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Baby bike seat or trailer

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 MikeR 24 Mar 2021

Hi all,

What age have folk started taken their wee ones out on a bike? My little girl is around 8 and a half months. I'm guessing she's a bit small for a bike seat at the moment, but with the evenings getting lighter and the weather warmer I'm starting to think ahead to when I can take her out on the bike.

Does anyone have any advice over a seat (front or rear mounted) versus a trailer? The guy in our local bike shop recommended the Burley Bee trailer, has anyone tried this? Something that can cope with stoney forest tracks would be great.

 elsewhere 24 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

This looks ideal

https://g.co/kgs/pJYopR

 MikeR 24 Mar 2021
In reply to elsewhere:

Haha! I think a severe lack of skill on my part may be an issue there...

 stuartf 25 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

We have used both. You can definitely start earlier with a trailer because they support the head, and some have specific inserts for young babies. They have other advantages too: they don't affect the balance of the bike, and are more protected from weather. They also allow you to carry luggage and the child can be entertained by having books or toys because it doesn't matter if they drop them. Can also be used to a much higher weight; we still use ours with a 5yo sometimes. The disadvantages are that they can be cumbersome getting through barriers etc, are bulky to store, and are a bit more faff to get ready if you have to store it folded up.

Having both a trailer and a seat we definitely use the trailer more. We have a double (Croozer for 2) and use it for lots of trips where we might otherwise use the car, e.g. trips in to town, or to take the kids for a walk in the local woods. I've also been known to use it to carry the weekly shop, and it can also be used as a running buggy. I'd say it's better than a rear mounted seat for slightly rougher tracks as it has better suspension. I was a bit sceptical about getting it, but it has been great!

Post edited at 08:14
 LastBoyScout 25 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

Little bit older than that on rear-mounted seat - need to be able to hold their head up, but I bought a Hamax Siesta, which reclines and they can sleep in if they get tired.

Main issue with trailers is storing them when not in use.

 Durbs 25 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

Pretty much what Stuartf says...

They might be a little young for a seat as although they can support their head, going over bumps (even just off kerbs) might be a little whiplash-y.

I used a WeeRide so they sat in front of me, rather than behind - I think it's nicer for them as they can see where you're going, rather than just staring at your back, and you can have a chat with them. There's also the added (probably mental) security that if you do crash your arms are already around them. The flip-side is they don't get any wind/rain shelter from you.

Personal grumble with the WeeRide is it doesn't easily fit a Cannondale oversize headtube and scratched the sh*t out of mine...

Some people don't find them comfortable to ride with either, as you can be forced to splay your legs - I think this is entirely down to your size and bike geometry though. Although you can quickly remove the seat part, the mounting tube stays in place which isn't ideal.

When #2 came along we go a double-trailer (DeeLite) and I've never used the WeeRide since - doesn't affect your ride, extra storage space, doubles as a pushchair/festival buggy, they can have toys, wind/rain cover, and it's super easy to detach for child-free riding. I've also used it as a "boot" for going shopping too.

The only real negative is it's harder to chat to them - it can be done, but by noisy roads or on windy days it's a bit of a shouting match. They're also much more likely to fall asleep which can be super annoying on the way back from nursery!
Some people aren't a fan of using them on roads from a safety point of view. I've found drivers give me a really nice wide berth with it on though, and the tall flag and extra lights mean it's pretty visible.

Trailers also seem to hold their value really well too.

 chris_r 25 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

I had a trailer for leisure cycling (eg off-road disused cycle tracks) and a rear mounted seat for taking my kid to the childminders on my way to work.

After a few trial trips I wasn't happy using the trailer on the road, traffic here is too busy and I felt the trailer just wasn't visible enough.

My kids absolutely loved both modes of travel.

 MikeR 25 Mar 2021
In reply to all:

Thanks for all the replies.

Struartf just had a look at the Croozer trailers, they look very nice, not cheap though! I think it would have to be second hand if I went for that.

Does anyone else have a recommendation for a particular make/model of trailer? There seems to be a huge range in prices, is it worth spending lots for a top end one rather than getting a cheap one?

 stuartf 25 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

Yes, we got it second hand, and even that wasn't cheap! As Durbs said though, they do hold their value.

 ablackett 25 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

I have used a WeeRide until they were about 2 (quite an uncomfortable riding position but very sociable), then switched to a Hamax rear mounted - easy to interact with kiddy.  Still using the Hamax with the 4.5 year old.

This might be obvious but if you have the rear mounted seat it changes the handling of the bike a lot, especially on steep hills, the front wheel can get very light and skittish even if it's adjusted so it's as far forward as it can go.  How confident are you with bike handling?  If less confident I would go for a trailer - although i've never used one I could imagine they are easier to deal with.

 LovelyMrTom 25 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

We've got a Croozer single-seater and a Thule Chariot 2-seater of some description. The Croozer has the better infant sling. The Thule has the better bike hitch and 'stroller' wheels. We've used them for nursery runs, family days out and plenty of places on holiday from the far north of Scotland to the Black Forest and I've never particularly worried about using them on the road. They both have tall flags and loads of reflective trim and we run a small flashing light on the handle.

We've never used them much offroad because, frankly, I don't think it's much fun until they are a bit older (maybe 3-5), when they're small it's just rough. But of course, that's just our experience. Certainly the cobblestones of northern France/southern Belgium were not well received! 

 EuanM 25 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

We had our first cycle using the Burley Bee last week. It works really well, very light and tons of storage space. 
 

My daughter is 15 months and was quite happy in it for about 2 hours. 
 

I did encounter a bit of farm track type road which with no suspension was probably a bit too bumpy for her. It put me off thinking I could do easy trails on it. But then I can’t justify the cost of the suspension models given how often we’ll use it. 

 subtle 25 Mar 2021
In reply to chris_r:

> I had a trailer for leisure cycling (eg off-road disused cycle tracks) and a rear mounted seat for taking my kid to the childminders on my way to work.

> After a few trial trips I wasn't happy using the trailer on the road, traffic here is too busy and I felt the trailer just wasn't visible enough.

> My kids absolutely loved both modes of travel.

I agree - child seat safer on roads as in drivers line of sight, trailer better for long off-road rides as child comfier

We used both, trailer round local trails, both kids tucked up with blanket and cuddly toys, and child seat for on road commutes etc 

When off road though trailer safer than seat so depends on what sort of riding you I tend to do- suspect you will end up with both 😜

 Philip 25 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

Don't go with a trailer. Too passive.
For #2 I swapped to front seat. Much safer feel, so much more engaged with the ride. Then onto balance bike at just over 2.  By 4 she was pedalling without stabilisers.

At nearly 4 I modified a tag along by cutting seat tube to sit lower for longer rides.

 ByEek 27 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

Never used a trailer but carted both of my boys to / from nursery / school on a bike seat. The only bad thing about leisure travel with bike seats is that said child does occasionally fall asleep which results in a hot melon sized object nuzzeling into your sweaty butt cheeks.

Trailers look good but I can't help feel they are expensive and take up a lot of storage space.

 MikeR 29 Mar 2021
In reply to all:

Thanks all, I think we'll go for trailer and seat. Sounds like it'll work best for us. I think I'm erring more towards the weeride than a rear seat as she loves to look around and see where she's going when out and about, and can't see me doing long rides like that so hopefully the lack of comfort will be ok.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

 Ciro 29 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

My partner used the WeeRide (on road) from about 6 months old, and both of them loved it.

As mentioned up thread it did mean she rode with her knees splayed, and you wouldn't want to take it off road while the kid can't support their neck so well.

Her kid is six now and rides a bike herself, but for longer rides they have a tag-along, which gives a sense of involvement in the ride, but allows the kid to decide how much "assistance" they are going to provide. Apparently it became the talk of the school with kids and parents alike stopping to ask what it was called and where they got it. Not much use to you now, but worth considering in a couple of years of you want them to feel a bit more involved in the ride.

 MikeR 29 Mar 2021
In reply to Ciro:

Thanks, the tag-along looks great, and there are a lot of hills around me, so any "assistance" would be much encouraged! Something for a future Christmas maybe.

 Sealwife 29 Mar 2021
In reply to Ciro:

And it is also possible to have a tag-along with a trailer behind it.  Mr S did this with our three kids sometimes.  It makes a very long vehicle!

 elsewhere 29 Mar 2021
In reply to Sealwife:

> And it is also possible to have a tag-along with a trailer behind it.  Mr S did this with our three kids sometimes.  It makes a very long vehicle!

I've seen 5 seater "bike" once.
Adult tandem with tag along tandem trike.
One child on tandem trike with pedals
Over tandem trike rear wheels there was trailer cover/seats for two non-pedalling children.

Probably powered by parents with legs like tree trunks!

Post edited at 13:27
 Richard Horn 29 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

I think rear seats are not recommended below 10 months, but we took both our sons from 10 months onwards without an problems (Hamax type)

Did not get on with Wee-Ride so sold it on after only and handful of uses. As others have said prob down to geometry, but very awkward to ride with knees splayed and childs head was also really where my chin wanted to be. I used it doubled up with a bike seat on the back to carry both children, stable enough when moving but getting foot over standing bike was difficult.

Now also have a Burley Bee which I use for the 3 mile nursery/school run. Works really well and faster than doing the same round by car (not fighting for parking spaces outside school gate), although we have a double garage allowing it to stay setup with the bike permanently which is part of the convenience. Also use it for carrying shopping and collecting takeaways. I would say you can use the Burley Bee on compressed gravel (e.g. bike path or tow path) but its not really up to anything more substantial in terms of off road (at least not in terms of keeping children in one piece) - there is no proper suspension. 

 TheGeneralist 29 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

Trailer all the way. Chariot (Thule) Cougar 2

Been brilliant for 'bleau, trail centres, Lakes bouldering trips etc etc.

Suspension.

Amazing way to get lots of exercise after kids are born.

Need to sell ours. It's been sitting in the garage for about 6 years gathering dust.

We've booked a cottage in Braemar in August. Let me know if you want me to bring it up.

 MikeR 30 Mar 2021
In reply to elsewhere:

Impressive!

My other half occasionally mentions getting a tandom, but I suspect that's largely so she doesn't have to peddle if our outing in a double kayak was anything to go by..

 MikeR 30 Mar 2021
In reply to TheGeneralist:

Thanks for the offer. Was hoping to get something a bit sooner than then but could be tempted. How much would you be looking for? Is it a single or double seat?

 StuPoo2 30 Mar 2021
In reply to Philip:

> Don't go with a trailer. Too passive.

> For #2 I swapped to front seat. Much safer feel, so much more engaged with the ride. Then onto balance bike at just over 2.  By 4 she was pedalling without stabilisers.

> At nearly 4 I modified a tag along by cutting seat tube to sit lower for longer rides.

+1 for trailer being too passive.  You can't talk to them, they can't talk to you, and its hardly cycling for them.  That being said - there are some great trailers out there and I know plenty who have had success with them.

When small we had our pair on the shotgun [1] up front and they loved it.  Super interactive, wrapped up in parents arms and they think they're steering (watch for that).  Bit uncomfortable for mum/dad as they grow and want to stand up.  I guess you couldn't go that far - certainly you could go a lot further with a trailer.  Must have been 1.5-2 yrs I guess.

As they got older we got them onto the tag along [2].   We had them on the tag along before they could turn the pedals on it - 3(ish).  Interactive - the kids have to use their core, lean with the bike, hold on as you bump up-down things.  You can go a long-long way with a tag along.  Don't expect them to pedal.

IMO ... something interactive is the way to go.  You want them to get the feel of being on a bike and buzzing along - seeing stuff fly by - waiving to people etc.

Tell us what you go for when you make a decision pls!

[1] https://www.amazon.co.uk/SHOTGUN-Mountain-Mounted-Children-Compatible/dp/B07PSMWB5S

[2] https://www.amazon.co.uk/WeeRide-Co-Pilot-Deluxe-Wide-Trailer/dp/B014F3Y4RC/

 TheGeneralist 30 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

It's a double seat version. Looking for about £270.

In reply to the active/inactive discussion.... I think a trailer works far better ( of course I do, that's why I bought one )

When the kids are sub 2 years old they can sit in the trailer in enormous comfort. All wrapped up in blankets and the waterproof cover on top.  Toasty warm even for a three hour stint at ' bleau in the snow. You can cycle pretty much as hard/long as you want without fear of them getting cold or uncomfortable.

(Ours were 2 years apart age-wise)

Stick the tricycle on the roof of the trailer and then let the kid cycle around for short sections.

Then when they get bigger take the balance bike along instead for short sections.  The 1YO sits in the trailer and the 3YO balance bikes a bit.  Then gets back in the lovely warm comfortable trailer.

Next stage the wean is using the trike a bit and the big'un is riding his first bike.

Then balance bike and big bike together. Kids in the trailer, bikes on the roof. Cycle to the top of the 3 mile climb at Llandegla or Haldon, or Buzzards Nest of Whinlatter etc. Kids get out and cycle whichever bits of the blue route they fancy.

Then when they're bigger only the little one goes in the trailer to start.

Then the trailer does luggage and sag waggon duties for a couple more years.

At which point the kids are reasonably competent cyclists and so you can use a tow rope as the sag waggon/ 3 mile hill assist.

Our 2 happily did the Llandegla Blue aged four. ( Wean might have been earlier)

Then the red and all the bits of The Black aged 7.

Grizedale TNF at night also aged 7/9.

Chalamain Gap aged 11/13

West Highland Way aged 11 ( the big'un, not the lazy one)

I think trailer and then tow rope was the perfect combination.  Gave an excellent combination of adult exercise and kids cycling time/autonomy with minimum discomfort for the kids.

( Never been a fan of tag alongs, seem completely pointless apart from utility cycling on busy roads)

2
 MikeR 30 Mar 2021
In reply to StuPoo2:

Thanks for the recommendations. Yes I certainly think she would rather be up front seeing everything passing by, and keen to get her interactive. I'll report back on what I get.

 MikeR 30 Mar 2021
In reply to TheGeneralist:

Thanks, yhm regarding the trailer.

Some good pros for a more interactive trailer approach. 

Chalamain Gap?! I assume I'm missing something as it's a horrendous boulder hop on foot that would possibly challenge even Danny Macaskill on a bike! Unless there is another Chalamain Gap?

 GDes 30 Mar 2021

Ours hates the trailer as she can't see anything. Hamax siesta is great. I've done blue trails with it, and she's happy for up to an hour as she can see what's going on. Only downside is you can't get out of your seat on hills.

She was in it from 11 months which seemed fine. Used to sleep like a log in it, probably thanks to the rocking motion. 

 Durbs 31 Mar 2021
In reply to MikeR:

As mentioned elsewhere - yes, trailers are passive, BUT the boot is so big you can fit a balance bike in it, and mix and match.

Ultimately I guess it also depends what you're looking to achieve - 9/10 times I'm using the trailer, it's purely for the ride to/from nursery.

Occasionally we use it for a family day out, going further than we would on a walk, but mostly it's a commuting vehicle rather than the activity in itself.

If the purpose is to inspire your kid(s) to get into cycling, a tag-along is a better learning tool (apparently), although both of mine just went from balance bike to pedal bike without stabilisers or tag-along (aged 3!)
As with all things kid-related, depends on their motivation as to what works for them.

As I mentioned earlier, I also found so many extra users for the trailer; shopping trips into town, rugged buggy, "base camp" when out in the woods...
 

We went with the Burley D'lite as the nursery run is through the common which is heavily rutted and didn't want to shake them too much on the daily!

 TheGeneralist 31 Mar 2021
In reply to Durbs:

> As mentioned elsewhere - yes, trailers are passive, BUT the boot is so big you can fit a balance bike in it, and mix and match.

Yep, or strap the bikes on the roof of the trailer...

> If the purpose is to inspire your kid(s) to get into cycling, a tag-along is a better learning tool (apparently),

Respectfully disagree. Riding a bike is a great way of learning to ride a bike. Being on a tag along isn't.

> although both of mine just went from balance bike to pedal bike without stabilisers or tag-along (aged 3!)

Exactly. Totally agree

> Chalamain Gap?! I assume I'm missing something as it's a horrendous boulder hop on foot that would possibly challenge even Danny Macaskill on a bike! Unless there is another Chalamain Gap?

Yep, that's the one.  As you say, they didn't actually pedal much (anything) within the gap itself, but loved the bit before and the Last bit of the Lairig Ghru. I mentioned it merely as a means of defending my position that trailer and towrope is a great option for getting your kids into loving cycling and doing some challenging stuff.

Full story, and some lovely pictures, here

https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/chalamain-gap-family-cycle-good-or-bad/

Oooh. I so much want to get out into the hills....

 MikeR 31 Mar 2021
In reply to TheGeneralist:

> Yep, that's the one.  As you say, they didn't actually pedal much (anything) within the gap itself, but loved the bit before and the Last bit of the Lairig Ghru. I mentioned it merely as a means of defending my position that trailer and towrope is a great option for getting your kids into loving cycling and doing some challenging stuff.

> Full story, and some lovely pictures, here

> Oooh. I so much want to get out into the hills....

Good effort, I doubt I'd have even considered taking a bike through there. Sounds like your 10 year old is a better mountain biker than me, not that that's a particularly high bar!

 MikeR 16 May 2021
In reply to StuPoo2:

You asked me to let you know what I went for. Well we went for our first ride this weekend. I got a weeride, but it wouldn't fit my mountain bike, and the cross bike has drop-down handlebars so ment my chest would be pressed into her head. The local bike shop managed to reconfigure the handlebars so she fitted fine.

Definitely worth it to hear her shrieks of delight whizzing along as we passed dogs and pigeons and buses!

Also getting a trailer in a few weeks. Looking forward to trying that on some of the longer coastal paths near by.

Thanks again for all the suggestions.

 StuPoo2 17 May 2021
In reply to MikeR:

Happy days!

 ChrisJD 17 May 2021
In reply to MikeR:

Baby bike seat or trailer?

Neither, let them grow a bit and get them straight on a balance bike.

Don't set precedents that they get towed around on a bike

3
 TheGeneralist 17 May 2021
In reply to ChrisJD:

> Don't set precedents that they get towed around on a bike

Why not, it's a great precedent.  Kids get to ride amazing trails without getting knackered on the dull/ tiring bits.  Little kid gets to race big brother on the downhills without having turned himself inside out trying to cycle a bike that weighs half as much as he does up the preceding hill.

Family gets an excellent day out together doing fun stuff for a few hours.

You can target for the kids' good days, and if it turns out to be a bad day for one of them then you can rescue it without any stress or Strain.

You can get a *proper* full workout doing a 20km MTB ride with the family without using any brownie points whatsoever.

You can head over to Leogang with the seven year old in the certain knowledge that if something goes wrong with the lifts you can get him back to Saalbach without any drama.

Tow ropes are awesome.

1
 ChrisJD 17 May 2021
In reply to TheGeneralist:

the discussion is about baby seats and trailers for sub 1.5 years olds ...

.... we've biked all over Europe (with & without uplift) with our boys (now 11 & 14), we never used trailer, seat or tow rope (hand behind their back always worked for us if they were struggling, or make the buggers push, lol).

1
 Bog ninja 18 May 2021
In reply to MikeR:

Hi ya,

ive got a burley trailer and I think you can take kids out for a cycle with it after 12 months. We only got bikes recently though so our wee one started at 3 years of age. We also have a shotgun seat which is great for short rides and more technical terrain than a trailer 

 TheGeneralist 18 May 2021
In reply to ChrisJD:

Didn't you feel you were missing out not going on nice longish ( not really long, but longer than a BB can manage) cycle rides?

Or did you just go out separately?

 james wardle 18 May 2021
In reply to MikeR:

We used a Bobike Mini with both of ours from as soon as they could sit up.   

https://www.bikester.co.uk/bobike.html

Very good for gravel tracks and road. less bulky than the wee-ride

 ChrisJD 19 May 2021
In reply to TheGeneralist:

> Didn't you feel you were missing out not going on nice longish ( not really long, but longer than a BB can manage) cycle rides?  Or did you just go out separately?

Nope, never felt that at all (quite the opposite!).

And yes, were were both able to get separately out to feed the rat.

1
 TheGeneralist 19 May 2021
In reply to ChrisJD:

Ah well. Each to his own. I quite enjoyed spending that cycling time with my family, rather than feeling the need to get away from them.

Nice that you get out riding together more recently though.

Post edited at 11:30
 elliot.baker 19 May 2021
In reply to james wardle:

Hi, what kind of bike did you use the Bobike Mini on please? I can't find anything about compatibility or fitting it - I've got a full suspension bike (not a big downhill thing) but would love to start taking the little one out on it.

 ChrisJD 19 May 2021
In reply to TheGeneralist:

> Ah well. Each to his own. I quite enjoyed spending that cycling time with my family, rather than feeling the need to get away from them.

> Nice that you get out riding together more recently though.

Err, you made that jump that I did stuff on my own at the expense of spending time with them, that's a pretty out of order assumption on your part. 

Night riding, weekday riding, riding when there doing other stuff, when they are knackered, asleep etc; all easily possibly whilst still being a good-enough dad. 

There's no need to get a trailer to prove how much you love your kids. 

1
 jkarran 19 May 2021
In reply to MikeR:

We got a bike seat (decathlon, rear pannier rack mounted) when she was about 9 months. Ours coped fine but they develop at significantly different rates so all you can do is consider where your child is at then try if you think it's appropriate.

That's on a town/Dutch bike, it'd be a rough ride on a bad surface, there's very little vertical compliance to absorb bumps.

Personally I'd like a trailer for her but clutter is an issue in the house/shed and for some reason the idea of a trailer causes my wife anxiety that the seat doesn't. I guess we'll end up with a trailer for the old dog and a seat then tow-along bike for the child in the longer run.

jk


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