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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In the Northwest Fall is a verb.  It happens quickly...first that faint smell in the late afternoons, then a slight briskness in the evening air.  There are more alder leaves in the pasture now then there are on the trees.  The days are still sunny and warm but the nights are frosty.  The air smells like apples and the soft sounds of trodding on grass have been replaced by the crunching of brown leaves when Travis and I play ball in the pasture.  Penni's garden has been a bounty of corn, kale, peas, lemon cukes, squash, potatoes and now truckloads of tomatoes.

Even though Fall arrived quickly its really been a nice long and beautiful summer.  TOT was one highlight...aside from the great company, wonderful riding, and a rare day-long nap during the downpour, I thought the jerseys turned out so especially nice I bought two.  See Travis in the trailer?

But even with a long, warm and sunny summer, a ton of other projects and events interfered with getting much riding in after we got back from Idaho.  Penni's daughter Lauren was married in Corvallis at the end of July.  Penni wanted to help Lauren with the preparations so we got there a few days before the wedding.  That gave me time for a 65 mile ride on the GLO exploring the beautiful rolling countryside around Corvallis.  It was my first ride on the GLO where I was out on country roads rather than bike paths.  And it was a good chance to try my neck rest which I'd installed after I couldn't get the stock GS neck rest to fit me.  The trike was a delight...comfy, quick and maneuverable.  A very different ride from Msafiri...my Expedition.  I really love them both, and I'm feeling lucky to have the choice.

After only about 10 years it appears I finally got the pond finished that I've been building, re-building and re-re-building right behind our house.  With all the re-do's I use that term "finished" lightly.  How unfair that the universe can simply make a depression in the earth which fills with water and creates a beautiful pond when I've labored for 10 years, moved tons of earth, rock, about 2 tons of bentonite and at least that much gravel to make my pond and waterfall vision until I've finally reached a compromise with the local environment giving me a pond that actually holds water and a waterfall that burbles like a brook.  Amazing what you can do with 90 50# bags of bentonite.

This was also the summer I'll remember as the attack of "Old Guy Syndrome."  Honestly I don't know how it all started but it was intense, it was brief, all the stars were in alignment (1.9% financing readily given) and the result is now sitting happily in my workshop from where it comes out only on sunny days.  It's a 2008, the last year of the body style I like best, and had only 27,000 miles on it.  The three I looked at before choosing this one had surprisingly all been traded in for the same reason - SUV's.  That's when I decided buying this was clearly an old guy thing.  Obviously I couldn't say it was my mid-life crisis...hell I'd had that 25 years ago when I was living in Minneapolis, built my first Tour Easy clone and spent two months riding it out here to Seattle.  So the Miata's now nestled in the shop so even when the weather's lousy I can put the top down, sit in the car, turn on some music and dream of warm sunny summer days.

Then right before school started my son Josh, daughter-in-law Hayley and my grandkids Sophia, Henry and Sammy spent a week here the end of August.  As usual they timed their visit to coincide with the peak blackberry harvest.  They weren't out of the car 5 minutes before they were off picking and eating...actually eating and picking.  They were obsessed with making blackberry pies.  As the baking prep mayhem unfolded in the kitchen with the buckets of berries, my 97 year-old mom sat at the table insisting her mother said pie crust should be handled as little as possible.  All the while the kids played with the dough like it was clay...rolling it, balling it up, gushing it between their fingers, tossing it at each other.  Still, when the pies came out of the oven and were slathered with ice cream no one complained about the crusts.  They sure tasted good to me, and from the looks on all the purple faces sitting at the table (Travis' too), everyone was more than delighted.  

We had a great time driving the tractor around the pasture, playing ball, and hanging out at the beach.  
Travis was in heaven having 4 more people happy to play ball with him any time of the day or night.
I'm back to working on building a website, one that'll make it easy for folks to see Finer Recliner accessories, get answers and place orders.  Unfortunately I'm a bit of a computer cretin which is why this has been going on for months.  I'm trying to use one of the free supposedly idiot-proof website creation sites.  Judging from my progress, "idiot-proof" isn't a term that's helping my confidence.

While working on the website it dawned on me for about the thousandth time that I really had no clue what it really costs me to make the neck rests, kits or side mount kits.  So I took my watch with me when I made the last batch of two dozens neck rests and kits and I timed every step of the process.  The results?  Turns out I actually lose money on every Catrike stock replacement CURVE and will lose even more now with the new aluminum brackets.  And while not so dire, the situation with the kits isn't much better.  I know if I have everything made overseas things wouldn't be quite this serious.  But I choose to keep this a business that sells Northwest-made products.  Also, the prices for just all my raw materials continue to go up, some by 1/3 or more...and I would like to make even a small amount for my time.  So I've just compiled the 2013 Products flier which you can access (I'm hoping) using the link at the top of the blog or by sending me an email at stevesussman@earthlink.net.  Here's what you'll find:
  • The price for the Catrike side mount kits remains unchanged at $53, and a Topeak bottle bracket mount is included with the kit.
  • Catrike and ICE kits are $95, including the CURVE neck rest, "L" or "T" tower, mtb bracket and end caps.  For HP, Greenspeed and other trikes whose kits require a shim, add $3.
  • The brackets on the Catrike stock replacement CURVE neck rests are now powdercoated aluminum instead of mild steel.  They weigh about half as much as the old brackets.  The price for a Catrike stock CURVE is $75 without embroidery.
  • TerraTrike CURVE kits, including “T” tower, neck rest, stem, and adapter bracket, are $120.
  • We still have terrific deals on PlanetBike Superflash Turbo, PDW Radbot 1000, PDW Danger Zone 1 watt LED lights when purchased with other accessories.
  • Ball caps are now available if you want to have them embroidered to match the art on your neck rest.  
  •  Embroidery prices are unchange and depend upon the art you choose.  Take a look at some of the latest embroidered covers.  

And if you'd like something original we'll gladly help you create the embroidery art you want.

Here's another project in the works...I'm building a Timberwolf, an Atomic Zombie delta trike for an island relative who had a stroke earlier in the year.
I've got some plan modifications in mind including a mesh seat, making it a stake-side like the one in the picture, and covering it with a coroplast and aluminum shell to make it an all-weather trike.  And my friend Kirk Jones, a guy who turns Catrike Expeditions into electric rockets, is designing the electric drive system.  I'll add pictures as the build progresses.

And a final note:  after last week's experience with the US Postal Service I'm thinking about delivering orders personally.  Maybe I could buy an old bread truck and set it up as a traveling shop and RV.  Last week I tried mailing an order to Alberta, Canada.  I wrote the address clearly on the package and again on the customs form.  The next day I was on my computer entering the shipping charges from the orders when I noticed an unfamiliar mailing address and couldn't find the Alberta address.  When I went back to the post office to find out what happened I was told that the order I thought was shipped to Canada was in fact sent to the United Arab Emirates.  So what will they do about it beyond saying, "sorry"...nothing.  They're not liable.  Their advice - wait and see what happens.  I've no doubt that if I'm not learning the lessons as they come along the universe will continue to offer me more opportunities.  Since my postal experience...make that my experience with the post office...is just one of a list of encounters that are driving me nuts and leaving me feeling powerless, clearly I'm missing the learning.  So it's back to my therapist.

Oh yeah, one more thing...my youngest son Noah is an industrial designer who lives and works in Nuremberg, Germany.  He has had a tough couple of years, but I am so incredibly proud of his tenacity, and I'm in awe of his design talent.  Yesterday he got some terrific news - his probationary period is over and he has a full-time contract with UVEX.  In his spare time we're collaborating on designing a new recumbent product.  The magic of Skype, and while using our iPads, we can have coffee together while I'm in a cafe on Vashon Island and he's in one in old town Nuremberg.  We can even take a walk together, enjoying shared sights even though we're thousands of miles apart.  His design skills and fabulous renderings have turned a rough idea into a quality concept, and helped me convince a fabricator to work with us on a prototype.  But best of all, I love watching him be a dad.