Perfection is elusive…or maybe “illusive” is a better word. Everything, even good news, seems to come with qualifiers,.
A couple of days ago I got an email from a customer who’d been waiting patiently for his order and was just checking to see if I’d died. This has been a year where just about everything that could have happened to disrupt production and slow delivery did happen. Its been a bit of a nightmare. But then just in that moment when I was thinking this really isn’t fun anymore and I’m worn out from apologizing and trying to control the uncontrollable, I got a note that said, “Thanks for the quick service.” And then I got another, “Your package arrived today! It works great! Your check is already in the mail. I hope you get it as quickly as your package came to me. Thank you.” Perhaps there’s hope after all.
The TerraTrike project has been another example of both elusive and illusive perfection. It took a while, but about a month ago I finished the first batch of powdercoated TT adapter brackets. At last I could offer a CURVE kit that fits TerraTrikes…or so I thought. Here’s the kit (without neck rest cover), along with the new adapter bracket, mounted on a Rover. It fits really well and leaves plenty of room for adjusting the recline angle of the seat back. So what was elusive?
Well Dave McDonnell lives not far from Seattle and wanted a CURVE kit for his TerraTrike Tour. He was down here during the Thanksgiving week so we met for coffee in Seattle, had a great visit along with Penni and Dave’s partner Jim (honest, that’s her name) and I gave him the first kit to try out.
A couple of days later Dave sent me some pictures of the kit installed on his trike...he said he was really happy with it, but looking at the pictures it was clear that on his Tour the bracket design definitely limited the amount of seat back recline. So I went to the TerraTrike website and checked the dimensions of the different models. My “duh” moment was when I realized how different the Rover dimensions are from the other models including the new Rambler. Unfortunately the only model easily available to me for testing had been the Rover at Angle Lake Cycles.
Embarrassed, I immediately made a new bracket by moving the cross tube from the bracket back to the top, and sent it off to Dave to try. From Dave’s comments and the new pictures he sent it looks like it works just fine…no more limiting the amount of seat back recline. So I’ve just finished fabricating 15 of the newly re-designed brackets that are also a bit smaller than the second one I made for Dave. The cross tubes are at John’s being welded now and then are off to be powder coated. Then hopefully finally the elusive TerraTrike CURVE kits will be available…with the first one going to Dave and the second to Renie for her new Rambler.
Renie’s will be a special joy to deliver since her CURVE cover has been sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks and it’ll be great to finally send it home. So anyone with a TerraTrike interested in a CURVE kit, this is a good time to get your orders in for delivery in about 3 weeks.
And so the year draws to a close at the Finer Recliner micro-industrial complex.
Its been quite a ride – I’ve met loads of wonderful folks and delivered CURVE’s, CURVE kits and side mount kits to new friends around the US and Canada and as far away as Uruguay and the Netherlands. The learning curve remained steep, but wonderful and unexpected gifts arrived often at exactly the right moment…generally when I was just beyond the end of my wits.
A very special thank you to the folks who each make this small business run – my friend John on lives on this island and does all the TIG welding; Zubin, a former islander now in San Francisco who sews the great covers; Deana who’s in Bellingham, a hardcore recumbent enthusiast and is doing the beautiful embroidery; John and Micah who own Tacoma Iron Work and do our powder coating; Jason, in China, who digitizes our original art; and all the wonderful folks at our suppliers who keep us in ‘stuff.’
A couple of weeks ago I got a note from someone saying he was glad I was making these parts because he preferred to use his spare time riding. Well two days ago I turned 70…and it’s a bit of a stunner to associate that number with MY age. What he said got me thinking. I’m dreaming of trying out that new DualDrive with a long bike trip next summer. I want more time with my kids and grandkids…and most definitely with Penni. I’m itching to return to building my own recumbents and building gates. And there are loads of maintenance chores calling at our place. Its lucky the Finer Recliner has been both fun and a great manufacturing learning lab because the way it works now is a lousy model for earning any money. And it takes a lot of my time. With so much else calling there’s a lot to think about this year and I’m excited to see how 2012 unfolds.
Penni gave me an iPad for my birthday. I think it will be truly spectacular once I learn how to make it work...hell, once I can turn it on. And then there’s my cell phone and monster iMac – I can’t even scratch the surface of their potential which is magnitudes greater than my ability to even imagine. It took me a week after I got the cell to just figure out how to answer a call! Well it’s my wish for 2012 that the human brain does NOT surpass my cell phone, computer and iPad as my least used mega-creation and gift.
I don’t believe in waiting for judgment by a higher power because it doesn't take a genius to see how we are doing. Just look around…and take a good look inside. So I’m hoping that 2012 is a year for awakening - turning away from ideologues, religious and political self-righteous hypocritical extremism, group-think and sound-byte opinion-forming, us-versus-them justifying, selfishness and greed. We don't need everyone to take their heads from where they currently seem to be stored and bring them out into the light - we just need each other...and a critical mass. With some attention and some work we can begin to really use our brains, and 2012 can be a year for mindfulness, compassion, curiosity and informed choices.
Best wishes from Penni, Travis, Gomez and me.
Best wishes from Penni, Travis, Gomez and me.