February 2013 President’s Letter

Party Down!

If the success of an event can be evaluated by the number of people who didn't want to leave it and return to their regular lives, the annual KBC Recovery Party, held at Teri and John Olbrot's house on Saturday, January 26, 2013, can be declared an unqualified hit. Nearing 11:30 P.M., long after the "official" end time of 10:00 P.M. had blown past, I felt like a sheepdog trying to herd the stragglers toward the door so the Olbrots could finally get to bed.

Despite my best efforts, there may have been a few strays hiding in the crannies of the basement, willing to carry on until the sun came up.

There was an early snafu that involved missing taps for the beer kegs. (Note to CMS/KBC Race Team Captain Jon Ballema: Isn't that what you learn on day one in college; don't forget the keg taps?) In response, a number of engineer-types congregated around the fortress-like containers, threatening to scheme up different ways to crack into the brew.

But cooler heads prevailed and people were able to roll with it. And Jon eventually did retrieve the missing equipment, much to everyone's delight and relief. Once the kegs started disgorging their contents – a terrific triumvirate concocted by Jon's friend at Tempo Vino Winery – congeniality proceeded apace.

Social Director Chad Goodwill had done a thorough job of planning and organizing prior to the party, and it showed in how smoothly everything went. There was plenty of (delicious!) food, beer, wine, and soft drinks, and at the end of the night things were (relatively) cleaned up and put away. And, on the better news front, it looks as though he will have some help at future endeavors. A social-event volunteer sign-up sheet quickly filled with names.

Local bike shops Alfred E Bike, Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness in Portage, Pedal, and Zoo City Cycle donated many nice raffle prizes. Gazelle Sports kicked in a gift certificate, and Spine Physical Therapy and Paul Raynes contributed gift cards for massages. Thank you to all those businesses; your generosity not only at the party but throughout the year is a precious resource for our club.

Doug and Kathy Kirk gave their popular "offbeat awards" of bicycle-themed pasta to members worthy of recognition for their cycling prowess – or personal or cycling eccentricity. There probably isn't enough pasta made to do justice to the latter categories, but the Kirks did their best to honor those most deserving...

I had the pleasure of awarding the Volunteer of the Year award to Director of Road Safety, Paul Selden – an utter and complete slam-dunk if ever there was one – with a $50 gift certificate to Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness in Portage.

Paul does so much for the club that, as President, I feel as though I have to bring my "A-game" merely to keep up with him. He, more than anyone, has put KBC on the map with local road commissions, law enforcement agencies, and other entities involved in transportation issues. In other words, he does the hard work of attending meetings and adding cycle-centric input in order to improve conditions for local biking.

So, congratulations to Paul on earning the Volunteer of the Year award. This is one way the club can officially thank its dedicated volunteers; the next time you see him, please add yours as well.

As an unexpected bonus on the night, our friend Paul Bruneau, KBC's former database manager, showed up out of the blue, full of vigor and stories about his new job with the New York Times. It sure was good to see him, and it was a reminder of how much we all miss his humor, intelligence, and good will.

Last, but certainly not least, please join me in thanking John and Teri for so warmly offering up their home to host the Recovery Party. As I said in my opening remarks on Saturday, it takes special people to open up their house to some who are complete strangers, and to others who are merely ... strange. KBC is in their debt.

It would be hard to envision the party going any better. My hope is that the camaraderie experienced by those members who attended will carry over into the 2013 riding season. It was a splendid kick-off. Let's keep it going...

Zolton Cohen, KBC President


Next KBC Monthly Meeting on February 12, 2013

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.


Friend of Bicycling Award

There was a nice article and picture about KBC's 2012 Friend of Bicycling award in the Saturday, January 26, 2013 edition of the Kalamazoo Gazette, which is reprinted below. This was good publicity for the club and for Breakaway Bicycles, a deserving award winner.

Kalamazoo Bicycle Club honors Breakaway Bicycles

Business earns Friend of Bicycling award



PORTAGE – The Kalamazoo Bicycle Club's third annual Friend of Bicycling award has been presented to Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness in Portage.

KBC president Zolton Cohen said Breakaway Bicycles was chosen for a variety of reasons.

"Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness in Portage has always been exemplary in servicing its customers with bicycling related gear, but its management goes above and beyond that to help out whenever and wherever needed in the regional cycling community," Cohen said.

The award was given to Paul Wells, the owner of Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness, 185 Romence Road. He and his staff thanked the club for the honor and will display the award at the store.

"We're proud of it and happy to have it," said Wells, who has been a member of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club since 1976 and opened the Portage business in 1989. "I was excited about it and surprised because there are some individuals in the bike club ... who have put in a lot of time to improve the bike club. Maybe it was just my time. I am very grateful."

Cohen said Breakaway has been a good friend to the Kalamazoo area bicycling community in several ways.

"At its own expense, Breakaway sends staff to provide support at events like the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club's Bike Camp, a training and educational program for beginning cyclists, as well as KalTour, the club's one day summer bike tour," he said.

He also praised Breakaway for providing mechanical assistance at local mountain and road bike races, including the Miller Energy/BTR Criterium, held at Western Michigan University's business park.

"Looking back through the years it has been in business, it is difficult to think of anything having to do with the local cycling scene in which Breakaway has not had a hand," Cohen said.

"For all it does to enhance the community bicycling experience, KBC considers Breakaway Bicycles and Fitness in Portage a worthy recipient of its Friend of Bicycling Award for 2013."

Past recipients of the Friend of Bicycling Award have been the Friends of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail and the Portage Department of Streets and Equipment.

The nonprofit Kalamazoo Bicycle Club was formed in 1971 in order to promote bicycling in the region.

Its activities include bike safety advocacy, club rides, racing, touring and promotion of bicycle-friendly infrastructure.

For more on the club and its annual award, go to www.kalamazoobicycleclub.org.



Paul Wells, left, receives the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club's Friend of Bicycling award from its president, Zolton Cohen.


Wanted: Bike Camp Brochure Designer

The KBC's Bike Camp Committee is looking to redesign/update the Bike Camp brochure and is seeking a willing individual to assist us with this. The pay – well, none. The hours – to be determined. The rewards – priceless, just knowing you had a primary role in introducing people to safe cycling for years to come! If you have any questions or are interested in designing the new Bike Camp brochure, please e-mail Renee Mitchell at educationchair@kalamazoobicyclingclub.org. Thank you!

Renee Mitchell, KBC Education Chair

KBC Quick Tips

Quick Tip #7: Dale Krueger's Rules for Dale Krueger's winter rides

"1. The road must be dry when you leave the house. If you run into an icy road, turn around and play it safe.

2. The temperature must be 27 degrees or above without too much of a wind and pray for tail winds or no wind at all.

3. Depending upon the temperature, wear three or four layers, and dress for the second mile .... a tight fitting full cap is very important.

4. When you get to South Haven, do not eat at Clementines or your sweaty clothes may be too cold when you head for home and it will take 10-15 miles to warm up again.

5. Always ride with Terry O'Connor and Paul Selden as they will not drop you and may even help fix your flat tire." [Dale Krueger]

Quick Tip #8: Grasping your jacket zipper with ease in the winter

"In the winter, riding with bulky gloves and mittens can make it hard to grasp a zipper when you need to zip your jacket up or down while riding. If your zipper has a hole in its pull tab, it's easy to install a zipper pull loop that can be grabbed, even when wearing thick mittens. You can buy pre-made pulls for about 50 cents each in the camping section of a number of stores or make one with four to six inches of cord or leather shoe string." [Paul Selden]

Quick Tip #9: Best way to carry a spare tube

"Carrying a spare tube in a seat pack in either the cardboard container it came in or loose amid other items can result in a hole being worn or poked in the tube, rendering it useless. A better idea is to carry the tube in a zipper sealed plastic bag into which a small amount of baby or talcum powder has been sprinkled. The plastic bag protects the tube from wear and abrasion and the talcum allows the folds of rubber to slide past one another without friction. It also prevents the rubber from sticking to itself." [ Zolton Cohen]

Looking for Quick Tips on Spring bike maintenance, fitness, training, tours, etc. There's a lot of bike knowledge in our KBC community, let's share it with each other! Please e-mail tips to educationchair@kalamazoobicyclingclub.org

Your tips are appreciated by all!

Renee Mitchell, KBC Education Chair


Kudos to the City of Portage and its Department of Parks and Recreation for making a widely publicized commitment to keep much, if not all, of its well-known Bikeway clear of snow this winter for the first time. Those of us who regularly use all or a portion of the system (trail and on-road) to get around town by bike during the so-called "off season" greatly appreciate the added safety and convenience this provides. For more information, see this MLive article

Paul Selden



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 March edition (distributed during the first week of March), have it to the newsletter editor by the 20th of February.


Active Subscriptions:

New members:
Ethan Alexander

Expiring memberships:
Tom Cross

Renewed memberships:
Alan Sylvester · Barbara & John Hart · Michael Vandeveer

David Jones, KBC Database Manager

Editor's Letter - The Slide Cometh before the Fall

I've made my share of bad cycling decisions in my lifetime. The time I decided to eat a heaping plate of barbeque midway through a Century ride. The time I decided to ride past the last convenience store for what turned out to be 20 miles with an almost empty water bottle in 90 degree heat. The time I decided to wear a red, green, black, and white cycling jersey with blue cycling shorts. And so on. So, it wasn't surprising, at least to me, that it took me only 9 days to make my first bad cycling decision of 2013.

I like to tell myself that I'm not a slave to exercise related activity streaks (although I am rather proud of my 22,000+ day breathing streak, because I like to set the bar high). But, this is not entirely true. I'm a bicycle commuting dilettante with a winter offseason, but thanks to the mild winter of 2011-2012, I've been able to commute to work via bike at least once every month since February 2011. So, as we entered 2013, I realized that I had a 23 month commuting streak, and if I could find at least one decent commuting day in January, I could keep this streak alive. And when it came to "decent," I decided that this bar wasn't going to be particularly high.

So, when the forecast indicated that the temperature was going to be in the mid 30s around sunrise and rising well into the 40s in the afternoon with no rain, I decided that this was my day. And I would not be deterred when I heard on the radio that the roads were slippery; after all, it was above freezing, so how bad could it be? And I would not be deterred as I gazed at the glaze on my driveway, bicycle in hand. I was riding, to the dismay of the rational voice in my head.

At the first stop sign after a tenth of a mile, I had to admit that the voice of reason had a point. There was a huge patch of ice, but at least I could see it. More problematical was the black ice that I couldn't see, but wasn't imaginary. (And, while we're on the subject, Manti Te'o should switch his jersey number to the square root of negative 1 in honor of his girlfriend.) Fortunately, the subdivision roads were reasonably clear prior to Oakland Drive. Oakland Drive was fine, as well, even at the point where the bicycle lane ended and I had to merge with traffic. It was the same on Kilgore Road.

And then I turned onto Bronson Boulevard. Soon afterwards, I stood on my pedals to get over a slight hill, when I said to myself, "Wow, that pedal stroke went by really quickly," and I realized that raising my center of gravity was not the optimal riding strategy under these conditions. Shortly afterwards, after stopping for the stoplight at Whites Road, I fishtailed my way through the intersection. Then, as I began my descent down the 3/4 mile Bronson hill, my bike shimmied, and I proceeded to ride down that hill holding onto the brakes so hard, you'd have thought that I was holding onto Lance Armstrong's last shred of credibility. But I stayed on my wheels and rode the remainder of the way without incident, although I set a new slowest commute record by several minutes.

So, I did get to work without actually sliding off my bicycle. And it got me wondering if there had ever been a time when I've actually slid off my bike. There have been instances, more numerous than I'd like to admit, where I've fallen off of my bike because I failed to unclip from my pedals in time. Then there was that time about 30 years ago, when I put my mind on faulty autopilot, rode into a ditch, and fell off my bike. After I got home, I wondered why I was having a hard time bending my knee, looked down, and discovered that it had swollen grotesquely. "Hmmmm," I thought to myself, "If this grad school thing doesn't work out, there's always circus freak shows." The next day, I went to the doctor and learned that I had burst a bursa sac, and after a couple days, my knee was back to normal, relatively speaking.

But in none of the above cases, did I actually slide off my bike. That has only occurred once, as well as I can remember, in 1993, when I lived in suburban Columbus, Ohio. I was on a ride on a late Saturday afternoon, when I noticed, too late, that there was a lot of gravel in front of a fast approaching intersection. I started to remind myself to be careful while braking, too hard as it turned out, and suddenly found myself lying on the ground next to my bicycle. The handlebar of my bike was twisted, so I got up, twisted it back into its proper position, and thought, "Well, there we have it, no harm done." I then noticed the blood running down my sliced open thumb. I found a rag in my seat pack, and since it wasn't too encrusted with chain grease, I wrapped it around my thumb and rode 5 miles back to my house.

When I got home, I washed out the cut, inspected it, and reluctantly decided that I'd better go to the emergency room for stitches. Even under ordinary circumstances, the prospect of spending an evening at the emergency room was not a cause for celebration, but in this particular circumstance, I was leaving town the next day for 10 days, and I still needed to mow my lawn and pack. But off I went, and several hours and several stitches later, I returned home and burned the midnight oil packing. The next morning, I mowed my lawn using one and a half hands, and caught my flight.

I spent the first part of my trip at a statistics convention and you can only imagine the bacchanalian debauchery that goes on when a couple thousand statisticians get together, because, in reality, that is the only thing you can do. So, I think it's safe to say that my damaged thumb didn't crimp my lack of style. After the convention was over, I did some sightseeing for a few days and visited a friend; an ex-nurse, she removed my stitches without anesthesia, because that's just the kind of tough guy I am. And after I came home, I started riding my bicycle again, with a keener appreciation of the dangers that can lurk beneath my wheels. And even though it has faded, I can still see that half inch scar on my right thumb; just another cycling souvenir, the result of a bad cycling decision. And, obviously, not my last one.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

Oh, how long must we wait! How long must we wait!

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,

February is Tune Up month at Breakaway. We're offering our winter tune up special at $50.00 (+ parts) through the end of February. When March rolls around, we get slammed, which results in longer waits. So we'll get your bike back to you in a couple days, save you money, and have your bike ready to roll for spring, if you bring it in early this year!

Breakaway Bicycles is looking for a couple of bicycle loving, capable, self-motivated folks to join our crew. We can use full time or part time help. The sad truth in this enlightened age is that women seldom apply. Lots of men and boys do. So I encourage you females to come in and apply! We have a supportive, fun environment and emphasize customer service.

Custer Cyclery

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

Gazelle Sports

214 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, (269) 342–5996,
Mark your calendar for Gazelle Sports' annual February Footwear SALE... February 6-10! Thousands of shoes 25-50% OFF! We'll have markdowns on apparel, too. Shop and SAVE!

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.