02 December 2009

Winter Kid Commuting

This morning I asked the two pre-schoolers if they thought it was too cold to take the Madsen bucket bike to school. It was 33°F, very dry, and beautifully sunny. After explaining that this temperature was nearly cold enough to make water turn to ice, one kid said Yes! and the other said No!

Well, Mom was out with the van and it was now time to go, so everyone bundle up! Beanies under helmets, mittens and scarves, and glasses for the short-straw who had to sit facing the wind. They shared the fleece blanket that we always leave in the bucket now that it's chilly. An umbrella was deployed to break some of the wind. We're off!

Tula dropped her mitten in the middle of the intersection. The nice driver behind us honked to point this out, so we stopped. We played I Spy. Then another stop to put the umbrella away because it was hampering the visibility for the game. Then it was Jingle Bells (a one-horse open sleigh - ha!) and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. At the stop light, I see that all of the bank tellers are pointing and smiling. Not a single word from anyone about being cold or inconvenienced. Just fun, and lots of it.

On the way home later, we road in the freshly painted bike lane on North 21st Street. The best was when the mom and two kids in the Prius slowed down to check out the bucket action.

There's sunny skies and similar temps in the forecast for the whole week. Tomorrow we're taking some jingle bells with us for musical accompaniment to the caroling.

How much better can this get? What temperature is too cold for a 1.2 mile ride to school?


Cold Bike said...

I have ridden a bike to preschool in 30 below with 1.5 year old sister and 4 year old preschooler. The kids were dressed for it, the car probably wouldn't have started and the winter face masks muffled the screams of delight.
So the answer to your question is "colder than Tacoma ever gets".

Mom said...

What a great time! I want to go too! Singing and game playing, learning all the time. What an wonderful time to be a kid, especially with you as the Dad!

sara said...

After last Feb.'s complaints about cold ears & trying to stuff hoodies under helmets, we invested in Bern winter-lined helmets this year. Warm ears make for such a happier commute. Yesterday we broke out the fleece blanket in the cargo box as well & there were no complaints. We do, also, have the opportunity to put on the rain cover on the bakfiets on a particularly cold or windy day. So how cold is too cold to ride? Hoping that I won't have to answer that this year....

Now meanwhile, it is crazily WARM today & I had to remove my fleece for the morning commute.

Matt in Tacoma said...

Sarah, I hadn't seen the Bern helmets. Pretty cool.

Cold Bike, I probably should have ridden this morning, but 27°F and freezing fog tipped me towards the van. Besides slick roads, I'm finding it's not the air temp but the wind-chill that makes me reconsider the bike on cold days. It'll be warm enough at pick-up time for the bike (i.e. above 32°F).

Anne said...

It has been cold this past week, I must say, I like it. I'll take cold over rain any day. The fleece blanket stored in the bucket sounds cozy.