Retro Ride, Bridgestone Headset, Etc


Last week’s Retro Ride in Tullahoma with the Highland Rim Bicycle Club, co-sponsored by The Celtic Cup, went pretty well.  Denise Smith, who, with her husband, Chris, owns the coffee house, brought and displayed the ancient Raleigh Superbe roadster her father bought and rode while serving in the military and stationed in England.  Denise said she used the bike while in college, adding at that time grip-foam to the handlebars; also that the Sturmey-Archer four-speed shifter has one setting that is null because the bike’s internally geared hub has only three.  Denise’s Raleigh has the locking fork, although it has no Dyno-Hub, it has got a front-rim dynamo.  Sadly, the bike’s not in useable condition, but Denise said she would like to have it restored.  Here are a few pictures – as with all the photos on this blog, click on the picture for a larger image:


I didn’t snap any photos during the ride, so I’m using a few below that were taken by Julia Harrison, bike-club secretary.  The close up of the guy with a spaceship on his head is me.  For a retro-look, I wore a 1980’s Orbea bicycling cap.  Under the helmet, it kept the sweat out of my eyes, but since the bill is broken, looks pretty silly on its own.  I’ll try to find another one, someplace.  I rode the Miyata and one of Adrian’s sons, Tim, rode the Razesa.


Schwinn-&-MiyataCycling-CapOrbea Cycling CapOld-Bikes-Resting

We ended up riding a 26 or so mile course, as opposed to the 22 miles originally planned.  Our route took us from The Celtic Cup through an older and run-down part of Tullahoma, then into the country a ways, across a four-lane, through AEDC, across the Elk River dam at Woods Reservoir, and back to Tullahoma via Spring Creek Road, then some side streets and back to the coffee shop.  Most of the group had lunch there or a beer there, afterward.  Most of the bikes ridden were friction-shifted.  The oldest was a blue 1974 Schwinn Le Tour.  The bikes pictured on the grass, above, are his and hers model 1979 Schwinns.  Adrian rode his Bianchi Trofeo.  In all, there were eleven riders who participated.

In other news, I think the headset on the Bridgestone MB-4 is finally about to get done.  I was totally unable to get the fixed cone-thing that has to be press-fit on the top of the fork press fitted, so I got help on that.  Now, I’ll try to reassemble the fork, headset, and handlebars – maybe this weekend.

Dental Pain: Riding With and Without Opiate


For the past three or so weeks I’ve had dental problems attributable to degradation of a filling in one of my back molars, something I became aware of when a sunflower-seed bit of that molar came loose while flossing one morning.  No pain then did I have.  The broken bit of molar looked like a small piece of bone; with my tongue, though, I could feel the jagged place in the tooth where it had been.  As a child and young teenager, my dental hygiene was evidently bad resulting in numerous fillings.  This filling probably had been working loose due to small cavity behind it.  Because the part that broke off was on the tooth’s chewing surface, near the back of the molar, eating resulted in some food getting stuck down between it and the tooth behind it.  In a day or two, I had a lot of pain when eating.  My dental hygiene as an adult is excellent – frequent flossing, frequent brushing, etc. 

Pain extended to my ear, jaw, neck, and throat.  After a few days of this, I called a new dentist in neighboring Pixilie who had been recommended by a near and trusted relative.  A new dentist because the practitioner of dental arts I’d formerly seen for checkups, crown, cleanings, had recently exhibited behavior in another sphere of activity that indicated loss of contact with the rails.  The new guy was booked up until mid-June, but I made an appointment anyway.  His office worker called a day or two later to ask whether I wanted to come in to take a cancellation.  Yup.  Although my teeth had no current plaque buildup, x-rays revealed a cavity near the molar’s nerve likely necessitating a root-canal.  I remember my dad suffered as a result of this type dental procedure when I was a kid in the Seventies.  "This isn’t your dad’s root-canal," the blonde dental assistant said.  The dentist said it is possible the problem can be corrected with a filling, but would schedule time for the nerve-killing procedure just in case.  In mid-June.  Estimated cost of root-canal procedure:  $925.

Although I’d fully informed the dentist about the unresolved pain and its extent, he prescribed no antibiotics.  Within two days of the examination and cleaning, to use my parents’ phrase remembered from childhood, I was about to come unglued with the pain.  No amount of ibuprofen or acetaminophen provided relief.  I quickly consumed most of the soft foods (oranges, bananas, yogurt) in the house.  I called the dentist back and he prescribed a drug called Norco and a strong antibiotic.

Before calling, I’d been able to ride ignoring the pain without too much difficulty, but the pain had become pretty severe by the time I called the dentist again.  I couldn’t even eat a salad without anything in it that crunched.  I began to wonder how people who have chronic dental pain and problems obtain adequate nutrition, especially those unable to afford dentistry.  To the good, in the back of my mind, I began to see the possibility I’d lose a couple of pounds by the end of this ordeal.  Still, the pliers, vice-grips, and channel-locks in my toolbox were speaking their problem-solving siren song.  Instead, I soaked a Q-tip with DMSO and applied it to the affected area.  Immediate relief.  I used DMSO on the Monday and on the Tuesday the dentist called in the scrip.

Norco, unlike the opiate prescribed me after shoulder arthroscopy several years back, didn’t make me throw up and didn’t completely stop my gut’s peristaltic wave.  It numbed the pain sufficiently that I no longer found it in the forefront of my consciousness.   I went for a ride.

That Tuesday, toward the end of a pretty easy 12.66 mile ride with no significant hills, I rode into the Bramblewood subdivision, as I often do and which is a throwback from my first "longer" rides on the Trek Navigator 1.0 I used to ride, to add an extra mile or two.  There’s this stretch leaving a cul-de-sac that I like to ride as fast as I can.  It’s a long, easy hill with a left turn up a small hill at the intersection.  Usually nothing’s coming, but I usually have the presence of mind to look.  This time I was flying up the hill concentrating only on my pedaling form and speed (about 20 mph there, according to Cyclemeter), and failed to look at the intersection until upon it.  A shiny blonde woman (you know, the kind that looks like a fashion mannequin come to life without the sense of humor and humanity exhibited by the average clothes rack) in a black Lexus was yacking on her cellular phone and approaching the intersection at about 30 mph.  I looked up in time to apply brakes while swerving and avoiding both the blonde and the smoking (as in cigarette, not hot) woman in the neglected sports coupe behind her all while making the mea culpa face and mouthing "sorry" to the woman in the Lexus who actually looked human for an instant because surprised.

A little sobered, I rode the two miles home thinking, "This is the last time I ride after having used that pain-killer."

The following day, Wednesday, I took the pain med after dropping my son off at school, totally unwilling to pilot a car under the drug’s influence.  The medication completely destroyed my sense of motivation, and I accomplished very little on Wednesday.  I think I took one on Tuesday and two on Wednesday.  I didn’t ride Wednesday, and didn’t make it to Bible study in Pixilie that evening.


On Thursday, I used only ibuprofen.  Also, the antibiotic has attacked the infection and inflammation and pain were both much reduced.  That said, I did pretty much eat fruit, yogurt, vegetables, oatmeal yesterday.  I rode about 24 miles – from my house to Pixilie on the old road that predates the four-lane now connecting Stepford to the Pot County seat.  No worries – a lot of headwind, some rain, just under 15 mph average speed.

Over the following weekend, I took the Rx pain meds twice.  My wife reported marked personality change in the form of ill-temper, impatience, and a tendency to shout when annoyed.  At one point, I observed my own overreaction and decided that I was done with the scrip.  I’ve since used only acetaminophen and ibuprofen, alternating between them.   By month’s end, this root-canal business should be in my “rearview mirror.”


Ride to School and Ride for Reading


Above: Fifth grade students browse Ride for Reading books at their school

Ride to School Bike Train

The local bike club last Wednesday helped out with a Ride to School Day at one of the elementary schools in the town where I live.  I volunteered to help out and was assigned an assembly point where I would assist in some way and ride along to escort the kids along a pre-determined route to the school.  After our warmer weather here in Southern Middle Tennessee, the early morning temperature of about 55 degrees felt too cool to me as I wore shorts and a T-shirt.  I met a crossing guard on site who told me he has for 10 years stood at that intersection shepherding children across the street on their way to school.  As kids rode by on their way to middle school or arrived with their parents for the bike train, he greeted many of them by name and remarked how quickly they grow up.

The elementary school’s principal drove up and I helped her unload about 15 bicycle helmets as she had “bought every one they had at Wal-Mart” knowing that most of the children who would show up for this activity would not have helmets.  Her school has the highest number of children on the free-and-reduced breakfast and lunch program and was the one that held the first Ride for Reading, which I mentioned in this post.

I got the helmets out of their packaging and arranged them in rows for the kids to choose from.  Kids started to arrive with their parents and the parents stuck around until we set off.  I helped a few of the kids get their helmets adjusted.  A note to helmet manufacturers:  Make helmet adjustments easier kids’ helmets.  One little girl had a push-scooter, most had children’s BMX-style bikes several of which looked like they’d been repainted by hand according to the preference of the owner.  A girl, the one with the scooter, talked about how happy she was that a few pink helmets because girls like pretty, colorful things and she had decorated her room with peace-signs.  One little boy had a set of pedals on his bike that I envied for my mountain bike. 

We set off for the school with a police escort – our local officers who ride bike patrol for events have some pretty good Trek 29ers – at the front and I rode along at the end.  We had a couple of stragglers and late-arrivers, as well as a little girl who walked and trotted along beside one of her friends most of the way.  Because my Bridgestone is in pieces now due to headset trauma and difficulty fitting replacement parts, I rode the Miyata 610 which turned out not to be a good choice for riding slowly with numerous stops on sidewalks.  We had no crashes or other mishaps, and all the riders from three different assembly points converged on the school at about the same time.  They were welcomed by the principal and teachers, were given certificates and breakfast.  Here are a few pictures from the ride:

0630 Wednesday 7 MayKids-ArrivingRiders-get-Ready


Ride for Reading

Last Thursday, bicycle club members again participated in a Ride for Reading book distribution at another of the city’s elementary schools.  I rode the gold Razesa, for the first time riding it with heavily loaded panniers.  Handled just fine.  This time, instead of trying to set books neatly on tables only to see them slide off in piles, we were able to place the books on the lawn for easier browsing.  Here are a few pictures from the event:


Purposeful Activity

On Thursday, April 30, I got to help out with tornado relief efforts in Lincoln County, Tennessee, where I was assigned to work with a group of volunteers coordinated by and consisting of members of two congregations, Hope Assembly of Fayetteville, and The Rock Fayetteville, the latter of which is, I think, an offshoot of a larger Huntsville, Alabama, congregation.  In addition, a many-students-strong group from the Fayetteville College of Cosmetology worked alongside members of the previously mentioned congregations.  We worked clearing trees that’d fallen across a watery fence-row from one property to another, cutting tree trunks and tree limbs and wading across the shallow creek to haul out the cut pieces to pile them for pickup.  I carried logs and brush all morning.  After lunch, I agreed to help out with stacking and moving stuff to organize a warehouse at the fairgrounds, but had to leave to pick my son up from school before we had an opportunity to really get anything done there.

Kudos to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department for all their work ensuring the areas damaged by the storm were organized and policed to prevent looting and theft of donated items.  Also present was the National Guard, likewise keeping order.

Here’s a photo of some of the many trees blown down:


I would’ve gone back on Friday, but had a previous commitment to participate in a Ride for Reading book distribution activity.  For the event, I hooked up the Triplex panniers to the Miyata 610 and rode over the assembly point where participants got boxes of books, filled backpacks, panniers, trailers, donned t-shirts provided by the elementary school to which we were riding, and with police escort set off.  The ride to the school was no more than a couple of miles, but riding slowly with several intersection stops along the way I found it a little awkward.  It was also strange to me to be riding in a group – something I don’t do much.  The children at the school seemed to enjoy the event, and so did the riders. 

Here’s a picture of the Miyata with loaded panniers.  The bike didn’t handle wonderfully at slow speeds, but when I was able to pedal faster, did great.

Miyata- -Triplex-Panniers

Celtic Cup Retro-Ride 2014

Highland Rim Bicycle Club & Celtic Cup Retro-Ride 2014

Highland Rim Bicycle Club & Celtic Cup Retro-Ride 2014

An easy, flattish 22 mile ride beginning and ending at Celtic Cup in Tullahoma, Tennessee.  Here’s a link to the mostly scenic route.  The only change is that the group will not ride on to the University of Tennessee Space Institute campus because they’ve just installed speed bumps on the drive and the circle in front of the school’s main building.  Some hills, but none too steep.  Ride that bike you’ve had in the garage for the past 20 years.

The ride will follow this route (except UTSI campus, as noted above):

Here is the Facebook event page:




Ride to the Falls


On Tuesday, I rode the Miyata to one of my favorite scenic overlooks, and I took the hilliest of the two or three possible routes  to get there, in order to impose fitness on the fat of my body.  Surprised and pleased was I to ride the entire way without having to walk or stand up out of the saddle.  The Falls, when I reached them, were swollen with rainwater, and loud, roaring.   I stood on a boulder across from the bronze statue of a diminutive female bather, snapped a couple of picture of the Miyata with the bather, the Falls, and shot an Iphone video, as well.  My bicycle shoes didn’t grip well, and I was careful not to fall off the rock onto the path below.  Here are a few of the photos I took: