May 2015 President's Letter

Following the April monthly meeting, Education Chair Renee Mitchell and I stood around and talked for a while as other meeting attendees gradually said their goodbyes and walked out the doors of the Maple Street YMCA.

Renee and I talked about Bike Camp, which is coming up in May, as well as a few other things. One of those is the fact that it is difficult not to notice that Renee is usually the only woman at the monthly KBC meetings. Our club has quite a few other women in it, but where are they on the second Tuesday of the month, the date the monthly meetings take place?

Renee and I agree that it is important, in order to keep KBC viable, strong and diverse, that all its members be adequately represented - women and men, racers and recreational riders. Renee does a stellar job of holding up her end; no one, man or woman, does more for the club year in and year out. But it has to feel a bit lonely at times being the only person of her gender in the room. She - and the club - could use some support. And we're hoping that some of that support can come from members of the female persuasion.

So, what's it going to take? What do we need to do in order to attract the region's vast contingent of woman riders - not only to come to the meetings and other events, but also to join the club in the first place? What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong? How can we improve?

I don't for a moment take for granted the number of people who attend the monthly meetings on a regular basis. They are the bedrock of the club, and are always welcome. Their input and experience is priceless. But Renee and I would love to see some new faces too. We want to hear new ideas, and experience the energy of different people attending the meetings. Why not give it a try? You'll find a receptive crowd.

As we talked, Renee pointed out that, gender issues aside, there are things that need doing at the club. We haven't had a new jersey in several years. Our promotional brochure is not only out of date, but we only have a handful of them left. Someone has to take these projects on or they won't get done.

In KBC over the years we've seen that a team approach is often a good way to tackle volunteer duties that might seem daunting to head up individually. Partnering with someone gets another set of eyes, ears, and hands on a task, and the work can be spread out, making it easier on everyone.

Bike Camp 2015

One place where our club members really come together in impressive numbers is as volunteers at Bike Camp. Renee and her committee have spent months preparing for this year's version of the popular training and educational program and we can't wait to start teaching the Campers the nuances of cycling safely and efficiently. We hope you will make it a point to come to a few sessions to lend a hand. It really is fun and rewarding. And it is worth remembering that everyone who goes through Bike Camp becomes another more aware cyclist on the road. That makes it better for all of us.

Zolton Cohen, KBC President


Next KBC Monthly Meeting on May 12, 2015

The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend.


Kalamazoo Bike Week 2015

(NOTE: The following is a press release for Kalamazoo Bike Week 2015)

Kalamazoo, MI -- April 13, 2015 --Kalamazoo Bike Week 2015 is all about the ride. Bicycle enthusiasts of every skill level and style are encouraged to get out on their bikes during May 9-16, 2015 to take part in the fourth annual celebration of cycling.

Events to fit every style are being offered throughout Kalamazoo County to encourage people to ride their bikes for enjoyment, transportation and wellness. The goal of this volunteer-run program is to promote bicycle advocacy, awareness, and education.

Kalamazoo Bike Week 2015 Chair David Warwick notes the importance of providing opportunities for every level of cycling in the area, stating, "Cycling is for everyone, young and old; whether you just like to ride, or need to ride to get to work - it is an integral and sustainable part of our community."

The weeklong program kicks off on Saturday, May 9, 2015. One annual event that day, the Mayors' City to City ride at 8:30 A.M., will provide riders with a chance to experience short portions of local trailways while riding with Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell and Portage Mayor Peter Strazdas, as well as other elected officials.

Riders wanting a choice of longer rides toward the lakeshore can join in on the Trailblazer Ride, also on Saturday, May 9 beginning at 8:00 A.M. at the trailhead on 10th Street in Oshtemo.

For those needing some time off the bike, and possibly a local brew, the Kalamazoo Bicycle Film Festival will feature "Bike Shorts," bicycle short films at Bell's Eccentric Cafe on Tuesday, May 12, with showings at 6:00 P.M. and 8:15 P.M.

Bike Friendly Kalamazoo welcomes the public to join local and state planning officials to discuss place-building efforts, cycling infrastructure and their tie-ins to major trends and community plans at a forum on Wednesday, May 13 at 4:00 P.M. at KRESA West Campus.

Several group rides of varying skills and lengths are offered during the weeknights of KBW 2015, including one special ride, The Ride of Silence, to honor those cyclists who have been killed or injured while riding. This eight mile, silent ride will begin at 6:30 P.M. at Millenium Park in Portage.

Those cyclists wanting to end their workweek with an informal ride can join the Bronson Bike to Work Group for a Critical Mass ride on Friday, May 15 at 5:01 P.M. This ride will lead riders through downtown Kalamazoo and onto the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail for a scenic ride into Parchment and back.

Cyclists who spend a lot of time on the bike will want to rebalance and revitalize their body, mind, and spirit at Pedal & Stretch: Yoga For Cyclists, a new event to KBW at Down Dog Yoga Center on Friday, May 15 at 6:00 P.M.

Saturday, May 16, the final day of Kalamazoo Bike Week 2015 will be a busy day with several events for all ages. The Kalamazoo Family Bike Fest, held at Mayors' Riverfront Park, will feature children's games and activities, along with the opportunity to "Ride with a Cop." New to the Bike Fest this year will be an exhibition by Thriller BMX Team, sure to please those who like to watch daredevils at work.

Later that day will be the third annual Bell's to Bell's Ride leaving from Bell's Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo and traveling along the newest portion of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail to the production facility in Comstock for a tour.

The final event of KBW 2015 will be "Bike-a-Palooza," a fundraiser for the Open Roads program, which teaches youths social skills and bike mechanics. Showcasing the new Riverview Launch at 6:00 P.M., this finale celebration features music by Moxieville, bicyclecentric art, and a bike raffle.

More information on these events and a complete list of Kalamazoo Bike Week 2015 events can be found at Midwest Communications has partnered with KBW to promote the events. Cell phone users can text "Cycle" to 80373 for a full listing of events.

David Warwick, Kalamazoo Bike Week Chair


Questions for Zolton - Information for New Riders

With cycling season well underway and new cyclists joining KBC rides every week, I felt it was important to remind KBC members of what we can do to help new riders have a safe ride, good initial experience, and to encourage them to join KBC. So who better to go to than KBC's very own President for these "wonderful words of wisdom!"

1. How do you orient people at the club rides when you are there?

For the past few years, Joe Kucharski, Doug Kirk, and I have acted as de facto Ride Captains and have done most of the announcements and organizing of the groups at the Monday and Wednesday rides. We've found that if someone doesn't take the initiative to do that, it doesn't get done. And, lacking that little bit of organization, the groups - and the riders in those groups - can get mixed up and chaos ensues. For someone new to the ride, not knowing which group is which can be baffling.

We first call all the assembled riders together, usually with a loud whistle or other attention-getting technique, and make any announcements that need to be made; for instance, information about an upcoming special weekend ride, like the W Ride or KalTour. If we know of any road closures or dangerous conditions, like new chip-seal on the roadway, we talk about that, too.

After that, we tell the gathered riders that several different groups will be riding that night. We announce the expected average pace of the rides, their length and the general direction they are headed: "Joe is going to lead the 22+ mph group on the 30 mile Lawton route," or "Gordy is leading a 15-16 mph group on a 26 mile route to Schoolcraft."

We see the groups off one by one, starting with the faster groups, with a minute or so interval between each. That creates some space on the roadway between the groups so cars can more easily and safely pass, and so riders don't get accidentally mixed up in the wrong group.

2. What can KBC Members do to help new cyclists successfully navigate club rides?

When I see someone new at the start of a regular club ride, I'm always reminded of the first time I attended the Tour de Gull back in 1995 or so. KBC's Ride Captain at the time, Randy Putt, came up to me and introduced himself. From there, he asked how fast I typically rode and he explained a little bit about the ride and told me what to expect.

Initial contact with riders new to the club or new to our rides is a very critical moment. It is intimidating walking into a large group you don't know - especially so when that group of riders all seem to know one another. So, I always keep in mind my first KBC ride and the positive experience that Randy made it for me. I try to do the same with a person I see hovering uncertainly near the perimeter of the regular riders at the start of our Monday and Wednesday rides. It doesn't cost anything to reach out like that, and you might make a new friend.

It is important to keep in mind that you, as a rider, likely didn't get to where you are today without help from others. You probably were the recipient of some good tips and timely guidance along the way. It can be a great gift to reach out to someone to just talk a little bit. If you notice a new rider alongside you and you know a hill is coming up, you could say something like, "We usually hit this hill hard, but we generally regroup at the top." Or, "Just after this intersection there are some bad potholes on the far right-hand side of the road."

Those are simple things. But they can make a world of difference to someone who is on his or her first ride.

3. Why should cyclists join KBC?

This is a question we have struggled to answer adequately for years. No one needs to join our club in order to ride on the roads we ride, or even to ride in our groups. So why pay the $15 a year to be a KBC member?

One very important perquisite of club membership is our bike accident excess medical insurance policy. If you are injured on a sanctioned club ride (a sanctioned club ride is any ride being led by a sanctioned KBC ride leader) you may claim up to $10,000 in secondary insurance after your primary insurance pays up to its limits. That can go a long way toward satisfying a deductible or paying other medical costs that your primary insurance does not cover. Given our changing and challenging medical insurance environment these days, the excess medical policy alone is a great reason to be a member of KBC. My hope is that no one ever has to avail him-or-herself of the policy! But for $15 a year, it's a value that is hard to beat.

In addition to that, members receive the KBC Pedal Press, edited by Rick Whaley. The Pedal Press is an informative and often humorous monthly newsletter that is full of the latest local cycling information.

KBC also holds great parties and special event rides, to which all members are invited: the Recovery Party; the Anniversary Ride and Potluck; the W Ride, and the Ride to South Haven.

Finally, KBC is a cycling advocacy and funding body. We have the ear of City and County planning departments and road commissions as they set agendas to rebuild and reconstruct roads. We also have a grant program that funds various cycling initiatives. And proceeds from our big summer tour, KalTour, administered by Mike Krischer, help fund the Kzoo Valley AMBUCS organization's efforts to provide AMTryke therapeutic tricycles to individuals who are unable to operate a traditional bike.

So, all in all, I think KBC members get very good value and return for their annual dues.

Thank you Zolton!

Renee Mitchell, KBC Education Chair


The Future of Bicycling Infrastructure in the Kalamazoo Area

On Wednesday May 13, 2015 between 4:00 and 5:00 P.M., some of our area's most influential planners will outline their visions for how bicycling ties into community-wide place-building efforts. This meeting will be held at the Wile Auditorium; KRESA Main Campus; 1819 Milham Road.

This event is the equivalent of our area's "State of the Union" vision of bicycling for 2015 and beyond, presented by some of the community's leaders who will be making it happen. Attending this meeting will be a great way to stay informed about major plans that will affect bicyclists right here in our own community.

Topics (and presenters) will include:

"Long-Term Planning for an MPO-wide Bike Route Network"

  Steve Stepek, Senior Transportation Planner, Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study

"Major Aspirations: Bicycling and the City of Kalamazoo"

  Matt Johnson, City Engineer, City of Kalamazoo; Rebekah Kik, City Planner, City of Kalamazoo

"Bikes Are People, Too"

  Jason Latham, SW Region Planning Manager, Michigan Department of Transportation

"Bicycling and the Future of Kalamazoo Township"

  Ron Reid, Supervisor, Kalamazoo Township

"KVCC: Health, Wellness, and Bicycles"

  Marilyn Schlack, President, Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Call KATS at (269) 343-0766, or e-mail to register.

Paul Selden KBC Director of Road Safety


Bicycle Advocacy Day

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015, bicyclists from across the state will attend the Lucinda Means Bicycle Advocacy Day to be held at the State Capitol. A summary of this event can be found on the League of Michigan Bicyclists website and is as follows:

"The League of Michigan Bicyclists, Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, Michigan Mountain Biking Association, and PEAC are pleased to join forces once again for the Lucinda Means Bicycle Advocacy Day to be held at the State Capitol on Wednesday May 20, 2015. Volunteers from all four organizations will educate legislators on key policy issues that facilitate a bicycle-friendly Michigan. Lunch will be provided after legislative visits, followed by an optional afternoon ride."

This is a great event to get your voice heard, to see how the state government works, and to meet bicyclists from across the state. In 2015, one of the LMB's Legislative agendas is a Safe Passing Bill. We are working for a safe passing distance of 5 feet between motor vehicles and bikes.

Registration and more information can be found on the League of Michigan Bicyclists website, .

David Jones, LMB Board Member


KalTour: Training Hints and Departure Times

If you are new to longer distance cycling, there are a couple of things to keep in mind as you prepare for KalTour. The first is to choose your target distance. The second thing is simply to get out and ride distances and routes that will get you ready for a longer ride

I will begin with the 31 mile route. Remember that you have one important stop on the route - lunch at the Briar Patch plant nursery! You will get there after riding about 20 miles (and you will have 11 miles to go after lunch). So, 20 miles is a good goal distance and the Monday night rides from Texas Township Park are just what you need. The pace is not important; what matters is covering the distance. On KalTour day, don't start too early since the lunch stop opens at 10:00 A.M. A moderate pace 31 mile ride group leaves at 9:30. You can start this ride up to 11:00.

Riders on the 62 mile route (Metric Century) will have one SAG stop (with bread, fruit, cookies, and trail mix) after about 24 miles and another stop 21 miles later at the Briar Patch lunch stop. If you are thinking about whether to do this route or the full 100 miles, the decision point comes after about 50 miles. You can start this route anytime between 7:00 and 10:00 A.M. There is a fast ride group leaving at 9:00. For practice, I would suggest rides with a rest stop. My favorite destinations are Schoolcraft, Vicksburg, Mattawan, Paw Paw, and Lawton; otherwise, anywhere you can find a gas station or convenience store will work.

Riders on the 100 mile (Century) route will split from the 62 mile route shortly after lunch. You will have about 31 miles to ride from the lunch stop to your final SAG stop 76 miles into the route. I would recommend having at least two water bottles and a bicycle bag or jersey pocket in order to carry some fruit and trail mix. You can start this route at any time between 7:00 and 8:30 A.M. You don't have to be fast to complete a century ride; an eight to nine hour century requires only a moderate pace. The course is open until 4:00 P.M.

Finally, I should mention hills. We don't have mountains around here, but we do have hills. Sixth Street (south from DE) is probably the best known, but there are a number of others, particularly west of town. Putting some hills into your practice rides is the best way to prepare for the hills on the KalTour routes. I look forward to seeing many of you on Sunday the 28th of June.

Mike Krischer, KalTour Director


Local Ride of Silence on May 13, 2015

A Ride of Silence tribute ride to raise bike safety awareness and honor bicyclists injured or killed while riding will be held locally on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. The Ride of Silence comes mid-way through Kalamazoo Bike Week. This marks the 12th year of the international event, which is being held in many Michigan cities to remind the public that bicyclists have the same rights and duties as motorists. Uniformed Portage Bike Unit officers will escort the ride, their lights flashing for safety.

Between 2010 and 2012 bicycling fatalities increased 16%. With bike commuting up over 60% since 2000, the ride this Wednesday highlights a growing, year-round concern.

Free registration starts at 6:30 P.M. and the eight mile ride departs from Portage Millennium Park promptly at 7:00 P.M. The slow 10-12 mph riding pace enables a wide variety of riders to participate. The route will use bike lanes and public roads on Romence Road, Oakland Drive, Kilgore Road, and Lovers Lane. Helmets are mandatory; lights are highly recommended.

For information on the international Ride of Silence, see

Paul Selden, KBC Director of Road Safety


Tuesday Night Time Trial Starts This Month

Mark your calendars! May 19, 2015 is the first TNTT of the season! The finer details are posted on the KBC webpage, but what more do you need to know other than show up, ride hard, and have fun? The race team is once again working with Alfred E. Bike again this year to offer what could be the best prizes to date for random finishers the first and third Tuesday of each month. Come ready to test your legs, your lungs and your mettle!

Jon Ballema


15th Annual W Ride Report

After relatively clear skies the past couple of W Rides, the clouds returned for the 15th edition. And it pains, it pains, the W Ride Leader to type this, but this hard truth must be acknowledged and reflected upon by the KBC. Apparently, there are club members who are afraid of getting their precious bicycles wet. Who are afraid of getting their precious bicycles wet when it's 45 degrees. Who are afraid of getting their precious bicycles wet when it's 45 degrees with a chilly wind. So, for a while the RL feared that he might be the only participant in this year's W Ride.

About 10 minutes before the scheduled start of the ride, the RL's faith in KBC humanity was restored, when Doug Wales showed up, soon followed by Randy B. Then, Dan Kaalward arrived via his fixed gear bicycle. So, it looked like there would be a foursome for the ride. Make that 3 riders, as Randy discovered that he had forgotten to bring his cycling shoes to the ride, an experience that the RL figures will happen to him someday.

So, after the distribution of this year's party straw W Ride maps (whatever you do, don't bend the straw!), Doug, Dan, and the RL began heading west on W Avenue with the wind at their back towards the Van Buren County line at 9:05 A.M. The riders rode at a relaxed conversational pace and reached the county line averaging 16.1 mph. (Note to absent riders: It had not started raining yet.) However, the ride stopped being as relaxed or conversational while heading into the stiff headwind back to Vicksburg. At 10th Street, the group became a foursome once again, as the not-so-early rising Steve Cox rode from his house to join the ride.

Before beginning the third leg of the journey, the riders stopped at the Shell station in Vicksburg for assorted convenience store treats after finishing the second leg of their journey with a cumulative average that had dropped to 15.9 mph. (Note to absent riders: It had not started raining yet.) Resuming their journey, the wind and hills began to have their effect, as Doug and then the RL dropped away from Steve and Dan. Steve and Dan eventually eased up and the riders regrouped in Fulton; Steve turning back to help Doug rejoin the group. At the Calhoun County line, the cumulative pace had dropped again to 15.5 mph. (Note to absent riders: It had not started raining yet.)

Left to Right: Steve Cox, The RL, and Dan Kaalward, taken from Doug Wales bike mounted camera.

Ah, there is nothing like a strong tailwind during the last 12 miles of a ride to improve one's spirits. The RL was feeling particularly exuberant, trading pulls with Steve towards the end of the ride and separating from Dan and Doug, but they eased off about 3 miles from Vicksburg, and all 4 riders finished together at about 12:25 P.M., averaging 16.1 mph for the ride. (Note to absent riders: It had not started raining yet.)

Steve continued riding back to his house, but the remaining 3 riders celebrated their triumphant ride with the traditional pretzels and Gatorade and posed for a picture, shown below. Then they went their separate ways. (Note to absent riders: It had not started raining yet.)

Left to right: The RL, Dan Kaalward, and Doug Wales after the Finish of the W Ride. (Note: No rain.)

So, while the numbers for this year's W Ride were small, all agreed that the ride was worth doing. And, as a final observation, noted 4 hours after the finish of the ride, it is still not raining yet.

Rick Whaley, W Ride Leader


Team Clark Logic Race Report

Happy Spring Everyone,

Well, the lack of updates have not been for a lack of action. In fact, quite the opposite (thus, the aforementioned lack of updates), not the least of which are the new kit designs, new sponsors, and a brand new team name! So, I'd like to formally announce that CMS Race Team is now Team Clark Logic. This all came about due to a restructuring and rebranding at CMS and we're all proud and excited for the new look and the new name!

For the road season that only officially started in late April, there has been a flurry of activity throughout the area. Between the gravel road races Melting Mann, Barry Roubaix, Lowell 50, and the Hellkaat Hundie; mountain bike races like the Yankee Springs Time Trial, Mud, Sweat and Beers, and Custer Stampede; classic road races like the Willow Time Trial and Kings Day Criterium (see the picture below), and Ultra races like Calvin's Challenge, the team has been making some serious, serious trips to the podium. The individual details are too many and varied to list here and, honestly, choosing the most worthy of accounts is a difficult task that only leaves change on the table. For the full play-by-play, mosey on over to our Facebook page at and be sure to Like us. Hope to see you on the road!

Andy Louwaert and Jesse Kooistra take 1st and 2nd in the Men's Category 4 race at the Kings Day Criterium in Holland on April 26, 2015

Our 2015 sponsors are as follows:

Title Sponsor

Clark Logic -

Gold Sponsors

American Limb and Orthopedic -

Stryker Instruments -

Medbio -

Dalzell Coaching -

Alfred E.Bike -

Silver Sponsors

Select Building and Design -

Kalamazoo Bicycle Club -

Reed Electric

Jon Ballema

April Monthly Meeting Minutes

Present: Max Carson (guest), Terry O'Connor, Michael Krischer, David Riggs, Marc Irwin, Jon Ballema, Danielle Fielding, Bob Allwardt, Renee Mitchell, Rick Whaley, John Olbrot, Mike Mock, John Clark, Zolton Cohen, Paul Selden, and Mike Boersma.

Welcome and Announcements: The meeting was called to order at 7:00 P.M.

Treasurer's Report: John Olbrot presented the Treasurers Report: In the month leading up to April 14, the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club had income of $900.24 and expenses of $4.00. The KBC checking account had a balance of $8404.40. The KBC certificate of deposit had a balance of $11,145.78.

Committee Reports: KBC Education Chair, Renee Mitchell, reported on a KRESA bike safety offering. Insurance Coordinator, Terry O'Connor, reported on KBC insurance coverage for injuries suffered by Kathy Kirk on a KBC ride in Florida.

Ride Leader Sanctioning: John Clark and Mike Mock were sanctioned as KBC ride leaders.

KBC Job Descriptions: All KBC position holders were asked to write a description of the duties of their job and noting any outside contact information. This will be used as a guide for future holders of a given position.

Bike Camp Update: Renee Mitchell reported that all is going well. They need more Bike Camp sign ups and more Bike Camp volunteers.

KalTour Update: Mike Krischer reported on Water Street Coffee Joint providing the sandwiches for this year's tour and that they would likely cost more than the sandwiches last year. He also reported on a KalTour Facebook page.

BTR Race: Jon Ballema reported that this year would be the 10th Anniversary of the BTR race. This year's race will also be the State Criterium Championship race. Miller Energy will be the major sponsor for the race. The date is July 11, 2015. Also happening that weekend will be a race skills training held on July 10, and the Maple Hill Race for Wishes road race on July 12.

Jon also requested that the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club sponsor the BTR race at the $1000 level. Terry O'Connor moved to support the request. Mike Boersma seconded the request. The measure passed unanimously.

Old Business: Mike Mock reported on a bike rodeo to be held in Three Rivers on April 25, 2015.

New Business: Max Carson (guest from WMU) requested assistance from the KBC for volunteers for a focus group for an Apple Watch attachment for a bicycle.

Rick Whaley announced that the W ride will be held on April 25, 2015.

Jon Ballema reported that the race team will attempt to tame the Hammerfest ride on Wednesday nights.

Zolton Cohen reported that the Kalamazoo Growlers will have a fitness night during their ballgame on Wednesday, June 17, 2015. There will be a block of tickets available. Contact Zolton if you would be interested in taking this on.

Paul Selden reported that the Van Buren County Road Commission appears to be reversing their requirements for permits for groups doing bicycle tours.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:08 P.M.

Mike Boersma, KBC Secretary



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Editor's Letter - Route 98 Made a Little Boy out of Me

Four days after getting my hopes up that the warm temperatures were here to stay, only to be played for a fool yet again by that fickle temptress who calls herself "April Weather," I was doing a short after work ride and not enjoying the 40 degree temperature. Nor was I enjoying the strong, chilly wind in my face. Fortunately, I only had to not enjoy it for a few miles. Of course, it is a windy time of year.

After I got home, I started thinking about other rides where the wind was not my friend. Ah, remembrances of windy rides past. One ride stood out in my memory, a ride from long ago. It was the ride where I really experienced the charms of that spirit breaking sadist who calls herself "Hedda Wind" (o.k., you're pushing it, Mr. Pedal Press Editor) for the first time. I've told an abbreviated form of this tale in an Editor's Letter a few years ago. Hold on to your hat, if need be, while I tell this tale in even more fascinating detail.

In September of 1980, while in graduate school at the University of North Carolina, I purchased my first "real" road bike. It was a 12 speed Fuji Gran Tourer, so the name compelled me to do some "gran touring" with it. I had an Aunt and Uncle who lived in Tarboro, North Carolina, almost exactly 100 miles east of Chapel Hill, and I decided it would be an adventure to ride my bicycle to and from their house over Thanksgiving vacation. I bought a road atlas that displayed each of the counties in North Carolina, studied it, traced out a route both to and from Tarboro, and made a copy of my routes to carry with me. Then, I arranged with my Aunt to ship the clothes I was going to be wearing while in Tarboro via Greyhound bus, and I was ready.

Dressed in my then standard bicycling clothes for that time of year; corduroy jeans, flannel shirt, hooded sweatshirt, and running shoes, I rode the first Century ride of my life the day before Thanksgiving. That ride was fun and uneventful. My second Century ride the following Saturday wasn't and was.

Watching the news Friday night, I learned that while Saturday was going to be pleasant, with a high in the upper fifties, the forecast also included a strong west wind. Since Chapel Hill is almost due west of Tarboro, I had a suspicion that this could be a problem. I had only a suspicion that this could be a problem because I had never ridden into the wind for that long period of time before. I was about to experience an adventure within an adventure.

My route for the first 65 miles of the ride included quite a bit of northwest and southwest zigzagging, so I didn't experience many miles of direct headwinds. It was also the case that the first 40 miles of the ride was pancake flat. So, by the time I reached the town of Wake Forest, the former home of Wake Forest University, before the school followed the cigarette money to Winston-Salem in the 1950s, I was feeling pretty confident that I could handle whatever was next.

What turned out to be next was 20 miles of one rolling hill after another into a direct headwind on an open and exposed State Route 98 all the way to Durham. After about 10 miles, I had to take a Snickers break (note to millenials: Snickers was the 1980s version of the Clif Bar) by the side of the road, rest, and take stock. I found that there wasn't much stock to take. I was tired. I had never been on this road before, but I suspected that the hills would continue all the way to Durham (and I was right). I couldn't depend on a helicopter to swoop down from the sky and carry me home. I had to keep riding. So, I did.

Finally reaching Durham, I was spent. And as I rode through the city, I experienced something for the first time, and something that I haven't experienced again all my subsequent years of bicycle riding. Someone threw a water balloon at me from a passing car. Since I was getting overheated, wearing the aforementioned flannel shirt and corduroy jeans on an afternoon when the temperature had actually risen above 60 degrees, I would have thanked my assailant for helping to cool me off, if I had thought that his intention was good. And if I knew who actually threw the water balloon.

My memories of the last 10 miles of the ride from Durham to Chapel Hill have been repressed. I'm sure that they weren't good ones. Mercifully, I finally arrived back at my apartment, only to realize that even though the ride was over, I still faced my biggest challenge of the day. I had to retrieve my luggage.

The bus station wasn't too far from my apartment, about a mile, at most. But I had to walk there. I didn't own a car and I seldom missed not having one, but this was one of those exceptions. My inner child was curled up in a fetal position somewhere inside my brain screaming "I don't wanna go! I don't wanna go! I don't wanna go!" What made it even worse was that my inner adult was doing the same thing. But, I finally stopped listening to the voices in my head (I look forward to having this sentence fragment taken out of context) and summoned the will to walk to the station and drag my luggage back to my apartment. Later that evening, I celebrated these achievements (the bike ride and the luggage walk) by going to bed at 9:00. Carpe nightem, indeed.

And I never wanna ride on Route 98 again.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

Saturday, May 9. Trailblazer. Kalamazoo. 25, 35, 45, 70, and 100 miles.

Saturday, May 16. Ride Around Kent County. Grand Rapids. 50, 100, and 145 miles.

Saturday, June 6. 100 Grand bicycle Tour. Grand Rapids. 17, 35, 65, 105, and 141 miles.

Saturday, June 13. Tour de Taylor. Mattawan. 12, 31, 62 miles.

Saturday and Sunday. June 20 and 21. National 24-Hour Challenge. Middleville. Even thinking about this ride sends shivers up and down the Pedal Press Editor's spine.

Wednesday through Sunday, September 2 - 6. 45th Annual Dick Allen Lansing to Mackinaw (DALMAC) Bicycle Tour. Four rides over 4 or 5 days, ranging from 290 to 511 miles. Registration has begun and all rides fill up quickly.

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 Also included is a 2011 Kenetic trainer for this trike with the optional flywheel. $1500. NO SHIPPING. Contact Terry Horwath (616) 855-6211 or

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,
Join the Summer Safari Marathon and Half Marathon training program, presented by Gazelle Sports and Kalamazoo Area Runners, and sponsored by Bronson Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. With a wealth of experience and knowledge, this 18-week training program is designed for beginner runners looking to complete their first half marathon or full marathon, as well as runners who have already crossed the finish line, but would like to run a personal best!
You must be able to run four miles comfortably multiple times a week by the start of this program. Visit for more information.

Kzoo Swift

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


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.