One of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, said that when he wrote he felt, “Like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.” I’m feeling similarly capable of organizing my thoughts for this month’s Bicyclical. Let’s see how it turns out.
The ice and frozen ruts in the roads of Melting Mann gave many of us cause to remember that cycling is and can be a little bit dangerous. People who use the term, “I’ve never felt more alive,” are seldom talking about sitting in a comfortable chair, watching TV. When you ask out the pretty girl, she might say no. When you race on the rough roads, you might get to know them more intimately than you wish.
I bring this up not to encourage risky behavior for the sake of risky behavior. Nor am I suggesting that you shouldn’t ride a bike — you should. But you should be aware of the risks. And the rewards.
We’re changing Breakaway in Portage to Pedal. The change in signage is underway and will continue for some time. I’m doing this for a couple of reasons. One is that we’re no longer affiliated with the Breakaway stores in Muskegon and Grand Haven, and I’d like to end confusion on that front. Another is that, well, Pedal is my heart, and I want a piece of my heart at 185 Romence Road.
On April 6th we’re changing the hours in Portage to match those downtown — 10-7 Monday and Wednesday; 10-6 on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 10-5 on Saturday. I’ve worried this change to death, and my reasoning boils down to a consistent experience — consistent between stores and consistent each time you visit the store. I would rather us be open fewer hours but be better staffed, more consistently staffed and better able to serve you.
Lots of new spring and summer clothing in both stores. Of particular interest is the New Road collection of clothing from Giro at our downtown spot. I’ve been interested in the trend toward cycling gear that looks more like clothing and less like sausage casing for a while now. Seems like it started happening with mountain biking a few years ago and is now coming to road bike apparel. I’ve been using some wool, made in America Giro stuff for a while, and I’m very pleased. Fernando famously declared that it’s better to look good than to feel good. Do both!
Shop ride! Let’s start April 9th. 6:15 at the downtown location. Routes will be oh so slightly different, as Old Douglas is in terrible shape and is not worthy of us. Also, this year our plan is to emphasize the Group in group ride. How will that pan out? Let’s see.
The trails just aren’t quite ready for us, so Mountain Bike Monday will start in May.
New faces are everywhere. Liz and Quinn are customer-facing in Portage, while Jack and David hide in the service department. Jess is a terrific new salesperson downtown.
Learn how to change a flat and enact road-side repairs. Ladies only class on 4/11, co-ed on 4/25. Let’s do it at the Romence Road location, since there’s (substantially) more room. Please call 269/324-5555 to sign up. Limit 15 to class. Knowledge is power. The class is free. Free power!
KBC rides are happening now.
Something new this year is the Bike Swap put together by SWMMBA, our local mountain bike organization. It’s Sunday, April 12th at Holiday Inn West. Buy some stuff. Sell some stuff. Check out some stuff. We’ll be there, and hope you’ll stop by and say hello. More info here. http://bikefortcuster.com/index.php/bike-swap
The EZ 5K is a great 5K run/walk, the proceeds of which help fund the EZ Memorial Foundation, which offers scholarships and community contributions in honor of Eric Zapata. It’s Saturday, April 18th and very worthy of your consideration.
The following day (April 19th) is the Yankee Springs Time Trial. If I could recommend one thing, it would be that you not race expert when you’re out of shape, riding a bike that you built the day before. Seriously: fun.
More Local Mountain Bike Race! Fort Custer Stampede is May 3rd. I’ve done this the last two years and had a great time crashing all over the place. Seriously: low key, fun time.
Bike Camp! It’s not about camping, but is about learning skills and rules for safer road riding.
The Kal-Haven Trail Blazer is May 9th this year. Proceeds benefit the Kal-Haven Trail.
Bike Week! May 9th – 17th. Lots of good stuff going on that week.
Kalamazoo Bicycle Film Festival is May 12th.
Right smack in the middle of Bike Week (5/13) is the Ride of Silence. Our area ride begins at Milham park and is open to anyone willing to wear a helmet. We’ll ride a slow, short loop of town. If you’d like to raise cycling awareness in the community, this is an event that could use your participation. More details next month.
We have a secret fun event in the planning stages for Friday the 15th. Once corporate approves this thing, details will be revealed!
Make the pilgrimage up north for the Zoo-de-Mackinac on May 16th.
Multisport more your thing? Races for adults and kids here. Of particular note: DoubleTime on May 30 and Gull Lake June 27th.
Tour de Taylor is June 13th.
Spring is here. We’re dusting off bikes and getting them ready for another season on the roads and trails. Cycling is happening in our community. Look at the Township adopting a complete streets program. Look at the plans from KATS. Look at the really cool plan that MDOT put together for a major downtown corridor. Notice how funding has moved away from trails and toward pavement infrastructure. Wow! Who saw this happening five years ago? Not me.
So here’s the deal: public money is being spent on cycling infrastructure. Some folks are going to get bent out of shape about this, and we need to make sure that we’re always putting our best foot forward. When you’re riding — dare I say especially when you’re riding with a group — I ask you to remember that the motoring public will judge all of us and our worthiness to enjoy public money based on your actions. I sincerely appreciate your consideration.
My wife attended a fancy-pants business meeting this month, the keynote speaker of which formerly led the Blue Angels. Talk about stress! In his speech, this gentleman discussed studies demonstrating that happy people share one common trait — they are grateful.
Curiosity, Grit, Gusto and Gratitude. This is us. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Ping me any time.