Bodysock Shakedown Ride 2011

Another Year, Another Try

Bodysock Shakedown Ride

The older you get the more acute the need to find something to stave off being “slower” than you were the year before. And besides there is a long and proud history of body sock riding on the Left Coast. Out there you can’t really be cool riding an Easy Racers bike unless you have had a sock and fairing attached. At least that is what I choose to believe.

So with my Sun ER Tour Easy LE sidelined with a busted saddle I tinkered once again with adding a body sock and fairing to my venerable Easy Racers Gold Rush Replica (GRR). This is one of the classier bikes in the product lineup. It accelerates well and climbs with ease. And I love the polished aluminum frame for its simple beauty.

When we attempted this last year (see the images above) it was using the Easy Racers Tour Easy bikes. But the better choice is probably the GRR. It is lighter and has a nice clean front hub (unlike the SON hub generator on the Tour Easy) which rolls out easily and helps to give you all the speed your tired legs are working to generate.

Getting Separated

After a about a half hour of fiddling with the front fork mounts for the heavy duty fairing you use with a body sock and tinkering with the heavy duty fairing handlebar mounts you end up with a bike nearly ready to ride. All that is left is to mount the rear scaffolding and to drag out the body sock and attach it via its Velcro strips to the front fairing and then loop it over the rear scaffold and voila you are ready for some sort of adventure.

The idea was to ride at least a few miles south of our home and then perhaps to do a wide loop around the Herrick Lake Forest Preserve before returning home. We were taking Blanchard Road south to Danada East and then heading out on Leask Lane to reach Warrenville Road. Warrenville would take us west to Wiesbrook Road which we would follow all the way back to downtown Wheaton before turning east again to reach home.

As luck would have it we got separated while still on Blanchard Road. They usually solve this sort of problem with a tandem but when riding singles (and me without a rear view mirror) you run the risk of losing sight of the person up ahead. I turned off Blanchard when I reached the Danada East sub-development. Connie rolled right past me. I assumed she was going towards Danada Square and raced around to a “sidewalk sneak” behind the community pool in search of her.

She meanwhile was “hiding out” behind the Animal Hospital on Blanchard waiting for me to follow. And instead I rode through the Danada Square shopping center and thus began a comedy of errors. We eventually ended up sighting one another on Blanchard Road where she had returned home to find me and I was heading there to jump into the car fearing that she might have already started out on Leask Lane.

We rode home and wondered if perhaps body socks were more trouble than they were worth. If you are riding with a body sock you:

  • Cannot see your front wheel, so avoiding potholes and other hazards is a bit trickier if not downright impossible
  • You cannot see you crankset or even your handlebars so knowing where you are shifting-wish is difficult
  • Connie uses a handlebar mirror which in this instance she had to forego, so she too was unable to see behind her
  • I sometimes wear a glasses mirror but have begun to learn to look over my shoulder when riding but that is difficult with a body sock in place
  • You cannot drink water without unzipping the front zipper
  • You cannot dismount unless you first release the rear corner of the body sock to free it to stretch enough to allow your exit
  • You sweat like a pig because the efficiency of the sock keeps the normal eddies of air off your torso
  • You cannot signal your intentions to other riders, motorists or pedestrians
  • But… Your speed is greater!

Grabbing A Bite To Eat

So it was a bit of a funny debriefing we “enjoyed” as we pieced together the comedy of errors in trying to locate one another. We both agreed that tail socks are a great deal more user-friendly. We continued to compare notes as we rode into the Wicker Park area of Chicago to grab dinner at the Native Foods Cafe.

I enjoyed Chef Tanya’s Scorpion Burger and a lemonade. And we listened to A Prairie Home Companion as we rode North Avenue back towards home.

Ever See The Google Car?

While heading into the city to pick up Connie from work I spotted the Google Car. This is the one that they use to do the “street view” imaging. You can see pictures below.