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I have a 4 year old son, who's on the bigger side of the height and weight charts; he weighs 21.5kg and is 115cm tall.

He can cycle on his own–but not uphill–and only relatively short distances before he gets tired.

I want to start taking him places further away, and he is very excited to try a seat or a trailer as he saw other kids use them.

The problem is that he's too tall and too heavy for traditional seats as they are capped at 22kg. I've found some other options such as Qibbel 6+ Junior and Bobike One Junior, but now I'm not sure if my rear rack will hold it or my wheels can handle the load. Some Googling tells me that 26B marking can not hold that much weight.

I am around 2m myself and weigh over 110kg, so the two of us might actually be way too much. At this point I'm not too sure if tires that can handle this exist nor where to find them. Is that the weakest link? I keep reading about difficulties turning and weight distribution, and I'm just not sure if this is feasible.

I've looked at trailers next and they all appear to be capped at around 105cm of height, meaning he won't be able to sit up straight with a helmet on.

Do I have to go for a Dutch-style cargo bike like Workcycles for this task, or do I have any other safe options?

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  • Would you consider a tow rope as an option?
    – Hursey
    Aug 13, 2023 at 1:01
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    If you can allocate more time for the trip, then going slower might help child build some endurance. Also, check out your son's bike with a view to efficiency - if its hard to pedal then it'll be extra-tiring. Lift the bike, give a pedal a firm push, and see how long the rear wheel coasts for. Should be at least a dozen revolutions, and same for the front wheel.
    – Criggie
    Aug 13, 2023 at 8:19
  • Are you sure the bike is the right size for the kid and vice versa? You can use something like bicycle-guider.com/bike-articles/bike-size-chart or ask your local bike shop to take a look.
    – user59165
    Aug 13, 2023 at 9:02
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    I had a Bobike Junior Classic, which attaches instead of a rack. That worked well. When mine reached 8,and was the height of a small adult, we bought a tandem
    – Chris H
    Aug 13, 2023 at 11:26
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    bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/24533/… - Every time I see child seats or the trailers or w/e, I think about the time I wasn't strapped into the seat, mom's brakes failed down a hill, we hit the culvert on the other side of the road, and the 50 pound 80s bike did an endo slamming into the top of the seat back, but not before tossing me into a pile of sand. She broker her pinky. I would've had severe head and neck trauma.
    – Mazura
    Aug 13, 2023 at 19:49

3 Answers 3

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According to cyclinguk.org Guide to tag-a-longs

There comes the point in every cycling parent’s life when a child grows too big for the bike seat or trailer, but can’t manage longer rides yet. This is where a tag-a-long – also known as a trailer bike – comes in.

They look like this:
enter image description here

There are also rack mount versions.

Another option might be a tow arm
enter image description here
These seem a bit wobbly to me. There are different versions of this option. I favor the tag-a-long

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    The second one is called a "trail gator" and has a benefit of allowing child to ride the regular bike for a while and then hook on when tired. The first one can't be ridden separately.
    – Criggie
    Aug 13, 2023 at 8:16
  • One thing to be careful of with those is the kid's gearing if they want to pedal. It's likely to be too low for a pace that gets you to your destination in a reasonable time
    – Chris H
    Aug 13, 2023 at 11:45
  • @ChrisH They make tag alongs with gears.
    – David D
    Aug 13, 2023 at 14:15
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    @DavidD still rather low gears compared to adult pedalling pace. I was thinning at least as much of the follow me tandem, which works with a maximum 20" kids bike. These typically have gear ratios that would be low by adult standards even before considering the small wheels. Not unrideably slow, but for leisurely riding rather than child transport with a deadline
    – Chris H
    Aug 13, 2023 at 14:49
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For a sensible child-carrying bike, if the wheels can't take the extra load, they're the wrong wheels. The problem with heavy-duty rear seats is that they prevent you carrying much luggage - but a bar bag or front panniers actually improves the handling with that much load on the back.

I did eventually break a rim on the back wheel of my hybrid, with the baby seat plus luggage. The replacement was a 36 spoke touring wheel which survived several years with a Bobike Junior Classic (replacing the rear rack) until my daughter grew out of that and we bought a tandem.

Another option, popular in parts of Europe, is a front seat on the toptube, not like a baby seat but just a saddle on a bracket, with foot pegs on the head tube.

Some kid-back tandems should work for you, but by the time we started looking, one for a small adult stoker fitted us.

As for tyres, my mention of tandems demonstrates that tyres for the weight of 2 adults exist. But heavy duty touring tyres are fine too. I used marathon plus when I had a child seat fitted - the extra weight and slow rolling aren't really noticeable in that situation, and they're design for riding laden. Puncture protection is good when you've got a kid to look after.

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An option that is popular here is the "follow me" tandem attachement. It's an accessory that you attach to the rear axle of your bike, and allows to attach a kid's bike. It's possible to attach and detach the bike in the middle of a ride, so can be a solution if your kid is willing to "ride part time".

You can read a review here: https://kidsridebikes.com/followme-tandem-review/

enter image description here

About your remark about the maximum rated weight of the bike seats: most racks are rated up to 25kg, but there are racks that are rated for 35kg or more (Thule had one).

For reference, another option that is popular here as well (but more for people who are commuting with their kids) are the longtail cargo e-bikes (where the passenger sits on the rack). They typically have 20" rear wheels (to lower the center of gravity), some have larger wheels in the front, but it's not the norm. Some are rated to 180kg and more (Tern HSD/GSD), and can even take 2 light adults. It's a good alternative to Dutch 'bakfiets' you can't store one. But their price puts them more into the "2nd car replacement" domain than the "sunday ride" one.

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