If small children and cycling are a part of your life it’s natural to want to combine the two. With the proper gear, and planning you can have amazing adventures with your little one. After two years of cycling with my daughter I want to share some of my thoughts and tips. Hopefully they can help motivate and empower you to try riding with your child.
Trailer vs Child Seat
There are two common ways to transport your small child, trailers and child seats. This is the key piece of gear needed to bring your child on two wheeled adventures and will significantly shape your experience together. Each type of carrier has pros and cons.
|Protection from the elements||Less impact on efficiency|
|Safe, it’s a roll cage||Great view if front mounted|
|Cargo capacity||Affordable ($100-$300)|
|Can be used for other activities|
|Heavier, more drag, more rolling resistance||Rear mounted may lead to butt in face|
|Higher Cost ($300-$600+)||Less protection in a crash|
|Additional gear to transport||Raises center of gravity for bike|
|Front mount affects ability to steer|
I decided to go with a trailer for safety and comfort. The 5 point harness is easy to secure and the overall construction feels solid. Commuting was a must for me and knowing that my daughter would be out of the elements meant many more potential riding days. The Thule Cheetah XT we use has a clear plastic wind screen, a mesh bug screen, and a dark tinted shade.
The cargo capacity was beneficial as well, especially for beach day rides and commuting to work. As a new parent I found I always needed to bring something with me and the trailer made it almost too easy.
How To Get Started
We started out when our daughter was about 9 months old; I have heard of families starting earlier but for us this was when the seasons worked out. First, we just had the trailer in the house so she could explore it, climb in and out, roll around. Once we started riding we picked shorter rides, around an hour, and made sure we stopped for snacks. Our daughter loved the trailer and around her first birthday she would point to it when she wanted to go for a ride.
Additional Trailer Advantage
Another thing we loved about the trailer is that there is a ski conversion kit available. In the winter we backcountry ski and with the ski kit the trailer is very easy to pull. Warmth has been excellent because it’s such a small space and is totally protected from the elements.
Having a child is a major event and changes your life in countless ways. Sometimes this means letting go of recreation and hobbies; but other times it just requires patience and creativity. You have to find new spaces for yourself and ways to have fun with your little one. For us the bike trailer has been an invaluable tool for getting back to doing something we love and sharing it with our daughter.