Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rainy Spring

I've only had one sunny day of riding since Violet arrived! Which I suppose is a good thing. It's kept me from being afraid to use her in weather she's designed to be ridden in.

Spring is starting to show here, even though it doesn't feel like it. It's a chilly day, and I heard rummor of the S word tonight. Bleh!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Meet Violet Smith/Beaudelaire

Isn't she pretty! I couldn't decide which literary character to go with, so I named her after both. As you can see, I got a smaller basket for her. I had heard complaints about the larger basket, and since I don't really need to carry a lot up front and also need to be able to manage the hills through the country side out to the barn, I thought I would try a smaller basket out. Also, I added my other Swiss ammo bag. I've been really happy with the one on my mixte. I think that eventually I will want something bigger, but for now this will do. And of course, I sprung for the Brooks grips.

Now for the first impressions. WOW, she is a beast. Heavy and solid. Heavier than my Hercules, I do believe. But not so much that I can't handle her. I haven't tried to put her on my bike rack on the car (is that even possible with a loop frame?), but if I ever want to get her out to my bike shop I'll need to. It's just way too far away to ride (if I want to have time to do anything else that day).

For a heavy 5 speed, I'm surprised at how well I can get her up hills. I think that she may climb hills easier than my mixte! It has to have something to do with the gear range. My mixte is light and has 10 speeds, but I was able to get Violet up a hill that I have trouble getting up on my mixte. Now, she came with the new SA 5 speed hub that has the wider gear range. Maybe that has something to do with it, maybe it's the thighs of steel that I've developed over the last year, or some combination of the two. Maybe it's some sort of new bicycle delusion, who knows. But it was a pleasant surprise!

Her dynamo light is brighter than I expected. Brighter than the Cateye that I've been using for the last year. I went ahead and put my Cateye on at the front axle, just to see if that helps even more, and if anything gives me a light that is always on so when I stop I can stil be seen from the front. I think that I may eventually put a light on both sides.

I'm sure that I have plenty more "getting to know you" to do with Violet. I'm hoping that soon I can plan a leisure ride so that I can focus on the bicycle and not getting somewhere on time.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Maiden Voyage

Just a quick note to say that my Pashley got her first 12 miles or so today. I am VERY pleased with her performance. Even on hills.

More on that and first impressions later. I just wanted to share a quick picture of her at the Donkey farm and to say that I do believe I am in love!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

She's here!

Look what came today!

Details to come later. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

While We Wait

My Pashley should be arriving sometime this week! It's about all I can think about right now, so in the mean while here's some pictures of the Donkeys enjoying a pile of gravel:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Somewhere Over the Rainbow...

... is the first spring rain I got caught in. But boy was it worth it! I would have missed out on this if I had driven.

I had stopped at my usual spot to get a sip of water and blow my nose. I turned around to make sure my blinkie was on before going through the tunnel and saw this huge rainbow!

You can even see the end of the rainbow. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 14, 2011

Elastic Dressguards Prototype

Please excuse the crappy cell phone picture, but I thought I would share a teaser. I've been working on 2 designs for dressguards made from elastic bands. One is just many strands, like what is pictured above, and the other is netted. I'm still testing out materials, but so far I am quite happy with both versions. More to come in a few days, so stay tuned!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Other World

2011 Fiber Fair at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park.

Here is a glimpse into my other world. The bobbin part of Bobbin and Sprocket. Today was the annual Fiber Fair at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park in Elizabethton, TN. I only got to be there for the last hour of the event. Usually I'm there for the whole day demonstrating handspinning (the REAL, practical spinning. Not this silly indoors in a gym on a stationary bike "spinning" nonsense), but since I now work on Saturday mornings I couldn't make it out there until almost 3pm.

Here are friends of mine participating in a "Fleece to Shawl" demo that we do every year. Basically there are several spinners and a weaver. The spinners have to keep the weaver supplied with yarn. There are several spinners spinning single strand yarn, and one spinner who takes those single strands to ply them into a 2 ply yarn. That then gets passed along to the weaver who weaves them into the shawl. I missed getting a picture of the shawl before we all had to pack up to go, but here are some Alpaca:

And some big bags and piles of wool:

I also ended up bringing home the park's spinning wheel to work on. It hasn't worked properly in years, and I could use a third (yes third! I own two spinning wheels and that still isn't enough) for my class that I teach there.

Here it us hanging out with my newer wheel. Didn't have space in the living room for all three.
So, looks like I've got a different sort of three speed to wrench and get running before next Sunday. :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Yesterday's News

Yesterday I was on Let's Go Ride A Bike answering some questions about bikes and their accessories! It was fun being interviewed and sharing my experiences with them. Go check it out!