Normandy Bike Ride

Glass of Water with Lemon

Glass of water with lemon at Normandy River Cafe, Normandy, Tennessee

I’d planned to make this ride with my friend, Adrian, the guy who bought the nearly new condition old Bianchi last week, but he got sick and couldn’t make it.  The rough pavement on Cascade Hollow Road would’ve probably done for his bike’s original equipment 27 year-old (?!) Michelin tires, though.  My own bicycle’s Continental Gatorskin tires did fine, and it was a long way down that bumpy road.  At the bottom of the hollow is George Dickel Distillery – I snapped a picture of the company’s roadside sign with three birds next to it – I think they are wild turkeys.  An old man, probably somebody’s grand-dad, stopped me a minute or two later asking directions.  Spooky stuff, people.

Distillery Sign

Wild turkeys and George Dickel Distillery sign

George Dickel distillery

A pleasant morning in the hollow

I didn’t stop to take the tour, but pedaled on into Normandy where I stopped at a cafe that wasn’t open for the day, yet, and ordered a bowl of turkey chili and some ice-water with lemon.   I rode on through Normandy to the fish hatchery and to the dam.  It was a very windy, but otherwise pleasant morning for a bike ride.

Normandy House

Old house on the main street at Normandy, Tennessee

Normandy Cafe

That's me, smiling for the camera at the Normandy River Cafe

Normandy fish hatchery

Normandy fish hatchery on the Duck River

Normandy Dam

Watergates at Normandy dam

Severe Thunderstorm Warning

Silo at Sumner County Park, Gallatin

The villagers didn't pay any attention to me, Thursday, and no one pursued me to this place.

Thursday evening, I checked with the Gallatin locals who said, “When they issue a tornado warning, then you should pay attention,” but said they thought the severe thunderstorm wouldn’t materialize.  I was glad when they said that and headed out Nashville Pike, feeling subversive riding in traffic, to a street named Something Circle, between a Wendy’s fast food restaurant and either a strip mall or a sit-down chain restaurant (all that commercial stuff looks alike on a busy four-lane).

Certainly it was warm enough, outside, and would have been humid if it hadn’t been windy.  I welcomed the wind because it made flight problematic for the variety of little, whitish colored gnats that swarm in the area of an evening.  The neighborhoods I rode through were pleasant and shady – mostly attractive, 40 year-old Tennessee brick houses with established lawns and leafy trees for landscaping.

I found a street that cut through to Lock 4 Road, which runs the length of a peninsula of sorts to Sumner County Park.  I turned right and pedaled to the park over a series of more and steeper hills than I am used to riding here at Stepford.  This being the third time I rode the hills, I found them easier than I had when first encountered Monday night.  Near the road’s end, not far from the entrance of the park, I negotiated a bolted-down speed bump, riding the six inches of pavement between its end and the ditch.

At the park, I saw an old man fishing at a dock with a little boy.  I saw young people sitting across from each other at a covered picnic area.  I saw two men fishing at the lake’s shore.  The water looked calm.  The grassy slopes leading down to the water’s edge looked like a good place to launch a kayak.  I rode on back out of the park past where mountain-bike trails crossed the paved park road.  At Lock 4 Road, I turned right and pedaled a short way and right again up a gravel road to the silo pictured above.  Although I am no fan of horror movies, even the early Universal films of that genre, I found myself thinking of Boris Karloff, whose stage name inspired my Internet moniker.  I snapped a couple of pictures of my Razesa by the dilapidated concrete structure, then rode back to the hotel.

Tuesday’s Leadership Lesson

If as a manager or supervisor you can look back and see that you’ve wrecked every unit you’ve supervised and that long-time employees are all actively seeking other employment or those able to do so have been or have been talking about retiring, look in the mirror – the problem is you.

Can you do better?  Are you willing to make the effort?  Is the actual job beyond your abilities, and is that why your management “style” or focus is to “major on the minors (issues)?”  If you’ve got any sense or good character, you should be able to answer these questions truthfully, if only to yourself, and take appropriate action.  If you don’t, the system may.

April Weekend



Lovely Lake Stepford on a damp, breezy day

Late last night I finally completed a deadline task that has been hanging over me like a black cloud for the past few weeks.  I should have had it done two weeks ago, but there’s been a lot that’s got in the way.  Although I made my best effort, the final product was not my best work and I am not happy about that.

Yesterday afternoon I took a short break and rode for about 16 miles.  The photo above is where I stopped at Squatter’s Point, down the road from Bushwood Country Club to snap a picture of Lake Stepford.  No public access for this small lake, a fact I find galling.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed the ride in the cold, damp, and occasionally drizzling wind.

When I got home, I got back to work, then spent some family time with my wife and son, and then got project finished.



My 1985 Razesa w. Sunday School stuff on the rack

Even though I slept unconscionably late yesterday morning, arising about 7:00, I made it out the door in time enough to ride to the congregational meeting place early enough to make coffee for my Sunday School class.

Something you might not know about me is that I’m an idolater – I find myself all the time looking at Craigslist ads and the inventory at for bikes I’d like to own, reading about bikes, thinking about kayaks and canoes, reading about them, and so forth.  About a week ago, I came across a Craigslist ad for a 1986 Bianchi Trofeo in almost new-old-stock condition down to the original sales slip, catalogue, and other promotional material.  Last Sunday, at church a friend and I had been talking about bikes – years ago he was an every day long-distance cyclist – and he mentioned he was going to start looking for an older road-bike.  He’d just purchased a like-new Bridgestone mountain bike, but hadn’t put it together yet.

I posted a Facebook message to my friend telling him, “Check out this bike.”  A few days later I got a call from him saying he’d purchased it and was going to pick it up Saturday.  Without really thinking about what I was saying (he lives about 20 miles distant), I said, “Dude, ride it to church to Sunday.”  And he said he thought he would do that.

Yesterday morning, he showed up with his new bike, riding on the original Michelin tires.  He’d removed the toe-clips, raised the handlebars and was still working on getting the seat adjusted correctly.  It’d taken him maybe an hour and ten minutes to ride the distance between his house and the congregational meeting place, most of it uphill.  The look on his face was one of pure, endorphin-charged joy.

Fork Formula-2 Front-Brakes Handlebars Made-in-Italy Spokes

“I tried to take it easy,” he said, “but this bike just made me go faster.”  He said it is the best bike he has ever owned and compared it very favorably to an expensive custom-built bike he had many years ago.  I got to take it for a spin, didn’t go far because the frame’s too big for me by about three centimeters and the seat’s adjusted way too high for me, but, briefly, it is the smoothest piece of machinery I’ve ever operated.  All it’s parts sing-together in rapid, clear silence.  Click on the images above for full-sized pictures – I realize only now that I never did take a picture of the entire bike – just these detail photos.


Easter Saturday Sanity Ride


Here’s where I stopped to take a picture today.  I’ve got a lot of stuff to get done, and I’ve been having trouble focusing on the tasks I need to accomplish.  I took a maybe 12 – 14 mile ride this afternoon to clear my head.  I feel hopeful when I’m riding a bike or paddling a kayak. 

Tomorrow is Easter, and I am reminded that because the Christ reaped what I have sewn, I won’t have to. In fact, as my friend Tony remarked earlier today, in many important respects, God’s providence in my life has been easy to identify as good.

Rivendell Steel Lug

Rivendell Bicycle Works sent me a steel lug.  The package arrived today – my wife and son found it on our front porch when we returned home from a neighborhood family bike ride.  It’s a little too pointy for a child just turned four to play with, so I haven’t shown it to him yet.  I took about a dozen pictures, but these are the only ones that turned out well enough to publish.




If they send me a complete bicycle, I’ll post some photos of that, too, and will spend a couple of years riding it in all conditions in order to properly review it.

After Work Neighborhood Ride

When I got home yesterday afternoon, my wife and son were not home; I figured they must have gone grocery shopping.  I doffed my work costume and put on normal clothes, drank some water, ate a handful of trailmix, checked the Razesa’s tires, and rode off feeling like I was playing hookey.

I could have stayed home and done something productive, but I thought a mind-clearing ride was what I wanted.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of eight to ten miles I pedaled around this residential part of town.

The stretches that had formerly been difficult for me were pretty easy, yesterday.  My standard pace has increased markedly.  I continue to be favorably impressed by the combination of Shimano 600 Biopace crankset and MKS Lambda pedals, continue to be favorably impressed with the Razesa road bike.

Last month, I entered a contest to win a new bicycle.  A cycling magazine invited entrants to submit a photo of their current or former bike and 150 word essay or statement explaining persuasively how a new bicycle would change their lives.  But honestly, I don’t think a new bicycle would make me a faster, “better” cyclist or incline me to become an amateur racer.

I guess if I win the contest (and I will probably find out this week), I will have the Razesa in for restoration that includes down-to-bare-metal frame prep for rust removal and painting.  If I don’t win, I’ll just keep riding.  Downtube friction shifters are no longer a source of crash-fear-for-fumbling.

April Fool’s Ride


I rode to worship service this morning and back home again in the afternoon.  Like many of my co-religionists, I eat like a hog whenever the congregation has a fellowship meal.  My guess is I consumed about 2500 calories today at lunch, so the ride to and from the meeting place today didn’t offset that intake.  Later this afternoon I rode another 15 – 16 miles to work off a few more calories.