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  1. #1
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    How early can I use a Trail-A-Bike?

    My son is 3.5, about 41 pounds, & 40" to 42" tall. We are buying him his first bike soon. Maybe this weekend. I'm also getting my new Giant Yukon this weekend, if it comes in. I know he wouldn't be in a trailer long and they are expensive. LBS recommended a TAB. I'm unsure of his size and attention span. I don't want him to fall off basically. I kind of think I'm worrying a little too much!

    So, how early did you folks who have experience with these things put your little folks on them. My wife and I would like to be able to take longer rides together and include our son.

    TIA for you comments.

  2. #2
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    My 3.5 year old rides occasionally but only on very short non-fast rides, for the same reasons you note. I'm not much of a worrier but this one worries me because I've had my share of road rashes. I don't want them to go through that at this age.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    I don't know if it is still available, but Adams used to have a high backed bike seat with multipoint harness that could be substituted for the conventional saddle on their, or in concept any make of T-A-B. This would give you the best of both - a single purchase and safety.

    Edit: looks like it can still be purchased:
    http://www.amazon.com/Adams-Child-Se.../dp/B000SMQ6OY

    Last edited by Fibber; 08-02-07 at 02:35 PM.

  4. #4
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    My nephew was comfortable on a two wheel bike at age four or five. But, even at age eight, he did not like the "Trail-A-Bike" concept. He always felt unbalanced on it, and never could relax and just enjoy the ride.

    I'm guessing most kids are not ready for a TAB until they are comfortable on a two wheel bike. In contrast, every kid I've seen, age one to age five, that was riding in a trailer seemed to enjoy the ride. And, the trailer has space for toys, snacks, and stuff to make the ride enjoyable.

    And, the trailer has been useful even after my nephew out-grew it. When we go to the park for picnics, we can haul our picnic stuff in the trailer...a good trailer can provide ten or fifteen years of useful service.
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 08-02-07 at 02:33 PM.

  5. #5
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Does the ability to ride w/o training wheels factor in here? My 3.5 year old just got his training wheels off and he's going like gangbusters and I wondered if this might be a fun way to take him on longer rides.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston View Post
    I'm guessing most kids are not ready for a TAB until they are comfortable on a two wheel bike. In contrast, every kid I've seen, age one to age five, that was riding in a trailer seemed to enjoy the ride. And, the trailer has space for toys, snacks, and stuff to make the ride enjoyable.
    This has not been my general experience. My oldest was uncomfortable on an Kent Co-Pilot but that was because it was truly unsafe. We now have a Piccolo, and the oldest 3 want to ride it (3, 6 and 8), such that we have to set up turns. The 6 year old is afraid, even on training wheels but loves the TAB. The 3 year old will do what ever you don't say not to, i.e. wants to ride the 6 year olds bike even though it is too tall.

    Quote Originally Posted by caloso
    Does the ability to ride w/o training wheels factor in here? My 3.5 year old just got his training wheels off and he's going like gangbusters and I wondered if this might be a fun way to take him on longer rides.
    I have not found that to be the case.

    I am not refuting individual experiences but pointing out that each kid is different. I think from other posters, the general consensus is that they are enjoyed by the kids. There are some that do not take to them. If you do get one, just make sure it can stay vertical, tracks straight and the clamp does not twist or have alot of slop in it. If it works mechanically, you'll only know if they like by trying it out .

  7. #7
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    My youngest wants to do everything big sister (6 years older than her) can do. So at 4 years old she wanted out of the trailer. At 4.5 she wanted the training wheels off. So I took her to the bike store to measure her against the Adams and Trek T-A-B's, and taught her to ride a two wheeler. We go back and forth between the trailer & T-A-B depending on the length of the ride, and yesterday we headed for the park for her first real solo ride on her little 12" tire bike.

    Unfortunately, 6 years ago I didn't know about trailers and trailer bikes, so we missed out on a lot of the fun with our first child.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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    I was riding on a MUP the other day and a trail-a-bike carrying a kid I would guess to be 4 or 5 was in front of me along with an older kid on his own bike. The kid on the TAB was not paying attention and was just sitting. She was actually leaning her weight to the side that was leaning away ( I hope that made sense) The TAB leaned one way, then after a turn, leaned the other way, she just shifted her weight a bit. I thought it was kind of funny, but was surprised that she never fell off.

    So, duct tape the kid in and go for a ride!

  9. #9
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    I think it's best to try out a loaner. Try it out a few times, at that. My 6 yr old, recently down to 2 wheels from 4, was terrified his first few times on the t-a-b. Tolerated a driveway-to-driveway-and-back run at the end of our 1st evening w/ borrowed t-a-b. Finally made it around the block the next 2 days, and on Sunday (we borrowed it Thursday), he rode it 12 miles and convinced us to get one of our own (so we could return the loaner to his friend and they could go on t-a-b rides together). He likes the t-a-b more than his own bike for sure, and even more than his razor scooter which really surprises me. He's agitating for a 20 mile group ride next weekend. Every single day he wants a t-a-b ride. He's funny, he's dutifully practicing every few days w/ his own bike, still needs to tweak his self-powered starts, wants to get ready for riding to 1st grade in the fall, 'cause he knows t-a-b won't be a reliable option by then. He schedules these sessions, but he doesn't love them like the t-a-b.

  10. #10
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    wvuce:

    My youngest took her first ride on the t-a-b at just over 3; but wasn't comfortable, so I didn't push it.

    Now at just over 4, she meets me with her helmet on every morning to ride the t-a-b to daycare (just over a km ride).

    She has also done several 20 km rides with myself and my wife on the tandem and been on the t-a-b for a hammer session with me and my brother (no specifics but we covered over 30 km in under an hour) and she was happily cheering us on the entire time.

    I was originally thinking of adding the backrest to the t-a-b bt it hasn't proven necessary. Tandem does have a big advantage in the stoker can regularly watch the t-a-b especially in stressful situations, but your wife on a second bike could do this just as easily.

    The only time I would worry about her falling off is if daycare was further away and I was picking her up (I had that situation with her older brother and trailer - he would fall asleep in the trailer after a long day...but there was ample notice as conversation started to drag before nap started)

    Prairie*Boy

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the replies. I think we are going to purchase one and give it a try.

    Can you folks that have them give any recommendations? There are Giant's and Treks at ~180 all the way down to WeeRide's for ~69. I want safe and secure, but I don't want to break the bank after just buying a $500 dollar bike myself.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    We have another thread running in parallel with this one that covers several of the brands, with extensive pros and cons discussed. Rather than duplicate it here, may I suggest that we move your question and subsequent discussion to there? Thanks!

    It is titled "Any trail-a-bike users? Need your opinion... " and is about 10 lines down the page.

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