Baby seats, trailers, cargo bikes … How to choose between them and find one that really suits you? As you research your options, consider each in terms of your needs for flexibility, ease of use, safety, parking, and cost. If you are worried about making the wrong choice, remember there is a strong second hand market, making it easier to sell an item that is unsuitable or outgrown. Continue reading “Kid Carrying Considerations”
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?
For babies and toddlers the options are:
- a child/baby seat on your current bike
- a trailer attached to your bike
- a special bike that accommodates kids
Each option provides different levels support and protection. Here are some considerations as you work out what is best for you and your child. Continue reading “Bubs on bikes”
A Chariot CX2 cycle trailer was our major purchase when expecting our first child. After two children and six years of use we were sad to see it go. I made a photo slide show celebrating its usefulness:
We chose the ‘Chariot’ brand double trailer for its safety, versatility and protection. We used it extensively not only for cycling, but also as a jogging pram, single and double stroller and cargo trailer for errands around town. On outings, we’ve even put our daughters balance bike in the trailer with her, so she could self-propel from time to time. It was light and easy to tow. Our biggest accident with it was when we misjudged the track width and it jack-knifed off the trail and down a bank. Our child, although surprised, was unharmed (and thought the whole incident was a blast).
Width and length of the overall ‘rig’ are the main downside of trailers. Our local bike trail uses very narrow pinch point gates to discourage motorbikes. To get past we had to unhitch it and lift it over, which is definitely a two person job. As a stroller it was wide and not always easy to maneuver around shops and through doorways. We found that the disadvantages were outweighed by its versatility, durability, excellent weather protection and its gear/groceries carrying capacity.
What piece of family cycling equipment would you like to nominate for a hall of fame?