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Steve
07-31-2014, 09:45 AM
Hello there! Long time family biking thread reader, first time poster!

So....as I've stated elsewhere, I'm a new dad. I know I probably can't ride with the little guy quite yet (he's a little under 2mo), but I'm eager to do so, and ready to start planning on what I might want to purchase. I was wondering if there was some general forum wisdom and thoughts on what might be appropriate at what stage of development. Like, when might I be able to use a seat on the bike, either front like the iBert (though not sure if it'll work on my Surly), or rear seat like my mom used with me. At what point do people use trailers, tag-alongs, etc?

I'm just trying to get a rough idea, I know it depends quite a bit. Any and all thoughts/advice is most welcome.

jrenaut
07-31-2014, 09:51 AM
At age 1 they can go on the toddler seat on the back of an Xtracycle. All the cool parents have Xtracycles. You should get an Xtracycle.

I started with a used Burley trailer when my kids were 1ish and 3ish and it was great. I never used a seat (those front seats always made me nervous, though lots of people seem to be really happy with them). The kids outgrew the trailer at about 3 and 5 and we got the Xtracycle and awesome, though it's more work than the trailer. When you stop with the trailer, there's no extra weight. When you stop with the Xtracycle, you still have to hold up all the weight.

dasgeh
07-31-2014, 10:06 AM
Pffft, longtails. If you had a box bike, you could throw the kid in there now! (ok, not really at 2 mos, but by 4 mos, in the car seat of course). Plus, with a box bike, trips to the grocery store, pharmacy and even Costco are no problem!

I'll post some links soon. You realize you're not contractually obligated to all of the Kidical Mass rides next year, right? Seriously, though, welcome to the club. It's AMAZING!!!

Steve
07-31-2014, 10:24 AM
I knew I forgot something, and it was to mention the fact that I can't add a bike to the arsenal, at least not right now. 800 sq feet apartments just are no ideal of having more than the two bikes currently in there (down from 3 when some baby stuff got moved in). :)

cyclingfool
07-31-2014, 10:33 AM
I was excited about an iBert. We put it on our registry, and some friends were even nice enough to get it for us. Sadly, it didn't work on my Surly LHT, set up with both trekking bars and later drop bars. Neither set up worked with the iBert. We just got ours off of Amazon, but if you're considering one, I'd recommend checking their dealer list and trying to buy one at an LBS that might be able to check and make sure it fits/works with your bike before you have to drop coin.

I went ahead and got a used Burley D'Lite trailer on CL. Set up a notification on IFTTT and be ready to pounce. They go fast, especially decent ones for a good price. I got mine for $200. Worth every penny for riding time I get with the little guy (27 mo's as of yesterday). He loves it.

chris_s
07-31-2014, 10:35 AM
They can go on a seat (rear or front, I prefer front) at age 1. Generally they'll need to move to something bigger when they outgrow the seat (or demand it). Mine moved from his iBert to a Weehoo midway through age 3.

hozn
07-31-2014, 10:45 AM
Yeah, I think generally "age 1" is when it becomes possible/appropriate/safe to cart the kids around -- in a trailer or in a seat. (I much prefer the idea of a trailer; I've rolled those and kids don't care, but hard to imagine it ending well if I laid down the bike with a kid on it.) Neck strength to hold up helmet (on potentially bumpy road) is probably the biggest factor. So your child might be able to do that a bit before (or after) the 1 year mark.

I order a lighter (Scott P'Nut MIPS) helmet for my 10-month old son and upgraded to a double trailer from CL. Sold my Burley Solo for almost what I paid for it 3 years ago (it was used then), so they hold resale value pretty well. My 4-year-old is excited to have his brother ride with him. We'll see how that works out in practice. :)

Edit: I should add that a big selling point of the trailer to me, besides low-center-of-gravity/nowhere-to-fall factor, is the all-weather protection. I've taken my son out on many rides in the rain and in the winter (it's really warm in there with the plastic down). I did learn that water will come up through the bottom of the trailer if there's significant quantities of water being sprayed up from the bike. I keep a towel in the trailer just-in-case.

Tim Kelley
07-31-2014, 11:02 AM
Our criteria was the child's neck being strong enough to support the head, and the head being large enough to fit a helmet. For us, that was at about 6 months. Because I would do daily daycare drop off on the way to work and didn't want to have an empty kids seat on my handlebars, we went with a Topeak seat on the rear rack.

dasgeh
07-31-2014, 11:24 AM
Links:
Family Biking Ages & Stages (http://totcycle.com/blog/family-biking-ages-stages.html) from Totcycle
Cycling dutch on Biking with a baby (http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/cycling-with-a-baby/)
Family Biking Guide (http://www.sfbike.org/our-work/youth-family/)from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
Sheldon Brown on Teaching Kids to Ride (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/teachride.html)

On age:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (http://aapnews.aappublications.org/content/30/7/18.6.full) officially says 1 yo, but they also say only rear seats.
The Dutch (who know a thing or two about cycling), recommend 6-9 months for babies in bike seats, when the kid can sit up and hold up their head (2 months for car seats on bikes). (see the Cycling Dutch (http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/cycling-with-a-baby/)link - I've seen this on more official sites in Dutch).
Our family played by European rules and put kids in the seat once they could consistently hold their head up with a helmet (required under 14 in Arlington). That turned out to be 9 mos for #1 and 7 for #2. They were in the front bike seat (BoBike Mini), so we could see if there was any head instability, and see when they were getting tired, which leads me to...

On carrier:
I strongly recommend the front seat. You can see the kid, talk to the kid, interact with the kid, know what's going on with the kid, which is especially important when they're little. As far as danger, you've got to weigh the pros of the trailer (not as likely to roll with the bike, protection built in) with the cons (can roll when the bike doesn't, potentially less visible to others, separation from the kid, changes bike length and can change width) and the pros of the front seat (interaction with the kid, knowledge of what's going on with the kid, as visible as the rest of the bike, controlled with the rest of the bike, your arms literally around the kid) with the cons (doesn't fit well with every bike, especially racing bikes, no roll cage, aside from your arms).

I also don't recommend the iBert -- it's hot for the kid, and not as adjustable as other brands. Yepp and BoBike Mini City are my go-tos. Both are cooler, seem more comfortable, are more adjustable, and offer wind screen options. They also seem to fit more bikes than the iBert, but any front seat is going to be tough with an aggressive riding position. They seem to do fine with "hybrids", MTB and Dutch style bikes.

Part of the question might be how you envision riding with the kid: jumping on a trail and doing a long ride (trailer seems like a good fit) v. tooling around town to the park, get coffee, etc (Dutch bike with front seat all the way).

Rear seats are a bit of a compromise -- they fit with more bikes, and you have more interaction with the kid than in a trailer. Many also offer more protection around the kid (though not your arms, of course). I've heard a few people mention that they had to figure out how to mount a bike with a rear seat, since they didn't want to roundhouse their kid.

With any seat and probably a trailer, you're going to want a better kickstand.

dasgeh
07-31-2014, 11:37 AM
Oh, and bakfiets brand box bikes are made to be stored outdoors. Just saying.

vvill
07-31-2014, 02:09 PM
I started off both kids at around 12 months old.

I started with a Nashbar Kid Karriage in 2009(?), at around $100 I figured even if I ended up just using it for groceries, utility rides, etc. it would be worthwhile. I store it outside so it's dirty/rusty but I've done a lot of rides on it, most of them very short. I still tow my 3 y.o. and/or 6 y.o. in it occasionally but even just the 6 y.o. alone is really too big. It can hold two kids which is nice, but they're too heavy now and I'm probably close to exceeding the weight limit when I do it. I expect I'll still tow my 3 y.o. in it, and I've also successfully used it to tow a full sized bike (take off the front wheel, and bungee down the fork on the top bar of the trailer). Main con is that the attachment method sucks - but most trailers have much better methods and I think even Nashbar has improved this on later models.

I used a WeeRide Kangaroo front child seat with my second kid, and wish I'd used it from the start for my first kid! So much lighter and nicer than a trailer. I haven't used other front seat mounts, but the WeeRide's main con is that your pedaling action is forced outwards which messes with your knees, especially if you are lowering the seat to make it easier to put a foot down when you're stopped. It also won't fit on all bikes (longer top tube is better), and I feel like the seat belt design is not super secure but again, the current design has changed since I purchased mine. Also, since your arms are around the kid while you're riding it doesn't matter too much. I'd say a front seat is good for 1-3 y.o. depending on if your kid is small/big-boned :D

Recently (actually as of yesterday) I built a trail-a-bike. I took my 6 y.o. on his first ride (sans helmet omg!), and I think it's going to work out pretty well. I will have to get used to a larger turning radius though - the trailer was impossible to tip over, but with one wheel I'll have to be more careful with the trail-a-bike. It's a 20" (406) wheel with plenty of tire clearance so I want to try some offroading later on too.

I need to get a kickstand - it would've helped with the front seat when I'm buckling a kid in, and it definitely would be better for the trail-a-bike. Also I'd recommend a triple if you're riding anywhere with hills.

(I've also had my older kid when 3 y.o. ride along by just straddling the rear rack of a folding bike at low speed and flat surfaces - he enjoyed that and it didn't seem too unsafe so I can see the appeal of longtails, midtails and rear rack mounted seats.)




As for independent riding, we had cheap plastic trike thingies for inside and around the house, but with the wheels they have they never go fast enough for the kids to learn anything. I did eventually get an actual bike (a Huffy I think), roughly 16" wheels, and it came with training wheels, and I also got a Strider for my second kid (again, I should've started the first kid on that), but she prefers mucking around on the upright scooter we have. Getting training wheels off the Huffy is still a work-in-(slow)-progress. Learning to ride is almost a whole different thread though I think!

mikoglaces
08-01-2014, 10:40 AM
I started with a baby seat for my first child. When I had two, we had a buggy, sometimes pulled by my wife and I on a tandem. I later bought a Green Gear Family Tandem for use with one child, and now use it for my youngest who cannot ride his own bike due to disabilities. Riding a tandem with a kid is great fun. Here we are riding to school one day.

6345

cvcalhoun
08-03-2014, 09:58 PM
I used a seat with my own children (back before trailers were invented), and now use a trailer with my granddaughter. The problem with the seats is that the bicycle is top-heavy with the child on the seat. While riding, you have to exert extra effort to keep the bike balanced. If you stop, you have to hold the bike to keep it from falling. If you want to walk away from the bicycle, even a few steps, you have to unbuckle the kid and remove him/her from the seat. I find the trailer (a Burley D'Lite) a lot easier! It's lightweight, and low to the ground. The hitch is set up in such a way that even if the entire bike falls over, the trailer does not. While I can tell from my Garmin that the extra weight makes me a bit slower, I don't even notice it while I'm riding. And unlike the seat, the trailer can be used for a second child. My hope is that I'll be able to use the trailer for my granddaughter and a future sibling until the granddaughter is about 6, then transition into having her ride her own bike. (At 7, my daughter biked the Canal Towpath from Potomac to Harper's Ferry and back with me, so I don't see that as unrealistic.)

6359

With any seat or trailer, the minimum age given by the manufacturer is 1, to make sure the kid has the head and back strength to sit unsupported. The manufacturers' recommendation is conservative, and I hear that many parents actually use them beginning at 9 months. But for anything before that, you'd need a special cargo bike or trailer capable of allowing you to use a reclining car seat in it.

dasgeh
08-05-2014, 05:58 PM
I used a seat with my own children (back before trailers were invented), and now use a trailer with my granddaughter. The problem with the seats is that the bicycle is top-heavy with the child on the seat. While riding, you have to exert extra effort to keep the bike balanced. If you stop, you have to hold the bike to keep it from falling. If you want to walk away from the bicycle, even a few steps, you have to unbuckle the kid and remove him/her from the seat. I find the trailer (a Burley D'Lite) a lot easier! It's lightweight, and low to the ground. The hitch is set up in such a way that even if the entire bike falls over, the trailer does not. While I can tell from my Garmin that the extra weight makes me a bit slower, I don't even notice it while I'm riding. And unlike the seat, the trailer can be used for a second child. My hope is that I'll be able to use the trailer for my granddaughter and a future sibling until the granddaughter is about 6, then transition into having her ride her own bike. (At 7, my daughter biked the Canal Towpath from Potomac to Harper's Ferry and back with me, so I don't see that as unrealistic.)

6359

With any seat or trailer, the minimum age given by the manufacturer is 1, to make sure the kid has the head and back strength to sit unsupported. The manufacturers' recommendation is conservative, and I hear that many parents actually use them beginning at 9 months. But for anything before that, you'd need a special cargo bike or trailer capable of allowing you to use a reclining car seat in it.
I assume you mean rear seat. Front seats don't have the issues you've pointed to and modern double kick stands are great for keeping the bike up so you can step away for a second

cvcalhoun
10-04-2014, 08:46 PM
Yeah, I don't think front seats or double kickstands had been invented when my children were small. That was, after all, back in the Pleistocene Era--just ask my kids!


I assume you mean rear seat. Front seats don't have the issues you've pointed to and modern double kick stands are great for keeping the bike up so you can step away for a second

GuyContinental
10-06-2014, 10:33 AM
I'll add another stage- post Wee-hoo, pre completely independent there is the "tow-bar" concept:

http://bikearlingtonforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=6757&d=1412609110

Called the TrailGator, costs about $80. I've been using it to tow my 5 y/o on his 16" bike up Fairfax from Clarendon to the Bluemont trails whereupon I un-hitch the critter and set him free to ride on his own. So far I'm a huge fan particularly as my neighborhood isn't that kid-bike friendly. Set up was a bit of a PITA but the thing rides great and frees up our Wee-hoo for the younger one.

topserve
10-06-2014, 04:33 PM
At one time I used a hockey stick shaft with plenty of hockey tape attached to my bike, and my 6 year old's bike. Worked great, now I use this with our 4 year old. http://www.learnandride.com He can ride his bike without training wheels now, but he just can't be trusted to follow and stop reliably yet.