September 2012 President’s Letter


I've been told – too many times now – that when I'm around our three grandchildren, I shouldn't "model" behavior that their parents don't want to see in the future. So, when they visited a few weeks ago, I had a fork wrestled out of my hand when I started poking one of the twin boys and telling him I was going to "eat you up!"

Now where's the fun in all that? If you can't tease a child to distraction and make him squeal…well, what's the purpose of being a Grandpa?

My query as to when it might be appropriate to buy the boys their first folding pocketknives was met with horrified cries from both the kids' parents and also by Grandma Mimi.

Hey, it's not like I was looking to equip them with explosives. Heck, they're only four! I'd probably wait until they were at least six before I would teach them the fun one can have burning off one's eyebrows with black powder. . .

Stick with me here. This does have a point about cycling. Relax; I'll get to it.

So, I was out on the Monday night ride a while back, tagging onto tail end of Terry O'Connor's 18-19 mph group, as we embarked on the Old Schoolcraft route. A beautiful, balmy night and a lot of people showed up in the parking lot. I counted 32 of us on Terry's ride, and that was just one of the five different groups that rode that evening.

We all managed to squeeze through the stoplight at the intersection of 8th Street and Q Avenue and started south up that little hill that runs by Asiago's restaurant. I looked behind me and spotted a big County Sheriff's SUV following the group closely.

Having had one unfortunate encounter with the Sheriff's Department already this summer, I felt my stomach sink; we were going to get pulled over for sure, for being spread all over the road in no semblance of order.

But then, something miraculous occurred. As soon as we crested that little rise, everyone fell into two-abreast formation. We pedaled down the road in complete compliance with the State Motor Vehicle Code! The deputy in the SUV followed us until it was safe for him to pass, and then he did so.

The important thing is that we never gave him a reason to pull us over. We were abiding by the law. Again, miraculous. Thanks, Terry, for leading that disciplined group, and for the riders who take seriously our role as responsible citizens on the roadway.

Now let's bring this thing full-circle.

Just as it's a good idea to model the type of behavior we'd like to see emulated by our kids and grandchildren, it's equally important to do so on the bike. In groups or on our own, what we look like – and how we behave – is how others judge not only us, but other bikers as well.

Often unfairly, we get painted by a broad brush. We are sometimes categorized by auto drivers who have seen deviant tactics displayed by scofflaws on cycles. We don't need to make things worse by adding additional fuel to their inventory of experiences with bikers screwing up.

In fact, members of our club should be setting an example of exemplary behavior on bikes. We all know traffic laws and most of us know how they pertain to us as cyclists. If you don't, read this:

When we obey the law and ride in a responsible fashion, we're not only safer, but we might start to change a few minds about how bikers are perceived on the road.

Ironically, near the end of that Monday ride on the way home, I watched as a member of the group rode right through the red light at that same 8th Street and Q Avenue intersection. There were cars waiting to proceed as their light turned green, but they had to wait until this rogue biker sprinted through.

Now, I have no qualms about speaking to people who do stupid and dangerous things like that on the bike – and you shouldn't either. I wasted no time in riding up alongside him to discuss what he had done and the possible effect it might have. He was apologetic, and said he hadn't looked at it from that perspective before. He promised not to do it again.

I hope he takes that to heart. And I hope you do, too. We all can be exemplary bikers, and this club can, and should, become known for our adherence to and knowledge of cycling traffic laws.

But I'm still buying those boys knives. I don't care what their mother says. . .

Zolton Cohen, KBC President


Next KBC Monthly Meeting on September 11th, 2012

The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend.


A Request from our Social Director

My name is Chad Goodwill and I am the Social Director for the club. The problem is, right after I signed up for this great task, I changed careers and have had somewhere between little and no time for things like organizing fun activities for the club, spending time with my children, or sleeping.

So I had this great idea. We are a club full of social folks who would love to help. I want to get a small group of people who would be willing to lend me a hand and help organize events. I have some fun ideas and a lot of enthusiasm. I am looking for people with even more ideas and enthusiasm to execute all of these warm-fuzzy-fun activities.

Please e-mail your contact information to me (, and I will put a list of folks together, and we can figure out a time to make this work. Mind you, this is not a Committee. This is more of a Social Super Group. I could even make t-shirts ...

Chad Goodwill, KBC Social Director



Thanks to Paul Selden for the great write up about the 2012 Kalamazoo Bike Week for the League of Michigan Bicyclist magazine.

Submitted by David Jones

(Editor's Note: If there is any member of the bicycling community that you think is worthy of recognition, feel free to submit a Kudos of your own.)


Monthly Meeting Minutes

The August 14, 2012 meeting of the KBC was called to order by President Zolton Cohen, at 6:58 P.M. Those in attendance were: Zolton Cohen, Terry O'Connor, Victor Van Fleet, Mike Mock, David Jones, Marc Irwin, John Olbrot, Mike Krischer, Tom Keizer, Chris LeBlanc, and Rick Whaley.

Treasurer John Olbrotgave the Treasurer's Report. The income and expenses are as follows:

Income $4,485.14
Checking Account8,123.10
Certificate of Deposit11,116.13

Terry O'Connor wanted to know about expenses from KalTour that are outstanding and John reported that the outstanding expenses are approximately $1400. John also reported that KBC has received free vouchers from Adventure Cycling in the mail that we can give out to club members. Zolton asked if we can figure out exactly how much money we made from KalTour and John and Mike Krischer said that they would figure it out.

Zolton gave a Road Safety report from Paul Selden, who was unable to attend the meeting. Paul reported that Portage replaced some water valve covers in their bike lanes based on his contact with Ray Waurio and Judy Graham with streets department in Portage. He also reported that the search committee for Kalamazoo Bike Week 2013 has invited Chad Goodwill and Jeff Newman to discuss the event sometime later in August. David Warwick, Vice-President of EnviroLogic and an avid bicyclist, also volunteered to attend this meeting.

The club's Anniversary Ride was discussed next. It is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, September 15. Zolton will work with Chad Goodwill, KBC's Social Director, on this.

Zolton reported that there has been no response to his request to fill the Ride Captain and the Public Relations Chair positions, but he is talking with someone about being the Ride Captain. Marc Irwin indicated that he may be able to become the Public Relations Chair in 2013.

Zolton then reported that he had received an e-mail form Shane Thompson, a runner who is active in the local running community, about a call he received from State Representative Margaret O'Brien. She had received a complaint from a constituent regarding a group of cyclists who ignored a stop sign and blew through an intersection. The constituent stated that he almost hit a cyclist because of this. Zolton stated that what we do as a club has an impact and that when motorists start contacting legislators, we have a problem. David Jones thought that in the future, we need to find out where and any problems occur in order to determine the responsibility for these problems. The general consensus was that we need to be on good behavior and make sure that we obey traffic laws when we are riding as a group.

Zolton reported that we had received a thank you note from Western Michigan for our help with the Miller Energy Criterium. KBC got good PR from this race. Zolton will be attending a debriefing meeting concerning the criterium soon.

Chris LeBlanc gave a brief update concerning the completion of the Maple Street Summer Biking Program. He stated that the kids had a good time and that the program generally went well. He did think that the marking for this program could be improved in order to get more participants. He also noted that Open Roads did a workshop as part of this program. David will be attending a post-program meeting about this program.

In new business, Marc reported that he may be resurrecting the fall KBC ride in October that was previously organized by Knute Jacobsen, after an absence of a couple of years. This ride will take place predominantly in Barry County.

David noted that MDOT is soliciting information about their new transportation plan. He stated that they're asking for opinions and that we ought to give them. David will send out an e-mail to Yahoo Groups about this.

Zolton also stated that he had received an e-mail from the Michigan DNR about the use of trails. Although the e-mail is snowmobile oriented, he will send this out to Yahoo Groups, as well.

The meeting adjourned at 7:34 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary Gerger, KBC Secretary



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Editor's Letter – Well, We Could be Living in Svalbard

I have always enjoyed a glorious sunrise, especially while sleeping. But that is because I am not a morning person, which is one of the reasons why I've enjoyed living in Michigan during the last 16 years. Yes, the lakes, both the four of the five Great ones and the thousands of Not-Great-but-Still-Pretty-Good ones, are beautiful, and I've found that I really appreciate the scenery and sort of appreciate the hills of northern Michigan. But these features, as attractive as they are, do not capture the summertime essence of the Michigan experience, at least for me. What does, is the fact that we're still in the Eastern Time Zone. Michigan – The Land of the Nine at Night Sun. At least that's the way it used to be, back in the Good Old Days, a month or two ago.

Some people believe that fall begins when the tilt of the earth's axis begin to turn away from the sun. Some believe that it begins after Labor Day. And some believe that it never begins, because they wear white pants all year long. But I believe that it begins in late August. Not because of the weather, of course, but because of the sun. It is in late August, while I'm finishing a post-work KBC ride, when I realize that either my vision is failing or that the sun is not longer so high in the sky. So far, it has been the latter, knock on carbon fiber (but not too hard, since I don't want to crack it).

The effect is subtle, at first. Between May 19 and August 3, the sun sets at 9:00 P.M. or later, setting as late as 9:23 P.M., and twilight lasts until almost ten. But by August 25, the sun is setting at eight-thirty, and by the end of this month, it will be setting before seven-thirty. Soon, there will be no more leisurely post-work rides, at least without taillights, headlights, and reflective clothing or, alternatively, without a death wish.

So, when I begin to wax melancholic about the shorter amount of post-work sunlight, my thoughts turn to the years when I lived in northern New England, The Land of the Wasted Five in the Morning Sun, where the sun never set after 8:35 P.M. I remember that it could be worse.

And, of course, my thoughts also turn to Svalbard. At least they have during the last couple of weeks, after a coworker and I looked at a world map in our office and wondered what it would be like to live there. And, thanks to the magic of Wikipedia ("If we don't write about it, it's not worth knowing about"), I was able to vicariously obtain that experience.

Svalbard is a chain of Norwegian islands located about midway between the rest of Norway and the North Pole. The climate is mild, at least by Siberian standards, which is kind of like saying that the soup is cool, at least by molten lava standards. Less than 3000 people live in an area of over 23,000 square miles, so go ahead, break all the rules, ride your bikes three or even four abreast. It's not as if you'll be impeding traffic, although you could be impeding polar bears, which would probably be worse.

This is also making the assumption that there are actually roads to ride on, which there aren't, at least between the "cities" on Spitsbergen, the largest island and the only inhabited island, besides a couple of islands with meteorological stations. The odds are good that we will not be watching the Tour de Svalbard on the NBC Sports Network in the near future.

So, Svalbard doesn't appear to be a cycling paradise, which is something I suspected, anyway. But what struck me the most about Svalbard during my "research" on the topic, which consisted of typing the word "Svalbard" in the AOL search engine and then clicking on "Svalbard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia," was the rapidly changing amount of daylight during the spring and fall.

For example, in Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in Svalbard ("How ya gonna keep 'em down on the ice floe, after they've seen Longyearbyen. C'mon, sing along everybody!"), there is continual daylight between April 20 and August 23 and continual darkness between October 26 and February 15. That means that there is a period of about two months where Longyearbyen goes from 24 hours of sun to 24 hours of darkness and vice versa, which also means that the days get either shorter or longer by an average of about 24 minutes per day. There's nothing particularly subtle about that.

So, while we may complain about the growing lack of evening sun, there is nothing we can actually do about it, except to complain about it, realizing that there is nothing that we can actually do about it, and so on; knowing that it could be worse. And by January, we'll be riding our stationary trainers, while reminiscing about the Good Old Days of September, and giving thanks that we don't live in Svalbard. Or else we'll be riding outside, wearing white cycling shorts, and telling ourselves that summer never ends.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor


Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

Saturday, September 8. Michigan Recumbent Rally – West. Kalamazoo, MI.

Sunday, September 9. The Vineyard Class. Paw Paw, MI. 20, 40, 60 miles.

Sunday, September 16. Harvest Bicycle Century Tour. Rolling Prairie, IN. 25, 40, 62, and 100 miles.

Saturday, September 22. Le Tour de Donut. Greenville, MI. 10 and 30 miles.

Saturday, October 13. Colorburst Bicycle Tour. Lowell, MI. 17, 30, 62, 100 paved, 62 gravel.


Classified Ads

NEW:Bicycle for sale. It is a Trek Madone 3.1 C WSD 52 Grey Metallic 11 purchased from Breakaway Bicycles & Fitness in Portage MI on June 22, 2011. It has been ridden less than 100 miles. It was purchased new and is in new condition. In addition to the bike, I will throw in the blinking red light for the back and the bright light for the front. I also have a new pack behind the seat (JANDD) and I have a bike lock that is combination and has a lighted dial – all purchased from the same bike store. I will also throw in my GIRO Atmos helmet, size small, 270gm, Model G134, 51-55cm, dated September 2010. I think this helmet was $200 at I would like to sell this for $1,400 for everything. In addition, I have other biking shirts, shorts, gloves, and socks – most never worn. All ladies size medium. A picture of the bike is shown below. Contact Kathy at or at (269) 720-8417.
Trek Madone 3.1

New Bontrager (Trek) Bicycle Helmet... white in color... small size. Has convenient back-of-head adjustment, durable, good ventilation, lightweight, nice fit system/pads. Sells for $65, asking $30. Call Dale at 375-0114 to request photo.

Looking for a chromo frame touring bicycle with a 54 to 56 cm frame that is panier compatible. Respond to


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,
LADIES! Join us at Gazelle Sports on Tuesday, September 25, 6:00 P.M. for our Lolë Yoga Meet Up. You'll be instructed in yoga by a Lolë Yoga Ambassador. Afterwards, enjoy personalized wardrobe shopping, prizes and refreshments. PLUS get 20% OFF all your Lolë purchases on this evening. Join us!

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.