My Tips for Bicycling with Young Ones & Using a Bike Trailer
Perhaps you are ready to share your joy of bicycling with your young children. Or maybe you are seeking a new activity as spending time with your child, making them your priority. Or it could be you prefer a sustainable transportation mode with a low carbon footprint while raising responsible young ones. All of these situations are well-suited to upgrade your bicycle with an additional seat or a child-safe bicycle trailer.
When it was time for my husband and me to pick out a stroller for our two boys, the stroller had to be tough, reliable, and handle various terrain, weather, and activities. Of course, we crossed our fingers; our children would like riding in an active stroller, too. I shopped for bike trailers every time we were in a bike shop. If we were shopping for a new helmet, I would check out trailers. If we shopped for a balance bike for my young child, I got one step closer to picking out the right trailer.
Once we selected the ideal bike trailer, the boys and I covered over twenty miles walking on weekends that summer and autumn relying on the trailer and its stroller wheels. By spring, we began to use the trailer for biking occasionally. Besides my bicycles, the bike trailer for kids is one of the best purchases I have ever made. We learned a lot about biking with a trailer; I hope our experience will help you learn by reading this article.
When you are ready to add a trailer to your bike, here is a list of what to consider for bicycling with your young children:
Single or double trailer
Versatility: Bike trailer only or accessorize for other activities
Space for storage and packing on trips
Suspension or not
Replacement parts, to repair if needed and ride for years
Future use: dog trailer, bike packing, resale, or donate to a cycling club
After we were in the practice of biking with the trailer for a few years, I was inspired to give it a try for myself. So, when stay-at-home orders were in place, and the weather was breaking, more and more mothers were riding their bikes around our neighborhood with their kids trailing right behind. Moms were joining group rides with their children and trailers. Their notable example moved me to set up our trailer on my bike. I was already using a toddler seat on my mountain bike and simply had to move the hub to my rear axle to ride with two kids in tow.
The trailer we invested in is packaged as a bike trailer including an, especially useful stroller wheel. Our blue trailer has reflectors, reflective strips, weatherproofing, and a rain/snow layer on the cover. The seats are five-point seat belts, the handlebar has a gripping insert for a tall, bright orange flag to catch the eyes of riders or drivers near you. The trailer attaches at the rear axle of your bike, where you install a hub. The trailer arm is removable from the trailer, making it easier to transport when you do not start your ride from home. You may want to practice attaching the trailer arm to the hub a few times and remember to use all the pins and clips as instructed.
When I took my son and daughter out on a ride for the first time, I joined a Bike Elyria Ride. I was nervous that my children would rather be doing something else that a ride on city streets would be too much for them. However, joining their Monday evening group ride was a great experience. My kids enjoyed the ride and relaxed well enough to nod off. However, my daughter awoke to yell, "Sit down," while I hammered the pedals with the extra 85 lbs in tow. Standing to pedal was the only way up that hill.
I felt ready and safest by following a few essential steps:
Helmets are necessary when in the trailer
Secure all seat belts, zippers, and straps from the seats to the cover
Get used to how wide your trailer is for maneuverability
Pack light, bring what is needed: drinks and snacks are recommended
Over the last four years, we go for family bike rides regularly. It can be a lot of work to pack bikes, trailers, and toddler seats. It helps to plan your family rides ahead of time. With kids, we preferred to ride on well-paved trails, a strength in Lorain County’s parks. My husband would mostly ride with our trailer along Bur Oak’s path or the Elyria-Kipton trail to Oberlin and back. We learned a lot about putting the trailer together, setting up the hub, and attaching the bike trailer. At the start, it was clumsy, yet, easy to get the hang of with use. We cannot wait to see more bike trailers around Lorain County! We will be thrilled to see you outside.