February 2015 President's Letter

Plastic Fatigue

I'm willing to confess right off the bat. I ate so much at the January 31st Recovery Party that the plastic fork I was using broke in half. These utensils, I now understand, have a limited service life. And after four trips to the food counter, I guess I should have anticipated the impending failure. In order to avoid similar embarrassment next year, I've got it in my notes to bring a stainless steel fork from home.

Also, I drank one beer at the party. One. That left 119 for the rest of you. And all were gone before the party ended. Maybe KBC's previous Social Director Chad Goodwill was right: We're a drinking club with a bicycling problem.

But didn't Kathleen Kroll do a splendid job organizing the party? With help from her new husband, Reid, she had everything planned to perfection. Not only did everything go smoothly leading up to and during the party, the cleanup was quick and efficient. Kudos to Kathleen; she's a real pro at this socializing business. Next time you see her out and about, let her know you appreciate what she is doing.

Thanks also, and especially, go to David Jarl and his partners at Eckert Wordell, who so generously let us invade their beautiful working environment at the Haymarket Building. As architects, they would probably point out that their space isn't specifically designed to accommodate a large group of chatty people. But it does that very well indeed. We are grateful, David. And if you find any stray beer bottles hiding among the potted plants, go ahead and turn them in for the deposit money. No need to get back to us on that.

Jon Ballema was responsible for selecting and obtaining all the beer and wine - and then for returning the empties. So our thanks go to him as well. When he rolled into the party with five cases of brewskis, he instantly became everyone's best friend...

Nearly everyone who came to the party walked away with a raffle prize donated by Alfred E Bike, Breakaway Bicycles, Pedal, or Zoo City Cycle. Those bike shops have been so instrumental over the years in supporting our club - not just at the Recovery Party, but also at Bike Camp, KalTour, the Miller Energy BTR Race, and many other events. As I said at the party in my opening remarks, it behooves us to reciprocate by supporting them when we buy bikes and accessories. You won't be sorry; there is no online replacement for their exceptional service. Our local bike shops are key elements in keeping our cycling community vibrant. Let's keep it that way by making our purchases here in Kalamazoo.

In a surprise to many party attendees, Paul Wells, owner of Breakaway Bicycles, announced that he is retiring and selling his shop to Tim Krone, the owner of Pedal. For the 26 years Paul has been at the helm of Breakaway, he has been one of the region's most enthusiastic advocates of cycling and cross country skiing. He has been more than generous in using Breakaway's resources and influence to advance the cause of our sport.

We wish Paul the best as he moves into this next phase of his life; more bike rides, more cross country skiing, and more time with his family. At the same time, we also anticipate that Tim will continue Breakaway's tradition of great product selection and excellent mechanical service. There can be no doubt that he will bring to Breakaway the communal spirit and excellent customer service he has developed over the past few years at his downtown Pedal shop.

It was my pleasure to award Newsletter Editor Rick Whaley the Volunteer of the Year Award, along with the customary $50 gift certificate to Breakaway. Talk about easy decisions! Rick has had his hand in KBC for close to two decades, instigating and leading rides (including the famous W Ride), and raising the bar at the editor's desk of the Pedal Press. No one is more deserving of this award; it was long overdue. Congratulations, Rick!

Finally, thank you to Doug and Kathy Kirk, who came up with new categories for their bicycle-pasta "Best of" awards. Those who received one of these prestigious honors can take satisfaction in knowing that they did something truly noteworthy - well, at least bicycle-pasta worthy - on their bicycles last year. What are you going to do in 2015 that will make you eligible?

Ride Leader Sanctioning

At the February 10th KBC monthly meeting, we will start the process of sanctioning ride leaders for the 2015 season. KBC's $10,000 excess medical insurance for bike accidents covers rides that, in the insurance company's terms, our club "knows about and approves of."

As a member, you are covered if you attend one of our regular weekly rides. The club "knows about and approves of" those. You are also covered if you participate in a ride - a ride that is not necessarily part of our regular schedule, for instance an impromptu ride with others on a weekend - that is led by a sanctioned ride leader.

To become a sanctioned ride leader, you must come to a monthly meeting and agree to conduct the rides you lead in accordance with the club's safety policies and the Michigan Vehicle Code as it pertains to cyclists. Stating so will put your name in the minutes, so we have a record of our sanctioned ride leaders.

I'll look forward to seeing you at an upcoming meeting.

Zolton Cohen, KBC President


Next KBC Monthly Meeting on February 10, 2015

The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend.


Call for Your 2014 Bike Mileage

How many miles did you ride in 2014?

I know a lot of you keep track of your mileage. This is a call to submit yours, in time to print in the March edition of Pedal Press. Who knows - your report may inspire others to get out there and ride, too, regardless of the distance!

If you are a current KBC member and want to give others a sense of what you are doing mileage-wise, e-mail your first and last name and miles logged to directorroadsafety@kalamazoobicycleclub.org. Estimates ("about 750"), reasonable rounding (if you say, "under 1000" that is close enough for me), and exact numbers ("1234") are all equally o.k. In other words, this is for fun and it's very informal. To make the March's Pedal Press, reports submitted by February 20th will be printed. After that, I'll close the request for our "2014 KBC Member's Mileage Almanac."

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 e-mail 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:

Expiring memberships:

Heather Lettow · Dan Patrick · Jeff Walburn · Shelly Woertint

Renewed memberships:

Cheryl Sherwood

David Jones, KBC Database Manager

Editor's Letter - The Janfebruary Thaw

When it comes to cycling, I expect nothing from the "ary" months, and they usually live up to my expectation. I only expect to be riding on my stationary trainer again and again, attempting to distract myself from the meaninglessness of my cycling existence with other meaningless trifles, such as televised sporting events between two teams that I don't care about. Sometimes I wonder if that's sweat or tears running down my face. I also find myself wondering about the number of scrabble points I could get by using the word "mylifestinks" and because it's missing the letters "q" and "z," I feel even worse.

But I can always cheer myself up when I dream about that weather phenomenon known as the Janfebruary thaw. I realize that on the cheeriness of thought scale that this is about as low as your typical Janfebruary night's temperature. It's not as if a Janfebruary thaw is weather at its finest. It's sloppy and messy, and it ruins winter sports, such as cross-country skiing. And, yet, it sometimes allows me to ride my bicycle outside. I take my weather cheer where I can find it and sometimes I find it collecting in a pool of slush at the end of my driveway.

Whenever I ride outside in Janfebruary, it's like I'm breaking out of jail, not that I've actually had any real world experience with that sort of thing. Freed from the prison of my basement, I'm able to experience cycling the way it was meant to be: Layering myself like a wedding cake, fighting off numbness in my extremities, and collecting gritty slop all over my bicycle. Okay, maybe this isn't quite the way it was meant to be, but I'm just happy to be on the outside.

So, I find myself scouring the weather page of the newspaper, the weather sites on the internet, and the weather forecasts on TV, searching for clues that a Janfebruary thaw is forthcoming, plotting my escape. I hunt for high temperatures that are in the upper 30s or lower 40s, but I'll accept the mid-30s if I must. I hunt for low temperatures that are just below freezing at their lowest. I hunt for sunny days with no precipitation. But while the temperature and the cloud condition are important, the key to a successful Janfebruary thaw is the condition of the roads. Keeping my balance while riding across of sheet of ice on 23C tires is something that I don't practice, because practice would only make me perfect; a perfect spectacle. Riding through half melted snow also has its slippery risks. So, the roads must be free of snow and ice. And if the conditions are right, I become a cycling fugitive.

But the Janfebruary thaw is elusive. There are years when it is only a rumor, such as last year. I rode only once outside during the first six weeks of Janfebruary, and that was on my mountain bike for extra traction, while avoiding the icy patches on the road. There are other years when the thaw occurs during the middle of the week, which does me little good. But there are other years when the thaw decides to make an appearance and the timing is right. Like this year.

I was able to ride outside on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Saturdays in January. The temperatures were not much above freezing, and it was cloudy and sometimes windy, but the roads appeared to be clear and that's what was important. So, I made my getaways.

The 3rd Saturday's ride was uneventful. I thought about staying within the Portage city limits for the entire ride, but at the corner of Angling Road and Centre Avenue, I semi-impulsively decided to take the chance that the country roads would also be clear of slush. I crossed over US 131 and eventually found myself fighting the wind from the south on 8th Street, but at least, I wasn't dodging slush. I turned east on W Avenue, because it's never too early to be checking out the W Ride route, rode through Schoolcraft, and then turned north and headed back home, riding 21 miles and beating the sunset by about 10 minutes.

The 4th Saturday's ride was also uneventful. Because of my closer than expected encounter with sunset the previous week, I started my ride earlier in the afternoon. The possibility of rain or snow during the late afternoon also got me out of the house earlier. To the accompaniment of a Thin Lizzy earworm ("Tonight there's going to be a jailbreak. Somewhere in this town...), I had planned to ride about 20 miles again; riding through Portage and around the east side Austin Lake to the edge of Vicksburg, and then back home via V Avenue, 18th Street, U Avenue, and Oakland Drive. However, by the time I got to Austin Lake, I felt good and the weather was nicer, relatively speaking, than I thought it would be, so I struck while the iron, if not the weather, was hot, and extended my ride. I headed into the countryside east and south of Portage, and eventually into downtown Vicksburg, before riding north. Upon reaching U Avenue, I realized that with a few extra miles, I could break the 30 mile barrier, so I rode to 12th Street, to the roundabout six miles north, and then back home, feeling some drops of rain at 28 miles, and congratulating myself on my timing. I hit 30.0 miles about fifty feet from my driveway, setting a personal distance personal record for 2015 to the cheers of imaginary spectators.

The 5th Saturday's ride was more of the same; a 22 mile ride in a counterclockwise direction to Vicksburg, around the east side of Austin Lake, and back home. Two hours later, I was at the Winter Recovery Party, stuffing myself with food, because I needed to replenish critical nutrients, and since there wasn't any chocolate milk available, I just had to make do with a chocolate brownie.

Yes, these rides were uneventful. Yes, the rides were unexciting, to even write about (and to even read about, too, thank you very much Mr. Pedal Press Editor). But they were actual rides. And during that first ride, as I passed another rider with a smile on his face, we waved and acknowledged each other's presence. Yes, we knew that we were on the lam. Yes, we knew that Janfebruary would imprison us again. But we were living in the moment and that was good enough. You could say that we "squeezed" the day and I felt even better.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

But, you know. The darkest hour. Is alllllllways. Always just before the dawn ......

Classified Ads

2009 Greenspeed GT3 Series II Trike.

Less than 100 hours on this trike. Like new condition. Stored in a heated basement. Toe clips, integrated Vetta odometer, and several other upgrades. Pictures available at www.recumbentriders.org/forums/showthread.php?t=14356. Also included is a 2011 Kenetic trainer for this trike with the optional flywheel. $1500. NO SHIPPING. Contact Terry Horwath (616) 855-6211 or terry.horwath@live.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,
Check out Gazelle Sports' sale shoes. Great shoes at great prices!

Kzoo Swift

445 Forest St, Kalamazoo, (269) 929-8053.


611 W Michigan Avenue, Kalamazo, (269) 56–PEDAL
info@pedalbicycle.com and www.pedalbicycle.com
"I don't think that there are any limits to how excellent we could make life seem." - Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

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.