I think local businessman Larry Bell deserves credit for ultimately making it happen. It is hard to think of any other business or establishment of any kind in the area, large or small, that has provided such a dense ratio of bike-friendly facilities in proportion to the size of the primary business.

Paul Selden


Monthly Meeting Minutes

The February 14, 2012 meeting of the KBC was called to order by President Zolton Cohen, at 7:00 P.M. Those in attendance were: Zolton Cohen, Joseph Yaeger, Jon Ballema, Brian Moon, Joe Kucharski, Mike Birmann, Doug Kirk, Kathy Kirk, Paul Selden, Mike Boersma, Bryan Garfoot, David Jarl, David Jones, Rick Whaley, John Olbrot, and Mary Gerger.

Treasurer John Olbrot gave the Treasurer's Report:

Checking Account$5,572.36
Checking Account Total5,655.63
Certificate of Deposit11,109.23

David Jones reviewed grant money given out by the Grant Committee in 2011. He also discussed the Grant Committee's recent meeting at which they improved the grant request process.

An update from the Constitution Committee was given by Mike Boersma. Mike stated that they were approximately 93% done with the review process, which had become necessary in order to reflect the current status and activities of the KBC. Discussion followed as to the posting of the Committee's report, and when/how to request comments from all KBC members. It was noted that the last time the KBC Constitution was updated, was June 10, 2003.

The Executive Committee voted unanimously to fill open appointed positions, as follows:

Social Director: Chad Goodwill
Director of Road Safety: Paul Selden
Education Committee Chair: Renee Mitchell
Database Manager: Paul Bruneau
Insurance Coordinator: Terry O'Connor
Zolton expressed thanks on behalf of the entire KBC to these individuals, for taking on these responsibilities.

A discussion was held regarding the importance of KBC Sanctioned Ride Leaders, and how this relates to our club insurance. Those present at this meeting that wanted to be sworn in as Sanctioned Ride Leaders were: Zolton Cohen, Joseph Yaeger, Jon Ballema, Joe Kucharski, Mike Birmann, Doug Kirk, Kathy Kirk, Paul Selden, David Jarl, David Jones, Rick Whaley, John Olbrot, and Mary Gerger.

Paul Selden reported on the results of the Special Interest Group Survey, thus far. A discussion was held on privacy issues related to the sharing of personal information, and also on how communication between people of similar interests would take place. Facebook, Yahoo Groups, Message Boards, etc. were all discussed. A committee was formed to look into various forms of communication that would be helpful for the exchange of information between people with similar interests. Those offering to serve on this committee were: Paul Selden, Doug Kirk, Kathy Kirk, David Jones, and Jon Ballema. Those in attendance at the Feb. 14, 2012 meeting, wishing to give out contact information in order to communicate with others were asked to sign a sheet with their information, and that was provided to Paul Selden. Zolton thanked Paul for his dedicated work on the Special Interest Group Survey, and also general thanks were given to everyone who responded to the SIG Survey. It was determined that there would be one final notice requesting responses to the SIG, and that the deadline for responses would be at the end of the month.

David Jones suggested that Registration be opened up for the 2012 KBC Bike Camp, and the 2012 KalTour events. That suggestion was agreed to by everyone present.

Zolton announced that the guest speaker at the March 13, 2012 KBC meeting would be Mark Olson of Athletic Mentors LLC. He will be discussing bike training programs.

A request for volunteers was made by Zolton, to staff a booth for the Thursday, March 22, 2012 Eaton Wellness Event. The event will be held at their conference center, and runs from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., with lunch provided. Please e-mail Zolton if you are interested in helping out.

Jon Ballema and Zolton led a discussion regarding recent funding cuts by WMU that will have an impact on the money available for the BTR Criterium Bike Race.

A request was made by Jon Ballema for reimbursement of $150.00 to the CMS Race Team, which is paid out annually as dues to USAC. This was unanimously approved, with Jon Ballema abstaining.

Zolton briefly discussed ride leaders for weeknight rides, and mentioned that he would be contacting Bill Figeley, to determine if he was intending to continue as Ride Captain for the 2012 season.

A request was made by Jon Ballema for reimbursement of the beverages purchased for the January Recovery Party. Reimbursement was approved.

Zolton adjourned the meeting at 8:05 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, by the 20th of the month before its intended publication.

For example, if you'd like an article to be published in the April edition (distributed during the first week of April), have it to the newsletter editor by the 20th of March.



Active subscriptions: 268

New members:
Bryan Garfoot · Heather Lettow · Aidan Wales · Doug Wales · Ian Wales · Lisa Wales

March Expiring memberships:
Edith Alt · Robert Brennan & Susan O'Hearn-Brennan · Molly Burton Family · Susan Creager · Joel Dinda Family · George Duncan · Terry Florian Family · Frank Foley · Michael Foley & Monica Elfring · Anne Gentz · Heather Haydo · Doug & Kathy Kirk · Clinton McGee · Douglas Peot · Cullen Stevenson · Mark Wahl · Mary Warren

Renewed memberships:
Victor Van Fleet · Jim Pankow · Daniel Victor · Jon Ballema · Justin Sprung · Michael Vandeveer

Paul Bruneau, KBC Database Manager


Editor's Letter – Every Jersey Tells a Story

And if they had the words I could tell to you.
To help you on your way down the road.
I couldn't quote you no Liggett, Sherwen, or Roll.
Cause it's all been said before.
Make the best out of the bad just laugh it up.
You didn't have to ride here anyway.
So, remember, every jersey tells a story, don't it.
Every jersey tells a story, don't it...

It's not easy to develop a fashion style while riding a bicycle, at least from the waist down. You have your black cycling shorts and even those socks that aren't black or white are too small to be very noticeable. But from the waist up, it's a different story. When we put on our cycling jerseys, it's an opportunity for we cycling peacocks to strut our stuff. We find out what colors we like to wear (usually lots of them, jumbled together in weird combinations), what bicycle tours we have taken, what teams we race for, what bicycle shops we patronize, and what we like to eat and drink (apparently, we subsist on beer). We all have our favorite jerseys (aside from our KBC jerseys, of course); jerseys that serve as expressions of our personalities, although it could be that we like our favorite jerseys just because they are comfortable. And regardless of how much we like them, every jersey tells a story. And here are mine.

Summer 1994 – After years of wearing t-shirts while riding, I decided that it was time to own a cycling jersey. I bought a red Bellwether jersey with blue trim from a Bike Nashbar outlet store in Columbus, Ohio, on sale, of course. The jersey matched my red bicycle, so it had esthetic appeal, and soon after I started wearing it, I discovered the practical appeal of jersey pockets. This jersey has served me well over the years, but the inside fabric is pilling and the elastic around the waist is shot. I suspect that it will soon be telling its story from a landfill.

Fall 1997 – Just because I discovered the practical appeal of owning a cycling jersey didn't mean that I actually had to buy any more of them. After all, I didn't have to spend any additional money to wear one of my many t-shirts. So, perhaps it is not surprising that my next cycling jersey was given to me by a fellow KBC member a year after I first moved to Portage; a long-sleeve predominantly red and black Breakaway Bicycles jersey. The distinguishing characteristic of this jersey is that it has the longest zipper of any jersey that I own, which leads to the question "If I have to unzip a jersey down to my navel because it is so hot, then why am I wearing a long-sleeve jersey?"

Spring 1998 – This was the year I started regularly participating in KBC group rides, and the force of peer pressure was stronger than the force of my inherent cheapness, so I decided to buy more cycling jerseys. Alfred E. Bike had some jerseys on sale and decided to conduct an experiment, buying one cheaper jersey and one more expensive jersey to determine if the extra expense was worth it. The inexpensive jersey was a yellow jersey, which nurtured my Tour de France delusions, and the expensive jersey was a Looney Tunes cartoon "Fast and Furry-ous" jersey, featuring Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner. (My other expensive jersey choice was one featuring the cereal space creature, Quisp, so I didn't have a lot to work with here.) I ripped some holes in the sleeve of the yellow jersey as a result of a 2003 cycling accident and I threw it out a couple years later after the elastic around the waist had stretched out. Meanwhile, I still wear the Fast and Furry-ous jersey quite often, as it is one of my favorite jerseys, as well as one of my best hot weather jerseys. So, I guess that the extra expense was worth it. This is also one of my most versatile cycling jerseys, because it is also suitable for wearing at formal occasions, such as weddings and funerals.

Spring 1998 – Continuing my quest to accumulate more cycling jerseys, I was browsing through a Bike Nashbar catalogue, when my eyes dilated and my pulse quickened. There, in front of me, was a picture of a cycling jersey with the Mountain Dew logo, the soft drink nectar of the Gods. I knew right then I had to have this jersey. I believe that this is a replica jersey of a mountain bike racing team that was co-sponsored by Mountain Dew, but I really don't know or care. You can keep your Oberon ale jersey; this is the jersey for me. Even though it is not a good hot weather jersey, it's one of my favorites, and I'm still waiting for the Pepsi Cola Company to come to their senses and start sponsoring me.

Spring 1999 – I bought my first KBC jersey, the red, blue, yellow, and white version. I've worn this jersey at various cycling events over the years in order to represent KBC. This is another jersey favorite, although it's the worst hot weather cycling jersey that I own. So, I've learned the hard way after a couple of National 24-Hour Challenges and Flowerfests/KalTours not to wear it when the temperature is above 80 degrees.

Spring 2000 – I had begun doing my annual TOSRV ride from Columbus to Portsmouth, Ohio and back with a group of people that included a large contingent of riders from Ontario. These riders decided that we needed to have our own "team" jerseys, so we gave them money to buy "Gears Racing" cycling jerseys from Gears Bike Shop in Toronto. The blue and yellow jersey was another esthetically appealing jersey, since it matched my then current blue and yellow bicycle, but what wasn't so esthetically appealing was the fact that it was an extra-large. Surprisingly, it fits rather well, but it would probably fit even better if I suddenly grew about 6 inches.

Winter 2002 – I decided to add another long sleeve jersey to my collection and purchased a blue Performance Bicycle brand jersey. Unfortunately, although I didn't realize it at first, this jersey is cut a little shorter than I'd like, which, upon occasion, creates the sort of muffin-top cycling shorts look that is even more attractive while displaying additional winter weight during the early spring. Fortunately for my fellow riders, I almost always wear this jersey with either a base layer or t-shirt under it.

Spring 2004 – I bought a leftover 2003 TOSRV jersey at the 2004 TOSRV ride, because the price had been reduced by 30%. I also liked the Ohio statehood bicentennial design. This has also turned out to be the best hot weather jersey that I own, so I rarely wear it unless the temperature is at least 85 degrees. Strangely enough, this jersey was made by Voler, the same company that made my worst hot weather jersey.

Spring 2005 – Suffering from bright jersey color overload, I bought a gray and black Cannondale jersey. This jersey turned out to have the same problem as my long-sleeve blue jersey, which was particularly disappointing, since it's a large size. Unfortunately for my fellow riders, I almost never wear this jersey with either a base layer or t-shirt under it. Although it has some sentimental value as the jersey that I wore during my only satisfactorily completed National 24-Hour Challenge, I think I'd have to vote for this jersey as "Most Likely to be Thrown Out before it Wears Out."

Summer 2005 – Because I reached 1000 total miles of National 24-Hour Challenge riding during the aforementioned National 24-Hour Challenge, I received a blue and white National 24-Hour Challenge 1000 mile jersey from the race organizers. It took me five races to ride over 1000 miles, proving that if you do something poorly often enough, you will be rewarded for it. Let this be a lesson for all you impressionable youngsters out there.

Fall 2006 – Suffering from Tour de France delusion withdrawal, I bought a mostly yellow Pearl Izumi cycling jersey (on sale, needless to say, although I'm saying it anyway) from Dexter Bike and Sport in Dexter, Michigan. This has the softest fabric of any jersey that I own; maybe I'll start wearing it as a pajama top, too.

Winter 2008 – Still apparently suffering from Tour de France delusion withdrawal, I bought another long-sleeved Performance Bicycle brand jersey; this one in solid yellow. The company claimed that they were now making this style of jersey with a longer cut, and although this could have been a case of "fool me twice, shame on me," it wasn't. It fits fine and is now my go-to long sleeve jersey, particularly on those rare occasions when I'm riding outside in January and I'm imagining that I'm Lance Armstrong riding up the Alpe d'Huez during a snowstorm.

Spring 2010 – Along with many other KBC riders, I expressed my individuality by buying the 2010 edition of the KBC cycling jersey, adding purple to my cycling jersey color repertoire.

Spring 2011 – Since I was riding in the 50th annual TOSRV ride, I decided to purchase at full price (what?!) the 2011 TOSRV jersey to mark this historic occasion, and mainly because I thought that there would be no leftover 2011 jerseys in 2012. I like the motif of this jersey with the number "50" within the chainrings; the inner chainring in the shape of Ohio. I also like what is printed on the inside of the neck, which is "This side against neck. Warning: Insertion of arm or leg here will result in unsatisfactory garment performance." Heeding this advice, I use this jersey as a balaclava.

Summer 2011 – Unleashing my inner spendthrift again, I paid full price for the 2011 DALMAC jersey. Although I usually wear a medium sized jersey, the medium jersey that I had ordered felt like I had encased myself in plastic wrap, so I exchanged it for a large. There is a map of Michigan on the front of this deeply zippered jersey, which suggests that it should be worn fully unzipped if west Michigan ever secedes from the rest of the state.

So, there you have it. Sixteen jerseys and 16 fascinating stories. And next month: Every cycling sock tells a story! Editor's Letter readership plummets!

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor


Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

Sunday, April 15. Fisk Knob Time Trial. Fisk Knob (Kent) County Park. 28 km (17.3 mile) time trial.

Wednesday through Sunday, August 29 – September 2. 42nd Annual Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw (DALMAC) Bicycle Tour. Four rides over 4 or 5 days, ranging from 286 to 404 miles. Registration has begun and all rides fill up quickly.


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).


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,
Are you or someone you know looking for a new job? Breakaway Bicycles & Fitness of Portage is now accepting applications for employment in both sales and service. We are looking for a few full or part time salespeople as well as a full or part time mechanic. Experience is a plus, but not essential. If you are interested, please visit our website at and click on the careers link on the bottom left of the page for an application.

Custer Cyclery

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

Gazelle Sports

214 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, (269) 342–5996,
Join us for FREE yoga at the Lolë Yoga Meet Up at Gazelle Sports, Thursday, March 15, at 6:00 P.M. Enjoy free yoga, PLUS 20% off all your Lolë purchases this evening!

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.