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Help me work out how to transport my growing family!

Posted: 15 Nov 2018, 12:42pm
by lesleysprite
Hi! I have no car and am really dependent on my bike, and on being able to get my bike on the train. I am about to have another child and need to explore my options. My bigger child is old enough to ride his own bike, may be with a tow bar for longer distance, but often we are cycling home after a long day, in any weather, and occasionally there is no space on the train even with one bike. So I still want to be able to get him on my bike for a bit longer. I think with 2 kids I'm going to need some electrical assistance on the hills, especially when I have panniers too.

First question: do you know of any cargo bikes other than the Tern GSD short enough to fit on a train?

Second question: My other option would be an ordinary e-bike with a child seat on the front and the back. So what would be the best options for an approaching 20kg child and a baby (from 6 months if at all possible)?

I had thought I could lose my wheels for the first 6 months then get the baby in a front seat and have the bigger kid in one of the rear seats that will take over 20kg. But I recently read that front seats can't be used that early, and found out there are car seat attachments for rear pannier racks. I don't know if there are any solutions that would allow my bigger kid to go in front of me though? I once saw an ordinary bike parked up with what looked like an extra saddle fixed on the top bar, and wondered if that was an option, but I never found out what that was.

Any ideas would be much appreciated! Thanks

Lesley

Re: Help me work out how to transport my growing family!

Posted: 15 Nov 2018, 8:40pm
by firedfromthecircus

Re: Help me work out how to transport my growing family!

Posted: 16 Nov 2018, 1:14am
by RickH
The Circe Helios tandem will take 2 child seats with the cargo rack fitted. From around 3 to 4 years old they will fit as a stoker (with the help of easy to fit crank shorteners) to help with the work. The bike is only slightly longer than a solo & will fit in most train bike spaces without any problem (I found turning or removing the rear handlebars when in tandem mode helps with getting the bike round the corners when boarding/leaving some trains). I've taken mine on hundreds of trains.

They have an electric assist option (or you can do a 3rd party conversion) & you can also get it converted to a triplet later should the need arise (that might prove more problematic for train travel though).

Re: Help me work out how to transport my growing family!

Posted: 16 Nov 2018, 11:43am
by pjclinch
Back when our sproggen were just big enough to reach pedals we had a Thorn Me'n'U2 triple, and it was excellent. The Circe Helios covers its "pilot can take the strain for two others" bases and adds several more, it looks like a very good option. If we had a young family today the Helios would almost certainly be at the top of our shopping list.

If you wanted to take one by train you could probably get some S&S couplings fitted so you could split in in two, but they're not cheap.

Pete.

Re: Help me work out how to transport my growing family!

Posted: 17 Nov 2018, 12:13pm
by lesleysprite
Thanks for the suggestions!
The helios looks awesome, but I think at 210cm it wouldn't fit on the racks on the older scotrail trains. The Fr8 looks interesting, I can't find what length it is yet.

Re: Help me work out how to transport my growing family!

Posted: 17 Nov 2018, 4:58pm
by RickH
lesleysprite wrote:Thanks for the suggestions!
The helios looks awesome, but I think at 210cm it wouldn't fit on the racks on the older scotrail trains. The Fr8 looks interesting, I can't find what length it is yet.

I've taken ours an all the rolling stock that Northern, Transport for Wales*, Virgin** & Merseyrail have shown up with (usually doing Wigan to Chester & back - via Warrington, Crewe or Liverpool - & occasional other routes). Unfortunately I never thought to take a photo. :(

There's a public Facebook Group called "I love My Circe" (link - I don't know if you need to be signed up to view it) which has various pictures of Helioses on trains (& photos from a whole variety of adventures on Circe bikes), including a Scotrail one from early 2015, which would give you a flavour of the space they (don't) take up.

*Arriva Trains Wales until recently - still the same rolling stock.
**It was classed as a tandem by ticket office staff on very few journeys, much less than 1 in 10, when making a bike reservation at the station even though it was there with me.

Edited to add: I've just looked at the specs of a couple of full-suss mountainbikes & adding the wheel & tyres sizes to the wheelbase gives you a figure in the 192-194cm range so you're not looking at much longer than one of those.

Re: Help me work out how to transport my growing family!

Posted: 19 Nov 2018, 8:54pm
by RickH
My Facebook feed just popped up with a link to a low mileage, ex-hire, electric assist (Shimano Steps) Helios up for sale direct from Circe at a greatly reduced price if you, or anyone else, is intetested.

http://www.circecycles.com/end-of-seaso ... ios-steps/

Re: Help me work out how to transport my growing family!

Posted: 21 Nov 2018, 1:39pm
by lesleysprite
Thanks, I might take a tape measure the next time I get on the train! The scotrail train I often get has a space more like this: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... ater&ifg=1
plus it is often extremely busy and full of people standing and other bikes.

The helios, even with electric assist, is so much lighter than the Tern (the Fr8 is impossibly heavy it turns out) and I may occasionally need to get it up steps... so I'd rather make a helios work if I can.

If anyone else has any ideas I'd love to hear them!

Lesley

Re: Help me work out how to transport my growing family!

Posted: 21 Nov 2018, 4:26pm
by firedfromthecircus
Where in Scotland are you?
David at Laidback Bikes in Edinburgh is a dealer for the Helios and various other bakfiets style bikes and load carriers. He can probably put you in touch with a few of his customers who are using bikes for family transport and arrange test rides. Well worth a visit if you are close enough.

http://www.laid-back-bikes.scot/

Re: Help me work out how to transport my growing family!

Posted: 24 Dec 2018, 1:30pm
by pete75
The Foster family may give you some ideas.


Re: Help me work out how to transport my growing family!

Posted: 24 Dec 2018, 5:08pm
by reohn2
It's worth noting that the OP hasn't visited the forum since 21 Nov :?

Re: Help me work out how to transport my growing family!

Posted: 5 Jan 2019, 9:00pm
by latequartet
We have taken up to four bikes, two adult and two children's bikes on trains in Scotland and England frequently and it's quite a bit about learning what the situation is train by train. We used Follow-Me tandem hitches to link the adult bike to the child bike up until the children were five. After that we cycled separately (and now they're older 7 and 9) if capacity is an issue, there being two adults, we travel in two pairs.