Parenthood doesn't have to mean the end of
cycling. Once your youngster is old enough you can take him or her along
with you on a child seat on your bike or a trailer behind. Here's what
to look for.
You can carry junior in a child seat as soon as they can support their own head, usually from about six to nine months
Trailers can carry children from even earlier as they can just lie down and doze off
Front-mounted child seats are less common in the UK, but their fans love being able to easily communicate with their kids
The biggest child seats — like the Bobike Classic — can carry kids up to 35kg, or around ten years old
To take a young child along on your bike you have three main options:
a seat behind your saddle; a seat on the top tube; or a trailer.
The classic behind-the-saddle child seat either sits on a rack or has
its own mounting system to attach it to the bike. It will usually
cradle your kid, with a high back and sides so they can fall asleep
without falling out, leg guards and a harness. It should be designed so
that your sprog shouldn't be able to get their feet or fingers into the
Once a child gets a bit bigger and heavier, they can make a bike with
a rear-mounted child seat a bit top-heavy, and affect the handling.
Your child needs to be able to hold their head up on their own to be
comfortable in a child seat. That's usually from six to nine months old,
but check out what each seat says about the minimum age it supports and
follow that guidance.
The front-mounted seat, that sits on the top tube so the child is
between your arms, is the least common option in the UK, but more often
seen in Europe. It has the advantage that your child is very close to
you, so communication is easy, and kids enjoy being able to see where
A trailer can accommodate very young children, as they can just lie
down and doze off. Your child sits in their own little carriage behind
the bike, which is very comfortable, but you may worry that you're a bit
out of touch with the child.
Junior probably won't be very bothered as they're enclosed in a
spacious bubble and protected from the elements. If you need to
transport a child by bike all year round, this is the way to go.
Trailers are the most expensive option, but they hold decent resale
values if looked after and you can use them for much more than just
carrying children; a trailer is perhaps the best way of carrying
This well-reviewed child seat has its own mount that clamps the seat
tube, so you don't need anything else, and is considered a bit of a
Amazon reviewer C. Isherwood said: "My son was very comfortable and
very safe and we have had so much fun with this now that the weather is
getting better. I can't praise this enough. Don't pay a fortune for a
child bike seat. This is brilliant and does everything you need."
Suitable for children older than 9 months and up to 22kg, this seat
can be tilted back 20° so that Junior can have a nap, hence the name
It has a tall back and high sides with double buckle system means you can strap your child in quickly and securely.
The latest front-mounted childseat from WeeRide follows on from the
company's Kangaroo, which is very highly regarded on Mumsnet. It has its
own mounting bar that fits between the seatpost and handlebar stem, so
once it's set up the seat itself can be removed quickly.
For year-round kid-carrying, WeeRide also make a windscreen to keep
the weather off your young 'un. It might make your bike look like a
moped, but a happy passenger is worth looking a bit daft.
The deluxe model in Hamax's extensive range, the Caress also has a
sleeping position, plus redesigned footrest and harness systems and rear
reflectives for visibility. There's also a £144.99 version that mounts on your existing luggage rack.
With room for two kids, this classic trailer has additional storage
space for all their bits and pieces and is reported to be very stable
and easy to tow.
Wiggle reviewer NewDadExperiencedRider says: "The Bee is very stable
and it gives the impression that the cargo (my daughter) is very secure.
It tows easily and is very light, the weight is comparable to a light
road bike. It is a well engineered piece of kit and attaching both the
trailer and connecting bracket to the bike is less than a 5 minute job.
Once the bracket is on your bike you simply clip in and out in seconds."
Babies don't come cheap, and forking out £600 on a bike trailer may
not be your number one priority, but the Thule Chariot Lite looks like a
wise investment. Suitable for children up to about 30kg (roughly 6
months to around 5 years), and even younger with the Infant Sling
(around £70) designed for babies 1 to 10 months, this trailer is robust
and nimble enough for both town and track, making it ideal for keeping
the family mobile when there is a little one in tow.
Thanks to our readers in the comments for these tip-offs.
DaveE128 says: "I would recommend (from experience) both the Topeak
Babysitter II and the Copilot Limo. [The Limo seems to be no longer
available in the UK - Ed]
"Both mount onto a rack. My preference between the two is the Topeak.
This can be easily fitted to bikes with disk brakes, and although it
doesn't have an adjustable recline feature, this isn't great on the
"I would warn that when towards the upper end of the weight range
though, that with a lighter weight frame (eg my CX/adventure
cross/coummuter Pinnacle Arkose Two) you don't want to stand up, as it
makes the frame flex scarily. It's much better on a mountain bike.
"For either seat, you can keep the rack on the bike and use it for
commuting with panniers, or in the case of the Topeak, a rack top back
and a rack-mounted rear light/reflector."
KiwiMike says: "I'm amazed that the Yepp Mini isn't there. It fits
onto both quill and Aheadset-style bikes, fits with one hand - we
sometimes took it on/off with a sleeping child still strapped in. It
also locks, has the sleep mat, windscreen, your knees are safe and it
weighs bugger all. When it's removed the bike is almost totally normal,
unlike the WeeRide that still has a stupid heavy steel girder in place.
"Seriously guys, put the Yepp Mini in there. You're doing parents a disservice by omitting it."
Username says: "We upgraded to this when our girl exceeded the weight for her Hamax.
"I must say I had my doubts because it was already a handful riding
with her bouncing around in Hamax, upsetting the bike's balance, which
meant one had to be a very confident cyclist to cope with it but the
Bobike Junior is a revelation because it doesn't bounce.
"It is fixed firmly and despite the fact she is now a few years
older, taller, heavier, than before the Bobike makes it easy to cope
with her on the back.
"It's rated to 35 kgs, or roughly aged 10, and I can see us still using it for quite a while.
This is the Rolls Royce of Thule's Chariot range of child carriers.
With a lightweight aluminium alloy frame, it'll take up to 34kg of kid
At heart, the Cross 1 is a stroller on steroids, and comes with the
bike attachment it's shown with above. It can be converted into a
three-wheeled jogging stroller, a round-town four-wheeler and even a ski
There's also a two-child version, the Cross 2 for £1,099.99, and there's a vast range of accessories.
Reader wstephenson describes this as "the only trailer that doesn't
feel like you're hauling a wheelbarrow full of bricks using a bungee
cord as soon as you put the power on, and it's great with a road bike or
MTB. Has lots of happy daddy daughter miles with ours."
With a chromoly steel frame and just one wheel, it's light at a
claimed 9.5kg and a built-in air shock helps keep Junior comfortable if
you want to take it off road.
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Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.