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Touring setup for 2adults and 4 year old?

tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,015
We're planning a 2 week tour with full camping kit. Whilst we can sort out the luggage we have a dilemma about the bike setup.

AFAIK for a 4 year old there's only trailer, seat, tagalong or childback tandem with crank extender to account for shorter legs. Are these solutions the only ones? Which is best?

We've got a trailer but he doesn't like it anymore plus we plan to use trains so the full trailer might not suit.

We've tried child seat last year and it worked even with causing problems with not being able to fill the panniers on the seat carrying bike. Plus we think he's getting a bit too big for the seat. Not weight but practicality.

Tagalong bike seems the favourite now but I've heard the hitch is not good and it's a bit like the tail wagging the dog with stability. Isla bikes and burly supposedly best examples. Is this true?

Tandem is a nice option. We like the idea of tandem for our use. If we didn't have a child me and my partner would consider a tandem for us but not sure it would be best for a 4 year old. Last year he'd fall asleep on the child seat. Can't safely do that with a tandem. Well not with us being happy about it.

So what's your view? What worked for you? What would you suggest/recommend?

Posts

  • natrixnatrix Posts: 1,111
    Pros & Cons that I can think of:

    A tagalong would probably work out cheaper than a childback tandem but would probably work out to be heavier overall. Not had a problem with the hitch on our Giant tagalong and once you get used to it the stability isn't an issue.
    A tagalong may well be more train friendly than a tandem.
    The child won't see much if they're stuck in the trailer.
    My two used to fall asleep in the child seat, but never fell asleep on the tagalong.
    I don't think that Islabike do a tagalong.............
    ~~~~~~Sustrans - Join the Movement~~~~~~
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,015
    Anyone tried the "followme tandem"?

    http://www.followmetandem.co.uk/followme-tandems/folllowme_tandem.php

    It looks a reasonable alternative to the usual tagalong solutions. Kind of looks like the axle attachment of single wheel trailers, like the Adventure branded version I've used heavily loaded. I think it's a German brand if that's significant.

    Anyone have one or tried one?
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,827
    Used Adam's tagalong bike for my youngest a few years ago and couldn't fault it. Youngest was using it from about 3 onwards with no issues. Folded in half for easy handling. We had 2 over both my lads and the second one had gears which introduced him to gears early. I found the stability easier than a seat as he was lower down, only downside was if we did tight trails on it you had to swing wide to allow for the extra length. Didn't notice the extra weight as much as sat on its own wheel compared to a seat.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,591
    Over the years we have used both tagalong (Adams) and attachment (Trailgator ) for small islabike. Both work really well - tagalong gives slightly better ergonomics e.g. riding position more level, gearing more suitable for high speeds, trailgator is handy when they're starting to get self-propelled - you can easily detach and re-attach whenever you want, and you don't need to buy what is effectively an extra bike.
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,015
    What about the followme option? It doesn't seem to be used much judging from comments about it on forums.
  • natrixnatrix Posts: 1,111
    The followme seems to be an expensive alternative to the trailgator. I found the trailgator to be fine, but you do need to set it up properly, torque up the nuts to the correct setting etc.
    ~~~~~~Sustrans - Join the Movement~~~~~~
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,015
    It seems different to me. The followme connects to the supplied qr axle at the rear, it supports the front of the bike by the wheel not the head tube (no scratching the paint) and the point where the load acts on is lower down (whatever effect that has I would be interested in finding out). The other benefit is the connection left on the adults bike is lower down and not a long bar sticking out. Unless the trailgator connection folds away when not in use of course.

    As to the higher price I'm not that bothered if it's got advantages. In think it does but would ideally want to find an actual user review on a forum to get their opinion too (prefer tyre opinion of someone on BR though).
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,591
    Unless the trailgator connection folds away when not in use of course.
    It does.
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,015
    bompington wrote:
    Unless the trailgator connection folds away when not in use of course.
    It does.
    How does it fold away?

    Also I've read that you have to tweak it or you get a tilt to the child's bike. The followme seems to attach to both sides of tyre rear axle, i.e. 2 points of contact and one possible fixed position when set up. Just my initial thoughts.
  • natrixnatrix Posts: 1,111
    The website shows how it folds away http://www.trail-gator.com/

    If it is set up properly you don't get a significant tilt.
    ~~~~~~Sustrans - Join the Movement~~~~~~
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