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My 4 year old has taken to riding with abandon, and we're starting to get into summer, where we hope to do some trails together. I have a rear wheel bike rack which is sufficient for storage of what we might need to take with us, but he's asked me if I can get him a similar rack on his bike.

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He has a 16" wheel diameter Schwinn, a bike like you'd find at Target or Walmart but reasonably solid. Is it a) possible and b) a good idea to put a bike rack on such a small bike? Do "one size fits all" or "standard" racks fit safely on a small bike? I tend to think a basket is a less good idea (as it's bigger and affects balance more), but I'm open to that if it's the appropriate solution (certainly was what I had as a child). He's very comfortable riding on flat or moderately even surfaces (grass, for example, is fine, as long as it's not too long), and falls maybe once a mile, never seriously.

He'd likely be attaching a couple of small toys (cars a bit bigger than a matchbox car, but not gigantic) to it, plus I'd probably have him carry one useful thing, but mostly I'm not too concerned about functionality - largely, he wants it because Daddy has it, and I'm okay with that (as long as it's not too expensive).

I'm probably not going to mod something metal, but I'd be open to something plastic-based (I had thought about making something small out of PVC piping, but I'm not sure if that's a great idea). I've also thought about just attaching a bungee-type cord to the bike and letting him use that, though again the idea here is mostly that he wants to have something like Daddy.

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    Whats the seatpost diameter? If he wants a rack, a seatpost rack for 10-20 bucks might be a way to go if the seatpost is sized similarly to adults. Depending on how he gets on, it might be a bit interfering though. – Batman May 23 '16 at 16:23
  • Modding metal isn't as bad as you think. You could quite easily get some aluminium tube or an old rack, combined with some P clips of a few different diameters and nuts&bolts. You'd only need a hacksaw and a vice. I've made a rack extension this way. – Chris H May 23 '16 at 16:47
  • @Batman I edited in a link to the actual product. I can't find the exact seatpost diameter, but I could measure @ home if it's not obvious from the pictures. I think it's smaller than an adults, but I'm not sure it's that much smaller - it seemed larger than his balance bike's seatpost, for example. – Joe May 23 '16 at 18:12
  • Good suggestion by @Batman - as he outgrows bikes (it happens quicker than you will imagine), you can swap the rack to the new bike. Another option (what we did when boys were younger and still do ) is backpacks, but some people dislike riding with them. – mattnz May 23 '16 at 20:54
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    @Criggie That's what we eventually did. I tried a rear rack but his seat isn't high enough yet to fit the rack under it! So the strap on cage for the bottle helps enough for now and we'll reevaluate when he's grown a bit. – Joe Sep 15 '16 at 14:05
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A "doll seat" might be one solution. They're a little cheaper than a decent rack and won't need modification to fit. You might need to work to find one without excessively pink-girl decorations, but I found this one:

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