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  1. #1
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    Carrying a 40+ lb 4 yr old

    So my wife and I agreed on a front mounted seat when our daughter was 2 and it worked very well for all of us. Now my daughter is almost 5 and I'm looking for something else. She is tall for her age (we had to give up on the front mounted seat earlier than expected), but hasn't yet moved away from training wheels.

    I'm looking for a way to take her on my bike that is comfortable for her and easily manageable for me. I'm not looking for this to take the place of our rides together on the bike trails with her bike but rather as a way for us to go places that are too far or have to much traffic for her to ride her own bike. My bike is an early '90's mountain bike. So far I think I'm at the Extracycle addition for my bike but would appreciate input from others that have undoubtedly faced the same circumstances as me.

    What did you choose and how did you like it after living with it for awhile? What would you have done differently if you had it to do again?

    Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
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    Been there. I saw two options here, and I've used both. Choose at your discretion.

    1: Get a trail-a-bike to connect to your bike. This helps teach balance on a bike, they get to pedal and feel more part of the trip, but they can't wander off, and they can stop pedalling and rest without making you stop. Prices range from $30 to $200 on my local craigslist. Mine was $30.

    2: Get a trailer. The child can ride in the trailer and look at scenery in relative comfort, and there's space for creature comforts (toys, or a lunch, etc). Prices range from $50 to $600(!) on my local craigslist. I got mine free from a neighbor, because once the kids grow, they just get in the way in the garage (unless you choose to use it to haul cargo later).

    I suggest craigslist for both suggestions, because the time they're useful is only a couple of years. This means that A: you won't need it very long and B: lots of people out there no longer need it either. Let someone else pay the 'new' premium either way.

  3. #3
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    We've been through a variety of different options, though we have two kids, so that makes it more complicated. My suggestions based on my experience would be either:

    (1) A rear seat that can accommodate a heavier child, like the Bobike Junior or the GMG 911, both of which are good up to 75 lbs (with the caveat that the GMG 911 requires a rack that can support that weight).

    (2) A Burley Kazoo or Piccolo trail-a-bike. I've tried seatpost-mounted trail-a-bikes and I personally find them unstable and unsettling, though many people are perfectly happy with theirs. I love our Kazoo.

    We also have a WeeHoo. We got it when our daughter was 2.5 so she could have a more interactive experience. Though we are using it now with our 3.5 year old son, I wouldn't recommend it for an older child; I'd go straight to a regular trail-a-bike. It's much heavier and more awkward than the Kazoo.

    The Xtracycle kit adds up fast once you get the deck, footboards, stoker bars or Hooptie. I've also heard complaints there is a lot of "flex" with the add-on kit vs. a "one-piece" cargo bike.

    One last alternative, which we are considering right now for our 5 year old, is a Follow Me Tandem. It would allow her to ride for as long as she wants on her own and then get "towed" when she's tired. It is costly though.

  4. #4
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    Yes, I'd agree with the suggestions for either a Trail-a-Bike or the FollowMe Tandem. When our daughter outgrew were rear childseat I converted our regular tandem to a 'kid-back' style using a clamp-on bottom bracket on the stoker's seat tube to raise the pedals so she could reach them and some handlebars that swung back far enough for her. But that's an expensive proposition if you don't already have the tandem, so for most people I'd recommend the tow-behind options mentioned.

  5. #5
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    Another, and very affordable, option is the Trailgator, a tow bar that connects to the kids existing bike, which can be coupled and decoupled easily, so that you can tow her to the ride point, decouple, and both of you can ride independently. The FollowMe is a nice piece of equipment, but it's a lot of equipment for something that you'll really only use for a couple of years, tops. The simplicity, flexibility, and low cost of the Trailgator is very appealing.

    Trail-Gator Child Bike Tow Bar
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  6. #6
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    We like the WeeHoo. A bit heavy and a little bulky but fun for us all. My 5 year old loves it and I actually had a tough time getting out of the house without him all last year. We did several charity rides together with him riding in the WeeHoo. He can participate but rest when he wants and even nap. It has adjustable positions so it can grow with them for several years.

  7. #7
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    At this age you could also start to consider getting a tandem!

  8. #8
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    We use the TrailGator for one child and a TugABug for the other. I think the Trail Gator is going to be used for a lot longer than the other. However, it would not fit on my bike - a bit of a height issue. So I pull the TugABug while DH has the TrailGator. DH can hook up Son #1 to through traffic to MUP and then let him loose to ride. Also if we are doing a longer ride and he tires out, we can hook him back up. It also stores easier than the TugABug which is on of the man brands of pull behind half cycles. Good Luck.

    Through the years, we have used mounted seats and then a trailer, but around 4 or 5, the trailer started getting too boring for them.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mr,grumpy's Avatar
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    My 4 year old has a balance bike and does well on it. He has a peddle-bike but hasn't mastered the actual peddling part.

    He is still under the weight limit for his bike seat but even as just over 40 pounds and short for his age, his feet get in the way and he really throws off the balance of the bike. This is a little worse since he can "ride" now and we don't always lean-in together.

    In the past we have mostly used his trailer and he has LOVED it. We couldn't sell it to him this spring with free cookies and Skylander stickers. It's a little wide for main roads and very low-sitting.

    New this year is the trail-a-bike. It is difficult to mount onto the seat-post bracket and at 40 bucks each we only have one (on my bike of course). He loves that he gets to peddle (he's a big "helper" kind of a kid) and this is now his preferred method of transport. He sits up a little higher. I feel that he is more visible. However, he's in charge of keeping his own balance back there and I can't see him. there is nothing holding him on and I know from third-party reports, that he doesn't always keep both hands on the bars.

    Hope that helps.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks for everyone's help. I really liked the Extracycle,but man is that thing expensive! We went with the Burley piccolo.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Burly Piccolo does offer another part to add a front wheel to make it into a proper bicycle, too ..

    ::Burley Plus™ | MyKick and Trailercycles - Burley--BURLEY--

  12. #12
    Senior Member curly666's Avatar
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    Maybe this would work for you, works with lots of different ages and later can be used as a tag along.
    Weehoo iGo PRO Bike Trailer-Cycle | Bike Kid

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