[Parentsgroup-list] bike to drop off kid (with kid seat)

Candice M. Etson etson at fas.harvard.edu
Wed Sep 24 22:36:57 EDT 2008

Hi all.

Just wanted to offer another perspective. I have carried both my children on the
back of my bike, in various ways, and I love it. I have to say that I disagree
with Sebastian's comment that it doesn't matter about the seat. I think that if
you are going to ride around this town with your child on back, it's worth it to
make sure you are set up right.

If your seat is installed properly, you should not feel a need to keep moving to
balance out the weight. The empty seat should not make much difference when
pushing your bike around, and you should not have to put a lot of effort into
making sure the bike doesn't tip while your child is in the seat. I can easily
push my bike with my 2.5 year old in the seat and not worry about tipping. You
should not be feeling like the front of the bike will "pop up" on you, even
when you are not sitting on your own seat. If it does, the seat is sitting too
far behind you, and it is not safe. If you have concerns, you can have the seat
installed or adjusted at a bike shop for a nominal fee.

Most of the seats you find in a bike shop (or garage sale, for that matter) are
designed to attach to a rear mounted rack, the same kind you would use to put
books on or hang panniers from. You do need to make sure that the rack you have
is strong enough to carry the weight, some are too flimsy. These seats are
perfectly fine if you are of average size. A new one will cost you about $100,
but they are all over the place second hand. Try Craig's List, eBay, and garage

However, if you are very tall, and your bike has a large frame, it can be
difficult to get the seat balanced properly. Also, if you are very small, you
might find that the seat ends up too close to your rear end. My husband, at
6'4", found that he could not use this type of seat on his bike at all.
Instead, he uses a seat with a cantilever mount, made by Kettler, that cost
about the same as the rear mounted seats. We love this seat. The mounting
bracket fits on almost any bike, except those that have a very short seat post
(like women's comfort frame bikes, folding bikes, and mountain bikes with full
suspension). You can get a second mounting bracket if you want to be able to
tranfer the from one bike to another. You can see what it looks like here:

You can also get a seat that mounts in front of the adult, example here:
I've never used one of these, but I've heard good reviews. Many people like the
stability of having the seat close to the natural center of gravity of the
bike. The only complaint I've heard about these is that if you are small, it is
hard to ride the bike because the seat is basically between your legs.

All of these seats have weight limits for safety, and they vary, so check before
you buy. Most kids aren't ready to ride on their own by the time they size out
of the seat. If you are in that situation, I highly recommend the Trail-a-bike:
My older daughter rode behind me on ours until she was about 7 years old. She
loved it because she felt like a big girl, and I knew she wasn't going to
swerve into traffic or get left behind. And she learned the rules of the road
this way. Now, you might see us riding around town, me with a toddler on back
of my bike, and her following very safely behind, using hand signals and all.

Good luck, and good riding!

Biophysics, G6
mom of Helen (10) and Justine (2.5)

Quoting Sebastian Velez <svelez at oeb.harvard.edu>:

> Hi all:
> I've carried my daughter on a child seat attached to my bike since she
> was 6 months old. She is now 5-1/2 and still loves it. I take her to
> school, to buy groceries, to go to the public pools around Cambridge,
> everything. She likes it more than the car, and won't get into a stroller.
> I use the kind of seat that goes in the back of the bike. It throws the
> balance off when you are not moving, and we've fallen from the bike
> quite a few times when waiting for a red light. When you are moving the
> momentum keep the bike up and it is quite stable.
> Any model will do; I think they are all the same. I got mine at a garage
> sale for something like $5, if that much. My bike is 15 years old. The
> seats come with clamps and such that you can attach to any bike. Mine
> even had things to remove the seat quickly, but I threw these away and
> just bolted it to the bike with bolts from the hardware store, as it
> feels more secure this way. When my daughter is not with me on the bike,
> I use the seat to carry stuff; very useful especially with the seatbelt
> to hold the cargo.
> As for where to get a bike, Kirkland house (where I'm a resident tutor)
> will have a bike auction in a couple weeks. The bikes are in really good
> condition and I'm sure you'll be able to find something cheap among the
> 100 bikes up for auction.
> Hope that helps,
> Sebastian
> Griffin, April Marie wrote:
> > I too was thinking just today that a bike would be more fun and provide
> more options than walking with my 2.5 year old. So I second the request for a
> response for Taeseok's email!
> > Happy Trails!
> > April
> >
> > ________________________________________
> > From: parentsgroup-list-bounces at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> [parentsgroup-list-bounces at lists.hcs.harvard.edu] On Behalf Of Taeseok Kim
> [kim57 at fas.harvard.edu]
> > Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 2:42 PM
> > To: parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> > Subject: [Parentsgroup-list] bike to drop off kid (with kid seat)
> >
> > Hi all,
> >
> > My kid (3 1/2 yr old) goes to a preschool in about 30min walk from my apt.
> > I usually bring a stroller to drop off her but think it would be nice
> > to have a bike with a child seat behind, which I come across on my way
> > there.
> > I have little idea how/where to buy that kind of combination
> > especially, if any, a weight limit for each model.
> > Can anyone give advice on that? It would be even greater if someone
> > can sell any used bike and/or the seat.
> >
> > Thanks
> > Taeseok
> > _______________________________________________
> > Parentsgroup-list mailing list
> > Parentsgroup-list at lists.hcs.harvard.edu
> > http://lists.hcs.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/parentsgroup-list
> >
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> --
> Sebastián Vélez
> PhD Candidate, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
> Harvard University
> Museum of Comparative Zoology
> 26 Oxford St., Cambridge MA 02138
> Lab: 1 617 496-5308
> Cell: 1 781 799-2906
> Fax: 1 617 496-5854
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