Elk River in the RZ96


Last weekend, my good friend Eric drove out to Stepford from his home in North Carolina to visit with us.  He’s my son’s godfather and I’ve known him since we were at seminary in the Nineties.  You may recall that we last saw each other at Ashville, North Carolina, in January of this year when we exchanged gear – Pouch E68 and Razesa road bike.  The plan was to paddle at least one day during Eric’s visit, possibly two.

We got a late start Saturday.  If you’ve never tried to accomplish a task with an interested and active young child around, you won’t understand why it took so long to get the kayak assembled.  I hadn’t done anything with the RZ96 since patching the hole in the bottom it sustained during a short Duck River paddle from Henry Horton State Park a couple of years ago.  Hole repaired, I carefully packed the boat away and stored it in the better of my two sheds.  I was interested to inspect the repair and hoped the patch hadn’t pulled loose during storage (although I very carefully followed the patching instructions).  When I opened the bags, I inhaled the smell of varnish from the boat’s frame, a restorative reminding me that I a waterman.

Water’s low at Tims Ford and Normandy, but Woods Reservoir is always full.  The bridge at Prairie Plains Road is a long drive, but worth it to paddle upstream the Elk River from what is, essentially, the top of Woods Reservoir (the bottom being, of course, down by the dam if you mentally reckon things the way I do).  When we drove down the rutted hillside road to the dirt parking area, I saw only a couple of pickup trucks backed in by the trees on the right, and noticed that someone, possibly the county sheriff’s department, has placed what purport to be surveillance cameras on a phone-pole, also on the right side as you drive in.  I backed Thursday up to the ramp and we took the Great Blue Heron off its racks.  Got the gear out and in the boat, and rigged the rudder.

As we were doing that, what might have been a family group consisting of one adult male, two adult females, and several children pulled in to the parking area in a small pickup truck.  One of the kids had a great mohawk.  I’m too old, now, for a mohawk, but I’d like to get my hair cut like that maybe once more in my lifetime.  The people from the pickup truck moved off to fish from under the bridge, over to the left.

The last time Eric and I paddled the RZ96 was around Thanksgiving maybe five years ago Normandy Lake.  We’d put in at Barton Springs boat ramp and paddled around Negro Hill and straight on up the branch beside the mouth of which, in high water, is a small island.  I remember we paddled against a headwind and cooked a camp lunch on the rocks partway up before continuing as far up as water level permitted.  On the way back down we umbrella-sailed using my old green and white Roundup golf-umbrella.  I recall the November hillsides looked tiger-striped with shadows and orange fall leaves still clinging to the wooded slopes.

Here’s a picture of Eric about to take a picture of me taking a picture of him at the put-in – neither snapshot showed our best likenesses:


Last Saturday at the Elk River put in, however, it was hot and windless, the foliage full and green, the water likewise a murky green common to the lakes in this part of Tennessee.  We paddled upstream, past the group fishing on our left.  I wondered whether I’d remember how to paddle a kayak, but it was not a problem.  I used my $100.00 Eric Renshaw Greenland paddle, and Eric used a 230 centimeter Werner Skagit.  A few years ago, I intended to install backbands to replace the Stasi torture devices Pouch included as backrests.  I wish I’d got that done.  Still, as long as I remembered to take responsibility for my own posture and correct for my peculiar leaning bias (I wonder whether the same portions of my brain failed to develop properly that, when damaged in some people who have strokes, produces Pusher Syndrome or its mirror-image), I was able to paddle without too much pain for most of the journey.

After awhile, we came upon two couples in separate row-boat style craft lazily paddling.  I don’t normally snap photos of people I meet while exploring because I don’t like to be photographed, myself.  Eric had no such scruple and took a picture, but much in the way of detail is obscured by distance.


For about an hour we paddled upstream. At one point, the water was shallow, but deep enough for us to pass over the rocky and weedy bottom. I’ve noticed this on other trips, that the water of the Elk appears a milky blue in color maybe a mile up from the bridge at Prairie Plains Road.


We continued until our backs were sore past the point where we discerned the river’s current and decided to turn back around and head downstream.  Then we kept paddling upstream to see if there was a place just around that bend and then the next bend to get out and stretch.  Finally, our progress was completely impeded by fallen tree across the river too low across the water’s surface for us to get the kayak under.  Actually, looking at that picture at left, it appears we might have been able to get the boat under the tree there at the right bank.  Truth is, we didn’t notice, and it may’ve been too shallow there.


On the way back, having found no convenient place to get out of the boat to stretch my back, I raised and secured the rudder, then sat on the seatback swiveled to receive my overlarge buttocks.  I experienced great relief at the lower back and paddled thus for awhile.  Along the way, we saw some pinkish-purple wildflower in bloom.  We saw a great deal of driftwood.  We saw an otter swimming and I noted its peculiar pointed ears, like those of a cat, but smaller and wider set.  We saw one or two great blue herons in flight.  Eric saw a couple of turtles, but I saw none.  I saw no fish except minnows at the put in swarming about in the bathwater warm shallow.


I don’t like being photographed, but have been working on a fake smile for those occasions when the ordeal is unavoidable.  Eric shot this one over his shoulder, without looking.  It is less self-aggrandizing than the one wherein while paddling I assumed a heroic three-quarter sort of profile while pretending not to notice the camera.


Back at the put in, we witnessed a young couple that’d been drinking something with alcohol in it jump off the bridge into the green water.  They swam back and waded ashore, the woman saying she’d touched the bottom and the man saying he’d managed not to.  By the time Eric and I got back to the house, my wife had prepared a dish of kale and Italian sausage along with a dessert made with almond-flavored cream, blueberries and mandarin oranges.

LATER:  Here’re a couple of pictures of Eric that are better than the two above.  I took them the day after we paddled the Elk River – a week ago last Sunday:

Eric riding Miyata 610

Eric-at-SGBF Eric gave a brief talk about ministry to street kids at SGBF during his visit with us

Eric riding a 1981 Miyata 610

How to get from Stepford to Pixley on a Bike

Last Saturday (6/16/12) I got up early intending to ride out to the Pot County administrative plaza over in Pixley (previously misspelled, by me, “Pixilie”).  I think I’ve mentioned somewhere else in this space that I reside at Stepford in Pot County.  The kind you pour from, not the kind you smoke.

I wanted to visit a couple of friends over there, one of whom I had not seen for several months.  When you’re halfway smart, it’s hard to have friends because, really, who are your peers?  I guess my answer to that question is anyone who is oriented to reality and competent in fulfilling their life’s work is my peer.  Both of my friends at Pixley have probably got some standard score points on me in one or two WAIS-IV subscale domains.  It does me good to spend time with these guys – both have experienced more of life within and without social, educational, and religious systems than about ten other average people.  Sort of like spiritual Samsons.


The ride to Pixilie is about 24 miles, round-trip.  I’d hoped to pedal the Miyata, but hadn’t got the Continental Gatorskins yet that I ordered sometime last week from www.biketiresdirect.com and was still having severe lower back pain every time I rode the bike and was still having trouble with the gears/chain pretty frequently slipping down to the smallest of the three chainrings (I have since leveled the saddle and tightened the shift levers).  The inexpensive but brand-new Schwinn tires that came on the bike’s ancient 27” rims I reckoned unequal to the task.  So I loaded up the Razesa, which is an awesome bike, and headed out.

The morning was already warm as I turned right heading out of Burnt-Down-Plantation Estates on to Country Club Road.  Passing the turn-off to that august institution (where I’ve actually eaten lunch and dinner a few times, although not since I’ve moved to this neighborhood), one rides on past a palatial mansion behind gates and a wall on one’s right, then past Revolutionist Acres, and, at the corner of that subdivision and Country Club, turns right onto Catfish Billy Road which connects at the bottom of fun hill and a flat place to Old Pixley Highway.  A left onto OPH is quickly followed by a right turn onto Husk Road, and, riding past a water tower on one’s left and a Faction Two bottling and distribution facility on one’s right, one comes to the main highway.

The four-lane connects Stepford to Pixley now that this part of the world has no passenger rail (must be about 40 or 50 years now, maybe more).  Engineered for the use of motorized vehicles, the highway has wide paved shoulders suitable for riding a bicycle that’s got Gatorskin tires.  From there, once safely across the four lanes of traffic divided by a grassy median, the ride is easy over long, not-very-steep hills on in to the glorious seat of county government hereabouts.  From driveway to destination, about 12 or so miles.

Recycling Center

Making fun of the place I live, having grown up and lived a lot of my life in other places, is something about which I have no qualms.  My friends, however, I’m not inclined to mock.  Is not Augustine quoted or misquoted as having said, “Gold from Egypt is still gold.”  My friend Reginald has something to do with the recycling center behind Pot County Administrative Plaza.  He’s there on Saturdays and Wednesdays.  About three years ago, when I was looking for a place to dump a pickup truck full of junk and trash I’d cleared out of the house my wife and I’d just purchased in Burnt-Down-Plantation-Estates, Reginald informed me I couldn’t dump most of that trash there.  He suggested the municipal dump at Stepford (which was closed when I got there, but I did find a convenient dumpster on the highway running from Stepford to Hooterville).

Who knows how, but we got talking about the things of God and found we are both Christians.  As we talked, Reginald sometimes broke off conversation to assist elderly recyclers or to engage regular recyclers in conversation.  This population of recyclers appears to be his parish, if parish is the word I want.  Reginald is a tall man with red hair, a moustache, and an at times alarmingly direct gaze.  He reports a post-secondary education education at a couple of the better thought of Southern schools (Baccalaureate and Juris Doctor) that I have no reason to doubt, as well as an impressive career arc that brought him to the humble-seeming place I met him after he and his wife “decided to live on purpose.”  Reginald’s manner of speaking, as well as the content of his speech, does one good to hear tuning the mind of listener to the conversational norms of about a century ago.  Here is a photograph he permitted me to take last Saturday.


Last Saturday, as I said above, I rode out to the recycling center to visit with Reginald.  At first he agreed to let me interview him, but as we began he said he felt uncomfortable with the process, and I did, too.  So we just visited.  Sometimes it is good to let someone else direct the conversation and to listen attentively.  I’m not good at that, never really trusting anyone else’s perceptions much except to check them in order to gather more data.  Because I don’t really trust other people, there’s this tension, and it’s hard to listen unless I’m mining data.  Anyway, I guess my discomfort with trying to interview Reginald has to do with the fact that I think he’s an immensely valuable human being and I want to know what he knows, but I think he deserves better than to be expected to tell me what I think I ought to know, as opposed to letting him tell me whatever it is he wishes to say to me.  Probably because my early survival, figuratively and (to a degree) materially, depended on categorizing perceptions regarding circumstances and people while noting connections and disconnections in order to discern what is real from what has been asserted by others as real, I continually do that to this day in all of my interactions with other people.

Reginald told me a story about his great-great-great grandfather, one William Bobbit, who was born on an adjacent farm to the one where James K. Polk was born somewhere in North Carolina.  Both men raised families in Maury County, Tennessee, and both owned plantations near one another in North Mississippi.  Polk had a rule that his overseer was not permitted to whip any of his slaves on the plantation, but had to send a message to Major Bobbit to ride over in order to personally administer correction.  The theory being that one who has never owned any property (the redneck overseer into whose hands Polk had effectively abandoned his slaves in order to carry on with the business of the law or government) would not have the sense or ability to refrain from damaging same.  That “correction” was administered only when the slaves had run away, often to Tennessee, to see their relations.  Reginald told me that while at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, he happened upon some letters Major Bobbit had written to his friend Polk.  In one of them, describing the election returns from two bellwether counties, reported that “Mississippi is safe for democracy for two more years.”  Interesting is the evidence that the phrase, “safe for democracy,” predates by at least 50 years Woodrow Wilson’s use of it at the time of the Great War in the early part of the last century.

Politically, Reginald strikes me as liberal, so I kidded him by telling him half-seriously that in the coming presidential election, he should vote for Romney, who is actually a conservative Democrat, as opposed to voting for Obama who is an anti-American Communist.  And very frankly, I think most Democrats who consider themselves Americans first, will find they have an easier time working with Romney than with Obama.  Reginald said that when, as a younger man, he held an official position in Mississippi that brought him into frequent contact with local reporters, he was wont to give them interesting statements that became their leads, and he therefore became the only person whose statements were correctly quoted in the papers.  Possibly in reference to my advice to vote for the Republican, Romney, in November, Reginald said,

“I can’t imagine why anybody would want to abandon the party of Slavery, States’ Rights, and Manifest Destiny for the party of Abolition, Isolation, and The National Debt that Alexander Hamilton started.”

Which statement may be the best on-the-record quote I’ve ever heard anybody utter.

I telephoned to my friend, Theodore, to see about meeting him someplace for coffee, but he said he would drive over to the administrative plaza and we’d motor someplace.  For a long time, I’ve thought Theodore and Reginald should meet, probably because they’re two of the five or six guys I respect most.  When I introduced them, I misidentified Reginald as an Arminian and when he denied it and looked at me like he was going to knock me down (considering what I’d just called him, he had every justification if he’d done it).  I tried to excuse my gaff by referencing his previous work with the Methodists of Memphis and Reginald said the fact that he’s no longer associated with them may have something to do with his theology.  I’m not sure why my jaw was spared.  Probably

Here are a few of the photographs I took at the recycling center (click on them for larger images):



Theodore pastors the small congregation with whom (if whom can be used as a plural) my wife, son, and I have worshiped for several years, now. I recently wrote elsewhere that from the first time I heard him preach (in the loft of a converted barn), I marveled that God had sent someone of his caliber to this obscure corner of Christendom.  We drove over to the Pixley Cracker Barrel over by the freeway and talked ecclesiology, books, and ate lunch.  We talked about the recent Calvinist v. Arminian controversy in the Southern Baptist Convention.  Our congregation is loosely affiliated with the SBC, and we’ve talked among ourselves at business meetings about whether or not there’s any benefit to be had from that association.  Maybe some, probably not much.  I had a fried-egg sandwich with hashbrowns, apples, and a biscuit with jelly.  I figured it would be okay since I had plenty of exercise ahead of me.

I have been thinking more and more about the utility of what is usually known as the “House-Church Movement” – requires very little in the way of tithes and offerings to maintain a system that has much more to do with culture and visible status within the culture than (it seems) to do with Christ and what the scriptures of Old and New Testaments seem to indicate the congregation called by God should be about.  Most of the “church growth” schemes I’ve encountered and read about appear intended to promote the sort of growth cancer cells are known for, and it is not for nothing that one of the New Testament Pauline metaphors for understanding the relationship of the Church with Christ is that of the body.  Are mega-churches actual functioning organelles of the whole body, or are they misshapen, tumorous growths?  Most likely, not always the one and not always the other, and one may morph into the other, from good to bad, pretty easily, I would guess.

Another topic was whether families should or are willing to relocate in order to serve the larger body of Christ in places where there is no Reformed witness.  What this may depend on is whether or to what degree the believer reckons the Church (and by using a capital, I mean the company of the redeemed through time, but also at present) a greater priority than the believer’s own family.  Does this sort of commitment require some kind of special call to ministry or missions of sort culturally recognized in what passes for the Church in North America and leads to careers in church systems at home and abroad?  Is it something one can or should be willing to do on the basis of persuasive speech or the voiced conviction of another believer?  Is it some that requires the sort of conviction attributable to the Spirit of God?  Does God expect the believer to intelligently husband the resources God’s given?  Does God expect the believer to take (to use a hackneyed phrase) “a leap of faith”?  Should a group families uproot and migrate to another city without having secured work sufficient for their support and housing?  How about living in one’s circumstances in such a way as to provide “salt and light” – can that not be done here as well as there?  If we’re starving together here, should we go over there to starve instead?

That last question reminds me of the people of Israel who’d left Egypt with Moses and complained in the wilderness and whom God answered by giving them their fill of bread and meat, and with it, leanness of spirit or heart.  Hosea 11:1 speaks of the love of God for Israel, having called his son out of Egypt.  Christians believe that statement of historical fact was additionally fulfilled prophetically when the family of Joseph the carpenter returned from Egypt after death of Herod the Great and those who’d sought the life of the Christ child.  Migration.

A literal translation of the last few verses of Matthew’s gospel reads as follows:

Mat 28:16  But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mount where Jesus appointed them.
Mat 28:17  And seeing Him, they worshiped Him. But they doubted.
Mat 28:18  And coming up Jesus talked with them, saying, All authority in Heaven and on earth was given to Me.
Mat 28:19  Then having gone, disciple all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Mat 28:20  teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the completion of the age. Amen.

Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, copyright © 1976-2000 by Jay P. Green, Sr.

Implicit in Jesus’, “Then having gone,” is the inevitability of the going, of dispersion, migration.  A laundry list of the reasons people migrate include such things as escape from persecution, securing economic opportunity, reunion with family, forced relocation by governments, and so forth.

After lunch, we drove back to the recycling center where I stayed a bit longer before pedaling back to Stepford.

Three Minute Management Course

This is something one of my co-workers at the office found folded up in her phone-book today.  The second of the lessons had me laughing so hard my eyes watered.  It’s a little vulgar, and I don’t agree with all of the conclusions, but it is funny.


Something funny found in a phone-book today.  Click on the image for a larger version of the file.


This week I ate a couple of big meals – Sunday evening at Ruby Tuesday, I ordered an Alpine cheeseburger with onion rings and also consumed two or three plates of salad from the salad bar.  The following evening, at Doros’ and Chrisa’s, I ate two plates full of pretty much everything Chrisa’d cooked, then two huge helpings of dessert – one a trifle and the other eclair.  Tuesday morning, I weighed-in at close to 177#.  That’s not all due to having overeaten on Sunday and Monday.

Since I got sick in late May, I kept eating the same amounts of food but exercised less.  I’ve also been eating more snack foods than usual – gotta quit that.  I’m now trying to increase the exercise and reduce the amount of food I’m eating.  If I can’t manage this, I’ll be heading back to Weight Watchers.

Like I Had Wings

Wednesday night, after I got back from a congregational business meeting, I stayed in the garage and monkeyed around with the Razesa.  Put it on the trainer (because I haven’t got a clamp-down bike stand) and tried to figure out why the chain would only stay on the smallest rear sprocket.  I hand-checked most of the chain-links to see if any of them were stiff, checked to see if any part of the chain was kinked, or kinked as it went through either of the derailleurs.  Nope.  Lubed the chain and rear sprockets.  Nope.  Finally, because I remembered my friend Eric had said this has been a recurring problem with the bike, I checked to see whether the right-side downtube shifter was loose.  Yup.  It didn’t feel the least bit loos when riding or using it to change gears on the trainer, but when I experimentally stuck my thumbnail in the groove of the screw that hold it in place, it turned without breaking the nail.  Got a screwdriver and tightened it down snug, et voila!  I had a functional bike again.

Yesterday after supper, while my wife and son were at his gymnastics class, I took the Razesa for a ride.  The bike is light and fast, its MKS Lambda pedals are comfortable, and the Shimano 600 drivetrain setup with Biopace crankset is like having some kind of motorized assist.  I felt like I had wings on.  I flew.  Maybe 10 to 12 neighborhood miles, and I was not winded when I got back to the house.  I had enough energy to play outside with my son until I was too tired and it was nearly dark.

Because I’m not a bicycle racer and am relatively new to the activity, I guess I don’t have any prejudice about off-round chainrings.  I can’t imagine how the Biopace rings got such a bad rap.  I recommend buying them up cheap on Ebay or some other place you can find them.  Compared to the round rings on my Miyata, and the Stronglight crankset that came with the Razesa, the Biopace rings are like a space-age, super-powering alien technology that I’m glad I’ve incorporated into the Razesa. 

A Bug in My Eye

Yesterday evening I tried riding my Razesa quickly around the neighborhood.  I love that bike – it is fast and light.  I have real confidence in its cornering ability.  I LIKE its Continental Gatorskin tires.  But it got stuck in the hardest gear on both the large and small ring, which annoyed.  Nope, I couldn’t figure it out quickly, so I pedaled back to the house and got the Miyata out to finish the ride.

That Selle Italia saddle on the Miyata felt wrong, even after properly adjusting seat height and stem height, so I slid it forward a bit on its rails and it made a tremendous difference in comfort and ride-ability.  The bike felt like it was made for me.

Because it’s a purpose-built touring bike, I felt the Miyata should be capable of pulling something behind, so hooked up my son’s trailer bike to the seatpost for a family bike ride a little later.  The resultant “tandem” felt a little more wobbly than did the Trek Navigator 1.0 with the trailer bike attached, but it was manageable.  My son seemed to enjoy the ride well enough.  We rode around the neighborhood intending also to ride all the culs-de-sac (sp?).  On the second of these “circles,” as my son calls them, a gnat or some other small winged bug flew into one of my eyes.  It resulted in an intense burning sensation.  Then both my eyes started watering.  My nose, not wanting to miss out on the fun, decided to void all snot.  And the old bod likewise decided it was time void all sweat.  What a disgusting sight I must have presented.

My wife was unable to see the bug in my eye.  My little boy kept demanding an opportunity to look for the bug in my eye.  When the eyes quit watering enough for me to ride on, we just rode back to the house.  I need to get some glasses for cycling, but I don’t want sunglasses.  Any suggestions?

1981 Miyata 610 Touring Bicycle

Saturday morning, early, my friend Adrian and I drove north to Louisville, Kentucky, to look at a blue Miyata 610 touring bike offered for sale by Michael Carroll of Old Bikes Belong.  I brought along, for purpose of possibly trading, the 2011 Trek Navigator 1.0 I bought last August and that served to reintroduce me to bicycling, something I hadn’t done since I was a teenager, some thirty or so years previously.  Last Sunday I rode the Trek to worship service and found it miserably uncomfortable and slow (after having ridden the Razesa several times a week for the past several months) – I knew our relationship had come to an end.

I’d researched the Miyata 610 touring bikes by reading information on bike forums – everyone who claimed to have owned one claimed to have found it an excellent bike.  Some people are still riding the 610’s they bought new.  I was able to find that 1981 was the last year this model was manufactured with stem-shifters by perusing the catalogues found here:  http://www.miyatacatalogs.com/ And I was able to determine that the 610 at Louisville was manufactured in 1981 by comparing its serial number to information found here:  http://www.vintagemiyatabicycles.blogspot.com/

Miyata 610 PageMiyata 610 Specs

We arrived at 2020 South Preston St, Louisville, Kentucky, at about 12:00 pm local time, parked down the block, took the Trek off the rack and walked back to the bike store.  Michael Carroll, the owner, presents with what I’ve come to regard as “Louisville reserve.”  That is, his demeanor is courteous and reserved, he exhibited a willingness to laugh at this customer’s jokes, and displayed his own dry sense of humor from time to time.  I’d describe him as confidently cautious.  It’s a small space he occupies in what appears to be remodeled older sidewalk commercial strip alongside a barber college a bric-a-brac store, a nondescript storefront that might be anything at all behind its opaqued windows, and a vacant unit at one end.  The store was busy.  I think Michael sold four or five bikes during the time it took me to make my mind up about the Miyata.  Michael had put the Miyata in back when I told I planned to drive up Saturday, and brought it out for me to look at.  Although the paint and chrome had a few blemishes, for a bike 30 years old that’d probably been somebody’s regular ride, it was in extremely good condition.


I asked whether I could take it for a spin (my helmet and gloves were in the car), and Michael said sure.  He suggested that I ride down Preston and turn left on Eastern Parkway where I could ride about four miles before it ended (I think it becomes Wilson or Williams near Cherokee Park).  I didn’t ride that far, but did ride as far as Baxter Avenue.  I remembered having driven that stretch many years ago during the time I resided at Louisville as a seminary student.  I’d forgotten the hills.  Unfamiliar with the use of stem-shifters, I had a couple of panic shifts at hills finding the stem arrangement messed up my center of gravity.  I hated the bike’s saddle.  Traffic was a lot heavier than that of Stepford, but there’re a lot more people riding in Louisville, and the automobile drivers didn’t seem to mind the presence of a cyclist on the busy four-lane.

I think JR Robinson had a used Volvo lot near Baxter and Eastern many years ago.  I was reminded by the time-machine character of the ancient neighborhoods of the fact that Ernie Pyle listed the Louisville address of a nurse he met in, I think it was, North Africa – Mildred Keelin of 929 Ellison Ave., in the Germantown section of the city – https://christov10.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/here-is-your-warthe-complete-list/  As I rode, I wondered about the past histories of those residing in the old homes.

My route took me to the farthest point indicated by the arrows on the map below, and then back again the same way.  Adrian told me later Michael said I was taking the longest test-ride any of buyer’d taken and wondered whether I ‘d crashed.


When I got back to the store, I still wasn’t sure about the Miyata.  Michael said he had one other touring bike on the premises in my size and brought it out.  It was a very old Ross Grand Touring model from the mid-1980’s with complete Shimano 600 groupo and lugged steel frame of double-butted Ishiwata 024 tubing.  Kind of a dull tan version of battleship gray in color, the ugliness of which kind of grew on me.  I took this bike for a much more abbreviated ride in the neighborhood around the bike store, and immediately liked it.  Now, I had to figure out which bike I liked best.


Adrian and I decided to have lunch – I would make up my mind over lunch.  The place Michael recommended, a block or two down toward Eastern Parkway was closed, so we walked to El Nopal, located on Eastern Parkway, had a big lunch, then walked back to the store.  Seeing the Ross again, I observed that it probably hadn’t been as well cared-for as the Miyata and that the manufacturer hadn’t attended particularly well to details as compared to the Miyata.  Finally, I decided that if it turned out I completely hated the SunTour components, I could probably source a complete Shimano 600 groupo from somewhere or other.  Anyway, I didn’t know squat about Ross bikes, but had spent a few weeks studying Miyata bikes.  So I bought the Miyata.  Here’s a picture of Michael making some final adjustments to it.


Here’re a few pictures of the bike – I’ve since raised the seat and the stem.  I wish the top tube was a little longer.  The Selle Italia seat I’d had on the Trek is now on the Miyata.  I’ve got a rear rack and a couple of crazy-looking half-fenders to install.  I’m about to take a short ride in my neighborhood to get further acclimated to those weird shifters and three round (as opposed to Biopace) chainrings.



No helmet or gloves, just showing off the bike for the camera