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

PT1029
Posts: 651
Joined: 16 Apr 2012, 9:20pm

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

Postby PT1029 » 23 May 2019, 6:44am

No experience of carrying children on a bike, but have served customers who do.
Pendelton Somerby. OK but not super. With heavy use expect to have to replace the rear wheel at some point (the hubs are pretty cheap, bearing cups in the rear wheel tend not to last too well). If they do a hub gear version, this argument does not apply.
I was at a cycle show years ago, saw a Burley trailer on their stand, it looked a bit odd as it was newish, but not new. It was there as it had been returned for inspection, hit by a (said to be 30mph) car sideways (I think unladen, ie no child) on a roundabout, I could see nothing wrong with the trailer other than a few slight scuff marks. Burley gave them a new one so they could exhibit the old one.
Cheaper trailers will do the job, I have seen a variety of trailers at work, in quality of construction you definately get what you pay for when it comes to trailers.
From aged about 4 you could probably use a trailer bike/addabike - same width as your bike, you could unhitch it and leave at the nursury. Depending on designs/dimensions (ie, you are not too short), you might manage a trailer bike + rear rack/panniers on your bike (if you are too short, the trailer bike mount on the seat post is too low to clear the pannier rack.
Steer clear of second hand trailer bikes, the mounting brackets are usually worn and allow the trailer bike to flop from side to side.

I would try looking into other routes more (unless the 3 lanes are always clogged up slow), open street maps marks various types of routes. If nothing else, an alternative route would be more pleasant, and help deflect the why don't you drive question.
If you were able to use the 3 lane route on your own to start, you would get more familiar with the traffic, and also have the probably back up argument that it only takes you x minutes vs y minutes in the car/bus/walking.
If you have not cycled much in traffic, level 3 Bikability training would be a good investment.
You might also feel better at the end on your journey cycling. A friend was allowed by his wife to spend £300 on bike lights (in the 1990's) on the basis he was in a better mood when he got home if he cycled, compared to when he drove.
It can be done - customer + new bike + new 2 seater trailer bike + cross bar seat for the youngest. On picking up from the bike shop, youngest wasn't having it, squeeled like anything when he was put on the cross bar seat. Girls on trailer bike were primed to pedal hard on the word go. Mother sat on bike, lifted youngest on, grabbed handle bars saying go, and off they set on their maiden voyage into the rush hour traffic.
Some year later by coincidence I ended up teaching the youngest cycle training, so it obviously hadn't been that bad.

User avatar
gaz
Posts: 13639
Joined: 9 Mar 2007, 12:09pm
Location: Kent, car park of England

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

Postby gaz » 27 May 2019, 7:27pm

Beg or borrow a bike that fits you from somebody else (failing that, buy something on ebay that you could sell on for about the same).

Get used to it on quiet roads, consider adult cycle training if it is available locally, then try riding the main roads (or canal route). If you don't feel safe riding there yourself you won't feel safe with precious cargo.

If you feel that you want to continue then do further research on the right bike and luggage/child carrying options. No sense investing in something that won't work for you.

Always enjoyed the nursery and swimming runs with mini-me. Typical set up was either a co-pilot limo child seat and front panniers for bits and bobs or Burley solo trailer with ample luggage space behind the seat. Bike handled better with the trailer and much easier to get a child in/out than a child seat. You've got a better chance of chatting as you ride with a child seat.
Hand wash only. Do not iron.

User avatar
Tigerbiten
Posts: 1834
Joined: 29 Jun 2009, 6:49am

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

Postby Tigerbiten » 28 Jun 2019, 8:35am

A recumbent trike-trailer user here.
I agree with everybody who mentioned how much extra room when you pedal anything different and my rig is about as different as you get ....... :D
I'll also use every type of road where possible, +50,000 miles and counting.
Saying all that my comfort speed for multi-lane carriageways is around 40 mph.
Under that speed I use them all the time.
Above that speed, I think the speed difference starts to becomes too great due to the risk of some muppet on auto-pilot not reading the road ahead.
Them they'll either try and squeeze past no matter what or get stuck behind you at 10 mph in 60 mph traffic.
I know they are the roads I'm least likely to have an accident on, it's just that my chances of walking away from one aren't good.

Luck ........... :D

User avatar
John1054
Moderator
Posts: 612
Joined: 11 May 2012, 11:43am
Location: Sunshine Coast

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

Postby John1054 » 30 Jun 2019, 3:39pm

+1 for the trailer option. Used to bring our border terrier behind our tandem. Always given plenty of room when being overtaken on many different lanes and roads, some busy. Now use a luggage trailer behind my solo to gather supermarket supplies. Same result, wide berth given (perhaps because drivers don't immediately recognise what they're dealing with). Highly recommend Circe Helios if you could afford it. Multi use and best riding tandem when ridden solo.

Carlton green
Posts: 124
Joined: 22 Jun 2019, 12:27pm

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

Postby Carlton green » 2 Jul 2019, 9:03am

With the OP not being a regular cyclist I have my doubts about her project, but with thorough research and planning it should all turn out very well. Step one would be to get on a bike and polish / gain cycling skills along the route(s) intended - don’t take the child, well not until skill and experience levels have risen and then do so at times that the road is quiet.

When our eldest was a similar age, maybe a bit younger, I tried a child seat on a mountain bike. With the seat far enough back for my feet to clear his seat and his feet his weight was also too far back (beyond the back wheel spindle) and the bike was unstable (the front wheel went up in the air). A hybrid bike with a greater distance between bottom bracket and back wheel axle might have been OK - a few extra centimetres difference could change things from unsafe to manageable. The child seat was returned and I later bought a tag along trailer which did great service. I’m not sure what the youngest age is for a child to be on a tag along.

If it is possible then I would suggest getting a front rack fitted to the bike. Whilst weight at the front can negatively effect steering it’s still not a bad a way to carry loads and might counteract some weight acting behind the rear wheel axle. In general try to mount weight low down on the bike, that way they are more stable / less likely to topple.

If I were to shift kids now and could afford then my direction would be towards a long tail cargo bike, they are a flexible utility bicycle and likely to be useful for decades, but they aren’t cheap. I’m not particularly keen on small wheel bikes but something like the Helios might work, but again they are a significant ‘investment’ and more cost effective alternatives might suit you equally as well, etc. http://www.circecycles.com/products/sol ... -carrying/

I am perhaps too cautious but suggest that the remote risk of falling into a canal with child strapped to bike isn’t one to take, well not unless you’re an experienced cyclist, quite physical and very quick thinking.

Good luck to the OP. I wish her well and feel sure that, given the right preparation, she will be fine.
Last edited by Carlton green on 2 Jul 2019, 3:59pm, edited 3 times in total.

Richard Fairhurst
Posts: 1363
Joined: 2 Mar 2008, 4:57pm
Location: Charlbury, Oxfordshire

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

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 2 Jul 2019, 10:12am

pjclinch wrote: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.


I'd missed this thread when it first came up, but +1 to the Morpheus. We have one with a Bobike Maxi seat on the front and our 3-year old loves it. In due course we'll convert to the recumbent/tandem style. They're not cheap, but we were lucky enough to get a reduced frame from Circe and then get it built up locally.
cycle.travel - maps, journey-planner, route guides and city guides

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 16938
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

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

Postby Vorpal » 2 Jul 2019, 12:41pm

rsian wrote: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!


There's actually rather alot to unpack, here....

First of all, if you want a cargo bike, there is no reason not to. They aren't the cheapest option, but they are designed for carrying stuff around.

What I used (two kids) was two different types of child seat and a trailer, and a childback tandem (from the time my oldest was 4 years old). All have advantages and disadvantages, and there is an additional type of child seat that I did not use, all explained below. But before I get started on the solutions, a couple of other things...

My profession is analysing safety and incident (accident) data. So the first thing I did when I thought about taking my kids with on the bike is look for information about what solutions are safest. I found that they are all safe. I looked at data from all over the world, and there is literally too little data--in other words, too few crashes involving children being transported by bike--to determine which solution was the safest. I looked at data from the USA, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, UK, and any other country that I could find that made such data public. My assessment of trailers is that while kids seem more vulnerable there, they are probably better protected.

Another thing is, I recommend getting yourself some Bikeability lessons. Many councils offer them. there are also independent instructors.
There is a list of organisations who belong to the association of Bikeability schemes (TABS) http://www.tabs-uk.org.uk/tabs-members/
There used to be a list of Bikeability instructors affiliated with Cycling UK on the Cycling UK website, but I cannot find it, now.

Bikeability lessons will increase your confidence on the road and give you some tips for handling various traffic interactions as a cyclist. If you don't want to take Bikeability, consider picking up the book it's based upon, Cyclecraft by John Franklin.

As for the seats... There are two basic bike mounted types of child seat, front and rear.

Front ones are normally mounted on the top tube (not possible with a Pendleton Somerby). the advantage of front mounted is that the child can see what's going on, it's easy to talk to them, and you can see what they are doing. You can still easily carry stuff in panniers on a rear rack. The main disadvantage is that it is a little harder to pedal with them there.

Rear seats can be mounted to the seat tube or the rear rack. Rear seats limit carrying stuff on a rear rack, but it can still be feasible with a seat tube seat, mounted high enough, and panniers that sit low &/or are soft enough not to interfere with a seat mounted about them. Rear seats normally can carry kids a bit older than front mounted seats. They do make it harder to talk to the child or see what they are doing. Not many rack mounted seats also allow panniers to be mounted, but if this is your preferred option, you can get a front pannier rack or basket & carry stuff in front. I think that the seat post mounting is a little more comfortable for the child. The mounting provides some cushion from bumps. That said, my kids slept in both types!

Trailers are worse for talking to or seeing a child, but much better for protecting them from the elements. Although you can get specially made rain ponchos for bike mounted child seats, they do leave the face exposed, and it will be cold. A child in a bike seat gets wind chill without pedalling effort to keep warm. Trailers are much warmer in winter. I have used blankets on the seat of my trailer to prevent condensation in winter. the other thing is a trailer can be unhooked & left locked at the nursery. That's normally what I did.

For rear mounted seats, the Hamax seats are readily available, comfortable, durable, and reasonably priced. Many bike shops carry them, and chains like Halfords do, as well. Other brands, of course are available, but the only other I have experience with (Co-pilot Limo) is no longer available in the UK.

If you decide to go with bike + child seat... You said you like the Pendleton Somerby. Were you thinking of buying a new bike because you don't have a bike? If that's the case, there is nothing wrong with the Pendleton Somerby, and the upright style will probably be a little easier for child transport than some others. Just make sure, before you commit to a purchase that they can fit the child seat you want. I think the seat tube type mounting will work on the Pendleton Somerby, but I am not 100% certain.

You may get better value from a refurbished second hand bike. Cycling UK has a list of bike recycling centres https://www.cyclinguk.org/recycling-centres
They can also offer advice about type of bike, child seats and other solutions, etc.

I recommend trying a few different solutions before you buy something. Shops should let you try some things. You may also be able to rent a trailer, cargo bike, bike with child seat, etc. for a day out. Some country parks and holiday parks have family bike rentals, for example.

Lastly, there are other threads on the forum about cycling with children.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=128618
viewtopic.php?f=54&t=122427
viewtopic.php?f=54&t=121760
And a link index for the family cycling sub forum viewtopic.php?f=54&t=116449

Good luck & feel free to come back with more questions :)
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

skyhawk
Posts: 280
Joined: 30 May 2019, 3:00pm

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

Postby skyhawk » 7 Jul 2019, 1:45pm

rsian wrote: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!



As a single father of three sons(all their lives) just my word of caution, as a driver like most of us are, i would personally never have a youngster on a bike on the main road especially one of those LOW follow me things, just think how invisible to morons recumbent bikes are.

You may be the most amazing caring cyclist, but it only takes a moment for a life of regret, and you say you are a novice, enough to concentrate on and learn without a precious life on the back, sorry.
Both I and my son are Autistic. We have aspergers and ADHD, not stupid :). If I sound "blunt" in my posts, please be understanding : I am not perfect. Thank you. Visit https://www.asdinfowales.co.uk/ to learn more

User avatar
Cunobelin
Posts: 9307
Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

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

Postby Cunobelin » 7 Jul 2019, 6:34pm

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




That is the best video I have seen for years!

User avatar
Cunobelin
Posts: 9307
Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

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

Postby Cunobelin » 7 Jul 2019, 6:41pm

Like many things in cycling, you need to take an informed decision about risks, and your personal circumstances.

Each has its own pros and cons that you need to analyse for youself


From my experience....

Detachable can be good with secure storage is available as you can drop the trailer /tagalong with the child and commute as normal, then pick up on the return


It also depends on the child.

Trailers require no participation, however, a trailer bike can involve and educate the child. Within a week, they can participate in making simple decisions which will help them in future.

Is here a local cycle group that can help?

skyhawk
Posts: 280
Joined: 30 May 2019, 3:00pm

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

Postby skyhawk » 7 Jul 2019, 9:00pm

Cunobelin wrote:Like many things in cycling, you need to take an informed decision about risks, and your personal circumstances.

Each has its own pros and cons that you need to analyse for youself


From my experience....

Detachable can be good with secure storage is available as you can drop the trailer /tagalong with the child and commute as normal, then pick up on the return


It also depends on the child.

Trailers require no participation, however, a trailer bike can involve and educate the child. Within a week, they can participate in making simple decisions which will help them in future.

Is here a local cycle group that can help?



I just would never want my son to be 2' off the ground next to a 40t lorry or van.
Both I and my son are Autistic. We have aspergers and ADHD, not stupid :). If I sound "blunt" in my posts, please be understanding : I am not perfect. Thank you. Visit https://www.asdinfowales.co.uk/ to learn more

skyhawk
Posts: 280
Joined: 30 May 2019, 3:00pm

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

Postby skyhawk » 7 Jul 2019, 9:01pm

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




That is the best video I have seen for years!



If that was real he would be a MORON it isn't but a laugh anyway I suppose

Would love to see faces of on lookers :0
Both I and my son are Autistic. We have aspergers and ADHD, not stupid :). If I sound "blunt" in my posts, please be understanding : I am not perfect. Thank you. Visit https://www.asdinfowales.co.uk/ to learn more

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 16938
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

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

Postby Vorpal » 8 Jul 2019, 8:17am

skyhawk wrote:
As a single father of three sons(all their lives) just my word of caution, as a driver like most of us are, i would personally never have a youngster on a bike on the main road especially one of those LOW follow me things, just think how invisible to morons recumbent bikes are.

You may be the most amazing caring cyclist, but it only takes a moment for a life of regret, and you say you are a novice, enough to concentrate on and learn without a precious life on the back, sorry.

Actually, I had many fewer close passes and stupid **** from drivers with children on the bike, or in trailers than without.

Also, unusual equipment, like recumbents seem to get noticed mroe, as well.

Anyway, a recumbent is no lower than a fancy sports car. Those sure get noticed.

edited to add: The risks of cycling are similar to those of walking, and the risks of driving are much higher, if you include the difference due to benefits that result from active travel. In other words, the benefits of active travel far outweigh the risk. As a parent of two kids and someone whose profession is safety & risk, my kids have been on bike since they were very small.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

skyhawk
Posts: 280
Joined: 30 May 2019, 3:00pm

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

Postby skyhawk » 8 Jul 2019, 8:30am

Vorpal wrote:
skyhawk wrote:
As a single father of three sons(all their lives) just my word of caution, as a driver like most of us are, i would personally never have a youngster on a bike on the main road especially one of those LOW follow me things, just think how invisible to morons recumbent bikes are.

You may be the most amazing caring cyclist, but it only takes a moment for a life of regret, and you say you are a novice, enough to concentrate on and learn without a precious life on the back, sorry.

Actually, I had many fewer close passes and stupid **** from drivers with children on the bike, or in trailers than without.

Also, unusual equipment, like recumbents seem to get noticed mroe, as well.

Anyway, a recumbent is no lower than a fancy sports car. Those sure get noticed.

edited to add: The risks of cycling are similar to those of walking, and the risks of driving are much higher, if you include the difference due to benefits that result from active travel. In other words, the benefits of active travel far outweigh the risk. As a parent of two kids and someone whose profession is safety & risk, my kids have been on bike since they were very small.


Just being over cautious as being a single father of three
Both I and my son are Autistic. We have aspergers and ADHD, not stupid :). If I sound "blunt" in my posts, please be understanding : I am not perfect. Thank you. Visit https://www.asdinfowales.co.uk/ to learn more