Recommendations for commuting with two school age kids
I'm new here, looking for some advice. I have two kids who will be going into kindergarten and first grade this year. Their school is close enough to walk, but due to their different schedules, I would have to walk to and from school three times a day (it'd take me over three hours total every day) We're so close I also feel it'd be silly/wasteful to drive them (not to mention the horror of the endless line of parents in cars). Biking seems like the perfect option but I'm not sure where to start. My youngest would need to be "on" my bike in some way, she's too young/inexperienced to be on her own. Can anyone tell me how the trail-a-bike sort of things have worked for them? Would it be difficult to use on hills? We live in a very hilly area (there'd basically be *no* flat ground there or back). Is there a bike for me that would work best with the trail-a-bike and hilly terrain? Thanks in advance, I'm really excited to figure this out and get us on some bikes!
Last edited by mrslaurenleigh; 08-09-11 at 05:09 PM.
Reason: typo in title
A TAB works very well with most kids from ~4-9. There are many flavors of TABs available. Avoid the Kent manufactured models. Look for Giant, Trek or Adams. They seem to have about the same basic build quality. More expensive but a very different design and very stable is the Burley Piccolo. You can do very well on Craigslist, but check them out before you buy. Consider trying one from a local store so you know what it should feel like. Then try out some CL finds. Stay away from ones that allow alot of lean for the child.
You will have to decide if you want a TAB with or without gears. Gears can be nice to have but you will likely have to frequently coach your kids on when to use them and how to use them. Don't be surprised (or angry) if you are struggling up a hill and you hear your KG'er singing/talking/etc. on the back.
With hills, you will want a bike with low gearing. Mountain bikes, hybrids, cross bikes, etc should have those low gears.
I use an Adams Original Folder Compact Trail-a-Bike to haul my 4-year-old son around. Its compact size is perfect for him (he just turned 4 and we've been using it since early spring). I had to add some blocks to allow him to reach the pedals, and I bought the optional back rest to give both him and myself some security and peace of mind.
If you want to carry both kids at once you'll have to add a front-mounted seat like the iBert safe-T-seat since the TAB precludes the use of a rear one. Either that, or hitch a trailer to the TAB. Adams also makes a tandem TAB.
As for the hills, you just have to HTFU, get the kid(s) to help pedal if using a TAB, or consider using something like a Bionix system.