Greater Greater Washington

Bicycling


Bring the kids on your next bike ride with these products

To those who think biking alone in the city may seem perilous, biking with kids in the city can seem downright reckless. But there are lots of options to bring the kids safely along with you as you bike around the city.


Photo by the author.

From bakfietsen to Xtracycles, Kidical Mass DC, WABA, DDOT Safe Routes to School are presenting The ABC's of Family Biking to show off and demonstrate kid-friendly bike options this Saturday, 11 am to 2 pm at the Capitol Hill Montessori School at Logan, 215 G Street NE.

Whether they are add-ons to an existing bikes, such as bike seats and trailers, or full cargo bikes, like longtails and boxbikes, a number of products can help you and your kids explore new parts of the city together and perhaps even create a new daily commuting routine.

As the organizer of Kidical Mass DC, I love to share the ins-and-outs of biking with kids. Biking around DC with my son during the past 2 years has been more fun than I ever could have imagined. It's a joy for both of us because my son loves that we can pull over on the road whenever we see anything interesting. And I get a very real thrill that unlike other parents in the area, I don't have to worry about hunting for parking when I'm dropping him off at daycare. Plus, by using the bike to run everyday errands with him in tow, I'm teaching him that bikes are a safe, useful, and normal way of getting around.

I've learned a lot about the different approaches to biking with kids and think that with the right knowledge, nearly any parent can share the delights of cycling with their own children. Below is a summary of some of the most common cycling options for parents who have kids aged from infancy to early school age, listed in order of cost.

Bike Seats ($)

If you want to try biking with your children without making a big investment in gear, aftermarket bike seats are a great first step. Easily adaptable to a variety of bike types and brands, relatively cheap, and offering the intimacy of having your child within arm's reach during the whole ride, bike seats that bolt onto either the front stem or rear rack of your bike are a great economical choice.

The most commonly-seen bike seats bike seats are Topeak's rear seat (ubiquitous in bike shops) and the iBert front-mounted seat, a neon green contraption that is outstanding for its ability to fit onto a broad range of bike types and sizes.

I have used both front and rear seats and there are pluses and minuses to both. Front seats are unbeatable for staying in contact with and monitoring the comfort of your child. Your child gets to see everything that's going on around him or her, and drivers can't miss the fact that you're child is with you.

A front seat's main disadvantage, in my view, is that they're only usable for 2 or maybe 3 years because most have a maximum weight limit of 35 pounds. Rear-mounted seats, though, will hold kids weighing up to 50 pounds. Kids riding behind cyclists are also a little more protected from the weather than kids riding on the front of the bike.

You should keep a few considerations in mind before you head out to the local bike shop. First, what kind of handlebars does your bike have? Front-mounted seats go best with upright or mountain-type handlebars. Also, some front-mounted seats only work with certain stem diameters and otherwise require adaptors to be used.

Additionally, make sure your kickstand is sturdy and well-balanced enough to handle the additional weight of a child on your bike. You might even want to look into aftermarket centerstands like this one available from Velo Orange to provide more balanced support for your bike.

One more consideration: I strongly recommend using a mixte, loop, or other step-through frame if you're going to bike with a child on the back of your bike. It makes it easier to get on and off your bike without kicking your child in the face (ask me how I know!).

With a price point of $100 to $200, child seats are the most economical way to start biking with kids if you already have an appropriate bike.

Front seats:

Rear seats:Trailers ($$)

For many years, trailers were the ultimate bike accessory for the hard-core, year-round cycling parent in the United States. They attach to nearly any kind of bike, include canopies to keep out the cold and rain, can carry a significant amount of cargo, and can accommodate a broad age range of passengers. Many trailers also convert to strollers, meaning that parents can potentially address two needs with a single tool.


Photo by ajfroggie on Flickr.
If you're on a limited budget and need to invest in a single kid-hauling accessory that will carry your child from an infant (in a car-seat, of course) to school-age, trailers are probably your best bet. There is also a strong resale economy for trailers, so it's usually easy to either find a used trailer online or sell your own trailer when you're finished with it.

The two big names in the trailer world are Burley and Chariot. Made in the U.S.A. and Canada respectively, Burley and Chariot offer trailers in a wide range of sizes and weights at prices ranging from $300 to close to $700 depending on the size and features. Thanks to its many years in the business, Burley has a fantastic customer support system that offers replacement parts even for models that haven't been made in five or more years. Chariot produces a similar fleet of trailers but focuses more on the multi-sport market: they offer conversion kits for walking, jogging, and even skiing to increase the versatility of their trailers.

Trailers:

Longtails ($$$)

A recent innovation, longtails are a great compromise between the speed and maneuverability of a regular two-wheeled bike and the cargo capacity of a boxbike. The original longtail is Xtracycle's Free Radical. The Free Radical is a frame extension that bolts on to an existing bike frame in the place of the rear wheel, moving the rear wheel back and adding an extended platform to the back of the bike.

Since first developing the Free Radical, Xtracycle has continued to refine its design and has spawned several variations on the original concept of bikes with extended tails. The company partnered with Surly to design an all-in-one longtail bike, the Big Dummy, that incorporates the longtail concept in a single frame and is therefore sturdier and able to handle larger loads. Recent other variations have included Xtracycle's Radish (a lighter-weight, step-through frame), the Yuba Mundo, and the Kona Ute.


Photo by the author.
Longtails are a great way to carry multiple children at the same time or to carry older kids. Even after they outgrow bike seats and trailers, kids can perch on the rear decks of these versatile bikes. With a little creativity, you can even fit three kids at a time on a longtail.

Longtails are relatively lightweight for their cargo capacity and, though even a simple FreeRadical conversion kit costs more than some trailers, are a great investment for their ability to accommodate many different combinations of cargo and kids. FreeRadicals are about $500 while other longtail styles can cost from $1,100 to $2,000.

Longtails:

Boxbikes ($$$$)

The true SUVs of the cycling world, cargo trikes and bakfietsen are low-maintenance, weatherproof, nearly bombproof kid-hauling machines. Both types of cargo bikes feature a dramatically extended front end with a large, sturdy front box mounted on the frame. Cargo trikes have one rear wheel and two front wheels on either side of the box while bakfietsen (the Dutch plural for "boxbike") have one rear wheel and one front wheel that sits in front of the box. Some bakfietsen sport a box large enough to comfortably accommodate even four children, or two children, a dog, and a bunch of groceries.


Photo by the author.

Equipped with weather canopies, plenty of cargo space, built-in seats with seatbelts, and sometimes even integrated lighting systems, boxbikes are the ultimate turn-key option for families who want to make a full commitment to going car-free or extremely car-light. They often feature fully enclosed shifting and braking systems for maximum weatherproofness, so keeping these bikes outside shouldn't be a problem. This is especially important for those without dedicated garage space. Many boxbikes have chain guards while some even include full chain cases for the ultimate maintenance-free drivetrain.

As you might expect, all these features come with a price. Boxbikes typically start at $2,700 and, depending on capacity and other factors, can increase in price to $4,000 or more.

Of course, that's about 10 times more than most people would ever dream of paying for a bike. But $4,000 is about one-third the cost of the very cheapest car you can purchase new. Plus the annual maintenance costs for the boxbike are practically nil. More than any other family biking tool, boxbikes are designed to serve as true car replacements, giving that price tag a different context and making them a worthwhile investment. Additionally, considering how much space car seats take up in the back seat of a sedan, a cargo trike or bakfiets could even carry more children than your typical family sedan!

Bakfietsen:

Cargo trikes:If you want to explore these options further, be sure to stop by the ABC's of Family Biking this Saturday. Thanks to several helpful bike shops and a cadre of enthusiastic (evangelical, even) parent cyclists, we will be demonstrating many of the types and brands of bikes and bike equipment described above.

* available in local shops, either in-stock or by special order

Comments

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Great, informative post.

Any of these compatible with a CaBi for an occasional outing?

by Arl Fan on Apr 20, 2012 1:15 pm • linkreport

Surprised you don't mention trail-a-bikes. I'm weighing whether to move my 4.5yo from trailer to trail-a-bike this summer, for commuting.

by Rachel on Apr 20, 2012 1:21 pm • linkreport

I loved our bobike mini. Only problem was when we had two kids. I couldn't handle putting kids back and front.

by Michael Perkins on Apr 20, 2012 1:26 pm • linkreport

Rachel- there will be a trail-a-bike at the even tomorrow so come on over and check it out!

by Nicole on Apr 20, 2012 1:30 pm • linkreport

Nicole - No way I can make it, but thanks! I really wish more bike shops in DC kept trailers and/or trail-a-bikes on hand for test driving. I don't want to buy THEN find out my kid can't handle the afternoon commute.

P.S. Arl Fan - no, you can't put a seat or a trailer on CaBi.

by Rachel on Apr 20, 2012 1:34 pm • linkreport

@Arl Fan, the trailer I purchased from Nashbar.com a few years ago uses a simple clamp to attach to the chainstay of the towing bike. I haven't tried it, but I bet it would work with a Cabi.

Since I built up my Xtracycle though, my two kids ride on the X and the trailer is only used for bringing loads home from the wholesale store.

by dcvelobrew on Apr 20, 2012 1:42 pm • linkreport

Rachel- they are definitely few and far between in stores. I have seen them occasionally at College Park Bicycles but do not know their test ride/ return policy.

by Nicole on Apr 20, 2012 1:54 pm • linkreport

@Rachel: I started to write about "transition" bikes for older kids like trail-a-bikes and balance bikes, but the post length started to get out of control. Additionally, since my son is still just two years old, I don't have firsthand experience with trail-a-bikes. It looks like you can't make it to ABC's tomorrow, so e-mail me at KidicalMassDC at Gmail and I'll send you a copy of the Resource Guide, which will include contact information for cyclists who use trail-a-bikes.

@dcvelobrew: That's really helpful information. Thanks for sharing! I had checked out the geometry of the CaBi bikes and basically concluded that there was no good way to transport a kid, short of clamping a trail-a-bike on the seat post. The other factor involved, besides geometry, is time. It takes several minutes to get a really secure clamp-down with a lot of these accessories, and that time would cut into your free half-hour on a CaBi.

by Megan on Apr 20, 2012 1:56 pm • linkreport

Yeah, I'm a turd, sorry in advance -- GGW's oddly hands-off treatment of bikeshops. Yes, if you bike in DC, you've probably been condescended to, ripped off, etc. But i know at least two shops sell the mentioned bikes and accessories, and are providing loaners for this event. No, I don't work for a shop, but am friends with the owner of one of these smallest of the DC small businesses. A little link love at a minimum could make their investment of time, effort, and inventory investment worthwhile.

by darren on Apr 20, 2012 1:57 pm • linkreport

@Rachel & Niole:

The unavailability of many of these specialized accessories in store was what inspired me to organize the ABC's--I hoped to give parents a one-stop place to "test-ride" these products without having to visit five different stores from Arlington to College Park.

I'm working on a project to survey local bike shops to find out who sells what. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the survey will be ready for tomorrow's event, but I'll keep plugging away and will share the information with the GGW community when it's ready.

by Megan on Apr 20, 2012 2:00 pm • linkreport

Thanks for all your work on this Megan! I am looking forward to tomorrow.

by Nicole on Apr 20, 2012 2:03 pm • linkreport

@darren: I can't speak to previous GGW policy on calling out bike shops by name, but I'm happy to give BicycleSPACE and The Daily Rider the credit they deserve for choosing to stock the products to help parents bike with kids, and for sending representatives to The ABC's of Family Biking.

If it makes you feel any better, they are receiving ample recognition on the kidicalmassdc.blogspot.com website and in other event materials. :-)

by Megan on Apr 20, 2012 2:07 pm • linkreport

Super excited for this event tomorrow - thanks again to Megan for organizing it! I'll be there with my Xtracycle Radish for anyone who wants to give it a test ride!

by elizqueenmama on Apr 20, 2012 2:26 pm • linkreport

More posts like this, please! "How to do ____ with kids in the city better." Great information!

by Steve D on Apr 20, 2012 2:39 pm • linkreport

One (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) note of caution about trail-a-bikes: I've heard stories of parents who've put their kid on a trail-a-bike, and their child pretty much never wanted to ride a two-wheeler by themselves ever again.

Heck, my 5 year old rides a 16" two-wheeler, and still tries to cajole me into breaking out the rear-mounted bike seat every time she sees the damned thing.

Speed (and absence of effort) can be addictive.

by oboe on Apr 20, 2012 3:38 pm • linkreport

Great post! I'm a big fan of the Wee Ride for kids 1-2.5 years. Unlike the other options (kid in rear) you are close to the kid and can talk to him or her while you ride and really enjoy each other's company. Also, the kid is over the center of the bike, so better maneuverability. Ride slightly bow-legged, but otherwise it rocks.

by Ward 1 Guy on Apr 20, 2012 3:39 pm • linkreport

Also I'd put in a plug for balance bikes. That's the way to get kids to start cycling two-wheelers on their own very early. It's a much better way to get the kid to learn bike independence, unlike trailers and such, that teach them to be passengers.

by Ward 1 Guy on Apr 20, 2012 3:42 pm • linkreport

@Ward 1 Guy: You GGW commenters and your mind-reading powers! Yes, there will also be a balance bike at tomorrow's event. Looks like GGW needs to think about a post to address Biking With Kids: Stage II.

by Megan on Apr 20, 2012 3:45 pm • linkreport

@Ward 1 Guy:

Also I'd put in a plug for balance bikes.

...and their "downmarket cousins": 12" pedal bikes with their pedals removed.

by oboe on Apr 20, 2012 3:46 pm • linkreport

I'll second the "How to do ___ with kids in the city" series. I don't have kids, but it'd be nice to have an impression of how to do this before I need to worry about it.

by OctaviusIII on Apr 20, 2012 4:24 pm • linkreport

Great post, we need the info!

by ccort on Apr 20, 2012 4:59 pm • linkreport

As with any product that might involve a potential injury from poor design or manufacture, check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission product recall web site first. In this case, go here http://www.cpsc.gov/cgi-bin/prod.aspx and select bicycle child carrier/trailer to find the most recent recalls.

by Some Ideas on Apr 20, 2012 5:07 pm • linkreport

Megan-

Thanks for all your efforts to help DC parents bike with kids. It takes quite a while to figure out which approach makes sense for each family, and salespeople, regardless of knowledge, can help only so much. Events like this, and the rides that you organize each month, are great.

You're a huge resource -- thank you.

by Todd on Apr 20, 2012 8:16 pm • linkreport

Megan,

Great piece. My oldest started with a bike seat, then a trailer. My youngest on a balance bike from Germany. Having introduced run bikes to the U.S. in 2005, I can attest to the sense of independence they afford even the youngest of learners. But for those parents whose children just aren't quite old enough (or adventurous enough) to get on a trainer, I have to say the longtails are an excellent option. Again, great article.

by kyle simmons on Apr 20, 2012 9:19 pm • linkreport

Sorry to see you did not mention the bright red WeeHoo tag along trailer, that my 3 year old absolutely loves. He gets to pedal while sitting in his recumbent-type seat, so if he wants to nap, that's okay. He never does because he is directly engaged in our cycling. This succeeded a Chariot trailer, that we still use when I want to rollerblade with the young'un. Available at REI. Here' their website: http://www.weehoobicycletrailer.com/

Not a paid spokesman, just a fan. I'll be by tomorrow so folks can take a look, on our way to the Nationals game and the free bike valet.

by Steve Seelig on Apr 20, 2012 10:28 pm • linkreport

Okay, am I the only person who thinks that the front and rear bike seats are incredibly dangerous for little kids? If the adult tips over, they can break their fall with an outstretched foot or leg, but when the bike slams to the ground, the strapped-in kid will hit the ground with great force. (Picture your hand held perpendicular to a table and then twisting it down quickly and with force so that your palm slaps the table hard.)

I have never understood why those particular bike seats are legal. It would seem to me that tag-along trailers and other options that give the kid a much lower center of gravity are the only ones that make sense. This has been a pet peeve of mine forever (can you tell?) and I would love to find out that my fears are misguided. But it just seems like the high center of gravity front and back seats are a tragedy waiting to happen.

by TomH on Apr 21, 2012 7:06 am • linkreport

@TomH:

Thanks for your comment. I can appreciate concerns about bike seats from people who are not familiar with them. A few thoughts:

- Firstly, child seats are not only legal, they are regulated. The CPSC has standards for rear-mounted bike seats. They don’t yet have a separate standard for front seats, but at least some (if not all) front seat manufacturers voluntarily comply with the same safety criteria as for rear seats.

- Center of gravity: although my knowledge of bike geometry is rudimentary at best, I can tell you there’s a big difference between the effect that front and rear seats have on a bike’s center of gravity. Rear seats do have a noticeable effect on the bike’s center of gravity, and you may have to make some adjustments to your riding style, especially when stopping and starting. I’ve found front seats, on the other hand, to have some effect on my steering (since all but the WeeRide clamp onto the stem), but little effect on my balance.

- Tipover: both front and rear bike seats incorporate some form of tipover protection. Children in front seats are protected by having the cyclist’s arms around them and by the fact that, if the bike does start to go down, the cyclist can brace a foot on the ground and grab the handlebars to prevent a hard fall (again, ask me how I know!). Rear seats generally have large wraparound frames that will absorb much of the impact in a tipover. The one exception I know of is the Yepp Maxi, whose frame does not wrap around. Even the Yepp has a strong outer frame that extends beyond the child’s head and body and can serve as a crash bar if needed.

A final comment on safety for ALL cycling parents: if you really can’t be comfortable with the idea of using a certain kind of equipment (seats, trailers, whatever) to bike with your child, don’t use that equipment. No matter how many people tell you that they love biking with their kids that way and feel perfectly safe doing so, if you’re too anxious to enjoy your experience, you’re not going to have fun and neither is your child.

by Megan on Apr 21, 2012 8:47 am • linkreport

Thanks, Megan. I figured that the seats must be safer than they look, but it still seems pretty scary to me. I think getting kids biking as early as possible is terrific. For my money, I'd opt for the bike trailers rather than seats. (Helicopter parenting, here we come!!)

by TomH on Apr 21, 2012 10:11 am • linkreport

I think the question of safety is an interesting one. While I don't have kids yet, my choice of child bike equipment would probably factor safety as the most important criteria.

It sounds like front and rear seats (even with the crash bars, etc.) are not as safe as a trailer in the event of a crash. Of course, the #1 rule of bike safety is to avoid a crash in the first place. On that basis, it would seem like trailers, with their low profile, are not totally visible and visibility is one of the most important factors in avoiding an accident. Also, the bike seats would seem to allow for better emergency handling and maneuverability than a trailer.

by Falls Church on Apr 21, 2012 11:20 am • linkreport

Megan! What a great article! What a great event! We've started doing something similar here in Marin with the local Bike Coalition--The Cargo Bike Jubilee--inspired by kindred happenings in Seattle and Portland.
I'm hoping somebody is going to document today's event and have contacted Kidical Mass DC. I am making a crowdsourced documentary about cargo bikes in the US and this is just the sort of thing I want to feature. (You can watch the trailer and get more info here: http://www.lizcanning.com/Liz_Canning_Creative/Cargo_Bike_Documentary.html)
Megan, I'd love it if you would join the FB group and get involved! As a group we have just finished an article about cargo bikes and family biking for Momentum Magazine. Many more such projects in the works.
Hope to hear from you (you can reach me via my site).
Thanks again for a wonderful piece, Liz

by Liz Canning on Apr 21, 2012 11:58 am • linkreport

Great to see this gaining popularity. I've been a cycling kid chauffeur for 7 years now, and I'd like to chime in on a couple of things.

@Ward 1 Guy:

You're comment about how kids should be biking themselves rather than being conditioned into being passengers is an all too common, and perhaps based on the limited perspective of exclusively recreational cycling.

Kids should absolutely ride bikes. My son rides a balance bike like a demon, and my daughter loves her 20". But there is a difference between recreational riding and utility riding. The average child rides slow, sometimes with frequent stopping. They don't typically enjoy climbing. Their endurance levels are not fully ready for 5 to 10 mile trips on a daily basis, and the types of roads they should be riding on is limited. These factors make transportation/utility riding with kids as solo riders impractical.

Kid hauling bikes, on the other hand, allow you to replace the car. It works even if just for recreational riding, if you are like so many who currently drive to the trail to ride bikes. You can instead ride a longtail and strap/tow the bikes to it. A Skuut fits perfectly in a Yuba Go-Getter bag. And if the kids get worn out, you have a way in which to continue on. It makes for much greater adventures, and actually shows your kids that they can do more than they might imagine with a bike.

@TomH:

I started with a trailer for the same reason you feel inclined to. But I have to say, my impression of them changed after a while. Ultimately my daughter was getting cramped, and there was too much hair pulling and fighting going on back there. The fact that they are far back meant I had to pull over frequently in order to be able to communicate/solve disputes.

I made the switch to a long tail Yuba Mundo and later added a Boxcycle for the foul/winter weather (also a trike has less issues with gravity in icy situations). Both vehicles are awesome in their own way. The Mundo handles 100 lbs of kids and gear while still riding like a regular bike. And while the box is slower, it just makes carrying 1-4 kids super easy. The often overlooked super thing about both of these vehicles is that they allow you to carry on a conversation with your kids. We've recently been bringing the Box down to the Mall and riding the kids plus friends around to all the monuments/memorials. The kids are contained, snacking, seeing, and loving every minute. And the parking is awesome too.

Sorry for the long comment. It's great to see the subject being discussed locally. Hopefully we can make one of the next events. We've been talking about trying to set up a Kidical Mass for the Takoma/Silver Spring/Wheaton area. Anyone interested?

Max

by Max on Apr 21, 2012 1:28 pm • linkreport

I've been cycling with my daughter to school on a Trail-a-bike for the last 5 years. At 9 years old, she's getting a bit big for it now.

As for the idea that cycling "can seem perilous, biking with kids in the city can seem downright reckless", I can't disagree more. The lifetime risk of being killed on a bike is almost half that of driving (and that statistic includes all the cyclists who take risks on the road, such as running red lights, riding against traffic etc.). To even suggest that cycling is reckless is, in my view, reckless, since it creates this notion that a very safe activity is a dangerous activity: that can lead to people misunderstanding the risks and taking more risk out of misplaced fear of a less dangerous option. In my view, this misplaced fear is why most people avoid cycling in favor of commuting by car.

We are in the middle of a cycling scare in this country - a moral panic that demonizes the bicycle, making it out to be a veritable death machine. This ludicrous belief has so permeated our society that most people probably believe that cycling is about as dangerous as skydiving.

If anything, parents who drive their kids to school are being more reckless than those of us who cycle. If parents are really worried about their kids' safety on the road, they should not use any form of personal transportation and instead use the school bus system, as school buses are the safest form of road transportation in existence. Alternatively, have the kids home schooled - that way, they never have to go near one of those scary roads.

There's a very good book called 'Bicycling Street Smarts' - it's available for free on the web. It tells you how to ride even more safely on the road.

by Ian Cooper on Apr 21, 2012 4:12 pm • linkreport

+1 on the weehoo. It has a wider useful age range (about 2 to 9, depending on the kid) than anything else I've seen. Kids seem to like it more than trailers because they can actually do something.

by Mike on Apr 21, 2012 6:15 pm • linkreport

Trail-a-bikes are great...if you have just one kid. It gets a bit more complicated with two.

Cargo bikes/trailers allow you to do what you might normally do with a car, like have playdates, get groceries, etc.

by Max on Apr 21, 2012 8:37 pm • linkreport

Some video from today's demo, complete with cheesy studio music!
http://vimeo.com/40792968

by Greenbelt on Apr 21, 2012 9:42 pm • linkreport

This is the first time I've been to your site. Thank you for explaining more information.

by mini binss aberfoyle park on Apr 22, 2012 9:42 am • linkreport

FYI, Burley trailers used to be made in the USA (in Eugene, Oregon). Today the company has a little over 20 employees still working in Eugene. The trailers are now being made entirely outside the United States (in China, I believe).

by Joseph E on Apr 22, 2012 9:23 pm • linkreport

Um, trail-a-bike?

Probably the best option of all for older children, and you didn't even mention it!

by dayglo on Apr 23, 2012 9:52 am • linkreport

Love the article, saw it and your event referenced on the (R)Evolutions per Minute Facebook page. Just a mention in case someone comes googling, Joe Bike isn't making the Shuttlebugs any more. He mentioned somewhere on FB (sorry, looked for a link and can't find it) that he didn't have the time to make them anymore. Great guy, can't blame him for wanting to have a life too!

by KYouell on Apr 23, 2012 1:00 pm • linkreport

I'm a fan of all the people posting above, just not much of a fan of those trail-a-bike ideas. I understand the cheap aspect of the solution ( I bought one for $30 from Craigs) however the parent doesn't see if the child is holding on or not.

I watch those combos go around turns and often see the kid holding on with just one hand....looking towards never never land. Looks risky, glad it wasn't mentioned originally and I'm glad kids don't seem to be getting hurt with them.

by BAS on Apr 23, 2012 9:27 pm • linkreport

@BAS
Trail-a-bikes are meant for older kids - those who can take some responsibility for holding on, pedaling, etc.
Also, where did you get one for $30??? I would LOVE to find one that inexpensively priced!!!

by elizqueenmama on Apr 24, 2012 10:51 am • linkreport

I got my Trail-a-Bike for nothing - the next door neighbor was throwing out a perfectly good one, so I snagged it for free.

by Ian Cooper on Apr 24, 2012 11:32 am • linkreport

I also found one on the cheap, for $20 at a church yard sale.
Ideally, I'd love to see a tandem long tail made someday, in order to combine the older child's pedaling contribution with younger brother and/or grocery toting, etc.

by Max on Apr 24, 2012 11:49 am • linkreport

How about a bakfiets with a trail-a-bike? This is from last summer's Fiets of Parenthood in Portland, OR. (video)
http://youtu.be/Rar-v5WDVTU

by KYouell on Apr 24, 2012 12:41 pm • linkreport

@Greenbelt-- thanks for sharing that video! Did we meet in person on Saturday? By the way, I'm going to brag a little and mention that the video was shot during one of the LESS busy periods of the event! :-)

@Joseph E-- thanks for the heads-up about the Burleys. That's quite a disappointment, though not exactly surprising. I'll try to edit the article if I get a chance.

@KYouell-- I saw the hiatus notice when I went to Joe Bike's website to confirm information for this article. I debated whether to include the company's name, but I do think they make great products and they're one of the few American companies making cargobikes, so in the end I decided in favor of making their name known to the DC biking community.

Also, LOVE that full-loaded bakfiets video! Maybe in a couple of years, we can add a "fiets of parenthood"-type competition to The ABC's of Family Biking!

by Megan on Apr 25, 2012 4:43 pm • linkreport

Hi Megan -- we probably did meet, if you were checking people in -- around 12:30 or 1pm, I think. We were detouring off a shop ride from College Park to stop by your expo. Thanks for doing this! -Jeff

by Greenbelt on Apr 26, 2012 11:56 am • linkreport

Found a red Trail-a-bike with a little rust on the handlebars for $55. If by chance someone wants it I can get it to Megan or maybe the Daily Rider will let me leave it in their shop.

Remember, Hats, Gloves, dress in layers...it is late April in DC.

by BAS on Apr 29, 2012 4:45 am • linkreport

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