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Old 04-30-06, 04:49 AM   #1
xroader
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trail-a-bike vs. tandem

My daughter (8) has autism and so will probably never be able to safely ride a bike alone. We currently have a trail-a-bike which she rides with me. However she is getting a little big for it (we have a year or so left on it without some modifications) and also a little over-confident. She will often sit with both feet on one side, or grab the frame instead of the handlebars and ride is like a broom (damn you Harry Potter!). She will also sway side-to-side to make things a little more interesting (for her, makes it near impossible for me to keep a straight line)

As CigTech says, she "loves the go fast" so I really want to keep her on a bike, but as she gets bigger safety is becoming more of an issue.

Anyway, I'm looking for advice about tandems. Would a tandem be more, or less, stable with a semi-cooperative stoker than a trail-a-bike? Anyone ride with a similar child? Thoughts and comments?
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Old 04-30-06, 07:04 PM   #2
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This is more from observed experence rather then real experence. She should by more cooperative with a tandem by design of the vehicle. She can't force to rock side to side and the frame will be too far away for her to grab a la Harry Potter. There are child stoker kits to allow a smaller stoker to ride with you and pedal. I believe Worksman will fabricate a custom tandem to your needs, but those aren't cheap, but the quality is impecable.

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Old 05-01-06, 11:37 AM   #3
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Try posting to the tandem forum also, http://www.bikeforums.net/tandem-cycling/. I have not ridden a child on a trail-a-bike so I could not comment on differences between tandem and trail-a-bike. Just this weekend my five year did almost bring us down on our tandem with trailer.
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Old 05-01-06, 01:32 PM   #4
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I have a tandem which I use with my wife, and a Burley Piccolo trailercycle which is similar to the trail-a-bike, but more stable (because of how it attaches to a special rear rack, rather than to the seat post), which I attach to the tandem as well as to my mountain bike.

They're hard to compare because my 6 year old daughter weighs a fraction of what my wife weighs, of course. But as near as I can tell, shifting weight on either the trailercycle or the back of the tandem will affect the captain about as much, assuming the stoker is the same weight.
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Old 05-01-06, 06:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice. I have cross posted to tandems also. I like the looks for the tandem trike, that may be the thing for us, I'll have to look around for one.
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Old 05-02-06, 08:19 PM   #6
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My oldest daughter used an AddamsTrail-a-Bike when she was 4 years old. She wore it out in a year (and 1800 km). I then got a Burley Piccolo that she used from ages 5 to 7.5 and then got a real tandem that she uses while her younger sister uses the Piccolo.
In a nutshell, the Burley Piccolo is more stable than the Addams Trail-a-Bike. And in turn, a tandem is much more stable than the Burley Piccolo.

If you join the Tandem at Hobbes mailing list, you'll find one of the regular contributors, David Witmon, who rides a triplet with his two autistic daughters who are, if I remember correctly 9 and 12.
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Old 05-04-06, 05:16 PM   #7
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What about a tandem recumbent trike? They look like they are a real blast to ride. You just have to have a deep pocket to afford one it seems.
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Old 05-04-06, 06:22 PM   #8
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Yeah - my pockets are kind of shallow. We have decided on a Buddy Bike (www.buddybike.com) We had the opportunity to test ride one yesterday and Anna did very well on it. It is a little awkward for me compared to my hybrid, but much easier compared to my hybrid with Anna on the back on a trail-a-bike. Our LBS gave me full refund for the trail-a-bike and hooked me up with the test ride even though they don't sell Buddy Bikes - No one locally does.

Thanks to everyone for their advice. I'll post as soon as we get the BB and let your know how it goes.
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Old 05-21-06, 12:13 PM   #9
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We went out for the first ride on the Buddy Bike today. It went great! It really helps to be behind Anna to know what is going on and help her keep cadence, etc. It does ride different that most bikes - more real "steering" involved. We tried pedal clips for a short ride, but she took her feet out and then the clips hit the ground. without she does try to pedal, then when she decides it is too hard, takes her feet off and puts them up on the foot pegs. I'll post a picture next time we go out.
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