Kid Biking Trailers and Seats

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

Helmets on, the kids buckled tight, it was time for a bike trip. My wife clicked into gear. I pushed off toward the path, four tires rolling and two small passengers in tow.

Like legions of child-rearing cyclists, my wife and I have pedaled untold miles with our kids in a trailer. Charlie and Gwen — aged two and four — get a fun ride. Mom and dad get exercise. Indeed, cycling with kids is among the easiest ways to stay active as a parent. This roundup covers new products for cyclists looking to take a kid along for the ride.

Burley Bike Trailer.jpg

Burley Trailer

Zigo Leader — New this year, the Leader is a modular three-wheel bike that puts kids front and center in a “ChildPod.” It is marketed to parents who may not feel comfortable towing kids out of sight in a trailer. With the Leader, mom or dad only has to peer down to assess their little one’s state of happiness or distress during a bike ride. Beyond the bike, the Leader comes apart and can be transformed into a stroller, a jog-stroller, and a multi-speed city bike that parents can pilot solo when junior is ostensibly taking a nap. $1,349 for bike and pod; accessories extra. www.myzigo.com

Zigo Leader Photo.jpg

Zigo Leader

Topeak BabySeat — Upping the ante in safety for the category of bike seats, the Topeak BabySeat is touted to be a “virtual cocoon of protection” for a kid in tow. There’s a six-point harness and a padded handle that locks closed. Molded footrests keep kids’ feet away from spinning wheels and spokes. The seat is topped with a “roll bar” extension to protect a helmeted head in a crash. For comfort on bumps, the company’s built-in suspension cushions jolts when dad hits a pothole or pedals off a curb. Bigger kids can ride in the BabySeat, too: Weight limit is 48.5 pounds, according to the company. $139.95, www.topeak.com

Topeak Baby Bike Seat.jpg

Topeak BabySeat

Trailers — Pull-behind bike attachments like the ubiquitous Burley and Chariot trailers have become de rigueur for active parents with young kids. A handful of companies now make trailers, and prices range from around $200 from the likes of BeBeLove USA (www.bebeloveusa.com) to nearly $500 for a top-end ride. The Schwinn Trailblazer Bicycle Trailer, $218, has an aluminum frame and 20-inch wheels for a fast roll. At the higher end, the $399 Burley Honey Bee touts composite-rim wheels and a clear window with a UV-ray inhibitor coating.

Schwinn Trailblazer Bike Trailer.jpg

Schwinn Trailblazer Bicycle Trailer

Tag-Alongs — Older kids learning to balance and pedal can hop on a one-wheel tag-along bike from companies like Adams Trail-A-Bikes, which makes models that hook on and roll behind an adult’s rear wheel. A kid can pedal, practice steering, or sit still when tired for a free ride. Adams Trail-A-Bikes’ Original Folder has a single speed (no shifting) and a steel hitch that connects to the seat post of the bigger bike ahead. It comes with a safety flag and a chain-guard to keep grease off your kid’s jeans. Rider weight limit is 85 pounds. $230, www.trail-a-bike.com

Trail-A-Bike.jpg

Adams Trail-A-Bikes’ Original Folder

iBert safe-T-seat — Riders with this unique center-mounted bike seat can pedal with a kid essentially cradled between their arms. It mounts on a prong of metal attached to your bike’s stem under the handlebars, making for a seat that hovers a couple inches above the frame. Unlike a rear-mounted seat, with the safe-T-seat a child’s weight puts the center of gravity close to the middle of the bike, which may help with stability and control. But there is a compromise: Some riders will have to pedal slightly bow-legged, as it’s possible to hit the iBert with your knees. The company recommends the seat for kids 12 months and older and up to 38 pounds. $94.95, www.ibertinc.com

iBert safe-T-seat child.jpg

iBert safe-T-seat

Chariot SideCarrier — Like a motorcycle sidecar, the Chariot SideCarrier puts your kid within an easy sideways glance of your attention while on the go. It has a pivoting hitch connection to keep the carrier level while you bank and turn. The unique riding position — which accommodates one kid only — is marketed to make the bike-and-sidecar setup no wider than what you get with a two-child trailer. For dirt roads, trails, or on muddy days, the side-by-side position puts your kid and the trailer out of the way of tire spray. $500, www.chariotcarriers.com

Chariot Kid SideCarrier.jpg

Chariot SideCarrier

—Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.

Posted by jpea - 07/20/2009 08:42 AM

Man, that photo of the iBert makes me nervous… doing some singletrack with your kid on the front = crazy ;)

Posted by Matt - 07/20/2009 12:16 PM

The iBert manufacturers clearly did not have my child in mind with that seat. I can’t see that having up to 38 lbs of wiggling kid on my handlebar is going to make anyone safer.

Posted by Rob Brewer - 07/27/2009 11:24 AM

I have the iBert seat and we love it. My daughter is about 20-25 lbs right now and still has a lot of leg room to go. It is a bit cumbersome to stop and start, but riding is a dream. Very easy to handle. Oh, and while mine is also on a hardtail (1998 Stumpjumper), I only take her on easy paved surfaces so far. I will say that the harness leaves something to be desired in terms of adjustability, but other than that, the seat is great!

Posted by Mike levad - 07/31/2009 10:43 AM

Thanks for this. My wife and I are expecting our first kid in April. It is going be awhile before we need one but I love the idea of the tag-alongs. I once saw a dad and a five year old going down a gentle incline. Dad was gently spinning along while junior in the back had his head down and was killing it. Dad apparently did not have Jr’s need for speed.

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