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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 11-02-08, 09:54 AM   #1
gregclimbs
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commuting with Kids and Snow

ok, for starters, I don't "commute" in the traditional sense.

I am a stay at home dad and currently use a trailer to grab them from school 3-5 days a week (wife does drop off on the way to work).

I am hoping to build a big dummy and use it more for our errands as well as shuttling them to and fro.

They currently are in a chariot 2 trailer together by by next spring I might do the stoker bar and kid footies for the *then* 4yo and let the 5yo ride a piccolo attached to the rear.

That said, who here hauls kids around by bike and if so, what is the temp/weather cut off?

Thanks in advance...

g
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Old 11-02-08, 09:58 AM   #2
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I used to. It was more significant amounts of snow that did us in than temps. I suppose temps below 20F would have done it as well.
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Old 11-02-08, 09:59 AM   #3
uke
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Try the LCF forum as well. They'll have lots of suggestions for kid towing.
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Old 11-02-08, 10:13 AM   #4
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Try the LCF forum as well. They'll have lots of suggestions for kid towing.
Uke is right, lots of advice BUT -
Take any advice you get there on this subject with a grain or two of salt. Very few of the posters there have any experience with the subject of transporting their own children anywhere by any means, let alone being dependent on the use of bicycles for the transport of their own children. But as uke said, lots of advice will be offered.
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Old 11-02-08, 11:12 AM   #5
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I've been hauling my 1.5-yr old about 20km round trip to daycare in a chariot.

The summer went all right (in all weather conditions) but I was apprehensive about winter... not because I thought he'd be cold in that fully-enclosed cabin, but because I wasn't sure I could pull the thing in a headwind at minus ten (and not be all morning doing it).

As for snow... well, I generally have a hard time just propelling myself on a snowy day much less pulling anything. And of course traffic here gets FUBAR as soon as someone even suggests it might snow.

Hence I was relieved to get my kid into a daycare about 1km away for the winter.

The above might not be too helpful, but there it is.
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Old 11-03-08, 07:08 AM   #6
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I've hauled my son throughout the whole year.

For winter, go to a Target store and get them snow pants. Add leather hiking type boots, down mittens, and a scarf (make sure it's not to long - or else it might catch on something). For the head, it might be best to invest in ski helmets for both. Regular cycling helmets have to many vents for winter days, and adding a cap is just one other thing you got a keep track of. Also, buy two tiny duffle bags (different colors)for each, and use it to carry the above in. Get into the habit of placing their winter outerwear in it as soon as they take it off, unless it's wet.

I've taken my son to daycare by bike since he was 2, and he is now 5 - kindergarten. I've wasted more time looking for his stuff early in the morning then worrying about how cold it is for the ride.

We started with a Chariot Trailer, which he outgrew, at around 3, switched to an Adam's trail-a-bike that made my own bike wobbly, and now we ride my Kona Smoke with an Xtracycle Free Radical attached to it. I've found it more practical/useful, simple (one less tire for a potential flat, breakdowns, and technical issues) and stable then the Adams.

Both your kids should fit on the BD nicely, with duffle bags, school bags, and your stuff too. If not add, a front rack!

Last edited by Silverexpress; 11-03-08 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 11-03-08, 08:34 AM   #7
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Both your kids should fit on the BD nicely, with duffle bags, school bags, and your stuff too. If not add, a front rack!
Thanks ALL for the replies... especially those in areas that get cold like it does here in SL,UT.

I know that they would both fit the BD snapdeck and have seen several folks that have stuck two seats on it... but the piccolo + stoker kit seems to be the best option (imho) 1) you get the "help" of one of them pedalling and 2) they can swap and take turns when one gets tired.

It also let's me drop the piccolo when I only have one of them.

Right now, just in planning stages, but early spring the BD should be built and looking forward to it...

Thanks again and still open to ideas/suggestions.

g
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Old 11-03-08, 08:41 AM   #8
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I took my daughter to winter vacation camp in a trailer for four years. The trailer blocks most of the wind, so all you need is insulation. In our case, a heavy quilt worked well down to at least 20 F. Back before cars had heaters, a "car blanket" was a standard piece of winter gear. My daughter loved the trailer - she was always disappointed when I picked her up in one of the cars instead of by bike.

As for temperature cutoff, there probably isn't one, given proper insulation. We have gone sleigh riding in Quebec at -25 F during ski vacations.

Paul
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Old 11-03-08, 11:35 AM   #9
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We cart two fourteen-month-olds to daycare in a trailer. I was planning to do it year round, but I think we might take this winter off - partly because of the cold and partly because of the dark.

We bought their winter coats a size big so they'll still fit at the end of the winter. Unfortunately, we now have two kids in a tiny trailer who can't put their arms down. They also aren't old enough yet to let us know when they're too cold, and they can't comprehend holding a blanket over their legs to keep warm.

The bigger concern for me was the change in daylight after the time change. I don't mind riding in the dark in the morning. We've been doing that for quite a while and there's almost no traffic in the morning. Unfortunately, we go right past a high school and there are a lot of crazy teenage drivers out right about the time we'd be picking the kids up. I'm just not willing to take a chance on getting hit by one of them. Although, I don't think the hs kids are the only ones not paying attention. Some grandma backed out of a driveway the other morning and missed the trailer behind me by inches - we're lit up like a movie marquee, she just never looked before backing out. We'll see how many more evenings we can squeeze in before it gets too dark. Taking them in to daycare in the morning is more dependent on everyone sleeping through the night than on the level of light.

When they outgrow the trailer, I'm planning on taking them in on the back of an xtracycle. Hopefully by then we can get them clothes that fit so they can put their arms down.
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Old 11-03-08, 11:45 AM   #10
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How do you intend to mount the piccolo on the BD?

I've only seen it done once, and calling it half-assed would be too generous.
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Old 11-03-08, 05:04 PM   #11
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How do you intend to mount the piccolo on the BD?

I've only seen it done once, and calling it half-assed would be too generous.
there was a thread here whereby someone cut the snapdeck in half and used the std rack.

his flickr photos are here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fatguy1966/2497279123/

and here is an example



there was also the one where the individual used a pipe flange mount screwed to the snap deck, that one I would have called half-assed, and personally would trust it.

g
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Old 11-03-08, 10:45 PM   #12
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These folks live in Longmont CO and have become completely car free. They have a big dummy (I think) and have crafted 2 nice seats for the kids on the back. If you read their blog they are considering selling seats or kits to those interested.

http://longwalktogreen.blogspot.com/
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