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  1. #1
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    Infant/child carrier trailer for a tandem?

    We're expecting a lil' one in late June and am now starting to evaluate our options for a trailer for the kid so we can keep riding. I'm looking for a quality and safe trailer that will work for both a single and tandem. It would be great as well if the trailer can covert to a jogger or stroller.

    There are a lot of brands and designs out there. Rather than researching them, I want to hear from those that have had personal experiences with riding with their infant.

    Thanks in advance.

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    I used a Burley Encore for my oldest with a single road bike.

    Then I got a tandem, and he graduated to child stoker (turned 5 last July)

    Last year, my youngest (2-y/o last year) rode in a Topeak Babysitter child seat on the back.

    I don't know what I'm going to do this year with a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old.


    I liked the baby seat better for the tandem than a trailer. A tandem is long enough without a trailer! And the Babysitter is super-easy to take off for rides without the little one.


    I think the Burley design makes a pretty poor jogger; I've never tried. I guess Chariot makes a good bike trailer, probably is a better jogger than the Burley. You could buy a cheap trailer or dedicated jogging stroller for occasional use.
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

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    Also, if it matters, the trailer will slow you down a lot more than a baby seat.
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

  4. #4
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cycl/Canoe-ist View Post
    I'm looking for a quality and safe trailer that will work for both a single and tandem. It would be great as well if the trailer can covert to a jogger or stroller.
    See this posting from good friends David & Christen regarding their Chariot Trailer & daughter Audrey.
    kids in a trailer how young is ok

    We and several other friends got together and purchased the Chariot for David & Chisten as a baby shower gift. It's by-far one of the nicest trailers we've seen

    http://www.chariotcarriers.com/english/html/index.php

  5. #5
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    We had good success with a Burley trailer.

    One point though, you probably won't be using a trailer before 2010. The child needs to be able to hold its head up with the weight of a helmet before its appropriate to put it in a trailer. So they need to be at least 6 months old. I've been told that in some states in the US this is a legal requirement.

    We started our daughter out at 5 months, but in hindsight, we were probably pushing it.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  6. #6
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    There is no acceptable way to transport an infant on a bicycle. You should hold off until the progeny can sit up and hold his/her head up on his/her own.

    Sacrifices of parenthood.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

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

  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Anyone got any data on infant and child injuries sustained while properly secured in bicycle trailers that you can share that substantiates overt concern for the prudent use of trailers?

    I'm not trying to be a smart ass, it's just I've read reams of data on children and cycling and it seems like the child seats are where most of the original data that suggests cycling with children warrants extreme care. Of course, as you look at the data what you find is 87% of the incidents back in the 80's in one study involved single bicycle accidents / incidents where the vast majority of injuries were "operator error", e.g., seats falling off the bikes, seats not installed with foot guards, kids not secured in the seats and falling out, bikes leaned up against things with kids in the seats that fell over, or adults who simply fell over with their kids sitting in the seat, etc...

    When you search for data on trailers, there's not much aside from concerns about "head shock" from road vibration, roll-over risk and even dust inhalation... but no real hard data that says there is any documented trend of infant or child injuries that arise from hauling kids around in trailers.

    My point is... it's up to parents to decide what is and is not prudent. Trailers like the Chariots are well-designed to deal with just about everything short of a motor vehicle collision IF the users follow the instructions for how to use the products, have well-developed cycling skills and use good judgement with regard to when and where they ride. One size don't fit all.

    Bottom Line: Not everyone needs the nanny state and idiot-proofing to survive as a cyclist. Yeah, there are a lot of idiots out there who put their kids at serious risk, but lowering the bar for everyone else isn't the answer.

    And, just to drive my point home... but hey, there are helmets on their heads.


  8. #8
    Double Secret Probation R900's Avatar
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    The Chariots are nice but pricy, we had an excellent experience with our Burley D'Lite through 2 kids.
    Time to Ride...

  9. #9
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    My wife and I swap between a burley d'lite trailer and a kettler flipper child seat for our daughter (2yrs). We have used the trailer since she was born as it allowed us to put her into her car seat and strap the car seat into the trailer while she was too young for a child bike seat. Now the tailer is only used in the winter and inclement weather.

    I HIGHLY recommend the kettler flipper if you get a child bike seat. The "suspension" created by the arms on the seat allow her to drift right off to sleep on any long ride. She loves it! It's also EXTREMELY easy to connect and disconnect and swap between bikes, provided you purchase a second base for the second bicycle. We have a base on our singles and our tandem and swap between the three depending on whose taking her out or where we are going.

    In fact...our commuters and our tandem are all three set up to handle the burley trailer, the child seat, and another cargo trailer. We use them all regularly.

    Edit: Regarding the trailer: Burley has a nicely designed stroller conversion that attaches to the end of the "swing arm" which connects to the bicycles axle. When used as a trailer the wheel simply flips up allowing connection to the bicycle. When you arrive at your destination you simply detatch the trailer and flip down the stroller wheel.

  10. #10
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R900 View Post
    The Chariots are nice but pricy,
    Nice = pricey in not all that unusual and that's why true bike-geek couples that are expecting should drop not so subtle hints to their cycling pals that what they'd REALLY like for their baby shower would be something like a Chariot. Everyone one wins in this scenario.

    In fact, we did the same thing for another one of our tandem friends' son's Bar Mitzvah a few years back, except this time it was a nice Trek road bike. Unfortunately, I don't believe the parent's expectations were as realistic as they should have been as 13 year-olds are usually thinking more about cars, hockey and dating at that point vs. taking up cycling. On the up side, we think it was sized correctly for mom so hopefully it will see some use at some point.

    Less I digress, let me once again point out that the Chariot is definitely worth a look given the quality, features and all other things considered for anyone who plans to put a lot of fast, hard miles on a tot trailer that does the morph thing into a stroller, jog-behind, etc...

  11. #11
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    Bottom Line: Not everyone needs the nanny state and idiot-proofing to survive as a cyclist. Yeah, there are a lot of idiots out there who put their kids at serious risk, but lowering the bar for everyone else isn't the answer.
    Having ridden in a paceline at 25 mph, on a tandem, with a 6 year old on a trial a bike, pulling a burley trailer with a 3 year old in it, I'm not in a postion to cast stones.

    However, IMHO, I do think you need to wait until the kid can sit upright, and hold their head stable easily. Around 6-7 months.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    However, IMHO, I do think you need to wait until the kid can sit upright, and hold their head stable easily. Around 6-7 months.
    Again, I'd love to see some objective data on the subject.

    My arm-chair assessment is, infants and children are put at far greater risk when simply being transported in cars... never mind all of the other things that cause infant mortality.

    However, as always, the perception the nanny state has created is that 'cycling is dangerous' and like most self-fulfilling prophecies poor urban planning, poor driver education and driving children and adults away from cycling over the past 30-40 years has made that so.

    Let prudence, experience and personal choice guide each set of parents decisions regarding when and how to introduce their kids to cycling. Know the risks and then manage those risks. Risk avoidance will remain an option but, well, most folks don't realize that being risk adverse is probably one of the best ways to put yourself at risk. No risk = no rewards.

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    It doesn't convert to a jogger, but we pull a Trek trailer with our Rhumba. With a tandem you don't even really notice the trailer (handling wise - not saying you ignore it). The Trek has proven to be very well designed and made. Has plenty of room for picnic supplies, extra clothes, etc. Seems very safe and durable. No regrets.

  14. #14
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    Infant/child carrier trailer for a tandem?

    We had a Cannondale trailer for our kids, but the Trek trailers we've purchased for our grandkids are much nicer, safer, and easier to transport. The babies ride in full automotive car seats until they can comfortably sit for an hour and wear a helmet. So far the 16 month old is is still in the car seat. The length (of trailer and tandem) has not been a problem.

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    We took our daughter round the local park in a trailer from about 3 months old. We fitted the trailer with a polystyrene suspended seat so she could lie down and not need to hold her head up. It's similar to an infant car seat but lighter. I've also heard that people have just strapped car seats into trailers.

    We were a little bit concerned by vibration, bumps and things, but in reality riding in the trailer is no different to 'power pramming' or jogging with a stroller, which nobody thinks is dangerous. Lack of helmet for the baby was also a concern, but not really an issue as the whole trailer would need to be crushed for the baby to bang its head as she was securely strapped into the centre of the trailer. If that happens a polystyrene helmet wouldn't help much.

    The only other tip was not to try doing 2 hour training rides. Half an hour is enough for baby and avoids needing to take changing kit, clothes food.

    Our trailer is a second hand Spokey Joe, which I believe you can get on ebay for about GBP 80-100. It's not flash, and is not as well engineered as one costing 3x as much. That said it works just fine, and is fit for purpose as we only used it for 2 years per child a couple of times a week.

    Now our daughter is 2.5 and prefers to ride on a child seat. We have a Hamax Kiss, which is pretty cheap at 45ish. I like the design as it clips onto the seat tube, so is suspended. Daughter also likes it and now shouts 'Faster' at regular intervals.

  16. #16
    Double Secret Probation R900's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=merlinextraligh;8340784However, IMHO, I do think you need to wait until the kid can sit upright, and hold their head stable easily. Around 6-7 months.[/QUOTE]

    +1, a little common sense goes a long way.
    Time to Ride...

  17. #17
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    This is great feedback. Keep em coming.

    I'm one for for evaluating risks and rationalizing fears so manufacturer recommendations won't dictate how I use a product. I'm more interested in what system worked for you and your infant. Money's not an issue when it comes to safety of course.

    I would say that my mindset is more along the lines of David and Christen and their Chariot.

    Most people forget to apply their common sense on safety and put too much trust to others when it comes to evaluating and managing risks (ie laws, manufacturer recommendations). Think back 10yrs, 20yrs ago and how people considered safety then.

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    We had a Burley (I think solo model) and it was acceptable but we actually sold it and
    upgraded to a Chariot Cougar.

    The Burley did the job but the quality of the Chariot is much better in my opinion. For one thing
    the hitch allows you to lay your bike flat on the ground, the Burey doesn't allow that much articulation.
    The attachment of the wheels is also much nicer on the Chariot. The Chariot has a button that firmly
    locks the wheels in place. The Burley uses a skewer with an expanding binder bolt type thing.
    I actually had a wheel come off on a trail using the Burley. I was going slow over some rough
    ground so it was no big deal but that didn't inspire confidence. More frequent inspections would have
    prevented this as I think it loosened over time. But a design that is not susceptible to this problem
    is even more insurance. Also, I never did any science to prove this but the Chariot seems to roll
    a lot easier. I think the wheels are kept better in plane with each other.

    But, of course the Chariot is a lot more expensive. You could make it your only stroller though with
    the stroller attachment. We get a lot of wind and the full enclosure is great on those days.

    Good luck,
    Jason

  20. #20
    WillFam-Clovis,CA
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    Two things that were not mentioned, is whether you need the trailer to be single or double wide (didn't know we would need the double wide until later) and whether you anticipate a need to transport the trailer in a vehicle. We have the Burley D'Lite (double wide) which allows for quick folding and wheel removal (skewers - check before riding - just like we are supposed to do before riding our bikes) for storage or transport. We have enjoyed using it with our three boys (only two at a time in the trailer) for the past six years. Currently the oldest is stoking on the triplet, the second on a tag-a-long and the youngest in the trailer (quite a long ride), or if riding without the wife, will ride my single MTB with tag-a-long ridden by the oldest and the two youngest in the trailer (getting pretty tight now - they are almost 4 and 5). My boys really enjoy riding, and the trailer has enough storage for a few toys, food, water, tools, etc.

    Brian

  21. #21
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    Just to set people's minds at rest, the polystyrene seat for small babies that I mentioned is designed by Germans for the purpose of carrying small babies in bike trailers. It's also in some Chariot brochures. Basically it is functionally like a new born car seat, but narrower and attaches using straps rather than a seat belt so that you can get 2 babies inside a bike trailer and so that you're not lugging around a whole car seat / stroller

    weber baby seat

    For further info look up weber baby seat in google. I have to say it's ridiculously expensive for what it is - luckily we got ours from a friend.

    Since she was about 1.5 daughter has worn a kids helmet. Before that the helmet was far too big to be any use.

    Regarding safety, I think it's important not to go overboard and go crazy sitting indoors as everything's dangerous. Main think is to ensure baby is comfortable, warm and well fed and only in the buggy / car seat / bike trailer for a reasonable period and not to take unnecessary risks. Living in the city we personally didn't feel comfortable using the trailer on roads with any traffic. Compared with a bike it feels wide and exposed. Thus we mostly rode it round the local park loop, which is closed to traffic or on quiet roads in the countryside.

  22. #22
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    WillFamm-Reno, good point. We'd want a trailer that folds and at this point, would think a single would work better than a double since it would take up less road. Now that'd be a sight to see you riding your triplet, wtih the tag along and trailer. Got a pic?

    mrfish, thanksf or the weber baby seat. That's exactly what I had in mind. Now I just gotta find a similar system in Canada. Tandemracer mentioned a sling that Chariot sells as an accessory that'll serve the same purpose.

  23. #23
    WillFam-Clovis,CA
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    Sorry, no picture yet. We rode to a friends house to take a picture, but they were not home. Forecast calls for rain and snow for a few days, so we'll see when we can ride again.
    The double wide does occupy more width, but OTOH seems more stable to me. Look on-line (Craigslist) if you wish to pick one up used. Have fun!

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    When my son was about 10 months old, we got him a helmet and a trailer. There are enormous differences between different trailers, quality wise and safety wise. I think there are some that should not be on the market. The one I got was a Schwinn. I can't say who actually made it as I saw the same thing with another brand on it once. However, I made sure that it had ball bearing hubs, complete sets of seat belts-lap and shoulder. And also make sure it has some sort of bar that will prevent a small tree trunk or sign post from coming between the body of the trailer and the wheel. Imagine the catastrophic crash. Also, get something that has a hitch that can swivel 360 degrees.

    As far as safety is concerned, I would stay away from the rear seat. In a crash, the baby will go down with you and probably get injured. I had a nasty crash with my son in the trailer and he stayed upright, sitting there laughing at me. Also, if the baby is in the trailer and it tips, if he/she is belted in correctly, he/she will not make any contact with the hard surface of the ground but will be held in place by the seatbelts.

    Do make sure the child is big enough to wear a properly fitted helmet. And remember, the child's safety is much more important than your performance. Have fun and be safe.

  25. #25
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    The Chariots are very nice. I have one for my 4 month old son. It is incredibly easy to convert from jogging to biking to xc skiing. We have the Chariot infant sling attachment which installs above the seat in the trailer. It's just like laying in a hammock. It's more reclined than a car seat, so I don't think head control is as important with the infant sling as it would be in a typical trailer seat. My son actually came home from the hospital in the Chariot (we walked, my wife wasn't up for riding the tandem home from the hospital). A few weeks later he was rolling along behind the tandem. At first my wife would watch his head A LOT to make sure it wasn't being bounced around too much. That didn't seem to be a problem though. The combination of the sling and the suspension built into the Chariot does a great job of smoothing out the bumps.

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