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

Ian Stokes-Rees ijstokes at alumni.uwaterloo.ca
Thu Sep 25 00:39:22 EDT 2008

I've been riding my daughter around for 3 years, and have just adapted 2 
bike for "front carrying" now that she is 3.5 and her 8 mo younger 
sister needs the back seat.  I have a few comments.

Sebastian Velez wrote:
> But still, for those that fall into my category of grad student 
> parent, I think my advice remains valid: get your seat at a garage 
> sale or off Craigslist for a few bucks, and as long as it's not 
> cracked and it is firmly attached to the bike, you should be good to 
> go. It does not matter how the seat is designed, if you put a 50-lb 
> child high above the ground on an unstable object such as the bicycle, 
> such a high center of gravity will make the bike tip like crazy 
> whenever you are not moving. All the seats that I've seen put the

We were lucky and got a used Co-Pilot Limo, normally about $100 new.  We 
do rides of up to 2 hours with my daughter, and I don't think those 
kinds of outings would be possible in something without at least a 
little padding and comfort, besides the fact she would often sleep in 
the seat for an hour of the journey.  For commuting around town, such 
luxuries are not necessary.  Furthermore, if the bike is stored outside, 
you need to cover the seat so the padding (which sops up water like a 
sponge, and takes forever to dry) isn't wet with rain/snow/dew when you 
want to use it.

It is basically impossible to cycle if you "stand up" out of the saddle, 
as the balance of the bike is thrown off.  Also, it is a bad idea to let 
go of the handle bars at any time (like when trying to close the gate 
from your home).  The balance is sufficiently high that the bike can 
quickly "flip".  This has only happened to me a few times, and my 
daughter was never hurt.  I have some greasy trousers from collisions 
with the chain and free-ring, however.

On safety, we had only a few crashes, and my daughter was always fine, 
didn't even know anything had happened.  I'm pretty sure in some of the 
lighter weight seats at least some part of her would have collided with 
the pavement.  The strap system and cross bar affair on the Co-Pilot 
Limo is pretty impressive.  Plus they have a pretty good system to get 
them easily on and off the custom rack so you can remove them for 
putting bikes in cars, or to ride around without the seat.

On the used front, get a used seat and help recycle.  They are a big 
piece of plastic.  Look for any broken parts, and if you don't see 
anything, take it.

> Something I really liked when I first saw them was those seats where 
> the child sits on the top tube of the bike, right in front of you, 
> like Candice mentioned. When I was a child, my relatives would carry 
> me sitting on the handlebars, which is quite stable, but when I did 
> that with my oldest daughter when she

I just outfitted both our bikes for $15 a piece with top tube seats.  I 
would say they probably aren't a good idea for kids under the age of 
2.5-3, since they are not strapped in (or at least not strapped in 
well), they need to hold on to the handlebars conscientiously, and keep 
their feet out of the spokes (that would be nasty).  I just used some 
hose clamps ($1.50 for two), a piece of rubber, and a bike seat ($11.50 
new from PerformanceBikes.com), and clamped it on to the top tube.  I 
used two more hose clamps to attach some shelf-hanging L-brackets by the 
front brakes to give her some foot pegs.

It has only had its maiden voyage today, but this is a very common 
"style" of bike seat in Europe, so I'm not too worried about safety.  I 
think mud-guards are a good idea for rainy/wet days to keep the child's 
legs reasonably free of tire splatter.

I'll report back if there are any disasters.


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