I ride with my daughter, and we started when she was 3. At that point she could go for a ride on her bike (with training wheels) and be zooming all over, not falling off, and so I was confident that she would not spontaneously fall off of the back of the tandem.
My parents and spouse were pretty worried about the concept, but felt much better after seeing her in action.
We haven't done any rides long enough for me to worry about her falling asleep, now that she's 4 it's less of a worry.
I had initially bought a kidback crankset from ebay ($90?), over-ambitiously and before I bought a tandem! It was too small for my Trek T1000, and the chainring was sized such that I'd have had to replace my timing chainrings to match. Also, had longer crankarms than I really wanted for starting so early. It was one of the two-tubes-welded-together style, rather than the CNC machined-from-a-block style that seem to run $400-500 for the full set.
I think I still have all the parts for that one. If the Florida lead doesn't pan out, PM me and I will a) check, and b) try to measure all the things that might be of interest:
- downtube size
- crank arm length
- timing chainring teeth
One other price consideration: by the time Crank-2 Tandems (www.crank-2.com
) got done setting up the entire kidback set, things like seat, pedals, handlebar, extended-reach stoker-stem, etc. totaled a fair amount on top of the child-stoker BB and cranks. I had thought that a lot of that stuff could be re-used from kids' bike parts that I had, but cheap kids bikes seem to have all non-standard and odd parts that didn't work for one reason or another. By the time I was done, the total was (surprise surprise) right around the $500 range that the full 'child-stoker kit' retails for from Precision Tandems and others.
I still felt like I got a good deal, as the shop did all the install essentially free, the owner talked me through everything, and wasted a good bit of time trying to re-use the parts I had thought would work.
Have fun with your kidback stoker!