Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

rsian
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Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby rsian » 20 May 2019, 3:54pm

Hi. I’ve been reading all sorts, but now require some help!

I’m going to have to start transporting my daughter on a bike from September, she will be three. I don’t think she will do the walk from the nursery we hope she will get in (about 1.5 miles either way), and I don’t drive. The journey is along main roads. I’ll be commuting a little bit further, but not much and I’ll need to take some stuff with me too. When I have her it’ll be impossible for me to take all the stuff I need, but on the days I don’t I’ll have a laptop, ringbinder, marking and more. I take a suitcase currently to cart it all around.

I’ve also been on a bike about once in the past five years, so I want to get things sorted and used to cycling over summer.

I had thought about a cargo bike, but there’s no cycle paths and my husband doesn’t think that’s a great idea. I’ve alway liked the style of the Pendleton Somerby (for all the cycling I do :lol: ), but I’m not convinced that’s the best choice.

So, basically I’m clueless. I need suggestions on a bike for me and a child seat for a three year old. Any help would be amazing!

Tangled Metal
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby Tangled Metal » 20 May 2019, 4:35pm

A decent hybrid bike with rack and pannier(s) plus a good child seat like hamax siesta that can tilt back.

Of course as child gets older try and get them to learn to ride a bike. Then get a FollowMe tandem to use instead of the seat. Might seem scary with traffic but IMHO drivers see kids and give a wide berth.

Or a semi recumbent tandem like Hase pino or circe morpheus. They don't have to pedal and you can get shoulder straps for young kids too. They're not too long to cycle solo too.

PS last option only good if you don't need all your hard earned. You're probably haggling 3k or more for those tandems.

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honesty
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby honesty » 20 May 2019, 4:47pm

at that age I got a trailer for my daughter. This was much better than a child seat. The trailer also had a boot to put loads of luggage in as well, so I never had problems carrying things for a commute. I had a Burley Bee (which you can get now from Go Outdoors!) and I found I got passed significantly better when towing a trailer.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby Tangled Metal » 20 May 2019, 5:00pm

I've got a Burley D-lite I want to sell if that's the way the op wants to go and can get to Lancaster area. 2 child but you can put in the middle. It's got suspension too

HobbesOnTour
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby HobbesOnTour » 20 May 2019, 6:18pm

For inspiration you could look at https://hollandbikeshop.com

Seats: https://hollandbikeshop.com/en-gb/bicycle-seat/
Trailers: https://hollandbikeshop.com/en-gb/bicycle-trailers/

They even have a mother's bike! https://hollandbikeshop.com/en-gb/buyin ... ue-528707/

I'm not recommending purchasing from this site, but it is useful to get an idea of the options open to you.

I live in NL and transporting kids is perfectly normal. There are many variations of cargo type bikes with place to sit (sheltered) in the front. There are electric versions too. These types of bike are not cheap, but since they normally replace a car and have to be safe they are a good investment.
Google images for Bakfiets

Taking weather into account, a trailer or covered cargo option is probably the way to go.

If you have the time and budget, I'd suggest hopping over to NL to get one. If you do your research in advance you could have a really good choice of bike, then an adventure as you cycle it home! :D

This is from the main Dutch second hand site:
https://www.marktplaats.nl/z.html?attri ... distance=0

Tangled Metal
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby Tangled Metal » 20 May 2019, 9:29pm

Over in nl the child seat on the crossbar is popular. A solid hybrid might take one. It looks like a saddle on the bar with foot rests.

rsian
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby rsian » 20 May 2019, 10:51pm

Thanks everyone :D, all sorts of suggestions there.

I have to say that the trailer is absolutely out. I’d use one in other places, and tbh I would probably solve a lot of the issues around transporting everything else. I just would not feel safe having her in one on that road. It is very busy, three lanes of traffic in parts and that scares me a lot. I feel like she wouldn’t be as visible in the trailer, silly as that sounds.

A bakfiets type is what I was looking at originally, but husband didn’t think it would work very well with there being no cycle lanes. We’ve been to the NL once, and I loved seeing all the bikes there, wish it was more common here!

I’ll have a look for some more inspiration, it’s definitely good to have some sites and names to look for, becauseivd been overwhelmed in the past! She has her own little balance bike at the moment, but she gets tired/bored very quickly. She’s quite small so hopefully that will change soon and we can look at other options, she will go to school Sept 2020, and that’s not on a busy road, so hopefully she will be able to ride her own bike there then.

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Redvee
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby Redvee » 21 May 2019, 2:08am

Danny Macaskill's latest video might be of help :lol:


Tangled Metal
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby Tangled Metal » 21 May 2019, 8:37am

Do you know, that fear of a trailer being visible was something my parents lectured us about when we used ours.

Truth is vehicles see it better because it's different. They work out very quickly that there's probably a young child in there. That kind of wakes then up to the danger they present. The result is some of the biggest gaps between us and the car overtaking I've ever seen. Even skip lorries gave us a wide berth.

However this is something that's hard to appreciate until you've seen it. So it's probably right for you to find other solutions. It is what fits in with your comfort zone.

My pov is that if it's too dangerous for trailers it would be too dangerous for us to feel comfortable taking our child at that age on such a section of road. Is there no other way to get there? Avoidance could be a good idea if at all possible.

As someone else said, look to Holland as utility cycling for families is their forte.

rsian
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby rsian » 21 May 2019, 8:45am

Tangled Metal wrote:However this is something that's hard to appreciate until you've seen it. So it's probably right for you to find other solutions. It is what fits in with your comfort zone.

My pov is that if it's too dangerous for trailers it would be too dangerous for us to feel comfortable taking our child at that age on such a section of road. Is there no other way to get there? Avoidance could be a good idea if at all possible.


There is another route, but it’s down unlit canal towpath and in winter that would be dangerous for whole other reasons. I need to have a think, because on lighter mornings the canal might be the ideal solution, there’s still busy roads, just not quite as busy, and it does take a lot longer but the idea of taking her down this route is turning my stomach - and my parents/in-laws are going to have something to say (like why don’t you learn to drive :lol: )

Tangled Metal
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby Tangled Metal » 21 May 2019, 9:32am

How well used is the canal towpath? Your safety is important and some canals aren't safe places due to ne'erdowells hanging around.

I'm a semi rural mouse so our canal is well used and safe.I've no idea what town and city canal routes are like. I walk my dog by head torch in winter down ours and feel perfectly safe. Of course I'm a 6'5" tall bloke and even the "hard men" with their big staffies don't bother me, not that there's many here.

Cycling with kids can be safe but due to what's at stake I reckon parents like us think a bit longer and harder before making the final decision on how to approach it. If you're not a cycling parent right now I don't think these things appear as much if an issue somehow.

I hope you work it all out. There is a solution you just need to study the routes, kit and approach to find it.

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pjclinch
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby pjclinch » 21 May 2019, 10:49am

My personal choice for this would probably be a Circe Morpheus, see http://www.circecycles.com/products/morpheus/. To start off she just rides up-front, later on you can add pedals, and you can replace the seating with a cargo box.

Image

Beyond that, looking at other points raised...

rsian wrote:I have to say that the trailer is absolutely out. I’d use one in other places, and tbh I would probably solve a lot of the issues around transporting everything else. I just would not feel safe having her in one on that road. It is very busy, three lanes of traffic in parts and that scares me a lot. I feel like she wouldn’t be as visible in the trailer, silly as that sounds.


If you can't get past the psychology of it then that's fair enough; just because by some notion it isn't a Red Line to someone else doesn't mean it isn't a Red Line. But having said that, I'm pretty sure this is psychological and it might be with a bit of time, refelction and maybe seeing examples in action you might change your mind. It is a lot easier to see there's something different going on with a trailer compared to a child seat, and in my experience (cargo bikes, recumbents, folders plus "normal" bikes) what gets you more space and care tends to be being obviously different. Also, if you're in danger in a trailer from the traffic then you're probably in as much danger in a childseat.

On to more practical issues of safety, the load is lower, has (usually) two-wheel side to side stability and is semi-independent of the bike, so the most likely accident (coming off the bike, be it a patch of black ice, diesel, pothole, muppet stepping off the pavement right in to your path staring at their phone, etc.) will probably be far better protected from by a trailer.

rsian wrote:A bakfiets type is what I was looking at originally, but husband didn’t think it would work very well with there being no cycle lanes. We’ve been to the NL once, and I loved seeing all the bikes there, wish it was more common here!


No particular reason not to use a Bakfiets on the roads, particularly if it's multi-lane (that means you can take a lane and there's another to overtake you). They're heavy, so particularly if you've any climbing it'll be well worth considering an electric assist. An e-bakfeits costs Real Money™, but it can pay for itself if you use it for general cargo.

Trailers also do general cargo, and unlike a bakfiets you can unhitch it and maybe leave it at the nursery for the session instead of having the cycling equivalent of a truck for the rest of the trip.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

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RickH
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby RickH » 21 May 2019, 11:11am

If you watch the Danny MacAskill video - on the less extreme bit it is interesting to note how well the single wheel child trailer tracks the bike.

On personal experience - first time round with my own children (born in the late 80s) I just put a child seat on the back of my mountainbike & used front panniers for stuff. Getting a child in the seat was always a bit of a phaff as you have to lift child in at the same time as stopping the bike falling over. As children got bigger the bike also became quite rear heavy.

Fast forward to the 21st century & I was looking at doing the same with grandchildren (plus a friend's son who I was helping to care for). I looked at trailers but wasn't convinced they were what I wanted, more from a getting through gaps point of view rather than any problem with traffic. I eventually opted for a Circe Helios tandem. Using the long rack you can have a child seat with panniers behind. Or, from the age of around 4, the child can pedal as stoker - & still have panniers behind (or a child seat for a smaller child). The helios also has a Brompton block on the head tube so you can use a front bag designed for that (or front panniers).

The other good thing about the Helios is that, with the 20" wheels, it is much shorter than a conventional tandem & will fit most bike spaces on trains - I was away with it at the weekend & travelled on 6 different trains with almost no problem - the only near problem was an insistent (but not unpleasant) guard on a Virgin Voyager who said we would have to get off at the next stop if I couldn't hang it up, which I managed to do to her satisfaction (removed handlebars, they're on a quick release, applied the parking brake - a short length of bungee - to the back brake & turned the front wheel 90 degrees).

Tangled Metal
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby Tangled Metal » 21 May 2019, 11:58am

I've taken my then 18 month old son in his Burley D-lite 2 child trailer off road. It was the Eskdale trail which isn't extreme by any measure but there's a few rocky bits. One very steep hill top with a fallen tree third of the way up which meant 2 thirds of the way was by pushing bike and trailer due to loss of momentum.

That was a road bike running 37mm semi knobbly tyres, 50/34 and 11-25 cassette. Not quite the right bike. The trailer worked well our son actually slept through the rockiest part of the whole trail. A good trip.

The trailer issue is about taking that first trip. Until you have tried it there's a fear there. Once you've been out and seen the "difference effect" working then you'll learn the reality of cycling in traffic. It's not about being seen but about drivers noticing you and taking the right decisions. With different that's probably more likely. Certainly was for us with the trailer.

BTW my spare bike is a recumbent so I'm possibly considered weird even by cyclists. However I'm happy on my bent because cars treat me differently and it feels safer.

SpaceCaptainTheodore
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Re: Help me! Complete novice who needs to travel with toddler.

Postby SpaceCaptainTheodore » 21 May 2019, 12:22pm

I would echo what everyone else is saying about the space given to trailers - we get passed much more considerately with ours. I've also noticed that when oncoming drivers see us labouring up a hill with the trailer we get a lot of big beaming smiles: bringing a child along seems to humanise the whole interaction, it's really nice.*

I have a Burley D'lite because we got a bit of a windfall and wanted to increase our range, but when we were checking it all out to begin I got a very cheap second hand Avenir from facebook marketplace (which I still need to palm off on someone if I ever get around to taking some photos...). The Burley is a definite step up and is more suited to our needs, but the cheaper trailer is absolutely fine for shorter journeys and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one for the kind of usage you envisage, just grab a flag from amazon as well and you're off! Any of the Halfords or Aldi ones that litter the likes of eBay are also fine, I used to drag my wee brothers along in an older Halfords job and never had anything to complain about.