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2020-11-18 at 2:57 pm

I appreciate you sharing your journey and I empathize with a lot of the life choices give made.

I’m a first time dad who recently moved to Grand Rapids, Mi. We moved from California where we were carless and wasted to maintain that lifestyle here. A friend loaned us an electric cargo and between that and walking and talking the bus (my wife was lukewarm to buses at best) we can do 99% of our trips. We even took the bike to the hospital and back.

With this being the first winter with our baby, we are wondering how best to winterize our travel, when we leave the house at all. Any pointers, tips, and suggestions you can share with be appreciated.

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Profit Greenly (Post author)

2020-11-18 at 5:34 pm

Sounds like you’re doing great so far! I am with your wife on buses, I can bike pretty much anywhere faster than I can get there by bus (but they are certainly helpful for some people). In terms of winter bike wear for you here are my recs:

1. Pogies for your bike handlebars (I just use really thick goretex gloves from Cabelas, but they don’t sell them anymore and I think these plus decent gloves will be warmer and net cheaper)

2. A thick hat for under your helmet (I use a Turtle Fur hat and a helmet cover, maybe an insulated ski helmet for winter riding would be just as good though?)

3. An insulated neck warmer (I much prefer ones with velcro on the back for easy on/off)

4. A good water/wind proof jacket to wear on top (make sure its arms are long enough to overlap your gloves, I use a goretex one from Cabellas)

5. Flannel lined pants or thermal underwear

6. A pair of rain pants to throw on top of these to block water/wind (I use Marmot’s)

7. Thick wool socks (Darn Tough are pricey but their warranty is amazing)

8. A pair of insulated waterproof shoes (I use Merrell ColdPack Mocs, but have thought of switching to something with a higher ankle like Tretorn Gus Winters)

That all seems like a lot, but basically everything there but the pogies is also useful off your bike and if you buy good stuff it’ll last for years. You’ll also want some insulation for your chest but I assume you’ve already got that (I generally wear a t-shirt and flannel shirt under my jacket and add a thermal shirt when things get really cold). Get some good bike lights too if you don’t have them already, night comes a lot earlier in winter and you’ll want to be able to both see and be seen. I strongly recommend USB rechargeable lights (I use old Mako’s from NiteRider that they don’t sell anymore). I’d get 2 front lights for extra visibility. I’d run one flashing with the other solid so they’re on different recharge schedules and you never find yourself without any light. I find flashing back lights last a really long time so they’re less important to get rechargable, but two of them on different parts of the bike isn’t bad either. With an eBike you may even have integrated lights, which would be even easier.

For your baby I think the best option is to dress the kid in a snow suit type thing and maybe wrap blankets around for extra warmth. You can also sometimes find seat specific insulation/covers for them. Some people DIY covers for their kids out of cheap scooter rain covers they find on ebay/amazon. Given where you are I’d also recommend studded snow/ice tires for your bike, it’ll make it a lot more stable when weather gets bad, which seems very important for your use case. Do some practice runs without the kid in bad weather before you throw them on there, and don’t be afraid to call an Uber or get a Zipcar if the weather gets really bad (I also used to use Enterprise when I was car free, and they’ll actually drive the rental car to your house). Hope this helps, and let me know if you have any more questions.

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