bikes + kids


Travelling with a baby/infant

Travelling – the next stage!
you want to travel from a to b, your child has outgrown either the trailer or seat you used. where to go? options, as usual can be cheap to horrific!!

currently, our children are 4 and 8. our 8 year old cycle/road able, our 4 year old – well too unpredictable on a bike.

The bikes we have chose for our girls are:
BB aged 4 has an islabike Cnoc 14. She is still shorter than SB was at a similar age, so hasn’t grown into the Puky bike that SB had as her first bike. this is the most similar current design.

BB has the added advantage of having used a like-a-bike [ a cheap lidl version!] for over a year, and had excellent balance from this, so has never needed stabilisers, so all systems go straight away with her islabike. this isalbike is rugged, and has survived countless crashes and tumbles without any problems. a good bike for a mountain biking baby!

SB had the first Islabike in the family, on growing out of stabilisers and her Puky. Again a fab price. I kind of expired when i found out how much it cost, but we are a high bike using family, and include off as well as on tracks. much recommended.

And I now ride a bottecchia ladies trekking hybrid, that i am very happy with, having for years just borrowed one of Chris’s many bikes. i have a feeling he will be feeling new bike deprived soon…

But actually, this page is more on travelling about with them, than why we chose theirs and our own bikes! that would take another page or 2!

hooking them on:
The Trailgator is the cheapest option (you can get them for 40 quid). Once it is all fitted it is pretty quick to enagage and disengage the the kids bike. It is pretty stable, I can notice it behind me and it does affect the handling a bit, but not so much as to be a problem – the seatpost attachment is not the best place to tow something really. But it is better than it looks :-)

For what we bought it for – so that BB can ride her bike and then be towed when necessary (when tired, on the road etc.) i think it’s fine. If I was going to use it all the time or for longer journeys I’d prefer to look for something else. You need to make sure you tighten it well, as we have seen the odd family with children on a tilt – and in fact fixed their bikes en route. The trailgator website says up to 32 Kg.

The Follow-me Tandem is device to do the same thing, but which is more stable and better for towing, but lots, lots more expensive. If we didn’t have a tandem already I might have considered buying this at some point though. someone I know online has one and rates it higly.

The advantage of both of these options is the childs bike comes along, so it is good for when they will have the chance to get detacted and cycle as well.

tag along additions:
I think these have the advantage of being more stable than a trailgator, a bit more stoking power from the trailee and, TBH, more aesthetically pleasing. An example of a fairly cheap and cheerful one.

The one linked to is pretty typical of the cheaper (£80-100) copies of the Adams Trail-a-bike. I’d want to check the sizing on these though. some of the cheaper ones say up to about 9yo other 7yo, but Adams do a larger 24 inch wheeled version for older kids as well.

These type of Trailer bike all fit to the seatpost – it’s not the best place as it impacts more on the handling of the towing bike. Better versions attach to a mounting on the rear rack over the back wheel, such as the Islabikes one or the Burley Piccolo. But we are talking £200 + for these.

It goes without saying that the towing bike needs to have decent brakes. As a trailer bike + child could easily be 30kg + load. Luckily, pretty much all modern bikes have good brakes.

you could consider something like a dawes duet, which does a child version. or you could have one that passes for a 10+ as well as an adult, and then from it trail a second child. a cheap example:

So, in tandem territory, which is probably £300 for the very cheapest options, even with a child back version smaller/younger children may not fit the rear pedals without an adaption. We have one though – must find it and link to it. we have modified it a bit on and off since purchase, and if you do a lot of family cycling, a build your own spec one – with an appropriately customised price tag – may well be the answer

It really depends on how much use and how much you want to spend. for poottling around town, or a few miles around a country park or whatever, and assuming that you don’t want to be spending loads then I’d say a cheaper Trailer bike, or Trailgator would do the job for you.

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