For Those Bicyclists: Seat or trailer

What to use on my bicycle?

  • Child seat mounted to bicycle

    Votes: 3 10.7%
  • Trailer

    Votes: 25 89.3%
  • Foget it. The kid is too heavy and you are too out of shape.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    28

scoutingbear

New member
What would you do? C is 36 pounds, 36 1/2 inches tall (or so). The rest of the family wants to start bike riding regularly and we have been using a cheapo bike seat for C on the back of my bike for him since dh has the trail-a-bike on his for impulsive A. The problem is, I can no longer sit comfortably on my seat or get C out once he is in the seat...he is just too big. I have found 50 pound limit bike seats on-line which I am thinking is probably bigger than C's current seat (and withou the bar that we can't get his boat feet back through) but I wonder if a trailer would be easier to pull than having him behind me on the bike itself? Thoughts?
 
ADS

Pixels

New member
Trailer. It's easier to tow, easier to balance (no balancing at all with a trailer), plus a lot more stable. If you dump your bike with kiddo on back, kiddo falls a good 4 feet to the ground. If you dump your bike with kiddo in the trailer, kiddo sits there. Even if you do manage to tip the trailer (I've seen it), the child is falling what, maybe a foot? Much safer.
 

Mommypooh

New member
trailer hands down. We have a double trailer for my two boys and my daughter rides on the bike that ataches to the back of hubbys bike. I will never use a seat on the bike agian, after having a trailer.

My boys are so protected, and if it starts to sprinkle i can put the rain cover on and they stay dry even if I am stupid enought to ride when it may sprikle. It is also so much easier to pull that than to try to balance with one of those seats.
 

miraclebabies

New member
We have a Instep Trailer/ Stroller combo and LOVE it.... I used it alot with my first DD, it was so easy to pull and then you could put the handle on it and walk.. It carriers one child in the middle or you can carry two kids on each side. It holds up to 100# and folds flat, has a rain sheild and velcro top so you can get the kids in and out easier. I got it at target and it was about $150.. well worth it.
 

R&J'sMom

New member
We had the In Step trailer/stroller combo too. DH & I both used to take turns pulling the trailer until the boys got big enough to ride their own bikes. The kids were harnessed in and loved going on bike rides. We would go on a 4 mile bike ride stopping at every little park along the way and letting the kids play.
 

mom2juliarose

New member
We have a trailer and sometimes DD still rides in it at 4.5 and 40-something pounds... it's a Burley Bee that we got for half off at Target forever ago, and we love it... Something about her being in a seat connected to my bike just made me feel insecure.
 

southpawboston

New member
thanks, jerserygirl'smama. here i am again. wow, 15 votes for a trailer and only 1 for a bike seat (and that was from me!) :eek:

okay, i have both a double trailer (instep) and rear bike mounted seats, one (a kettler) on my main bike and one (a topeak) on DW's main bike. frankly, i prefer the bike mounted seats. the bike is just easier to ride without a trailer. the trailer adds an unbelievable amount of drag. it feels like i'm going uphill even when i'm on level ground. with kiddo (38 lb) in the bike seat, i don't even feel it.

however, i can see how some people prefer trailers. trailers can take more weight (usually 100 lb, as opposed to 50 lb max for the bike seats) and there is no learning curve. they are also easier to get kiddo in and out. kids can stay dryer in the rain. and then there is the perceived safety factor.

safety-wise, it's actually complicated and depends on your situation. studies show that more accidents occur with bike seats than with trailers. however, the same studies show that the majority of those happen when mounting/dismounting because it's hard to do with a kid on the bike, and those accidents are minor. so, even though trailers experience fewer accidents, they tend to be severe in nature, causing serious injury or death (rollovers from hitting curbs, or getting hit by a car!). since i ride in a city and have to deal with traffic, i feel much safer not having the large footprint of a trailer to worry about getting hit by a car, or me hitting a curb.

this is an intersection i have to ride through daily:
par2.jpg


the bike seats do require getting used to, but if they are installed correctly and have appropriate adjustments (the better ones have front/back, up/down, and angle adjustments), you can actually LOWER the center of gravity of the bicycle from what it is normally without a child seat. the child's center of gravity is below yours, and does not contribute to the instability that some people describe. but the extra weight does take getting used to. after awhile you simply forget about it. DW was nervous the first time she rode DD2 on her bike. i suggested she first take a ride with a backpack full of books strapped into the seat until she got used to it. after one ride, she was comfortable enough to ride DD2.

trailers offer no protection if they are to flip over (and flip-overs can happen very easily, from misjudging a curb to hitting a big bump). a well-designed bike seat fits the child like a carseat (see jersergirl'smama's link to older thread. which has photos of my german-made kettler seat). combine that with a proper fitting helmet, and injuries from falling from a bike are likely to be minimal. i definitely wouldn't use a cheap-o bike seat with no side protection or adjustments.

my kids also prefer the bike seats. they see MUCH better than in a trailer. we can hear each other and have conversations. we can't do that with the trailer-- we just can't hear each other unless we shout. in a trailer, unless they have the "windows" closed, they get dust and debris kicked up into their faces from the bicycle tire. and they are also sucking in more exhaust fumes from traffic. i thought my girls would love being side by side in the trailer, but after only one ride they never wanted to do it again. they felt cramped and didn't like not being near me and being able to touch my back (DD2 likes to pull on my back pockets :)). i call the bike seat the choice for AP parents ;).

if i were to ride strictly on bike paths for leisure riding, i would probably opt for the trailer for the added weight capacity and the benefit of having both kids. but for any type of road riding, the bike seat is the only way i will transport a child. i have a basket in front to carry a backpack, groceries, and whatnot.

i've been riding a child on my bike at LEAST three days a week, for over 1.5 years. so i've done this a LOT. since my kiddos don't like the trailer, i'm thinking of gutting it and turning it into a flatbed utility trailer for home depot runs!
 
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lovinwaves

New member
First off, I have no experience whatsoever with Bike Mounted Child Seats.

I have a Chariot Cougar 2 trailer (in siggie). We mainly use our trailer here in our neighborhood(sidewalks, road), our neighborhood paved path, and some trails near our lake that are mostly paved but do have some compacted dirt areas.

If I were going to be needing to transport one child in a city, then I might have looked more into the bike mounted seats. They seem to make more sense for something like that.

But, for our usage, the trailer seems to fit the bill quite well.

A run down:

-Padded comfortable Seats
-Room for the kids to kick around their legs, and actually have toys in the trailer with them
-Storage in the trailer, and outside the trailer for whatever (Groceries, kite, lunch, blanket, etc...)
-No balance issues for me.
-easy to unhook the trailer. It also takes about 1 minute for me to disconnect the trailer from my bike, and hook it up to my husbands bike.
-Weather protected
-Nice cushioned ride, with suspension specificially for their combined weight

Photo_022509_003.jpg


Photo_022509_004.jpg
 

scoutingbear

New member
Keep the votes coming! Now I am even more conflicted...those of you that voted trailer, have you used both a trailer and a bike seat (not at the same time)? Most of our riding will be on bike trails around the city but there are gradual hills for going under the streets when there is a street crossing in most places. BUT, to get to the park down the street for various events it is a ride in the bike lane of a 50 mph road (there is a sidewalk, but I *know* a trailer won't fit around the utility poles that some lovely designer put in the middle of hte sidewalk. I can barely get a stroller around them. Such is also the case to get to the entrance of the bike trails...down the same road but 1.5 miles instead of 1. There are gradual hills all over our city (and some steep ones too, but for the most part, they are avoidable) that you don't notice until you have extra weight on your bike. Oh, and one of those gradual hills is from the park/bike trails back to our house on the busy road.

At least no one voted for the "too out of shape" option. :love:
 

lovinwaves

New member
Is there some place local that you can try the mounted seat? I would think you would be able to tell immediately if you like that option or not.




The Chariot Cougar 1(holds 1 child) has an exterior width of 27.2", and the Cougar 2(holds 1 or 2 children) has an exterior width of 32.7".

The Cougar 1 is 2 inches narrower than my double stroller which fits through any standard doorway. This is also narrower than what is code standard for a wheelchair. So I wouldn't think you would have any problems getting the single trailer through any areas.


ETA: Maybe it's because I am used to hauling 90lbs(trailer weight, but two childrens weights), but whenever I am just pulling my son in the trailer I think it's pretty easy peasy, even on gradual hills. If I can't make it up(really steep hill), then I either make him get out and walk :eek: , or I just push the bike up the hill.
 

lovinwaves

New member
If you are wanting the option to disconnect the trailer, and have it turn into a stroller, some trailers have the option to keep the extra stroller wheel attached to the trailer. Here is a picture:

See the little wheel mounted on the front of the trailer? You would just disconnect the trailer, pop that wheel down, and voila you have a stroller :)

bicycle_trailer.jpg
 

scoutingbear

New member
We currently have a mounted bike seat (cheap-o one that goes to 40 pounds but it isn't deep enough for his legs/feet) and I don't mind it at all. but with his size, I am so conflicted as what to do next!
 

southpawboston

New member
have you used both a trailer and a bike seat (not at the same time)?

i have!! (and i have!!! yes, i've done both at the same time!!!!! one kid in bike seat. one in trailer. groceries in trailer and library books in front basket :thumbsup:. but i wouldn't dream of doing it uphill!)

We currently have a mounted bike seat (cheap-o one that goes to 40 pounds but it isn't deep enough for his legs/feet) and I don't mind it at all. but with his size, I am so conflicted as what to do next!

my first bike seat was also a cheap-o bell. it was "hard-mounted" (no quick release) to the bike, had no suspension, no adjustments, and had a tiny shell that didn't offer much protection. i got it free from a friend whose daughter outgrew it. it was okay for learning how to ride with my then 30 lb DD1, but there's no way my DD1 would fit in it now at 38 lb! i figure i have at least two more summers left, then DD1 will probably be too big for the kettler. she'll be close to 5yo. right now, she is about 38" tall, and we have the foot cups adjusted about 3 notches from the bottom. that gives her at least two more inches of lower leg growth. she wears a size 9 shoe. when she was wearing bulky size 9 sneakers, i noticed my heel was bumping into the front of her sneakers. i had to adjust the child seat back one inch, and everything is fine now. i still have another inch of rearward adjustment if she moves into even bigger shoes.
 

southpawboston

New member
I have a Chariot Cougar 2 trailer (in siggie). We mainly use our trailer here in our neighborhood(sidewalks, road), our neighborhood paved path, and some trails near our lake that are mostly paved but do have some compacted dirt areas.

is that the one with which you plowed down that little boy?? ;)

as i was saying about trailers and larger footprints. :whistle:
 

scoutingbear

New member
my first bike seat was also a cheap-o bell. it was "hard-mounted" (no quick release) to the bike, had no suspension, no adjustments, and had a tiny shell that didn't offer much protection.

Sounds exactly like the seat we have now...probably same model! I think I will go for the Kettler seat and hope that it doesn't pinch my brake cord too badly. That might even work for mr. size 10 sneaker to not bump my legs when riding since it adjusts in so many ways. Found a good price ordering directly from the company (much cheaper than anywhere else).
 

southpawboston

New member
He backed into me. Could have happened without the trailer, which I know you know. Oh, and welcome back to the forums. We have definitely missed you.

:love: i figured ;). hey, you know i'm only messin' with ya. hence the ;) emoticon after my comment.

Sounds exactly like the seat we have now...probably same model! I think I will go for the Kettler seat and hope that it doesn't pinch my brake cord too badly. That might even work for mr. size 10 sneaker to not bump my legs when riding since it adjusts in so many ways. Found a good price ordering directly from the company (much cheaper than anywhere else).

cool beans! i found mine this time last year for ~$100 shipped. i don't think you'll have problems with the brake cord. but you will have to spend time tweaking the adjustments after several rides until everything is just right. the directions are designed to be non-language based, so it's all pictures, icons and numbered steps. kind of like what you get with ikea furniture. the directions didn't tell me anything about optimizing the adjustments, so it was all trial and error. the main things to consider are 1- keeping the center of gravity low (dictated by how far up or down the clamp is mounted on your bike tube), but not too low that the child seat bumps the tire over bumps as the seat frame has a very soft suspension that allows it to flex up and down above the rear wheel, and 2- keeping the seat moved back far enough that kiddo's feet don't bump your heels.

PM me with your email addy if you'd like me to send you the pdf instructions in advance of you buying it.
 

keri1292

Well-known member
Anyone have pictures of older kids in a bike seat? I've only seen toddlers and they looked much too big in the cheap seats. I have two preschoolers, so a trailer is really my only option right now. We have a Chariot for two, but I'd like the option of a bike seat when I take just one child next year when Hayden goes to Kindy.
 

southpawboston

New member
Anyone have pictures of older kids in a bike seat? I've only seen toddlers and they looked much too big in the cheap seats. I have two preschoolers, so a trailer is really my only option right now. We have a Chariot for two, but I'd like the option of a bike seat when I take just one child next year when Hayden goes to Kindy.

i took some photos today of the girls in their bike seats. their stats are in my siggy. i'll post later.

EDIT: here is a web album with detailed captions.
 
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