Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Icicle Bicycle

When I got off of work this afternoon, I got a rather... hilarious shock. Apparently something either on or above the awning that I lock my bike up under started to melt in the sun, and dripped all over my bike and re-froze, incasing most of my in ice.

It was covered from handlebars to just past the saddle. I'm still uncertain as to how the water got on as much of the bike as it did. I've ended up with wet grips before when it rains, and with the last snow and ice I had just one frosted grip from something dripping on it, but nothing like this!

I had to spend a few minutes chipping the ice away so that I could at least work the rear brake and the shifter. My saddle was also coated, but it took just one elbow to the leather to break the ice off. It seems to be just fine, and in fact appeared to be dry underneath. Aside from ice breaking off and flying out of the wheels and the various noises accompanying that, it rode home just fine.

I've got her thawing out and drip drying over some towels in the kitchen tonight. I guess this means that I ought to start bringing some sort of tarp with me!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter Wonderland

I finally got to ride to the barn again! The snow started melting off a bit and the roads cleared up. It was really cold, in the low 20's during the day and low teens to single digits at night, but since the sun came out on Wednesday that helped melt slush off the road.

These horses that I pass everyday were happy to see some grass in their pasture again.

On Tuesday, while it snowed, the Donkeys apparently decided to stand out in it all day. They still had snow covered backs on Wednesday.

Then, on Wednesday night we got an ice storm. It was very pretty, seeing everything covered in a shell of ice, but it made travel and work outside very difficult. The boy donkeys didn't even dare leave the barn because their dry lot was like an ice skating rink! The girls were a bit braver. Or more determined to eat their hay.

Monday, December 13, 2010

First real snow!

Today we woke up to our first real snow for this year. Now, granted it was only about 3 inches, but every little bit counts! This means that this morning I got to go on my first real ride in the snow.

The only bicycle I have to ride right now is my mixte, Hedwig. She did fine, with a little slipping where car tracks that had re-frozen where. I had to walk her down one hill that is very steep. It was covered in ice, but on the whole, the ride was uneventful and quite fun. My Kool Stop MTB brake pads work really well!

Once I got home this afternoon, I realized something that I had not considered. All the snow that I went through was now packed up in my fenders, and frozen to my wheel, and I needed to bring her in through the living room into the kitchen.

I tried to brush it all off with the broom, but that just barely got it off. Does anyone have any suggestions for cleaning up a bike before bringing it in? I ended up just wheeling her through as per usual, letting her drip dry on a rug in the kitchen and going back through to clean up the snow that came off on the trip through.

Despite the mess, I really enjoyed this short trip in the snow. The only thing that I wish was different on Hedwig for this kind of riding is her tires. She's got these skinny little road tires that don't have much for tread.

One more reason I'm looking forward to my Pashley! I'm really excited to try her out in some snow.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Just some pictures...

Of tractors with Holiday lights.

I'm hoping to catch photo of the glow-in-the-dark manger scene that someone has set up in the back of their pick up truck. Ah... rural TN.

And frosted cows.

I caught some nasty cold this past week. It was one of those colds where you're probably too sick to go to work, but you tell yourself that you can make it and go anyway. I managed to ride my bike to my AM job (since it's only a 5 minute ride from my house), but I just didn't have the physical strength to make it the 5 miles through the mountains to the barn. So I drove out there all week. Better luck next week!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Ever since I brought Hedwig home, I have loathed the rubber Schwinn branded grips that came on her. I suspect that they were not original to the bike, and were added to her at some point by one of her previous owners. They felt gross, and were too long and hung over the ends of the handlebars by about half an inch. They had to go.

Many moons ago I bought a small tooled leather wallet. It kind of looked like someones scout project, with plastic cording stitched around the edges. I found it at a local thrift store, and liked the tooling enough that it had to come home with me. I knew it was destined for some craft project, I just didn't know what yet.

Today that little wallet became new grips for Hedwig. I cut the wallet in half, along the crease unstitched the plastic cording so that the insides would come out. After I had just the two front halves, I sprayed a little 3M Spray Mount on the backsides of the leather, so that it would hold still on the handlebars while I stitched them on.

Once they were stitched on I rubbed a little Proofhide in, to darken them up a bit and stuck a cork in the end of each side the the handlebars . Lookin' good so far! I'll find out tomorrow how well they work out.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Delivered by a Turkey, not a Stork

For about 6 months or so now, I've been saving up for a new bicycle. I've needed something sturdy, with brakes that will be sure to stop in the rain and snow. With lights that won't die on me in the night. Something that can carry a load, and yet still get me through the hills. Something that I can also ride in both business clothes, and also can carry me out to the barn. It needs to be comfortable and attractive as well. I started saving, not knowing what I was going to end up buying, and the only way I can actually save money is the old fashioned way. Cash. In a box that I can't get the cash back out of without destroying. A piggy bank, that isn't a cute little pig.

So I made this box and it has set on my dresser for the last 6 months collecting whatever amounts of cash I can spare. Yes, that's an Oma pictured on it, for inspiration. I went back and forth on whether or not to buy and Oma or a Pashley. The Oma's are wonderfully tough and would be ideal for bad weather and carrying loads. The 8 speed hub might even make the Oma a practical bicycle for commuting in the hills. However, I chose the Pashley. I have wanted a Pashley for a LONG time. Longer even than I've been riding. The practical reasons that I chose the Pashley are this: Being slightly lighter and having a smaller frame that is closer in geometry to my Hercules, which would have been perfect if not for the total lack of brakes in the rain.

Today is my birthday, and knowing that I had saved up about half of the funds I need for my Pashley, my husband gave me the best present ever: the rest of the money + some for accessories! AND my Pashley has already been ordered. However, I won't be receiving it until probably sometime in Janurary, as the shop we ordered it from thought that they still had one in stock, but were mistaken had had the wrong color. So mine will be coming in on the next shipment. But still, I'M FINALLY GETTING MY PASHLEY! :)

So, that means that the time has finally come to open the box.

And get out the money. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pining for my Bicycle

For the last two days I've had to take advantage of our newly repaired car to run some errands that I just can't do by bicycle. Mainly hauling summer gear from the barn and bringing in winter gear. Also, taking one ginger feline to visit her favorite vet. This means that I haven't been able to ride my usual 10 miles to the barn and back. Though the car is handy for hauling things, and transporting irate felines, I've come to the conclusion that I HATE driving. It makes my back hurt. It makes me grumpy. I've missed the cold night air, the adrenaline, feeling the blood pump through my veins, the sounds and smells of the night. Cars take the magic away.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Otters and New Boots and Tweedy Capes, Oh My!

Saturday afternoon, on my ride home from Job1 I saw two otters playing in the creek near my house! I stopped and watched for probably 20 minutes or so in the COLD and flurry-ish weather. I have never before seen otters in the wild, and with an apartment community that backs right up to the creek I would have never thought that they would want to hang out there. It figures that I didn't have my camera with me (not having a secure place at work to keep things like that I pretty much just go with keys and phone). After watching them for awhile, and getting really cold, I rushed home to get the cameras. Of course, by the time I got back someone was there walking their dog along the creek and the otters were gone.

So I hung out for a little while longer in hopes that they would come back. But they didn't. I'll keep an eye out and see if I spot them again.

I also have a new pair of winter boots! I had originally planned for these to be barn boots, which they will ultimately have to become, but since it's not quite cold enough for them at the barn I figured that I can enjoy them as every day boots. They're Keen Winthrop boots, which have all leather uppers and are wool lined. They're water proof, and I tested that out in this puddle to make sure. I'm hoping that these will keep my toes from turning purple this winter!

I also got a new/vintage wool cape. I love wearing capes. This one is a dark brown and ivory twill that looks tweedy from afar. I'll try to get some full cape pictures at some point. The mittens are a set that I knitted about 5 years ago. They're the Frostrosen mitten kit from Nordic Fiber Arts, altered just a bit so as to be flip-top mittens.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Every evening when I get home from work, Tesla greats me at the door, receives some love, and then wants to take a bike ride from the front door into the kitchen. He purrs the whole ride. :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween day ride to the lake

Today, I finally gave Hedwig new shifter cables. I bought them about 2 months ago, and just now got a chance to change them out. So to test them I took a nice ride out to the lake. It had been awhile since I had ridden that way, and had never ridden Hedwig there.

The water had gotten quite lower since last time I was out there! I knew it had been dry, but I hadn't realized it was that dry.

I never would have thought it when I first brought her home, but I'm loving this little Kettler Mixte more and more everyday. And to think I was going to part her out to fix up a Fuji! Glad Brad talked me out of it. Still need to replace the grips, and find some better tires. These are a bit harsh.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Guard change

I've made a small change to the clip system on Hedwigs Guards. What do you think?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

All this week, when riding Helena to work, I've been hearing what sounded like something hitting my spokes. It sounded like it was in the front spokes, and I kept looking and never found anything. I was beginning to think that I was just picking up the occasional leaf, or the strap from my bag in the front basket was hanging down or something. Well, today I discovered the problem.

Apparently I had lost one of the clips that holds my guards on. Today, on my way home from Job 1 I heard the usual tick, tick, tick of the invisible something in the spokes, followed suddenly by a tick, crunch, tick, tick. The bit of guard that had been loose all week finally got caught and yoinked the clip next in line right off! So, now I've got a very dirty guard. Figures that I didn't Scotchguard this set! Meh. Oh well. :)

Also, since the days are getting shorter, my rides home from the Barn in the evening are always in the dark. I was apprehensive about this at first, but since I've been riding home in the dark everyday for just over a week now I've discovered that I like it BETTER than daytime riding! There is this wonderful calm that settles in once the sun has gone down. The night animals start to come out. I've so far encountered a barn owl, deer, two raccoons and a skunk.

It's also proving interesting dressing for the ride home. Temperatures can vary greatly here, depending on altitude, if you are near water, which side of the hill you happen to be on. I'm discovering that even though it doesn't feel like I need a hat, scarf and gloves at the Barn, once I ride down the hill and get about 1/2 mile away it is quite at lot colder than where I started. There is a creek through there, and it's in a bit of a valley so that may have something to do with it.

I do like the look of a bicycle with warm woolies at the ready. :)