touring wth kids
I know theres alot of debate on this one but how do you guys choose between a trailer or some type of single seat for your children?
Im torn between an xtracycle and some sort of trailer for my two kids.
Xtracycle pros / cons
- more room for the kids / in the element, no protection from bad weather and would have to deal with it
- more engaged in the tour / would not be able to take random naps, could rigg something up for them to lay there head on but assume it wouldnt be comfy, but probably no more comfy with a trailer.
- longer lasting usable investment (to me)
- easier to carry the kids and load
- smaller profile (maybe)
- enclosed, protected from weather / just sitting there not really engaged in the tour/ just along for the ride
- can take a nap without stopping or adjusting / wider profile not good for roads with no sidewalk/shoulder. less maneuverability = limited routes/options
- Have to carry extra parts for the trailer
you guys get the point. My needs are:
- kids being able to sleep on the go.
- protection from weather (sometimes a poncho or rain coat just wont do especially if there sleeping lol)
- most parts here have no shoulder and the lanes are very narrow even for a bike, so sidewalk is the only option but trailer wont fit.
Im sure SOMEONE has to have a bikehack to this lol.
How old are the kids? Between 5 months and 1.2-1.5 yrs (roughly) you won't be able to use anything but trailer.
Some seats can be inclined backwards, and kids will fall asleep.
Protection from bad weather is a tricky thing. Our girls won't allow us to cover the trailer with the rain protection, somehow they are still afraid. Or maybe they just hate us trying to restrict their freedom to see the world as it is and not through the piece of film. I find it's better to let them wear the rain protection, just like the adults do. They won't melt. This will do:
If the trailer won't fit, then there is no choice, just go for the xtracycle. I don't know how attentive are the drivers in your area, but if you don't have a good feeling about it, then switch to the sidewalk.
With the seat it's a bit tricky to support the head of a sleeping child. But it's not a huge problem. Trailer is more comfy though, there are plenty of special inserts that make the fit tighter and better. Trailers have better suspension and if the child is little then a hammock does a great thing to smooth out the bumps.
Carrying luggage is probably easier with the trailer.
Trailer is a real pain to travel with trains, buses and alike. On the other hand a trailer often is not just for cycling, we use ours to ski, jog, stroll and sometimes girls sleep in it in the daycare. When the temperatures are well below zero you can use a sort of warm bag to keep the kids warm.
PS. When i was on a parental leave and my wife returned to work trailer was my only way to put both girls to sleep (in hammock). I think i took them for a twenty kilometers ride nearly daily for six month in a row. So trailer was and still is an important part of our day to day life, not just while touring. Wouldn't really be able to do that with seats. But i have no clue what's your situation.
Last edited by mikhalit; 10-25-12 at 06:21 AM.
Thank you for your reply. My girls are 4 and 2 yr olds. I am leaning more towards the xtracycle not sure if there seats (peapod III) recline enough. I have seen some folks DIY seats on the xtracycle but nothing you would want your kid to sleep in. I guess more route/planning will be more valuable than deciding which to get huh? like I said in another post..wish they made a double weehoo! lol
Ah, ok, if they are 4 and 2 I think you can easily skip the trailer. Unless you plan more kids
They will be enjoying the ride way more with the seats. Plus very soon you can switch to a trail-a-bike (not runabout, mixed up the name) anyway (i would do so now if i were you). The 4yr old can probably pedal on her own? Then you don't really need the xtracycle and can use whatever seat you like.
+1 for an xtracycle and well planned itinerary.
Last edited by mikhalit; 10-25-12 at 01:53 PM.
The Recumbent Quant
For older kids, a trail-a-bike is a lot of fun. My daughter has been using hers since she was 3 1/2. The Wee-Hoo trailer seems particularly nice because you can put children in it that are too young to hold on (I've seen them in person, but never ridden with one.
I have a lot of experience with a trailer also. It's probably a cheaper route than an xtracycle (which does seem like fun).
If we are talking an afternoon, or a few days max, maybe the seats are the way to go. But kids are not going to be into it as you are. They need a place to forget about your madness. That would be a trailer. It seems to me you could actually have both, move pannier to trailer, have kids on bike, or move the panniers to the bike, and kids in trailer. At 6, my youngest still does not really get scenery. And the older two were like that also. Basically they aren't getting much from the experience, compared to older kids. My younger kids, up to an older age did not really get the riding part either. Their idea of a long ride is like 30 minutes, and that is a stretch.
Last edited by MassiveD; 10-25-12 at 01:41 PM.
Long Distance Cyclist
One couple we encountered on the Rhine Cycle Route had a little girl of about 18 months with them. They used both a seat and a trailer. He pulled the trailer, and the little girl (and dog) slept in it sometimes. She had a handlebar seat on her bicycle, and the little girl sat in it some of the time.
I thought the variety was a good idea ... each parent dealt with the extra weight of the child some of the time, and the child was able to either sit and look around at everything some of the time, and sleep some of the time.
Yes, best scenario would be the trailer, but around here trailers arent road friendly here. I may be over thinking this for now, but I like to have a "1 tool for all" set up. Reality is setting in and I know that isnt the case. For first two trips I think the seats will do best while anything more than a few days I dont have a choice but to use the trailer. Doesnt anyone make a trailer that fits the kid in front of the other kid vs side by side Like the tanjor?
Last edited by mrevilandy; 10-26-12 at 03:22 AM.
I've got 3 kids 9, 6, and 2. I have an Xtracycle, trailer, and a trail-a-bike. For kids 4 & 2, I'd recommend a trailer and a rail trail.
Kids really like rail trails, because you can stop and play wherever you feel like it. You don't have to deal with traffic.
The Recumbent Quant
I second this. My wife, kids, and I had a blast on a local trail. This is also great place to get people who don't like riding in traffic riding as well (and not a bad idea for the first time you are pulling a trailer/trail-a-bike for the same reason).
Originally Posted by mparker326