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I have bought a city bike and together with it a child carrier for my 2.5 year old son (He is a pretty big boy). Although HE sits very comfortable I continuously hit his feet with my heels. Of course it has to do in some way with the construction of the bike. However, I did have a look online at other carrier constructions, but they all seem to be to close to the peddling feet when you don't sit up straight on your bike. Does this problem sounds familiar and do you know a carrier without this problem, please let me know. Thanks
Hey all you biking moms and dads. I'm looking for advice on biking in the Berkeley hills with my 17 month old son. We live near Grizzly Peak Ave. and I would like to be able to bike down to campus or the Shattuck Ave. area and then, potentially, bike back up with groceries, etc. (or we'll take the bus). He already weighs close to 30 lbs and is over 34 in. long. A trailer doesn't seem like a good idea because I assume it will be too heavy for me to tow uphill, and I'm worried about visibility issues with inattentive car drivers. The two options I'm considering are a rear bike carrier and a front carrier. Do any of you have a carrier you really like? Where did you get it? What are the issues I need to consider? Thanks for your help.
I am thinking of getting a front mounted seat for my toddler on my bike. I checked old postings and there was only one message from 2002. I'm hoping design has changed and improved since then. Has anyone had experience, good or bad, with a front mounted seat? Is it hard to reach the handlebars around your child if you are an average sized woman (5'4'')? Any other impediments to riding comfortably? Where did you get your seat? Finally, anyone out there have a seat that they are ready to get rid of for a fair price? Thanks for any information. holly
I can't tell you if your arms would fit around it since I'm pretty tall. I was initially concerned that my knees would hit the seat but I found that since I'm going slow anyways that I just adjust my peddling accordingly. A great addition to the front seat is one of those jellibells that your kid can spin. Alex
Anyone have any advice about which toddler bike seat is safe and sturdy. I have read about the Kettler Dumbo seat. Also I can't seem to find any bike shops with a good selection, any recommendations? Is it safe to buy a used one?
I am trying to decide among the available models of front-mounted bicycle seats, and wonder if anyone out there has tried one or more of them. Which model do you use? How easy is it to get your toddler in and out of the seat? How much does it affect your pedaling? How easy is it to take on/off as needed? many thanks! Rebecca
The ride isn't as comfortable as your knees need to be angled out a little. A nice feature of the wee-rider/Centric Safe Haven is that it comes off the bike pretty easily. It mounts onto a bar that runs just above the bar on a 'boys' bike. The bar stays on, but the seat is easily removed without tools. I have a 'boys' bike, so the bar isn't noticeable to me when I ride without the seat.
We also looked at purchasing a front-mounted Dutch seat, but they didn't look as comfortable as the Centric Safe Haven. Feel free to contact me directly with more questions jan
I am considering buying a rear bicycle carrier (seat) for my almost 2-year old (24 lbs), and would appreciate recommendations for or against different brands. I would rather not spend top dollar but if that is what it takes for safety/tolerability I will. Recommendations for toddler helmets (that she might actually wear and is less likely to ride forward if there is a high headrest) would be helpful too. Thank you! Anna
Where can I get a front mounted child seat for my bike? I'm not sure what they are called, or what name brands they are. I've seen a few around town and would feel much safer with my child in front than in back. I've already had a couple of not so good experiences with the back mounted child seat and do not want a trailer. Thanks Biking mom
I am looking for information on the safety ratings of pull-behind vs bike rack carriers for transporting a toddler behind or on her parent's bike. My husband and I would like to get back into biking on a semi-weekly basis around the neighborhood and through nearby parks (in Walnut Creek) and would like to take our 25 lb 18 month old daughter with us. I am concerned that the pull-behind carriers would be susceptible to being hit from behind (they are wider than the bike) and/or would compromise the turning and easy operation of the parent's bike. How safe are on-the-bike rack seats? Are they even sold anymore? My gut feeling is that I would prefer to have my daughter as close to me as possible, because it would give me more control and she would be safer in an unexpected situation. I would like to hear any personal insights, experience, and preferences you might have. Thanks! Rachel
As for getting rear-ended, the trailer is typically bright yellow with an international-orange pennant flying on the left (traffic) side; a motorist oblivious enough to rear-end something like that would rear-end anything. As the one driving the bicycle, you have the job of watching car traffic from all directions and keeping both bike and carrier out of harm's way. I think there's no significant difference between rack-mounts and trailers in that regard. A bike with a rack-mount carrier presents a smaller target, but if motorist and cyclist are out to lunch nobody's safe.
Both rack-mount carriers and trailers degrade the bike's turning and handling, of course: the rack-mount makes it tippier, as I said, and a passenger inclined to lean and wave unpredictably can make for some thrilling moments (though to be fair I should say they quickly learn to hold still!). The trailer makes it feel like you're pulling a house, but it doesn't hurt the turning much. You do need to mind the trailer's turning characteristics, which are not the same as your bicycle's.
With either carrier, of course, you want to make sure the kid is securely strapped in, and make several practice runs before carrying a "live load"; the first time I towed my daughter in a trailer I took a corner too close and flipped the darn thing. Being well strapped in, she was unhurt (though somewhat disposed to criticize). Well-fitted Snell-standard helmets for all, of course (or at least ANSI-standard--it can be hard to get a Snell-standard helmet for a toddler).
I think your gut feeling is, with all due respect, in need of calibration. Having the kid close to you doesn't necessarily make her safer, or help you stay in control; if that were true, you'd hold her in your lap when you drive your car, not put her in a child-safety seat in back. On a bike, I think she's safer six feet away in a stable two-wheeled trailer, with lots of protected space around her, than two feet away in a seat that makes your bike hard to mount and tippy to ride. With the rack-mount, whatever happens to you and your bike happens to the kid: if you wipe out on a turn, she goes down with you, and no way will you be able to twist around on the way down and hold her off the pavement (the seat will do a lot of that for you, but you can depend on some abrasions on her arms and/or legs). With the trailer, no matter what happens to you and the bike, she's got two wheels on the ground and an aluminum cage around her. My two cents. John
When we ride an Alleycat/pull-along with him riding 3 feet behind me, I have to evaluate a much larger space (both physically and psychologically) for our safety. While I am still learning and adapting to these new factors, it is exhausting. Frankly, I am dreading the day (very soon) when my son exceeds 40 pounds and can no longer ride in the seat, because hauling him and the Alleycat feels like much more work. And with both types of transport, my son needed to learn what was acceptable (wiggling, waving wildly at a neighbor on the sidewalk, or whatever).
I suspect there are stats somewhere on bicycle accidents with children in all types of transporting devices and maybe that information would shed light on the particular conditions of danger or safety, eg. trailers make sense on wider rural or suburban roads, but not necessarily in urban congestion.
Happy cycling! Claire
Some connect to the seat post, which raises the center of gravity and causes pbs similar to a rack mounted seat. Others connect to the axle of the rear wheel, which keeps the bike's and the trailer's weight closer to the ground.
I bought a tandem trailer that attaches to the seat post and that my son loves, but now regret not having gone for the fancy and expensive Burley brand, that attaches at a lower level (on a rack, w/ joint right above the wheel, vertically lined w/the rear axle) and would make it easier and safer to ride with. Eric
The rear seat arrangement works great for urban cycling in Oakland where we ride in traffic. I feel more manueverable and more difficult to hit. The worst part of any bike trip for us trip is getting the bike helmet on our son's head. His neck has been pinched in the buckle so he is very wary of the process. Once in the rear seat, he often sings to himself, and often falls asleep. When we do tour with our son on the back, we are unable to carry cargo on the rear rack. Thus we haven't toured with the tandem, and when we took our bicycles on the train to Pismo Beach this past summer, I carried our boy, and my wife packed all of our gear on her bike when we rode between Pismo and San Luis Obispo. Protectection from the sun is also more difficult on the rear seat as opposed to a trailer.
We debated purchasing a third rack for my wife's single bike, but we are seeking to purchase a collapsable trailer, in anticipation of a second child down the path. We rented a trailer while riding on some grade separated bike paths in Wisconsin this summer and our 14 month old son enjoyed himself in the trailer, despite the fine grit that the bike's rear real tossed up and filtered through the screen mesh (it was too hot to have the cover on). I did find a web site that addressed some of your concerns, and reaffirmed some of mine.
http://www.ibike.org/infant.htm Good luck. Kevin
Personally, I dread seeing those bike trailers on the road. They always take me by surprise. Usually, I'll see the bike first, then the flag, then LO AND BEHOLD there's this trailer DOWN there where I least expect to see a vehicle. I always find it startling. Then I breathe a sigh of relief that I saw it THIS time and pray that next time I won't be distracted by something else on the road to see the bike trailer in time.
A contributing factor could be the busy streets on which I usually encounter these trailers (such as MLK around Cedar). You are dealing with narrow streets, garbage trucks, double-parked cars, etc. The flag helps (better than nothing), but is not as obvious as you might think when there's numerous other stuff going on.
BTW, I do consider myself a safe driver. I am usually carrying precious cargo myself (my two kids), so I do try to be extra careful. But, ugh, I shudder every time I see one of them bike trailers...
After cycling (and driving!) around Berkeley for several years, I have discoverd that jaywalkers are just as dangerous as cars. I consider myself a paranoid cyclist, but twice today I almost collided with a pedestrian, and a few months ago, I did. She stepped out into the street without looking, and while she stayed standing, I hit the pavement hard enough to wreck my helmet. I was just thankful my son wasn't in the bike seat, or he surely would have been injured.
So I prefer a bike trailer :-). That said, I agree with a previous poster concerning busy streets and trailers: they don't mix. I think cyclists should be wary of *cycling* on busy streets (such as Ashby or Shattuck), let alone pulling a bike trailer. I use "bike routes" or residential streets as much as possible and cross busy streets (like Telegraph) with the help of streetlights. So far, cars have been very considerate and both my son and I have enjoyed our rides immensely. YMMV Laurel
Hi, I was the one who asked a few months ago about bike seats. My question was specifically about back seats vs trailers, and the age at which babies can start riding, but people replied with useful general information too. Below are the replies I got (I didn't know whether I should keep or strip contributors' names, so erred on the side of anonymity, but if you want to know who said something i can look it up). Basically the advice, in summary form, is:
BTW: We have the Road Gear bike seat and our toddler loves riding in it and finally loves to wear her helmet, especially since Mommy and Daddy wear theirs as well.
Trish. mom of 22-mo-old
We use front panniers mounted on a (recrafted) front rack to carry diapers, lunches, laundry and whatever else we are carrying that day. I think a trailer would be preferable in more suburban, or at least less urban environment, or when Simon gets older because his movements (gesturing wildly at a cat crossing the road...a lost balloon...) can really make the bike sway. It is hard work carrying so much stuff if you add up the pounds (child, seat, wet diapers, bottles, 2 lunches, extra pants...something to the tune of 37-40 extra pounds!) but it sure is a lot of fun and feels really good to get off of a bicycle at the end of the trip, better than look for a parking place. Simon and I can sing, stop and look at things, and get lots of fresh air just getting to and from work, and it is such a pleasure. There is an article in the April issue of Mothering magazine about bicycling with babies & children which gives more good advice about gear, but I think most of it is attitude and commitment to bicycling. The lovely lad in the checkered pants is Simon and that's his mom on her trusty steed!! Good luck! Claire
1) I'd be reluctant to put a child much under 1 year old on a bicycle. Their necks are not strong enough to hold the helmet up. In Massachusetts, it's illegal to have a child under 1 on a bike; I'm not sure about in a trailer, but they do still need a helmet.
2) RhodeGear makes great bike seats ($70-$120, I think) that are extremely easy to mount and demount from your bike. We started with a cheap one from Toys R Us, and it was terrible, despite the advertisement "mounts without tools" on the box.
3) Bikes are definitely less stable with a child seat. I compensate by lowering my seat so I can put my feet almost flat on the ground, and have never had any trouble. The advantages to bike seats over trailers are that you can have a conversation with your child while you ride, and you don't have to worry about the trailer in tight places. If you'll be commuting on city streets with the baby, I'd get the bike seat; if you'll mostly be sticking to bike trails for recreational use, the trailer would be better.
4) As far as I know, neither one will hold your child until s/he is big enough to ride a bike without training wheels. Bike trailers are generally rated for ages 1-4; kids will grow out of a bike seat between ages 3-4 (my very small daughter barely fit through age 4.5).
5) There are trailers, made by Adams Trail-A-Bike, that will hold older kids -- the child rides on a regular bike seat and has pedals and handlebars. I use one now for commuting and drop my daughter off at school on the way to work. It's a little scary riding through the city with a trailer -- they're not very maneuverable, and even with the tall warning flag I'm afraid that some drivers won't notice the trailer. However, at least it's narrower than my bike, unlike the trailers for little kids. I think that some of these trailers can also be mounted with an infant seat, so you could look into getting one for the baby, but I'd be more comfortable with the bike seat.
Happy bicycling! Beth
I've had a trailer made by "Burley" for several years and I recommend them VERY highly! It folds up pretty small, converts to a great stroller, and I think it's very safe. I was even hit (well, nudged) by a van once with my daughter in the trailer and she didn't even notice ('till she saw me screamin' at the bonehead who did it).
In any case, 5 months is probably still a little young. I would wait until you can fit a helmet on him (and he can still hold his head up). Our pediatrician made me wait until our daughter was about 10 months. And don't you dare take him anywhere in a seat or a trailer without a helmet on both of you! :) Craig
When he was one, I got the cheapest toddler seat model available, and he loved riding with me right away. The helmet was no problem, only he always made sure that I would wear mine too! I also love being able to talk with him and knowing I can check on him whenever I want to. The problem now is that he weighs 45 lbs at 3, and the seat has a max. capacity of 40 lbs. I love the idea of trailers in terms of weight distribution and carrying capacity, but not in the middle of city traffic. Eric
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