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Old 09-19-13, 08:31 AM   #1
Mina
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Options for toddler twins

I have an old cheap mountain bike and want to start using it again for commuting to work. I need options to load my 19 m.o. twin boys on this bike to bring them to daycare before I go to work.

I want a front seat and a back seat. What are decent yet affordable seats for mountain bikes?

I'll probably need a back rack too.

Any and all comments/suggestions welcome.
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Old 09-19-13, 08:47 AM   #2
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Hi,

I'd seriously consider a trailer.

It's safer (the bike can fall, but the trailer won't tip over) and it isn't any harder to balance. They're also protected against rain, sun, etc. With two kids in seats, you'll find it harder to balance.

Check Craig's list for used trailers in your area.

Cheers,
Charles
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Old 09-19-13, 04:30 PM   #3
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Bak Fiets [box bike] , big low cargo load area in front of you between the handlebars
and a linkage steered front wheel .

and extra space to bring the Groceries home with you on the same trip.

and you can keep an eye on both of them.
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Old 09-19-13, 08:22 PM   #4
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If you're lucky you can get a trailer on craigslist. I'd recommend going for the higher end like a burley or chariot and the better models. Reason is they sell fast and have a very good resale value so you could use it and resell it for what you paid for it or close to it. The higher end ones offer a lot of nice comfort options like rain shield, ventilation, and it can be used as a stroller, running stroller, and other things. My twins love theirs. I like that I can bike to errands, flip the stroller wheels on and go right in.

I don't have experience with the bakfiets style cargo bikes. They can do a lot more than haul kids, but without some major modification wouldn't keep the rain off the kids and keep them out of the cold wind. Kid trailers can haul more than kids too, but not as well as a cargo bike.

You might like the commuting forum too.
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Old 09-20-13, 08:12 AM   #5
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Mina,
with the seats up front and on the back the bike will be quite hard to handle.
I did that but only occasionally, for a very short distance with the smallest kid in the front basket:


How big are your kids and how much do you weight?
How long do you want to run with this setup? With two 30lbs kids up there, especially if they are not mellow, it might be quite a challenge - I have not spilled my kids but I had white knuckles moments with "jumpy" cargo.

Another possibility would be to have one seat in the back (or front, but back seat will last longer) and a child carrier like Ergo (it actually quite comfortable, at least with my hybrid bike).
I don't have Ergo pics on the bike, but this is Ergo:


But I agree with previous posters, that trailer would be best - I used to chain the trailer at the daycare parking lot so I did not need to drag it with me.
While Burley or Chariot makes nice trailers, don't discount cheap InStep/Schwinn - we put 3 seasons of commute in an el-cheapo trailer and while the fabric was stretched, we still sold it on Craigslist with some life left.

Bakfiets are excellent (especially in colder climate), but I could not afford one.

If you insist on front+back seat, I would probably put Bobike mini in front and any decent seat in the back (Bobike Maxi is nice, but there are much cheaper back seat options available used on Craigslist)

Last edited by sailor2; 09-20-13 at 08:20 AM. Reason: added bobike
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Old 09-20-13, 10:19 AM   #6
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I have a Burley Bee that seats two. We bought it when we just had our daughter, that was before my wife and I found out we were having twins! They're getting to the point where they'll be able to ride in it, I'm looking forward to getting back out riding.

I think a trailer would be best, unless you want to do an Xtracycle addition to your bike: http://www.xtracycle.com/cargo-bicyc...eeradical.html

You'd have to buy the kit and the two seats. When you consider that even just getting two seats on their own would not be that cheap of a way to go, a brand new trailer would be a comparable option.
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Old 09-24-13, 07:14 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the tips. Like sailor2, I can not afford to buy a bakfiets or a new trailer. I have fond memories of using a 'real' bakfiets to move furniture across Amsterdam in the middle of winter. The bridges were tough!

I'll start looking for a used trailer. The boys are 30 lbs each. In the back, that'd be fine, but in the front, I agree that would prob be challenging. Especially on a crappy bike like mine. The Xtracycle addition just doesn't seem very sturdy to me.

Thanks all!
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Old 09-24-13, 08:03 AM   #8
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The Xtracycle addition just doesn't seem very sturdy to me.
I don't have any personal experience with it, but I've heard good things about them. That being said, cheap trailer on Craigslist is the cheapest and safest way to go, so...
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Old 09-24-13, 09:36 AM   #9
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having compared the craigslist special burleys to the new ones, there is a huge world of difference and worth every penny of buying new.

we own a burley cub (hard plastic bottom) and it's been great.
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Old 09-24-13, 10:27 AM   #10
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If there is a distance to go between daycare and work, consider asking the daycare if you can disconnect the trailer and leave it *in a safe location* there. Some daycares are quite accepting of this, others may have bureaucratic rules that would prevent that sort of thing. If you do that, try to get a trailer that's fairly easy to disconnect and reconnect daily.
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Old 09-24-13, 10:43 AM   #11
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Get a trailer AND a rear seat. That way you have options! (Carrying more stuff, groceries, separate the kids, etc.)

Buy the trailer on craigslist. Be patient and get a good deal, and when you come to sell it, you will not lose $.
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Old 09-26-13, 05:05 PM   #12
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I'm going to buck the crowd here and say I hate trailers and much prefer to have the kids on the bike with me. I don't like that the kids are down low, less visible to cars, less audible to you and, with 2 in the trailer, fighting between them is inevitable. It's awesome for them to be up on the bike with you to be able to talk to you and see their surroundings. I will say that if you are going to have both front and back seats, it's much better if you have a step-through frame bike. They're available on my local craigslist in abundance (seems there are lots of people who buy women's bikes, barely ride them, and then resell them). Ideally, it's best to have swept back handlebars and a long effective top tube to give you more space to mount and dismount. I also recommend a wheel stabilizer (available through Velo Orange) to help control the front wheel and a double kickstand (the M-wave double kickstand is inexpensive and functional). Regarding the seats, for an inexpensive rear seat that's widely available used, we really liked the Topeak Babyseat. If you want a rear seat that will also allow you to have panniers, I would look at the Yepp Easyfit with the XL adapter and put it on the Axiom Journey rack. Front seats are harder. I've tried many of them at different points. The WeeRide is hard to fit to bikes, creates an artificially high top tube, and is quickly outgrown. The iBert is nice and relatively inexpensive, fits all bikes, but also quickly outgrown (my kids outgrew it by length far before they outgrew it by weight. I personally didn't like the Yepp Mini. I felt like the angle of the seat and high back really cramped the mounting and dismounting space and there was an uncomfortable hard metal bar on the bottom that I hit while pedaling. I love the Bobike Mini, which is what I have now. My 3-year old fits in it well still. But unless you can find one used, it's rather expensive.
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Old 09-26-13, 05:15 PM   #13
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Oh, and you can also get a front rack to carry things: http://www.amazon.com/Sunlite-Gold-Tec-Front-Rack/ or http://www.amazon.com/Voyager-Low-Rider-Front-Rack/ though it's a little harder to find panniers that will fit on these.
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Old 09-26-13, 06:15 PM   #14
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Oh, and you can also get a front rack to carry things: http://www.amazon.com/Sunlite-Gold-Tec-Front-Rack/ or http://www.amazon.com/Voyager-Low-Rider-Front-Rack/ though it's a little harder to find panniers that will fit on these.
With most trailers, you can still use the rear rack and panniers. (Not that there's anything wrong with a front rack.)
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Old 10-18-13, 08:42 AM   #15
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I love that top picture!!
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Old 10-18-13, 08:43 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by sailor2 View Post
Mina,
with the seats up front and on the back the bike will be quite hard to handle.
I did that but only occasionally, for a very short distance with the smallest kid in the front basket:


How big are your kids and how much do you weight?
How long do you want to run with this setup? With two 30lbs kids up there, especially if they are not mellow, it might be quite a challenge - I have not spilled my kids but I had white knuckles moments with "jumpy" cargo.

Another possibility would be to have one seat in the back (or front, but back seat will last longer) and a child carrier like Ergo (it actually quite comfortable, at least with my hybrid bike).
I don't have Ergo pics on the bike, but this is Ergo:


But I agree with previous posters, that trailer would be best - I used to chain the trailer at the daycare parking lot so I did not need to drag it with me.
While Burley or Chariot makes nice trailers, don't discount cheap InStep/Schwinn - we put 3 seasons of commute in an el-cheapo trailer and while the fabric was stretched, we still sold it on Craigslist with some life left.

Bakfiets are excellent (especially in colder climate), but I could not afford one.

If you insist on front+back seat, I would probably put Bobike mini in front and any decent seat in the back (Bobike Maxi is nice, but there are much cheaper back seat options available used on Craigslist)
I love that picture with all the kids in your bike!!
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Old 10-18-13, 10:17 AM   #17
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I love that picture with all the kids in your bike!!
Thanks!
All the kids in these pictures now ride their own bikes. So nowadays at most I tow my youngest (4.5 y.o.) on a T-A-B.
Even the girl in the front basket now rides her own set of 20" wheels.
Of course it means that I have a stable of bikes to maintain
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