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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    14

    Commuting with kid

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    Hello all! I'm hoping to get some advice. I recently moved and now live less than 2 miles from my office. I can store my bike inside so no need to worry about bike theft. In a few weeks, I need to start taking my 1-year old to daycare by bike as well (it's not far from my job). I currently have 3 bikes but don't want to dedicate any of them to carrying a child's seat (trailers seem to be super expensive- even on craigslist!) SO, I am looking for a flat bar road bike that could handle a rear rack with child's seat, fenders, lights, and a front rack with panniers for my change of clothes, etc. Any suggestions?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Posts
    5,269
    sorry this is so long- I can't sleep and have had way too much fun looking at bikes online...

    I just wanted to say that I LOVE that you're going to commute and bring the wee one with you!! Most people wouldn't even consider it ("There's no way I can commute, I have a one year old to take to daycare"). Where others see obstacles, you see an opportunity!

    What about a cargo bike? If you want to seriously commute and want a bike that will grow with you over the years and serve as true transportation until your little one is old enough to bike on their own- a cargo bike might serve you well. And it will serve you well after your wee one has grown up as a great urban utility bike.

    What about a Madsen bike? They are a Portland based company. In the back bucket, there are seats for the kids and built-in seat belts. Kinda cool! I really like the bucket in the back. It's rated for up to 600 lbs. Put the seat in and belt the kiddo, or remove the seat and do some serious hauling. The blog on their site has some great stories of how the bike is used. I'm enamoured by these bikes.

    ThisTrek is built for serious hauling. You could put a child seat on the back, and as you little one gets older, they can still ride with you just by sitting on the rear rack (sans child seat).

    Or a Surly Big Dummy? Or a Yuba Mundo?


    Truth be told, I've always had a thing for cargo bikes, tho. They are beefy and beautiful and meant for serious use. And bonus, you can stop by the store on the way home from the office with the kiddo and load up with groceries.

    If you didn't want to go the cargo bike route, what about the Trek Belleville? They used to make a women's mixte version, but it's no longer available. This would be a good sturdy alternative.

    And while the price might seem high at first, if you were to just get a standard flat bar bike, by the time you add in fenders, lights, child seat, rear rack, front rack and panniers- the cost is probably the same. Many of the cargo bikes come with fenders and racks (and some with generator lights). You could add it up both ways, but I'm guessing the costs would be similar.
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    Last edited by Tri Girl; 07-20-2012 at 01:41 AM.
    Check out my running blog: www.turtlepacing.blogspot.com

    Cervelo P2C (tri bike)
    Bianchi Eros (commuter/touring road bike)

    1983 Motobecane mixte (commuter/errand bike)
    Cannondale F5 mountain bike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Wilts, UK
    Posts
    903
    Predictably, I'll suggest a Vita, I think at least some of the models can take a front rack, and it will also take slighly bigger tyres which you might want for comfort and stability with the extra weight up top. I think many childseats come with their own rack, which tends to be heavy.

    Would a touring bike work too?

    I used a trailer, but here they are generally cheaper than buying a whole new bike.

    Whatever you choose, it's lovely riding with a little one, they are so chatty and happy, often followed soon by being fast asleep.
    Dawes Cambridge Mixte, Specialized Hardrock, Specialized Vita.

    mixedbabygreens My blog, which really isn't all about the bike.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,391
    A trailer would certainly be less than a whole new bike..... you can get a basic one for around $90-$120 or a really good one for $500-$600 and that's new.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    14
    Thank you for the responses! Tri Girl- I do love cargo bikes, but the storage facility at my job is up 3 flights of stairs. there is an elevator but it is pretty small. When I commute on my regular bike it fits pretty snugly in there.

    hebe- I will definitely have to test ride the Vita. I didn't know they accepted front racks! Good to know.

    Eden- a trailer is cheaper than a bike, it's true. But from my searches on craigslist around here not markedly so. People are selling the real high-end trailers and so even on craigslist they're over $400. I think I can buy some of the lower end ones cheaper. Also, shopping for (and justifying) a new bike is more fun than trailer shopping.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,391
    Quote Originally Posted by MuttNut View Post
    Also, shopping for (and justifying) a new bike is more fun than trailer shopping.
    This is what I figured......

    bike + childseat + accessories (fenders, racks etc) =way $$ more than a trailer no matter how you look at it...
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,140
    And, a trailer is safer than a child seat. No matter how skilled of a rider you are, there are just a lot more things that can happen when you have a child on the back of the bike.
    Why risk it? You can always use the trailer for shopping when your kid gets older . Or, sell it. There always seems to be a market for trailers.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    3,213
    I wasn't very strong when I had a little kid, but having her in the kid seat was pretty horrible. It was hard for me with a high (and wiggly) center of gravity. She also didn't like it, which didn't help.
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Wilts, UK
    Posts
    903
    Sorry, I think I was wrong. Previous years of Vita did take racks on the front fork on the models without carbon forks, but that seems to have gone from all the 2012 models.
    Dawes Cambridge Mixte, Specialized Hardrock, Specialized Vita.

    mixedbabygreens My blog, which really isn't all about the bike.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Posts
    5,269
    The Belleville might be good then.

    Or what about the Novara Transfer?
    Check out my running blog: www.turtlepacing.blogspot.com

    Cervelo P2C (tri bike)
    Bianchi Eros (commuter/touring road bike)

    1983 Motobecane mixte (commuter/errand bike)
    Cannondale F5 mountain bike

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    14
    The more I'm researching the more I'm leaning towards the trailer. It does seem that they are the safer option. Which is weird to me b/c I'm worried about my kid being so low so that traffic could more easily miss the trailer. I guess putting flags/blinkie lights everywhere is the trick?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Interior Alaska
    Posts
    21
    Just a personal opinion to be taken with a grain of salt, but...

    I HATE the trailers. Hate, hate, hate, hate, and hate!
    They are heavier, more drag, wider, longer, slower...

    My son (my experience) rode very well in the back seat kid carrier up until he was almost four. The weight distribution was even. He rarely moved around, loved the riding, he could look around and see.

    Most importantly, there was a large visibility issue. Living where I live, a large percentage of drivers are driving HUGE trucks that have hoods/grills that obscure the trailers no matter how visible those flags are. We have had several instances where people have run over the cargo trailers (fortunately no children have been harmed). I never fell; my son and I rode daily to the park 3 miles away. He loved it so much that if he woke up before me I would find him with his helmet on, strapped into the rider waiting to ride off to the park. (and yes, he could buckle, but not unbuckle, so many time I woke to 'Mom, Mom, Mom, bike ride! bike ride! bike ride!'). Fortunately I had an bike rack in our tiny apartment that secured the bike upright.

    Again, everyone has their own experiences, but I do NOT like the trailers.
    commuter: a Giant Sedona '97
    road: Giant OCR c3 '08 | 105/Ultegra
    lusting a Sweet Pea A-line for when DH sweeps me out to sea

 

 

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