Monday, January 18, 2016

Keeping Kids Warm on a Bike Seat: The Tube Blanket

Our winter biking solution: the tube blanket
I recently stumbled upon a simple solution to keep two-year-old Brontë warmer on the Peanut shell seat on the back of our Yuba Mundo. We've been using it for a month or so, but as the temperatures drop all over the place, I thought maybe the idea might be useful to other biking families too.

When it comes to cargo bikes, this is one area where trailers or bakfiets really shine--having your kid(s) sitting on a bench in a box, possibly under a weatherproof canopy, they stay warm, dry, & you don't need much more than a blanket to toss over their laps.

With a longtail cargo bike like our Yuba Mundo, or most regular bikes with child seats on the back, the kids are a bit more exposed to the elements. Our usual solution is just to dress them in extra layers.

But I realized I had a simple way to cut the chill a bit with a circle scarf I made & never really wear. It's just a tube of knit fuzzy fabric about 18-20" wide & long. I slipped it around the whole baby seat so it works as a blanket, covering Brontë from knees to shoulders without the risk of falling off the bike like a regular square blanket might. I'm calling it the Tube Blanket.

The scarf, or, rather, tube blanket, paired with some legwarmers--Babylegs I got for Linnaeus, worn all of three times, maybe--kept Brontë from getting as chilly as she sometimes does on longer rides in the winter.

In case you want to make your own tube blanket, it's basically a rectangle of fabric about twice as wide as it is long. The dimensions would depend on your child seat & the size of your child--if you take a few measurements around your kid while they're sitting in the seat the largest measurement is your long side. Measure the distance from their chin to their knees or ankles & that's the short side length. Fold it in half to make a square & sew up the side opposite the fold to make a tube. Hem the edges if you like, et voila: a tube blanket. Using fabric like polar fleece or thick knit means it'll stretch as needed.

I don't have a clever solution for Linnaeus--sitting on the back rack of the Yuba I'm not sure a tube blanket would work, really. I generally just put him in extra pants--often rain pants.

How about you? What do you use to keep kids warm on your bike? Have you got any great solutions for the older kids who aren't strapped into a seat? Please share your ideas (links to instagram or blog posts are very welcome!)


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