By Mads Phikampho:
After you have children, you are going to realize that you hardly have any time left to go cycling on your own anymore. Instead, you will struggle to get even an hour of biking in before you have to get back to taking care of them.
You can’t wait around until they are old enough to leave on their own. As a parent, you need to do as many things as you can with your kids. Bike riding is one of these, and you need to do it with them.
The solution to your problem is actually pretty simple. You just have to take them with you. It is easier said than done though. However, there are some methods you can use to do just this!
Bike trailers: the basics
A bike trailer is…well, it’s a trailer you can fix on your bike. It carries your kid(s), and it is usually pretty safe to boot. It is definitely a way to bond with your kids while biking.
The perks of using bike trailers
- Amazing fitness routine
- Perfect parent-kid bonding time
- Give your kids a health boost
It isn’t all sunshine, daisies and butter mellow though. You need to consider a few things when getting a bike trailer.
- Waste of time
- Less speed
- Handling is a little more difficult
- Your bike becomes bigger and longer
- Kids won’t be able to have a full range of vision
- The weather might be an issue
- You will need to take safer routes
- The extra exercise could be a problem initially
Beware of legal issues
Transporting young children on bikes has legal restrictions in some places. This is because infants’ necks are very vulnerable to bumping around. Only take your child out if they are:
- Over a year old
- Able to hold their heads up for 2 minutes at least
For the most part kids are under legal restrictions in different countries. This is because:
- A child’s body needs to withstand acute bumps or even crashes
- Their necks need to hold a bike helmet up
Here are a few reasons why you should get a bike helmet for your kid, whether it is required by law or not, and what you should look for when getting one:
- They don’t have tough skulls.
- Look for rounded helmets to avoid straps choking them
- Good helmets cradle and protect heads from rolling
- Look for helmets from good brands and standards
Why bike child seats aren’t that great
Bike seats are made to fit onto a bike, either on the front or back. While they seem great, they really aren’t. Here are a few reasons why they aren’t your best option:
- A child is further from the ground in a fall
- They can develop neck problems if they fall asleep in the upright position
- More vulnerable to weather conditions
- Feet can get caught in spokes on the go
- The kid might decide to play with the bell too often
How to choose the best bike trailer
Take a look at these quick tips before you go out and buy the coolest, most expensive bike trailer out there. There is a lot that you need to consider when picking one, so be careful!
- Strength and weight – Build material and frame design
- Center of gravity – Ideally, this would be low
- Hitch quality – Look for a low level hitch with good strength
- Multipurpose – Convertible stroller/trailers are becoming a thing now.
- Plan ahead – If you want more kids, outright buy a bigger trailer
- Extra space – Perfect for carrying those bags on a grocery run with the kids
- Communicating – Make sure you can hear your kids and vice versa
- Prevent a breakout – Get one with a harness to prevent hands from dangling out
- Seat quality – Look for comfortable reclining seats
- Suspension – Go for a trailer with some sort of shock absorption to prevent jarring
- Try to get a weatherproof trailer
- Extra head support pockets for helmets
- Look for capacity to pad the seat and roll cages for comfort
- Go for one that is foldable for easy storage
Check for things like floor build quality, shock guidance, roll bars or roll cages, and designs that prevent tipping over or rolling. If you don’t trust the companies, why not build your own trailer instead?
Seriously though, this is a good choice IF you know your way around a toolbox. Whatever the choice is, make sure your child is the safest he/she has ever been.
Alternative: Cargo Bike
Cargo bikes are popular in places like Denmark. They are 2 or 3 wheeled, and the cargo space is between the handlebars and front wheel. You child, or your cargo, can be comfortable enough and have unrestricted view.
They are also more noticeable because they aren’t common. The problem is that they are heavy and take up space. They also are pretty costly.
There are many alternatives to getting a bike seat or bike trailer, but you can always trust the trailer as a steadfast.
Perfect for your kid and you
Bike trailers are a way for you to bond with your kids on the go. They get fresh air and get in touch with nature. It is an adventure and a memory building experience. Get a bike trailer and spend some real time with your kid(s).
Mads Phikamphon love bikes and dream about cities with less cars, congestion and pollution. He runs the popular site Icebike.orgthat is dedicated to bikes and cycling.