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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My son is 16 months and my daughter will be 3 next month. I have a trailer that I've been taking them in when the wife and I go on rides. This has been great. We have been able to get out as a family and enjoy the nice weather. It is also a great way to get in a recovery ride without ditching my wife with the kids AGAIN!

Recently, though, I've been considering getting a trail-a-bike for my daughter. I think it would be a lot of fun for her and a great way of getting her started. I think she gets a little bored in the trailer and the two tend to fight back there.

Does anyone have any experience with trail-a-bikes? If so, how old was your kid when you first put them on it? I've also heard about (although I've never seen it) people doing "bike trains" where they have the trail-a-bike AND a child carry trailer behind that. Has anyone ever heard of this?

I should also say that we have another baby due in february so I'm going to have to come up with a new solution eventually.

Any thoughts, opinions or experiences would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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DalyCityDad said:
My son is 16 months and my daughter will be 3 next month.
I should also say that we have another baby due in february so I'm going to have to come up with a new solution eventually. Any thoughts, opinions or experiences would be appreciated. Thanks.
I can tell you have no issues with your saddle. Everything seems to be functioning well:blush2:

Congratulations on the new edition.
 

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DalyCityDad said:
Does anyone have any experience with trail-a-bikes?
My first experience with a trailer bike was renting an Adams Trail-a-Bike with a single-speed while on a family vacation in the Outer Banks. My then-4 year-old screamed "It's too wiggly" solidly for about 2 miles. He then opted to walk home rather than ride! His cousin (6 weeks younger than him) tried it out and had no issues, though. We are now proud owners of 2 Burley Piccolos, which are arguably the "Mercedes Benzes" of tag-alongs. They have gears and they couple to a special luggage rack rather than on the seatpost, which makes them less "wiggly". Unfortunately, I don't think they are made any more.

The other consideration is leg length. My 5 year-old is a tiny little munchkin, so I had to buy and then modify some crank-arm shorteners so he would reach the pedals. They also increase the Q factor, so it looks pretty funny to see him pedal. He loves it, though.
 

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Squirrel Hunter
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Tandem

DalyCityDad said:
My son is 16 months and my daughter will be 3 next month...

Does anyone have any experience with trail-a-bikes?

I should also say that we have another baby due in february...
I would suggest you think farther ahead and start shopping for a tandem. Then you and your daughter can ride the tandem together and pull the baby trailer. With the trail-a-bike you are going to have to stick your wife with pulling either the trail-a-bike or the baby trailer. Also a tandem will ride like a real bike and will be a lot more fun (and faster) for you.

Scroll down the left side:

http://www.precisiontandems.com/index.html#kids

Lots of tandem info:

http://www.thetandemlink.com/index.html
 

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I use trail-a-bike

I have two trail-a-bikes...one for me to pull and one for my wife to pull...for our two boys. Our youngest just turned 4 and he is a bit small for the tag-along. Only short rides around the block with him. Our oldest is now 6. We started him on the trail-a-bike at 5 and that seemed about the right age. They both love the trail-a-bike. Especially my 6 year old. He talks non-stop throughout the entire ride and talks about it some more when we get home. I tow the trail-a-bike behind a mountain bike instead of a road bike. The kids don't understand the effect they have on handling when they start wiggling around or wrenching on their bars. I feel like a MTB gives me leverage for maintaining control as well as lower gearing.

Overall, I highly recommend the tag-along bikes....but I also think that kids should be about 5 years old to use them. We mix up some days with my 6 year old on his own bike for shorter rides and some days taking him out on longer rides with the tag-along. Longer rides feature my 4 year old in the trailer or left at home while I just take my 6 year old out. Even with the tag-along, I limit riding to about 1 hour. They'll get sore and tired about then. I also never yell at them to pedal or contribute to the work. You can certainly feel when they pedal and it does help up hills....but little kids have definite limits that you cross at your own peril. To me, its about them having fun...and if that means I do all the work, then so be it. It does wonders for my morale when on a steep climb and my son says "Look Daddy...I'm pedaling backwards." That's great son.

I have seen "trains" with a trailer hooked to the back of the trail-a-bike....even saw this setup on the back of a tandem. But I haven't tried this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Keeping up with Junior said:
I would suggest you think farther ahead and start shopping for a tandem. Then you and your daughter can ride the tandem together and pull the baby trailer. With the trail-a-bike you are going to have to stick your wife with pulling either the trail-a-bike or the baby trailer. Also a tandem will ride like a real bike and will be a lot more fun (and faster) for you.

Scroll down the left side:

http://www.precisiontandems.com/index.html#kids

Lots of tandem info:

http://www.thetandemlink.com/index.html

I had never considered this before. It's an interesting idea although I don't know if it's financially feasible. It is definately going to get interesting when there's 3, especially when they get older.
 

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My son was 4 when I got him on the Trail-a-bike. He got so comfortable on it he fell asleep on the way back to the car after a 2hr ride! I was afraid he was going to fall off! We only used it a few times before he lost the training wheels on his bike and started riding independently. It tracks very well when you're pulling it.
 

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My daughter started riding an Adams trail-a-bike at age 4. She is very tall for her age (90th. percentile) and was only just tall enough for it. Even at almost age 5 now we still have the saddle at the lowest level. The other issue is balance - she can throw her weight (deliberately) from side-to-side which requires some rider skill from the parent to counter-balance. This was worse when she was just starting off, but much better now. We have a geared one, and my daughter really likes having that element of control (since she obviously has no steering and no brakes). We actually got ours off CL in the Bay Area for $50, and it was barely used. I am even thinking of doing a group ride with the trail-a-bike because my daughter is very curious whenever Dad goes riding with his bicycle friends. Our friends' son falls asleep on his. So highly recommended but 3 is likely too young IMHO.

I think a tandem is also unlikely to be practical until the kid is much taller. Perhaps we will transition to a tandem around 8-10. They can be a fairly big investment so you would probably want to rent one first, and spend a lot of time figuring out what to buy.
 

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I towed our 5 yr old son in a trailer until he was about 3.5, then tried the tag-a-long, he liked it, but thought it was wiggly. I picked up a tandom shortly after, we've only used the tag-a-long once or twice since.
Oh, and a mtb definitely gives you more control! It can get pretty squirrelly out there.
 

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The late great Sheldon Brown on tandems and kids. The "kidback" cranks sound like a neat solution, but the overall cost is way out of my league.
 

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Cost Benefit

ukbloke said:
...tandems and kids...
...but the overall cost is way out of my league.
Well when I initially made the plunge into the tandem my kid was six and the cost seemed high. I looked at it from the standpoint that if I got a summer of riding with him I could sell the tandem at the end and figure I spent the summer vacation budget on the bike. Tandems do tend to hold their value especially if you can pick up a used one.

Turns out he really enjoyed it. I got to keep riding with my club on the tandem and my son really enjoyed the social atmosphere of the club rides. He would want to go ride on the weekends so he could see his friends. I am not sure I could have kept up or fit into a paceline with a tag-a-long bike. He learned tons of stuff on the back of the tandem, met lots of people who he still interacts with as an adult today.

Fifteen years later he gets a scholarship for racing his bike at school. We rode thousands of miles together and spent hundreds of hours riding bikes and driving to races. There is nothing more memoriable than working over a race field with your son as your teammate.

If the OP is a serious cyclist and wants to continue riding with his wife and his family the trailer bike will only be a short term, incomplete solution. Just my two seats on the matter.
 

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We took my then-6 yr.old daughter on an 2 week cycling trip through France a few years ago. She rode behind me on a ?7-speed trail-a-bike the whole way- 30 to 60 mile days. I outfitted it with toe-clips which she used with no trouble. She was very comfortable the whole time & was a noticeable help on climbs. It generated a lot of interest from locals along the way too- evidently the rig was unfamiliar to most, even in Paris.
 

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So far my 2 1/2 y/o girl who's the height of many 4 y/o kids has been in the same Bobike seat on the front of my 'city bike' since her first ride at 6 mos. I think next summer I'll have to get a bigger seat for her, and our upcoming addition will be getting big enough to ride in the Bobike. I could probably tool around the neighborhood with the little one in the bobike and the girl on a tag-a-long.

Once you get up to 3 kiddos you're going to need help from the wife if you're all going to ride together, or at least I suspect it will be safer if she takes one of them on or behind her bike. The bobike may not be for everyone but I find it incredibly easy to use and its been a lot of fun for my daughter.
 

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My son is turning 6 in Oct. & I've been taking him on a trailabike for the last 2 years behind my MTB. He LOVES it & the added weight is nice to increase my effort when we go for a family ride. The one thing I do is put a mirror on my bars so I can keep an eye on him at times. As far as buying one goes, I see them on craigslist all the time for 40 - 50 dollars. That's what I bought mine for , & when he's done with it, I'll probably get my money back out of it.
 

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A friend of mine recently got a Weehoo i-Go trailer. His 4-year old daughter is on the small side, but the Weehoo has a 3-pt strap and a real seat for greater security. This puts the child in a comfortable semi-recumbent position. His daughter loves it and they do 15-20 mile rides together. He reports it's very easy to ride with since the low center of gravity means it's hard for the child to knock the adult's balance off. Note: a full coverage rear fender with a mudflap would probably be appreciated when you hit puddles...
 

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I use a weehoo I-GO too:) It hands down is the best. Got it from R.E.I because my local bike shop was out of stock. I feel like my child is enjoying riding more now. The i-go is not shakey and it just feels more secure for the child. I dont have a car and we use this as our only transport.
The only down side is I cant use my bike rack when I am using the i-Go.
 

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Keeping up with Junior said:
I would suggest you think farther ahead and start shopping for a tandem. Then you and your daughter can ride the tandem together and pull the baby trailer. With the trail-a-bike you are going to have to stick your wife with pulling either the trail-a-bike or the baby trailer. Also a tandem will ride like a real bike and will be a lot more fun (and faster) for you.

Scroll down the left side:

http://www.precisiontandems.com/index.html#kids

Lots of tandem info:

http://www.thetandemlink.com/index.html
I know this thread is old, but I frequently hook a trail-a-bike to my bike, and then hook a trailer to the trail-a-bike. It cuts my cruising speed down considerably. This can be an advantage because it allows me to get a good workout, and the kids can keep up with me.
 
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