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Thread: Big Dummy experience?

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    Default Big Dummy experience?

    Loading the 3 year old into his trailer this morning I realized he'll probably have outgrown it by this summer. Preschool is just 1-2 miles from home, and it's been very easy to take him there daily, lock up the trailer, and pick up one or both on the way home in the evening. I will miss it, especially that so much fun cost only $50 on Craigslist.

    I'm thinking about whether a cargo bike is a good next step, and in particular, the Surly Big Dummy. I've read that the Xtracycle and Yuba bikes are better for kid-carriage than the Dummy, while the Dummy is lighter and the rider position is sportier/less like a townie. That appeals to me since I'm only ferrying my son a mile or three each day. The other 12 miles of my daily commute it's just me and a bag of clothes and it's how I get exercise. I'm not interested in power assist, and aside from disc brakes, I already have all the parts I need to build up a Dummy from the frame. On the other hand, isn't there a bunch of Xtracycle junk $$$ I have to buy for the Dummy in order for a 4 year old to have a place to sit and hold on? So I might save a little money over buying a complete bike, but not a lot?

    I have a friend with a Xtracycle 24d who loves it and I can take that for a spin, but would be interesting in hearing from Big Dummy owners on their experiences.

  2. #2
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    Maybe you just need a bigger trailer? I am pretty sure my 6-year-old still fits in the Chariot. Certainly he used it comfortably until preschool was over (age 5). Like you, I also have another 12 miles after dropping off the trailer, so I personally would never consider a cargo bike.

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    As someone who put 2500 miles on a 24D last year, I can tell you that your concerns are valid. It rides a bit like a couch, and is geared for spinning fast while holding a lot of cargo. In the highest gear, I struggle to get over 26 mph on a flat road, unloaded.

    It depends on your kid as to whether you need the Xtracycle family kit (the roll bar and foot rests). I had problems when we first got ours because my then-4-year-old would fall asleep on the way home from summer camp and her sister refused to help out. I'd just get head butted in the lower back. She never fell out, though.

    If you're handy, you could probably put together something for him to hang on to without spending the money on official Xtracycle accessories.

    DO NOT SKIMP ON BRAKES. I replaced the mechanical discs on the 24D with hydraulics and am very happy. All that weight just eats brake pads. Bike+me+2 kids+normal cargo is something like 350 pounds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyRider View Post
    Loading the 3 year old into his trailer this morning I realized he'll probably have outgrown it by this summer. Preschool is just 1-2 miles from home, and it's been very easy to take him there daily, lock up the trailer, and pick up one or both on the way home in the evening. I will miss it, especially that so much fun cost only $50 on Craigslist.

    I'm thinking about whether a cargo bike is a good next step, and in particular, the Surly Big Dummy. I've read that the Xtracycle and Yuba bikes are better for kid-carriage than the Dummy, while the Dummy is lighter and the rider position is sportier/less like a townie. That appeals to me since I'm only ferrying my son a mile or three each day. The other 12 miles of my daily commute it's just me and a bag of clothes and it's how I get exercise. I'm not interested in power assist, and aside from disc brakes, I already have all the parts I need to build up a Dummy from the frame. On the other hand, isn't there a bunch of Xtracycle junk $$$ I have to buy for the Dummy in order for a 4 year old to have a place to sit and hold on? So I might save a little money over buying a complete bike, but not a lot?

    I have a friend with a Xtracycle 24d who loves it and I can take that for a spin, but would be interesting in hearing from Big Dummy owners on their experiences.
    Another option is a trail-a-bike. My daughter transitioned from a bike seat directly to it when she was but 3 y.o. Same thing as you; I would lock it up at her pre-school for pick up later. Also cheap on Craigslist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    Maybe you just need a bigger trailer? I am pretty sure my 6-year-old still fits in the Chariot. Certainly he used it comfortably until preschool was over (age 5). Like you, I also have another 12 miles after dropping off the trailer, so I personally would never consider a cargo bike.
    Hmm, I guess I just assumed all trailers were all the same size. The top of my son's helmet is starting to "tent" the canopy and if he sticks his legs out they touch it there too. He's by no means a big kid. A little over 3 feet and maybe 36 pounds. The trailer is a second hand "Vantly" brand. Not quite Burly quality, but good. It's a two seater.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    Another option is a trail-a-bike. My daughter transitioned from a bike seat directly to it when she was but 3 y.o. Same thing as you; I would lock it up at her pre-school for pick up later. Also cheap on Craigslist.
    Or a wee-hoo, which is a recumbant trail-a-bike. The kid can pedal or not and can be strapped in (our 18 mo has been mountain biking strapped in), but it's built to take kids up to 8-10yo. Not cheap, but holds it's resale well. Easy on-and-off, so could leave at school.

    We LOVE ours, and would be happy to lend if that would help you decide.

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    Yeah, I had a Burley Solo before which my son would have outgrown by the time he was 4. Upgraded (Craigslist) to a Chariot Cougar (2-seater), which has more headroom and of course side room too.

    Expensive, even used, but so worth it. It should last us until the younger brother (now 3) is out of preschool.

    Trailer bike is another option. We have a Weehoo, which I use when the weather is nice. But I am not gonna do that with my son in the rain or freezing temps. For little Viking stock, they aren't that hardy :-)

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    Kids are wimps today. The government should mandate that all trail-a-bikes be made with fixed gears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    Maybe you just need a bigger trailer?
    The double Burley's are quite spacious and have nice "trunk" space as well. I pulled my girls in a double 'til they were 6 and 10 years old (admittedly we run on the small side...). That was our car. Loved it.

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    As you probably already know, you don't really pay for these trailer things; you just rent them. I had two different trail-a-bikes (consecutively, not simultaneously), each of which I bought used and then sold used. I believe the net cost--purchase price less sales price--over 10 years was $70.

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