Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bay Area, Calif.
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Usually no problem attaching a childseat to an otherwise lightweight and 'fast' bike. But note that the bike will no longer be lightweight once the seat and child are installed. I found that in addition to the child it was generally necessary to carry assorted accessories: food, toys, diapers, wipes, spare clothes, etc. So in addition to the seat on the back I had a front lowrider rack with a pannier or two loaded with such items. It was a standing rule on our club rides that anyone riding behind me should watch for items like baby bottles and dolls on the road and pick them up since I could be expected to return for them shortly.
I'd strongly recommend that if a couple wants to ride together and bring along a child that the responsibility for transporting the child be delegated to the stronger rider so as to equalize their strengths. We also sometimes used our tandem, but that has less flexibility for dealing with things like a mechanical bike problem (leaving three people without a means of transport) or having the second person be able to ride alongside and check on the child when needed.
BTW, I did also try the trailer option but was less satisfied with it. More issues with finding the proper line on roads to avoid potholes with the trailer wheels and picking the best line through turns. And the seat allowed for much closer contact with our daughter; being able to readily talk to her and touch her for reassurance whenever needed. We also had two potentially dangerous incidents with the trailer: one when another rider tumbled into it, and the second was when our daughter managed to undo the safety belt and other fastenings and start to climb out while still in motion on the street. The bike handled very stably with the seat and front bags attached - more stable (albeit rather truck-like) than when unloaded. And the seat wrapped completely around her so even in the event of a fall there would be no contact with the ground.
But the trailer was better at containing dropped dolls so I wouldn't need to ride back and retrieve them later.