Do you want to tow them?
This buying guide is about “Towed by the bike’ options. So what kind of choices do you have…a trailer bike (standard or recumbent) is like half a bike following yours, a tow rope will connect your bike to their own bike in off road settings, a trailgator will connect their own bike to yours and seems to work better in urban, a bike trailer (single or double) is like an enclosed bike stroller that you pull along behind your bike. If you would like some more details about these choices head to Bike Seats for Kids – What are my options? Or if you would prefer your child seated ‘on’ your bike…Kids Bike Seat – On the Bike – Buying Guide
When is towing a good choice?
The main advantage with towing is that you do the work for them and make all the decisions so you can take them further or keep them safe in traffic. As you will be towing a bike/half a bike (via a seatpost attachment) or a trailer (via a rear wheel hub attachment) your bike needs to have a good gear range and well maintained brakes to deal with the added weight.
Do you want them to be able to ride independently?
This question is aimed at helping you with a trailgater (their bike) vs trailer bike (half a bike) decision. Trailgators link their bike to yours so work well when you need to help them out for short periods of time – through heavy traffic, beginning of a longer ride/difficult uphill section – then you can unhook their bike and they can ride on their own. This option makes sense if they already have a bike of their own. A trailer bike doesn’t offer you this versatility but you may not need it…trailer bikes are great for bike touring with younger kids or big day rides, anywhere from 2 to 9 years of age. Your child gets a seat & can choose to assist you with pedalling or rest.
Also consider a tow rope (Tow Whee) which joins two bikes together and can be used whenever they start to ride independently in off road environments. Ideal for assistance in climbing hills and distances, also to manage not ideal weather situations you may find yourself in. Wind and/or rain can really spoil a bike riding experience so being able to tow your child quickly along can really help.
Why use a bike trailer?
Certain seats work better in certain situations. A bike trailer gives you the ability to tow toddlers, 1yr+, which means you can start using your bike for transport around town when they are young. It has the added advantages of weather protection and good storage. With more of a financial investment you can get a multi purpose trailer that turns into a buggy once you reach your destination.
Where are you planning on riding?
All these towing options follow your bike but be aware that a bike trailer is wide and it has a wide turning circle – which can limit the places you are able to take it. Also some brands are better than others in terms of how closed in your child is. If you are trying to have an experience/adventure look for good ‘windows’ so your littles can be aware of what’s going on around them. As I mentioned above a tow rope (Tow Whee) or trailer bikes are ideal for touring or big day rides. For trailers you can choose between a traditional bike set up (Adams Trailer Bike) or the recumbent version (WeeHoo Turbo) which offers extra storage space.
How many children & how old are they?
If you have more than one child and they are still quite young one option is a double bike trailer. If you don’t mind splitting them up, one could be “On the bike” in a front or mid mounted seat and one could be “towed by the bike”. A rear mounted kids seat that sits over the back wheel would not be an option unless you choose a bike trailer (rear wheel hub attachment), as you need access to the seat post to attach trailer bikes and trailgators. If your riding is more about weekend adventures than transporting the kids around town, you could set up two adult bikes or invest in a double trailer bike like the WeeHoo Turbo Double (please contact us for more info on this product).
2-9 years Trailer Bike – WeeHoo, 4yrs to adult Tow Rope Tow Whee, 4-6 years Trailer Bike – Adams, 1-6 years Bike Trailer, 4/5 years to … depends on when your child would be ready to independently ride in traffic/have the strength to ride distances/hills – Trailgator
goRide’s Towed by the Bike Solutions
Make your purchase a success…
Please follow all assembly instructions so that you understand how the seat is attached and therefore know what to look for when doing a safety check – loosening bolts, wear & tear, cracking plastic, fraying seat harness. Their safety is worth 30 seconds of your time before every ride.
For more on this topic read Kids Bike Seats – Saftey & Care