Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sylvia is home!

Sylvia had no problems getting her rear spread for her new hub and her upgrade went of with very little issue. I'm really glad we decided to take her to the professionals. I would have probably broken something.
We picked her up from Ajo Bikes yesterday evening and I'm so glad she's home! I took her for a test ride around their parking lot to make sure everything was in working order and Max was kind enough to make any adjustments that were needed. I love them there and the customer service is top notch. It's definitely my favorite bike shop, now if only they carried more commuting stuff...
The new gears are great! It's good to have options and she felt much zippier. The heavier wheels made her stick to the ground better and I took a few slooow turns to see how she cornered. Before she would almost topple if I was going less than 5 mph but now she sticks to it and goes around smoothly. There's also less wobble when I start from a stop and once we get going it feels like we could go forever. I love the gyroscope effect of her heavier new wheels and hubs!
What's funny is that she's now a 10 lbs heavier than she was before. Once I put her baskets and rack back on she will weigh a whopping 57 lbs. Without them she's still a hefty 44 lbs.
We moved her seat forward a bit like Dan from DBC City Bikes had suggested and I really like the new position. He was super helpful when I called to inquire about his bikes and gave me lots of information.
Happy to be home.
The roller brakes have huge cooling disks on them and I think they look very nice. Her new spokes are thicker and the deeper rims really make the Linus tires feel so much more plush. She rides much more smoothly over bumps now too.

Front wheel.

Back wheel.
It's a very nice set up so far, but I'll have to get new grips. They cut my old one to fit and the gap pinches a bit. I don't mind though, it'll be fun to pick them out.

We can really go now!
Her old 3 speed hub had this gearing:
0.733, 1.000, 1.364
Her new 8 speed hub has this gearing:
0.527, 0.644, 0.748, 0.851, 1.000, 1.223, 1.419, 1.615
We can now go faster, which was the goal, and slower than ever before! I love it!

Big cooling disk!
This morning it was drizzling so I took her out to splash in the puddles. It's one of our favorite things to do. Plus it was a great way to give her a proper test ride. We went for a 6 mile jaunt down our favorite bike path.


We're back!
I love this path because it has everything. Hills, flats, potholes, and dirt. It's a short little 3 miles to the road closed sign that has been up forever, but it really gives a taste of it all. It was so much fun! I rode along to my Irish pub rock (I only were one earbud and they're the nice ones that let ambient sound in) and smiled at everyone I saw. A nice construction worker even smiled back! On the way to the sign I pushed it and played with the gears. 
I got going super fast on the downhill through an underpass and we hit a large puddle. With her old rim brakes that would have been game over and I would have had no braking power. (Not that they were good when dry or anything.)  I panicked a little and squished the brake levers. I didn't expect much, but the roller brakes slowed me down just fine. They aren't as forceful as I'd heard, but they actually work. That is a very nice change from the way I had to stop before. No more putting my feet down to stop! No more bloody calves! This is great! I pedaled away with a huge smile and a ton more confidence.
I made it to the sign in less than 20 minutes, which made me very happy! I don't think I'd ever gotten there that fast before. The old gears meant anything over 12-13 mph would have me spinning like a mad person to get more speed. I was actually shocked at how easy it had been to get there.

This is a good place to rest.

It's not just closed, it doesn't exist!
I tootled home really slowly to play with the steering some more, plus there's a nasty hill I have trouble with coming back out of the under pass on the way home. Most of the time I would get off and push her up it, but I was determined not to today. 
I built up as much momentum as I could on the gentle downhill and thanks to the higher gears I kept most of it as I started the uphill. I made it to the top and only had to downshift to 2nd! At the end I was only going about 3 mph, but it was a win for us! 


I love these wheels! Zac 2000!
Right after cresting the hill the sun came out and lit the way back home. I'm taking it as a sign of great rides to come. I'm so grateful my husband got these wheels for me for Christmas!!!
A glorious ride.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I hate waiting!

Patience has never been my virtue and I'm currently waiting on two very important things so it's really driving me nuts.
I've had two interviews for the job I really want and now I have to wait until next week to see if I can move forward in the hiring process or if I failed and wasn't chosen. That's crazy making. At least there was a lot of laughter at the peer review, that's a good thing right?
I want Sylvia to be done and home, I hate the waiting to get her back. I have faith that they can get the hub to fit, but I'm still worried. I'm starting to wonder why I thought this was a good idea.
I decided to alleviate my worry by researching other bikes and that's been fun. If I do have to replace her I will probably save my pennies and go the custom route. I don't want to have to look forever again. I wish Linus made 8 speeds in my size.
I just got off the phone with a very nice man who gave me several tips on how to make her better. His website is DBC City Bike Design  and it would take a while, but I do like that he's worked with short people like me before. His Facebook has lots of great pics of bikes they've built as well as some of the neatest dishes. There's also a really great looking coffee table.
I just really hope I don't have to get a new bike and they don't break her by accident. It's taken me a year to get her this way and the thought of starting over sucks.  Well that's enough moping, I have bedding to hand sew for Rory because I killed the electric sewing machine and my treadle has decided that needles are more fun to break and shoot than sew with.
Have fun!
Rory likes his new ball.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sylvia is in the shop

Sylvia is in the shop getting her new wheels installed. For Christmas my wonderful husband ordered me wheels that have everything. Hub dynamo, roller brakes, and an 8 speed hub. They arrived yesterday and I was super excited.
I've been spinning out in the third gear for a while now and the higher gears will make me faster and more comfortable. The roller brakes will mean I can stop in less than 15 feet so they're important too. But I want more gears. Please?
After the fun day of destruction I'd had I was ready for something good. I had broken 2 needles on my sewing machine, a 1950 Singer 66 treadle. I then broke the new electric Heavy Duty Singer (it now won't stitch and makes a lovely ratcheting sound) we have trying to sew more bedding for Rory. Now I have to hand sew it and I want a better thimble!
Opening the giant box that came all the way from Germany it was Christmas again! The solid feel of the wheels as I took them out, the shine of the new hubs, it was a truly beautiful moment. I flipped Sylvia upside down and gently flattened and removed her back wheel. I was so excited!
One of my favorite days.
When we tried to put the back wheel on it wouldn't fit; it was about 1/2" to wide for her drop outs. I almost cried, I even stomped my feet a bit. This was just the type of day I'd been having. It was tempting to just grab a 2x4 and spread her myself, but cooler heads prevailed and we took her to Ajo Bikes. After all, this was a job for the professionals!
Once there they warned me that it could damage her to be widened so much and maybe I should just  get a new bike. I don't want a new bike, I want to keep messing with poor Sylvia until she's perfect. Besides, after all the changes we've already made she's really close to being the most perfect and practical bike for me. After getting these better wheels installed the only thing left is better tires, and I already know which ones I want.
They were impressed with the wheels we brought in and the fact that we had all the pieces ready to go. I told them to do it they could and they gave me the number of an excellent welder in case something goes wrong. That made me sweat, but we left her there anyway.
I really hope she comes through ok, it's only 7mm on each side so everything I can find says it will be fine as long as the welds are solid and they reinforce them before they start. My husband keeps telling me that they know what they are doing, so I'm trying not to worry. They will call me when she's done, probably on Monday.
Meanwhile I'm essentially vehicle less until I get her back. I didn't drive my car while working at PetSmart and the battery is dead. At least I still have my feet!


Seen while out with my husband. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Rory and a kitchen improvement

So far I've been keeping myself entertained while waiting for call backs from jobs by sewing and crocheting. Rory is also a ton of fun and way more active than I thought he would be. He does have one weakness though. Rory loves to watch TV, he yells at me when I turn it off.
He's very well behaved when there is something flashing on the screen. It makes me feel like a parent almost. Pop it on and get on to other things.
Castle is fascinating.

Feeding him is so much easier than I thought it would be. He gets all the hay he wants, a big bowl of fresh greens and vegis in the morning, and a nice scoop of pellets in the evening. So far he likes everything we've given him, but he really loves carrots. I also scared myself when I gave him a strawberry. It looked like someone had slit his throat. I admit I freaked a bit, but he loved eating it.



Breakfast!
This is his first time with cucumber. I only give him one new thing at a time so I can see what he likes.

Rory likes it!
He loves it! He also loves playing with his frozen blueberries. He rolls them around the cage before he eats them. He's to funny and I don't have the heart to tell him not to play with his food.

Now on to the kitchen improvement. My dear husband got these really great wire panels and installed them in the kitchen. They came with these cool baskets and shelves. I love the blue color of them and they make the kitchen so organized. It will take a bit of adjustment to decide what goes where, but after just one night it already fits in our house wonderfully.
They go to the ceiling!
It's great to not have to dig around to find things anymore. Now I want to get more baskets for them. These will definitely make life smoother! And they are pretty too!

Best cereal ever!

Friday, January 16, 2015

My seasonal job is almost over.

Tomorrow is my last day at PetSmart. It makes me sad to leave there and I will miss the people who I got to work with a lot. I will still be shopping there, but the dynamic won't be the same. I will no longer be one of them.
I learned a lot about retail sales and myself in my nearly two months there and I found Rory. That's a huge up point.  I may apply there next October or November if I haven't found something more permanent sooner. I'm very grateful that the manager let me know in advance that my position was ending. My husband says that's rare because most places fear employee retaliation/theft once you know you're out of a job. I like to think it's because she likes and trusts me. Besides, anything I want there I already have, employee discounts rock!
I'm currently searching for a new place to work and I have a peer review coming next week for a job I would really like. If they like me I'm might get it! I would have never had this chance if I wasn't warned in advance. I really hope to get this job, it would suit me great and I have the mad phone skills needed for it. Wish me luck!
Endings are always the hardest, whether in  writing or in life. It really does make me sad to see this very short chapter end, but now it's on to another chapter and adventure!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Rory loves...

A little update on how Rory is doing.
His big cage.



Teasing the dogs.



His apple toy.



Fresh produce.


Especially parsley!



His playpen.


Talking to Ginger.


And sharing with Stormy.




Princess is pretending he doesn't exist. She hasn't so much as sniffed him since he arrived. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Introducing Rory

Yesterday I was able to bring home Rory. We met when I started at PetSmart and it was love at first sight. He would popcorn and chatter when he saw me (and probably anyone really) and loved to be held and petted. I really wanted to take him home, but he was in isolation and not available.
He has a broken toe that will heal deformed and a condition that makes him unable to live with other guinea pigs and therefore unsalable.
I was surprised that I could adopt him so soon, but I'm very happy about it. We already had most of what he needed and will pick up the rest today. I will be making him fleece quilts for bedding because he can't use the normal paper kind or the wood type.
Apart from his special housing needs and his toe he should grow into a normal and healthy little piggy. Tonight he will be introduced to the Princess and her court. It should go smoothly; she loves anyone smaller than her.
Hay is good!

Hello!