Our community is home to a number of bike clubs, teams, and special interest groups such as bicycle-oriented educational and charitable organizations. A number of local bicycle shops also host regular rides and fun events. Riders, ride leaders and organizers: please see the section below for links to guidelines you may find useful.
The committee that coordinates Kalamazoo Bike Week is in a class by itself. Since 2012, Bike Week has been an annual event held in the same week in May (starting the Saturday before Mothers Day and running through the following Saturday) that showcases many of the bicycle related activities and organizations that make our community so bicycle friendly. It falls within National Bike Month and roughly coincides with National Bike to Work Week. If you want to get involved either as an event organizer or volunteer, check out the Kalamazoo Bike Week web site or Contact us (BFK organizes and promotes Bike Week; individual event organizers put on their own events). This same committee has now expanded to include a fantastic Fall Bike Celebration, a weekend-long way to celebrate and support bicycling and a number of other worthy causes in the third weekend of September.
Some of these groups accept donations of bicycles, with the express purpose of seeing they serve a direct bike-related cause, such as helping someone get a bike who needs transportation to a job or to help the recipient learn bicycle repair skills. They are noted with an asterisk(*). Please let us know if you learn of others.
National bicycling organizations and organizations with a non-motorized (bicyclists, mobility challenged and pedestrian) focus or that relate in some way to bicycle tourism are listed under our Resources > Organizations page.
Southwest Michigan Mountain Biking Association
Southwest Michigan ThunderCats
Charitable and Service
Friends of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trailway
Parks Foundation of Kalamazoo County
Silent Observer of Kalamazoo County, Inc. (Hotline for Tips: 343-2100)
Ride & Bike Interest Groups
These are groups we’ve seen or been told are in the area; they may or may not have their own web site. Some less formal ride groups have “hidden” FaceBook pages or are known only to the circle of friends they ride with; since they are not actively seeking “members” they are not listed here. Please let us know if you hear of others that are are in an “outreach” mode. Please use BFK’s Contact page to let us know about their web site, or, to ask us to forward your interest to someone we may know is associated with the group.
Monday Morning Cruisers (Organized by Kalamazoo County Parks; may be the same as the KRVT Bicycle Club)
PSC Bikers Club (Formerly known as the “Portage Pedalers.” Contact the Portage Senior Center for details and ride schedule.)
TOAD Bicycle Cooperative (May or may not be operating now)
Tips for Riding in Larger Groups
Most bicyclists have enjoyed the pleasures of riding with friends, often from an early age. From the point of view of safety and courtesy, once the size of a group becomes larger, it becomes more and more important that riders learn and follow group riding skills and etiquette. Wanting to help others share the road safely with motorists and non-motorists alike, the following authors and more experienced groups have published tips for how bicyclists should ride when in larger groups. You will find these tips for riding in larger groups in this section. Basic skills are covered in the Education & Safety tab.
We all know that there are many types of human powered vehicles and many types of bicyclists. There are many reasons for bicycling, from recreation to exercise to transportation to competition to adventure, as well. Regardless of the variation, however, once the number of cyclists in a group increases, to get the most out of the experience and get home happy and safe, all riders need to consider certain dynamics that are found in all groups. It turns out that many of these ideas can be applied when riding in smaller groups and when riding alone, as well.
Last quick comment: many of the tips below are aimed at riders on rides that are less casual/social rides–as speeds increase and the distance between riders shrinks, the stakes and (potential for mistakes) increase. Social rides have their own vibe and “culture,” yet many of the points below apply, regardless of the type of ride you are on.
Group Ride Etiquette Nice comments on how triathletes can ride with each other and with other cyclists. Explains, for example, why riding with your hands on the aero bars when riding in a tight group of mixed cyclists is frowned upon (hands are farther from the brake levers).
Group Ride Etiquette and Skills Every Cyclist Needs to Know Practical topics organized under easy to understand headings, with explanations of why each skill makes sense and suggestions on what to do to solves problems. For example, riders should work to close gaps in a pace line because each such gap creates a gap for the following riders, but a way to handle this situation is by dropping to the back to the group.
Jackson Metro Cyclists Group Ride Etiquette and Paceline Basics Excellent three page list of bullet points covering safety, communications, group ride basics, drafting, and passing and pulling.
Legally Speaking with Bob Mionske: Group Ride Etiquette Interesting short article reflecting on potential conflicts between rider motivations, the dangers and backlash bicyclists can face when they selfishly don’t share the road with motorists, written from the perspective of a former Olympic cyclist who practices law.
The Basics of Group Ride Etiquette Brief article covering ride safety, matching your own expectations to the type of ride, ideas for riding in a pace line and general training ride protocol.
Ride Leader & Organizer Ideas and Guidelines
The links below point to examples of how to lead and organize rides that you may find useful. Searching the web using terms such as “bicycle ride leader guidelines,” “bicycle ride organizer tips,” etc. will turn up many more. Please see our local club web sites (above), to find more local examples. When organizing a race sanctioned by a governing body, be sure to consult that organization’s requirements.
Blue Ridge Bicycle Club Ride Leader Guidelines A brief page including what to do before and during rides, and safety. This one contains links to release and liability waivers, plus an incident report form.
Guide to Organizing a Bicycle Event A brief set of sound guidelines from the League of Michigan Bicyclists.
How to Organize Your Own Themed Group Bike Ride A fun and informative overview that applies to many types of rides, including social rides, themed rides and club rides.
Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Ride Leader Guide A one page guide defining what it means to be a ride leader and describing how to lead a ride.
Kalamazoo Bicycle Club Rides: Rules of the Road A one page guide listing key expectations of riders when riding on KBC’s rides. Stresses important riding and communication skills with an emphasis on how to ride in a group.
New York Bicycle Club Ride Leader Training Manual An example of an extensive manual, based partly on the Cascade Bicycle Club’s (Seattle, WA) certification program.
Oklahoma Bicycle Society Ride Leader Guidelines A brief page covering what to do before and during rides, considering the needs of new riders, and safety.