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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 08-04-08, 12:59 PM   #1
Stickney
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Commuting with 2-year old

I am hoping that there are a few of you out there who succesfully commute by bike with their young children? Starting next spring, I will be faced with delivering my then 2-year old daughter to childcare, and if possible, I would like to be able to still do this while commuting by bike. The route is 7 miles one way, and is a mix of bikepath, residential streets, and sidewalks.

Actually, I am not very concerned with the route, I am more concerned with whether a tow behind Burley will work? Does it shake and jostle to much for my little girl for a 7 mile, 30 minute ride? (Having never ridden in a Burley, I have no idea, haha). Or would getting some bike seat or something be wiser/safer?

Any experienced parents' and bike commuters' advice, much appreciated.
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Old 08-04-08, 01:21 PM   #2
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I've done a dozen or so 10-20mi rides with my kids in the trailer and they only complain when ther drop a book or their drink, never about the ride though. Check out Living car free section on the forums maybe others have good alternatives.
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Old 08-04-08, 01:43 PM   #3
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Thanks -- hadn't thought of that forum.
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Old 08-04-08, 01:53 PM   #4
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I'm also getting ready to start a commute with kids. Mine are 8 and 5 (on Thursday) though. We've never tried a trailer, but are going to be using a trailer bike for the 5 year old. Our ride is about 4.5 miles to DD#1's school, then another maybe 3 miles to DD#2's daycare and then another mile or so to my office. They seem to do OK and enjoy it a lot. We've got about 2 miles on a pretty busy road though, that there's just no way around. We've gone on it before and been OK, but it does make me a little nervous. I've decided to blinkie light up the kids bikes like crazy, even during daylight. Can't hurt.

there is another forum about biking with kids here where they also will have some really great ideas (and great pictures!) about biking with kids of all ages. I wish we'd done this when mine were much smaller. I regret we didn't try it sooner. I've seen lots of pictures on that page of people with the bike seats that go up front somehow on the handlebars, and those look great for little ones, and maybe more interactive than the trailer, although I have no idea how it would make the bike handle. Also some trailers that go in front of the bike rather than behind. Lots of cool ideas out there.

Good luck!!
Kim
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Old 08-04-08, 01:57 PM   #5
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Where is the daycare location in relation to your work? Just wondering how much of the ride would be spent with an empty trailer.
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Old 08-04-08, 02:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Stickney View Post
Does it shake and jostle to much for my little girl for a 7 mile, 30 minute ride?
Only thing I can tell you is that your 7 mile ride ain't going to be 30 minutes anymore.

Maybe 45.
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Old 08-04-08, 02:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Stickney View Post
Actually, I am not very concerned with the route, I am more concerned with whether a tow behind Burley will work? Does it shake and jostle to much for my little girl for a 7 mile, 30 minute ride? (Having never ridden in a Burley, I have no idea, haha). Or would getting some bike seat or something be wiser/safer?
My 3.5 yr old has been commuting in a trailer since she was about a year old, once she was big enough to elbow out her own space from her now 7-yr-old brother who has since moved on to his own bike or a trail-a-bike. She is still under 40# so within the weight limit of most of those bike seats. However, the way we ride (my wife drops her and the trailer and the am, I pick them up in the pm), a trailer is easier to deal with (plus it's what we started with since we began w/ toting 2 kids in it). Next summer she will hopefully have graduated up to the trail-a-bike.

Anyway, in addition to her 3 mile commute, she's been on lots of 10-20-30 mile rides too, no apparent ill effects.
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Old 08-04-08, 02:40 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the info. Yes, no more record seting 26 minute 31 second commutes, haha. The childcare place is located just a couple blocks from my job, so it will be essentially the full 7 mile commute.

The IBERT thing looks like a possibity.
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Old 08-04-08, 03:00 PM   #9
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Maybe it's just me, and I don't have kids, but if I did I think I'd be terrified that something would happen to them.
I mean I can deal if a car hits me, but I'd be devastated if I was responsible for my child getting hurt.

But like i said... that could just be me and/or the environment I commute in.
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Old 08-04-08, 03:16 PM   #10
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This isn't constructive or anything but seriously, how much fun would it be to be towed around town in one of those little karts? Chillin back with my juice box and animal crackers. I wish my parents biked when I was younger.
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Old 08-04-08, 03:49 PM   #11
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Maybe it's just me, and I don't have kids, but if I did I think I'd be terrified that something would happen to them.
I mean I can deal if a car hits me, but I'd be devastated if I was responsible for my child getting hurt.


I hear you on this. It is a concern for me, especially since we'll be on the busy-ish road for a little bit. But we mostly ride residential streets with little traffic. I guess my thoughts are that I can't protect them from everything out there. I can however hopefully teach them to be safe while riding, and to live in a healthier and more earth friendly way. I come at this from a weird place though - in the past year I've lost about 110 pounds and gone from very unhealthy and on the very edge of morbidly obese to a healthy weight, fixed problems with blood pressure & cholesterol and back from the brink of diabetes. So I don't want my kids hit by a car, but I also want to be certain to set a good example when it comes to living in a healthier manner than I've shown them up until this past year. It is difficult. I know I ride very super carefully and go way out of the way to be sure we're not on busy streets whenever possible and am constantly telling my oldest "stay to the right!" over and over. I've decided to not ride in bad weather (storms or freezing rain at least) and probably won't ride once it is dark out in the AM when we need to leave. Might have DH drive them in the AM and then have me pick them up in the PM then though. We'll try it and see how it goes. They've done a "test" dry run a few times and they love it.

Now if I can refrain from going crazy and cussing out someone if they throw things at my kids on bikes, we'll be good.

Kim
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Old 08-04-08, 04:12 PM   #12
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I only use a trailer if I am going with 2 kids. With one child, I prefer the child seat. It is easier to pedal and to handle with a child seat. Knock on wood 5+ years & no incidents.
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Old 08-04-08, 04:16 PM   #13
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One of my earliest childhood memories in the 60s was riding on a board my father bolted to his top bar... probably illegal today.
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Old 08-04-08, 05:42 PM   #14
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I carried my son back and forth to daycare in a car seat on a Schwinn Suburban in 1971. About 7 miles one way. Gas was less than 30 cents a gallon and I wasn't overly concerned about the enviornment. The State of Florida felt the need to remind me that driving was a prviledge, not a right and I spent several months without a drivers license. Never dreamed I'd be commuting because I thought it was fun nearly 40 years later.
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Old 08-05-08, 08:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stickney View Post
Thanks for all the info. Yes, no more record seting 26 minute 31 second commutes, haha. The childcare place is located just a couple blocks from my job, so it will be essentially the full 7 mile commute.

The IBERT thing looks like a possibity.
We have a Burley and I think it's comfortable and smooth-riding. I've got some blinkies I'm going to slap all over the back of it for visibility. I could add a few miles to my commute and drop the girls at their day school thing, but I haven't figured out a route through downtown that wouldn't be treacherous. I may play with that a bit more in the Fall...

I also see lots of these Chariot carriers lately. Don't know much about them, but they look very solid.

The people we bought our Burley from took some really long rides with their kids. We had a cheap In-Step before and my wife has dragged the girls (3+ yo twins, about 35 lbs each) all over town in it.
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Old 08-05-08, 08:23 AM   #16
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The IBERT thing looks like a possibity.
Just be aware of the weight limit. At 17 months my daughter is fast approaching the weight limit of my Bobike Mini - which I think is a much better product than the Ibert.

Everyone has their own preferences and safety concerns. A seat on the bike is much more preferable than a trailer. We have both. I use the seat and my wife uses the trailer. The trailer's a Burley D'Lite and is ok... but we bought it before I really shopped around enough. I much prefer the Chariot Cougar. The seating area has none of the flaws I see with the Burley. The Burley can be had for $250 used though, and the Cougar typically brings $450+. I'm sure I would get my money back when I sold it, they're just hard to come by without getting into a bidding war on ebay.

When mine outgrows the Bobike mini, she's going in either a Bobike Maxi (also sold as the xtracycle peapod) or on a seat I build for her on the back of the Big Dummy.
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Old 08-05-08, 08:27 AM   #17
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I am hoping that there are a few of you out there who succesfully commute by bike with their young children? Starting next spring, I will be faced with delivering my then 2-year old daughter to childcare, and if possible, I would like to be able to still do this while commuting by bike. The route is 7 miles one way, and is a mix of bikepath, residential streets, and sidewalks.

Actually, I am not very concerned with the route, I am more concerned with whether a tow behind Burley will work? Does it shake and jostle to much for my little girl for a 7 mile, 30 minute ride? (Having never ridden in a Burley, I have no idea, haha). Or would getting some bike seat or something be wiser/safer?

Any experienced parents' and bike commuters' advice, much appreciated.
No, a Burley trailer won't cause any damage to your child. Both of mine rode far more than 7 miles in one and they turned out just fine...except for the weird sense of humor, strange taste in clothes and bizarre random movie references...but that might be due to their father

Honestly, I've off-roaded with my kids (sailed the trailer into the air about 2 feet), ridden a 6 month old over Rabbit Ears Pass (50 + long miles), ridden them around Kansas and Colorado and Wisconsin for hours on end. They've enjoyed it.
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Old 08-05-08, 08:30 AM   #18
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I found the Burley D'Lite 2 for $200 on Craigslist, so I jumped on it. It's way better than the one I had, so I've decided not to look too closely at the Chariots b/c I don't think I want to know what I'm missing.

The one thing I'll say about the Burley is that the attachment mechanism means I can't use it on my La Cruz b/c the disc brakes are in the way. My bike has a little bar between the chainstay and seat stays that mean it'll probably never work even if I flip the trailer arm the other way (upside down). The good news there is that bike #2 still has a purpose.

If you have disc brakes, and even if you don't, take a close look at the linkage between trailer and bike before buying anything.
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Old 08-05-08, 08:36 AM   #19
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There's a different mount you can use. Pictured here in the top left.



They make one for quick releases and one for nutted axles (same mount, just different hole sizes). It's much easier to use than the big plastic mount. Runs about $20.


There's also this one, but it's $40

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Old 08-05-08, 08:48 AM   #20
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Thanks everyone for the feedback. My wife scored a Burley Solo for free from a neighbor a few months ago and I will do some testing with my 15 month old this summer and fall to see how she handles it. So far she seems to like it just fine.

I may end up looking into a Big Dummy though. Are there any aftermarket seats for those? Or is it a DIY endeavor?
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Old 08-05-08, 09:37 AM   #21
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Honestly, I've off-roaded with my kids (sailed the trailer into the air about 2 feet), ridden a 6 month old over Rabbit Ears Pass (50 + long miles), ridden them around Kansas and Colorado and Wisconsin for hours on end. They've enjoyed it.
I've tipped the burley twice, my daughter just giggled. 'why did you do that daddy?' (both times were sub-walking speed) (she stayed suspended where the straps were supposed to keep her)
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Old 08-05-08, 09:44 AM   #22
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The Burley can be had for $250 used though, and the Cougar typically brings $450+. I'm sure I would get my money back when I sold it, they're just hard to come by without getting into a bidding war on ebay.
If cashflow isn't a problem, anything you can buy half-price second hand, you can get for the same price by buying new and then selling at half-price, but you get to use the first half instead of the 2nd half. If the cougars really are selling used for what they cost new, that is some kind of market though.
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Old 08-05-08, 10:01 AM   #23
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Thanks everyone for the feedback. My wife scored a Burley Solo for free from a neighbor a few months ago and I will do some testing with my 15 month old this summer and fall to see how she handles it. So far she seems to like it just fine.

I may end up looking into a Big Dummy though. Are there any aftermarket seats for those? Or is it a DIY endeavor?
they market the pea pod seat, but kids grow out of that very fast.

Check the utility bike forum. There are a few posts of people who have built their own seats/snapdecks. I believe there's also an example on the xtracycle blog.
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Old 08-08-08, 06:56 PM   #24
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I take my three-year-old twins to preschool in a Burley d'Lite. They go about 10 miles each way. No problems at all, except that we're approaching the d'Lite's weight limit.
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Old 08-10-08, 06:40 PM   #25
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My wife and kids are out of town but I finally caved and used the trailer rather than panniers to bring raspberries back from the farmer's market today.
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