Saturday 13 July–Shared Oatmeal, Church, Bicycle Drivetrain Comparison


On Saturday, my son got up early and shared my bowl of oatmeal – two spoons, one bowl – something he has not done since he was just about four.  I usually, and since childhood, dislike sharing, but I didn’t mind a bit; happy he remembered – for about two years, this was our every-morning routine.


Our congregation recently voted to relocate our place of meeting to a former “washateria" – that’s Southern for Laundromat – building near the city’s first large commercial development, now somewhat run-down but in use.  The building we moved in to yesterday is situated on a side-street beside the shopping center and behind an Jetson’s-looking bank building.  It has a great many more square feet than our storefront up the hill and across the tracks, better bathroom facilities, three large rooms that can be used for meetings or classes, a large grassy yard out back that can be used to let the kids run around in or for picnics and cookouts.  Because the building housed two failed restaurants, there is a large kitchen area.  Because the building formerly housed a coin-op laundry, it has a lot of electrical outlets located about chest high around the exterior walls.

Yesterday morning, a number of us met at the old location in a run-down stripmall and loaded up all the few things that we used for our meetings there into a couple of pickup trucks and one box trailer, some cars, and drove with them all about a mile off to the “new” building.  Today we plan to hold our first meeting in the new location.  Still a little rough, but we’ll work on it.

Later:  Because it was or had just been raining when I was ready to go to the meeting, I took the ‘98 and on the way stopped by the old location and stuck a sign in the window saying the congregation has moved and giving directions to the “new” building.  Our first meeting there went pretty well and was well attended.  This seems to be a positive step for us.

Bicycle Drivetrain Comparison

Looking over blog posts here, I realize I have had the Miyata 610 for a little over a year, having purchased it from Old Bikes Belong at Louisville in June of 2012.  I rode the Miyata a lot during our recent Indiana vacation.  The bike’s drivetrain makes a constant sprockety or clicking sound even when the gear has been properly selected and the chain is running securely on front and rear ring/sprocket.  Additionally, the Suntour power shifters make ratcheting sounding and feeling clicks when they are used.  Michael O’Neil of Greenway 500 said the Suntour shifters are famous for their “96 clicks.”

Friday afternoon I drove to a couple of stores looking for 700c inner-tube with Presta valve and returned to the house with it.  I’d already taken off the  Razesa’s front wheel and before removing the tire and tube in order effect repair, I reinflated the tire to determine whether I could locate a leak by hissing or a tire puncture, then set it aside and went for a ride an easy about 15 mile ride on the Miyata.  Next morning I checked and the tire was still inflated, so I put the wheel back on the Razesa.  Later in the day, I pumped up both tires to about 115 psi, which is what they’re rated, and took a 14 mile ride in a different direction from the one I took Friday.

The thing I notice immediately was the Shimano 600 components (rear derailleur, crankset with Biopace rings) and Shimano Sora front derailleur seemed completely silent compared to the Miyata’s Suntour group.  Sure, the Razesa’s components are a hodgepodge of 1985 and later parts and the Miyata’s all original dating from 1981, but what a difference.  Nevertheless, there is something I like about the Miyata’s Suntour clicking that reminds me of the mother’s-womblike comfort I experience when driving or riding in noisy diesel vehicles, most notably the 1979 four-speed VW Rabbit coupe I drove cross-country in the early 1990’s.

Like I Had Wings

Wednesday night, after I got back from a congregational business meeting, I stayed in the garage and monkeyed around with the Razesa.  Put it on the trainer (because I haven’t got a clamp-down bike stand) and tried to figure out why the chain would only stay on the smallest rear sprocket.  I hand-checked most of the chain-links to see if any of them were stiff, checked to see if any part of the chain was kinked, or kinked as it went through either of the derailleurs.  Nope.  Lubed the chain and rear sprockets.  Nope.  Finally, because I remembered my friend Eric had said this has been a recurring problem with the bike, I checked to see whether the right-side downtube shifter was loose.  Yup.  It didn’t feel the least bit loos when riding or using it to change gears on the trainer, but when I experimentally stuck my thumbnail in the groove of the screw that hold it in place, it turned without breaking the nail.  Got a screwdriver and tightened it down snug, et voila!  I had a functional bike again.

Yesterday after supper, while my wife and son were at his gymnastics class, I took the Razesa for a ride.  The bike is light and fast, its MKS Lambda pedals are comfortable, and the Shimano 600 drivetrain setup with Biopace crankset is like having some kind of motorized assist.  I felt like I had wings on.  I flew.  Maybe 10 to 12 neighborhood miles, and I was not winded when I got back to the house.  I had enough energy to play outside with my son until I was too tired and it was nearly dark.

Because I’m not a bicycle racer and am relatively new to the activity, I guess I don’t have any prejudice about off-round chainrings.  I can’t imagine how the Biopace rings got such a bad rap.  I recommend buying them up cheap on Ebay or some other place you can find them.  Compared to the round rings on my Miyata, and the Stronglight crankset that came with the Razesa, the Biopace rings are like a space-age, super-powering alien technology that I’m glad I’ve incorporated into the Razesa. 

After Work Neighborhood Ride

When I got home yesterday afternoon, my wife and son were not home; I figured they must have gone grocery shopping.  I doffed my work costume and put on normal clothes, drank some water, ate a handful of trailmix, checked the Razesa’s tires, and rode off feeling like I was playing hookey.

I could have stayed home and done something productive, but I thought a mind-clearing ride was what I wanted.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of eight to ten miles I pedaled around this residential part of town.

The stretches that had formerly been difficult for me were pretty easy, yesterday.  My standard pace has increased markedly.  I continue to be favorably impressed by the combination of Shimano 600 Biopace crankset and MKS Lambda pedals, continue to be favorably impressed with the Razesa road bike.

Last month, I entered a contest to win a new bicycle.  A cycling magazine invited entrants to submit a photo of their current or former bike and 150 word essay or statement explaining persuasively how a new bicycle would change their lives.  But honestly, I don’t think a new bicycle would make me a faster, “better” cyclist or incline me to become an amateur racer.

I guess if I win the contest (and I will probably find out this week), I will have the Razesa in for restoration that includes down-to-bare-metal frame prep for rust removal and painting.  If I don’t win, I’ll just keep riding.  Downtube friction shifters are no longer a source of crash-fear-for-fumbling.