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My daughter is growing fast, and will soon be too big for the child seat that is on the back of my bike. She is not yet ready to ride on the road, so I am thinking of purchasing a "tag-along" bike. What features should I look for, and are there anything to look out for?
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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Most of of trailer-bikes are pretty similar:

  • One speed. An inexperienced child will struggle to keep up when you pick up speed. She will also not be able to help much on the steep climbs.

  • No brakes. Your hands do a lot of work, and your stopping distance is longer.

  • BMX-style handlebar that can rock back and forth, as child size/shape changes

  • Attaches to tractor-bike's seat post. When you turn left, the trailer will lean right.

  • Flexy. As your kid gets heavier, this can make slowly climbing a steep hill really hard. You can't go straight.

I found that it was really good for teaching my son how to pedal, and build the appropriate muscles, so he was at an advantage on his own bike.

The flex was not an issue when we started, but a couple years later I had to retire the trailer. I couldn't track a straight line up a hill.

Some models have 5 speeds. That's more complexity, but if it breaks you can still get home. It can help a kid learn about shifting.

The Burley Piccolo attaches to a special rack, making it lean properly in turns and supposedly reducing flex.

I used to hitch on a standard 2-wheel trailer to my tandem-trailer, either to carry groceries or to pull my baby twins. We had 5 wheels, 4 people, were 16' long, and weight 400+ lbs. I had to take corners carefully.

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I know that it does not answer your question directly, but there is an alternative to the trailer bike that you could consider as well. It is bicycle tow bar.

The one that is available on the market is Trail-Gator. They can be bought for under £45 from amazon

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Photo from www.trail-gator.com

It works reasonably well, it is not that stable as a good quality trailer bike but works pretty well for shorter journeys. I personally find it ideal as I would be cycling mostly on the quiet roads or in parks, where my daughter would be cycling on her own, but to get there we need to cycle on a busy road and that is where I would have her bike attached to the tow bar.

If you decide to buy it make sure you fit it tight and check it after first and probably each ride to make sure that it does not get loose, but that probably applies to any type of trailer bike as well.

Also the child bike mount (Receiver Kit) is a bit rough so if you daughter bike has an aluminium frame, make sure to put some padding between the mount and the frame (I used an old slick tyre) to avoid any damage to the frame.

PS.

Here is a link to a shop in Australia

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Wow, that thing looks awesome! Is it quick/easy to attach? –  sixtyfootersdude Nov 23 '10 at 20:53
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@sixtyfootersdude you need to attach so called "receiver kit" to the child's bike, and the "sit post kit" to your bike. Those are meant stay on the bikes permanently. Once you have the kits on the bikes attaching the tow bar is very quick, it takes like a minute to do. About attaching the kits, the post seat one is very easy to attach, but the receiver can be a bit tricky especially when dealing with an aluminium frame. But it is a one off thing so once it is done properly you just need to tighten the screws from time to time. –  kristof Nov 24 '10 at 11:51

Tag-along trailers are nice because they allow your child to PARTICIPATE in what we all know is a great experience--a bike ride. The problems with tag-alongs are listed in Jay's response.

I think the WEEHOO is hella cool. It's similar in function to the tag-along trailer that you mentioned, but the child's position is RECUMBENT. The child sits lower on a WeeHoo than on other tag-alongs which is better for balance. There are pedals so the kid can feel like he/she's helping. If the little one gets tired of pedalling, they can sit back and fall asleep! It's great for little kids. Our LBS carries this. It is also on the web at http://www.weehoobicycletrailer.com/.

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that looks really nice, seems to be a much safer solution for the smaller kids –  kristof Nov 24 '10 at 11:58

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