I used to ride a lot on a road bike (Cannondale CAAD 10) and previously hybrids (Trek), but have not been on a bike in 2 years. I want to buy a bike and a seat that I can use to go on casual rides with my 15 month old. I would like to be able to use the bike with and without the seat.
Seat : choice of a rear seat, front seat, or trailer. My objectives are safety, comfort, ability for child to fall asleep and be safe/comfortable. Since I am in NYC and space is tight, trailer may the worst option. If you ride in NYC with little children, I'd love to hear your opinions.
Bike: Steel frame touring, hybrid or road bike. Bike paths and roads are terrible in NYC in general so I want something with a long wheel base that is sturdy/steady (with and without a load), ability to add a child seat easily, fatter tires than skinny performance road tires, non-aggressive geometry to put less strain on my wrists (I have wrist issues), prefer not to have flat handles bars but also definitely not ultra low drop bars (again due to wrist issues). Some bikes I am looking at are Surly LHT, Surly Cross Check, REI Novara Safari Bike, MASI CX/ CX Comp/ Strada, Bianchi Brava. I expect to spend $500-$1000 on a bike, new or used. I would like to come up with a short list of possibly bikes and go to a couple of stores and buy the bike after trying them out for comfort. Any opinions on bikes that could fit my needs greatly appreciated.
We used the Copilot Limo with both our kids when they were babies and toddlers and loved it. The seat slides on and off the bike so you only use it when you need it. It takes up much less space than a trailer will, but once your kid weighs about 30 pounds or so, you'll start to outgrow it. I think overall a Copilot Limo is the best option, but it's important to realize that there will be some time before (s)he will be able to use a trailer bike, so if they grow quickly, there may be a time when the Copilot doesn't work as well as it should and your kid still not quite ready for a trailer that has a conventional seat, pedals and handlebars due to balance issues. As far as bikes, if this is your primary use for it, a hybrid for about $350 new will work great.