Bike trailers or kiddy seats?

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Anonymous's picture

The little guy has a helmet that he looks great in and next year we would like to get him on the road - or more likely - bike path. Any suggestions for trailers - or perhaps-child seats?

Options? Brands? Experience?

PS - The Litespeed trike is NOT an option.

Anonymous's picture
David C (not verified)
Used Schwinn Trailer


Colleen and I have a used trailer -- Schwinn. Our kids are long since grown out of it. Sold as is for $40 (original cost was about 5 times that). It has worked great and still would. Reason for low price is twofold (in addition to age): 1) the clamp almost instantly lost its padding, so it's not so kind to the paint job on your bike and 2) there is no longer the flag that supposedly helps cars see it. If interested, write at carrdavid** (take out the asterisks).


Anonymous's picture
Paul O'Donnell (not verified)
How little?

"How little? We used the topeak child seat for really litte ones (from when they can hold their head up until about 40 pounds, which is probably 3 or 4). It comes with it's own rack. If you get something like this, you don't want an ""aero"" helmet. You want one with a flat back, so he can hold his head up straight.

We now use Adams trail-a-bikes. There are a few versions, we have the ""shifter"" version, which folds to fit in the trunk and has gears. In the early years, you can just leave it in one gear, but then it's a good intro to gearing for the kid. It's fun riding along shouting out what gear he should be in as you approach a hill. By the time the kid is 6 or 7, you get a noticable push. This has a clamp which mounts on the seat post - you can leave the clamp attached and remove the bike (although the clamp is a little over a pound on it's own). I've towed this behind my hybrid and my road bike - it's fine with both, although sometimes at slower speeds I prefer the extra leverage from the wider handlebars on the hybrid.

For the older one, we went straight from the seat to the trail-a-bike. When the younger one outgrew the seat, we weren't confident he was able to ride securely on a trail-a-bike, so we used a Burley trailer for a bit, but we only got one year's use out of it.

Our older one is now 7 and for anything up to 15 miles, he much prefers to ride his own bike."

Anonymous's picture
Basil Ashmore (not verified)
Bobike, Flipper, Trail-a-bike

There's a progression here...........I may not have the ages exactly right but, in my experience, it goes something like:

1 - 2.5 years:
available at One Step Ahead.

2 - 4 years:
Takes up to 50(?) lbs.
Also available at One Step Ahead.

People use both of the above on all bikes but I personally avoided putting them on my road bike and used mountain and hybrid bikes only. You definitely need to concentrate on balance more than usual when riding with them.

4-7 years(??):
Trail-a-bike or similar.

Ride their own bicycle.

I never used a trailer (probably due to storage issues tho you can probably fold up some of them). I liked the front child seat as my daughter had a view of something other than my back - also I could keep an eye on her - they fall asleep often. However, the weight limit is less for front which is why I eventually changed to rear (Flipper). I used this to take her to school for most of one school year. (We once fell on the ice - which she still occasionally reminds me of).


Anonymous's picture
Rich Conroy (not verified)
Trailers vs. Child seats, pros & cons

"Hi Ira,
I used both a trailer and a child seat with my daughter, and we explored Queens, and later the Bronx far and wide.

TRAILERS: I have an odler version of the Burley Trailer. Most other trailers out there are copies of the Burley D'lite. Some of them are bad copies. The Burley folds up and I store mine in a closet. It trails behind very nicely and is very tip resistant. It has a jogger option and an option to attach to disc brake or dual suspenision frames. It's hitch attachment won't mar paint. In terms of using the Burley, it has the following ""plusses""
+Hauls lots of kid stuff (toys, blankets, pillows, food, clothes), and keeps it inside. So your little one can take along anything he wants.
+Protects the kid from wet weather. I did the Tour d' Bronx a couple years ago with my daughter, and she was the only dry person around.
Some people think having a trailer behind is less safe, but I never thought so. Drivers actually seemed to be more careful around it.
-a little heavier to tow; more stuff to schlep out of the building.
-much more difficult to hold conversations with your child while cycling.

I also used a child seat. Mine was a Road Gear, where the seat detaches from a blackburn rack. I think Metro sells the descendent of that one from a company called Kangaroo or something. Topeak makes a similar one. Some pros & cons of using this approach:
+much less expensive and more compact than a good trailer.
+easier to hold conversations with your kid.
+easier to get in and out.
-doesn't protect the kid from unexpected & undesired weather.
-can't haul the kid's entire toy collection.
-toys will get dropped in the street, sometimes for the fun of it.

Which ever you choose, biking with your kid is a blast.

Rich Conroy

Anonymous's picture
esass (not verified)

Our kids are two and are flying on their LikeaBikes.

cycling trips