September 2015 President's Letter

Big Data

"Big data," they tell me, is where it's at these days. Yup. Lots of data; big, big data. Once you have big data, then, finally, you have something with which you can work.

All that big data can be analyzed, sliced, and diced, and it can point to trends that relate to behavior. Human behavior. Patterns. And many more buzz words. "Interactions," for example.

We here at the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club don't have big data. We don't even have little data. We've always held the line on, and taken no small amount of pride in, being a data-free zone. Why, you ask, would you even need to think about data when you're out riding your bike?

Well, as it turns out, data are kind of essential when you're trying to figure out where you're going in life and where you want to end up. You can't plan and direct your resources efficiently unless you know what you want to achieve. And all that stuff is important when you're running a bike club.

So, we need data. Big data. Or, in our case, maybe medium-sized data will work. We need input from you about what you want out of your bike club and where you want the club to head in the future. And we're going to make it easy on you. You won't have to submit essays, come in for interrogation, or make an anonymous phone call. We're going with a survey. You're welcome. Surveys are the way data are collect these days. Dedicated club volunteers, under the direction of Education Chair Renee Mitchell, have worked one up, and you can fill it out here:

The survey won't take long to complete and your answers will help inform club officers about what you want the club to be doing. This is the first such survey we've put out in my 19 or so years with the club, so we've been operating in the dark for at least that long about what its members think is important. I encourage you to take a few minutes to fill out the survey. We'll publish the results and then use them (the big data, that is) to develop a map for the club to follow. Thank you in advance for your help with this endeavor.

Time is Growing Short

Yes, yes, the sun is setting earlier in the evening. And don't forget that KBC weekday rides start at 5:45 P.M. in September. In fact, because I get asked this question way too often, here is a table of the ride start times for the entire year. This information is also always available on the KBC website:

March - 5:30 P.M.
April - 6:00 P.M.
May, June, July, and August - 6:15 P.M.
September - 5:45 P.M.
October - 5:30 P.M.

But what I really wanted to say in this section before I digressed is that time is running out on the tenure of the current club administration. Individuals wishing to take roles on the club's elected Executive Board - President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer - must attend the October meeting to declare their intent. Following national protocol, we hold the election for those officers during the November meeting.

Bob Allwardt - In Memoriam

Our friend and fellow cyclist, Bob Allwardt, passed away on August 16, 2015. He died of cancer. Bob was a regular on an invitation-only weekend ride that he and I rode many times together, and that is where I met him.

Always affable, I got to know Bob a little bit on those rides, and learned about his family and his career in the steel industry. Last year he took over management of KBC's Friend of Bicycling Award program and persevered through some challenges associated with that task. He never lost his sense of humor and perspective, though, and that is what I'll remember him for. Bob's voice and presence in KBC will be missed.

Zolton Cohen, KBC President


Next KBC Monthly Meeting on September 8, 2015

The next KBC Monthly Meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at the Kalamazoo YMCA on Maple Street. All KBC members are welcome to attend.


KBC Anniversary Ride

The Annual Fall Anniversary Ride and Party will take place at 10:00 A.M. on Sunday, September 20, 2015 at the Kal Haven Trailhead on 10th Street. Several different road ride routes will be offered, and maps will be available (including links for your Smartphone). Some members may also wish to put together a trail ride on the Kal Haven Trail.

The plan is to begin the rides at 10:00 A.M. with the goal of returning to the trailhead by noon. A potluck will start at that time. KBC will provide pizza, drinks, plates, cups, napkins, and plastic silverware.

Please bring a side dish or dessert to pass and we should be all set to replace all of those calories burned on the ride! Please spread the word to your fellow members and prospective members; the more the merrier.

If you have any questions, please contact Kathleen Kroll at, and check the KBC Facebook page for updates.

Kathleen Kroll, KBC Social Director


Forests and Foliage in the Fall Ride

The Forests and Foliage in the Fall Ride will be held on Saturday, October 3, 2015 this year. There will be ride options of 37, 50, and 63 miles available. Maps and cue sheets will be available at the start, and links to download the maps will be available on Facebook before the ride also. Rides will start at 10:00 A.M. from Gun Lake Park parking lot at the corner of Patterson Road and 124th Avenue, which can be reached by taking Exit 59 (Shelbyville) from US-131 and driving east. Donuts and cider will be served at the finish.

Marc Irwin


Group Riding Skills Clinic

On Tuesday, September 15, KBC is sponsoring a Riding Skills Clinic. The goal of the clinic is to help riders add fun to their rides while reinforcing safety goals. It is designed as a 90 minute session in which road rules will be discussed, as well as skills, such as group communication, shifting gears, cornering, comfort, protecting that all important front wheel, and pace line mechanics.

The clinic is free, just bring yourself, your bike, your helmet, and be ready to have a fun time!

Please RSVP Scott Baron at so that we know how many people to plan for. (But if you don't decide until later, just show up!)

Where: Pedal South, 185 Romence Road in Portage.
When: 5:00 P.M., September 15, 2015.

Scott Baron

August Monthly Meeting Minutes

Present: Mike Krischer, Andrea Melchiori, Renee Mitchell, Barb Hart, John Hart, Paul Selden, Marc Irwin, Andrea Fore, Tom Keizer, Scott Baron, Rick Whaley, John Olbrot, Kathy Kirk, Doug Kirk, Zolton Cohen, Dale Krueger, Jon Ballema, David Jones, John Idema, Terry O'Connor, Paul Wells, Dan Walberer, and Mike Boersma

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

Treasurer's Report: In July, John Olbrot reported that the KBC had income of $201.44 and expenses of $1125.32. There was a balance of $7015.32 in the checking account and a balance of $11149.51 in the KBC certificate of deposit.

Final KalTour Financials: The 2015 KalTour had income of $6654.05 and expenses of $4176.30. KBC donated $1238.88 of the overall profit from KalTour to AMBUCS. In 2014, the KalTour had income of $5361 and expenses of $3150.

Insurance: KBC Insurance Coordinator Terry O'Connor reported that in a recent injury accident on a KBC ride involved a rider who was NOT a member of KBC and, hence, was not covered by the KBC insurance policy.

New KBC Jerseys: Jon Ballema reported that there are 3 companies that met his requirements for the design, manufacture, and sale of new KBC bicycle jerseys. All companies provide sample jerseys for sizing purposes and also have an online storefront for sales purposes.

KBC Hats: Scott Powers will sell hats in the $5.00 to $5.50 range in lot sizes of 48. KBC needs to determine the style of hat that will be sold.

Forest and Foliage Ride: Marc Irwin announced that this ride will take place the first weekend of October on Saturday, October 3. There will be additional announcements in Facebook and in the Yahoo Groups. (Editor's Note: See the article about this elsewhere in this issue of the Pedal Press.)

Road Safety Report: Paul Selden reported that the City of Kalamazoo will be having public meetings on the installation of bike lanes along Portage Road from downtown Kalamazoo and the removal of on street parking in this stretch, and that the Kalamazoo non-motorized plan is up for the second round of public comments. He also noted that the Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study (KATS) non-motorized plan for Kalamazoo and Van Buren Counties will be up for review and that MDOT will be soliciting comments for its non-motorized plan.

Ride Leader Sanctioning: John Hart and Barb Hart were sanctioned as KBC ride leaders.

New Business: Scott Baron announced the start of a weekend basic bicycle skills ride starting in September. Dates will be announced. (Editor's Note: See the previous Editor's Note.)

John Hart requested a fund for providing for reward money for finding car/bicycle hit and run offenders in light of the recent ODRAM tour hit and run fatality.

Zolton Cohen noted that the September ride times will start at 5:45 P.M. Rick Whaley suggested that the rides start at 6:00 P.M. for the first couple weeks of September, but there was no support for this.

Doug Kirk noticed that the rumble strips on 12th Street south of Parkview Avenue had been coated with a black substance and he was wondering what this was about. As near as anyone could figure out, it is a protective coating for the strips.

Zolton reported that the IMBA had announced a trail building event for Markham Glen park starting on August 27, 2015 and that Ethan Alexander has announced an opening for a full time executive director for the Open Roads organization.

Old Business: Paul Selden withdrew his motion to amend ride leader language.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 P.M.

Mike Boersma, KBC Secretary



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David Jones, KBC Database Manager

Editor's Letter - One Adventure Ends, Another Begins

The Mick's adventure ended, just as mine was beginning.

Twenty years ago, I lived in Ohio and the state to the north lived almost only in my imagination. I had been to Ann Arbor in 1983, but that was the only time that I had ever set foot in Michigan. I had heard that the northern part of the lower peninsula was very scenic, and since I had some vacation time to use, I decided to try something different; to explore a part of the country that I had never seen before, doing something I had never done before; a self supported bicycling tour. I quickly decided that this would not be your rugged outdoorsman camping out while hauling 50 pounds of stuff tour, but a semi-roughing it tour; hauling 12 pounds in a pack on top of a rear rack, while riding from motel to motel, each reservation made in advance. Exercise and exploration during the day, followed by a nice dinner and a restful sleep at night. Baby steps, Rick, baby steps.

So, on Saturday, August 12, 1995, I drove from the suburbs of Columbus to Alpena to see what would happen next. What happened next was rain, something that I was able to observe after opening the drapes of my motel room the following morning. I turned on the Weather Channel to see the extent of this particular non-conducive-towards-cycling weather phenomenon. The entire 48 contiguous states were green blob free, except for a patch of green in the western part of the upper peninsula and a patch of green centered on Alpena. I ate breakfast while watching the rain and waited it out, finally starting my tour at about 9:00 A.M.

An hour later on Long Rapids Road, the sky began to turn an unhealthy shade of black (as opposed to a healthy shade of black), punctuated by lightning bolts and thunder. I began looking for shelter, and since there was none to be had, I opted for the drainage ditch conveniently located by the side of the road. With my steel framed bicycle placed a prudent distance away, I spent 20 minutes crouched in the ditch, pelted by rain. I wanted adventure and adventure was what I was getting. Then, I began riding again, but not before commemorating this event by taking a picture of the spot where I crouched. I'm looking at this picture now, although technically, I'm not looking at it while typing, because if I were, this sentence would look domryhinh likr yhid.

Then, while riding on M-32 an hour later, the sky turned black again and I began thinking about paying a visit to my buddy the drainage ditch that was still conveniently located nearby. However, I was spared my second crouch of the day, by the fortuitous appearance of a convenience store that I reached less than a minute prior to more pouring rain, lightning, and thunder.

Without any other thunderstorms to deal with, I rode to Gaylord, found my motel, checked in, and turned on the TV. It was there that I found out that Mickey Mantle had died. Now, unlike certain members of my age cohort, those of the New York persuasion, such as Bob Costas and Billy Crystal, I had no love for Mickey Mantle and even less love for the New York Yankees, a team that monotonously won the American League pennant almost every year during my baseball formative years in suburban Chicago. Derek Jeter's tragic flaw is that he played for the wrong team. Still, I had to respect what Mantle had done on the field, if not what he had done off the field. Years of hard living had taken its toll, and while he had lived to regret those things that he had done, it was not enough to allow him to actually live to a ripe old age. So, I didn't think too much about this news, and I proceeded to revel in the alpine heritage of Gaylord by eating at a Mexican restaurant, and I still wonder why Taco Bell doesn't serve bratwurst.

The next day, I began the ride by snapping a shifting cable in the parking lot of the motel. Then, after another delayed start in order to get the cable replaced at a local bike shop; I took a circuitous route from Gaylord to Petoskey by way of Boyne City, East Jordan, and Charlevoix, where I missed riding down DALMAC's infamous The Wall by a few miles. If I had actually ridden down that hill, it is likely that I would still have white knuckles to this day. I didn't get my kicks on M-66 between East Jordan and Charlevoix, a busy road with little shoulder, but riding between Charlevoix and Petoskey, I found that US-31 was also busy, as US highways usually are, but not as shoulder-challenged. I spent the night in the yellow-hued Stafford-Perry Inn and was also treated by a yellow-hued sunset that evening, also commemorated via photograph.

The third day, the motel that awaited me was in Mackinaw City, and I rode there by way of Conway, Harbor Springs, and The Tunnel of Trees, which would have lived up to its scenic reputation, if I had ever heard of it before. I stopped at Cross Village to take a picture of the cross, but, unfortunately, not to take a picture of the legs on the top of Legs Inn. Once in Mackinaw City, I ate some forgettable pizza, while soaking in the honky-tonk atmosphere, which made me look forward to taking my bicycle over to Mackinac Island the next day.

My day on Mackinac Island was spent riding on almost every road that the island had to offer and taking pictures, pictures that I wouldn't be looking at now, if I hadn't retrieved my camera after inadvertently leaving it (as opposed to leaving it on purpose) on a railing at the Mackinac Island Airport. Soon after arriving on the island, I began to suspect that fudge was being sold there, and I was able to track some down after my ride; the post ride nutritional replenishment of choice for serious cyclists everywhere. Then it was time to get back on the ferry to return to the touristy delights of Mackinaw City.

The fifth and final day of my tour was dominated by an all day rain. Riding in the rain to a pancake place for breakfast. Riding back to my motel in the rain. Leaving the motel in the rain to ride back to Alpena and to my car. I did much of my riding on US-23, hugging Lake Huron, which would have been more scenic had it not been for the ________ (fill in the word here), although I did take a side trip to the Presque Isle Lighthouse, where the weather cooperated. I only had to put up with a drizzle while exploring the lighthouse grounds. The last 20 miles to Alpena were the fastest 20 miles of my tour, as I just wanted to be done with it, and 15 minutes after I finished, it stopped raining. Since we lived in a less self-aggrandizing age back then (or maybe it's just the nostalgia talking), where the concept of a "selfie" was unheard of, the only picture of me that I took during my tour was at the finish; a picture from the thighs down, preserving for posterity a lovely display of my grime covered legs and bicycle. After cleaning both of us up, I rewarded myself with dinner at a steakhouse that night, got a good night's sleep, and drove back to Ohio on Friday.

The next day, I opened up the newspaper and read a small article in the business section announcing that a merger between Upjohn and Pharmacia was imminent. I had heard rumors about this merger, but I had heard rumors about other mergers, so I paid it little mind. However, this time the rumor was true, as I found out, when I came to work on Monday. I immediately knew that our facility would eventually be closed and that if I wanted to keep my job, I would be moving to Kalamazoo. Had I known about this earlier, I might have made a detour through Kalamazoo before heading home, just to make sure that the place wasn't some sort of a hellhole. But I was eventually able to determine that it wasn't, and 10 months later, I moved to the state where I had just been for the second time in my life.

I think it's reasonable to say that I've given Mickey Mantle very little thought during the past 20 years and I haven't thought a lot about that bike tour, either. But round numbered anniversaries being what they are, I've given both of these items more thought lately. Coming from a family of men who had died young, Mantle used to say that if he had known that he was going to live this long, he would have taken a lot better care of himself. The transition from a small town in Oklahoma where he grew up to New York City and all its temptations couldn't have helped. As for me, the opportunities for carousing adventures weren't as great in Kalamazoo as they were in New York City (although I'm open to arguments to the contrary) or Columbus, for that matter, and I'm not the carousing sort, anyway. Also, unlike Mickey Mantle, the only weakness that I have for strong drink involves the consumption of Mountain Dew. (And it includes orange juice, so it's good for you!)

I'm now the same age as Mantle was when he died, and I like to think that I've taken good care of myself, except for my knees. So, I also like to think that there are more than a few bicycle adventures in my future. Ones without thunderstorms, steady rains, and mediocre pizza, but even those have been key parts of my cycling adventures.

Rick Whaley, KBC Newsletter Editor

Some Upcoming Rides of Interest

Saturday, September 12. Recumbent Bike/Trike Rally. Kalamazoo. 10:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M.

Sunday, September 13. Vineyard Classic Bicycle Tour. Paw Paw. 22, 39, and 60 miles.

Sunday, September 27. Apple Cider Century Tour. Three Oaks. 15, 25, 37, 50, 62, 75, and 100 miles.

Classified Ads

Still no Classified Ads to post.

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

Custer Cyclery

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

Gazelle Sports

214 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, (269) 342–5996,
Believe it or not, autumn is upon us. That means all the NEW fall footwear and apparel is on display at Gazelle Sports.

Kzoo Swift

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

Pedal Downtown

- 611 W Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, (269)567-3325

Pedal South

- 185 Romence Road, Portage, (269)324-5555 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.