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We have lots of information already available on-line which may be exactly what you need.
If you cannot find the answer to your question on any of the pages please feel free to contact any of the following BBF Committee members:
Event Director – Jeff Surnow - RaceDirector@birminghambikefestival.org
Sponsorship Lead – Ms. Linda Aradan Goldman – Sponsorship@birminghambikefestival.org
"Community Giving" Lead - Ms. Beth Brandvain - Charity@birminghambikefestival.org
Volunteer/Operations Lead – Gregg Leshman – Volunteer@birminghambikefestival.org
Vendor Relations Lead – Michael Surnow – Vendor@birminghambikefestival.org
Your comments are important to us and we will address them as quickly as possible.
Ray, since my first Tuesday evening Wolverine Training ride in the very early 80's I've seen you on the bike, and one thing has been consistent, you've always looked imposing!?
I never wanted to look imposing. I always wanted people to think of me as approachable, I’ll try harder to make myself approachable.
When did you start riding and then racing?
I started riding when I was 4 and never stopped. I dabbled in competition at 17 and raced full time (without a real job!) from 25 to 30.
What got you started racing?
Mike Walden (the world renowned bike coach) was working with me on a knee problem I had that stopped me from full time commuting on my bike. Mike would tell me I was getting fast enough to race. I was horrible at it. No skills and no sprint but I could Time Trial. I hated sports but loved what Mike taught me. Deciding to race full time was only to learn what it took to be a real racer and help carry on some the wisdom Mike bestowed on so many of us. All I really wanted to do while racing was learn as much as I could and help other riders become better and safer cyclists and if racing, learn what it takes to be a good racer.
Last year's race here in the inaugural BBF looked fast in the Master's 40+ bracket. You had a pretty high finish in that event. Were you pleased with your finish or that of your teammates?
It is always nice to win, but I didn’t and that’s OK! And I am always pleased with my teammates when they try their best.
Will you race Master's again this year or consider also the Pro 1/2 event? Any specific goals for this year's criterium?
Since I help with course set up I need to be up and at 'em pretty early. So racing this year will be a game day decision like last year, I am usually pretty tired. My goal would be to help do what I can do to help the Promoter and sponsor’s be proud of the best Road Bike Event in Michigan.
And while we are on the topic, what advice or insight do you have regarding criterium racing for the first timer to either racing or crits?
Stay off the course when the race is going on. Watch your kids and dogs and keep them off the course. Walk the course in the reverse direction of the racers and take some time at each of the corners to watch the racers carve turns in big packs and snake through the roads. Especially if you’re an upcoming racer. The lines you cut while racing a course are completely different then riding the course at slower speeds, this is a good time to learn from the best. Be at the finish with 3 laps to go for the exciting sprint finish.
You are a stanchion in the Wolverine Sports Club, first as a dedicated racer now even as a coach. How much fun is that?
Every time a rider or racer exceeds their own expectations it makes all members of the Wolverine Sports Club proud. With the help and guidance we all have received and give back I hope each rider feels there is a little of each of us with them along for the ride.
ACF is back again this year as a key sponsor for BBF! Why does ACF support BBF and others?
Charity events that pertain to the bike community? Supporting local charities and events is part of our culture. "We Make Cycling Fun for Everyone" isn't just our tag line, it is who we are as a company and the employees that make up ACF. For us it is all about getting people on bikes and enjoying the activity. If we are successful doing this, in turn we will continue to be a successful business. We will be out there on race day with the Trek Demo truck giving the local community an opportunity to test ride Trek bikes. The beauty is they can test ride a bike like the racers, but more importantly, they can test ride bikes that you can ride down the street on their way to the local ice cream shop or grocery store. If we can make that experience enjoyable, people will think first about riding their bike than getting in a car to drive one mile. 50% of all commutes are three miles or less so we know that is well within the range of any cyclist.
What are your thoughts on the impact of last year's event? Any areas in which the participants surprised you?
I thought last years event was spectacular given it was our first year and the scope of the final product. We learned a lot and expect this year to be even better. We saw a huge amount of people ride their bike to the event and at one point had the bike valet near capacity. The Trek Demo truck was busy all day and it was a mix of racers and the local community wanting to demo some bikes.
Do you have an expectations for this year's event in terms of what ACF which's to show off to the riders who come out or the spectators who watch?
I think pretty much what I said in the first question. Whether it is a racer or casual rider, if we can get them on a bike and make them comfortable and the experience enjoyable, we will have accomplished our goal for the event.
Do you plan to sit in on any of the races? In the special Miles4Miles ride?
I hope to do just that.
From your perspective as a businessman with a company with locations all around Detroit what other insights might you have?
On a final note. ACF is ingrained in many communities across south eastern Michigan and we plan on making sure that we do our job to make the cycling experience enjoyable for anyone that walks in our doors. Walking into a bike shop, for many people, can be very intimidating. The BBF gives us just another avenue to bridge the gap between the community and our stores, to allow potential customers to ease their way onto a bike and into a way of life.
When riding in a pace-line out on our Sunday morning training ride with you this morning you yelled several times "TRAILER!" What did you mean by that?
Over the years as a cyclist I've come to realize that we are woefully inadequate in what and how we communicate to our riding cohorts regarding what is going on around us while cycling. This has the potential to put our safety in jeopardy. One of the aspects for defensively safe riding includes riders in the back of a pace-line calling out, "Car Back" when a car is approaching or passing the ride group. This goes without saying. In addition, however, if I am a rider back in the pace-line and realize that a car or truck is passing and towing a trailer of any sort but perhaps lawn equipment or a horse trailer, I will call out "Trailer!" I do this because if the driver eases back over into the lane, thinking he has successfully passed the group but does so a tad early, the distinct possibility exists that the trailer can whip over and hit the riders, even if unintentional.
So, I will call out "Trailer" and that hopefully conveys to the riders up ahead that they should be ever vigilant but additionally alert for a trailer to come into their lane and therefore ready to bail out to the shoulder or somehow off the road or clear of the incoming trailer. When riding solo it is very important to be alert for this situation as well. When a new rider myself on a solo ride I was passed by a lawn truck and just had a feeling that the driver who gave the truck plenty of room getting around me might slide over too soon and so he did. I was already off riding the narrow bind of dirt when the trailer's rear wheel actually came onto the dirt as well just a few feet ahead of me. That feeling saved me that day. Stay alert and think about what might go wrong. Doing so will make it all right!
WHYSGUYS. Wheel Education
DEEP DISH! Okay, if you are anything like me you had a salivatory Pavlovian response to those words but I am not referring to pizza. This email starts off discussing those of you who ride wide rimmed wheels and how to be prepared for road issues. In the end most of you might benefit from the read. On two separate rides to Detroit riders had flats but the problems seemed exacerbated when two riders had deep dish rims? The reason? They replaced their tubes but did not remove the shard of glass or whatever caused the flat and then blew out the replacement tube. Take a risk and drag your finger around the inside of the tire before putting in the new tube. Also, pump some air into the damaged tube and try to find the hole and compare it to the location on the rim/tire to see if a shard is in that spot. If the hole is on the "inside" of the tube check your rim tape to see if it worn or perhaps has slipped to the side. These tests actually work. So now what do you? Both your tubes are toast and you figure out that you must have missed the culprit. Now it is removed but you don't have a tube. So borrow one from one of your patient buddies.
Oh wait! Your rims are about 39 cm wide! Who has a tube with a valve stem long enough to get through it. Well, probably no one else because most riders use the wide rims for race day! So this is the deal…
1. If you ride deep dish rims, bring a valve extender so a standard tube (now-a-days a 48 mm) that you bum off of your buddy will work or
2. carry at least three tubes or
3. bring a patch kit so you can repair your damaged tubes! It takes a moment to repair but it might get you out of having to call your significant other from coming to get you from the furthest distance from your home. By the way, I've never had a successful repair with a glueless patch kit. I await testimony from someone, somewhere to the contrary!
4. Of course bring at least one "tire boot" sold at any well equipped bike shop. These can be inserted on the inside of your tire in the case that you cut it and need a repair that will get you home. If you try to use your Mylar energy bar wrapper may I just say, "Good luck with that!" The 'boots' are inexpensive, very easy to use, immensely superior than using a wrapper or a dollar and if you have to loan one to a pal you will be a hero. They cost about a dollar and two bits each.
5. If you flat make sure your cohorts know you stopped and why. Try to make sure they will come back for you if informed of the flat or where you will meet them if they do an extra lap. If you are another rider in the group make sure you are not leaving your "friend" behind. I was mortified to learn that our group did just that and left a rider unassisted far away from home on a recent ride. I did not learn about it until the next day. Ironically, I got separated from the group following this exact advice checking with another rider who flatted earlier. If everyone in a group of 25 knew that a rider had a flat perhaps at least one other would have either had an extender, a patch kit, or an 80 mm valve stem tube.
HEADS UP! RUBBER DOWN
This is a serious tip. We have had discussions regarding what we should carry in our saddlebags but we've been negligent in filling the list completely. I am suggesting, rather urging, you all to put at least two 325 gram aspirin in you saddlebags. In the event that you or one of your riding cohorts were to have or suspect to have a heart attack taking the two aspirin as soon as possible might
serve a life saving purpose.
Aspirin serves to block platelets from sticking together or to the walls of the arterial blood vessels. Aspirin, acetyl salicylic acid, is a fast acting anti-coagulant. If having an ischemic event the symptoms might be singularly or inclusive of chest pains, shortness of breath, sweating, pain radiating to the left arm or neck or jaw. Stroke patients sometimes show similar symptoms but a stroke is sometimes a result of an embolism but it could be the result of a bleed. In that case taking aspirin would be contra-indicated. However a stroke victim would unlikely experience chest pain or the other symptoms mentioned. In either case an immediate call to 911 is required.
So, while we are all interested in speed when riding, speed in acting and being on a properly equipped bicycle might really pay off if aspirin is in everyone's saddlebag.
HEADS UP! RUBBER DOWN!
DAY&Night MILES RIDE
Despite what some people noticed as being warmer weather we had an excellent turn out and participation for the sixth DAY&NightMILES Ride Tuesday. Five groups of riders headed out to points north following a few words of recognition for Mile's philosophical and spiritual contribution to the community as well as the presentation of the Miles Levin Community Service Award to Jeffrey and Michael Surnow for their efforts to enhance our community through the Birmingham Bike Festival scheduled to take place August 26th.
Miles' dad, Jon Levin lead the "D" ride and special thanks to Original Loose Spokes rider Danny Weberman who came out to lead the Recreational ride. That course is painted with orange "arrows" starting from the Derby School entrance on Derby. The route is 15 miles long for those of you who may wish to explore it with your novice cohorts or adventuresome kids. The only tricky part is making sure you get to Lenox (which is a short dirt section but ride friendly) where it crosses Adams. This year the route turns south on smooth packed Thedford and mostly avoids Squirrel and Kensington for a much more user friendly route.
The "A" riders were particularly intimidated by the heat this week but perhaps a few of the racers were saving their juices for the Waterford World's Races Wednesday. The "B" and "C" groups had great turn outs. I'm particularly impressed by the "C" riders. We had an organized work out with disciplined pace-lining, handling techniques were worked on into the turns and the speeds rev up without efforts. The "C" riders are taking a water stop after two laps at Crosscreek where the football field/park is located at the same junction where we turn around for additional laps.
The "C" ride ended up with over 38 miles and nearly 1,400 feet of climbing. The average speed was nearly 19 mph without pushing the pace. Over 80 riders rode Tuesday evening in the combined census!
After the DAY rides 9 riders headed out for a partial paved and dirt road NIGHT exploration of the roads toward Bloomfield Hills. We spotted the third brightest night star in the sky and had a warm and pleasant experience viewing the electrical 'light show' underscoring Miles' memory as person who had an enlightening and sparkling impact on those who knew him.
I would like to thank Rabbi Cohen for his thoughtful and kind words of support again this summer and for all of the riders who came out to support the ride, sustaining Miles' memory, and to make a friend or two and enrich this fine community.
VP Events: Team o2/CadieuxBC
Director Sportif: MotiveForce-LooseSpokes
Ride Leader: Wolverine Sports Club
Temporary Ride Leader: R4RWRG
PERSONAL SPACE INVADERS
Remember the hum of the oncoming "Space Invaders" as they march down the screen as you shoot with hostility and futility as in the end, they are going to get you? Video games can teach us certain series of skills and lessons. Eye-hand coordination, tactical approaches to the game and an ability to remain calm as the onslaught of marauding hoards proceed! You can learn to stay calm under pressure, to not panic and to look for any advantage you can get.
When riding, similar lessons can be learned. But first I want to point out an error that I have seen in many races and may have been the cause of a spill that took out a rider, I'll call him X, last week at the top of the hill on Squirrel Road. [For those of you not familiar with this area this section of road is marked by a set of rollers starting up slightly then down and a fairly quick uphill which is made all the faster by trailing other riders who are going fast.
Remember that when on a bike your "personal space" goes back about three feet further than your rear end. From what I understand a passing rider, Y, came in front of the the leading rider X prematurely and in so doing swiped X's front wheel with his own rear wheel. Down he went and X marked the spot. Unfortunately this spot has been marked before. Why did Y do what Y did? Well certainly not intentionally. If we are overly eager to get back in line or if we misjudge our "personal space" then we might be prone to premature actions to get into the lane. On Squirrel, every week when we cross Long Lake Rd. just prior to that hill climb section, I remind riders to call out "hold your line" or "stick" if passing other riders and to avoid crossing the yellow line. I usually say, "if you can't pass without crossing the yellow, don't pass."
In races at Waterford Hills, they are as long as road races but they are circuit races so the route is well known to all the racers. Riders do this in all types of races but I've seen this often at Waterford. I've had racers pass me as I'm leading a line and then seem to insist on moving in front of me too early even though I don't think there is an aerodynamic advantage to leading the way. I've warned racers to avoid cutting me or teammates off. I've even resorted to threatening one racer who did it three times. After the third time I pulled up next to him and calmly said, "If you do that again you will regret it." If he didn't know what he did (and he may not have) he was shaken up a bit and avoided me. In a race it is not my job to teach rider safety but I expect it nevertheless. So that is what training rides are for. Or did you think it was about riding at mach speed and getting a gold star for running a stop sign with traffic in the area or getting to the top of the hill first even though no one is giving out gold stars?
So what do you do if a rider next to you seems to be coming into your line? If possible put your hand, that is, the back of your hand on his thigh to remind him you are there. Hopefully you won't have to push him away. We can practice this so it is not unnerving to you to get a hand on your leg and be startled by it. While I like to advise keeping your hands on your bars, (and avoid pushing a rider up a hill and risk losing your own balance) this tactical maneuver might save you from a spill. So be cognizant of your space and remember the difference between a training ride and a race.
I like that riders go all out but not at the expense of safety. Ever.
Motive Force-Loose Spokes
In case you have not noticed, the temperatures have been relatively high lately and there is no relief in sight for the next few days. In the past we've posted tips on training in hot weather and we can re-post them but this "TIP" will be simple and to the point.
When riding, it is crucial to be alert to road hazards. Hence my sign off moniker, "HEADS UP!" That said, when the temperatures go up it is important to be especially alert to a hazard that becomes more dangerous with rising mercury. When there are seams in the road, filled with tar, the viscosity of the filler is altered by changes in the thermometer. As viscosity is "resistance to flow" there is less resistance as the temps go up and your tires, should you drop into a filled crack, may lock up or sink into the crack instead of just riding over it.
If you find that you've dropped into a linear crack (one traveling parallel with the road direction) slow down carefully, stop, and then lift yourself out of the crack. Don't attempt to jump or hop out of it. You won't have a leverage point and you may crash as a result. My line is, "You can't jump out of molasses."
The key is to be alert and avoid those tar lines in the first place and call them out to your riding cohorts.
Welcome to Birmingham Bike Festival!
Welcome fellow bike riders, pedestrians, families, animal lovers, and residents of our beloved community. You are all welcome to your festival and I encourage you to be a part of the event.
Although the name of the event is Birmingham Bike Festival, it’s not all about bikes. It’s bringing the community together for a variety of fun and healthy life style events. It encourages families to participate in sport related activities together. Breathe some fresh air, enjoy the city, and spend less time in the car and more time outside. Give the IPhone a rest, stop texting for an hour or two and do something together. Laugh and talk to each other. It’s what we are supposed to do. Let's get back to it.
This one day event starts at 8am and runs to 5pm. Live music starts at 11am. Ride your bike to the event: we will have a bike valet to watch it for you while you walk around. Enter yourself in a citizen friendly race and win a prize. Race with your children: all ages are welcome. Watch our hand cyclists. These are the heroes of our society who have physical disabilities and race bikes! You will come away from this race with a whole new respect for these athletes. Watch the professional cyclists who travel from around the country just to race for cash prizes. If you haven’t seen a racer take a 90-degree turn at 30 MPH, you will be impressed!!
Personally, I have always loved cycling and want to share this passion with the entire community hoping to make the City of Birmingham a healthier, friendlier, and an even better place to live and visit.
Since this is a celebration of cycling, what better way to celebrate, than racing (or watching), winning some money or prizes, listening to our live bands as they entertain in Shain Park, and shopping at all the different vendors that will be set up in and around the park? Don’t have a bike? We will have an area where you can learn about the different bikes for different uses. You can even buy one at the event.
There will be community booths set up to share with you the many other features and events the city has to offer its visitors. Stop and say hi to those tending the booths: you will be greeted with a smile and friendly conversation.
I am confident that if you decide to attend, as a spectator, rider, volunteer, sponsor, or vendor, you will truly enjoy yourself! So bring your friends and family to the park Sunday, August 25th and prepare for one of the city’s finest events!
I hope to see you there.
Race Founder & Director
Birmingham Bike Festival