Bikes, whether of the pedal or motor variety, bring attendant problems, among which are to be found helmets and what you have to do when you’re wearing one and the weather is cold if you want to keep your head and face warm. (That made sense, didn’t it?) You want to be warm but not hot. Whatever keeps your head and face warm must not fall down when your helmet is pulled over it. There should be no bumpy adjustment mechanisms. Such things are OK with a pushbike helmet, where they don’t run into the helmet, but problematic with a motorbike helmet which covers a lot more of the rider’s head.
Dr B had what he called a toob – it might even be a Toob, though I think one of his other pieces of paraphernalia is an actual Toob – and Boy borrowed it to keep his face warm during his five-days-a-week motorbike ride into school. Winter here is nowhere near Antarctic in its coldness but it’s cold enough and although Boy loves the knitted balaclava I made him, it’s not quite the solution it could be because it’s too bulky under his helmet (even though I knitted it in soft yarn and sewed it up using a very flat seam, there’s just not a lot of space in a motorbike helmet, which is as it should be, of course).
The toob covered the bottom half of Boy’s face and didn’t need to go under his helmet in the way a balaclava does, so it was a winner. Except that it tended to pull down a bit when the helmet went on and the adjusting knob had a tendency to dig in but, you know, despite those disadvantages it was warm and not bulky. I offered to sew an imitation toob using black polar fleece (already in my stash, left over from sewing a supporter’s scarf for our first Head of the River regatta nearly five years ago) and sewing in some elastic instead of an adjusting knob. Boy and I discussed what width and softness of elastic we should use.
The other night, I sat down and made one, which is really a prototype in the sense that the elastic was a bit hit and miss and perhaps a firmer one than I should have used (I didn’t have quite enough of the softer elastic we’d decided on). But the toob doesn’t pull down when Boy pulls his motorbike helmet on and it keeps his face warm (he’s already used it for several short rides to shops), so, even if it’s a prototype, it’s functional.
Black imitator on left, blue original on right (showing knob adjuster)
I couldn’t say it was difficult. I mean to say, how hard is it to sew a simple tube? One side seam. Hem top and bottom leaving a small gap at one end to thread elastic (I could have made it with an attached elastic, but I didn’t). That end will be the top, because you pull the toob over your head and adjust it so your nose is nice and warm. It required only very simple sewing, which I can do reasonably well. Boy could have done it, but he was busy with homework. The toob works fine. I recommend such a thing if you’re looking for a quick, easy project (and you have a cyclist of some variety or other who’s looking for such an end product).