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Child seat or trailer?

Mike400Mike400 Posts: 226
edited September 2009 in Family & kids cycling forum
Probably been asked a million times before so apologies!

I was thinking of getting a rear seat for my daughter (2.5yrs old) as she keeps telling me she wants to come with me on my bike.

But Im not sure if I should get a trailer instead, as my son (8mths) is heading to the stage where he could come too, and with a trailer I could take both.

Obviously a trailer is a bit safer (will only be used off road i.e. cycle paths, byways etc) but I wonder if the rear seat is better for interaction with the child? I.e. she would feel more involved if shes sitting up with daddy and not being dragged behind?

any thoughts?

Oh and one other question - how well do rear seats work with top-pull front mechs?
twitter @fat_cyclist


  • A EFA EF Posts: 1
    Hi Mike.

    I was under the impression that many child seats are only recommended for use up to age 3 ? Not sure if this is correct but I have my 2 year old son on a seat on back of my bike and already the weight is getting a bit top heavy. He is big for a two year old though.

    I chose seat over trailer as I ride around town with im and was concerned that trailers are low for cars to see. Im fact I know they are even with flags as someone I know carries their dog in one and they say cars really don't notice it in the winter and darker months because it's low to the ground and unexpected by most drivers.

    I also have another friend who uses a trailer offroad (cylce tracks) for twins and it works brilliantly. I think trailers can be used up to an older age too but not sure.

    Trailer also protect from wind and rain with the cover. Seats don't.
  • Trailers are great. Get one with the solid base though as they're much more robust.

    The major downside are those staggered "gates" they put at the end of cycle tracks to stop people just riding straight out in to the road as they're a bit difficult to negotiate.

    When the kids grow out of the trailer, you've got a useful luggage transporter as well for doing your shopping or going on picnics so they last ages.
  • rhextrhext Posts: 1,639
    I reckon seats only really good up to about 3 years. After that the child is getting pretty heavy to carry high-up on the bike. My experience with seats is that they tend to be a bit springy as well, so having a 3-year old bouncing around high up on the back is not good for stability.

    As far as interaction goes, I'm not sure there's much in it. I initially went the bike seat route (had I known I was going to have four kids, I'd have got a trailer ;-). But I've hired trailers, and the kids have loved it. You can't really interact with them on the bike seat either to be honest as you've got your back to them pretty solidly. One other downside of seats is that they tend to fall asleep and 'flop'. The seats are not terribly supportive for this, and your precious offspring then resembles a rag doll strapped into a moderately violent fairground ride until they wake up. I used to worry that they'd stopped breathing!
  • Trailer every time.

    If you want to do some off-roading look at the chariot croozer 2...
  • kevsterjwkevsterjw Posts: 45
    edited September 2009
  • Mike400Mike400 Posts: 226
    Went for a trailer in the end, ready to get a flaming here but its the Halfords 2 seater one, and last years model too - they had one left and its a bit wider / longer than this years model, as well as being better built, neater frame etc.

    It went down so well with the kids that the other half bought a bike (2nd hand BSO but its still a bike!) and shes starting to get the bug too, shes already asked me to fit "smooth tires like yours so I can go a bit quicker!"

    So its not exactly the best trailer out there, but at £100 its very good value, and im very pleased with how well its built, and it folds up enough to fit in the boot of the car too.

    So far we have been out three times with it, took a few miles to get used to the extra length, weight and width, especially when negotiating tight corners etc!

    Wont be using it on the road, as neither wifey or myself would be happy taking the kids on the road unless we really have to - so we invested in a bike rack too so we can drive to our local cycle paths and use them.

    One thing is it draws LOADS of attention from other people - at the weekend we went for a leisurly 6 mile loop along the coast and nearly everyone we passed had something to say, always postive though!

    The kids love it - daughter is 2 and a half, son is 9 months, they both seem comfy enough, and plenty of smiles!

    It really helps having wifey along too, as she can drop back alongside the trailer and check on them, or cycle behind and keep an eye. If you were on your own you'd probably want to fit a bar-end mirror or something
    twitter @fat_cyclist
  • rhextrhext Posts: 1,639
    Sounds great. Now all you need to do is to fit the trailer bracket to her bike (perhaps while you're changing the tyres)........ of the best things about taking the kids cycling is that it transforms people from indifferent at best (sometimes hostile) to being supportive. On holiday a couple of weeks ago I had my youngest on a trailer bike. I passed a busload of french tourists unloading in the car park and actually got a round of applause!
  • You can always try the crossbar seats too.

    We've a chariot corsaire trailer, tag along racks and crossbar seats on both adult bikes and oOf them all, the trailer and cross bar seats are easily the best options.

    Mrs had a back seat once, but once we had the trailer and tried the crossbar seat she asked for it to be taken off. She found the rear seat the least stable option of them all.

    FWIW, you'll find that cars give you a wide berth on the roads with the trailer.
  • bumpitybumpbumpitybump Posts: 76
    edited September 2009
    kevsterjw wrote:
    can anyone tell me of a trailer that you can attach a car seat to. is there such a thing?

    We've put a mama's and papa's car seat into a Burley trailer and have had no problems with using it for two children. It works great from birth up to around 9 months when the kid starts to sit up unassisted anyway. Rather then strap the child into the trailer we use the trailer straps to strap in the car seat - using the car seat carrying arm to loop the straps around.

    link to photos attached

    FCN = 8
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    I'm trying to work out how to post pictures at the moment but as this is my first post haven't figured it out yet!

    visit the BR FAQs section at the top of the forums.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • nicklouse wrote:
    I'm trying to work out how to post pictures at the moment but as this is my first post haven't figured it out yet!

    visit the BR FAQs section at the top of the forums.

    Thanks Nicklouse, I've amended my earlier post.
    FCN = 8
  • i still cant persuade my son that he should go in the trailer. No daddy i go on bike. I'm hoping the winter will persuade him :)
  • rhextrhext Posts: 1,639
    cycledad2 wrote:
    i still cant persuade my son that he should go in the trailer. No daddy i go on bike. I'm hoping the winter will persuade him :)

    You might get lucky. As long as you don't dress him up too warmly!
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