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I will have to transport 3 Kids 7km (one way) to school every day, starting this August.

The Children are 5 to 8 years old and quite tall for their age.

The bicycle infrastructure on the route is mostly basic German bicycle lanes: not very wide, often times bumpy but at least quite safe.

Surely they could cycle the 7km themselves, but that would take ~45 Minutes instead of ~25 Minutes per route and I just don't want to do that every day.

I need a solution for the very rainy days here in northern Germany.

The public transport currently is no alternative.

I do not want to use a car.

Currently I own a bakfiets cargo bike, which is already quite big. But it can't transport all 3 children.

Does anyone know any bicycle solutions to transport three school children? Maybe a large trailer? Or a very big cargo bike?

My research didn't find anything yet.

An two-wheeled orange cargo bike, brand Bakfiets.nl, with the cargo / passenger space directly behind the front wheel, in front of the rider.

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    Could the older two take turns on the same bike ? Say, swapping over at the halfway point ? That way they'd only have to do 3~4 km each not the full 7. And the youngest gets to sit in the bin the whole way.
    – Criggie
    Jan 18, 2023 at 11:37
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    The same company you mention has 3-wheel alternatives (see bakfiets.de/modellen/cargotrike). We have a similar model (from a different manufacturer), and they typically state 100 kg load capacity in the front box. This should be sufficient for 3 children, up to a point?
    – Simon
    Jan 18, 2023 at 19:36
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    @simon there's the need for three harnesses/seatbelts as well as the total weight capacity. Though three wheels would help with stability too, if the live load got rowdy :)
    – Criggie
    Jan 19, 2023 at 11:37
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    How good/safe is cycling infrastructure where you are / for this route?
    – gerrit
    Jan 20, 2023 at 7:22
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    I transport my 7yo on a rear-cargo rack, with a waterproof cushion and added foot-mounts, before that we had a separate seat on the cargo rack, but as she got older this was no longer comfortable for her and for me so we switched to just a cushion.
    – Pelle
    Jan 20, 2023 at 14:24

8 Answers 8

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Maybe a FollowMe for the oldest?

At 8 years they should be close to riding 7km under their own power, but the FollowMe would still give a backup option in case they run out of energy or you are under time pressure.

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    I'd also go for this one: finding solutions for 3 smaller kids is relatively easy (2 front, one rear on a rack kid seat),. But at ages 5-8, the biggest should be able to be on its own bike - eventually on the follow-me. And then the bike can be put in the front if the school doesn't have enough parking.
    – Rеnаud
    Jan 18, 2023 at 13:11
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    I know they might be able to ride 7km on their own but it is not what i am looking for. We are located in northern germany and it does rain a lot and it is hard enough to get three kids out of the house in the morning. And they all do sport so some days they might be tired from training. So i always want the option ot just transport them. Jan 19, 2023 at 11:58
  • I used something similar to this with a 3 year old and he was able to push me uphill on a dirt track. Of course, he wasn't up to it for long, Seems ideal.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 19, 2023 at 14:04
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Check out a Babboe Max-E. It's a larger cargo bike that will seat up to 6, and it's electric so you can truly go 7km without your legs catching on fire.

https://www.babboe.co.uk/babboe-max-e

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  • Aren't all babboe bakfiets electric?
    – gerrit
    Jan 20, 2023 at 7:20
  • @gerrit nope, they also have non-electric ones. e.g.: babboe.co.uk/city has 3 variants, one of which is human-powered only
    – njzk2
    Jan 20, 2023 at 19:05
  • I reckon this is the most realistic and also safest solution. Sure it is more expensive but also more convenient and comfortable than anything else mentioned in this post. The other suggestions require setup time or assume the older kid can ride (parts of the) route alone.
    – jaspb
    Jan 31, 2023 at 8:31
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You may struggle with trailers - my daughter lasted longer on a rear seat than in a trailer because she was too tall for the latter.

The seat she used until 7 was a Bobike Junior Classic; you could use one of those with a trailer as well on a sturdy hybrid. I've seen a similar setup in use in a flat part of my (hilly) city.

Now she's 9, and we've bought a tandem. At 1.5m she'll fit where a small adult would, so it's not a kid-back tandem. You might use a tandem to tow a 2-child trailer. The kids could swap if necessary, though mine finds she can rest her feet on the toptube (which is quite low, almost stepthrough low on ours).

To get an idea of doable riding distances: She's physically capable of riding 15km under her own steam, but some of the busy, tricky roads round here require too much shouted instruction for her tastes, taking the fun out of riding. The first time on a tandem she did 25km (no resting of feet on the toptube until near the end, and that because we hadn't fitted the bike to her very well).

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If your bike can accept a rear rack, you can add a carrier for one child mounted there, and the two bigger children can ride in the front. I would look into the Yepp kids seats, which have both rack-mount and seat tube mount options.

Trailers can work well, the drawback being they take time to attach and store. If you have the space to mess with the trailer, it may be the cheapest way to get all three kids with one bike.

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    Another consideration for a trailer is the overall length of the combination. Different locations set maximum dimensions on what may be classified as a bicycle. Something to check before purchasing.
    – Criggie
    Jan 19, 2023 at 11:35
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    the Followme would spark envy because even thou it is fun in summer, on a rainy day nobody wants to sit behind a bakfiets in the rain while the other two sit under the hood in the front. Jan 19, 2023 at 11:59
  • Re trailers: I wouldn't underestimate the power required to set a fully loaded trailer in motion at traffic lights, crossings etc. As well as the overall manoeuvrability of the bike / trailer combination.
    – jaspb
    Jan 31, 2023 at 8:27
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I wondered if a weeride would work, but the max age there is 4. That would be an additional seat between your knees for the youngest. May be useful to a future reader.

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These don't sit on the top tube - instead there's an entire additional mounting bad added between head tube and seat tube/post. You could store the seat in the cargo bin for the solo ride home.

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    The max stated age is 4 - if your kids are moderately short. Their height is likely to be the limit.
    – Chris H
    Jan 19, 2023 at 10:17
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    This only works well for reasonably tall adults. We had something like that and for me at 1,85m it was great for a 3 year old with helmet. My wife is only around 1,50 and that meant her head was at almost the same height as the kids head. That is not safe to ride so we switched to a back seat for her.
    – quarague
    Jan 19, 2023 at 16:02
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    I have one. I like it a lot. I will caution prospective buyers that there is not a lot of room between the saddle and the child. If you can't touch the ground from your saddle, you may want to lower it before mounting the child seat. Feb 3, 2023 at 18:14
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Maybe a Prometheus tandem for the oldest. That way they can contribute cycling power and the vehicle is still shorter than alternatives e.g. the FollowMe

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Follow me are heavy and I personally do not like the way the kid leans on one side. I tried with one kid only, I had more success with a towing rope (TowWhee is one of the commercial solution, another recent and more compact one is the Bike Taxi, I am sure there are plenty others, these two are the ones I have in mind).

I guess you can do the following:

  • smallest child: seat child on the back;
  • intermediate child: towed with the rope;
  • big child: frontman of you on your newly aquired pino bicycle ... check the 2nd picture here and keep in mind that the front sitting position can be adapted for kids.
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    towed with a rope? How do you prevent the child from crashing when you brake?
    – njzk2
    Jan 20, 2023 at 19:06
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    @njzk2 I believe the child needs to be able to brake and steer on their own. The tow rope just eases the propulsive demand.
    – MaplePanda
    Jan 21, 2023 at 5:09
  • @MaplePanda the child will end up being close behind, and may not be able to see immediate danger. If you have to brake in an emergency, the child risks crashing into you. This is typically why cars are not towed with ropes, even at low speeds.
    – njzk2
    Jan 21, 2023 at 18:25
  • @njzk2 A rope has not to be used on the road with car or other motorized vehicle. However, you are going at 10 max 15 km/h. The rope is elastic, to extert a force it needs to extend (I would say 5-10 meters, from what I recall) therefore you still leave enough distance to your kid, As soon as teh rope is not strecthed, it stops puilling. The kid has enough distance to react, unless you travel at >20 km/h. The scenario you present about the child crashing into you is not any different than the kind following behind you without the rope.
    – EarlGrey
    Jan 23, 2023 at 9:41
  • Since you mentioned Germany, there is a new german product available to pull children: zefal.com/de/abschleppseil/641-bike-taxi.html
    – EarlGrey
    Jan 31, 2023 at 7:46
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From experience, I will say that tricycles are more stable, especially if children are in the bucket. And taking care of three seat belts and helmets is very important.

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