Thursday, July 29, 2010

Berry Mixte and Guarded Skirts

First off, aside from just throwing the crochet skirt guard on and attaching it with file clips (I have the other clips that I'm going to use once I paint them black) I would say that this project is finished! (For those who were interested, I am going to set up an Etsy shop where you can commission a custom guard. I am also working out another, simpler lace guard.) I need to fidget with them and make them look a little straighter, but they seem to do the job. I'm going to see if I can arrange a real test ride soon.

Also, Hedwig the Mixte makes a rather good pack bike. I am house sitting for my boss this week, and I managed to get all of his mail, newspapers and an Amazon box on the Pletscher rack along with the raincoat that I already had back there.

Then, I noticed that his Blueberry bushes had quite a lot of fruit on them, so I helped myself to what was there. The only thing I could find to bring it all home was a pretzel barrel. Worked out well! I was afraid that I might loose the barrel on the ride home, but it stayed put.

I'm going to be eating blueberries for FOREVER. I already have pounds of them in the freezer. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pletscher Problems

A few weeks ago I bought a Pletscher rack for Hedwig. Unfortunately I discovered that I was going to have a hard time getting it attached to the frame, as you can see here:

When the rack is sitting level, the holes sit right over the tubing. Hedwig's aluminum tubing is just a little bit bigger than the steel tubing on other bikes (like my Fuji, which the rack fits fine on). So, since I was trying to mount the rack about half an hour before I needed to leave for work, I just mounted it as low as it would go, which just barely let the screws clear. It put the rack at an angle, which at first I was fine with.

I just added my bag, which wanted to slide under the seat some, and off I went. It's been that way for a couple of weeks now, bothering me a little more everyday and yesterday I finally had it. The problem was that because the bag wanted to slide under the seat, it was also being semi divided in the middle by the narrower bracket end of the rack. The bag wanted to hang on either side of it, making it difficult to get things in and out of it. So I brought it into my husband's shop and we brainstormed.

We tried several things, some involving wooden blocks, and drilling out new holes for the original hardware. None of those ideas would work. Then we noticed the little tapered points up near the seat and decided to try just zip tying there.

And it works! So long as I don't try to haul enormous loads on this bike, I think that this is going to be just fine. We may switch out the plastic zip ties for metal, or some other metal wire intended to support heavy loads (and not stretch). Now, since the rack is level, I don't have room to put the bag on the back of the seat and still have room for my rain coat on the rack, so I hung my bag from the side of the rack. Which I really like, and am formulating a little scheme to make some custom panniers.

With zip ties. :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Getting closer!

Well, here it is!

Please excuse the use of file clips, as my other possible solution has not arrived yet. I have to say I'm very happy with this design. It looks a bit more elegant than the previous, is easier to adapt to different sizes, and is easier to shape around caliper brakes. I may still dink around with this one some to create a little more room for the long brake pads I have on this bike, but other than that I am quite pleased!

Now I am just wondering how well this will work in the long run, since I used cotton. Will it want to sag if it gets soaked in the rain? Should I wash and dry in the dryer to "pre-shrink" it before use? I've soaked it and blocked it heavily, so in theory that should have taken out any stretch the yarn may have had in it. I guess I'll just have to road test it and see.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Guard 2.0

So far so good! This one has been a pain in the arse, but I think I've finally got it behaving. :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Skirt guard status update

Sorry, no pictures of anything new right now. The guard is still taped to the bicycle. BUT, I have ordered something that may be the ticket for attaching it to the fender. I am waiting for that to arrive, and have decided not to crochet the other side until I know if this is going to work or not. Just in case I need to make some minor changes. In the mean time, I've been playing with some other crochet skirt guard ideas! I've got two other patterns that I'm working out, both of which are wider at the top (so as to go further back along the fender), and can easily be made to fit bicycles with either 26 or 28 inch wheels! They're not flowery like guard 1.0, and a little more open. I stared at the first one so long that it's now starting to remind me of old crochet curtains or something. So I'm designing some that have less surface area and are a little more classy. Check back soon! I may have some pictures before the weekend is out. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So... now what?

I've just finished crocheting 1/2 of a skirt guard for Helena!

Yes, the ugly old plastic air filter screen/ skirt guard is still zip tied on, and it's duct taped to the frame and fenders right now. I needed some way of holding it there while I took a picture.

So far, I am mostly happy with it. I've already thought of some design changes (which, if I were to incorporate into this one would mean ripping the whole thing out and starting over. NOT gonna happen.) So right now I'm left with the problem of how to attach it. I don't want to drill holes in my fenders, so I need to think of a way to get it to stay in place there. I think that as far as attaching it to the frame, I'll just add some braided strands that can tie to the frame. There will be much pondering on this before I crochet the other half.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

They're breeding!

So, last weekend my parents and 3 year old niece came to visit. We had a great time hanging out on the porch, and watching the firework display that DH put together. It was part birthday celebration for him, part 4th of July celebration, and part celebration of his first REALLY BIG CONTRACT. We are very excited about this, and it means a very busy 12-14 months for us. But since the parents were coming to visit, they took the opportunity to clean out from under their house and brought me my mom's old mixte!

It's a 1973 Fuji Dynamic 10. I've had it sitting in the back of the "stall" for the last week waiting for a chance to start cleaning it up. That rack on the back is the bracket for an old child seat that my mom used to ride me around in! Dad can't find the seat, and I'm not going to need it. Ever. So I took the mounting rack off. It also had this guard that covers both sides of the rear wheels. I suppose to keep kid legs/feet out of the spokes. Might make an interesting template for a skirt guard, so I'm keeping it. The seat has been chewed up by mice or something. Also, it's really grimy. So today I took it out on the porch and set to work.

I started with the rear derailleur, since it was the nastiest part. I had to chip off years of dirt and crap out of the cogs, but it cleaned up nicely!

Once I got all that off and cleaned it up with an old toothbrush and some soapy water it was much better. Everything seems to move nicely and nothing looks bent, so hopefully everything is fine there.

Then I moved on to the frame, brakes, brake and shifter cables. There was just dirt and mildew on all of that, so cleaning it was easy. Luckily there was no rust to be found. There are a few places where the paint has chipped off. I may see how close I can get with a touch up enamel.

So far so good! I'm thinking that I will be in the market for some fenders and another brooks saddle and I already have a Pletscher rack (just need to find some mounting hardware). I may just leave the drop bars on. Might as well see how I like them. They'll need re-wrapping. Probably in leather.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Just a few random things

"New" rusty pedals for Hedwig. The original pedals were meant to be used with clips or straps or something. Whichever, they were a hassle since they hang upside down and were too narrow to use with the Keen sandals. My heel was always hitting the crank arm. So I picked these up at my LBS. They're rusty, but they do the job. I'll clean them up at some point.

And what on earth could this crochet thing be? Couldn't be bicycle related, could it? ;)

The cabled knee high socks from the Rambouillet/Merino cross are coming along nicely. I've got both socks just past the heel now. I HOPE to be able to get a couple more pairs of these knit before winter.

Tesla does not approve of knitting.

Catching a breeze

So in between cleaning house and scouring another fleece and preparing for weekend guests, I decided to take a little ride on Hedwig in a dress to see how well that works out on her. I had never ridden a mixte in a dress or skirt so I wasn't sure if anything was going to get caught in brakes or fly up too much or what. It worked out just fine, even though the skirt blew around and up quite a bit. Not enough to cause any indecencies, since I lucked out and the hem wanted to catch on the nose of the saddle. Which is good because if it blew up anymore then all of Victoria's secrets would be given away. I was a hit with the local boys too. A truck full drove past and I heard one of them shout "hot damn!". :) Now that's what I call encouragement to get out there and ride.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Three Feet

I REALLY wish that all motorists would obey Tennessee's Three Feet law when passing cyclists. I understand that where I live and ride, there are very few cyclists, and most motorists are unaware of the laws regarding cyclists, but the POLICE should at least be aware of and follow the laws! Twice this month I've been passed by a cop (don't know if it's the same cop or not) that passes me as close as they can without hitting me. It's always been a very slow pass, but definitely within about a foot and a half of me. Close enough that they are still completely in the same lane with me. When it happened yesterday there were 3 more cars behind the cop that followed his/her example and did the same thing! Come on cops! I pay taxes, and YOUR SALARY, so let's not kill me, ok?