FAQ: What's the best way to transport my children?
We often have parents asking us how they can carry their children by bike. This is a topic that’s dear to our hearts (given our personal experience of transporting our little ones). Most kids love being on a bike, and for many families this presents a practical and healthy alternative to a second car. With this in mind, we have written this very brief overview of the options that are available. There is, of course, plenty more that can be written on this topic, and we are always happy to chat to you about it.
We have divided the choices into three practical categories: Bike Seats, Cargo Bikes, and Bike Trailers.
Bike Seats - Front or Back
Kids’ bike seats are an easy choice - you can in most cases fit a kids’ bike seat to your existing bike. There are a several types and brands available. We stock Bobike bicycle safety seats. Bobike is a Dutch company with an obsessive focus on safety that makes beautiful and practical seats.
There are two types of kids’ bike seats. A front seat is attached near the front of the bike, so that your child is between your arms. The rear seat is mounted behind you. You choice is often going to be dictated by the weight of your child. As a rule, front seats are for smaller kids, and rear seats are for bigger kids.
Front seats made by Bobike are suitable for kids aged from nine months (or when they can sit up by themselves) to three years (subject to a limit of 15kg). This is the Bobike “Mini” range. The seat attaches to the bike’s steerer or stem with a quick-release bracket. This makes it easy to detach the seat when you are not using it.
Rear seats made by Bobike are suitable for kids up to 6 years or 22kg (though there are also some models for older/heavier kids). This is the Bobike “Maxi” range. The seat is attached to the bike’s rear luggage rack. Some bikes come with luggage racks that are already compatible (have a look at the Yuba range in our shop as an example); other luggage racks can be fitted with a Bobike adapter. For bikes without a luggage rack, there is a quick-release bracket that attaches to the seat-tube.
Cargo bike - Long Tails, or Front Boxes
If you want some permanent carrying capacity, consider a dedicated cargo bike. There are two types: long tails, and front boxes. Our range includes Yuba, Surly, Bullitt and Christiania.
A long tail cargo bike looks like a normal sturdy bike with an elongated rear end (as an example, have a look at the Yuba range in our shop). These bikes have impressive carrying capacity, and a big range of modular accessories. You can fit a kids’ bike seat (see the section on kids’ bike seats above) together with other load-carrying items like running boards or heavy duty baskets. The bikes are built strong to handle the extra weight, and have some clever tricks (the Yuba Spicy Curry, for example, has a smaller rear wheel for a lower centre of gravity and more strength). In the world of cargo-bikes, the stand-out advantage of the long-tail is that it both robust and rides exactly like a normal bike.
A front box cargo bike will have a large cargo compartment in the front that can be outfitted with manufacturer-specific kids’ seats and belts (and there’ll still be plenty of space for groceries!). There are two different types of front boxes. Three-wheeled versions (have a look at our Christiania Light) will have two wheels at the front. These are very comfortable, but wider and less maneuverable. Two-wheeled versions (have a look at our Bullitt range) are more agile. The steering set-up on these bikes can make it into quite a different animal to handle, and less confident cyclists will need some time to get used to this.
A bike trailer can be a good compromise in place of a dedicated cargo bike - use your normal bike and attach the trailer when it is needed. We stock trailers from Swedish brand Thule. Ingeniously, these trailer can be converted to a stroller by swapping the trailer arm for a front wheel.
Some additional thoughts
First and foremost, be safe with your precious cargo.
Secondly, consider how the additional weight will affect your biking, especially if your ride involves hills. Electric pedal-assist will make a big difference. There are many e-bike options available in our shop. As always, we would be happy to chat.