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Old 05-17-09, 07:04 PM   #1
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Fast ride with a child seat?

Hi All,

I'm a new mom. My son's first birthday is in July and I'd like to buy a bike and a child seat for it. My partner has an 08 Sirrus Sport and I'd like to be able to keep up, so it should be a pretty fast bike. My local shop is selling a new bike from Redline that pairs their steel frame from the 925 zippy single speed with nine speeds and a flat handlebar. I haven't heard of any steel frame fitness bikes, just single speed ones. Sounds like an okay idea as long as it's super light. There are 9 gears, so I should be able to make it up a small hill with the child seat. It's called the Metro 9. Anyone heard of it or ridden it?

Here's a side by side comparison with the Sirrus Sport:

I love how BikePedia let's you do that. It's so cool. Too bad the manufacturers don't provide weights. The guy at the bike shop said that the steel frame absorbs hits about as well as an aluminum frame with a composite fork and seat stay. I'll bring the Sirrus in next week when I have some time (baby!) and do a test ride and compare them in person. We got the Sirrus on sale for $699 and the Metro 9 will be a little less than that, which is a good thing.

I'd also love to hear recommendations on the child seat. The Sirrus has a carbon seat stay and Specialized won't support the warranty with a child seat installed, so it'll have to go on the new bike. The Topeak and Copilot seem to be popular in bike shops. I see the iBert around the neighborhood, but putting a kid on the handlebars is scary to me.

Any advice welcome.

Ali in Brooklyn
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Old 05-17-09, 07:10 PM   #2
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Can't help you with the equipment. But I would say, don't expect to tote some 30 lb kid around with you and keep up with anyone unless you're in way better shape than they are- they need to slow down for you, not the other way around. Even if you're in wonderful shape, riding fast with a kid on board is not necessarily the safest thing to do- read the roadie forum, notice how often some of these guys crash. Good luck with the project, though.
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Old 05-17-09, 07:40 PM   #3
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+1 when i pull my kid around, setting any kind of speed record is just not possible; i wouldn't be able to keep up with my club rides (except the family club rides!). but who cares? riding with your kid is good fun for you and your kid!

i ride a steel cx frame; when i'm not towing the kiddie trailer (which i recommend over any of the bike-attached child seats). my bike has 9-speeds (and only 9 speeds; i run a single ring in front), and i can ride the hills in my area without problems, which means that you should be fine anywhere in the NYC area. when the trailer is off my bike, and it's just me, the steel frame is more than fast enough to ride confidently with any of the club rides (many in full spandex and carbon bikes---but it's all about the "engine"!---and pulling a kind around is great on building strength).

if you're serious about carrying your kid, look into a chariot or burley trailer.
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Old 05-17-09, 09:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by pwdeegan View Post

if you're serious about carrying your kid, look into a chariot or burley trailer.
+1. IMHO, the behind the seat child carriers should be outlawed. You fall/drop the bike they're the contact point and the high center of gravity makes that more likely.

Riding a bike with a child onboard to me means you give up playing speed demon. It's like having to own a minivan.
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Old 05-17-09, 09:28 PM   #5
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Usually no problem attaching a childseat to an otherwise lightweight and 'fast' bike. But note that the bike will no longer be lightweight once the seat and child are installed. I found that in addition to the child it was generally necessary to carry assorted accessories: food, toys, diapers, wipes, spare clothes, etc. So in addition to the seat on the back I had a front lowrider rack with a pannier or two loaded with such items. It was a standing rule on our club rides that anyone riding behind me should watch for items like baby bottles and dolls on the road and pick them up since I could be expected to return for them shortly.

I'd strongly recommend that if a couple wants to ride together and bring along a child that the responsibility for transporting the child be delegated to the stronger rider so as to equalize their strengths. We also sometimes used our tandem, but that has less flexibility for dealing with things like a mechanical bike problem (leaving three people without a means of transport) or having the second person be able to ride alongside and check on the child when needed.

BTW, I did also try the trailer option but was less satisfied with it. More issues with finding the proper line on roads to avoid potholes with the trailer wheels and picking the best line through turns. And the seat allowed for much closer contact with our daughter; being able to readily talk to her and touch her for reassurance whenever needed. We also had two potentially dangerous incidents with the trailer: one when another rider tumbled into it, and the second was when our daughter managed to undo the safety belt and other fastenings and start to climb out while still in motion on the street. The bike handled very stably with the seat and front bags attached - more stable (albeit rather truck-like) than when unloaded. And the seat wrapped completely around her so even in the event of a fall there would be no contact with the ground.

But the trailer was better at containing dropped dolls so I wouldn't need to ride back and retrieve them later.
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