January 2013 President’s Letter

You Can't Complain...

You really can't complain about the just-concluded 2012 bike riding season. It lasted much longer than usual in this hottest-ever-in-the-history-of-the-planet year. There were people riding outside late into December, until snow finally made the roads slick and unsafe for road bikes.

That, of course, didn't stop some of the club's bike commuters, who are hardy and well-equipped enough to continue their riding even after ice and cold have driven the rest of us inside. Nor, apparently, does it bring a halt to those of the mountain biking denomination, who sometimes like to liven things up by tooling around on trails, even after they (the trails, not the bikers) are frozen and have been dusted with snow. Whee! Put my orthopedic surgeon on speed dial!

Well, more power to those folks. But I like to take some time off the bike at this time of year to rest and recuperate, as well as to do some cross training and cross country skiing. And, of course, to gain back the weight I fought so hard to drop during the bike season. It's my winter activity; my sport of choice.

But after having been cooped up sick inside the house for the better part of a week, I'm busting to get out and do something ... anything.

On January 26th, I'll get that opportunity – and so will you. Presumably, you're already way ahead of me on this score and have written on your calendars that that date is the one on which the KBC Recovery Party falls. More information about the event is available elsewhere in this Pedal Press.

We've got a great lineup scheduled, with awards, raffle prizes, the KBC Volunteer of the Year presentation and, of course, more great food than you can shake a bike pump at. Oh ... and beer! And, I guess, some other beverages as well.

Talk Talk...You might think that coming up with subjects for the monthly KBC President's Letter would be easy. How hard could it be, you might surmise, to plop down in a desk chair every 30 days and let flow words of wisdom about such a wonderful pursuit?

Well, this month, after enduring days without end of gray skies, weather too cold to bike outside, and sickness and despair, let's just say my usual fount of inspiration seemed a little to the threadbare side.

So, I put out a call to member Kathleen Kroll to see what she could come up with as pertains to the subject. As anyone who knows Kathleen will readily testify, thinking up things to talk about is not her problem. And that, in a nutshell, is what this is about ...

Kathleen said, "If I were writing, I'd spin a tale about the time I was huffing and puffing up the hill outside of Kendall on the Wednesday night ride when the man riding next to me said, "You know, you'd actually make it up this hill if didn't talk so much. Why don't you save your breath?" Ha! I don't ride for accomplishment ... I ride to socialize. Don't be ridiculous."

Those of us who are relatively long-time bikers recall the days when the type of cycling we do within KBC was a mostly-male activity. As far as I can tell, in perusing the club's archives, there never was an official policy to exclude women. But one would never have known that from the turnout at the club rides. The peloton was almost completely dominated by men.

Those days are, thankfully, over. We saw more female cyclists at the club rides in 2012 than ever before. That's a terrific trend, and one I hope continues. The things that make biking a worthwhile pastime for men make it equally beneficial for women.

So, getting back to Kathleen, I mentioned that "we saw" more women biking on KBC club rides this year. We also heard them! Kathleen, apparently, is not the only one who likes to talk on the bike ... and everywhere else.

This tendency has come as quite a shock to some of the old guard, whose ideal auditory inputs on a ride have in the past consisted of grunts of effort and little else. I'll confess I too was somewhat taken aback in the beginning at hearing the chatter coming from bikes astride which sat members of the female persuasion. It was different; very different.

And better. Along with the talk has come better communication; more back-and-forth; the opening up of social connections. In the past, it always astonished me that I knew next to nothing about many of the people with whom I ride thousands of miles a summer. Are they single? Married? Do they have kids? Are they gay? Straight? You just never know because you never exchanged that kind of information. And in few other areas of life does that cloak of impenetrability, even isolation, occur.

But that doesn't last long when lines of communication are opened up on the bike, as they have this past year. Let's keep that going; that talk, that buzz, that energy. It's a good thing – and the happy smiles that result are the satisfying byproduct.

See you at the Recovery Party!

Zolton Cohen, KBC President

(Editor's Note: By the way, I'm a Gemini.)


No KBC Monthly Meeting This Month

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 12, 2013 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend.


KBC Recovery Party This Month

Greetings cyclists. I have always thought that the Recovery Party was in reference to recovering from a hard season of cycling. But now that I consider the timing of the event, I realize it is more likely to recover from the holidays. So let's recover!

The Recovery Party will be held on Saturday, January 26th at 7:00 P.M. John and Teri Olbrot will host again at 5146 Burning Tree Road in Texas Township. We will have food, beer, soft drinks, prizes, pictures, workshops, socializing and general revelry. We only ask that you bring a dish to pass. Don't miss it.

This is a great chance to see what everyone looks like without the helmets, glasses and spandex. It is sure to be a great time.

Chad Goodwill, KBC Social Director


Playing Water Bottle Roulette

by Paul Selden

If you're like me, you've acquired a number of water bottles over the years. This year, I rediscovered one hiding in an out of the way nook in our basement. Not wanting to squander natural resources, I decided to bring it back into active service.

The translucent plastic body of my long-forgotten bottle attracted me. In the back of my mind lingered a National Geographic photo of clear plastic water bottles baking in the sun. (UV rays in sunlight have helped make drinking water safer for millions of Africans. See Links 1 and 2 below.) Without re-reading the detailed instructions in National Geographic, I figured, "Huh. What works in Tanzania should work riding in Michigan."

Ignoring the instructions let me put the bottle into service more quickly. I shook baking soda into it, added water, shook some more, and rinsed it. I rode with it once or twice, and then used it mainly as a bedside source of drinking water. (An astute reader may conclude that the bottle was no longer in direct sunlight, but such a keen insight didn't arise in my aging brain.)

Over time my re-discovered water bottle developed a mild but not-so-thirst quenching off-note. This was not a problem, since: a) I'm a guy who eats bananas that my wife curiously calls "over-ripe;" b) I'm a guy who can come home from a long ride in hot weather and drink a can of V8 that's been heating in my closed black car with black interior; and, c) I'm a guy who reasons that, since I refill the bottle with fresh water every few nights, the water will be clean when I drink it.

Fast forward to this past November. One night, I woke up with a huge thirst. Instead of my usual discrete squirt or two, I remember counting to 15 squirts, thinking, "Ahh, tastes kinda funny, but I'm really thirsty."

The next day passed without incident. Later that night as I lay in bed, however, I had strange thoughts, all along the lines of "Why do I still feel that my dinner is sitting in my stomach?"

The interests of journalistic accuracy would not be served if I described what happened next in detail, because most of you would stop reading. Let's just say it was the stuff of late night dorm humor. After tossing sleepless for hours, around 3:00 A.M., I let nature take its course.

I woke feeling very weak. At my morning weigh-in I took comfort that my body fat had dropped by two percent and my weight by five pounds. A silver lining!

Fortunately, only simple desk work at home awaited me that day. I plodded through the paper without fear of contaminating anyone else. In spare moments, I searched my failing memory banks for what I could have contracted that would account for such a wretched (no pun intended) evening.

My wife had not become ill. I didn't recall being around anyone who'd been sick. The obvious took its time dawning on me. Yes, there could be a link between the funny taste in the extra big gulp from my bedside water bottle and what happened 16 hours later.

A call to my doctor's office got me the reply that I should just let things run their course and make an appointment if I felt worse in about a week.

As I recovered, I discovered I was not alone in reusing water bottles without much thought about their cleaning. Apparently, many riders never clean theirs. One thought is that the chlorine in public drinking water kills the germs. (See Link 3, below.)

On the other hand, and more aligned with my recent empirical experience, I found that many school aged kids and young adults have more common sense than me. Simple classroom experiments have found a number of potentially harmful bacteria in re-used water bottles, including staph, strep, and others that can lead to symptoms of food poisoning such as vomiting and diarrhea. (See Link 4, below.)

After browsing many articles, I put all of my bottles through a couple of rounds of serious cleaning. I physically wiped them out with tightly packed dish towels, sprayed them with bleach water/multipurpose cleaner, filled them with water, and let them stand. I rinsed, filled them with water, and froze them. I shook them with baking soda and more water. After draining them, I poured a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar into each, added water, shook some baking soda into them (marveling with a child's eye for wonder at the fizz that mixture creates) and let them stand for a few more hours. (See Links 5 and 6, below.)

A few things surprised me about the process. First, toweling out the bottles removed a bit of darkish stuff that lined one of my favorite bottles. Second, when I froze, thawed and forcefully squirted them out, some weird dark strands of something came out of another one. This substance (mold?) wiggled out from a bottle that had I'd used with only light cleaning, yet without any problem for years. Finally, on a brighter note, none of the bottles had any soapy/bleach taste after putting them through the works.

The result? In three days, I was biking about as usual. It took almost five days to fully recover my appetite. In the month following, I have used the bottle that had brought me low almost daily – with no ill effects. (I think the hair loss I've noticed of late is due to other natural processes.)

Using a treatment of towel scrubbing, vinegar, baking soda, bleach, and an occasional treatment in the freezer, I'm hoping my game of water bottle roulette is over. This is one way to lose fat that I don't want to repeat.


1. http://blogs.ngm.com/blog_central/2010/04/high-marks-for-clean-water.html
2. http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/use-solar-power-purify-water-3062.html
3. http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-29217.html
4. http://www.usc.edu/CSSF/History/2009/Projects/J1702.pdf
5. http://lovingthebike.com/uncategorized/how-to-clean-a-water-bottle
6. http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-622017.html

KBC Quick Tips

Quick Tip #3: Protecting Your Throat

"To save your throat from undue irritation when the temperature drops into the lower 40s and below, don't forget to pull your balaclava up over your mouth and maybe even your nose. This helps to warm and moisten the air you are breathing. And get yourself a second balaclava so you can wash one while having a clean one at the ready." [Paul Selden]

Quick Tip #4: Locating That Pesky Leak

"The surest way to find a leak in a flat bike tire tube is to remove it from the wheel, partially inflate it, and place it in a bucket or sink of water. A trail of bubbles will reveal where air is escaping." [Zolton Cohen]

If you have a Quick Tip you'd like to share with the KBC community, please e-mail it to educationchair@kalamazoobicyclingclub.org

Renee Mitchell, KBC Education Chair

Monthly Meeting Minutes

The December 11, 2012 meeting of the KBC was called to order by President Zolton Cohen at 7:02 P.M. Those in attendance were: Zolton Cohen, Doug Kirk, Chad Goodwill, Renee Mitchell, Terry O'Connor, Paul Selden, Peter Post, David Miner, David Jones, Marc Irwin, Rick Whaley, John Olbrot, Kathy Kirk, Mary Gerger, and Mike Boersma.

Social Director Chad Goodwill gave an update on the annual Recovery Party. The event will be hosted from 7:00 to 10:00 P.M. on Saturday, January 26, 2013 by Terry and John Olbrot. Details will be posted in the Pedal Press. Because there will be no official Pre-Season Meeting this spring, there will be two seminars presented during the Recovery Party. Joe Kucharski will speak on commuting and Doug Kirk will hold a seminar on fixing flat tires. A discussion was held regarding obtaining "giveaways" at the party, food, pictures for the slide show, seating availability, coolers, and the 2013 KBC Release and Waiver of Liability form. Party attendees should bring their choice of a dish to pass.

Treasurer John Olbrot gave the Treasurer's Report:

Income $92.31
Checking Account$6,237.64
Certificate of Deposit $11,119.86

Education Chair Renee Mitchell thanked everyone for their contributions to her new "Quick Tips" column in the Pedal Press. She announced a vacancy on the Bike Camp Committee created by Paul Bruneau's recent move. Renee also mentioned she has been working with Ethan Alexander from Open Roads to create education programs targeted for both youth and adults.

Insurance Coordinator Terry O'Connor discussed the rise of our insurance rates by the KBC's insurance carrier. A brief discussion followed, regarding whether or not we need to explore options to cover this additional cost. This topic will be revisited during a future meeting.

Director of Road Safety Paul Selden reported he had contacted area law enforcement agencies regarding the 2013 "Community Bicycle Safety for Law Enforcement and Bicyclists" training seminar. Paul also mentioned the Portage Police Department's interest in a bicycling education program.

KBC's Friend of Bicycling Award Committee Chairperson Kathy Kirk announced the four nominations for the 2013 award:

The Kalamazoo County Department of Parks and Expo Center
Christopher Tracy, co-chair of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail and organizer of Kalamazoo Bike Week
Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness in Portage, owned by Paul Wells
Central Manufacturing Services (CMS), owned by Jamie Clark

After a vote of the KBC members present, the winner of the 2013 KBC's Friend of Bicycling Award was determined to be Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness in Portage. Congratulations to Paul Wells and Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness, and great appreciation to all of the nominees for their positive contributions to the Kalamazoo bicycling community.

A Ride Captain Committee Meeting was held on December 3, 2012. Those in attendance were: Rick Whaley, Zolton Cohen, Joe Kucharski, and Doug Kirk. Among the topics discussed were the KBC Release and Waiver of Liability form, as well as the seminars to be held during the Recovery Party. It was also determined, because there will be no Pre-Season Meeting this spring, that there will also be a brief discussion the night of the Recovery Party regarding riding skills and etiquette.

It was announced that ride maps may soon be available for cell phones. John Olbrot asked if ride etiquette rules and detailed ride maps could be made readily available for new riders.

Zolton announced that the very first outdoor bike repair Station in Kalamazoo is located at WMU's Office for Sustainability. Cyclists in need of tools or a pump should look for a bright yellow steel tube in front of the building. Zolton stated he would like to see more of these around Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo Public Library and KVCC's Arcadia Commons Campus were discussed as possible future locations for bike repair stations.

David Jones mentioned the annual LMB Peddle and Paddle Ride will be held May 18-19, 2013, which also happens to be opening day of KBC's Bike Camp. Registration for the ride opens on January 1, 2013.

Doug Kirk indicated he would like to discuss the KBC Release and Waiver of Liability form during the next KBC meeting, to be held on February 12, 2013.

Zolton adjourned the meeting at 8:23 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 during the first week of February), have it to the newsletter editor by the 20th of January.


Active Subscriptions:

New members:
Patty Rawson · Joe Walter

January Expiring memberships:
Mike Berry · Barbara & John Hart

Renewed memberships:
Lee Anderson · Paul and Linda Bruneau · David Karnes

David Jones, KBC Database Manager

Editor's Letter - The 51st Man

Every July you could spot him at the back of the pack during each stage of the Tour de France, avoiding the discomfort of mingling with the peloton. Or you could spot him on a breakaway, another place of refuge. In a team sport, he was a loner; an "Enigmatic Rider," in the words of Paul Sherwen. It was never his ambition to become a professional bicycle racer; he just liked to ride, while discovering that he had the talent for it, and he never achieved quite the success that many Frenchmen had expected from their compatriot at the beginning of his cycling career. And at the end of the 2012 season, David Moncoutié retired.

It wasn't a bad career. During his 16 years of racing, he won two stages of the Tour de France, and he won the King of the Mountain competition four times in a row at the Vuelta a España. But what is particularly noteworthy is that during those 16 years with the frequently dope scandal marred Cofidis team; there was never a hint of suspicion about him. He didn't even use all the legal substances that were available to him for recovery between races. Like many loners, he was resistant to peer pressure, and he rode a bicycle on his own terms.

I spent New Year's Eve reading the United States Anti-Doping Agency's 202 page "Reasoned Decision," presenting the evidence that it used to sanction Lance Armstrong; perhaps a depressing illustration of the type of way I like to ring out the old year. But what was truly depressing was the evidence against Armstrong; it was overwhelming. And what was even more depressing was the way he corrupted those around him. Like a playground bully or mafia don, he made sure that his teammates also joined him in his corruption, and he chose his teammates well; those who would be susceptible to his bullying; those, like him, who let their ambition overrule their sense of decency.

Some excuse what Armstrong did; noting the amount of money that he has raised for cancer research through LIVESTRONG, money that may not have been raised had he been merely a run-of-the-mill professional cyclist, post-cancer. But LIVESTRONG was built with the help of a lie, and for those who say that this end justifies the means, who's to say that the money couldn't have been raised in another manner and in a more honorable fashion?

Some excuse what Armstrong did; noting that the peloton was rife with dopers during his cycling era; the tried-and-not-so-true "Everyone Else Did It" defense. What is maddening about this defense, both in Armstrong's case and wherever else this so-called defense is trotted out, is simply this: Everyone else did not do it. I don't care if the first 50 riders in the peloton doped; if this is the case, then the 51st rider was cheated out of what was rightfully his. And that 51st man could have been David Moncoutié.

Maybe I'm giving credit to Moncoutié where it isn't warranted; it won't be the first time I've given credit to a cyclist who didn't deserve it. Maybe there will be some future revelation that Moncoutié doped, as well. If so, then it's the 52nd man who was cheated out of what he was due, or maybe it was the 101st man, or maybe it was a rider who gave up the professional sport in disgust, when he realized what had become of the sport that he loved wasn't worthy of it.

I think that it is this love of cycling that propels almost every professional cyclist, at least at the beginning of his career; it would be difficult to spend hour after hour on a bicycle if one did not truly enjoy the act of riding. Surely, this must have been the case for Armstrong, as well. But at some point, what became more important to him was not the process of becoming a better cyclist, but the result, by whatever means. Lost in the day-to-day jumble of statistical minutiae, the power to weight ratios and hematocrit thresholds, as well as the blood replacement, EPO, and testosterone skullduggery, was an appreciation of just being able to ride a bicycle for a living; an appreciation of the act as an end on its own terms. Still, Lance Armstrong did get the results that he wanted and any rumored potential confession of doping will not change this.

It may be too much to expect that a professional cyclist should continue to be motivated primarily by the love of the sport. After all, results are important; a cyclist who does not do his job as an overall tour contender, a climber, a sprinter, or even a domestique will soon be out of a job. Still, David Moncoutié never lost that love. By all accounts, he was a man who was happiest when riding a bicycle and he rode, and even trained, just for the sheer joy of cycling. I suspect that he'll be riding many miles in his post-professional cycling life, as a man who is at peace with himself and what he has accomplished. So, what about you, Lance, are you at peace with yourself? And it is both infuriating and very sad that he probably is.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

None, alas. Woe is us, woe is us. And now it's 2013.

Classified Ads

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 roachbrown@yahoo.com.

Shop Notes

Alfred E Bike

320 East Michigan, Kalamazoo, (269) 349–9423

Billy's Bike Shop

63 East Battle Creek Street, Galesburg, (269) 665–5202

Breakaway Bicycles

185 Romence at Westnedge, Portage, (269) 324–5555,

Custer Cyclery

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

Gazelle Sports

214 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, (269) 342–5996,
Gazelle Sports is proud to announce that it has been chosen as one of the top four Best Running Stores in America by Competitor Magazine.

The search began this spring with a notice posted on www.competitor.com asking runners to recommend their favorite running store. More than 15,000 consumers nominated over 150 stores across the country. The evaluation process consisted of an undercover mystery shopping rating by Franklin Retail Solutions based on 20 different criteria, a rating of the store's community service and involvement, and input from the leading brands supplying these stores. The awards were presented at The Running Event, the annual industry trade show and conference for the running industry.

Gazelle Sports has been in the top 50 for six previous years. This is the first year the store has been chosen to be in the top four.

See a video about Gazelle Sports here: http://www.gazellesports.com/top4.

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.