You don’t have to wait until your little ones can pedal until they can enjoy a ride with you. The earlier children get used to being on a bike the better. The recommended age that you can take a child on your bike is from a year. That is the age that they can sit unsupported, and they are strong enough to wear a helmet.
This is the simplest and least expensive way to carry a child on your bike. Most child seats mount to the rear of the bike either mounted to the rear rack or independently via a bracket to the downtube. Most rear seats will take a child up to 22kg which is generally a 4/5-year-old. There are many new seats on the market that will go heavier than that but the rack they mount needs to have a higher weight capacity rating.
Front child seats are popular as the parent can feel very connected to the child but usually have a lower weight limit and mostly suit children up to 15KG/3 years old. There are front seats with foot holders that go heavier but do not offer the wrap around support that others do.
Rear Frame – Mounts to the frame of the bike in the rear. They offer the best suspension and reclinability but can be harder to fit on some bikes.
Rear Rack – Mounts to a rack at the rear of a bike. Many lack the great suspension of rear frame seats but are best if you’re already using a rack, want to use panniers, or your bike frame is not suitable for a frame-mounted seat.
With all rear mounted seats, it may be awkward at first to get on and off the bike with a child in a rear-mounted seat. Practice getting on and off the bike before you load the child in. A “step through frame” is easier to manage with all child seats.
Front Frame mounted – Mounts to the front of the bike near the handlebars. Always smaller than rear seats, they’re best for babies and small toddlers. Many riders prefer front seats because it’s easier to engage with your baby in front of you but can affect your steering.
With all child seats make sure the bike is stable when you put the child in the seat. A double-sided kickstand can help; or lean against a wall or ask another person to hold the bike while you load the child into the seat. The choice of seat is often dependent on your bikes size and shape and what will fit best. Let us advise you what your best option is.
Trailers that you pull behind your bike are a popular option for hauling toddlers and children up to about 6 years old. Trailers are stable because they’re low to the ground and easy to steer. Bike trailers are great choices for cyclists who want to carry more than 1 child or a child and shopping. Generally, the weight limit on a trailer is 45kg.
. Many models can be converted into other uses, such as a stroller or jogger, they’re more expensive than a child bike seat, but even after the children are too big for them they can be repurposed for carrying cargo. A good quality trailer can last for decades.
Kids sit low to the ground so they’re less visible to traffic, and they are a bit more exposed to car exhaust. Many trailers include a safety flag that should be used. Trailers are heavier and wider. While they’re generally more stable, they may be more cumbersome to pull.
Families are embracing cargo bikes as a new fun way to explore on two-wheels with multiple young children. You will see an increasing number of Cargo bikes as cities become more cycle friendly and people are looking for an alternative to the school car run.
Cargo bikes allow you to carry heavier loads than you can typically haul on a standard bike. The bikes are sturdy enough to haul more than one child at a time. Kids can be carried in several ways, depending on the bike: They can sit on a bench or shelf on a rear rack, in a front bucket, box or container, or strapped into a bike seat.
Most cargo bikes are electrically assisted as carrying heavier loads makes it a necessity. This is the most expensive option but cheaper than a car!
Two popular types of cargo bikes used for hauling kids include:
Longtail bikes: These let you carry children on an extended rear cargo rack that sits over the back wheel. Kids can ride in child seats that are mounted on that rack or sit on the rack itself.
Front-loading cargo bikes (sometimes called bakfiets, Dutch for “box bike”) let you haul kids (and even the family dog) in a box or other container that sits on the front cargo rack located between the handlebars and the front wheel.
Other things to know about cargo bikes:
- They can carry multiple children, and there are add-ons to transition from carrying the smallest child in a child seat to older ones sitting on a rear bench or front box. Make sure your child bike seat is approved to work with your cargo bike and that you don’t exceed the weight capacity of your bike.
- Kids older than 4 should have a handlebar or something to hold onto as well as a place to rest their feet.
- Use wheel covers, panniers or other guards protect your child’s feet from the wheel.
The kids are closer to you, so conversations are easy. Storage can be a problem so having somewhere dry and secure to keep it and charge it up needs to be considered.