New Bike–2003 Orbea Starship Campy Record

Starship-Record-Titanium

The Miyata 610 failed me by banging down into the smallest cog at the rear hub and failing to derail the chain at the front ring.  I walked up a hill I could have ridden in a reasonable gear.  The effort I expended to get the bike rolling again to get it shifted caused my heart to literally beat painfully against my ribcage.  That can’t be healthy.  When I got home after what should have been an easy 20-miler, I began to search Craigslist for a solution.

Here's the Distance/Altitude chart from the Sunday ride 8-2-15.  Although I rode the hills on the Orbea, I rode them slowly; very slowly.

Here’s the Distance/Altitude chart from the Sunday ride 8-2-15. Although I rode the hills on the Orbea, I rode them slowly; very slowly.

What I found was the bike I wanted to buy last year, listed at about half of last year’s asking price.  I’d thought the bike had sold because its previous listing had been removed, and I’d felt pretty sad about having had to settle for a lesser bike and get an upright freezer instead of an old superbike.  Even so, I made the right decision last year and both the freezer and the Jamis Supernova have provided better than expected service in their respective spheres of, er, serviceability.

So, there it was.  I exchanged emails with the seller who reported she’d tried to email me about the drop in price, but her communications had bounced back to her.  My email account’s provider has been having some odd problems over the past few weeks.  It’s probably bounced back notifications informing me I’ve won motorcycles and diesel pickup trucks, as well.  Still, the bike’s the thing.  Yesterday evening, I drove over to the seller’s house, near Nashville, looked the bike over, took it for a spin on a greenway path, and made the purchase.

I’ve only ridden two other bikes equipped with Campagnolo components – my friend Adrian’s 1987 Bianchi Trofeo, and the Cannondale R900 MOAB’s been trying to sell for the past year and a half – it’s got Veloce and some Cannondale parts.  The Trofeo’s got mostly Campagnolo, but downtube friction shifts.  The Orbea has got Campagnolo Record bottom bracket, headset, crankset, brakes, shifters, front and rear deraileurs.  The wheels and hubs are Bontrager, but spin well.  Fork’s Bontrager HCM – I think a straight-bladed cyclocross fork.  Stem and handlebars are Bontrager, as well.  The saddle, also Bontrager, is a nad-buster – hopefully, I’ll replace that soon.

Today, I rode the Orbea around the neighborhoods here  – about 13 miles – just to get a feel for the bike.  As noted, I found the saddle less than satisfactory.  The Campagnolo drivetrain seems a little more clickety than does the Supernova’s Dura-Ace and SRAM mix.  I rode the Orbea on the 53-tooth big ring without much trouble.  I think the large cog at the rear hub has about 29 teeth, which is helpful.

The bar-tape, which reminds me of the steering wheel wrap my parents had on their cars during the 1970s, is probably real leather.  And it’s degrading – as evidenced by the dark tan particles adhering to my cycling gloves and the black patches on the bars where the leathery shininess has worn off.  As for the bar, I can ride the drops and the hooks comfortably and still able to reach the brakes and shift-levers.  And at 42 cm, they’re wide enough for me.

It’s a pretty bike – the only jarringly off-kilter thing about it is the Bontrager bottle cage that’s off-center.  And only one bottle cage; why only one?  Here’re some of the picture I took today:

Starship-Rear-3-QuarterStarshp-Front-3-Quarter

Starship-Head-OnStarship-Cockpit

Bar-Tape-DetritusBar-Tape-Deterioration

A Little More About Indiana

That Magellan Cyclo 505

The Magellan Cyclo 505, which comes pre-loaded with maps detailing the entire United States of America, has a feature that allows the user to navigate to points of interest or POI.  While at Greenway500 bike shop, we had a look at the Magellan Cyclo 505 Mike had bought to test, study, and get his mind around so he could become sufficiently knowledgeable to discuss with customers the product’s benefits and drawbacks.  The points of interest loaded on the Cyclo units includes Bike Shops as a category.  Neither my updated (software/maps) unit nor his just-out-of-the-box unit showed any other bike store in the greater Muncie area than Goldman’s Bike Shop at Selma.  That’s got to discourage a retailer from carrying a product that only lists a competitor in his category.  I checked the Magellan support website today and compared the POI update file (dates from May 2014) with the file on my 505 unit.  Mine is a more recent iteration, and it does not show the Greenway500 bike shop as a point of interest.  I made a suggestion about this on the Magellan website, but who knows whether the company is even a little bit responsive to support website suggestions?

During the fairly steady rain through which I rode on the day of Richmond trip, the Cyclo’s touch screen became entirely unresponsive after first becoming EXTREMELY SLOW to respond to touch input.  Eventually, the screen just froze (appearing to register no new data as I rode) and I had to restart the unit.  Even then, it failed to respond to touch and only thereafter did respond to touch after I’d dried the screen with a piece of toilet paper from a trailhead outhouse.  Then, instead of hitting the arrows to move from screen to screen to see what hills were coming up or location on the map or how far I had left to ride on the track I’d pre-loaded from RideWithGPS.com, I left it on the basic data screen showing average MPH, distance traveled, current speed, and so forth.  But screen fail irked me and I wasted too much time monkeying around with the device.

When I first used the Cyclo in Indiana, it took several minutes to acquire satellite signals and begin recording data.  The same thing again happened when I used the Cyclo again in Tennessee after returning home last week.

Church Attendance

This year, we were at the farm for two Sundays, and on both days we attended Church of the Nazarene worship services with family.  Although my own theology is extremely Calvinistic, I noted the Nazarene preacher did a reasonable job of exegeting the texts from Colossians.  The emphasis of his preaching, though, fell upon application.  I appreciated the fellow’s work and, with the exception of the congregation’s musical program, enjoyed worshiping with the Nazarenes on consecutive Sundays.  Certainly, my young son enjoyed the children’s Sunday School class and Children’s Church programs.  That said, he was unable to tell me anything he learned on either Sunday.

This year, we missed the Vacation Bible School grand finale worship-show.  I was okay with that.

The first Sunday at the Nazarene church, one of the pastor’s PowerPoint slides failed to load or loaded in the wrong order and he seemed peeved saying, “That’s wrong,” and waiting for the sound/tech guys to correct the problem.  I wondered why he didn’t just use spoken words to convey his point when technology failed.  The following Sunday, something similar happened and the pastor simply carried on speaking through the technical glitch, indicating he is fully capable of unlearning reliance upon the sort of electronic audio/visual marvels that have become the hallmark of the modern worship service experience.  This is to the good.

About the musical program, the thing that irked me most was the overwhelmingly LOUD canned audio presence – so that even when the audience was encouraged to join in singing, they were completely inaudible.  At one point, the music-team sang a song that struck me as a sort of incantation or spell intended to conjure the third person of the Trinity.  The four singers stood in front of their microphones each waving at least one hand in the air overhead, rhyming “Holy Spirit, you’re welcome here – come and fill the atmosphere.”  The lyrics would have been more appropriate to a séance, in my reckoning.  Anyway, to accompany the song, the canned music included repeated heavy bass-notes that reverberated against my spine threatening to convulse my colon and thereby producing a windy emanation from my bowels.  I was not pleased.  To me, this kind of attempt by a congregational music team to impose its will on my mind and body by an intrusive attempt to establish its rhythm in my person is among the most offensive forms of unwanted touching.  The obvious goal of this musical number was to render the audience susceptible to the power of suggestion for the purpose of faux-charismatic manifestation.  I don’t think that’s Christian.  I felt angry and wanted to smash the church’s audio equipment – sort of like Gideon destroying the village Baal idol.

Paternal Guilt

On a couple of the days I rode, I felt pretty guilty about not spending the time playing outside with my son.  The guilt was a little assuaged by the fact that he seemed to enjoy the time spent with his cousins.  On one afternoon, I’d planned to take him and a cousin to a local playground to run and climb, but a behavioral problem interfered with that.  On another afternoon, I’d planned to take my son and some of the other kids to a lakeside playground to run, climb, and throw rocks in the water, but an old school-mate of one of the kids’ mothers showed up with two of her own children and all the kids played at the farm together.   I’m glad my son seems to have bonded with his cousins – he was very sad the day we left for Tennessee because he didn’t want to leave them.  Still, I need to spend more time with the boy on these summer trips.  I’d hoped to take him canoeing at Daleville, but the heavy rains during the previous weeks made that seem like a less than safe idea for a father-son outing.  Maybe next year.

Riding Indiana 2015: A Tour de Corn Vacation

Henry-County-Corn-Rows

Not the Tour de Corn ride that’s an annual Missouri event – this Tour de Corn is my own annual vacation activity in East Central Indiana.  Every year my family drives up to Indiana for a visit at the farm and, since 2012, I’ve been taking a bike and riding around the local farmland on chipseal backcountry roads and, lately as the economy has continued to worsen, on roads unpaved that were formerly paved. 

Here are my previous posts about riding through Indiana’s corn and soybean country.  Ordinarily, once I get back to Stepford, I spend a lot of time writing up Indiana ride reports, illustrating them with pictures.  This year, I think I’ll spend only a little time writing a brief narrative framework for the illustrations.  If you click on an image posted here, you’ll be shown a (usually) bigger version of the picture in its own page.

Bike Choice

Because the weather projected for our nine days stay was a good chance of rain every day, and because I remembered how the Miyata, shod with Gatorskins, was not best suited for unpaved and formerly paved surfaces encountered last year, this year I took the Jamis Supernova rain-and-rough-bike with its recently installed Clement X’Plor USH tires

Speaking of the X’Plor USH tires, the people at Clement never did respond to my email about inverted tread patterning.

This year, I noticed I was not taking pictures of things that formerly interested me on previous cycling jaunts.  Some of the novelty of riding through miles and miles of farmland, as well as upon a dedicated Rails to Trails Greenway, has worn off.  This year, in several Indiana counties, gigantic windmills are turning, and I observed them across the state, during my visit.  Their construction was last year responsible for the poor state of some of the farm roads, but it appears that compensation to municipalities for the repair of roads may have been diverted to other uses.  As I said, the worsening economy in the United States has a real effect at ground-level.

Greenway 500 Bike Shop

On the day I rode to Prairie Creek Reservoir, I stopped by Greenway 500 bike shop, near the Medford trailhead of the Cardinal Greenway Trail, to see if Mike had time to diagnose and correct a problem with the Supernova’s Ultegra front derailleur.  Turns out it got a bit bent one of the times I crashed the bike.  While I was there, shop discussion centered on the bad effect large, online retailers have on local bike shops – difficulty selling new bikes, difficulty competing with accessory and garment prices.  One of the other customers in the shop that day talked about a friend who makes a living writing reviews and who receives, as additional benefits, all-expenses-paid travel to annual events showcasing new products, bikes, etc.  The consensus seemed to be that in order to continue writing reviews in exchange for money and products (which the reviewers may get to keep and sell), the reviewer’s likely to turn out little more useful than positive ad-copy.

I don’t feel badly about buying from Nashbar/Performance, Bike Tires Direct, Jenson USA, Amazon, etc., because I don’t have a local bike shop at Stepford.  On the other hand, while riding in the Greater Muncie area, out of deference for the several bike shops in the area, but especially Mike’s, I mostly refrained from wearing my BTD jersey.

Where’d I Go?

This year, I didn’t ride into Muncie for lunch at Chic-Fil-A; I thought it would be a good idea to avoid any Obama-inspired interracial strife in that depressed, formerly industrial, urban locality.  Anyway, I wanted to ride through areas that were new to me, as opposed to repeating what I’d done in prior years.  That said, as far as I know, there were no Obama Race Riots during June/July at Muncie.

I think I rode eight of the nine days we stayed at the farm logging about 239 miles, according to Magellan Cyclo 505.  That works out to just under 30 miles per day.  A lot of riding, for me, not so much for a serious cyclist.  Of course, some days my rides were much longer, and others much shorter.  I rode MKS Lambda pedals wearing 5-10 “Canvas Guide Tennies”, and wore my usual motley collection of lycra cycling attire.  One day the temperature was sufficiently cool that I rode wearing my orange merino wool Kucharik long-sleeve jersey with bib-shorts, and was quite comfortable.  My other Kucharik garment was a “sublimated” bib-short I’d got on sale last year – a satisfactory purchase that compares favorably to the Sugoi bib-shorts I bought back in 2012.

Because temps most days were in the low to mid-seventies, I drank plain water on my rides.  Except the day I forgot my water bottles and realized it about three or four miles into the ride.  Then, I stopped and got bottles of Gatorade at a gas-station, filling one with water at lunch after I’d drunk the original contents. 

Farming Disaster

While the lower temperatures, overcast skies, and occasional rain were a treat for me, the wet conditions this season have been disastrous for many of Indiana’s farmers.  At the farm, there are about a hundred acres that could not be planted with soybeans as intended, as well as many ponded places in the beanfields that had only dried enough for planting while we were visiting.  The corn was mostly small and an unhealthy yellow-green in color.  The fields had been so wet that no side-dressing had been done when we arrived, and by the time we left, only a smaller percentage had been done.  In former times (1950’s ?) the adage had been, “Knee High by the Fourth of July.”  But corn that’s only knee high by the Fourth of July these days indicates the likelihood of a meagre harvest.  By July 4, the corn’s usually more than head-high and a healthy, dark green in color.

Animals

During my rides I saw numerous chipmunks, maybe three rabbits, several red-wing blackbirds, several large sparrow-looking birds, several bright-yellow finches, several cardinals, many geese, a woodpecker, a deer, a small herd of longhorn cattle, one small groundhog, dead possums, dead raccoons, dead field mice, and got chased by five dogs.

Snapshots

Although I took photos every day I rode, many are so similar that I’m only posting snapshots from a few rides.  Here are some of the pictures I took during the week, in rough order:

Summit Lake State Park

This year, thanks to the Magellan Cyclo 505, I was able to find the lake; I wasn’t even close, last year.  Many of the Henry County roads were unpaved, but reasonably well-maintained.  The Clement X’Plor USH tires handled these conditions very well – much better than the Gatorskins did last year while riding the Miyata 610.  Summit Lake State Park has camping areas, regularly scheduled activities, much less boat traffic than Prairie Creek Reservoir, and much more user-friendly beach area, as well as several well-maintained playgrounds.  Nicer, all around, than Prairie Creek Reservoir.

Henry-County-Sign-&-RoadTypical-Henry-County-RoadPuny-Henry-County-Corn

Found-Summit-Lake

Summit-LakeFlooded-State-Park-Road

Lakeside-Trail-1Lakeside-Trail-2Henry-County-Animal

Prairie Creek Reservoir

This year, I only rode out to Prairie Creek Reservoir one time.  I was disappointed not to find Cave Baby Smokers set up for the coming weekend’s triathlon, but my ride was pretty early in the week.  Muncie Sailing Club’s water was on, so I was able to refill one of my water bottles from their pavilion’s spigot.  This year, I noticed that mountain-bike and ATV trails have been opened up around the lake’s western shoreline; maybe I’ll ride them next year.  While at Greenway500 Bike Shop, I meant to buy a set of cleats for Shimano SPD pedals I haven’t tried out, yet.  Also, wanted to buy some cycling togs to replace my aging collection of same – and I like Greenway500 and Dirtway500 kits Mike’s got for sale.  Justifying the expense of new cycling clothes to Caution-Lady, however, was something I didn’t feel like tackling last week.

International-Harvester-BarnMuncie-Sailing-Club-SignSailing-Club-Lighthouse

Lake-Route-House

Richmond & Rain

Welcome-to-Richmond

This year I returned to Richmond for lunch at 5th Street Coffee & Bagels – a long ride and much of it on the Cardinal Greenway trail.  About three miles in to my ride, I realized I hadn’t brought my water bottles with me.  When I got to Losantville, I stopped at the gas station and bought a couple of 28 oz bottles of Gatorade Citrus Cooler and an egg, cheese, bacon, lettuce, onion, and tomato breakfast wrap.  That breakfast wrap was HUGE and highly recommended for a long ride.  The Gatorade bottles just fit, when I forced them, into the Supernova’s bottle cages.  They were too difficult to pull out and stow back to drink from while riding, not to mention the screw-to-tighten lids, so I drank pretty sparingly.  Had a fried egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion bagel sandwich at 5th Street Coffee & Bagels. 

Richmond-Coffee-&-Bagels

For this ride, I’d mapped a route at www.ridewithgps.com and exported it as a GPX Track (or some such type of file), then followed the Ride With GPS instructions for installing the file on the Magellan Cyclo 505.  Pretty easy and it worked fine until the last couple of blocks before getting to the coffee shop.  Then it routed me up and down a block here and a block there.  I followed the directions to see what it would do, then got bored with the activity and asked a neighborhood person for directions.  Her directions were accurate and I rode to the coffee shop and ordered lunch.  On the ride back, I got rained on a lot.  Once I accepted the annoyance as unavoidable I found it was not at all uncomfortable and rode without mishap or problem.  My Magellan Cyclo 505 unit, however, had a lot of trouble.  In the rain, it’s touch screen became ENTIRELY unresponsive, and that was an annoyance I was unable to accept.  I was only able to get it to work again after drying the screen with a piece of toilet paper from a trailhead outhouse.  After that, I left the stats screen alone.

Soybeans, corn, and wheat looked better in Wayne County than in the counties further north.

Some of the pictures I liked best from the Indiana trip were from the rainy segment of this ride – I couldn’t get the camera’s lens totally cleared of water drops, but was not able to see in the LCD screen how the water distorted the image.

Almost-to-RichmondGreenway-Bridge-View

Richmond-Greenway-Sculpture

Richmond-Trailhead-View-1Richmond-Trailhead-View-2

Wayne-County-CourthouseRichmond-Old-House-A

Richmond-Old-House-BRichmond-Old-House-C

Rain-Blurred-1Rein-Blurred-2

Rain-Blurred-3Rain-Blurred-4

SoybeansWayne-County-CornWheat-For-Harvest

Tree-TunnelTree-Tunnel-Other-Side

Winchester Ride

This year, instead of riding to Selma, Farmland, Muncie, and getting bad lost in Henry County, I rode out to Winchester, Indiana.  I’ve previously posted snapshots of the county seat’s interesting American Civil War memorial.  That time, I drove through Winchester after buying a canoe in Ohio.  Last week, however, I spent time riding around what turns out to be an attractive small city (about 5000 residents, I think).  I enjoyed riding through the older neighborhoods networked with rough paved alleys.  My approach to Winchester routed me along some of the worst formerly-paved and badly potholed-but-paved roads I’ve seen.  The Supernova with X’Plor USH tires more than compensated for the horrible condition of the roads, though. 

Civil-War-MemorialLet-it-RingCourthouse-Eaves

Tank-LeanMeridian-Street-HouseWestwood-House

Courthouse-SquareGreen-Building-SideStreet

Lost-FarmhouseLost Farmhouse Arial View

Patriot-BarnFarm-GateRibbon-of-Road

LonghornStrataWind-Farm

WindmillWindmill-18094Windmill's-Blades