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.

1981 Miyata 610 Touring Bicycle

Saturday morning, early, my friend Adrian and I drove north to Louisville, Kentucky, to look at a blue Miyata 610 touring bike offered for sale by Michael Carroll of Old Bikes Belong.  I brought along, for purpose of possibly trading, the 2011 Trek Navigator 1.0 I bought last August and that served to reintroduce me to bicycling, something I hadn’t done since I was a teenager, some thirty or so years previously.  Last Sunday I rode the Trek to worship service and found it miserably uncomfortable and slow (after having ridden the Razesa several times a week for the past several months) – I knew our relationship had come to an end.

I’d researched the Miyata 610 touring bikes by reading information on bike forums – everyone who claimed to have owned one claimed to have found it an excellent bike.  Some people are still riding the 610’s they bought new.  I was able to find that 1981 was the last year this model was manufactured with stem-shifters by perusing the catalogues found here: And I was able to determine that the 610 at Louisville was manufactured in 1981 by comparing its serial number to information found here:

Miyata 610 PageMiyata 610 Specs

We arrived at 2020 South Preston St, Louisville, Kentucky, at about 12:00 pm local time, parked down the block, took the Trek off the rack and walked back to the bike store.  Michael Carroll, the owner, presents with what I’ve come to regard as “Louisville reserve.”  That is, his demeanor is courteous and reserved, he exhibited a willingness to laugh at this customer’s jokes, and displayed his own dry sense of humor from time to time.  I’d describe him as confidently cautious.  It’s a small space he occupies in what appears to be remodeled older sidewalk commercial strip alongside a barber college a bric-a-brac store, a nondescript storefront that might be anything at all behind its opaqued windows, and a vacant unit at one end.  The store was busy.  I think Michael sold four or five bikes during the time it took me to make my mind up about the Miyata.  Michael had put the Miyata in back when I told I planned to drive up Saturday, and brought it out for me to look at.  Although the paint and chrome had a few blemishes, for a bike 30 years old that’d probably been somebody’s regular ride, it was in extremely good condition.


I asked whether I could take it for a spin (my helmet and gloves were in the car), and Michael said sure.  He suggested that I ride down Preston and turn left on Eastern Parkway where I could ride about four miles before it ended (I think it becomes Wilson or Williams near Cherokee Park).  I didn’t ride that far, but did ride as far as Baxter Avenue.  I remembered having driven that stretch many years ago during the time I resided at Louisville as a seminary student.  I’d forgotten the hills.  Unfamiliar with the use of stem-shifters, I had a couple of panic shifts at hills finding the stem arrangement messed up my center of gravity.  I hated the bike’s saddle.  Traffic was a lot heavier than that of Stepford, but there’re a lot more people riding in Louisville, and the automobile drivers didn’t seem to mind the presence of a cyclist on the busy four-lane.

I think JR Robinson had a used Volvo lot near Baxter and Eastern many years ago.  I was reminded by the time-machine character of the ancient neighborhoods of the fact that Ernie Pyle listed the Louisville address of a nurse he met in, I think it was, North Africa – Mildred Keelin of 929 Ellison Ave., in the Germantown section of the city –  As I rode, I wondered about the past histories of those residing in the old homes.

My route took me to the farthest point indicated by the arrows on the map below, and then back again the same way.  Adrian told me later Michael said I was taking the longest test-ride any of buyer’d taken and wondered whether I ‘d crashed.


When I got back to the store, I still wasn’t sure about the Miyata.  Michael said he had one other touring bike on the premises in my size and brought it out.  It was a very old Ross Grand Touring model from the mid-1980’s with complete Shimano 600 groupo and lugged steel frame of double-butted Ishiwata 024 tubing.  Kind of a dull tan version of battleship gray in color, the ugliness of which kind of grew on me.  I took this bike for a much more abbreviated ride in the neighborhood around the bike store, and immediately liked it.  Now, I had to figure out which bike I liked best.


Adrian and I decided to have lunch – I would make up my mind over lunch.  The place Michael recommended, a block or two down toward Eastern Parkway was closed, so we walked to El Nopal, located on Eastern Parkway, had a big lunch, then walked back to the store.  Seeing the Ross again, I observed that it probably hadn’t been as well cared-for as the Miyata and that the manufacturer hadn’t attended particularly well to details as compared to the Miyata.  Finally, I decided that if it turned out I completely hated the SunTour components, I could probably source a complete Shimano 600 groupo from somewhere or other.  Anyway, I didn’t know squat about Ross bikes, but had spent a few weeks studying Miyata bikes.  So I bought the Miyata.  Here’s a picture of Michael making some final adjustments to it.


Here’re a few pictures of the bike – I’ve since raised the seat and the stem.  I wish the top tube was a little longer.  The Selle Italia seat I’d had on the Trek is now on the Miyata.  I’ve got a rear rack and a couple of crazy-looking half-fenders to install.  I’m about to take a short ride in my neighborhood to get further acclimated to those weird shifters and three round (as opposed to Biopace) chainrings.



No helmet or gloves, just showing off the bike for the camera