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I have a child who is 2 1/2 years old (28 months actually) and he is about 98cm tall and weighs about 15-16kg. He has an Islabikes Rothan balance bike which is 3.5kg (7.7 pounds). When we go to ride his bike he eventually gets tired and I have to carry both him and the bike back home (I am sure all parents can relate to that).

I was wondering if I could get a child seat and attach/hang the bike behind the seat so that:

  1. We can ride our bikes togeather
  2. When he gets tired I can put him in the seat, hang the bike on the back and return home

Also I am thinking that the child seat should be carrier mounted to hold more weight since most child seats hold up to 22kg (~48.5 pounds) and with 16 + 3.5 = 19.5kg they would probably be maxed out if it was frame mounted.

  • I have seen rigs where a child's bike is attached behind the adult's, as a trailer of sorts. I only vaguely recall the details, but I believe the front wheel of the child's bike is somehow attached to one side of the adult bike, with the wheel suspended off the ground a few inches. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 13 '16 at 11:55
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    I know about these, like this trail-gator.com and this one cycletow.com.au but my kid is not old enough to stay on the bike unsupervised like that. He will surely fall down. – zpontikas Jun 13 '16 at 12:15
  • Yes, tired after riding/playing etc. a toddler can fall asleep without warning and would fall off at that point. These systems probably couldn't handle such a small bike either (@DanielRHicks) – Chris H Jun 14 '16 at 8:13
  • What about hanging the balance bike on the front of yours, off the handlebars? A front randonneur-style front rack and two reusable velcro cable straps might be all you need. – Criggie Oct 19 '17 at 20:50
  • Get a trailer, it’s the safest and most comfortable method. – Michael Oct 20 '17 at 16:30
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My daughter still goes in a Hamax siesta at nearly 3. It's seatpost mounted and we swap it between bikes. The seat is rated to 22kg (which from the growth charts should take 99% of children up to age 4 and 75% to 5½. We're anticipating being able to use it when she starts school. You don't need to include the weight of the balance bike as that wouldn't be carried on the toddler seat.

The rack-mounted seats don't have a much higher limit - in fact then the limit is usually the rack itself, which has to carry the weight of the seat and the balance bike for you. So you may actually find a lower weight limit overall despite a higher child weight limit.

But on both bikes we have a rack underneath.

I haven't tried carrying her balance bike at the same time yet - she's not yet into going very far on it. But putting the balance bike vertically, with the handlebars at the top rear resting on the rack, and strapping the balance bike frame to the rack should work (at least on 700C/29er etc.).

I managed to get some quick pictures (I didn't even have time to arrange everything somewhere less cluttered so sorry about the quality). I wasn't quite how I envisaged:

balance bike on bike

balance bike on bike 2

Note that the balance bike isn't strapped down at the moment -- it would need to be. A strap attaching the fork/steerer tube of the balance bike to the rack crossbar, and another attaching the downtube to the diagonal strut of the rack against which it's almost resting should be secure. You may want some padding e.g. blocks of foam. I like the fact that the strap wouldn't be taking the weight, just holding it steady. I also didn't have time to test ride it, but heel strike shouldn't be an issue given where my pannier comes to. The rear wheel was probably 15-20cm off the ground, and a bit further out than a pedal - watch for kerbs.

A few notes about my setup that may affect this:

  • I've set the seat slightly higher than recommended so I can still use the rack for a pannier.
  • The rack is quite narrow (Tortec velocity hybrid) to fit under the seat properly (I had to take my Topeak super tourist DX off as it didn't fit.

One note of caution: This much load this far back affects the handling quite a bit. I built a rack extension when mine was younger and there were times when the front wheel had very little grip. I solved it by shifting weight forwards (D lock on the forks, handlebar bag for all the stuff you have to carry with a child etc.

  • That would be great! That sounds like a great idea. – zpontikas Jun 13 '16 at 12:24
  • I observe that this is now a wide bike too. Its very easy to forget the extra width at the back, and then clip things while passing. I'd try to keep the load more central on the bike. – Criggie Mar 1 '17 at 0:19
  • @Criggie that's a good point but secure is more important than central (IMO), most of the extra width is on the left (kerb side), and it's still narrower than a trailer (only a little wider than 2 big panniers and that all on the left) – Chris H Mar 1 '17 at 6:54
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    I'd suggest exploring a front rack as well - they're amazingly versatile, and OP could strap the stride bike's bars to the main bars, and strap the rear wheel to the front carrier to hold most of the weight. Brake/Gear cables might be an issue though – Criggie Mar 1 '17 at 11:57
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I'm extremely sensitive to handling and balance when I have my kid in the bike seat. The child is already moving around, I don't need anything else throwing the bike off-balance.

If I had to set up a bike so I could carry her bike back home (which may be coming soon for me), I'd definitely look into a bike that had a kid seat and a cargo trailer. That way the kid's bike could go in the trailer and the child in the seat.

Cargo trailers are also very useful for grocery runs, errands, and picnics. There are many available, and sometimes you can even find used child trailers that you can repurpose.

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    Yes, and I'd go further and put the child in the trailer, with a suitable harness. I carried my kids in a rear mounted child seat - fore and aft balance was always an issue. On the other hand, as a parenting philosophy, I recommend against taking the kids "stuff" for them. It's theirs, their responsibility. In a positive way, of course. – andy256 Feb 28 '17 at 22:59
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    @andy256 I agree. However, the question of trailer or bike seat isn't the point of this question. – Neil Fein Feb 28 '17 at 23:18
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    About carrying the kids' stuff - agreed. OP's best solution is probably to take trips that are shorter so the kid can handle the entire thing. – Neil Fein Feb 28 '17 at 23:18
  • Living just off a main road, for me it might be sensible to ride to the park to let mine have a ride on her own bike . This presumably isn't an unusual case, and I don't think you'd get both in the trailer. Rider weight may have an effect on the handling - I'm fine so long as I carry some weight at the front. – Chris H Mar 1 '17 at 7:01

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