For the second year running, I took a bicycle with me on our annual trip to visit my wife’s family in rural Indiana. I also piled paddling gear in the car, too, but the weather forecast indicated cooler temperatures and a good deal of rain which contraindicated much likelihood my wife would herself or would allow our boy to accompany me on a river float in the 17’ aluminum canoe named Caution-Lady. Although I’m not certain my paddling days are over, I have spent a great many more pedaling since buying my first adult bike a couple of years ago.
This year, as I mentioned in the previous post, I have a much better grasp of the rural geography of the environs around my wife’s family home. Additionally, this year, I have an Apple Iphone – one of the cheap 8 gig devices my wireless provider was giving away last winter to spur data-plan sales, but still way cooler than the flip-phone I’d had for seven or so years. Even though Apple Maps don’t always work, they’d suffice to keep me from getting totally lost like I did last year. In addition to the Iphone’s Apple Maps, I’ve got a paid app, Cyclemeter, that usefully tracks distance, speed, elevation, ascent, descent, calories burned, and has a pretty good map feature, all using the phone’s GPS. Sure, it’s a spy in my seatbag, but if it makes me mad, I can destroy it by emptying a clip into it. Practically speaking, however, I am not at present too freaked out about it.
The Razesa had a flat the morning we left Stepford, so I took the Miyata, a bike I generally only ride in fair weather; in fact, I’ve pretty well named the bike Fairweather. As noted elsewhere, the Miyata is a 610 touring model – a mid-range bike manufactured in 1981. It has a complete Suntour grupo with stem-shift “Power Shifters” that have a ratcheting feel to them as they are used to index-shift. All though Rivendell claims their downtube shift levers (which replaced the Simplex shifters on my Razesa) are better than the Suntour Power Shifters, that is mere sales puffing as the Rivendell product is inferior in terms of feel and accuracy.
Although mostly original, the Miyata’s factory saddle was long since lost by the time I purchased the bike from Mike Carroll of Old Bikes Belong. The day I bought the bike, Mike installed a Selle Italia saddle racing saddle I’d brought along, but it proved unsatisfactory and I quickly replaced it with a hideous red and black mountain-bike saddle. Although strangely ugly, the newer saddle quickly became less visually disturbing because I noticed the red trim matched the Dia Compe center-pull brake’s red trim.
Regarding the name, Fairweather, it was one of a fictional monk’s five friends, as I recall from a novel I read for a Church History class in seminary back in the 1990’s. Fairweather and Tune were a pair of snakes that, if I recall this correctly, shared the monk’s hermitage until, in an act of penitence, the man banished so he could bear his guilt alone. None of that has anything to do with the fact that I generally try to ride the Miyata in fair weather – I’m trying to keep it in as near-new condition as possible yet still ride it regularly. A few weeks ago on a short ride in the area around my house, I did get caught riding the Miyata in a thunderstorm, so got over worry about getting the bike wet and dirty.
My father-in-law thinks Tennessee’s rural scenery has “the Wow Factor” in spades, but I am of the opinion that Indiana’s farmland is no less beautiful. I think Jim’s so used to his surroundings that he does not “feel” the Wow to a conscious degree any longer. I’ve taken rides for six of the nine days spent at the farm but have taken fewer pictures while riding than I did last year. This is in part due to my reliance upon the Iphone as my primary camera (although I took the Pentax with me on Monday 1 July with indifferent to bad results).
Most of my Indiana rides this year have been greater than 30 miles; all but two greater than 20. I stopped in a couple of times at Greenway 500 Bike Shop – Mike identified the snick-snick sound my bike was making as a worn-out pedal I might make right by the application of grease to its inner workings. He has a Fuji Cambridge with eight-speed internally geared rear hub and dynamo front hub that I coveted. Mike wouldn’t swap it for the Miyata saying he already had enough old bikes, but I would have swapped. I did take the Fuji for a spin and liked it very well. For $1100, it could have been mine, but the wrath of my wife would also have been mine.
On my first long ride, I stopped in at a gas-station mini market and bought a sausage/cheese/fried-egg biscuit and two quarts of Powerade (not as good as Gatorade, but available at “Two for $2”); on two other occasions, I stopped by the lakeside tent set up by Rob Cline and family – Cave-Baby Smokers, and again purchased and ate sausage/egg and egg/cheese biscuits to fortify my constitution during my travels. The first day I met Rob and his son, and the following day, Rob and his wife, Holly. My photos of the Cline family and their smokehouse tent can be seen HERE. What follows are some of the photos I took while riding rural Indiana – click on a picture for a larger image.