Just Say No to 26" Wheels
Join Date: Apr 2003
Bikes: Surly Karate Monkey/Gary Fisher Sugar 293
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I started hauling my children in a rear bike seat made by Rhode Gear when we lived in California. We moved overseas and I continued to use the Rhode Gear seat. Then, the older child graduated to a Hitchhiker/tag-a-long because we felt the Burley or other brand type of trailer didn't allow the child to participate. Sure, we had the same FAQ's as other parents that revolved around the child falling asleep on the tag-a-long (never happened) or falling off (never happened). Being that neither of those two major concerns ever happened, we were pleased with the tag-a-long decision. My wife and I switched off who road with the bike seat and who pulled the other child on the tag-a-long.
Then the older child started riding his own bike at a very early age which meant our travel speeds were slower and shorter. He eventually graduated to a 20" wheel bike, then a 24" bike and now is on a 26" bike at age 10. Length and duration of rides increased along with his wheel size. His little sister didn't make it to her own solo bike until she turned 6. So we were back to slower speeds and shorter distances again last year and this year, but due to an upcoming bike tour I recently picked up a used tandem for the youngest to ride along with me. Travel speeds and distances are back up to the "challenging level" now with the family as we train for that event. She still rides her 20" solo bike on some rides, but is right at the age and size where she is about to fit the 24" wheeled bike her brother was riding the past two years.
Whichever route you choose (seats, trailers, kids bikes, tag-a-longs, tandems) I think the expense is well worth the effort to make family cycling an important event.
I sold the tag-a-long last fall to a colleague of mine who pulls his oldest child to school while his middle child (on her way to daycare) sits on a Danish made handelbar seat (common here in Europe, but probably outlawed in the states due to safety reasons) on his way to work. He leaves the tag-a-long at day care and then reverses his route at the end of the day and picks both kids up while his wife is at home taking care of a new baby.
So there a few options available and one can avoid the "non participatory" version via a trailer, but we are happy we bypassed those trailers and got our children spinning as soon as they had outgrown the Rhode Gear seat.