Saturday, February 16, 2019

Leopard Print Thermos Koozie - Love the Fuzz!

For ten years I've been a huge fan of leopard print fabric. I came across a large piece sewn and backed to black fleece - enough to nearly wrap into a skirt - at Goodwill. I had visions of creating an insulated, stylish winter skirt or leg warmers, but fortunately I didn't have enough material or know-how to create either, nor did I think in the long run I would necessarily use them for a long period, so I gave up on both ideas.

I've decided to use the fabric for small, more practical projects like a koozie for my Stanley thermos. As with most Stanley products, they're well made and their thermos is no exception. When used the exterior metal is very cold to the touch, even with gloves. It seemed ironic that on winter days I grasped a cold thermos to sip hot liquid!

The construction was simple. With both fabrics (leopard print is more like velour with a nap than fleece) I wrapped around the cylindrical shape with enough overlap for a strip of black Velcro, sewed the edge, then the fastener. I hand-stitched the circular bottom two pieces to keep them from shifting, then machine stitched the circle to the cylinder.

The finished koozie is snug, stylish, washable, and - most importantly - keeps my hands warm!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Frankenbike - An Antiquated or Appropriate Term?

My initial understanding of a FrankenBike: an oddly, unique bicycle. Image found on Twitter. 

The term FrankenBike has always bothered me, but as I've discovered, it's more the name itself than the actual process: as defined by the Urban Dictionary "a bike built up from various components scrounged from different sources (friends, swap meetscraigslist, etc.)."

My first impression was a bike that was instantly recognized (pictured above), unique in frame style certainly, but functional. Possibly a bike to be used at special events, for short distances.

A typical commuter Frankenbike. Photo credit: The making of a Frankenbike.

But then I started seeing various bicycles called Frankenbikes, and many styles that resembled typical  commuter bikes.

I became confused. Was a Frankenbike a broad term for any bike cobbled together from various parts?

Digging deeper, I discovered Frankenbike's origins derive from FrankenBike swap meets in Austin Texas. This is a German settled area, so thus the reference to Frankenstein (in it's logo) and my image of a miscreated or abnormal bicycle. And interestingly enough, as I understand it, only bike related parts are sold, which means the term FrankenBike has taken on a life of it's own as a loose term for actual functioning bikes created from a swap meet collection (or Craigslist, or a local used parts dealer, etc.)

Apparently the term is fairly liberal.

I wouldn't classify the good work that Beth does, rescuing frames and making serviceable bikes for new Americans, or the cool Randy creations as Frankenbikes, because in reality, I think the term has strayed from it's origins. But then again, beauty, functionality, and exacting descriptions in this day and age of  plentiful, diverse new and used components remain in the eye of the beholder. 

What I do know is I'd love to attend a FrankenBike swap meet!

What do you think about Frankenbikes? Does the terminology bother you?

Monday, February 4, 2019

Ideas for 2019 and Beyond?

Inspired by last year's New York City adventure, I had a general idea to visit family in southern Connecticut, then board a ferry with the Dahon to explore Greenport and Montauk regions on the tip of Long Island. As I age, coastal communities - and of course sandy beaches - are appealing to me.

I'm also interested in attending the Philly Bike Expo and riding Philadelphia area trails. (Thank you MG for the ideas!) It would be my first attendance at a bike-related trade show plus an inaugural visit to Philadelphia, easily reached via Amtrak. I'm hoping a son or two might enjoy a long train excursion and weekend with mom.

But then my husband suggested a European hiking adventure, the Tour de Mont Blanc, which is too good to pass up! I picture rebonding with my husband on this famed, picturesque journey, a region we passed through during our 1990s around the world trip, then revisited 5 years later for day hikes near Chamonix. Though the  100+ mile circuit would eat up my meager two weeks vacation, now that our children are self sufficient, and if the logistics work out, that's where I'm headed this summer.

The Long Island foray make take a backseat, but I'm still considering the Philly Bike Expo vacation. And if not, either outing can be revisited another time. Plus, always at the back of my mind is to attend bike school in Colorado - some day! 

On the home front, I have visions of overnights 10-20 miles from home, plus an annual weekend visiting Canadian trails and back roads.

Bike wise, my primary focus this year is on the Dahon. I appreciate it's versatility and it's obvious benefits while traveling by train. Plus, with the right baggage setup the folder can do double-duty as a commuter.

Tasks/ideas/thoughts on the Dahon's makeover:
  • Install new tires (that I bought last spring!)
  • Sew/reuse material to create bags for the folder. I have ideas and I recently stripped, cleaned, and cut up an old backpack for this project.
  • Explore how to easily lower the Dahon's gearing (new front chain ring?), while keeping the 1x set up.

Who knows how 2019 will turn out? At least I have some goals to work towards...