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  1. #1
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    Child seat vs trailer for new biker



    I got myself a bike for Christmas in the hopes of getting back into shape. I also have an 18 month old son and was wanting to take him on trips with me so bought myself a car seat for the back of my bike. Exactly this one:



    Unfortunately when I used it for the first time, I completely fell over onto my side with the bike. It doesn't help that I'm not in the greatest shape and I'm extremely short. I hadn't imagined it'd be any trouble but it's so unstable and hard to balance. Thankfully where I bought it from sent me a gift card so I can exchange it for a different seat, but I've been looking more into trailers, this one to be exact:



    Are they easy to use?? I don't want to buy one if it's not any easier. From what I've read a lot of people have said it's easy to pull, but figured I'd ask on here to be sure.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    In your case, based on the comments you made about falling and not having balance troubles with the attached seat, the trailer would be your best and only option. It attaches to your seat post and clips on so it easier. But it can still turn over if you go over.

    That said think very carefully about where you will be riding with such precious cargo aboard. I wanted to bring my son with me on my rides but since most of my riding is done on roads and since most of the drivers on said roads are complete and utter self absorbed mouth breathing idiots on cell phones with no concern for anyone but themselves I decided that the only time he would ride with me was when I was on a bike trail because it was just not worth the risk of some ****head not bothering to see the trailer and going through the right turn etc only to run the trailer over.

  3. #3
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    I've rented a bike with a child seat like that. They are absolute pigs to ride, and they are even worse when you add all the cargo that goes with a child on every trip.

    Trailers, on the other hand, work really well. I put thousands of commuting miles on ours, and our daughter was always disappointed when we picked her up from school with one of our cars instead. The bike handling is unaffected by the trailer -- it's very nice, as long as there are no steep hills.

    Be aware that, once they get old enough to ride a Trail-a-Bike or even a bike of their own, all the love they had vor the trailer instantly vanishes. Fortunately, we have several grocery stores where car parking is very limited, so our trailer is able to live on as a grocery getter.

    Paul

  4. #4
    Senior Member nubcake's Avatar
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    I also love my trailer, my son does as well. He usually falls asleep on the way to the park in it. Some advantages are:
    If you fall, they stay upright still
    It is shielded from wind/rain/bugs/cold which is nice for us because we ride year round.
    You can throw toys/blankets in there to keep them more comfortable and entertained for longer rides.
    It seems like people are more careful passing me with the trailer than they were with the child seat.

    The biggest downside to me is storage (small apt, no garage or shed) If you have a garage or shed that would make this really a non issue though. With that being said the pros outweigh the cons enough that I don't mind dealing with storing it and dragging it out when I want to use it.
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  5. #5
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    +1 on the trailer. I take both of my wee ones it it. One is four the other 11 months. The nice thing is its easier to take a diaper bag ans a few toys with on longer rides and they stay warm in december. Also as has been noted if I spill they just get to laugh. Also trailer quality made a big difference in pulling. Id go for a chariot or a burley if its in the budget.

    Have fun:-)

  6. #6
    Senior Member nubcake's Avatar
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    The chariot is a fantastic trailer but very pricey. I have a Chariot myself and on rough pavement I do not feel as bad since it has built in suspension. I did get lucky and found one in decent shape for $150 (actually $300 with the ski kit but I sold that for $150 so...)

    As with anything in the cycling industry quality used is almost always better than cheap new.
    Follow me as I prepare for the 2010, wait no 2012, maybe 2013 Tour Divide, ahh hell I will do it one day...
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  7. #7
    idc
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    I have a trailer and a front mounted child seat. Both work pretty well I think, although I use the trailer more. Trailers add more weight but I don't feel they change the feel of the bike too much except when you are accelerating suddenly.

    I bought a cheap new one ($100) but it's held up ok. I don't have a garage to store it in so it is rusty in parts.

  8. #8
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    So many trailer options

    Hi, I'm working on a comparison of the different trailers available. When I first bought one I didn't know about a helmet pocket, 20 wheels, or all the other options available with some trailers like the Chariot. You can check https://sites.google.com/site/bicycletrain/trailers for the comparison spreadsheet. Kids love being out and its great exercise.
    Last edited by Bicycletrain; 01-13-12 at 12:34 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Trailers are more stable as they keep the center of gravity low. They can be safer as they have a roll cage and five point harness, similar to a race car. If the bike falls, the trailer won't roll over as the hitch has a universal joint of one kind to keep the trailer upright.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Chris Chicago's Avatar
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    I have a topeak seat on the back of an 80s mtb. rides fine. last two summers I've had a lot of great trips with my daughter on the back. and a couple with her younger brother. probably a trailer is in my future so I can take both of them but I dont have a ton of storage and the seat has been easier in that regard.

    here s a link comparing them
    http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune....bike-seat.html

  11. #11
    Senior Member mr,grumpy's Avatar
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    I have a seat and a trailer. Here are some thoughts after two years of using them.

    First, putting a ten pound seat on a rack high up on your bike and then putting a 10-30 pound kiddo in that IS GOING TO MASSIVELY THROW OF YOUR BALANCE AMD CENTER OF GRAVITY. The good news? You get used to it. The first time I put my little guy up there I was scared to death. I almost flipped the bike just vetting on it! I dug my heals in. I'm a little stubborn some times. My son loves ricin in his seat. Je likes to look arround and from where he sits he is almost as tall as me. He sees all the birds and wildlife and we can chat back and forth. He can also throw things overboard. Like his hat or shoes or mittens. ALL toys and drinks go over the side. When he gets bord he can pinch my back and wiggle his feet out OD the straps and kick the back of my legs. How fun is that! My wife can not use the seat. We only have one rack and her bike bike frame is too small to mount it without "thinking outside the box". If she were carrying groceries or cloths on the rack inwould "think outside the box" for her. Carrying my baby? Not so much.

    I also have a trailer. Had it before the seat actually. When he was a baby it was perfect. He could sitinside with his toys and bottle and be all wrapped up in blankets when it was cold and had a nice net to keep bugs off of him when it was warm. All that is still true today. He lobes riding in it! Je hops right in before it is even attached to the bike! He doesn't get to see as much and it's harder to talk to him. He's more like cargo than a co-pilot. The trailer is STABLE. It won't fall over if I do. It does not effect my center of gravity or balance. It is a little wide though. On a bike path it's not a problem bit on the streets around where I live, I feel that it tales up too much space to be safe. That might be a concern for you, maybe not. the trailer is a PITA to store, transport and set up. My wife can pull it (she WON'T but that's a different conversation).

    Both solutions work for us depending on the situation at hand. My little one loves to go along and having both really let's me include him more and that's the best thing of all.
    "I'm built like a marine mammal. I love the cold! "-Cosmoline
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  12. #12
    Just Rockin' neoz's Avatar
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    my kids love both. just switched from baby seat and trailer at once (one kid in each) to a bike train (trail a bike w/ trailer hooked on back). Love it.

  13. #13
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    I see why you like the trailer idea. I am a fan of seats though If you can get used to the high center of gravity. I always put my son in last thing, and had it propped against a solid brick wall. You do get used to it but very akward at first. A big positive of seats is they can be much more interactive with you and other riders around you (wife?). When they outgrow a seat though, about all they are good for is a donation to GoodWill...

  14. #14
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    Either way. in 18 months your little one will be ready for a Burley TAB! That is really something to look forward to!

  15. #15
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    I just got a new bike, and went with a trailer for my 1 yr old. A friend told me the same thing, that she couldn't stay balanced with the seat and was so nervous of falling everytime she went riding with her daughter. I feel the same, so I went with the Burley Bee. Not the most expensive or fancy, but decent price and good reviews...and it's easy to set up, fold down, and attach to the bike. Haven't used it yet with my daughter, it's been too cold, but I think she'll love it. (I hope!) lol

  16. #16
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    You can haul stuff in your trailer long after the kids are asking for their driver's license.

  17. #17
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    We tried the trailer and the kids hated being inside it. The other downside was the width and having to haul it to the park to get on the bike path (my city feels that you should have to drive to a park to ride, all the trails are connected only to parks). So when we put the kids in the trailer they just screamed and fought. Moved to the bike seat and they were fine.

  18. #18
    Senior Member LVRider's Avatar
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    Burley trailer. I have the Bee. My son loves it. Awesome.
    "Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance you have to keep it moving"- Albert Einstein

  19. #19
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    I also used both and greatly preferred the rear child seat. Made it much easier to converse with our daughter and pass things back and forth while riding (I kept snacks and toy surprises in a handlebar bag or front pannier). But if you feel unstable with it then the trailer might be preferred. I did first do a couple practice rides with a big sack of potatoes in the seat to verify that everything was secure and to see how it affected the bike handling. That also let me try some simulated emergency stops and turns. Trailers in general work quite well on level terrain, but be prepared to climb hills much more slowly

  20. #20
    Senior Member LVRider's Avatar
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    Conor (The Dude) zipping along on the Strider at 28 months like it's nothing. I only wish I had learned like this 36 years ago.DudeontheStrider.jpg
    "Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance you have to keep it moving"- Albert Einstein

  21. #21
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Trailers! Child seats scare the crap out of me.

  22. #22
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    When my daughter was younger I put her in a seat on the carrier behind me. It was great until she got to about 20kg and a few issues cropped up...

    1) 20kg on the back wheel is NO fun to drag around
    2) as she got older she stopped staying still and traveling at 30km/h with a moving cargo on the back is no fun.
    3) The carrier/seat combo is heavy and when I ride for exercise it slows me down a lot.

    She just got her own wee bike a few days back. So I'm looking forward to first teaching her ride without training wheels, and then getting her to ride with me on short rides in the park. Perhaps later she may even show more endurance than her not overly fit father... Overall the seat on the back was great, and it doubled as a shopping basket when I wanted to go to the local market.

  23. #23
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    Trailer all the way. My kids fall asleep in it almost every time we go on a bike ride. They actually go out into the garage and sit in the trailer hoping we are going for a ride.

  24. #24
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frankthetank View Post
    Trailer all the way. My kids fall asleep in it almost every time we go on a bike ride. They actually go out into the garage and sit in the trailer hoping we are going for a ride.
    Just started with my trailer and am hoping my daughter gets to that point. She absolutely hates the bike helmet though and associates getting in the trailer (even when we just use it as a stroller) with putting the helmet on, so she cries.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  25. #25
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    I have a Croozer single trailer and a Kidarooz double trailer ...Both were right around $200 new, but I know the prices have gone up since I bought them (years ago). The double is way better. The single won't even fit my 4 year old anymore; he has to bend his knees a lot to fit in there. The double is like limo. The only issue I've seen is when you are on sidewalks, you'll force people into the street or grass! It takes up almost the whole sidewalk. I also prefer the tallest tires you can find. Most of the time I'll throw a pillow in there for the kids to sit on and sometimes we take a blanket along.

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