Tuesday, February 17, 2009

rain - strategy revisited

After my experience yesterday,  I made a few adaptations for the rain this morning.

Monday my hands were very cold - for some reason I opted out of wearing my bicycling gloves.  In my head I thought they'd just get wet and magnify the cold.  While that is true, they also provide a buffer between your metal handlebars which get really cold - so even when wet they can provide nominal protection, not to mention protection in the event of fall.

Also on Monday, my feet were totally soaked and my saddle got a little wet, even through the cover.   Plastic bags to the rescue!

I wrapped my saddle in a Target bag, man those things are awesome.  I then put the cover over the saddle and to my delight the saddle was dry as a bone when I got to work.

I also put cheapo Ralphs bags over my wool socks, tied them around my ankles and secured them with reflective ankle straps to keep my feet dry-er.  Those worked ok...  I noticed that the bottoms of my socks weren't wet, but the tops were.  The weak link must be around the ankle soemwhere.  I'll need to experiment with bigger bags.

Finally, I wore fleece mittens over my bike gloves.  Even though there was constant rain, they kept my hands relatively warm and dry.  I'll be doing this again, for sure.

If you are wondering what the combination of plastic bags on your feet, ankle reflectors, and wearing a hood underneath your helmet looks like - imagine some sort of bicyclist refugee in the Kevin Coster epic bomb, Water World.

Still wrestling with the glasses issue.  Not sure what is the best method there.

In other news - George is less than one month away from being born.  He'll be ready for a trailer just in time for summer.  Can't wait.


Dawn D. Lion said...

Man, that rain experience sounds ROUGH!
Big controversy over what age you should start biking with a baby. I'd like to hear your take on that. A website I recently looked at said there's a reason why infant helmets are hard to find - b/c there are so many recommendations that they shouldn't be bouncing around in there before 9 months old.
I was all planning on putting Ivan in Maxine's toddler helmet, which I just tried on and realized its way too big.
So now I'm trying to decide whether to buy an infant helmet like the few defiant bikers who think that riding with 6month infants is fine, or wait until he fits the toddler one. Also pondering whether to buy a new trailer. Our old one is...old, and being the least expensive model we could find, we probably could do a lot better suspension wise.
I have a baby seat which I was excited to try, having always used the trailer. But now, too, I read a lot of safety guides that think these are too dangerous.
SO, all that is to say, I'm ready for little G to come out and grow up enough for this blog to address these issues. Hehe.

david said...

yeah, i know. i'm excited for it too. i've read lots of things. i knew a guy who took his baby when she was 8 DAYS OLD in a trailer. while i probably won't be doing that - i have heard that when they are three months you can put them in the trailer.

i've also heard of people using car seats, through the use of an adapter - in a trailer. so - i would guess that that is just as secure as anything else out there, which seems to suggest that you can take them earlier than 9 months. if i have to wait that long i might go crazy.

as far as trailers go, i'm really leaning toward the burley trailers. they make a pretty good product, and have a wide variety of options.

what kind of trailer do you have dawn?

you wish you had suspension now? now that they are bigger? did maxine complain about a jolty ride?

Dawn D. Lion said...

No, I'm thinking now that I know better, that I might have been a little rough on baby Maxine. I'll have to look up what brand ours is later. I know your average trailer at a bike shop or REI is $300, ours was $150 from Toys-r-us. Held up great, though, 6 years of seasonal service.
I hadn't heard of carseat adapters beyond people trying to rig them themselves. I wouldn't have any qualms about a rear-facing carseat for a 3 month old. In fact I'm thinking buckled into carseat into trailer you wouldn't necessarily need a helmet - which is another objection people have, that their heads can't support the weight of one before a certain age.

david said...

right - i definitely get the head supporting weight issue, and i always assumed that that was for the car seat that fits on the back of your bike, or the front mounted ones they are making these days.

from what i've read/heard, people really like those as their kids get older because it allows them to talk to their kids, point things out, etc. from what i've read, conversing with your child whilst in a trailer can be somewhat difficult.

but you really wouldn't be conversing with a 3 month old...

so... just so i understand you correctly, you wouldn't hesitate to put a three month old in a carseat-adapted trailer?

i'm going to really hit the books so i can make sure i'm not leading people astray.

Dawn D. Lion said...

No, I wouldn't hesitate if the trailer was made for it. Those things are so sturdy, they're buckled into this little steel cage. One time when Maxine was two or so, I forgot to put in the pin in that keeps the rod in place that connects to the bike (It folds back on itself to fold the trailer up or to turn it into a stroller.) So I was riding on the street and the first hill that I tried to sprint up, the trailer flipped backward(still attached but not pinned) and hit the street. OH CRAP. But inside she was fine, it was as if nothing ever happened. That was the only incident we ever had, and it convinced me of the safety of trailers.
Oh, the brand is bell, btw.
Plus, I have a theory based on my experience that car drivers are WAAAAAY more respectful of a biker with a trailer, but I can expand on that later.

ubrayj02 said...

WHat age to start riding with a baby?

Try 3 mo. if you've got this:

But MIND THE BUMPS! Seriously, I had to learn a new meaning of the word "slow" when I was riding around with my 3 mo. old in the bakfiets.

david said...

josef - i really really covet your bakfiets. and i mean covet in the breaking the 10 commandments type of way.

i don't think i'll be able to afford one for at least a decade.