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Old 11-07-08, 12:36 AM   #1
Jumanji215
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Biking with 2 1/2 year old

Hello,

I just joined yesterday but was having problems accessing the site so I haven't been able to browse much.

I will be getting a new bike soon so I need to find some options on how to transport my 2 1/2 year old daughter. I'll probably get a hybrid 700c just not sure which one yet. My husband is a downhill rider and we just got our 5 year old son a bigger bike. When our son was 1 we bought a Chariot Cougar 2 and loved it...when we used it...which wasn't much. Now that we'd like to get back into biking as a family I'm not sure which route I should go. I'll be the one transporting our daugther on my bike. I'd love to get another Chariot but not sure if the cost is worth it. Will she use it long enough? I think since I've been spoiled with a Chariot once I won't be able to go back to any other brand. The others options are bike seat or trail-a-bike.

I'd love any input.
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Old 11-07-08, 08:14 AM   #2
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Sounds like you have some pretty narrow parameters and a good amount of prior opinion. I personally got an InStep trailer used twice for $40 on craigslist. My 2 1/2 year old son loves it. We've put lots of miles on it. Sure, it is a bit of a sail and I can't go terribly fast in it. However, it is comfortable enough for him and I'm not out there for time trials.

Funny thing - I use it enough to justify getting a higher end model, but now find that it is more than good enough to serve my purposes. Every now and then I'll see someone bring their kid to the park in a $500+ trailer with a $1000 bike. A bit of talking quickly reveals that they use it about 2 times per year.
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Old 11-07-08, 08:45 AM   #3
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+1 on Dallas comments. The Chariots are very nice as you have seen as are the other expensive brands. But realistically, it's winter and you will likely be riding less unless you live in the warmer climes. Your daughter is 2.5 and would on average use the trailer until she is 5, give or take. But starting around age 4 you will probably be getting her onto a TAB or tandem. She would not do the TAB all the time but it will increase to where she won't be in the trailer anymore. So you have about 1 solid year of use from the trailer. I'd probably look at the used market, plenty of Burley's out there. The InSteps will do fine too.

You did not explicitly say but I assume you sold the Chariot? Just curious why you did not keep it after your oldest finished using it.
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Old 11-07-08, 09:35 AM   #4
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How big is your daughter?
What kind of weather are you planning to bike?
What kind of riding do you have in mind? MUPs? Parks? Street riding? Off-road?
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Old 11-07-08, 10:50 AM   #5
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I sold the trailer about 3 years ago. I was pregnant and I hadn't used it in a while. I used the funds to buy a Phil & Ted's stroller which was easier to take places than the Chariot in stroller mode.

My daughter is about 27 lbs and 35" tall.

I live in Vancouver, BC so the winter is mild but rainy so we'll likely do some biking through the winter.

We'll probably ride on easy trails/parks and some street riding.

I have looked on Craigslist and used Chariots seem to range from $300 all the way to $600 depending on the age and model. I'll definitely go the used route. We bought our first one new and thankfully recouped alot from it since it was barely used. I haven't seen many Burley's used though.

I found riding with the Chariot was such a breeze. I barely felt it when I was pulling it. Do you get that experience from all trailers or can they feel different? What stopped us from riding before was my husband didn't like his bike and we couldn't really afford to spend what was needed to buy him a decent bike. Now he has one that he loves and wants me to join him.
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Old 11-07-08, 12:06 PM   #6
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I find that they can feel different but not extraordinarily so. I think most times a change to narrower high pressure (80+ psi) tires and checking that the hubs are lubed and correctly adjusted may solve alot of feel differences.

Craigslist should be decent in your area which you are probably already looking at. If you have reason to get to Seattle you could probably double the offerings.

If you bought one of the used Chariots you could again make most of your money back.

I'm glad your husband has a bike he likes and that you all are going to get out together for rides. Maybe not this ride, but there are plenty of other ones .
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Old 11-07-08, 01:51 PM   #7
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I don't know what sporting good chains are in your area but you might be suprised at the "end of season" deals/prices of the trailer you are looking for. I picked up my brand new Burley D'Lite at REI here for less than $265 USD last October. It was marked down by almost 200 bucks! They figure the "season" is over and want to make floorspace for winter stuff. So much the better for you...
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Old 11-07-08, 05:27 PM   #8
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I've found a used 2003 Cheetah 1 for $350 with a trailer attachment and jogging wheel that I'll be looking at on Tuesday. The other ones on Craigslist are asking $500 - $600 for newer models.

Thanks for the help. I'm glad to know that I'll get at least a few years use out of it. Makes it easier to justify the cost. Since we sold our old one before my son outgrew it I had no idea how long kids stay in the trailers.
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Old 11-07-08, 05:29 PM   #9
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Cygnus67, end of season deals seem a bit harder to find around here since it's mostly just bike shops that carry the trailers and they don't really need to clear them out for winter stuff.
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Old 11-07-08, 06:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jumanji215 View Post

I have looked on Craigslist and used Chariots seem to range from $300 all the way to $600 depending on the age and model. I'll definitely go the used route. We bought our first one new and thankfully recouped alot from it since it was barely used. I haven't seen many Burley's used though.

Get the Chariot. You'll quickly remember how you love to use it, and just as you've discovered, when you're done with it you'll have little trouble selling it and recouping some portion of your costs.

As for fear of not using it enough, there are at least two issues: 1) the cost might incentivizes its use---i certainly use mine nearly everyday just to show that the hard-earned bones were all well spent; 2) if one is afraid the Chariot won't be used enough to trail the kids, one probably shouldn't buy the bike either (granted, it's hyperbolic, but not too far off the mark).

The quality of the Chariot makes it all worth while (but you know this already),... if you're looking for a kid trailer. On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with starting them on their own tiny-bikes, but it does put a limit on where and how far you can ride; nonetheless, your kid might love it far more than just being towed around; you'd know best in this case.

Nothing makes me happier than "family-bike" times!
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Old 11-09-08, 01:03 AM   #11
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Get the Chariot

I put in another vote to buy another Chariot. If you can find a used one, they hold their value fairly well.
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Old 11-11-08, 06:46 AM   #12
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I've used both trailers and the one thing you need to get is fenders. Fenders that go down to at least 4 o'clock if you don't want your kid sprayed in the face.

The Burley has much more useable cargo space and it can be transferred between bicycles more easily. There are no advantages to the Chariot except that you can get a hiking setup which attaches to your shoulders and waist. If you don't need that then the Burley is the way to go.

If you really need extra storage space on a Chariot you can mount a handlebar bag for a little extra storage on the back of the Chariot storage bin.
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Old 11-12-08, 08:57 AM   #13
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Every now and then I'll see someone bring their kid to the park in a $500+ trailer with a $1000 bike. A bit of talking quickly reveals that they use it about 2 times per year.
Oh, whatever. I personally know six different families that have a setup as you describe, mine included, and the rigs get used nearly every day in one form or another. And I see plenty of "never used" In-Step trailers on Craigslist. Buyer's remorse happens at every price point.
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Old 11-12-08, 10:35 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jumanji215 View Post
My daughter is about 27 lbs and 35" tall.
I live in Vancouver, BC so the winter is mild but rainy so we'll likely do some biking through the winter.
We'll probably ride on easy trails/parks and some street riding.
Since you liked Chariot so much, you might stick to your guns.
I have an el-cheapo trailer and it's holding up moderately OK to frequent commuting use.
Your daughter is probably at least two years away from a trailer bike (and if she is willing you can keep her in a trailer probably up to 6 y.o.)
Back mounted seat is also an option I like too, because it does not enlarge bicycle footprint. Most of them go up to 40 lbs.
Bobike Maxi (a.k.a. Peapod) can take 55 lbs, bur if your daughter is prone to fall asleep on a bike, it does not have a nice head support for sleeping.

The best thing would be of course to try it and see how both of you like it - maybe you can find local cyclists who would be happy for you to try their gear or your local LBS has demo versions (or a good return policy).

Whatever you choose don't forget fenders (or at least rear fender for your bike)

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Old 11-12-08, 11:38 PM   #15
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I've never tried a rear child bike seat. My daughter has never been biking so I don't know if she will fall asleep or not. She does still nap though and does fall asleep in the car on occasion if it's near nap time.

I haven't seen any used Burleys come up and the new ones cost the same as a Chariot. It'll only be hooked up to my bike so transfering it isn't an issue.

One thing that I'm unsure of right now with the Chariot is if I should go for a Cheetah or a Cougar. The Cougar has the adjustable suspension and extra padding in the seat area. Is the suspension worth the extra? I think I'd like to do more trail type stuff if I can and I'd worry about her getting bounced around too much and be uncomfortable. Does anyone have any experience with the Cheetah and how it rides?
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Old 11-13-08, 12:48 PM   #16
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The suspension systems are nice but I think a little overkill unless you plan on having the trailer for years. The kids will get jostled a little but it is a good thing for the most part, kind of soothing. There probably will be some bigger bumps but those would be more the result of your going in an area you do not intend to go.

If you are really concerned and do not have suspension, you can do cheap suspension. Buy the fattest tires that will fit your rims and underinflate them. Don't underinflate too much though as you will risk more flats. Say pump a 60 psi tire to 40 or 45psi.
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Old 11-13-08, 02:02 PM   #17
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Thanks for that suggestion. I'll keep that in mind. I've contemplated going for the Cheetah and if I don't like it resell it and find a Cougar instead. I can be so indecisive sometimes
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Old 11-27-08, 12:32 AM   #18
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So, I finally bought a Chariot Cougar 1. Found a good deal on a used one. Needed a little cleaning up but otherwise my daughter is very happy with it as am I. My husband bought me a Kona Fire Mountain bike for my birthday so we went for our first family ride on Sunday. Just a short one but looking forward to doing many more.
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