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My plan for riding with an infant

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My plan for riding with an infant

Old 06-24-15, 09:51 AM
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procon
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My plan for riding with an infant

7 months ago I became a dad, and the kid seems sturdy enough for a child seat. He's a bull moose! Finding a solution has been a challenge, but I've reached a tentative answer-- a full size folding bike with a front mounted child seat. This doesn't make me totally happy, since it necessitates a new bike (and I'm very happy with my Swift), so I'd like a second opinion. Do you think this is the right move, and what full-sized folder would you recommend?

I'm obviously going to do a test ride, but I'm looking first at a used Dahon Jack or Espresso. For a new bike, the Tern Joe and Montagues are on the list. I want a bike that I won't be too worried about getting stolen, is easy to do an initial fold to get in an elevator, and can be setup for both me (6'1") and my wife (5"7').

I arrived at needing a new bike through a process of elimination. I couldn't find a bike seat for my Swift or my wife's Downtube. I debated about a trailer, but decided against it for three reasons. The first is that I'm not sure it's safe on NYC streets. Drivers are not used to trailers and I worry about them running it over! Additionally, a trailer is right at tailpipe level, which can't be good for the little guy's lungs. Finally, it would be cumbersome to take in and out of the elevator daily.

I didn't want a 24" bike because, while it could accommodate a rear seat, I don't think it could accommodate a front one. The front one seems more fun, and if I have another kid I could use it with a rear seat to haul both kids. Also, in the case of either a 24" or full-sized bike I could add an xtracycle later.

The wildcard is the Taga, a bike that converts into a stroller. I suspect it is a utilitarian ride, but the kid would be safe and comfortable, plus it's compact. Of course it's $1,500, which is really expensive.

So, that's where I'm at. I couldn't be more excited about taking the little guy on hikes, to the beach, and around town. I don't mind investing $700-$1,000 bucks, but will miss the flexibility and general perfect-ness of our current bikes. Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 06-24-15, 09:55 AM
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Child trailers are superior, IMHO, than bike-mounted seats.

Chariot (Thule) makes an 'infant sling' to help little ones stay comfortable in their trailers.

Thule Infant Sling - Thule
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Old 06-24-15, 10:26 AM
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Generally understood, its head supporting neck strength that is the issue with younger children..
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Old 06-24-15, 10:37 AM
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As you say,

(and I'm very happy with my Swift)
how about another one?
human powered machines in Eugene Oregon hand makes a swift in steel, with a front basket support
Human Powered Machines » The Swift Folder

that could be used to create mount a car-baby-seat, and facing backwards, the eye-contact with your child can be maintained..

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-24-15 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 06-24-15, 10:41 AM
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I wonder how I test neck strength. He seems super sturdy to me, but I could compare him to an average 1 year old. There's also an issue of brain tissue development. Eek! Here's a decent article on the subject: Carrying your infant by bike: How young is too young? - BikePortland.org

I may hold off for a couple more months, till he's 9-12 months, though the challenge, what setup to get, will still hold.

Wilfred-- Thanks. It does seem like a trailer, especially with a sling, offers more shock absorption. I still worry that the risk of a trailer getting side swiped in NYC is high.
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Old 06-24-15, 10:42 AM
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I own a Taga. It's not bad at all to ride, and kind of fun. My 4-1/2 year old still loves riding in it. I'd definitely recommend it if you're looking for something safe.
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Old 06-24-15, 10:43 AM
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Cool -- I didn't know about that Swift variant. Thanks!
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Old 06-24-15, 01:19 PM
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There may be an unseen reason that you want the folder, but if it's not a "must" you can get done much cheaper. Especially since you'll be done with this set-up in 3 years, I'd guess. I lived in Brooklyn for years, walkup brownstone 3rd floor. I put one of these Topeak® Cycling Accessories ? Products - BabySeat? II & BabySeat? II Rack on my old Trek hard-tail mountain bike and did just fine. I liked the "slide off" design, which just left me with a flat rack when the seat was off. Good foot protection, good overall construction. Wife was good riding with the setup, too.

Right now I see a Trek 820 on Ebay for $200 and the Topeak seat w/ rack on Amazon for $179.
--tm
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Old 06-24-15, 02:13 PM
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I carried my little girl in a Topeak Babyseat, at the time ( 7 yrs ago ) it was the first baby seat with suspension built in under the seat. It fits on any bike with braze ons. I used a Downtube 8H 20" folder. I later graduated to a Baby Jogger Switchback jogger/trailer for 2 kids which is now discontinued.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 06-24-15, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube View Post
I carried my little girl in a Topeak Babyseat, at the time ( 7 yrs ago ) it was the first baby seat with suspension built in under the seat. It fits on any bike with braze ons. I used a Downtube 8H 20" folder. I later graduated to a Baby Jogger Switchback jogger/trailer for 2 kids which is now discontinued.
Yan-- did you have any complications with using the seat on a 20" bike? P.S. -- I'm still amazed at how good my wife's Downtime is, and what a great bargain it was.

Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
There may be an unseen reason that you want the folder, but if it's not a "must" you can get done much cheaper.
The foldie saves some space and could be thrown in the car or on the train more easily. I really like being able to do that now. It'll be a $200/$250 premium if I can find a used Dahon Jack. It's not a must have though.

Last edited by procon; 06-24-15 at 03:23 PM. Reason: adding more info
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Old 06-24-15, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by procon View Post
Yan-- did you have any complications with using the seat on a 20" bike? P.S. -- I'm still amazed at how good my wife's Downtime is, and what a great bargain it was.
Your wife has a Downtime? How are those??? Just kidding.

The rack came with arm extenders for small wheels.....I had no issues. FYI I think I still have the rack, but we lost the seat. Look to see if you can get a good deal on a seat, I will give an excellent deal on the rack.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 06-25-15, 08:24 AM
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there is this product from a Spanish Company : Bryan - Milian Parts
combined : E-shop - Milian Parts
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Old 06-25-15, 08:46 AM
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I used a Bobike Mini attached to my Brompton for two children with great results - started around 1 year for both. I used the Bobike Mini-1 bracket to attach the seat.

Dutch Trading Company (Brighton) : Bobike Brackets

I also attached the Bobike Mini to two other "normal" bikes - I actually felt safest with the Brompton as there is so much "cockpit" space for the seat.
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Old 06-30-15, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bmac.to View Post
I used a Bobike Mini attached to my Brompton for two children with great results - started around 1 year for both. I used the Bobike Mini-1 bracket to attach the seat.
The Bobike looks great!
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Old 06-30-15, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclosaurus View Post
I own a Taga. It's not bad at all to ride, and kind of fun.
Taga is not responsive to email or tweets. Their US headquarters is in NYC and they did not respond to my test ride request.
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Old 06-30-15, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by procon View Post
Taga is not responsive to email or tweets. Their US headquarters is in NYC and they did not respond to my test ride request.
Yeah, that's annoying. A lot of companies are terrible at e-mail for unknown reasons. Sorry for the frustration. I'd say give them a call if you're not too soured on them.
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Old 07-01-15, 08:53 AM
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FYI, I tracked down your tweet yesterday and posted a (polite) WTF? to their Facebook page about it. They replied and said that they were swamped with requests (no excuse for not at least replying with that info), and they will get back to you. Looks like they also replied to your tweet and asked for your e-mail address.
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Old 07-01-15, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by bmac.to View Post
I used a Bobike Mini attached to my Brompton for two children with great results - started around 1 year for both. I used the Bobike Mini-1 bracket to attach the seat.

Dutch Trading Company (Brighton) : Bobike Brackets

I also attached the Bobike Mini to two other "normal" bikes - I actually felt safest with the Brompton as there is so much "cockpit" space for the seat.
Was there no play in this thing?

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 07-02-15, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by downtube View Post
Was there no play in this thing?

Thanks,
Yan
The bracket bolts tightly on to the stem and has no soft parts - I taped the stem with electrical tape to protect the paint but that was it. (you may be looking at one of the other brackets - scroll down to the "Mini-1" bracket)

Or do you mean play somewhere else?

Thanks.
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Old 07-02-15, 09:50 AM
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I've seen a few of these solutions and they all had play, hence I would not recommend them. I'm glad to hear this one is solid!

Thanks for the info,
Yan
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Old 07-02-15, 10:30 AM
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Trailer is by far the safest
I dont get why anyone would put a kid high up on a bike seat, when there are trailers that are low to the ground. Car exhuast rises so I wouldnt make that a concern
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Old 07-02-15, 10:42 AM
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Trailer best..



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Old 07-02-15, 10:49 AM
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Up front looks cool.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 07-02-15, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclosaurus View Post
FYI, I tracked down your tweet yesterday and posted a (polite) WTF? to their Facebook page about it. They replied and said that they were swamped with requests (no excuse for not at least replying with that info), and they will get back to you. Looks like they also replied to your tweet and asked for your e-mail address.
Thanks Cyclosaurus! They did eventually get back to me and put me in touch with a "brand ambassador" on the UWS. It was funny-- I advocated for my trusty Swift while he was praising the Taga. I'm pretty intrigued. I have a few issues to deal with:
1) cost
2) handling -- I'm curious how it corners
3) space -- it'll be great on the elevator, but tough in the apartment

That said, I could imagine a trike being something my wife would take the kid in, whereas she'll be a little intimidated by a seat and probably just choose to walk or take the subway.
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Old 07-02-15, 09:44 PM
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As far as cost, it's not cheap, but it's cheaper than a lot of cargo bikes. My wife did a lot of research on this and it was definitely the best priced option for putting the kids up front.

It's not bad handling. I would recommend taking a few drives without your child to get the hang of it, but really it's just about how fast you can corner while still feeling safe. Trikes are tippy in the turns by nature, so you just learn to compensate and everything will be OK.

With regards to space, the smallest you can get it to be is in stroller mode. No doubt it will eat its share of real estate.

I think the way to look at it is, if you would use it a lot, it may well be worth the price and space it takes up. If you don't use it that much, it's probably not.
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