Most likely you're visiting to check out Finer Recliner CURVE neck rests, side mount handlebar bag kits, embroidery, tail lights and other recumbent accessories.

I make neck rests mainly but not exclusively for recumbent trikes. Each is 2" thick memory foam fill on a gently curved PVC base. The covers are breathable and water-resistant. Embroidery options are nearly limitless and allow you to truly personalize this part of your trike.

If you're interested in more information about Finer Recliner accessories, pictures, prices and how to order, you can reach me at stevesussman@earthlink.net.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Here's a picture of the full kit.  It's a CURVE neck rest, "L" tower (6061 thin wall aluminum), mtb stem and shim.

It will fit all older model Catrikes that came with the tube tower, and all newer models like the Trail, Pocket and Villager you may have ordered without the neck rest.  I'm pretty sure it will fit a Dash as well.

We're also trying the kit on a Trice Q...the challenge is making a shim for 1" to 7/8", the diameter of the seat back cross brace.  I'll keep you posted about this one.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Here's what really made me smile yesterday.  My granddaughter Maya, the perfect ad for  pretzels on a chilly Autumn day in Germany.  Is it possible to love someone too much?  Maya's one of a bunch of people I feel this way about...oh, and of course four footers as well - Travis and Gomez for sure.

About neck rests.  I've had a bunch of inquiries about how to order a neck rest, and since it's simple I should have probably explained it here.

Ordering is easy and there’s no need to pre-pay.  If the neck rest is for a Catrike and you'd like one without embroidery here's all I need to know:

Is the neck rest to replace the stock rest on a newer model Catrike with these towers?  
If so, then all I need is your mailing address.  Once the neck rest is done I'll mail it to you.  If you're satisfied then send me a check for the enclosed invoice amount.   My address is on the invoice.
    If you'd like something embroidered on the neck rest then tell me what you'd like.  A name, screen name, nickname or short statement will add about $5 to the cost.  If you tell me the color of your frame then I'll match the thread.  If it's an image you want, give me an idea and I can send you some choices, or if you have original art I can have that embroidered as well.  Cost varies for each depending upon thread count and whether we have to digitize your original art.

    If the neck rest is for an older model Catrike with one of these mounts I'll need to know so I can send you one with the proper brackets. 

    If your Catrike has no neck rest right now (many Villagers, Trails and Pockets can be purchased without neck rests) you'll need the complete kit of neck rest, "L" tower and mtb stem.  Let me know this when you order.

       And if the neck rest you want is for another manufacturer's trike let me know which brand.  Some require the full kit plus just another shim.

    For all these other neck rests, I'll need the same information I described above it you'd like them embroidered.

    And by the way, feel free to email or call with questions and any special requests.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    I posted this last night on BROL in response to a question...so I figured I re-post it here since I get a lot of questions about neck rest models and available options. 

    "...here's the deal with the two shapes. The first neck rests I made were ROLL models. I used 2" thick open pore foam as fill. They were nice and people liked them...I really liked mine. Unfortunately the adhesive I was using caused the most amazing hallucinations and was probably what finally caused me to tattoo the note, "If I seem lost, please return me to..." on my hand.

    I started making the CURVEs after I made a special order half-round neck rest for someone who needed to stabilize his neck side to side. The open pore foam fill didn't work well with the CURVEs so I began experimenting with latex...and began testing new less personally toxic adhesives. The latex was great, and I really preferred the CURVE design because I like how it cradles my neck. However I soon discovered the manufacturer couldn't control the latex density and so some batches I got were so soft they were unusable.

    So I bit the bullet and started using memory foam, which is 3X as expensive as the other fills. Then I graduated from hand-made brackets to having them fabricated by a great shop in Portland and then powdercoated in Tacoma. And I finally discovered what seems to be the perfect adhesive.

    Just about all my orders in the past 9 months have been for CURVEs, and the feedback has been terrific. I think that with the CURVE I've finally found the perfect combination of shape, fill type and adhesive.

    As a result I've stopped making the ROLL model. And there's another reason. Memory foam seems happy folded into the CURVE but not happy wrapped around the ROLL base. It wants to return to its original flat shape. And because the adhesive works so well it becomes a tug of war between the two with the end result being that over time the memory foam seems to tear. While there are solutions they greatly increase the cost of making the ROLL. And since the CURVE works so well I just don't think it's worth the expense.

    I've tried them both and I really love the CURVE.

    By the way, I just sent off the first kit for a Trice Q and am anxiously waiting for feedback. And I have full kits available for Pockets, Trails and Villagers."

    I'm really excited to see how the Trice kit works.  It's essentially the same as the Catrike kit with one added shim to adapt the mtb stem to the smaller diameter horizontal seat tube.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Good news. The first batch of neck rests with the new machined and powdercoated brackets are in the mail to customers.  As soon as the embroidered covers to come back from Zubin those neck rests will be on their way as well.

    Also...I HAVE INVENTORY!  So anyone wanting a CURVE without embroidery can get pretty quick delivery.  

    And what I'm especially delighted about is that this past weekend I finally delivered and installed Matt and Heather's wedding present...only 22 months after their wedding.  

    Matt is Penni's son, and she's been an absolute saint about how long it took to make this gate.  We've just said it's an early anniversary present.

    By the way, check out the paw and the orange and blue ball at the bottom of the gate.  That's Mona's way of saying, "Just in case you were thinking about throwing my ball" (for the billionth time.)

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    I think this is the best way to let everyone know what happened and what’s happening…the tough news and, hopefully, the really good.

    First of all, I sincerely apologize.  It has been really embarrassing and painful the past few months having apologies and excuses be the bulk of my conversations with folks who either had, or wanted to, order neck rests.  It’s especially bad because I consider many of you not just customers, but friends.

    Briefly, the tough news.  TOT was great.  But within days after Penni, Travis and I got home, just about everything “Finer Recliner” – neck rests and gear, ran off the rails…a real soap opera.  Our sew-er moved to California and abruptly decided to stop making our neck rest covers.  Next our embroiderer cancelled without notice.  Then we had a death in our family, and, finally, a crisis with our kids in Europe brought everything else to a screeching halt.  I filled what outstanding neck rest orders I could with remaining supplies while trying to decide what to do next.

    Obviously the only reason to buy a great neck rest is to HAVE IT…and in a reasonable amount of time.  Until the train wreck we’d been improving our products and speeding production.  I sure learned that a little business like ours isn’t as resilient to a huge hit as a large company.

    So...here’s the good news.   

      NECK RESTS.  We are back in production, and think our new rests are better than ever - still with that great memory foam, but now with new mounting hardware.  They will fit existing Catrike towers, and we have Cateye brackets for horizontal tube mounting applications.

      BRACKETS.  Our first batch of two dozen CURVE brackets have been fabricated in Portland (a great referral from Pat Franz.  Thanks, Pat.)  Our brackets are now powdercoated, not painted, making them way more durable.  We have them in stock now.

      COMPLETE NECK REST KITS.  For people whose trikes have no neck rests and therefore want full kits ( "L" towers, mtb stems and CURVE neck rests), we now have in stock nice short-throw mtb stems and shims, and 6061 “L” towers.  And with short notice we can size the tower arms to fit different applications, like if you want an extra inch to mount a tail light.

      COVERS.  We have resolved the cover-making challenge.  (Thanks, Zubin.)  We are building an inventory of unembroidered covers.  This will speed order-filling for people who don’t want embroidery.  We will have inventory in a week.

      EMBROIDERY.  We are trying out a new embroiderer.  As before we will custom embroider names and/or images.  We can also work from your original art.  Covers must be embroidered before sewing, so filling custom orders will add approximately two weeks to delivery.  We’re hoping turnaround will be quicker than that, but it’s our starting point. 

    We have back-orders we’re working to get delivered quickly.  I hope the systems we have in place now will only make our products better and our service faster.

    And hopefully for the last time, I apologize to everyone who has had to wait.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    The Good News.  For anyone wanting a full neck rest kit - I've got plenty of short throw stems, a couple of 1" "L" tubes and the shims (1 1/8" to 1") are on their way from the distributor.   Also, the first shipment of laser cut neck rest brackets have arrived and they look...well, alike.  And believe me that's great news.  I'm sure gonna miss the cutting, drilling and grinding.  

    And here are some of the latest neck rests.  Thanks, Cara.

    The not-great news.  Because of a death in our family I've got to leave, and so won't be able to make or ship neck rests, separately or in the full kits, before most likely the third week in September.

    The mixed news.  
    • The good - by the end of September, and perhaps sooner, we should have a small inventory of CURVE neck rests, the ones purchased by almost all of our recent customers.  So anyone wanting a plain one should be able to get pretty quick delivery.   
    • The not-good - until we iron out some problems we're not going to be doing embroidery.  Hopefully this won't be for long.  I never would have imagined so much drama was possible in such a small business.  Foolish me.  People have been really happy with our neck rests and I won't do anything to compromise what we offer.  So we're gonna take a couple of weeks to iron out our remaining speed bumps.
    And just in case mine isn't the only life with speed bumps at the moment, here's a little something to think about. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sA_0cvd1EUM

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Organization development consulting is the way I earn enough to pay my mortgage and indulge the 'Finer recliner' experiment.  If you're at all curious, my website, www.stevesussman-otc.com has loads of information about my practice.  

    I've been thinking a lot about what I tell my clients regarding change, and what I wrote here in an earlier post...

    "Change doesn't happen because you simply find a better way.  Change happens when the present way  becomes intolerable."

    Even though I've made some serious changes since we started, till recently I've had a pretty high threshold for what's tolerable.   

    Oh there have been some major changes - no more hallucinogenic glue, introducing the CURVE (which has become about 95% of all orders,) using memory foam fill exclusively, making full kits (stem, "L" tube towers and neck rest) for Catrikes with no neck rest hardware, offering some custom kits for Sun trikes,  modifying the mounting brackets to make them simpler and smaller, and offering all sorts of embroidery option.  

    But it's clear that the critical next changes would be big ones, not just simple refinements:
    • Being able to cut way down on the time it takes to fill orders.  This demands major manufacturing changes, not just me working faster.
    • Offer simple hardware that'd allow the neck rests to fit a wider range of recumbent trikes and 2-wheelers.  This would mean having access to parts as a manufacturer or wholesaler rather than continuing to buy them over the counter at my local bike shop.  Note:  I do want to give my local shop a plug however.  Jeff, the owner of Vashon Island Bikes, routinely sells parts and accessories at or below on-line prices.  If you want a wonderful day of rural riding...with hills, a delightful ferry ride with terrific views, great places to eat afterwards, some neat B&B's if you decide to make a weekend of it, make sure to visit Jeff's shop in the village for maps, bike rentals, advice and great deals.
    Well following the latest snafu's in filling orders quickly I'd finally had enough.  So here's the news:
    • All the CURVE brackets are now being laser cut by a custom fabrication shop.  The first 24 have been ordered and should be here shortly.  This will save me an enormous amount of time.  I'll continue to make the bases, and cut and glue the fill.  But with the new brackets I should be able to fill orders in days rather than weeks.  Sadly (I'm sure) the brackets will no longer look like they were nibbled by elves.
    • I now have a manufacturer's account with a bike parts and accessories distributor, so now I'm able to purchase short-throw mtb stems and shims for the full kits.  I have a dozen stems on the way.  This means I can offer quality stems at a very good price without having to scrounge around to buy a stem or two at a time...retail.  UPS just arrived!  Stems are here, shims on the way.
    •  We'll be pre-making batches of CURVE covers.  This means if you want one unadorned that will speed delivery as well.  We're still doing custom embroidery but it'll take a bit longer.  I don't want to discourage the personalizing with embroidery...we've been making some really nice covers for folks lately.
    And there's more in the works, but I'm hoping this will be a great next step.  We may eventually transition from pvc and abs bases to all-metal, but for now we'll see how these changes go.

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    What I know about change is that people rarely stop what they’re doing merely because they discover a better way to do something.  They change only when the way they’re doing something at present becomes intolerable.  And “they” in this case is me. 

    For the most part making the neck rests has been a wonderful experience.  I’ve met terrific people and made some new friends as I talked with, and shipped neck rests to, people round the world.  Feedback from customers that has felt incredibly good.  I’ve had amazing hallucinations with that first can of contact adhesive I used – I traveled to other planets and realities, most likely at the cost of more than a few brain cells.  I've enjoyed helping turn customers' ideas into finished embroidery. I’ve learned a ton about manufacturing and ten times that about collaboration as Zubin, Cara and I slowly figured out how to make this work while at the same time nurturing what really matters…our friendship.

    And then there’s the part that hasn’t been so great:
    • I’m embarrassed by continually apologizing for long wait times.  Trying to maintain a consulting practice during the day means long nights in the shop.  There just aren’t enough hours in each day. 
    • That first can of adhesive.
    • Making and fitting the steel brackets by hand takes hours, and the process is imprecise…especially in the winter when I’m working in an unheated shop.
    • I discovered belatedly that the foam supplier couldn’t control the density of one of the fill materials I was using so I ended up paying for a batch that would have made better clouds than neck rests.
    • Its been next to impossible to get mtb stems at a reasonable price for the full kits.  And having to buy them retail has made this even worse.
    • And then on top of everything else Zubin decided to move back to San Francisco, so now we’re mailing stuff back and forth, which has slowed things even more.
    When I couldn’t find the energy to write in this blog for over a month I decided the situation, finally, was intolerable.  It was either fill the current orders and then close up shop, or start doing things very differently.  Since there's plenty more I can learn and more I'd like to try, I'm choosing Option B.

    So, here's what "intolerable" has inspired.  I've sent drawings to Puget Sound fabricators for estimates on manufacturing the brackets for the CURVE and ROLL.  

    A leading bicycle parts and accessories distributor has approved my opening an account, so now I have reliable wholesale access to the stems needed for the full kits.

    Neck rests and kits are waiting for covers.  Customer designs will be embroidered in the next couple of days, sent off to San Francisco to be sewn, put on the neck rests and shipped...finally.

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    I knew this would happen sooner or later.  Well, the time's come.

    Choosing fill material for the neck rests has been a journey beginning with open pore foam which some folks love and others think is too firm, then anti-microbial latex which is cushy but has inconsistent density...so inconsistent that my supplier will no longer cut it, to what I'm hoping will be the best fill by far - Sun-mate medical memory foam. That's the exciting news.

    The not-so-exciting news is that there were really no good options between the latex and Sun-mate, and the Sun-mate is three times as expensive.  Couple this with the fact that my margins were so thin to begin with, if I simply absorb the added cost then there's no sense in continuing to make these.  I've tried keeping the price of the neck rests as low as possible and that's still my intention.

    So, I hope you'll understand my raising the price on both the ROLL and CURVE models.  In the coming weeks I'm hoping to make a decision about having all the parts fabricated in a production shop.  If I can do it at a reasonable cost it will help me overcome my greatest challenge - providing high quality neck rests in a reasonable time.  I don't yet know what the impact would be on the price, but that'll be a major decider in whether I go ahead.

    Thanks to all of you who've purchased my neck rests.  Since I'm really excited about this new fill material I'm hoping those of you who are considering a new neck rest will be enticed to try a CURVE or ROLL, even if it costs a small bit more.  Thanks.

    Sunday, June 6, 2010

    I realize I can't push against the natural forces of the universe...but in this case that bit of information doesn't really help.

    Neck rest orders continue to back up.  The PVC I ordered came in...the wrong stuff.  And when they told me they re-ordered what I'd asked for it turns out their computer didn't place the order because it checked inventory, found the wrong stuff, thought it was the right stuff...and so it didn't order.  And its been 4 days since I was told my new foam cutter would be here in 2...still not here.

    But...covers have been sewed and embroidered, and brackets cut, finished and painted.  And the great new medical quality foam is sitting here ready to be cut.  Now I just need base material and a foam cutter and I'm back in business.

    I did get one neck rest mailed out yesterday and one special order for Jim Artis, soon to depart on his "Ride for the Republic" adventure on his newly designed and built quad, Fargo.  It's quite the amazing hpv - hopefully some pictures will follow as soon as his set-up is complete and he's ready to begin his journey.  I'm hoping our neck rest will comfort at least one small part of him as he rides.

    Travis and I took advantage of yesterday's spectacular weather to do our post office and errand run in style.  He ran alongside and helped going up hill into the village, then grabbed a ride in the trailer all the way home, sitting with his head out the sun roof taking in the sights, ears flapping in the breeze and encouraging me to pedal faster.

    Since I couldn't make neck rest bases I spent the afternoon hanging about 35' of gutter from the roof of the old stables, and then ran the downspout into a rain barrel I've made from a surplus 50 gallon plastic syrup drum.  I've wanted to catch water for a long time so we can use it to water our vegetable garden.  The barrel's about 30" off the ground and I've installed a spigot near the bottom that's connected to a hose.  The beautiful weather held until last night, then the rain started.  It rained and drizzled all night.  And today when Penni went out to pick some greens for breakfast, she returned saying the rain barrel was full!  I thought for sure she was wrong, but she wasn't.  In just a few short hours off a relatively short run of roof we collected more than 50 gallons of water.  Amazing.

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    More life on a sine wave.  Zubin broke the news yesterday that she's leaving the island at the end of the month and moving back to San Francisco to be closer to her family.  That means 1/3 of this cottage industry is leaving...the third that makes the neck rest covers.  She has been a great friend, and while I absolutely wish her well, in addition to the beautiful covers she makes I'm sure gonna miss the long conversations at her front door about Buddhism and Sufis, the meaning of life, the gifts of kids and stupidity of adults, and a myriad of other things having nothing to do with sewing.  She's irreplaceable.  And I'm thinking I'd better learn to sew.

    Today I picked up my first 3' X 7' slab of 2" memory foam.  It's such a totally different feel from the latex...I think users are gonna love it.  That it costs 3X as much is definitely going to have an effect, but I'm committed to filling the current orders at the current price even using the new foam.  

    And there's another change in the shop.  Trying to muscle a sagging, twisting, squishy slab so large I can barely hold it through my band saw has been an adventure...at times a risky one.  I can't cut a straight line, the saw sucks the foam down into its innards, the blade binds and then snaps, the damn foam simply can't be cut because it's too big to fit between the blade and the neck of the bandsaw...it just goes on.  So...today I bit the bullet and bought this.  I'm hoping it's gonna change my life...or at least save me a ton on eliminating a lot of waste when I cut.  I sure hope this works because who's kidding who.  I have absolutely no nostalgic feelings recalling that horrible sucking sound the bandsaw makes when it shags a piece of foam and quickly sucks it down into the lower wheel, binding the blade.  And then there's that "Twoing!!!" when the blade snaps.  I think I'm gonna love this cutter.

    The pvc should be at the supplier's tomorrow so I can pick that up on the way home and start cutting CURVEs.  I truly appreciate the gift of having consulting work right now, but at the same time it tests customers' patience as they wait for products.  Next step, a fabricator.

    Monday, May 31, 2010

    I'm at nearly full "stuck" for filling neck rest orders. 

    The PVC I use for the CURVE neck rests has been back-ordered, and the latex fill is no longer available except in mattress-sizes the wholesaler will no longer cut.  In a way the latex really isn't a loss since the manufacturer couldn't control its density and the variations were definitely noticeable. 

    So last week I picked out some really nice medical grade memory foam that'll definitely be a great upgrade.  The down side is it's three times as expensive as the latex.  They didn't have samples of a large enough size to be able to choose the right density so I came home for the long weekend without fill material...another delay.  

    I'm going back to Tacoma mid-week to check out the different foam densities, choose one and get some foam cut, and then to pick up the PVC material.

    Clearly this is venting and a not-so-subtle hope for customer patience while I sort this out.  All materials should be in my shop by mid-week and I'll be back in production.  Then it's off to visit fabricators to see about automating production of the brackets and bases. THAT will change my life.

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    It's definitely springtime.  The garden, re-making the pond with new plumbing and bentonite, laying down a patio, rewiring and remodeling the laundry room, re-wiring my shop, finishing fabricating two steel gates, building some stone walls and a myriad of other projects all compete for my time.  Plus for the moment I blessedly have an abundant amount of consulting work taking the bulk of my day time.  And then there's trying to squeeze in a weekend trike ride with Pen and filling Finer recliner orders.  There just isn't enough time in the day.

    Then in every spare nanosecond Travis is always up to a game of fetch (he's even willing to play in the dark.)  He's always got a ball in his mouth, and no matter what I'm doing he'll push the ball under my feet with his nose and then sit patiently staring at the ball...for hours...until I pick it up and toss it.

    So I'm having a tough time making shop time for the neck rests, and I'm finding myself out there in the middle of the night.  Getting bids from fabricators is momentarily stalled...I just need the time to meet with them, and I just found out the latex I've been using for fill is no longer available.  I complained about the lack of consistency in the latex density from batch to batch, and it turns out I wasn't the only one.  Plus the supplier said cutting it was a nightmare.  So I've got to work with them to find a suitable replacement which will probably be a medical grade closed cell and unfortunately more expensive.

    Even though all this juggling is making me nuts it's clear that all the competing projects and the fabricating challenges are a learning opportunity.  Learning more about manufacturing is really exciting.

    The good news is that neck rests continue to leave the shop.  Here are a couple of the latest...a ROLL and a CURVE for Jim Artis and his new quad, and a very cool tiger CURVE for Tony Geraci.  
    And people continue to say nice things about their neck rests.  " I wanted to let you know I got your neck rest and just love it.  I have ridden with it today on a 50 mile ride and absolutely love it."  "Neck-rest received, installed and test-ridden today on a 26 mile ride. Your design is like night and day compared with Catrike's stock component - well done."  Now if I can just do them faster.

    Thursday, April 29, 2010

    It must have been new moon-itis.  The truck clutch went out, the mower lost its blade, the tractor threw a belt, my not-well-backed up hard drive crashed, the dryer melted a part, the water district informed me there was a leak somewhere on our land, Gomez (our cat) got chewed by some animal or other, and then the band saw blade snapped trimming neck rest foam...it was the glue.  All of this in about 3 days.

    Good news?  There's plenty.  Penni and I have been out riding the past few weekends, and Travis has really taken to his new trailer.  

    Last Sunday we rode about 35 miles.  Travis will run 4 or 5 miles hard, then he seems fine with climbing in for a rest, sitting with his head out the sun roof watching and sniffing as things go by.  He's also a good watch dog, willingly keeping an eye on the trikes during a coffee stop.  

    The days of just quickly taking off for a ride seem to be over.  Now it's load up both trikes, Travis in the back and his trailer folded in the back seat, snacks for all, leash, toys and treats...and Ms. Penni in the front of course.  We're kinda like a traveling carnival.  And the car's really cozy.

    More folks are ordering Finer recliner and TOT2010 gear, and maybe because  it's Spring we're seeing people choose some especially beautiful colors.

    Really nice riding jerseys for women

    And more neat news.  The complete neck rest kit for Catrikes is now finished and the first one is about to be shipped.  This one is made with a CURVE neck rest, but it's also available with the ROLL.  Both can be embroidered, and the kit comes with the neck rest, tower, stem and shim.  The tower is 6061 aluminum thin wall tube so it's light and strong.  The kit is $80.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    There's been a lot of activity in the neck rest factory.   Of course with my good fortune the orders arrived at about the same time as some beautifully sunny weather.
    A bunch of new neck rests were made, embroidered, covered and shipped.  They including some new fonts and a neat piece of art for Dr Duk.  What's so neat is that the embroidered duck matches Terry's tattoo perfectly.

    We even embroidered the duck on a Dr Duk tee shirt so it looks like we may be starting a whole line of Dr Duk apparel.  I can just see it - leggings, sandals, hats with bills...maybe even the DA hairstyle will return.

    Just before mailing out the neck rests I realized I had both mounting options and three of the four possible models right in front of me.  The fourth model is pictured below without its cover.  

    I can make both the ROLL and the CURVE with round brackets, so either can fit on a horizontal tube.  And with brackets fitting bars from 1/2" to 1 1/4" diameter tubing there really are loads of options for mounting the neck rests.

    The next step is an entire kit - neck rest, stem, L tube and shim.  I just picked up 1" 6061 aluminum tube for the mounting tube so I've got everything ready to go.  Next...fillet and weld the aluminum tube and the kits are ready to go.

    Until now I've done just about everything by hand.  What's especially exciting is that next week I'm talking with some local fabricators about making all the base and mounting hardware in aluminum...boy will this make my life simpler.  

    So what are the customers saying? 
      "Steve,  Neck-rest received, installed and test-ridden today on a 26 mile ride. Your design is like night and day compared with Catrike's stock component - well done. The check is in the mail."  Yoyospin.  

    "Received my new custom tee shirt and curved neckrest with the above mentioned covers today. They are truly a work of art. Can not wait to attach the new neckrest on my Speed. Thanks again Steve and my best to Cara."  Dr Duk.

    Friday, March 19, 2010

    Gosh...it's hard to believe I haven't made an entry in 6 weeks.  But then lots has happened.

    We had an arrival who's caused us to pretty much re-order everything in our lives.  Travis was described on Petfinder.com as "Urgent!"   Turns out he was in a high-kill animal shelter in eastern Washington.  Now he's home safe with us.  He's about 16 months old, half German Shepherd, half Australian Cattle Dog, the most incredibly loving dog, eager to please, always ready to play, constantly in search of something or someone to herd or a ball to fetch, and totally unwilling to believe that Gomez, our large black Maine Coon cat, might think of anything better to do than play with him.  Unfortunately what's tops on Travis' list is bottom on Gomez'.

    Of course we can't leave Travis home on the days we're out riding, so now we this residing in our kitchen...without its wheels and tow bar.  We're hoping he'll just take to it like one more part of his domain, will be comfortable climbing in and out, and so putting the wheels on and towing it won't be any big deal for him.  So far so good.  We've fed him in it a couple of times and he's happy in it searching for the treats we've hidden inside.  Maybe this weekend I'll put the wheels on it, and in a couple of days then it'll go outside and I'll hook it to the trike.  I've got a funny feeling he'll ride in it just fine, but only after he's run along with the trikes until he's totally exhausted.

    And then there's Penni's birthday present.  What do you do when work's slow-to-non-existent and money's tight?  Well I briefly subscribed to the theory that if I gave a chunk away of the little I have then I'd simply make room for more.  So when this brand new Greenspeed GT3 II showed up on BROL at a great price...and only about 20 miles away, I grabbed it.  It folds, has the perfect seat angle for her, has neat little 16" wheels, and best of all according to Penni, it's purple.  So most likely she'll get to tow the BOB and I get to tow you-know-who.

    The really sad news is that shortly after Travis arrived, Penni put Frankie down.  He was our 20 old orange tabby retired barn cat.  The past year he'd settled into a life of mostly sleeping days away.  But finally he was in so much pain it became really awful just watching him trying to get around.  Neither Pen nor I can feel his presence so we figure his spirit has gone back to his cozy spot in that barn south of here where he spent so much of his life.

    Then there's been a brief thaw in the governor's freeze on state personal service contracts.  So all of a sudden I got five really interesting consulting contracts...real work after I was thinking I was retired.  It feels great to be wanted and even better to be earning a living, but of course everyone has wanted everything done right away.  Its gone from famine to feast.  And that's meant that I've had to let The finer recliner gear, TOT gear and the neck rests just sit in idle for a bit.   With Zubin laid up after knee surgery and Cara from embroidery central command traveling for a while, my work distractions weren't the only things putting sand into our production gears.

    So...some good news.  Zubin has done a great job with the covers for the new CURVE model neck rests and  they're starting to sell.  Same cover material, latex fill, but with a velco closure instead of the poly cord  on the ROLL model.  It makes for a nice tailored finish.   So I'll be using it on Msafiri for a while, but first impressions are that I like it a lot.  Is it better than the ROLL model?  In the end I honestly think it's a matter of personal preference.  The ROLL easily conforms to the shape of our necks.  And the choice of open pore foam or latex fill should satisfy anyone.  The CURVE, filled with latex, also conforms nicely, and it offers some side to side support as well.  In truth I really like them both.
    Isn't it nice to have a choice?

    Something else exciting is this neck rest, shown without the cover.  It'll fit on a horizontal tube like the older Catrike model.  I have different diameter brackets to accommodate different size horizontal tubes.

    Here's an inexpensive neck rest assembly for any Catrikes without the towers or any other trike with a horizontal seat top tube.

    Can I make any one of these for you?