How to Bike With Your Kids

By Robert Capps | 05.16.12 6:14 PM


It’s one of the great pleasures of parenthood: strapping your kid to a bike and going for a ride. There are lots of ways to do it. Tons, in fact. Too many, actually. Rear-mounted seats, front-mounted seats, trailers, cargo bikes, trailer bikes, duct tape—each with its own trade-offs and advantages. It’s enough to send you back inside for the car keys.

So let’s make this easy. If you have only one kid, go for a front-mounted seat. You don’t want a trailer, which puts your kid 3 to 4 feet behind you, leaving them bored; you’ll only know you’re engaged in a parent-child activity by the extra drag. Rear-mounted seats are slightly better; the tyke sits right behind you, but it’s still tough to interact. With a front-mounted seat—like the WeeRide Kangaroo ($90)—the kid is almost sitting on your lap, taking in the oncoming world. You can tell jokes, sing songs, or kiss them on the head.

For two or more kids, things get tricky. You could add front- and rear-mounted seats, but you risk toppling. You can get a high-end cargo bike, which allows you to strap kids into an open box in front of the handlebars, but that will run you $3,000 or more. Our recommendation: an Xtracycle, the breed of elongated cargo bike that lets you mount multiple seats on a long, flat, stable platform in the rear. The downside: Your kids are once again stuck looking at your butt. But they’re close, and the ride is both smooth and stable. Plus you can upgrade—infant seats when they’re small, footrests and handlebars when they get older. You can buy an entire bike for a little over $1,000, or an $825 kit to extend your current ride. In no time you’ll be flying down the street amid shrieks of delight—at least until your offspring ask you to be quiet.