Although most kids tend to get on a Balance Bike at around the age of 2, we often get eager parents asking ask when is the best time for them to put a baby on their bike. They not only introduce them to the joy of riding - the fresh air on the face and the chance to see so much of what is going on around them - but because mum or dad are just itching to get back out on the bike themsleves! As we are parents too, we know what its like when you have your first child and that first year is a whirlwind of new experiences, and not always a lot of time to focus on yourself. So getting back out on your bike is a big deal!
Here's some of our recommendations to consider for getting your baby on the bike with you.
The 3 things to consider:
- The baby should be old enough to sit up independently
- The baby should have good head and neck control.
- The baby should have a correctly fitted helmet
These all seem like obvious things but you really need to make sure all 3 are covered off. Some baby's might have good head and neck control and can sit up independently, but their heads are too small for a safe fitting helmet!
Bike Trailer or Bike Seat for Kids?
This really depends on your lifestyle - do you intend on carrying more than 1 child? Do you think you'll use it for picking up groceries or ferrying not just the child, but maybe picnic and blanket and toys too? A trailer certainly adds a lot of flexibility to your options of riding with a child. You can pick up good quality trailers from any bicycle store. Of course, like any bicycle on the market, there's a price range which will be dictated by the quality of the materials and the functionality of the item.
The disadvantages of a bike trailer is that it is un-aerodynamic so can really slow you down, especially if you're riding into wind. And of course you have to be more aware of your turning circles and the space you are taking up behind you when stopping at intersections, etc. A bike seat is going to be easier for your general riding but be aware that it can make your bicycle easily off-balance and you really have to ride carefully, especially when turning corners. But with anything, you get the hang of the new weight distribution pretty quickly. Like anything new, the more you do it, the more you will feel comfortable with the changed riding conditions whether you have a baby on board the bike or trailing behind you in a trailer.
Essential Kids writer, Marion Turner, has written a great article covering all the different options and reviews of child bicycle seats and trailers here
. She even talks about cargo bikes and even the trail-gator. We interviewed a ByK Dad who uses the Trailgator to attach his ByK Kids Bike to his own bike
. And an interview with CycleStyle Owner, Joyce Watts, about using a cargobike to ferry her young kids around
. Marion Turner's kids own ByK's too and you can read her kids bike review here