My daughter is 4 months old and I’m going stir crazy to get her out on our local bike paths! While I love walking places with her there are a few things that are a bit too far for a daily walk like the library which is a 6 mile round trip with no tree cover to shade us. It is also the heart of the summer here in Denver right now and I need to be back from our walks by 10:30/11am at the latest since walking doesn’t create much of a breeze for my daughter in her stroller!
In this “Hauling Your Kid by Bike” series I’ll walk you through different ways to carry your kids with you on your bike, the pros and cons of each, and how I ultimately decided on the product I did to help you figure out what fits your needs the most.
Ways to Carry Kids by Bike
The two most used devices to carry kids in the US:
Kids seat mounted on the rear of the bike
Pull behind trailer
There are also cargo bikes that are becoming more popular and these break down into two groups:
Long tail where the rear end of the bike frame is longer than standard to add a long platform to carry multiple kids and cargo
Front box bikes where the bike frame is stretched out the front and some sort of box is placed to carry a couple kids or cargo
Other options that are only recently gaining traction in the states:
Kids front seat that mounts behind the handlebar
Tandems designed for smaller humans on the back. I’ve even seen where the tandem is a triple
Paths of Decision Making for our Kid Hauling Machine
You would think I should have this figured out from working in the bike industry for half my life and helping so many families start riding. Yet I don’t have this figured out. Maybe this is because I’ve seen too many ignorant parents attach seats improperly, or unskilled riders dump their kids on sidewalks, or maybe it is due to this child being my own that I’m exposing to the elements and potential dangers every fear possible comes to mind.
I should start off this decision making story by saying that my wife is a pediatrician. This is both good and bad as she has a better idea of what will really keep our daughter safe compared to what simply “looks safe”. The good is that I have been permitted to ride with my daughter at 4 months of age if she has shade, isn’t too hot and is facing backwards in her car seat. The bad is that there aren’t too many options that allow for this. We have gone from trailers, to front loading box bikes, to Xtracycles, and around and around.
Why does this even matter? As a lifelong cyclist I want so badly to ride with my daughter for the few errands we run around our community. To park our car only to use it for the day trips and nasty weather. Deep down I feel guilty every time I strap her into the car to look blankly at the car seat in front of her with the A/C blasting and the tinted windows shading her from the Colorado sun. We are keeping her as safe as possible but we are dulling her environment by controlling every sound, temperature and experience. I crave to talk to her as she’s able to see the clouds floating in the sky above as we pedal for 10 minutes to our destination, or in 5-7 months when she is ready to face forward and look at the amazing world around her.
In our next article we will discuss the types of kid hauling products we have tried during this decision making process. We will start weighing the pro’s and con’s to find the right fit for us.
I need to thank several companies that have helped me immensely during this process. Barb with Splendid Cycles, Phil at Metrofiets, Evan and Ross at Xtracycle, and everyone at Burley. You all are wonderful people with amazing companies. I’m so fortunate to have you all as resources, and this country is lucky to have you fighting the good fight by putting more families on bicycles!
Header photo credit: Xtracycle