You probably have your eyes on a baby bike trailer. For those of you who don’t know what it is, this is exactly what it sounds like, a trailer behind your bike that you can put your baby in. This seems like the perfect solution to all your baby’s problems. But is it really the perfect solution?
A baby bike trailer is not the best option because it is Not Safe, especially for kids under one year of age. It might not be great at Absorbing Shocks And Bumps, thus leaving your kid exposed to harm. Moreover, it also adds Extra Weight to your bike, thus compromising your Bike Handling Skills. All of these potential risks in turn Increase Your Travel Time because you are Constantly Worrying rather than enjoying your trip.
Why Isn’t A Bike Trailer Not The Best Choice
When I was a new parent, I wanted to make sure that I am able to be with my child wherever I go. If this meant taking my baby to work and letting him chill by the water cooler, sure. I’d do it. Anything to have the little tyke close to me.
If you are a bike enthusiast like me, you’ve probably been out and about looking for some nifty device to enable you and your child to be together. You can’t take them in their baby stroller, so you have got to look at other options. I have tried bike trailers. I got a d’lite x, but I came to the conclusion that a child bike trailer might not be the best choice, here’s why:
More Time Taking
One of the biggest drawbacks of having a baby bike trailer and carrying your kid with you wherever you go is the greater time it takes to get to places. It is highly recommended that you stay off the main roads when you are using a bike trailer. If you take back roads and bike trails, you will end up taking far longer to get to where you want to go. This time is added to by the fact that you will be pulling an extra load behind you. This will slow you down (it’s all physics you know!)
Bike trailers are low to the ground. In theory, this is so that if they do spill the passenger out, your baby won’t fall more than a foot. This may seem great, but there is a drawback to them being so low. Since most vehicles are pretty high up, it is very possible that a driver simply wouldn’t see the trailer. This could result in some very gruesome consequences.
Another problem with the baby bike trailer is that when they are attached, it becomes rather like a real trailer on a car. It affects your handling of turns, forcing you to make wider turns. Another drawback of the bike trailer is that it gets harder to overtake when your turning curve is large. This means you will have to force yourself to go slow.
An extension of this problem is…well, the extension of the bike. The trailer adds extra length to your bike, meaning that you won’t be able to maneuver nearly as easily as before. The trailer will add an extra load to your cycling. This will mean you have a lot more to pull. While you may think you can take it, you’ll be thinking again when faced with a long-distance trip somewhere with the little one.
Less interaction with the kids leaves you feeling like they are far more exposed to the ways of the world. You’ll be worrying a lot initially. While your worries may not be grounded, you will still not feel as secure, because your baby is further from you.
I faced this issue when I decided to ride my bike with my child in a bicycle trailer. He was under one and I should have read safety concerns before making that decision. You see, there is really no kind of support for the kid in bicycle trailers and little babies have soft spots on their heads. Since, these trailers also lack any suspension systems, the frequent vibrations, bumps, and lack of a security hold can make them prone to injury.
I only rode with my kid once and decided to cut the bike ride short due to this issue. Some states even have the one-year law intact for the well-being of kids.
The Weather Factor
Before planning our bike rides, I am sure all of us check the weather update. Nonetheless, the weather is quite unpredictable and can change within a matter of seconds. Especially if you live in an area that receives heavy rainfall.
I remember after the one-year mark, we were on a bike trip when we got hit by a storm. There was no shelter in sight but luckily I had a rain cover. I covered my little ones with the cover but they were terrified and felt caged under it. I couldn’t interact with them much because I had to find a shelter but the muddy bike paths certainly did not make this job any easier.
Another issue with having bike trailers for kids is storage space. If you do not have a garage or enough spare space, it will become an issue to store the trailer. They are big in size and generally take up a lot of space.
Bike trailers can cost you anywhere between $100-$1000. Of course, that is a wide range and you can get budget trailers to stay within your budget but these options often lack features and are not very durable. Nobody wants to compromise on their kids’ safety, do they?
Child bike trailers have a certain weight capacity. It’s enough for carrying one child but when you have multiple kids, it’s not a feasible option. Moreover, kids tend to outgrow them quickly.
Bike Trailer Safety Tips
If you’ve already got a bike trailer before you read this, don’t panic, I have been in your spot before. There are some safety tips that you can apply to keep your child safe. Applying these tips helped me make use of the trailer as long as I could without compromising my little one’s safety.
Wear A Helmet
Firstly, let it be known that it is very dangerous to ride without a helmet. Make sure that your baby, and you, are wearing helmets when you ride.
Follow One Year Rule
It is only safe to put your baby in a bike trailer when they are over a year old. Any time before is insanely dangerous for your baby. Seat your child firmly, strap them in securely, and close up the compartment.
Usually, the one-year rule is a law. This applies in the state of New York, among others. Even if it is not a law in your state yet, make sure to follow it as a safety tip. The reasoning behind this is very simple.
Properly Secure The Trailer
For example, before getting on a bike with a trailer, you need to make sure that the fastener between the bike and the trailer is secure. An unfastened trailer could snap off at the wrong moment and lead to you running like a madman after the trailer as it rockets towards an old lady crossing the street.
Get One With A Ball And Socket Joint
When getting a trailer for your bike, make sure that you get one with a ball and socket joint. This means that even though your bike may tip over because you’re trying to take a turn too tight, the trailer will remain upright. This is incredibly useful, especially on winding country roads.
Get Extra Safety Features
Another safety tip would be to make sure that the trailer you buy has extra safety features. For example, more expensive trailers usually have built-in roll bars just in case something does go wrong.
Get A Warning Flag
In addition to this, you should get a bright safety/warning flag for the trailer, so that the odd driver who does come along will be able to see it. This will also increase visibility while you are riding in traffic or on a road.
Apply Bug Screen
If you plan to ride without a safety not, or even if you have one, make sure to apply a bug screen. For babies don’t apply it on the hands because they might suck them. Or, you can get a kids-friendly bug screen.
Nonetheless, one of the most important safety tips you can follow is the need for a helmet. Drill this fact into your kids’ heads every time you go out. No helmet – no ride. That’s final. No exception. A helmet could be the difference between life and death for you and your loved ones. Make sure you get one that fits right.
If you follow the safety procedures and stick to the by-roads instead of traffic-stricken main roads, you and your baby should be able to have a fine bike ride. You can even get a multisport bike trailer and take your kids on all kinds of adventures. There are options of chariot cross, burley bee, and burley d’lite x among many others that are of good quality.
The Theory Behind the One-Year Law
As every parent knows, there is a soft spot in every infant’s head. This makes them far more likely to get head injuries than an adult. A bike trailer is closer to the ground to prevent long-distance falls. This is a good thing, sure, but it sacrifices vibration dampening and shock absorption for this safety factor.
This means that when you take a baby in a bike trailer over a bumpy bike trail, off tarmac roads, the vibrations and constant shuddering will be transmitted directly to the baby. This will cause them to bounce up and down for the duration of the trail. For a very young child, the constant shuddering motion of the brain could even lead to mental handicaps during later years.
To prevent this, you need to make sure that there is foam dampening in your bike trailer. If you really want to keep your baby safe inside a bike trailer, put as many pillows and soft padding as possible between the baby and the hard surfaces.
Make sure your baby is stable and can sit upright before taking them on a bike ride. To be extra safe, try to make sure you find a helmet for your child. Ultimately, it is far more important that you keep your child safe and away from you than at risk and with you.
While the disadvantages you read about in reviews and other sources may seem like the bike trailer is something Satan cooked up in the deepest circle of Hell, it isn’t.
Baby Bike Trailer Alternatives
A bike trailer can be a safe method by which a baby can travel on a bike. If you follow proper safety procedures before putting your baby in a bike trailer (and before even buying one), you will be able to have an absolutely amazing bike ride with your baby. However, if you feel like the drawbacks of a bike trailer are just too many, there are a couple of other alternatives you could get instead.
Bike Seats – Front and Rear
Bike seats are exactly what they sound like (not a lot of effort goes into naming bike accessories). They are safe seat that is mounted either on the front or rear of your bike.
While this may seem cumbersome, there are a lot of design features that make it a comfortable ride. There are also different perks, depending on the type of seat (but trailers are often considered safer than bike seats). Baby Bike seats also have adjustable suspension so that’s a plus point already.
Front Mounted Bike Seats
These seats are made in such a way that you are holding your child, facing forward, in your arms as you ride. The design allows you to hold your handlebars with comfort. The more advanced front-facing seats also have a bar attached which allows your child to fall asleep safely.
These are most suitable for children aged one to five. As they get older they struggle a lot more, making it rather unsafe for older children to use these. A disadvantage is that the child won’t be as comfortable as they would be in a bike trailer.
It is also harder to put a child into a bike seat than a trailer. The higher center of gravity will make you feel like it is more difficult to maneuver the bike as well.
Rear Mounted Bike Seats
The same principle as the front seat applies. The seat also still faces forward. The advantage is that it feels less cumbersome, especially since there is no baby restricting the movement of your arms.
The rear-mounted seat also has the distinct advantage of not blocking your legs when pedaling. In a way, bike seats are a way of being closer to your baby while riding. You can always be assured that they are right there with you seeing the same things you are.
However, it isn’t all butterflies and marshmallows. You would have to be extra careful when riding with a bike seat. A crash could result in severe injuries for a baby. Always make sure that both you and your kid are wearing safety gear when biking on the streets or trails.
The Cargo Bike
The cargo bike is a special bike designed specifically for the transport of goods. It looks pretty funky, but it is actually very useful when it comes to transporting just about anything, even kids.
The difference between a cargo bike and a bike trailer or seats is that the cargo bike is actually built that way. Because of this, the design allows for its center of gravity to be in the perfect position. It also means that the danger of attachment snapping is gone.
The cargo bike also has the advantage of being multifunctional. You can use the cargo compartment for transporting goods as well as your kids. It is perfect for anything because it has a large compartment. It is also low to the ground. This means that the danger of it tipping over and falling is drastically reduced.
Instead of a flimsy trailer, a solid box makes up the cargo bike. This makes your kids far safer. The compartment can be fitted out with many different covers. In fact, these bikes have even been called the SUVs of the bike world.
There are, however a few disadvantages to owning a cargo bike. The first and foremost is space. Because of the large cargo compartment, the bike takes up a lot more space than a normal bicycle with a trailer or seats attached. Because of this, you will need a larger parking space for the bike.
It also means you will be able to use it in less of a variety of places than a normal bike. The bigger size would result in you having to stay in traffic more often because it would compromise your ability to weave in and out like you normally would.
Another disadvantage is the extra weight. While the solid box and heavy stand provide extra protection and stability, they do add a lot more extra weight.
You will find this particularly troublesome when cycling up a gradient. In fact, you would probably end up switching to an electric motor to help you climb inclines easier (that is if you choose a bike with an electric motor).
All of these changes would mean the cargo bike would cost extra compared to the standard bike trailer or seats. However, when you consider the obvious advantages of the cargo bike, you might just be persuaded to get it.
After all, it is your child’s safety that matters the most. In a cargo bike, you are able to keep watch on your child while maintaining that level of safety. This makes it ideal for parents. Sure, you will have to spend more, and you may even lose the freedom a normal bike would grant you.
Bicycling With A Baby
Here is a video that shows you what’s it really like to bicycle with a baby:
Are Baby Bike Trailers Safe?
Baby bike trailers can be a safe method for your kids to travel with you until you follow the safety rules and don’t defy the one-year law. Remember, no bike trailers for babies under one year of age.
What Age Can A Baby Go In A Bike Trailer?
Children aged 12 months or above can safely ride in a bike trailer. This is also considered law in the majority of states. Make sure to check the law of the state you reside in. Nonetheless, you should not take children under 12 months of age in bike trailers as it is not considered safe.
Can You Bike With A 3 Month Old?
No, you cannot bike with a 3-month-old. Kids under 12 months of age are very young to be carried on a bicycle. It is not safe and has many potential risks.
Bike trailers surely provide a quick transport method for your child while you are on your bike, but given the reasons that I have stated above, I would say that they are not a very good option. Unless and until you follow the safety instructions. It is always better to be extra safe.
Yes, you will be sacrificing your carefree bike ride but this is a worthy sacrifice to make for the sound of your children laughing, safe and sound as they see the world moving past on their first bike ride. Before you know it, they will be ready to ride a kids bike of their own. You can always enjoy your bike trip with your kids, all you have to do is take some precautions.
Still confused about what you should look for in a bike trailer? Here is a guide to how you can choose a bicycle trailer. You can also check out Allen sports to find good-quality trailers. Happy Safe Riding!
- The Truth About Bike Trailers For Kids And Babies
- How To Find The Best Kids Trailer Bike For Your Child