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My son will soon be turning 4 and he's getting a liitle big and heavy for the child seat (fits on the rear rack). I converted my old MTB into a kind of DIY hybrid for the purpose of running him to nursery weekend trips.

WHen my older kids we younger I used a trailgator and thier bike to tow them along. I've also thought about a tag-along. I think these will be fine but I worry about visibility in traffic and if he gets tired while out and about. I want to get him riding asap so don't want him just sitting there.

I'm really after other people's experiences of what works and what doesn't. Tag-alongs, trailers etc.

I'd love to use a bicycle more and have thought about a cargo trailer so maybe there's a way to have a bike set up to do all these things...

18 comments

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TheHungryGhost [63 posts] 1 month ago
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I have used a tagalong, a Weehoo and a trailgator.  I didnt like the trailgator as I couldn't get the bike to sit straight for any length of time.  The tagalong was fine for my eldest, although he did fall off it a couple of times.  The Weehoo was by far the best, the child can sit and pedal, or just sit or even fall asleep.  There are a couple of panniers for holding waterproofs, lunch etc.  The only downsides are that its big to store, and can be a pain to naivgate through bike gates.  They are a bit pricy, but hold their value quite well.  I got one second hand, and recently sold it on for about the same as I paid for it.

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kil0ran [1124 posts] 1 month ago
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A proper tagalong from Roland (add+bike) worked for me and my son. Much better handling than a trail-gator as long as he can hold himself up, I rode with mine up to the age of 9 before it got too unstable (he's 142cm and powerful enough to give me a shove in the back on it)

It's a good way to get him used to being out in traffic but don't expect drivers to be any less cockwombly just because they see a child - we got run off the road at Christmas deliberately because "we were taking up too much space and you should have let me past".

A child. On Boxing Day FFS.

So, setting that aside, I think it's the way to go. Realistically he's not going to be ready to ride solo on the road until he's 9 so you should get 5 years use out of it.

I don't think a trailer offers anything over a tagalong unless you're doing really long rides. 

Electric bakfiets is probably the ultimate for longer journeys - one of the local mums has one and it's highly lustful but sadly we're beyond that now.

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Rapha Nadal [907 posts] 1 month ago
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Binbag.

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BehindTheBikesheds [2428 posts] 1 month ago
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Backie, my grandson was very good at clinging on whilst sitting on my brooks as we wheeled down the loop road the 400 yards to mine.

Seriously though, for me I'd say something that enables them to be in front not behind, this was the favoured mode in the early part of the 20th century to transport babies and young kids.

 

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BehindTheBikesheds [2428 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

modern equivalent

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madcarew [815 posts] 1 month ago
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Best way to carry a toddler?  In these here parts we favour the two-fingered nasal haul....

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hawkinspeter [2520 posts] 1 month ago
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Mark B [32 posts] 1 month ago
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While tagalongs clearly handle a lot better than trailgators, they're stuck on there. If  your aim is to get them from A to B safely, that is not a problem, but if you are out riding for pleasure, a trailgator gives you the flexibility to let them cycle some of it where it is safe.

I've forgotten the name of it, but there's an alternative to a trailgator that looks like it should be more stable and is much quicker to get their bike on and off. Not cheap though.

 

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kil0ran [1124 posts] 1 month ago
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Mark B wrote:

While tagalongs clearly handle a lot better than trailgators, they're stuck on there. If  your aim is to get them from A to B safely, that is not a problem, but if you are out riding for pleasure, a trailgator gives you the flexibility to let them cycle some of it where it is safe.

I've forgotten the name of it, but there's an alternative to a trailgator that looks like it should be more stable and is much quicker to get their bike on and off. Not cheap though.

 

The Roland Add+bike connects to a custom rack and is easy to connect--just a tapered pin that slots into a brass hole with a spring loaded catch. The rack is very meaty but as OP already has one it won't be too much of a weight penalty when he's out riding on his own. Best thing about hauling a tagalong is how it makes a tourer feel like an ultralight race machine when you ditch it

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Fizzy77 [5 posts] 1 month ago
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Cheers for the responses (including the silly ones). I like the look of the WeeHoos but they are a bit pricey. The photo of the pram/bike thing looks good though...

Whatever I end up doing I think it will need to last for a few years as it will be pricey. I'm currently carrying him around on my old MTB converted to more of a hybrid. It's worked well and I've used Trailgaiters before but it worries me for the journeys where I can't avoid traffic, mailny when taking him to nursery. We have to real cycle tracks where I am only MTB trails, green lanes etc that would be too rough to cycle on with a kid attached. The child is low down and behind you and I don't think drivers notice/car you are towing "something".

 

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kamoshika [242 posts] 1 month ago
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With our two kids, who are now 10 and nearly 7, we've been through a Chariot trailer, Tagalong and most recently a Bullitt cargo bike. All have been good, and have pluses and minuses, but for me the best by a long way is the cargo bike. It's the priciest option, but by far the most versatile, and is a big part of us being able to live without a car which offsets the cost considerably. Until fairly recently I've been able to fit both kids in there, so still comfortably room for one on their own. I can (and on occasion have) fit an adult in the front.

Of the other options, I'd say a trailer probably isn't going to last too long - our kids were growing out of the one we had by the time they were about 5, so you might be faced with the same problem again in a year or two. I've never used a trailgator, but have never liked the look of the angle that the child's bike ends up at. Ours is a Trek tagalong and will probably see another year or so of use with our youngest, before he's too big for it. I've never felt concerned about either the trailer or tagalong not being noticed when riding in traffic. Most models come supplied with a flag which helps a lot I think, but my perception is that drivers gave me more room when I had something on the back (especially if was obviously a child). I also modified a light bracket to mount a light halfway up the flag pole.

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kil0ran [1124 posts] 1 month ago
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Fizzy77 wrote:

Cheers for the responses (including the silly ones). I like the look of the WeeHoos but they are a bit pricey. The photo of the pram/bike thing looks good though...

Whatever I end up doing I think it will need to last for a few years as it will be pricey. I'm currently carrying him around on my old MTB converted to more of a hybrid. It's worked well and I've used Trailgaiters before but it worries me for the journeys where I can't avoid traffic, mailny when taking him to nursery. We have to real cycle tracks where I am only MTB trails, green lanes etc that would be too rough to cycle on with a kid attached. The child is low down and behind you and I don't think drivers notice/car you are towing "something".

 

 

A flag on the back of the bike can help - the Roland also has an optional rack and lighting. It will last you for the duration of him needed to be towed by you (up to about age 9 depending on your weight/his weight and bike handling skills). They also hold their value reasonably well - perhaps not as well as the Burley kit but if you sell at the right time and keep it in good nick you'll get 50% back over 5 years.

I'd also recommend a flashing rear light attached to his helmet as yours will be obscured - having it helmet-mounted will be about the right height for drivers to continue to completely fail to pay attention  3

Not wanting to put you off - in general I found drivers behaved better and gave more room when I was using the tagalong. Riding back solo from school was fine too, no handling issues. Wouldn't hesitate to have another one, not that we're having another one  4

 

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kil0ran [1124 posts] 1 month ago
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One other solution that hasn't been mentioned is the FollowMe tandem

https://www.followmetandem.co.uk/

There's a review on this site (TLDR: Mike Stead thought it was awesome)

The benefit of this one is that you can tow them to your offroad excursions on their own bike and then let them tool around on the singletrack.

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Fizzy77 [5 posts] 4 weeks ago
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Right. I managed to find a WeeHoo turbo on Ebay. He can peddle or just fall asleep. I may have even managed to convince the other half I need a new bike to replace my home botched together thing I use for carry the sprog and family rides.

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kil0ran [1124 posts] 4 weeks ago
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Fizzy77 wrote:

Right. I managed to find a WeeHoo turbo on Ebay. He can peddle or just fall asleep. I may have even managed to convince the other half I need a new bike to replace my home botched together thing I use for carry the sprog and family rides.

In my experience this works well - something along the lines of "I need something more stable with better brakes" tends to release the required budget.

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madcarew [815 posts] 4 weeks ago
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That Trio Bike in BTBS 'modern equivalent' is a thing of beauty!

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Fizzy77 [5 posts] 4 weeks ago
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madcarew wrote:

That Trio Bike in BTBS 'modern equivalent' is a thing of beauty!

 

That does look pretty good. But doesn't suite my ulterior motive(s). As much as I just want something to use as a utility and to hack around with while carry the lad I have my eye on a Trek 920 as the "tractor".

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Mark B [32 posts] 4 weeks ago
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kil0ran wrote:

One other solution that hasn't been mentioned is the FollowMe tandem

https://www.followmetandem.co.uk/

 

That's what I was thinking of when I said "I've forgotten the name of it, but there's an alternative to a trailgator that looks like it should be more stable and is much quicker to get their bike on and off. Not cheap though."