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.