Miscellany & Spring Rides Photos

As mentioned in my previous post, last week my mental focus was blurred as I was little worried about a medical procedure I was scheduled to undergo last Thursday at the local outpatient surgery center.  Better than the local hospital, I’d say, but then it’s likely Pizza Hut is better than the hospital at Stepford.

On 5/15/15, though, the day after anesthesia and semi-surgical probing, I did manage a 15 mile ride (although 35 miles would have accounted for all the dates digits, as abbreviated, and better served my fitness needs).  One of the reasons I rode no further Friday is that I had mowing to do before rain set in.  The other reason is that, for the first time, I rode wearing a pair of Keen closed-toed sandals.  They have stiffer soles than my current pair of New Balance trail runners, which I’ve been wearing when riding platform pedals sans toeclips.  I wear the sandals around town and when paddling canoe or kayak in warm weather without problem or discomfort.  While riding the Jamis, however, the same lower extremity that was injured in September 2013 and again in December 2014 went numb.  Adjusting the sandal’s tightness didn’t alleviate the problem, so I don’t think I’ll be wearing them again to cycle.

5-10 Guide TennieBikeTiresDirect Team Jersey

I’ve ordered some 5-10 shoes to replace the New Balance shoes I’ve had for the past maybe three years.  I also ordered a Bike Tires Direct cycling jersey on clearance to replace the torn Ireland Harp jersey.  The BTD jersey is a pretty loud advertisement for the company, but because Stepford has no nearby bike shop, Bike Tires Direct serves that function.  So, I feel only a little odd about wearing the jersey.  It’s a “race-fit” cut, but in Extra Large it fits okay.  I’ve worn it a couple of times this week and, except for its full-length zipper in front that fastens on the wrong side, I like it.

George S. Patton Jr.

This week, I finished reading Killing Patton, a volume I think was largely ghostwritten in the “voice” of Fox News anchorman Bill O’Reilly and researched by one Martin Dugard who may also have done the ghostwriting.  Written at about a sixth grade reading level, Killing Patton: the Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General presents the reader with the usual biographic mosaic consisting of disparate event narratives related to the work’s central theme.  I would have preferred something better written, like the work of William Manchester or even Barbara Tuchman, but overall, once I got past the dumbed-down writing style, I enjoyed the factual material.  I don’t recommend spending money to read this book, but if your library or a friend has a copy, borrow it and give it back.

Here are a few photos from rides taken during the past couple of weeks:

House-Done-Gone

Image above from a ride I’ve taken a number of times, but this time a farmhouse had been removed from its foundation.  I thought the method of constructing the porch, at right, was interesting.

Miyata-610-Abandoned-Picnic-Area

Abandoned-Picnic-Area-1Abandoned-Picnic-Area-2Abandoned-Picnic-Area-3

Abandoned-Beach-1Abandoned-Beach-2Abandoned-Beach-3

The images above are from an abandoned and off-limits recreational beach on a nearby lake.

Super-Nova-Dry-Lake

Dry-Lake-Toward-DamSuper-Nova-Gary-2-Bars-RearDry-Lake-Sign-Down

This small lake is usually choked this time of year with lily pads, and they can be seen in the images laying atop the exposed mud.  My guess is the lake was drained to do some work on the dam – workman appeared to be taking a break on the dam as I stopped to snap a couple of pictures.

Super-Nova-Dam-NormandySuper-Nova-Dam-Boatramp

Our-Hospitality-Lean

The images above are from my ride Sunday afternoon.  The house and fence in the sepia-toned image reminded me of Buster Keaton’s film Our Hospitality, probably because Keaton’s character rides a push-bike in the movie’s opening sequences and the house pictured reminds me of the Old South.

Country-RoadMagellan-Cyclo-505-MappingCyclo-505-Mapping-Screen-Detail

I turned to the Cyclo 505 dashboard mapping screen because I was a little uncertain about my next turn, although I’d ridden this way once before.  Worked fine.  I used the mapping feature later in the day while riding along an overgrown path in the woods I’d previously ridden almost two years ago (I think it was).

Super-Nova-Explorer-Lean

Overgrown-Path-1Overgrown-Path-2Overgrown-Path-3

Crossing-UpstreamCreek-Crossing-1Crossing-Downstream

Out-of-the-Woods-HereUp-&-OutBack-to-Pavement

I decided to ride through the woods for a few miles to break up the monotony of travel.  The path I chose is one my friend, Adrian, and I tried on our Bridgestone’s – MB-6 and MB-4, respectively – maybe two and a half years ago.  We rode on a rainy day in very early Spring, and it was pretty cold out.  When we got to the running creek’s ford, pictured above, the rushing water was about knee deep.  I got about halfway across carrying my bike when Adrian persuaded me to turn back.  We eventually found an alternate route. 

This time, although it had rained the day before, water was only a little more than ankle deep and I easily carried the Jamis Super Nova across (although I’d earlier ridden through a smaller, less rocky-bottomed stream).  I was glad to have the Cyclo 505’s mapping feature during this part of the ride.  I was glad I’d used a cloud of bug spray before I left the house, too.  The path I chose came out on a gravel road by a power plant, but I rode out of the area on the overgrown track above center.  I’m happy to say the Jamis Super Nova cyclocross bike, its Dura Ace components, and its Continental Tour Ride tires seem equal to most of the conditions I’m willing to ride.

C10-Kompact'O-&-BTD-Jersey

That’s me wearing my third Catlike Kompact’O helmet and my new Bike Tires Direct jersey.  I’m hoping the new Kompact’O holds up better than the previous two helmets, and that the new jersey (har) holds up better than that Ireland Harp jersey.

Mid-Week Daze

This morning I got through a minor surgical ordeal that was far less horrible than I imagined it would be, but I’ve felt pretty spacey all day.  A nap this afternoon helped. 

Yesterday, Wednesday 13 May, a few hours before I had to begin the preparation process for today’s unpleasantness, I suited up in my torn Ireland Harp jersey and slightly too large Sugoi (sp?) bib shorts for a ride.  I chose the Miyata 610 and planned just a quick 10 to 12 mile neighborhood ride.  Got about four miles into the ride and realized the front tire was almost flat; I stopped and pumped it back up and was miraculously able to ride again at normal speeds.  For about a mile, I rode normally until the tube again leaked so much air its lower volume would have alarmed even the serious alternative cyclists at Rivendell Bike Works.  Feeling disappointed, I pulled off the roadway onto the bike path and rode carefully to within a half mile of the house.  From there, I walked the bike.   Probably, I’ll repair or replace the tube tomorrow.

Feeling like a condemned man as I considered the prospect of today’s outpatient procedure, late Tuesday afternoon I rode the Jamis Supernova from Stepford to Pixley and back again.  Only about 25 miles, but I made good time – about 15.3 mph average until getting back in to Stepford on the return leg due to stops for traffic.  I was surprised at the speed I made on the Continental Tour Ride tires.  For Christmas, I got a new cassette for the Jamis that’s got 32 teeth on the big ring, which makes a big difference on the hills hereabouts; got it installed about three weeks ago at Woody’s.  The mechanic was able to install the cassette very cheaply while I waited and then corrected a problem with the right STI shifter that’d been caused by the use of brake cable housing for the shift cable.  Getting the work done while I waited and was able to talk bike stuff with someone more knowledgeable than I was pleasant.

Back in Stepford, on the way home Tuesday, I got to visit with a couple of old friends at two stops, and that was also pleasant.  At the house, again, my son and I played catch, played with toy lightsabers, and played a lot of catch.  All in all, a good day.

Lately, especially since one reader reached out to me information about one, I have been hoping to find a serviceable and inexpensive folding kayak to replace the E68 I gave to my friend Eric back in 2013.  Right now, the only boats I’ve got are the behemoth, heavy Pouch RZ96 and the 17’ Grumman aluminum canoe.  Neither is much good for solo paddling.  Yes, it is about time to get my son in a boat, but he’s still much too small to assist much with assembling and moving Poucher Boote.

Finishing Up and Other Stuff

Fairweather-Ride

In February of 2014, I left a government job in order to complete a Master of Education degree specializing in clinical mental health counseling.  Because I took my coursework piecemeal, as I got my classes paid for by my former employer, when I left the job to address those remaining degree requirements, some of the courses I needed were not available.  It’s taken me until now to complete my degree work.  Other requirements remain to be met in order to obtain licensure, but the degree work is done and I graduated yesterday.

I didn’t walk in the graduation ceremony because I’d left it too late (early March) to reserve a room in a local hotel (mine was a distance-learning course of study) and all the acceptable hotels in that city were fully booked.  What I did, instead, was take a bike ride in the morning through some of Stepford’s better neighborhoods.  My wife and son had gone strawberry picking at a nearby farm, so I had the morning to myself.  In the late morning, I again rode out to the soccer fields across town to watch my son play in the local youth league.  He scored two goals in the game.

Supernova at Soccer Game

Jamis Supernova at Saturday’s soccer game.

Friday before last, 24 April, I finished up my internship at a locked geriatric psychiatry unit in a nearby town’s hospital.  I’d worked there from 5 December 2014 to complete two sections of internship, all that I lacked to complete my degree program.  Oddly enough, the unit has no true mental health counseling program.  Instead, it has social workers who (and they work, constantly) provide any counseling; they are primarily concerned, however, with discharge planning.  While on the unit, where I served a 100 hour practicum during Fall 2014 semester, then carried on, more or less straight through the new year to the end of this semester, I also assisted with discharge planning as well as administering a depression scale for older adults and conducting fairly extensive background interviews with patients and family, as well as facilitating group sessions and providing individual therapy.  Although not initially a fan of Solution Focused Brief Therapy (finding it extremely formulaic), I found that persons whose dementing process had progressed to the point where they cannot tell the day, their age, or even where they are can very frequently respond appropriately and meaningfully to SFBT stimulus queries.

Already, I miss the social workers and nursing staff on the unit – they treated me like a valued colleague and taught me much that will be of use in other work, the patients, the unit’s doctor and the unit’s psychiatrist.  They all contributed to my education in ways I value.  Now the great task is finding remunerative employment and obtaining licensure.

Also, during April, I lost an older cousin to lung cancer, but misread the email detailing his funeral arrangements and missed the service.

During the month of April, I continued to carry on as the Solitary Cyclist of Stepford.  Here are a few of the photos I took on my rides –  a number of these pictures were snapped with my super-cheap cellular flip-phone.  The first row of pictures is from a ride I took through some of Stepford’s older districts, exploring some waste places.

Supernova-Alley-Lean Bike-Lean-No-TrespassBehind-the-Building

This second row is from a ride in the country on the King of Bicycles, my beautiful Miyata 610 – Fairweather.  I asked the octogenarian farmer repairing the barn whether he minded if I took a picture of my bike leaned up against it and he said, half-smiling, “I don’t care.”

Miyata-Old-Barn-LeanMiyata-610-Electric-Fence-&-Pole

The next row of phots is from another ride around lovely Stepford’s largely unknown waste places, this time on the Jamis Supernova.

Jamis-Apache-Grill-LeanGreen-Apache-3-Quarter-JamisRe-Leveled-Drops

Industrial-Road

And finally, from a ride to a scenic spot with the Supernova –

Green-Shady-ViewBronze-Bather-SupernovaFalls-from-Statue

Bronze-Bather-Detail

Winter Ride

Green-Bridge-&-Super-Nova

Last Saturday, I was the only one to show up for the local bike club’s Winter Standing Ride.  The ride is so named, I think, because it falls on the same Saturday each December.  The season’s still Fall, though, isn’t it?  I drove to the meeting place, arriving about on time, and waited until about a quarter past the hour during which time I talked about cycling with a couple who’d parked next to my car and started asking questions about the bike, about the club, about cycling.

I realized that I’d left my water bottles at the house, on the floor of the garage beside the stand where I keep my bike.  The day was cool, but I’d worn enough layers to keep me warm and, anyway, my alpha-class mutant power is sweating.  With that in mind, I set out against an annoying 10-15 mph headwind and rode out to a nearby college campus – maybe seven miles distant.  On a long, straight stretch of country road, the side-winds once or twice threatened my control of the bike’s forward motion.  That’s a down-side to riding a lightweight, modern frame; I never would have been blown the least bit off course riding the Miyata 610, a bike that’s almost 30 pounds fully rigged.

At the school, I stopped in at the Baptist Student Union – seeing lights on and cars out front – to use the bathroom and get a drink of water from the tap.  Turns out a congregation was in there having a Christmas party.  They kindly allowed me to use the bathroom and gave me a bottle of iced water from their cooler.  I was glad I’d worn a pair of windpants over my indecent-around-non-riders, anatomy disclosing thermal tights.

I halved my ride’s distance due to lack of much to drink; the 8 or 16 ounce bottle I’d been given didn’t last long.  On the way back, I stopped and visited a good friend and my amazing mom.  The horse picture I snapped at my friend’s house.  His wife home-schools their many offspring, and I guess used the rebus painted on the back of an out-building to teach equine anatomy.  I rode over the bridge pictured on a greenway near where I’d parked my car.

Parts-of-a-Horse-&-Super-Nova

Drive sides in – bike and horse

Road I.D. Black Sport Band

Last Thursday, my Road I.D. sport band, in black, arrived in the mail.  I took pictures of the packaging, as well as the promotional material included with the band, but my photos turned out badly.  Still, bad pictures I can find are better than good pictures I cannot find if they can be used for illustrative purposes.  Two of the pictures I took could not be salvaged, but the others were useable.  Here they are:

Road-ID-Padded-Mailer

Package-Inserts

Black-Sport-Band-Card-1Black-Sport-Band-Card-2

The state of our housekeeping, here at Burnt Down Plantation Estates located in Lovely Stepford, Tennessee, is such that I didn’t keep the packaging after photographing it.  Because of that clutter reduction strategy, there was not a photo re-do.

Once I removed the band from its card, the engraved metal plate was easily migrated from the original bright yellow band to the black band.  I wore it for the first time last Saturday and again yesterday.  Haven’t been getting as many rides in over the past week or so, as I had been previously.

Below are photos of the yellow band, left, and the black band, right.  I normally wear the Road I.D. on my left wrist so its reflective properties have a chance to increase my visibility when riding.

Yellow-Wrist-Sport-ID-BandBlack-Road-ID-Sport-Band

The Miyata’s rolling a lot more smoothly now that I’ve had the hubs serviced – grease and bearings – by the guys at MOAB in Murfreesboro.  Good work done at a reasonable price.

Here are a few pictures from my rides last Saturday and yesterday:

McMansion-EntranceBait-Shop-Water-Stop

Miyata-Country-Fence

Elk-River-Bridge-MiyataElk-River-Downstream

Catfish-WarningWooded-Shoreline

Fall-PalletteHindsight

Update: Unexpected Delays

Why would UPS have anything to do with the United States Post Office?  Strange.  Dunno which of the two confused this shipment's routing.

Why would UPS have anything to do with the United States Post Office? Strange. Dunno which of the two confused this shipment’s routing.

Road I.D.

I checked the UPS tracking number provided by Road I.D. to locate the black sport band they sent last week.  Turns out it almost made it here, then got re-routed to Arizona, and is probably on its way back to Road I.D. in Ohio, or to me.  Time will tell.  I’ll take some photos and post them when the package arrives.

Miyata 610

When I drove to the bike shop this morning, I expected to return with the Miyata.  As I was about to pay for the service and leave with it, I noticed the shift cables were really slack, and asked about it.  The manager seemed surprised and took it back to the workshop and examined it on a repair stand.  He examined the ticket.  I explained why I brought the bike in.  He said the fellow who checked the bike in and wrote up the ticket hadn’t noted my concerns.  He and a mechanic looked at it and we agreed that the lead mechanic should take a look at it.  Hoping it will be done by Saturday.

I’ve still got the Razesa to ride because neither of those who expressed interest in buying it actually did so.  Maybe I’ll get a ride in someday this week.

Traffic Court

My ticket was dismissed.  Smile

Responsible Adulthood

So, here I was with a day to get stuff done and didn’t really have a bike I felt comfortable taking for a long ride in lousy weather.  What did I do?  I cleaned bathrooms and took care of another responsibility I’d been procrastinating about doing.

A Trip to the Bike Shop

Bridgestone MB-4 and Jamis Supernova racked and ready to go to the bike shop

Bridgestone MB-4 and Jamis Supernova racked and ready to go to the bike shop

Today, I’ve got present at traffic court to answer to a judge for the particulars of a citation a local policeman issued to me back in late August.  Proof of registration and financial responsibility may serve to keep me from having to pay a fine; that’s the outcome I’m hoping for in the matter.

Since I’ve had to schedule the time, I also plan to use the day to pick up the Miyata 610 from the bike shop, about 45 miles distant, where I left it last week to get the hubs serviced and whatever is bent near the back axle corrected – derailleur, hanger, I don’t know what.  The wheel’s been a bear to reinstall when I’ve removed it for cleaning, the last couple of times.  Furthermore, when riding on the middle ring, in front, and shifting while pedaling hard up a hill to the small front ring, the chain tends to bang down onto the smallest of the freewheel cogs at the back.  On steeper hills that I know I’m able to climb on the Miyata, I’ve lost headway and had to walk a couple of times.  It’s irritating.

Because my local bike mechanic (this town has no local bike shop) has had to go back to working nine-hour days with only two 15 minute breaks during the workday (that doesn’t sound legal, does it?), he hasn’t had the time, energy, and joie-de-vivre necessary to tackle the problems that arise when a 33 year-old bike gets ridden an hour or two daily on good to crummy pavement.

Yesterday, the bike shop called and told me the Miyata is ready for pickup – they were able to service the hubs, so the races were probably not blown, I think the term is.  Additionally, the caller said the shop was able make necessary adjustments to ensure proper shifting, this at no cost.  Good, yes?

Today, I will take them the Jamis Supernova for complete tune-up and Mavic hubs service (if that works, I won’t get a new wheelset for the bike for awhile), and the Bridgestone MB-4 to see about getting the headtube refaced and another Tange Levin headset installed if the one I installed cannot be salvaged.  I don’t hold out much hope for my installation.  Finally, I think I’ll see if they can install the little replacement dials for the shifters.

MB-4 and Supernova on the repair stand for examination

MB-4 and Supernova on the repair stand for examination

It’ll be at least a week before I get the bikes back and it’s been rainy the past four five days with not much prospect of drier weather for the next few days.  I will probably ride the Miyata in the wet, although the Jamis is the bike I’d hoped to subject to inclement weather.  Ordered some Tri-Flow last week on the advice of my mechanic, to replace the waxy chain cleaner/lubricant I’ve been using.  Perhaps that will offer better wet-condition protection to the Miyata’s moving parts.