what kind of bike bag/basket when biking with toddlers?
I'm getting ready to order a bike for this summer & really looking forward to being able to join the rest of my family in riding bikes this year. My twins will be 3 this summer & last year they were zooming around on trikes, so I'm sure this year will be more of the same (possibly bigger bikes?)
Anyway, I'm hoping they'll both be potty trained by then, but just in case they aren't, I'd like to find something I can throw a couple diapers in, snacks, juice boxes, keys, cell phone....the usual. I thought maybe a basket would work, but then I came across panniers, like this:
If you have a rear rack, those double panniers just lay over the rack and use the straps to secure them to the rack and rack legs once you position the panniers the way you like. The eBay bags are attached/sewn together with a strip of canvas that is about the width of a typical bike rack.
Some prefer panniers that are separate or can be separated, not sewn together, so they can choose to attach one or both.
another advantage of a rear rack (besides much greater stability---none of that weight on your handlebars), is that in addition to panniers (the saddle bags), you'll also be able to put another bag or strap things to the top of the rack---good for when you don't want to shove your diaper bag/other tote into the saddle bag; just bungee it and away you go (but make sure nothing's hanging down to catch in your wheel).
check to make sure you can install a rear rack: you'll generally need securing points pre-drilled into your frame on the seat stays (or the seat stay bridge) and the drop outs (the rack will come with screws to screw into these points).
Alternately, if you tell us the bike you've got, we can tell you if it'll work (chances are it will; most bikes have these except for extra-light racing bikes). Alternately, if there are no pre-drilled points, there are plenty of adapters that can still make it work just fine.
If you are going to carry any amount of extra gear while riding, I strongly recommend a rear rack for the bike. Even if your bike does not have attachment points there are racks that can be put on without. They usually do have attachment points though. I'm so into racks there is a small rear rack on my four year old's bicycle. The rack is a hand-me-down from my daughter who used it for touring with the rest of the family when she was five. If you're doing a decent amount of cycling with three year old twins congratulations you are doing better than we did. Our twins were five before we got rolling on the bikes with the family.
I haven't recieved my bike yet, but I ordered a Firmstrong Urban Lady 24". Since the kids are still so young, I'm hoping to find a trailer to pull them in. We had one last year, but it fell apart when the nephew decided to use it to load up camping gear.
If I'm pulling one of those, would a rear rack be too much in the back?
There should be no problem with your bike having a rack and pulling a trailer. A bike that can not handle that load then you probably would not want to ride that bike even without the rack and trailer.
We rode with our kids at that age, but never over about 10 miles. Our Chariot trailer attaches to the axle, leaving the rack attach points open. Some of the cheap trailers clamp to the tubing, and may interfere (or may not).
With that short of rides, we merely put supplies in the back of the trailer.
That looks like a fun bike. My one concern is not having low enough gearing with the single speed. When pulling a trailer I'm usually in a gear or two lower than what I would be without the trailer, and perhaps 3-4 going up a big hill. If this is a problem, perhaps you can find a bike shop to swap out the front gear for a smaller one?
Enjoy your rides with your kids. They grow up fast, and only so much time to make great memories on summer outings.