Hillsboro Pollen Ride


I’d been scheduled to attend an activity at Nashville yesterday that would’ve brought me into contact with a number of state legislators, but I called-up early yesterday to cancel my participation.  My hotel stay, parking, and two meals would’ve been paid for and my mileage reimbursed, but those staying overnight had to have roommates.  Mine would have suffocated me to put an end to the noise of my labored respiration, snorting, hawking, coughing, spitting.  Furthermore, I reckoned the elected officials didn’t deserve to have to shake hands with a guy who’s been wiping allergy snot on his suit-sleeve.  Since I already had the leave approved, I stayed home to take my car in for service.

My wife got to work on time, and I got our son ready for his day, then we walked over to the sitter’s house.  We jogged part of the way because it was pretty cool this morning and the movement helped warm him up.  Then, I went back to the house and called my independent Volvo garage to see if they could work Thursday in for service.

The tech gave me a time, and I decided I’d ride around Hillsboro instead of waiting around the yard while they worked on the car, which is what I normally do.  Let me explain my decision –

  1. It was a foregone conclusion that whatever I did yesterday, I was going to feel as if I had poison ivy inside my head and on my eyes
  2. Riding a bicycle in public is as close to invisibility as anyone gets because nobody really looks at a cyclist – they just notice the odd clothes he’s wearing, maybe whether he’s got a helmet on, and whether he’s slowing them down
  3. Or maybe they rate his appearance by thinking a) the guy’s wearing technical garb and riding a bike with curly handlebars – he’s probably a bicycle racer or something, or b) the guy’s dressed a little like a hobo – maybe he’s a dumb peckerwood who got his license revoked for DUI and has to ride a bike to his two-hour a day job picking up nails at a construction site
  4. Nobody will look at your face because nobody wants to make eye-contact with a drunk hobo who’s probably got a bag of nails he can huck at your car if he’s really not right in the head
  5. Thus, my eyes could leak streams of water in their attempt to flush out pollen, and likewise my nose snot, and nobody would be the wiser
  6. And, that was going to happen at home yesterday, anyway
  7. Or it would happen at the garage where I’d wind up sickening the guys who, like the politicians at Nashville, deserve a better quality of interaction and, unlike (a number of) the pols, have useful skills and do meaningful work that helps people
  8. So why not lean into the pollen-storm a bit and dare it to cusswording smite me

I made a snack, got a couple of water bottles and filled one with a five or six years old Gatorade powder mixed with water, the other with water, ate a banana, ate a sandwich, put snack and an Epi-Pen (in case the pollen-storm were to strike me down) in a small rack bag, put the bag, my helmet and gloves in the car, mounted my bike on a trunk-rack, and drove to the garage.    Jim Long Imports has an impressive collection of wrecked Volvo parts cars, and usually when I wait for the car, I’ll spend the time wandering around the property looking at stuff.

Today, after exchanging speech and reminiscences with another customer who is from the same city where I was born, I walked my bike out to the street and turned right on Howell Rd.  That took me to Winchester Hwy., where I turned left and proceeded to Calls Rd., where I turned right.  Calls Road must run parallel to a slough on Woods Reservoir, because I observed a house to my left that had to have been a house I have seen from the water two or three times before.  The wind was in my face on Calls Road.  At the four-way stop where it intersects with Wimble Road, I turned right, thinking that would get me back to Winchester Hwy.  On Wimbles Road, what is obviously a former schoolhouse now painted grey with green trim sits near the crossroads.  The well-kept building has double doors on either end and double doors in front; it is obviously somebody’s residence, now.  Further down the road, at a slight uphill curve, and aged beagle ran out barking and chased me, faster than I expected.


At Winchester Hwy. (where a sign seemed to indicate I’d been on Dean Shop Rd., as opposed to Wimble Rd.) I turned right and road past Howell Rd., past Calls Rd., on to Miller’s Crossing, where I turned right intending to pedal as far as Prairie Plains Rd., then turn back around.  Not too far down Miller’s Crossing, I was chased by an earnest mastiff-German-shepherd mix that I almost didn’t outrun.  When I finally did outrun him, I gave a whoop and complimented him on his speed.  It occurred to me that I’d have to come back past him on my way to get the car.

When I came to a bridge over an unknown stream that doubtless flows into the Elk and thence into Woods Reservoir, I stopped and took some pictures from both sides of the bridge and of the United States Geological Survey’s stream gauging station mounted on the bridge’s parapet, if parapet is the word I want.  I took a picture of my bike and when I looked at later, thought the bike appeared to’ve been lollygagging.  I misspelled “lollygagging” when I titled the image.  Here are those pictures – click on them to view larger versions:

Unknown-Stream Lolligagging Waterweeds USGS-Gauging-Station-1 USGS-Gauging-Station-2
Miller’s Crossing runs through scenic farmland.  If you turn right at the end, Prairie Plains Rd. will take you to a bridge over the Elk River under which is a rutted dirt parking area and dirt-ramp put-in I’ve used many times.


On my way back, I was prepared for the mastiff-shepherd mix – prayed up, geared down and pedaling fast up the hill where I’d encountered the dog earlier, but he didn’t appear.  On Miller’s Crossing past the intersection with Winchester Hwy., I noticed at my left the ruin of what must have been an imposing house set up on a gentle, grassy hill.


The property wasn’t posted, so I rode up the hill a ways and then got off and pushed the bike until I reached the porch.  I spent a few minutes walking around the exterior walls and through the exposed basement of the house.

Front-Porch Machu-Pichu
Back-Porch Side-of-House
Full-Basement Shed

Shimano Biopace & MKS Lambda Pedal Test Drive


The Shimano 600 Biopace crankset I bought from Old Bikes Belong arrived last week, so Thursday I dropped off the bike, pedals, and crankset at Luke’s house.  I picked it up yesterday, but didn’t have much chance to ride because my wife was hosting a ladies’ euchre party at our house.  Although I managed to ride around “the block” once, I spent most of the evening playing with Seventy-Six and trying to keep him occupied so he wouldn’t pester my wife for attention.  We had our supper in the sunroom, ran around the yard with a cyalume stick after dark, the boy pestered his mom, we watched a Veggie Tales movie, and so forth.

This morning, I went for a ride.  Not a lot of hills, today, but I covered a lot of ground and took my camera along.  I took some pictures of the bike leaned up against a tree.


My leg muscles worked differently using the off-round chainrings, but by the end of my ride, I was maintaining my pace more easily than I had using the Stronglight crankset’s round rings.  I felt the workout at my inner thighs nearer their, er, ventral aspects than has been the case with other bikes I’ve ridden.  The gears shifted differently and a little smoother than they had with the Stronglight crankset; I’m still getting used to it, but it’s not a problem.

The Razesa’s front wheel quick-release appears to be original.


This morning, I wore a pair of cycling shoes with very stiff soles.  The last couple of times I wore them, they bounced off the pedals each time the bike’s wheels struck some irregularity in the road’s surface.  Today, the shoes bounced on the newly installed, axe-head-looking MKS Lambda pedals, but didn’t come off them.  After a stop, the pedals were easy to find even though the bike-shoes are too stiff to feel much through their soles.  Because the pedals are long, I didn’t have to worry too much about finding them with the balls of my feet, but when I made the effort, it was easy.  By the end of my ride, I had no foot soreness, but it is unclear whether that is due to having worn the bike shoes or to the pedals.  I’d planned to ride again this afternoon with my running shoes, but God sent a thunderstorm to interfere with my plans.  Maybe it’ll quit this evening before it’s too late to ride.

Bike-ShoesPart of my ride took me through an industrial park where I took pictures at a cemetery where I observed a strange offering of money upon the grave marker of one Malinda Rhoton, according to the inscription, once a Faithful Member of a Magic Circle.  Someone had left stacks of quarters on top of the dead woman’s marker.


I also rode past and photographed a memorial on Wattendorf Highway, then later past a tree farm that looked like woods, to me.  After that, I rode home.


Haircut & Crankset

Since the last time I posted, I ordered the Shimano 600 Biopace crankset from Michael at www.oldbikesbelong.com, which, including shipping, was about as cheap as what I’d been seeing on Ebay.  It should arrive sometime today.  I plan to take the Razesa, the axe-head pedals (MSK Lambda), and the crankset over to Luke’s for installation after work.

I’ve scheduled a haircut after work, too.  Usually every month to month-and-a-half I get it cut pretty short because it’s unruly when long.  Last time, for an experiment, I didn’t get my eyebrows trimmed to see if my wife would notice.  She did.  I’m not going to get them trimmed very much today, either.  Heavy eyebrows on my asymmetrical visage bespeak the presence gravitas behind the otherwise undistinguished facade.  Hoping they’ll also reduce by catching the number of falling pollen particles that’ve been finding their way into my eye of late.


The Shimano 600 crankset with (bonus) bottom bracket and Biopace chainrings arrived near the close of business yesterday, and I dropped the bike, with pedals and the aforesaid off at Luke’s yesterday after my haircut.  I’m hoping to hear from him this evening that everything was bolt-onable without too much hassle.

English Threading


According to this scan (cadged here – http://equusbicycle.com/bike/zeus/zeus85/index.html) my own 1985 Razesa bike has probably got English threading at the bottom bracket.  This is good news.  I will order the Shimano 600 crankset for square taper bottom bracket and be able to install those axe-head MKS Lambda pedals.  The image below a legible cutout of the bottom of the page that appears above.


Heart, Quiche, Pedals, Crankset, Seat


Last Tuesday I spent the morning working at Murfreesboro, and took a lunch break there, instead of back at the office where I had a lunch in the refrigerator that I’d brought from home.  Four generic fig-newton cookies, a quarter cup of trailmix, and a sandwich.  The Barnes & Noble Starbucks’ café at The Avenues mall had a Mediterranean quiche with feta, spinach, I-don’t-know-what-else.  I had that and their largest house coffee.  The quiche I ate was about three-quarters the size of red brick.  It sat in my stomach like a red brick for the better part of that day.

Square Quiche

About 3:45 am Wednesday morning, I awoke with severe pain, like I imagine it would feel to have push knives stuck into my back, just left of my shoulder blade, as well as two more in my chest at solar-plexus and top-left chest.  Then, my jaw, teeth, and temples began to hurt.  I took a couple of generic Tums but couldn’t get a belch out.  Took some baking soda mixed in a glass of water, produced a belch, but experienced no relief.  I took an aspirin on the off chance that it was a heart-attack.  The jaw pain was entirely new, as was my inability to get relief from antacid treatments..  I lay down, but couldn’t sleep.  After about an hour, I was able to get to sleep.  I felt better in the morning.

I’ve eaten a lot of quiche over the years.  My wife makes an excellent vegetarian quiche with either zucchini or yellow squash.  She’d made some with yellow squash earlier in the week.  Wednesday evening for supper, because I obviously cannot be taught, I had a piece of leftover vegetarian quiche.  Within an hour and a half, I again had the same symptoms as I’d had early that morning.  I tried the same stuff I tried earlier, and again, no relief; but I was able to fall asleep.



In the morning, I felt better and went to the office.  I called my doctor and he opined that I should betake myself to a hospital emergency room.  Family history, being awakened by pain, pain in jaw, teeth, temple, etcetera; he suggested that I check in to the ER of the hospital in the town where I work, but although they’ve got a new building, it’s the same lousy hospital with the same lousy standard of care – I’d rather seek treatment at Pizza Hut.  My doctor suggested I drive to Middle Tennessee Medical Center, a Saint Thomas hospital, at Murfreesboro.

“Okay,” I said, “I’ll get it done today.”

“I would do it now,” he said.

I finished up what I was doing and went.

MTMC seemed staffed, from admission to cardiologist, with courteous, efficient, concerned, and competent professionals, as opposed to the two other hospitals I mentioned above that seem staffed by people who’ve gotten in to trouble in other places and can’t find that kind of work anywhere else.

By the end of the day, everything had checked out fine:

  • Triage EKG – good;
  • Vitals – good;
  • Bloodwork – good;
  • Chest X-ray – good;
  • More bloodwork – good;
  • Non-nuclear stress test (running uphill on the treadmill at the end of 10 minutes) – good

The cardiologist came in while I was tucking in to the meal I was finally served about 3:00 pm said all tests indicated what I experienced had nothing to do with my heart but was, as I suspected, a confluence of odd symptoms resulting from a change in diet.  I don’t think I’ll be eating quiche, or anything comprised largely of cheese, any time soon.  And I’m going to make sure we’ve got some baking soda in the cabinet.


Friday I fastened a trunk-rack onto the back of Thursday, my 850, and tied the gold Razesa road bike to it.  I was hopeful that Luke, Stepford’s premiere bike mechanic, could get the old pedals (which were on pretty tight and resisted initial attempts to loosen them) off the bike so we could install the new MKS Lambda pedals that arrived earlier in the week.  But when I arrived at Luke’s house after work, he was not there.  I left him a telephone message and picked up a couple of pizzas for supper as my wife’s parents were scheduled to arrive for a weekend visit.

Luke called back after we’d eaten, and my father-in-law and I took the bike back over there.  Luke had ordered a couple of beefed-up-looking pedal wrenches, and with me holding the bike down with my approximately 173#, he attempted to remove the drive-side pedal.  No joy.  Using an extender pipe, he easily lifted me up trying to loosen the pedal.  He eventually removed the crankset and stuck the drive-side in a vice and very nearly tore the vice out of his workbench trying to remove the pedal.  Again, no joy.  Luke said he’d put the bike together in the morning; my father-in-law and I went home.

In the morning, Luke telephoned saying he had one more thing he wanted to try.  Upon arrival, we found he’d built a simple jig, but needed us to again hold down the bike.  Again, we and the bike were lifted off the ground, but the pedal’s connecting nut or whatever it is that holds it to the crank remained unmoved.

Sadly, but with a bike I can still ride because it has intact pedals, I returned home.  I took with me an Italia racing saddle to try out on my Trek Navigator, because by about the fourth mile of my early a.m. Saturday ride, that bike’s wide “comfort” seat was pretty uncomfortable.

Because the Razesa has a Shimano 600 rear derailleur, Luke suggested I attempt to find a two-ring Shimano 600 52/42 crankset for tapered bottom bracket because it might be compatible, although he suggested a smaller ring sized 39 instead of 42 to facilitate hill-climbing.  There’re a lot of hills at Stepford.


The Razesa’s crankset has no big, obvious logo markings, but at Luke’s house Saturday morning we were able to discern the marks I have reproduced, below:


Very faintly, on one of the cranks, I thought I could make out “glight” left behind by a decal long since worn-away.  I Bing-searched (because I’m boycotting Google as much as possible) the word-fragment and the information above and found reference to a French bicycle part manufacturer called Stronglight.  Here’s what I think happened with the pedals on the Razesa’s crankset:

  • Stronglight crankset is threaded according to the French way of these things that was compatible with the bike’s original pedals, a set of narrow Iberia’s Eric included in a bag of stuff when he gave me the bike
  • Eric said he bought the pedals currently on the bike after buying a pair of cycling shoes too large for the original pedal/toe-clip arrangement
  • The new pedals were probably purchased in the U.S., and are threaded according to the U.S. custom in regard to things like pedal threading
  • The new pedals, threaded on to the French cranks, did not seem sufficiently tight-fitting to make for confident riding
  • Whoever installed the new pedals used loc-tight and a lot of torque to horse down on the pedals when threading them on again, and the loc-tight plus force, plus friction/heat fused the aluminum of the pedals to the aluminum or whatever alloy of the cranks

I’ve exchanged emails and spoken by phone with Michael Carroll of Old Bikes Belong at Louisville and he has a double-ring 52/42 Shimano 600 crankset for square-tapered bottom bracket.  Michael confirms the likelihood of my hypothesis, above.

I’ve located a Stronglight crankset that looks several years older (due to its clunky styling) than what’s on the Razesa, but I’m not sure that’s what I really want.  Anyway, the Stronglight’s probably again got that French threading that would make installation of axe-head pedals problematic.

It would be nice to have a smaller ring better for hill-climbing, but I really do like pedaling downhill at 45 – 50 mph using the large ring.  I may phone up the Rivendell Bike guys and ask up about their souped-down crankset, dunno yet.

Later:  I called the 800 number on the Rivendell site and spoke with Kevin, to whom I must have sounded like a boob because I don’t use the vocabulary of an experienced cyclist.  It’s got to be difficult in a customer service capacity to rapidly assess over the phone based upon fragment-sentence utterances the relative cognitive ability of the person you’re talking to who is trying to communicate but is not doing so using the jargon of one’s particular area of expertise.

The upshot of what Kevin had to say was yes, the double ring crank setup Rivendell sells will make hill-climbing a lot easier and will essentially be like riding the smaller ring I’ve already got (42, theirs is 40) with an even smaller ring to shift down into (I think, 32).  That kind of bummed me out because riding downhill fast on the Razesa’s smaller ring means essentially a lot of coasting, whereas the larger ring (52) allows for pedaling pretty much all the way down most of the hills at Stepford I’ve pedaled.

The other thing Kevin gave me to think about is that before I buy a cransket (and he confirmed that I can change out the chainring sizes on a given crank) I need to determine the threading on the Razesa’s bottom bracket – Italian or English, and there’s no easy way to make that determination short of removing the bottom bracket and looking for some tell-tale markings thereon.

I’ll give Luke a call to see if he noticed or recalls which it is.


I think it was Sunday morning that I removed the comfort seat from my black Trek Navigator 1.0, figured out the seatpost clamp device that held the seat to the post and got it clamped down on the Italia racing seat.  A “flat seat” Luke called it.  Installed on the Trek, the seat looked pretty cool.  Below are a couple of pictures I took after a short ride last night:


I think I’m going to keep looking for a more comfortable seat.  To the good, with the small saddle, I was able to pedal faster and felt much more in control of my bike while cornering.  That said, I had a different kind of discomfort after three miles with the new seat.  I’ll try it out on a couple of more rides, but I’m thinking maybe a used mountain bike seat would work better.

TN State Employees, Legislators want to hear from you about the civil service bill!

Haslam’s hatchet work with teachers, his evident enmity toward the state’s approximately 40,000 employees, and his total disregard for and waste of Republican majority political capital are why I will be voting for a Democrat governor next Tennessee gubernatorial election cycle. That is, unless a movement arises to recall or impeach the governor before that time.

MKS Lambda Pedals


Arrived today, a set of MKS Lambda pedals – Rivendell Bicycle Works calls these Grip King Pedals, but I think they are the same product I purchased from Amazon.com.  I was expecting them Thursday, but they arrived in today’s mail.  They’re a bit smaller than I was expecting, but I think will help keep my feet on the pedals when my bicycle’s wheels strike some irregularity in the road’s surface when I’m wearing stiff-soled bike shoes, and will be more comfortable when pedaling in ordinary sneakers.  They are the pedal of last resort before I take the plunge with toe-clips.  The Razesa came with toe-clips, but they were too small to admit my feet, even when shod in aforesaid bike shoes.  The reviews on Amazon were pretty good. 


Those pedals remind me of Gimli’s axe.

Thursday’s Leadership Lesson

If you

  • imagine yourself a leader;
  • if you have been elected to represent a constituency;
  • if you have been elected to serve as a governmental executive;
  • if you have been hired to supervise the work of others –

You had better quickly develop the ability to apprehend truth, and had better quickly develop a tolerance for it, if you hope to meaningfully succeed and accomplish lasting value.

If somebody tells you the truth, what’s happening is they’re risking the effort of bothering to communicate with a class of person not usually thought capable of apprehending, making, or communicating sense on the reckoned possibility that you are not an animal known for its tendency to cover itself with filth and feed upon garbage.

Mathew 7:6 Do not give that which is holy to the dogs, nor throw your pearls before the pigs, that they should not trample them with their feet, and turning they charge you.