cycling · fitness · gear

Not-very-wordy Wednesday: a weekend with two bike bottles

Happy Wednesday, dear readers! It’s mid-July and I’m in a slow-news-day mood. So herewith my very short photo essay about a trip my bike bottle took with my friend Norah’s bike bottle to western Massachusetts last weekend.

After arriving Friday in a swell of weekend-escape-motorists, Norah and I went out for dinner in Northampton. No need to take the bike bottles; they rested at our rental place, ready to go to work Saturday morning.

And go to work they did. We biked around Florence, MA and lunched at a local diner.

Norah's bottle (left) and mine (right), discussing which tunes to play during our diner luncheon. They had one of those old-fashioned booth jukeboxes!
Norah’s bottle (left) and mine (right), discussing which tunes to play during our diner luncheon.

The bottles ended up deferring to the diner soundtrack, which was mainly 80’s hits. I think the bottles’ tastes are more eclectic.

As we pedaled down the local bike path, we saw a family of deer coming out of the brush and trees nearby. It didn’t occur to me to offer them some of my gatorade. Was that rude? My bottle was silent on the question, but it’s usually pretty circumspect.

Fawn and doe (a deer), on the side of the bike path outside Northampton, MA. I hope they weren’t looking for their car keys.

After rolling into Northampton proper, we locked up the bikes and helmets, (FYI I use this ridiculous and super heavy but secure lock for my fancy carbon e-bike) and went in search of iced coffee. We were soon successful, and everyone (Norah, me, and our bike bottles) sat in cool comfort while Norah and I sipped and enjoyed the cafe scene.

Norah’s ginger lemonade and my vanilla iced latte, mostly finished and certainly towered over by those majestic water/gatorade-carrying companions, our bike bottles.

We headed back up the path to our rental place, swigging from our bottles as needed. And it was needed– the whole week was hot and humid. We all did our jobs– bikes, bottles, and owners of the aforementioned– until we made it back for showers and evening plans (a dance concert at Jacob’s Pillow in Beckett, MA). In case you’re interested in dance, here’s a youtube video of one of the pieces we saw. It was mesmerizing.

They wouldn’t let us bring the bike bottles to the performance. There was cold water available outside the theater, which was nice. But it wasn’t a substitute. Still…

The next morning, it was raining. I mean RAINING. A real deluge. So we packed up, took our bags and bikes and bike bottles to yet another cafe for food and beverages, and wended our way home. And there our story ends. For now. Until the next bike bottle adventure…

cycling · fat · gear · inclusiveness

Nat finally finds cycling bibs that fit!

A picture of me in 2019 at the MS Bike Tour wearing Garneau cycling shorts.

The last time I bought cycling gear was in 2018 or 2019. During the pandemic I cycled indoors and as my shorts and bibs wore out I really didn’t care to replace them. Who would see how ratty or see through? No one!

Fast forward to this year and I recommitted to cycling outdoors. I missed being in the MS Bike Tour. I wanted back on my bike but despite having many jerseys my shorts and bibs were all worn out.

Around Easter I took all my measurements and realized I no longer fit into Garneau gear.

Me, dressed in pink workout gear, being too big to find cycling shorts in Canada.

I went to the Internet to find any company that touted larger sizes for cyclists. Many have mountain bike shorts. The ones with a tight chamois shirt inside a baggier Bermuda style short. I wanted roadie gear!

I found an American company, Montella, that touted bigger sizes. 6XL! Surely that would fit?

The size chart lists women’s sizes from extra small to size six extra large.

I mean, my waist was an inch larger and my hips two inches but surely that would be ok? I should have realized the one inch increments on the sizes meant these are tight!

I picked some commuter chamois underwear and a full length bib. I like 3/4 to full length to keep my inner thigh and knees from jiggling.

A picture of Montella’s Pink Gel Padded Bib pants. They look super cute!

The package arrived just before I was going on a ride. I was so excited. I ripped into the bag and tried to put them on. I couldn’t even get the bib past my knees. Like. These were laughably too small. I tried the commuting underwear. I took a picture fit for only for a kinky Only Fans. Sorry. Too spicy for this blog!

I cried so hard. I shared my travails with our Fit is a Feminist Issue bloggers. Of course I knew about Fat Lass At The Back gear from the UK but surely I didn’t need to go across an ocean to find gear?

Well I did. The shipping was as fast as coming from the US. According to my measurements I could fit their biggest size 8 XL!

Me standing in my stairs sporting my capris length cycling pants and an MS Bike Tour jersey. I’m fully clothed in opaque Lycra! It’s a miracle!

I was super pumped to put on the bib, which the upper is like a mesh tank top. It doesn’t cut in or twist. Very nice design!

I’ve ridden with both the capris and the bib. I fricking love them! I love that they emailed asking how my fit was. I love that the thighs are opaque.

I’ve ridden a few times in both and I’m very pleased with the quality. I think I’m a bit shocked that my body is on the biggest size anyone makes. I’m plus sized but I’m not big, big. I still get a lot of size privilege as I can buy tops in the XXL range. If I needed to go bigger for jerseys or bottoms I would be shit out of luck.

I’m glad I found gear. I’m hoping that more companies will make bigger sizes. Plus sized cyclists are out here waiting to buy your stuff!

cycling · fitness · gear

Catherine gets acquainted with her new e-bike

With some relationships, you just swan dive in– no hesitation, no second-guessing, no shilly-shallying about. Other relationships, however, take time to develop. They require nurturing and cultivating in order to blossom.

Yes, I’m talking about my new Lemond Prolog e-bike and me. Oh, we both came into it with the highest of hopes– meeting in the Lemond factory on a hot sunny day in eastern Tennessee. Honestly, after taking the first tight corner with it, smoothly as silk, I was in love. We set out together back to Boston, with me driving and it resting in the back the whole way.

Once we got home and settled into the routine life of a woman and her new bike, I started to notice things. Of course I switched out the saddle for one I prefer, but the fit wasn’t exactly what I was used to. The Lemond Prolog is a flat-bar bike, with a monocoque one-piece handlebar and stem, which means it can’t be adjusted. I did get the wide wide handlebars cut at the factory, but they need to be much more narrow. After riding it a few times, it was also clear I need new grips with bar ends to offer more options for hand placement (I’m more used to the downturned handlebars of a road bike).

The bike with my saddle, new bottle cage, built-in fenders and lights, and too-wide handlebars. But it’s a beauty.

So far I’ve ridden it on the road, varied off-road paths of packed dirt, some muddy leafy sections in the woods and a teeny bit of twisty but smooth flat singletrack. Sarah was my companion for a lovely fall ride when I was visiting Ontario recently.

There’s a network of lovely paths that go by the rivers in Guelph and into some woodsy areas. My Lemond and I enjoyed trying them out, guided by Sarah and her trusty gravel bike.

I’m remembering how much I enjoy riding off-road; even gentle off-road paths are kind of thrilling for me, I admit. And the Lemond is definitely up for it. The carbon frame is strong and feels very responsive. I may get gravel tires for fall/winter riding, which is another option.

Two things I experimented with that I need to learn a lot more about:

  • which level of assist makes sense for me on different kinds of terrain;
  • how the battery will do on different rides with different speeds and assist levels.

There are three levels of assist (plus a no-assist option) with the Lemond. I’ve mainly played around with the first level of assist, but I haven’t taken on more demanding terrain yet. I’ve also not taken any very long rides, so battery power hasn’t been an issue yet. I bought a battery range extender that plugs into the bike and sits in a bottle cage (very handy-dandy design, by the way), which I expect to use on longer, faster and/or more demanding terrain rides. So I’m fully equipped, and the Lemond is ready to go with me as far as I can take it.

Will we be speedy? Will we ride long? Will we ride hard? Yes, to all of these. But when and how– I’ll be finding this out over the next months.

For now, we’re taking it slow. I’m enjoying the process of just getting to know each other. For the future– que sera, sera..

Hey readers– any of you taken on an e-bike recently? Or not recently? How have you settled on speed, duration, distance, etc.? I’d love to know how things went for you.

fitness · gear

On the complexities of relationships with gear

This year– Anno Domini 2022– I took the plunge and finally bought myself a kayak. Then I took another plunge and finally bought myself an e-bike. That’s a lot of plunging.

This woman is post-icy-water-plunge. Her expression suggests mixed emotions, which is fair.
This woman is post-icy-water-plunge. Her expression suggests mixed emotions, which is fair.

It’s a privilege to be in a financial position to purchase these items (even used, which the kayak was, but in very fine shape), and I’m grateful that I was able to buy them.

Now that I own them, everything is hunky-dory, right? Well, as any of you who deal with active gear (like bikes, boats, skis, tents, stoves, hiking accoutrements, computer-assisted tracking doohickeys, etc.), the purchasing is just the beginning of the relationship with the gear. There’s also the following:

  • the storage
  • the transporting to and fro
  • the cleaning
  • the maintenance
  • the organization of accompanying bits and bobs
  • the response and troubleshooting when things go wrong
  • the repair
  • the inevitable replacement of parts and the gear itself

Honestly, I have no idea how people manage the above-mentioned tasks, as well as others that I never even thought about. I do as much as I can and hope for the best…

But I have to say this: if the next time I’m trying valiantly to figure out how to attach bow and stern lines to my kayak for transport on top of my car, one more person says, “oh, it’s so easy!”, I’m going to blow a gasket.

There are a lot of reasons why I fear, loathe and avoid dealing with gear other than buying it, using it, cleaning it occasionally and maybe storing it.

  • I come from a long line of non-outdoorsy non-gear using folks.
  • My above-mentioned ancestors are also famously non-handy; I mean really non-handy. I don’t recall seeing any relative of mine ever using a hammer, much less a drill.
  • So, I didn’t grow up doing anything with any gear, ever. I think we once had flashlights, but then the batteries died. And that was that.
  • I have generalized anxiety disorder and ADHD. This double-whammy diagnosis brings with it many difficulties with complex and multi-part tasks. Among other things.

I have learned how do basic maintenance on my bikes, but anything beyond that I entrust to my local bike shop, so I don’t have to deal with complex bike gear finagling. Winning.

I am in the early stages of my relationship with kayak. Yes it’s lightweight. But it doesn’t do knots itself. That’s right, I never learned how to do a) trucker’s hitch; b) bowline; c) other knots that I googled and have never heard of, but which some of you probably use all the time. And, yes, I know: “it’s so easy!” Recall prior gasket-blow warning.

I’m not saying I’m sorry I bought the kayak. I love kayaking and love this kayak. But I am saying that I find dealing with all of the above-listed tasks really stressful and shame-inducing. The feelings of shame come from not knowing what to do, feeling like I OUGHT to know how to do… whatever it is I need to do, seeing other gear owners who DO know what to do, and being seen by them as not knowing what to do. It’s a thing: a thing to recognize, a thing to deal with, a thing to get support around. I know this. But it is not an easy thing.

I also have another fine and complex piece of gear: my new e-bike, purchased 23 days ago. It’s peppy and lightweight (lightweight is a thing with me these days) and I’ve been dreaming about this bike for more than two years. Now I have it. Yay!

Of course, there’s the usual break-in period where you have to make adjustments to bike fit (e.g. throwing away the saddle it came with and getting one that works for you), tweaks to the gearing assembly, and such like. I’ve ridden almost 50 miles on the bike so far, and that process is humming along.

Or at least it was, until today. The fancy electronic assist computer interface (i.e. the button on the top tube) and the connected bike computer went… well, I think the proper term is kaflooey. The computer showed me riding 0mph, with 0% battery and level 0 of assist. At least it was consistent.

The computer interface on the bike kept cycling through 3 levels of pedal assist: zero, one and two, indicated by flashing circles of white, green and orange. I could even feel it on the bike. Weird. And not what I had in mind. My friend Rachel, a very experienced cyclist and level-headed person, helped me do some diagnostics, which included:

  • pushing the bike interface button both for longer and shorter durations, a whole bunch of times;
  • pushing buttons on the bike computer in similar fashion;
  • disconnecting the cable connecting the motor to the battery/computer internal assembly;
  • reconnecting the cable after waiting a few minutes and futzing with the connectors;
  • recommencing button pushing.

None of this resulted in resetting the electronic assist computer. Oh, well, it’s still a bike. So we did the only thing we could do: ride to our favorite coffee shop. At least the espresso machine there was in good working order. Whew.

Here’s the thing: I want to be more chill and more sanguine and more confident around gear, especially MY gear. I get anxious about the possibility of things going wrong, and I get extremely anxious when things actually go wrong. I fear looking incompetent in front of others, and actually being incompetent.

Today was a good lesson for me. The new fancy gear went kaflooey, but nothing bad actually happened. It may be easily fixable or a big pain in the butt to deal with. Either way, I’ll move through it.

Readers, what would you say is your relationship like with your gear? Are you best buddies? Do you tinker with it all the time for fun? Do you delegate gear maintenance to others among your family and friends? Do you ride a single-speed bike because you don’t want the complexity? I’d love to hear from you (just don’t tell me how easy some task is… 🙂


Wordless Wednesday/Public Service Announcement

Please note: the following is NOT what it says it is:

Strappy high heel sandal described as "bike shoe in espresso". No.
Ceci n’est pas une chassure de cyclisme. This is NOT a cycling shoe. No.

Consumers beware. It’s a marketing jungle out there. Be warned…

cycling · fitness · gear

It’s not you, it’s the valves: gear maintenance and learning curves

This week, a FB friend reported some problems with a deflated tire on their road bike. They didn’t know that there were two kinds of tubes and valves (FYI: Shrader and Presta) and accidentally deflated the tube by using the wrong attachment from the pump.

They said, “I’m feeling like an incompetent novice”.

Oh, no…

Sympathetic pink creature, saying "oh no".
Sympathetic pink creature, saying “oh no”.

When I read this, I immediately thought: this is a perfect example of the gear maintenance learning curve.

It’s not us– how would we know that bike tires come in two different forms (and, btw, multiple sizes, for which appropriate tube selection may be a non-trivial process)? The answer: experience. Experience with gear involves a lot of steps, including

  • buying basic good tools
  • watching youtube videos
  • occasionally buying specialized gadgets (like a presta valve extender depending on how deep your wheel rims are and how long your tube valve is)
  • watching friends do repairs and maintenance tasks
  • getting help from friends in learning how to do tasks ourselves
  • trying things ourselves and then asking for help from friends or a friendly local bike shop
  • taking a class, maybe one for women in our sport, on common maintenance and repair of our gear

Of course, before checking off anything from the above-mentioned list, the natural thing is to just get out there– ride or skate or swim or paddle or sail or whatever it is that is filling us with joy in movement. Which is great. Once out there though, things will happen. Rigging breaks, tires get punctures, screws come loose. That’s life. That’s gear. That’s what activity friends and cell phones are for.

One more thing: we can choose how much we want to geek out on gear and its care and feeding. I freely admit that I don’t change my own rear cassette or do my own bike tuneups. For me, knowing how to change a tire, pack and unpack my bike for travel, do a few side-of-the-road adjustments with tools in my saddle bag, and clean my chain stands me in good enough stead. But it took a long time for me to get there. And I’m still a little anxious with dealing with through-axles. Luckily, there’a a youtube video for that.

Readers, are you gearheads or devoted mechanics for the activity gear you own? Is your mechanic on speed dial? Do you make a point of avoiding gear as much as possible? Do you just walk or run, avoiding most of the gear debate entirely (except for shoes, I guess…) Let us know in the comments.

gear · inclusiveness · normative bodies · swimming

All people vary in size? Really? Shocking!

No photo description available.
A photo of a women’s size guide on a wetsuit according to which XS is 5-5’2 and 95-110 lbs and XL is 5’9 + and over 155 lbs.

One of the things I love about our Facebook page is when people share things with us. Often it’s links for us to pass along on the page but sometimes it’s readers sharing their own experiences and observations. One reader, Sara Wabi Gould, was shopping for a wetsuit and was amused/horrified at this size chart and the accompanying text, “all people vary in size.”

She sent an image of the tag to us with the comment, “Wetsuit sizing strikes again. “Over 155”???”

According to this chart that variation tops out at 155 lbs. There’s also, according to this chart a strict correlation between weight and height.

Our bloggers had some reactions too:

Cate: “I remember reading once, in the 80s or 90s, some sort of “advice” in a women’s magazine that women who were 5.0 should weigh 100lbs, and for every inch after that you could add 5lbs. At the time, my not-quite-5.2 self weighed about 118lbs, the tiniest I’ve ever been — I think I was a size 4. I now weigh about 140 – 145 (haven’t weighed myself for a while) and I don’t THINK I’ve grown. I’m incredibly fit and strong and happy with my body. But I think I’ve carried that bullshit algorithm in the back of my mind for three and a half decades, with a flicker of shame every time I get on the scale that I am so much heavier than I “should” be. When I let it, that flicker of shame can outstrip the accomplishment of riding my bike 150 km in a day, running 8km comfortably on a hot day, deadlifting 200 lbs or being a super functional, fit, healthy 56 year old. These charts are dangerous bullshit.”

Tracy: “I feel oppressed by diet culture just looking at the chart and the way they assume height and weight correlate in just that way.”

Kim: “I’m 5’8 and just after I did the London to Paris challenge I was at my lightest at 155lb. This was me as endurance cyclist not lifting at the time. So does that mean I need to ride 450km in 24 hours and 14 minutes if I want to deserve a wetsuit? Bahahahaha!!!”

Sam: “Oh, FFS. I’m 5’7 and 155 lbs is a weight I haven’t seen on a scale since my early twenties. So I guess I’m an XL in a suit that’s too long for me. This brings me to one of my pet peeves about XL sizes. Sometimes they’re just a bit larger than L and other times they’re four times the size of L since they’re meant to fit everyone larger than that. It’s like the “one size fits everyone bigger than L.”

Diane: “By this sizing, my daughter (who is petite by almost any standard but very muscular) might need to get a medium as she is on the cusp for weight. What happens if you weigh 117 lb? Or 140? The answer if you weigh over 155 is generally that you learn to swim without a wetsuit. There are some slightly larger models out there, but most larger swimmers I have talked to simply gave up on trying to find one.”

You might want to also read Catherine’s post about choosing a wetsuit.

What would your reaction be to encountering this size tag on an item of clothes/sports gear while shopping?

equipment · fitness · flexibility · fun · gear · martial arts · Rowing

Rowing, Multitasking, and Positive Side Effects.

After years of planning to buy a rowing machine, I finally got one a couple of months back and I am thoroughly enjoying using it. 

I love that I don’t have to put much thought into the how and the what of exercising with the rowing machine.  I can use it at any time without having to put on specific clothes and I can choose to have a harder workout or an easier one without having to make a specific plan. 

It’s a kind of automatic exercise for me which is really good for my ADHD brain – there are few, if any, choices to make in advance and that means there are very few potential obstacles between me and my workout.

Plus, I like the very nature of the movement back and forth, the repetition has a soothing element to it.

A person in an inflatable T-Rex costume is using a rowing machine in a small living room.
This does NOT look soothing. I hope I look a little smoother than this when I row. Image description: a GIF of a person in an inflatable T-Rex costume is using a rowing machine in a small living room with potted plants all around. Because the head of the costume is so far above the person’s head, their movements look very jerky.

And, I like that I can do a very specific type of multi-tasking – watching YouTube videos – while I row.

I enjoy learning by video but I don’t often make time to do so. Combining my exercise with videos is a win-win situation – I am doing two enjoyable things at once and my brain and body are both busy so I don’t get any of my usual feeling that I should probably be doing something else. 

I even pick out my videos the night before so there is little between my pyjama-clad self and my exercise session in the mornings. I can get up, let the dog out (and back in!), grab some water, take my meds,  and then head to the basement to row. It’s all part of my waking up routine and it really feels great. 

Speaking of feeling great, my rowing has brought me an unexpected positive side-effect – my hips have loosened up considerably.

A GIF of a cartoon duck spinning his hips in a circle while standing in the spotlight.
Maybe they aren’t quite *this* loose but they do feel good. Image description: GIF of cartoon character Daffy Duck standing in a spotlight with his wings up behind his head, his hips are moving in a very loose circle.

Because of long-ago sessions at the gym, I knew that my arms, back, and legs were going to benefit from using the machine but I hadn’t really thought about how the set  of movements required to row would help my hips, too.  

I sort of have a ‘trick’ hip. It’s mostly fine but every now and then I’ll do something that will wonk it out and it will take me a few days to get it to calm down again.

Practicing kicks at taekwon-do has often triggered my hip in that way but I only realize it *after* I have done it. I’ve done a variety of things to work on it (with various degrees of consistency – I’m still me after all) but nothing has been especially helpful. Until now.

About three weeks after starting regular rowing sessions, our Thursday night TKD class was all about practicing sidekicks and angle kicks. Normally, with a night full of those kicks, my hip would wonk out at some point during the evening and I’d either have to reduce my movements or do something else entirely.

This time, however, I was tired but my hip was completely fine. I was puzzled at first but as I was pulling my leg up and back into position for one of the kicks, I realized that the motion was familiar. It’s not exactly like the position of my leg as I pull all the way forward on the machine but it’s similar. 

I didn’t have any trouble with my hips that night. And, more importantly, I didn’t wake up stiff or in pain the next morning. In fact, I rowed for a bit longer than I had the day before. 

It turns out that my rowing was setting me up for new success with taekwon-do. 

A person rotates on one foot while holding the other leg in the air before doing a high kick.
Okay, this is just straight-up wishful thinking on my part. Image description: GIF of a person standing on one foot, spinning in a circle and then executing a very high kick. Their hair is in a ponytail, and they are wearing a pink shirt and black leggings.

That’s a pretty good side-effect for an activity I was enjoying already. 

Have you ever had one type of exercise ‘accidentally’ help you in another like that?

Tell me about it in the comments! (Pretty please.)

fitness · gear · hiking · walking

Christine’s boots are made for walking…well, hiking really.

I bought my first pair of hiking boots recently and I LOVE them.

I’ve *meant* to buy a pair for YEARS but somehow never got around to it.

I do a fair but of walking but I haven’t done a lot of hiking in the last. It seemed weird to buy special footwear when I could just wear my sneakers and do just fine.

But I plan to do more hiking and there’s a difference between doing ‘fine’ and doing well.

Any time that I *have* gone on a hike, my sneakers have let me down. Either my feet have gotten wet or I have slid around a bit or I have almost turned my ankle. My sneakers were fine but I looked in envy at my friends in their hiking boots who seemed to be having a smoother hike than I was.

Often, I’d get home and scope out hiking boots online and then put the search aside for later…and never get back to it until I was once again annoyed on a hike.

Recently though, I came across the perfect hiking boots in my price range.

They remind me of a pair my most outdoorsy sister had years ago, so that’s inspirational. And the fact that she used to wear them out clubbing almost as often as she wore them out hiking bodes well for their potential comfort. (She used to call them her ‘dancing boots, in fact.)

Anyway, I have been wearing them on my walks with Khalee lately and I am really understanding the difference between doing ‘fine’ and doing ‘well.’

Now that spring is here-ish, I would normally have ditched my winter boots for my sneakers. But, since I have hiking boots I have been wearing them instead and they are the perfect in-between for right now.

My feet are dry, I feel sure-footed, and I like how my boots look. I can’t wait to try them on an actual hike.

Bring on hiking season!

A top-down photo of the author’s feet in a pair of brown hiking boots , she is standing on some snow.
There’s still snow on the ground in lots of places but let’s take the upside and note how nicely my boots contrast with it. 😉 Image description: Top down photo of the author’s denim-clad legs and feet. She’s wearing pair of chocolate brown hiking boots and standing on some snow that is lit by sunshine.
fitness · gadgets · gear

Taking tips from babies: soothing and activity toys for grownups

Babies look happiest to me when they’re moving, particularly in some unusual way. I remember lifting (tossing? throwing?) my niece and nephews in the air when they were tiny, and they just loved it. They loved sensation, and movement, and comfort, and color. So do I, for that matter.

This got me to thinking: as we are all waiting around for mass vaccination to make its way around the globe, we’re all still in need of comfort and diversion and delight. Why not take a page out of the baby leisure time playbook?

For instance, babies know how to get comfy in style:

Baby, enjoying the view from a colorful patterned doughnut-shaped big pillow.

You know, we can have this, too:

Woman, enjoying the view from an enormous marshmellow-shaped beanbag chair.

It doesn’t even seem to clash with her decor. Excellent!

This mood pillow (with two modes– happy and mad) would be perfect for department meetings (zoom or live).

Sometimes, though, we (like babies) gotta move. I’ve always thought that the jolly jumper was one of the best inventions ever. You know what I mean: this.

Baby in mid-jolly jump, in harness attached to triangular thingie.
Baby in mid-jolly jump, in harness attached to triangular thingie.

Turns out, they make a version of this for adults now. Yay!

Especially since the pandemic hit, I’ve noticed more play-things for at-home adult movement distraction. Here are a few more:

The levels of fun, functionality and fear-inducement vary quite a bit for these gadgets. I doubt they’re had the rigorous testing that we get with baby-gadgets. I’m sure this thing below hasn’t been adequately examined by some regulatory board, else it wouldn’t be out there in this form:

Three steel bars, of which two attach to your feet, to crank your legs apart in hopes of doing a split and not tearing ligaments in the process. Please don’t try this at home or elsewhere.

Nor do I recommend that you plug in this purple envelope with infra-red heat (according to the FAQ), to lie in a pool of sweat for a long time. No self-respecting baby would put up with this for any amount of time.

Woman pretending to be relaxed in a very hot purple envelope, when she's really sweating the house down.
Woman pretending to be relaxed in a very hot purple envelope, when she’s really sweating the house down.

You may be wondering: what among these items would Catherine try? That’s easy– bungee fitness flying! I don’t think I’ll be setting this up at my house, but some studios offer it, so maybe later this year I can get my jolly jumper on…

Flying through the air, courtesy of bungees.

Readers– what gadgets have you seen over the past year that remind you of fun kid playsets? Have you tried any of them? I’d love to hear about it. Also, if you’re tried bungee fitness in a studio, that would be fun to hear about, too.