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biking with preschoolers?


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DD3 is 33 pounds, and will be 4 yrs old in March. We all got new bikes for christmas from my parents and would like to go on some family rides, but obviously a 3 yr old on a 12" bike with training wheels can't keep up. 

She seems to be in this in between area where she's not ready for those cool copilot type bikes that attach to the back of an adult bike - she's too likely to throw our balance off from what I'm reading? Like, those are for kids who are already proficient on a 2 wheel bike but just don't have the stamina/speed to keep up?

DH is planning to get a bike seat for her when his bike arrives (finding bikes in stock is impossible lately!) but I'm afraid to do that if I'm the one taking her out. I don't trust my balance with that much extra weight - especially since I think she'd need the rear seat kind not the front seat? I'm short, so reaching around her in the front mount, at her size, sounds unlikely? 

So that leaves a trailer - do 3 and 4 yr olds enjoy riding in them? Or will she likely be bored and hate it? I found one on facebook marketplace that is $60, trying to see if it is still available. It's this one - says like new condition. Any reason NOT to get this, to use with my bike with a 3-4 yr old? This is the bike I'm getting. 

Edited by ktgrok
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Is it hilly where you live? I'd get really tired out pulling a trailer with no gears on my bike(am I right that cruiser bikes are one speed?). But $60 is not much to spend and you can re-sell it when she outgrows it. 

I rode my bike extensively with either the seat behind me (ages 3-4ish) or a tag-a-long (ages 4-7) and loved them both. (I will say we rented a tag-a-long on vacation at one point which was REALLY wobbly compared to the one we owned--so maybe brands are different in how they connect and how stable they are). 

 

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Forget the trailer for a preschooler. Get a trail-a-bike! The child still gets to ride a bike and doesn't get left behind. The one we have is really stable and it's hard for them to throw the rider off balance.

Edited by mom2scouts
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Wow, we had a tag a long bike and we all hated it.  My kids who were really good bikers were scared to be on it.  I even got and and said no way.  Super scary.  I would never put a 4 or 5 year old on a tag along.  Probably not until 7 or 8.  And it would constantly be a worry, you wouldn't be able to enjoy the ride. 

My youngest is 5 and she still goes in the trailer.  She is totally fine with it and it makes it easier for dh who takes all 5 kids out on 15 miles plus bike rides.   They can see and talk to the family.  Bring toys and snacks and do what they want.  They get out and play at the lakes, so it isn't her just sitting for a long time.  

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Our kids would go in the trailer for a LONG time.  Like my oldest was small, I think we crammed him in the burley until he was 7 at times.  Hills are tough, so flat trails are definitely better if you got them.  We had a trail-a-bike also.  I think 4 is the absolute youngest for those.  And you really want your kid at an age where they are solidly awake all day, don't randomly fall asleep in the car on short errands, etc.  We know a young kid that fell off one of those and got  injured because she fell asleep riding back there.  

Both the trailer and the trail-a-bike sold great for $$ in no time at all, so agree they aren't a risky investment.  

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1 hour ago, mommyoffive said:

Wow, we had a tag a long bike and we all hated it.  My kids who were really good bikers were scared to be on it.  I even got and and said no way.  Super scary.  I would never put a 4 or 5 year old on a tag along.  Probably not until 7 or 8.  And it would constantly be a worry, you wouldn't be able to enjoy the ride. 

 

Oh I agree, I found the trail-a-bike kind of scary too.  DH used it more than me and more in the 6-9 age range.  At 4, my son would maybe do 10 minutes back there and he'd be done.  My daughter wouldn't even try it until she was older.  

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The trailer kind is safer, stable, and screened so she’s unlikely to freak out from accidentally eating a bug. If you leave your neighborhood for any trails you’ll appreciate the bug & sun protection. 

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We got a Kazam Co-Pilot Bike for my third son for his 4th birthday. He was a strong training wheel bike rider (knew how to keep himself on the seat, his feet on the pedals, and hang on to the handlebars), but was a long way from riding a two wheeler...hindsight shows he was a full two years shy of that. He was hesitant about riding the co-pilot for the first 10 minutes (I wasn't; I was confident he would do fine), but I walked next to him while DH rode the bike slowly for a few minutes and as soon as DS realized it was no harder to balance on than his training-wheel bike, he was all in. He loved that thing!

At just shy of 4, DD could still fit in her front mount bike seat (we have never used back-mount seats), but it was a pain for the adult rider. We transitioned her to the co-pilot bike, and since she had seen and idolized her brother riding it, she had no hesitation. She has now ridden it for two summers.

Obviously, all biking has risks, but I did not find the co-pilot incredibly risky. Maybe I would have with my super impulsive second son, but, then again, son #3 has a raging case of ADHD, and he did just fine. Our co-pilot was not wobbly at all. I wouldn't let kids climb on without an adult having a firm grip on the main bike, but all things considered, it was quite stable.  My mom took a short turn on it (even though she is 50% over the weight limit) with nary a wobble.

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I meant to add, that we did buy a used Burley trailer a couple years before the co-pilot and all of my kids hated it. It was hot and stuffy, even with just the screens zipped. It was boring because it was hard to talk to the adult pulling them and they were too low to see anything (the communication challenge was magnified by their significant articulation delays which made them very difficult to understand, especially if you couldn't see their nonverbal communication because they were riding behind you zipped into a trailer). It was claustrophobic and uncomfortable for them.

I also hated the trailer. It was a pain in the tuchus to pull, especially on even a slight hill. The part I really hated though, was going around sidewalk corners. In our neighborhood, many corners have bushes or utility boxes or curbs on the inside of the corner. On many occasions pulling the trailer, I simply could not safely ride around the corner and had to stop and walk the bike/trailer around the corner. One corner that we had to maneuver to get to the bike trail, was so narrow that I either had to stop and actually lift the trailer by hand to pivot it around the tight corner, or I had to bypass the sidewalk corner entirely by riding that stretch on the street (and in our neighborhood it is customary for almost all bikers to ride on the sidewalk).

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I've never used one, but I've definitely seen plenty of preschoolers on them. 

Do you have an actual bike shop near you? Even if you have to drive an hour or two, it might be worth it to get expert advice. 

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We discovered a WeeHoo bike trailer with our youngest and loved it:  http://rideweehoo.com

It's a nice happy medium in that kids can use them starting at age 2-3 just to sit in, but also has pedals that can be optionally used for slightly bigger kids to pedal along. We used it until youngest DS was about 6.5 (when going on long rides) - until he was old enough for a big bike that could keep up with the rest of the family on an 8-10 mile ride. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by kirstenhill
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5 hours ago, Karen A said:

Is it hilly where you live? I'd get really tired out pulling a trailer with no gears on my bike(am I right that cruiser bikes are one speed?). But $60 is not much to spend and you can re-sell it when she outgrows it. 

I rode my bike extensively with either the seat behind me (ages 3-4ish) or a tag-a-long (ages 4-7) and loved them both. (I will say we rented a tag-a-long on vacation at one point which was REALLY wobbly compared to the one we owned--so maybe brands are different in how they connect and how stable they are). 

 

The bike I got has 7 speeds, and we don't have much in the way of hills (florida is pretty flat). 

5 hours ago, mom2scouts said:

Forget the trailer for a preschooler. Get a trail-a-bike! The child still gets to ride a bike and doesn't get left behind. The one we have is really stable and it's hard for them to throw the rider off balance.

I checked, at 38.5 inches tall she's still too short for the trail a bike it looks like. 

1 hour ago, kirstenhill said:

We discovered a WeeHoo bike trailer with our youngest and loved it:  http://rideweehoo.com

It's a nice happy medium in that kids can use them starting at age 2-3 just to sit in, but also has pedals that can be optionally used for slightly bigger kids to pedal along. We used it until youngest DS was about 6.5 (when going on long rides) - until he was old enough for a big bike that could keep up with the rest of the family on an 8-10 mile ride. 

 

 

 

 

Well, that would be perfect, but at nearly $500 not in the budget 😞

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21 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

 

Well, that would be perfect, but at nearly $500 not in the budget 😞

You might run across one used! We sold ours for $125 when we were done with it.  I think we maybe paid $350 new - not sure if that was a sale or if the price has increased over the years. 

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10 hours ago, kirstenhill said:

You might run across one used! We sold ours for $125 when we were done with it.  I think we maybe paid $350 new - not sure if that was a sale or if the price has increased over the years. 

I'm definitely checking facebook marketplace and craigslist for anything that might work - now at least I'll know to jump on it if I see one of those - they look perfect! We just can't spend $499 on one new. 

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I got the Weehoo!!!! Oh my goodness! $125, I paid a $50 deposit so she holds it and will pick it up on Saturday! I'm so excited! And Kirstin, how crazy that right after you said to look for it used, I found one - for the exact amount you sold it for!!!! That's CRAZY!

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3 hours ago, ktgrok said:

I got the Weehoo!!!! Oh my goodness! $125, I paid a $50 deposit so she holds it and will pick it up on Saturday! I'm so excited! And Kirstin, how crazy that right after you said to look for it used, I found one - for the exact amount you sold it for!!!! That's CRAZY!

That's incredible!!! I'm so excited for you! I hope you have many biking adventures! 

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3 hours ago, ktgrok said:

I got the Weehoo!!!! Oh my goodness! $125, I paid a $50 deposit so she holds it and will pick it up on Saturday! I'm so excited! And Kirstin, how crazy that right after you said to look for it used, I found one - for the exact amount you sold it for!!!! That's CRAZY!

That is awesome.  One of those was going to be my suggestion too.

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