A Birthday, Visitors, A Comprehensive Exam

A Busy Weekend

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I agreed to host a family visiting our congregation last weekend.  After having said we’d do it, I thought, “Ah, isn’t that the weekend I’ve got my comp?” as well as, “that’s Mom’s birthday, too.”  Because I’m naturally too absent-minded to focus on rearranging things that can’t really be rearranged, anyway, I carried on with the plan, which was really no plan beyond not fighting with happenstance.

Comprehensive Examination

My graduate studies program requires that the candidate for a master’s level degree pass the National Board for Certified Counselors comprehensive certification examination.  A few months ago, I ordered the prep book from the organization after having taken a sample exam online.  The online test questions were really easy.  When the book arrived, I glanced at it.  Over the past month or two, the names Vygotsky and Kohlberg came to mind again and again.  Last Friday night, which was the night before the test, I reviewed some material about both Vygotsky and Kohlberg, took the practice examination (which was included in the study guide I’d purchased) and scored the instrument.  My score was not stellar.  I was weak on the theories of both Super and Roe, so I looked them up and reviewed them.  Around 2:00 am, I went to bed.

Saturday morning, I awoke between five and six, breakfasted, showered, dressed and drove over to my friend Theodore’s house, arriving there around eight.  Theodore’s got a Ph.D., has taught numerous university courses online, holds a couple of positions with a local school board, and had agreed to proctor the online examination for me.  I greeted him and his family, we drank coffee, ate cinnamon rolls, and talked for a bit before I took the test.  Anyway, I correctly answered a sufficient number of the 160 test items (among the 160, questions on the theories of Vygotsky, Kohlberg, Super and Roe) to warrant a passing grade.  My relief was immense.

The Gibello Family

The Gibello family arrived at our house during the early afternoon, last Saturday; they arrived with a mini-van and a small travel trailer.  We didn’t know what to expect, and neither did they.  Years ago, as part of another congregation, we had a good experience hosting a missionary couple who were (and did) travel to Australia to help found a Reformed theological seminary there.  We hoped this experience would be similarly good.

Turns out we had a great time.  The children played together pretty well (although our son, a couple of years older than their son, was way too bossy at times), we enjoyed cutting up with the Gibellos, who are normal people with intact senses of humor and good insight.  Whenever I encounter anyone, what I hope for is to find someone who is:  1) Oriented to reality; 2) Competent or working to develop competence; and 3) A person of general good will.  Usually, if the people I meet hit two out of three, that’s pretty good.  The Gibellos hit the mark three out of three times.  That’s better than good.

Caleb and I didn’t get to take a bike ride Saturday, but he’ll be taking the Razesa when they come back through Tennessee in May.  My friend, Eric Thompson, bought the bike at Ciclos Madrid in about 1985 when he was serving as a missionary in Spain, so it seems fitting that Caleb Gibello should get the bike as he’s preparing to travel to Papua New Guinea to serve as an itinerant missionary to people in remote villages there.  I doubt he’ll be able to take the bike to PNP, but he’ll have something economical to monkey around with on home visits.

My wife and I have decided to help support our new friends with a little money each month.


Mom’s Birthday

Mom said she was feeling pretty bad Saturday when we invited her over to the house for supper with the Gibellos and to celebrate her birthday.  We finally did get to see her on St. Patrick’s Day – she invited us over to her house to share the traditional corned-beef and cabbage meal she makes annually.  We had a good visit and gave her a present; took some leftovers home, too.  I ate the last of them Thursday night.


June Rides


Once again, Spring has come and gone without my having once gone paddling.  Kind of disappointing for me, but I’ve got some work to do on my one remaining kayak.  I spent most of my project-working time on the 1989 Bridgestone MB-4 I bought earlier this year from my friend, Adrian.  I’ve been taking longer rides, on the average, this year, exploring by bike.  Here are some pictures from a couple of June rides. 

One of the things you’ll notice is that my ride photos have largely devolved into compositions consisting of my bike leaned up against stuff – sort of photographic evidence that I’ve ridden as far as those points and indicators that they are not just scenic phots, rather that they were taken while exploring my dry-land environment.  A lot of my kayaking photos included my boat’s bow, boat pulled up on scenic shorelines, and water, for similar reasons.  I’ve found a Facebook group for people who take these kinds of bike photos:  Look at My Bike Leaned Up Against Stuff.  By the way, I’ve paddled the Elk River upstream to the bridge upon which you can see the Miyata posed, below.

Another thing you may notice is that most of my rides lately have been on the Miyata 610.  A problem I’ve had with the Razesa on longer rides is that the bike’s narrow, 1985 handlebars render the bike’s use uncomfortable after about 20 miles.  Also, the MKS Lambda pedals installed a couple of years ago are increasingly no longer to my liking.  I’m thinking about buying some used quill pedals with toe-clips to replace them.



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.

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:


A Few April 2014 Ride Photos

Pollen’s been filling the air since early April, this year.  I’ve been braving the pollen storm and riding quite a bit in spite of feeling like I’ve got poison ivy in my sinuses and on my eyes.  Here are a few pictures from some of my April rides, as well as a close-up of the NOS Suntour Symmetric downtube shifters now installed on the Miyata 610.  although I miss the ratcheting clicks of the Suntour Power shifters, I much prefer downtube to stem-shiters.




This Week’s Miscellany

Plantar Fasciitis

In November of last year I took the Miyata 610 for a 17-or-so-mile ride through Stepford’s light industrial area and after that my foot hurt when I walked without shoes in the house.  I thought I’d developed a stress fracture having pedaled wearing soft-soled running shoes instead of a pair of cycling shoes with stiff soles.  I tried staying off the bike for several weeks, tried icing the foot, tried acetaminophen and ibuprofen, but nothing worked.  Finally, I got back on the bike and tried to make sure I used my cycling shoes with the Miyata (less necessary with the Razesa because it’s got the MKS Lambda pedals that distribute force/weight more evenly).

Got an official diagnosis of plantar fasciitis last week from the podiatrist at Pixilie.  The doctor was training a new assistant so did a lot of talking while taking X-rays (cool digital USB stand-on device) and while taping my foot.  He described having been taught to perform a low Dye strapping of the arch by an old doctor who, when young, had been taught by Dr. Dye who was then an old man.  I found the measure really effective for the short term, but taping comes loose after bathing.  Additionally, I was given a night splint and gel heel cups for my shoes, and the doctor suggested stretching exercises.  X-ray images clearly show that I’ve developed a small bone spur at the heel.  The following morning, after having slept in the awkward splint, I found foot pain greatly reduced.  Continued use of it and heel cups after a few days seems to have effected some positive change; I should more regularly perform the exercises suggested, however.


Kirby Sentria Vacuum-Cleaner

The Panasonic upright Caution-Lady bought a few years ago finally broke for the last time – the all-plastic housing into which the roller brackets attached at either end cracked and a piece broke off causing the roller to turn lopsidedly and burn through belts within five or ten minutes.  Last time it broke, it took the local vacuum store (from which we originally purchased the unit) weeks to fix it, they said, because a part was on backorder.  Cost about half as much as the vacuum cost new, if memory serves.  For awhile, we’ve been using the 1984 model Electrolux Silverado DeLuxe canister vac we inherited from Caution-Lady’s grandparents.  The Electrolux has all the original attachments and came with a box full of new bags; it works perfectly, but the long hose, extension tubes with attachments can be difficult to manage.  Also, the plug pulls out of the wall too often when pulling the canister behind while vacuuming.  Nevertheless, it cleans pretty well.

Kirby Model Time-Wave

Because Cautious One again wanted to get an upright vacuum-cleaner and I remember the 1950’s model I bought from the guys at San Pedro Vacuum on Seventh Street below Mesa in about 1992, I started looking for one on Amazon and Craigslist.  The machine worked fabulously and I took it with me to Portland and to Louisville, but left it in Louisville when I moved to Stepford.  It had all the attachments, including grinding wheel and sander; I was a stupid-head to have left it in Louisville (see the model above dated 1956 with the distinctive red trim).  An Amazon seller in Wisconsin was offering the Kirby Ultimate Diamond edition refurbished for $298 and I came pretty close to buying it, but couldn’t find a telephone number for the company on the web to talk to the seller and ascertain what they mean by “refurbished.”  I Craigslist-searched various combinations of terms – Kirby vacuum, Kirby Sentria, Sentria, Kirby sentra (because a lot those people who use Craigslist are lazy spellers), and found several later model units with attachments.  A family over in Pixilie had a Sentria (see the model listed at 2006 on the Kirby model time-wave, above) for $400.    Below is a picture sent by the seller:


I bought the unit for $280, took it home, cleaned the roller, changed the belt (the seller included four new), changed the bag (seller included one extra), cleaned up the fan, and put it to work.  We haven’t shampooed the carpet, yet, but if that attachment/function works as well as the basic vacuum and hose attachments, the marker stains (Seventy-Six) and coffee stains (me) in the den will be history.

Edz Wingz


Friday, I worked in Fayetteville, Tennessee, and had lunch at Edz Wings where, perennially trying to lose five fricking pounds, I opted for a brisket cobb salad instead of the burger, fried green beans, and dessert I wanted.  If you’re ever in Fayetteville, Tuesday through Saturday, during working hours and fail to eat at Edz, you’re making a terrible mistake.  Ed’s the rocket-scientist of smoked meat and sauces; his knowledge regarding same is encyclopedic and his conversation about his work is educational.  Ed also has strong political opinions and his musical tastes seem to run to Blues.

Impromptu Saturday Bike Ride

I don’t like team sports, don’t think they have much value, but most kids seem to like playing them.  My son’s organized sports activities – practices and games – have taken a bite out of my free time for cycling, kayaking, yardwork, etc.  Here lately, I haven’t had time to ride like I want to, but yesterday I took off for about an hour before supper and rode to another place where the paved road ends stopping only at a relatively deep puddle.  If it’d been earlier in the day, I might have gone on even though I don’t think Continental Gatorskin tires are best for cyclocross riding.  The Razesa did fine on dirt and some mud, though, and I didn’t feel like I would have been better off on a mountain bike.


Why I Will Never Be Mistaken for a Serious Cyclist

It’s a nine-word title, so I’ll try to come up with nine reasons I will never be mistaken for a Serious Cyclist.  While I was out monkeying around on the Razesa yesterday, I met another cyclist pedaling toward me on the road, made eye contact and waved.  I think he acknowledged my greeting with a nod and a wave back.  I thought, “That guy’s a more serious cyclist than I am,” and here’s why:  he rode a newer bike than I’ve got; he had on a bright orange, bike specific jacket; he didn’t have lights or, if I recall this correctly, reflectors on his bike; his bike helmet looked like it cost a hundred bucks. 

As to the relative age of bicycles ridden out in public, I’d guess most people’s bikes are newer than mine.  The Razesa I rode yesterday was made in about 1985.  My other bike, a Miyata, was manufactured in 1981.  Yesterday, I wore my grandfather’s gray, zipper front fleece pullover on top of inexpensive American made fleece cycling tights with polypropylene thermal long underwear underneath (I bought those in the early nineties when I lived in Portland, Oregon).  I did have on a new pair of cycling gloves, a pair of lace-up cycling shoes I bought from REI on sale and some 10 year-old hiking socks.  Like facepalmword, I prefer to wear “whatever” is handy, doesn’t cost too much, make me look like I’m dressed up for a Halloween party, is at least marginally clean or doesn’t stink badly from its most recent use.  Although unlike her, I don’t think most of the gender-specific bike clothes available to me are horrible, even though a lot of it is made for stick-figure boys under the age of 20.  Pushing fifty, I wouldn’t mind being thinner, but don’t expect to find me modeling clothes in a catalogue.  I use blinking USB rechargeable bike lights for visibility on the road; I don’t think that’s something serious cyclists do.  My bike’s got reflectors fore and aft, as well as in the wheel-spokes.  My bike helmet cost $36 on sale at the bike store.

I spent some time thinking about this stuff while I rode around the uppity end of Stepford, yesterday.  Wondering about why I can’t engage in activities like normal people do – buying new stuff, conforming to the attitudes and practices of those engaged in similar activities, and so forth.  This morning, I remembered that when I was a child of I don’t recall what age, my mom gave me a copy of this quote from Henry David Thoreau,

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." 

I thought at the time the statement was an insult or indictment because I was thought not to have kept up with my peers in any number of ways.  Probably at the time, my mother earnestly hoped that I would grow into something recognizably human that would pose little or no threat to others or society.  The fact that I have so turned out is a testimony to the fact that God hears and sometimes answers the prayers of desperate parents, grandparents, and friends.  What I’ve found, regarding that quote, is that when I walk, there are few who can keep pace with me; this is true in other pursuits, as well.  Cycling’s not one of them, however, a lot of people can ride faster and farther than I can ride.

That said, here are some of the reasons I will never be mistaken for a Serious Cyclist:

  1. I ride for the fun of it – to both get exercise and explore my surroundings – it’s monkeying around, sightseeing, and I make up my goals for the ride while I’m riding.
  2. I sometimes ride 3.3 miles around my neighborhood in the evenings after work and still think of that as a bike ride.
  3. 27 miles feels like a longish ride to me.
  4. My average speed, when I’m in shape, is about 15 miles per hour; here lately, my average has been about 14.
  5. My bikes are really old – 28 and 32 years, respectively.
  6. I don’t use clip-in or toe-clip pedals.
  7. I don’t care at all about racing.
  8. I sometimes stop and take pictures of things I see while riding.
  9. I ride through neighborhoods on my routes, not past them, because I like to see what’s in them.

Here’re the stats and map from yesterday’s ride:

Today's RideRoute Map

Cold Saturday Morning Ride

Last Saturday morning I rode the Razesa for a few miles after a light snow had fallen overnight.  The roads were grimy with cold, wet salt and slush, but none of the snow had much stuck to paved surfaces.  I think the temperature was around 32 degrees, Fahrenheit, when I set out, and not much warmer than that when I returned to the house.  For warmth, I wore a pair of Pearl Izumi select softshell gloves, Aero Tech Designs fleece bib tights, polypropylene long underwear, smartwool socks, and a weather-proof runner’s 3/4 zip pullover.

Razesa Bike

Razesa ready to ride on a cold morning

I was in no hurry, just monkeying around averaging less than 10 miles per hour and covering less than 10 miles, I rode through neighborhoods nearby.  I didn’t get across town to explore the streets on the other side of the main thoroughfare.

By the time I got back to the house, the small fingers of both hands were numb, as were the toes of both feet.  The gloves were less effective than a less expensive pair of thermal fleece North Face gloves I bought three or four years ago for winter walking.  The smartwool socks were not at all effective in the mild but moderately cold weather riding conditions of the day.  Maybe liner socks would have helped; I’ve got a pair and may try them next time.

Monkeying Around

Yesterday, 2/9/13, I took my first real bike ride since getting sick over the Christmas holiday. Just monkeying around, I rode out to the local airport exploring all the side streets thereabouts, thence unto a community college. I’d wanted to ride to a fire watch-tower overlooking a neighboring county, but found I was hungry by the time I got to the college and had not had the foresight to bring anything to eat. I rode around the college, took a short break off the bike on campus, and rode back toward town on a different highway. Just under 23 miles by the time I got back to the house; my legs were getting tired and I was pedaling more slowly that last couple of miles which means I’m out of shape.

I think the temperature was around 43 to 45 degrees, Fahrenheit, and I wore a cheap pair of cycling tights, a non-matching (material and style) New Balance inclement weather running ¾ zip top, polypropylene long underwear, warm socks, cycling shoes, and summer gloves. I was comfortable – neither too hot nor too cold.

Cyclemeter (http://www.abvio.com/cyclemeter/) on the Iphone tracked my route. This app measures time, ascent, descent, fastest and slowest speeds, GPS maps the route, and reports calories consumed. Additionally, the app allows one to save different bicycles and wheel measurements, as well as routes. My “Monkeying Around” route varies in distance from 3.5 to 22.98 miles, so the “leaderboard” feature was of no real use on yesterday’s ride.


I took a few photos of my bike while at the airport. There’s a World War II era hangar on the grounds that houses a Korean War era jet fighter or trainer. I propped my bike up outside and snapped a couple of pictures. A final picture of the view from where I sat during my few minutes’ break at the college.



A Year On Two Wheels

In late August, 2011, I bought my wife an Electra Townie single-speed bicycle and myself a Trek Navigator 1 so we could ride together on the streets of our quiet neighborhood.  Surprised and happy was I when my wife immediately took her bicycle for a ride the afternoon I brought it home.  She does not much like exercise activities or the idea of exercise for its own sake.  For my own part, I immediately began to ride the streets of our neighborhood trying to figure out a circuit that would cover every bit of distance without doubling back on itself that included some of the subdivision’s gentle uphill grades.


Just outside the neighborhood there’s a bike path that runs maybe a couple of miles, total, and I pretty soon started riding out on it after making circuit within my subdivision.  Gently rolling hills were at first a challenge, but not for very long.  Regarding the bike path, too many pedestrians upon it for safe travel – they naturally assume it is a sidewalk (although signs declare it a bike path), so I started riding in the street.  But before getting out on the street, I bought a bike helmet – a pumpkin-sized Bell Faction that made me look like Bob Dole (or sillier) in a tanker’s helmet.  Prior to that, I’d been riding around in Stepford Country Club hat my grandfather had had for probably 40 years – with the brim turned up all the way around.  I looked way, way, way cooler in the country-club hat than anybody has ever looked in a bicycle helmet, but the thought of brain injury and the various Rancho Levels decided me in favor the helmet.  I started riding to worship services.

I pedaled all winter in all weathers because a) my skin is pretty much water-proof, and b) I need exercise all year round and much prefer strenuous, outdoor activities for all around fitness and health to those practiced indoors.  I bought some cheap winter cycling tights from Sierra Trading Post, and wore under them the polypropylene long-underwear I purchased a hundred years ago when I lived at Portland, Oregon, and also with some hand-me-down fleece and winter running togs I already had.  With a Planet Bike rear rack and SKS fenders, the Navigator was a great winter ride – with a couple of drawbacks.   First, the so-called comfort seat isn’t really comfortable at all after one gets used to riding – it impedes full leg extension on the downstroke.  Second, the bike fat tires and wide wheels make for a stable, predictable, but generally slow ride.  I got to the point where I wanted to cover longer distances in less time and wanted a larger range of gears.


My friend, Eric, gave me his 1985 mid-range Razesa bike with Esge rack, Triplex panniers, Stronglight crankset (with lock-tight fused on English pedals), Shimano 600 rear derailleur, Weinmann brakes and rims, etc, Simplex downtube shifters, and 12 speeds.  I gave him a kayak I hadn’t been using, although he’d asked nothing in return for the bike.  I’ve changed the bike some, but it is a great bike on which I began taking 15 to 20 mile trips regularly.  I got the bug for a road bike in Selma, Indiana, during the fall/winter months of 2011 when I rode a 1979 or so Raleigh Grand Prix and thought it was pretty cool, even though I didn’t understand how the gears worked.  I’d been unable to ride bikes like that when I was a kid and had a Schwinn Stingray – the gears didn’t make sense to me and I had zero motivation to figure them out since we were all basically ruining our Stingrays to make “moto-cross” bikes out of them with different handlebars, seats, pedals, and so forth.  What a revelation about 40 years later to find that the bikes we’d always termed “derailleurs” were interesting enough to put my mind around and learn to ride.

When you’re new to something, you tend to take advice from people who seem credible.  My neighbor, Charles, a long-time bike guy with a shed full of relatively high-end bicycles, cautioned me against clips and clip-less pedals saying a number of people he knew broken collarbones using them.


One of the problems with the ancient Spanish bike – a bike shop somewhere had loc-tighted English threaded pedals onto French threaded Stronglight crankset, so that when I wanted to use a different set of pedals on the bike, it was impossible because the ones it came with were fused on at the threads.  So, in addition to learning about threading, cranksets, and other oddments, I got a Shimano 600 Biopace crackset so I could use different pedals (Shimano 600 because the bike’s rear derailleur is Shimano 600 and it was what my local mechanic recommended) but the Biopace cranks were just an oddball bonus.  At least that’s how it turned out, in my estimation.  Probably the best thing I did early on was replace the many years old Michelin racing slicks with a set of Continental Gatorskins – a great, puncture resistant tire.


The Razesa’s quill-stem was almost fused or rusted into place, but once it came loose, I was able to raise the handlebars sufficiently that when I was also able to raise the seat, likewise nearly rusted in place, I was able to ride with much greater comfort.  I eventually replaced the goofy-looking and pumpkin-like Bell Faction helmet with a similarly priced, more typically goofy-looking Specialized helmet with better adjustment features.  I bought some bib-shorts and a cycling jersey marked-down at Amazon and Sierra Trading Post, respectively.


Wanting a little bit heavier bike that I could take on long rides that involve camping (if I manage to find suitable racks for it), I bought an even older Miyata 610.  This bike’s frame is larger – maybe 58 centimeters – than the Razesa (56 cm).  I took it for a six or seven mile test ride at Louisville, Kentucky, before buying it.  The bike’s condition, the manufacturer’s attention to detail, and the fact that I’d read about this model bike for a month and a half decided me on it over the Ross Gran Tour of similar vintage with complete curlicue Shimano 600 groupo that the seller, Michael at Old Bikes Belong, also had on hand.

Christov 1

Back in mid-September, when I started writing this post, I’d participated in my first long bike ride.  Long for me was 50 miles of the Highland Rim Bicycle Club’s Elk River Century.  A friend and I signed up for it.  Hills like the land had been accordianed in a car wreck.  That’s me in the picture above riding the Razesa through part of Moore County.  We got rained on hard later in the day.  Back in July I wore the same silly-looking outfit while riding the same bike through Indiana farmland in triple-digit temperatures.  While at the farm, my father-in-law gave me the 1974 or so Raleigh Sprite he’d had in Honolulu (as evidenced by the bicycle license plate hanging from the seat).  It’d been in one of the barns for probably 20 years.  The tires held air when I pumped them up and I rode it around a bit in the drive.  It’s in my garage now, in pieces, awaiting the powder-coater’s attention.  Day before yesterday, Saturday 6 October, I broke out a pair of winter tights and rode about 15 miles through the cold-seeming Fall drizzle on the surface streets of some of Stepford’s more uppity neighborhoods.