Handouts summarizing gear options for biking with small children

In preparation for the Kids Bike 101 workshop we were part of at Bicycle Belle, I developed some handouts that summarize a lot of information about carrying children by bicycle, including input from the other organizers and panelists, Megan Ramey, Brian Postlewaite & shop owner Carice Reddien.**  These handouts consolidate information about overall features, multi-kid compatibility, approximate child ages that each type of bike or accessory works for, compatibility between different devices, and general strengths and weaknesses of different set-ups. The information is about biking with a child attached to an adult bicycle in some way, whether contributing to pedaling or as “cargo.” It does not include information about electric assist options.

I’d like to make this consolidated information more widely available. I garnered this information over the many years that my wife and I have been biking with our family, and through communications with countless other family bikers, including many who I helped to research, try, buy and install all kinds of bikes and kid-hauling accessories. As in all things involving bikes, there is admittedly a dose of opinion in these documents (particularly in my assessment of stability), but I’ve tried to be balanced and include important information about a wide range of options in a condensed way.

If you have further information to add that might be useful to people trying to parse their family-bike options, please leave comments. If you do comment (and please do!) — try to speak from concrete experiences with this type of biking and bike equipment, as opposed to how things seem based on how things look in images or internet reviews. Please also make it clear if you are commenting as a representative of a particular bike company.

Handout 1 (two pages): Table summarizing of the ages and features of kid-hauling bikes and bike accessories, including information on approximate appropriate ages of children for each method, and compatibility between different bikes and bike accessories which is useful for figuring out how to carry multiple children.

FamilyBikeAgeSummary&Compatibility_7-2014

Handout 2 (two pages): Summary of the strengths and weaknesses of kid-hauling bikes and bike accessories.

FamilyBikeStrengthsWeaknesses_7-2014 

**While I generated this handout in preparation for the workshop at Bicycle Belle, it includes information on bikes well beyond what this particular shop stocks. I do not have an official relationship with Bicycle Belle besides really wanting our own local shop, a shop that knows and cares about the type of  bikes we ride, to succeed. We weren’t officially compensated for hosting to workshop, though Carice did give my daughter a lovely bike bell as a thank you.

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7 Responses to Handouts summarizing gear options for biking with small children

  1. Easy says:

    Nice chart!

    Our child has exceeded the official US weight limit of the Yepp Maxi (40 lbs) at 4.5, so you might want to move the grey box one to the left. The official European weight limit of the seat is 48 lbs so we haven’t been worrying too much.

    I wonder if the “no” entries in the multiple kids column might confuse people into thinking those are not an option for people with multiple kids, even in combination with others. Maybe it’d be better to call the column “# of seats” and have a 1 instead of “no” and a “1 to 2″ or “1 to 3″ or “1 to 4″ instead of yes.

    We also have a Trail Gator, which seems to be in the same category as the Follow Me tandem coupling, but haven’t tried it yet:
    http://www.trail-gator.com/

    • Nathan says:

      I’m comfortable going by the european weight limit on the Yepp (personally), so I think that one can stay (it’s one of the strengths of that seat!). As far as I know, the seat is identical here but someone should speak up if they have different info. As far as the trail-gator goes, it is, unfortunately, very different than the follow-me because it mounts to the seat-post. One of the strengths of the follow-me is that it is compatible with a rear seat — the trail-gator definitely isn’t. I’d include that more or less in the same category as a seat-post-mounted trailer bike in terms of compatibility overall — that might merit a note and do report back on how you fare with it (also, duly noted on the red/green color scheme).

  2. Easy says:

    (Oh, and as someone who is red-green colorblind, I find the compatibility matrix hard to follow. How about an X or black instead of red? :-)

  3. Geoff C says:

    i was just going to give the same comment as Easy. In an attempt to discern the colors, i thought squinting would help. no luck.

    i had great experience with my xtracycle and a trailer. many fun times pulling the kids aorund, with a ton of bags loaded up in the saddle bags!:
    https://secure.flickr.com/photos/jpbikeresearch/6207625060

    and unlike other folks, I chose to attach the trailer hitch to the back of the xtracycle for maximum maneuverability.

    geoff

  4. Pingback: Even more ideas for riding with kids | Wee Ride Memphis

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