Semi independence

What do you do when your child is getting too old for their bike seat or trailer; but aren’t quite ready for cycling independently?  They may be able to ride their own bike, but perhaps not for the distances you are covering.   Or maybe they spend your adventures napping and then outmatch your energy levels at bedtime?  Thankfully there are some options in the middle that allow your child to pedal whilst you determine speed and direction.

Joining forces: Trail Gator

The ‘Trail Gator’ is a tow bar device that enables you to tow your child on their own bike.  It lifts their front wheel off the ground and attaches their bike to yours via a rigid bar.  Their bike can be easily detached, whereby you fold the bar and stow it clipped to the side of your bike.  That way they can ride when they feel able, and be towed when the going gets tough.  It also means they have their own bike to play on when they get to your destination; handy for riding to bike tracks or playgrounds.  They can be tricky to install initially, but offer great versatility.  

Trail Gator is just one brand, and is sold in New Zealand.  There are other brands sold overseas.

Add-on to your bike: Trailer cycles

Also known as a trailer cycle, and trademarked names such as Trailerbike, Trail-a-bike, Half wheeler or Tagalong.

On a trailer biker the child sits upright on a standard bike seat, with their own pedals and handlebars.  It usually attaches to the seatpost of the adult bike and follows (pretty much) in line with the adults bike.  One quite different option is the ‘Weehoo’: the child sits in a chair type seat which gives them enough support for a nap along the way.  It also has useful on-board storage pockets and panniers.

We found the WeeHoo offered some tumble protection.  In freak weather on the Otago Central Trail, we were blown off our bikes.  Whilst I was bruised and bleeding our Wee-Hoo passenger was completely uninjured.

Tandems & Kiddy Cranks

Another option is to use a Tandem, with ‘kiddy cranks’ which adapt the pedals/cranks for a child to use.  I’ve not experience with these myself so will point you to someone who has: Family Adventure Project.  They have great advice and lots of experience: check out their pictures and see how many members of the family you can get attached to one bike/tandem.  Amazing!

What towing options have you used? Which would you recommend?

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