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Old 25.03.2010, 11:36
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Child bike seat recommendations please

Hi,
it's becoming clear to me I'm going to need a child bike seat for my bike(s) in order to get around with my 4 year old daughter. we have a trailer due to arrive with our bikes and other household belongings, but I think a bike seat seems more practical for the area. we're in bern.
any recommendations?
daughter is 4, and is about 15 kg. I'm looking to put the seat on my velorbis victoria, or trek district, and maybe a mountain bike in a pinch.

Thanks much.
LAL
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Old 25.03.2010, 11:49
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Re: Child bike seat recommendations please

If you can cope with the German, there was a test in the magazine Ktipp this week. Also comments about the better safety in a 'trailer'. Buy a copy Fr.3.50 at a kiosk.
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Old 25.03.2010, 11:49
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Re: Child bike seat recommendations please

these seats are awesome - and meet safety standards
http://www.britax-roemer.de/fahrrad-kindersitze

available all over the place here - but you might have luck getting one on ricardo.ch (swiss ebay - well more popular here)

e.g. ricardo link 1

or
ricardo link 2
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Old 25.03.2010, 13:40
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Re: Child bike seat recommendations please

We only have one car and I've been transporting my daughter around by bike since we moved over here 2 years ago. At the time she had just turned 4, and she turned 6 last month.

In that time, I've used a range of methods. Although I'd had a bike seat for her in the UK, I found that by 4 she was just too big to fit in it comfortably, despite being within the weight range. Getting her in and out was an enormous faff at her age/ size, given you only have one hand to do it with.

So we left the bike seat behind, and moved her onto a tag-a-long trailer bike, the ones that look like half a bike towed behind the adult one (she was coming up 4.5 then). She liked this, and could pedal just fine - enough to propel the whole shebang along on flat bits - but it wasn't a great solution for about town. It's quite unwieldy to manhandle around bollards and tight spots, and I was uncomfortable with not being able to speak to/ hear her when in traffic as she was sitting quite far back.

So I looked around for other solutions. Firstly, I found the Bobike Junior seat: http://www.bobike.nl/products/en/bob...menu=m12____m2. Which was a good idea - I particularly liked the folding down mechanism - but expensive and not that much improved beyond sitting her on the parcel rack and giving her a backy.

Then I found Xtracycles: http://www.xtracycle.com/ Have you seen these long-tail cargo bike things?! I SO want one. Here's a pic of one in use, complete with its giant panniers... and a kid sitting on the back: http://www.bikecommuters.com/2008/06...xtracycle-mods... (scroll down to the bottom).

This was it! This was what I needed! Something to just chuck a child on, and go - no straps, no connections, no extra 10 mins just to go half a mile down to the shop for bread. But curses, it turned out I didn't have a spare many hundreds of dollars to have a conversion kit, rack and panniers shipped over.

So. So... hubby and I had a little think. And a little shop. And a little bit of a tinker in the garage with some spare doner bikes.

And we came up with this Frankencycle.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39888885@N07/?saved=1

It's like being towed along on a trailer bike, but much closer. Or like riding a tandem, but with no peddling. Or having a really, really short Xtracycle. And it's really very safe. We upgraded the rack to one that happily takes double her weight rather than the wire coat hanger one that came with the bike. Handlebars, seat and footpegs are securely bolted on. And she is an extremely sensible and obedient child who is used to tagging behind on a trailer bike, so she's not going to spontaneously decide to just let go and fall off the back. She gets on and off herself, like mounting a horse, which is hugely safer than me lifting her in whilst trying to support the bike one-handed.

That was last year, and whole thing's still working like a dream. I've since moved the whole kit over onto an electric bike, and we also now have a child trailer, which I originally bought for shopping but in which my daughter sometimes likes to ride for fun or long distances. (We took a 25km round trip last week to visit friends, and she installed herself nicely with a blanket, cuddly toy, snack and iPod/headphones for listening to stories.) I find drivers here are incredibly nice about bikes and trailers - I've not once felt spooked by a thoughtless driver, they all hang back until it's super safe to pass then give you acres of space as they overtake.

I can't see why our seat system won't work for years yet, as my then 9 yr old was riding around in it last year. He was a bit hunched up because the pegs and so on weren't sized for him, but it would be a simple matter to find new places to bolt them to as her legs grew, ending up with them being on the wheel like BMX stunt pegs. And it's a real conversation piece! Total strangers regularly stop me outside shops and ask where I 'bought' it.

Good luck finding a solution that works well.

kodokan
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Old 25.03.2010, 13:45
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Re: Child bike seat recommendations please

interesting frankenbike!

what about teaching them to ride their own bikes too though?
or is this in addition - for long rides?

find that my (nearly) 6yo is happy to ride 25km in a day - and has done up to 40km - i'm not saying that's necessary normal but it's interesting what kids can/will do!

(and please don't this as some form of criticism cos it's not - all kids are different and i know ours isn't necessarily "normal" being happy/willing to ride so far... but it's hard to define "normal" with kids )

Last edited by Jase; 25.03.2010 at 13:46. Reason: typo
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Old 25.03.2010, 13:59
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Re: Child bike seat recommendations please

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interesting frankenbike!

what about teaching them to ride their own bikes too though?
or is this in addition - for long rides?

find that my (nearly) 6yo is happy to ride 25km in a day - and has done up to 40km - i'm not saying that's necessary normal but it's interesting what kids can/will do!

(and please don't this as some form of criticism cos it's not - all kids are different and i know ours isn't necessarily "normal" being happy/willing to ride so far... but it's hard to define "normal" with kids )
Sure, she can ride a bike herself too, and does sometimes to school. We don't live in an area, though, where it's practical for her to do real trips on her own two wheels - everywhere from here is either a major road, or steep hills, or both. And although she's very active in short bursts, she doesn't have the best physical stamina in the world.

Awesome distance from your little one - I'm not convinced I could get my 10 yr old to do that! Is he on a geared bike yet? And is this on proper roads with cars? I read a great travel article once where a family had taken their 8yr old and 6 yr old twins on a cycling touring holiday, doing 40-50km+ each day. It was in Holland, mind you...

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Old 25.03.2010, 14:10
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Re: Child bike seat recommendations please

Good points about the major roads!!!
We're very lucky that we have tons of bike paths around here that you don't need to go on the roads.

Not sure if this is just local, cantonal or a swiss wide thing but...
I'm really happy that the local police take the time in primary school to teach the kids bike riding rules for the road.

We won't let him ride on the road until he's had the instructions from the police - although occasionally we will ride in between us when there are no paths.

Hills seem to be a fact of life in Switzerland so we did get him a geared bike for his 5th birthday as 20+km on a single speed very heavy steel bike certainly was a downer for his motivation!

we'll have to see how the 3yo goes - I think he's going to have trouble keeping up with his brother

WOW! 40-50km each day - I think I could get him to do that maybe every other day on a special trip but every day - wow!!

back on topic now for OP - sorry but i believe it's all relevant for the future for you!

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Sure, she can ride a bike herself too, and does sometimes to school. We don't live in an area, though, where it's practical for her to do real trips on her own two wheels - everywhere from here is either a major road, or steep hills, or both. And although she's very active in short bursts, she doesn't have the best physical stamina in the world.

Awesome distance from your little one - I'm not convinced I could get my 10 yr old to do that! Is he on a geared bike yet? And is this on proper roads with cars? I read a great travel article once where a family had taken their 8yr old and 6 yr old twins on a cycling touring holiday, doing 40-50km+ each day. It was in Holland, mind you...

kodokan
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Old 25.03.2010, 14:12
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Re: Child bike seat recommendations please

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Frankencycle.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/39888885@N07/?saved=1

It's like being towed along on a trailer bike, but much closer. Or like riding a tandem, but with no peddling. Or having a really, really short Xtracycle. And it's really very safe. We upgraded the rack to one that happily takes double her weight rather than the wire coat hanger one that came with the bike. Handlebars, seat and footpegs are securely bolted on. And she is an extremely sensible and obedient child who is used to tagging behind on a trailer bike, so she's not going to spontaneously decide to just let go and fall off the back. She gets on and off herself, like mounting a horse, which is hugely safer than me lifting her in whilst trying to support the bike one-handed.

That was last year, and whole thing's still working like a dream. I've since moved the whole kit over onto an electric bike, and we also now have a child trailer, which I originally bought for shopping but in which my daughter sometimes likes to ride for fun or long distances. (We took a 25km round trip last week to visit friends, and she installed herself nicely with a blanket, cuddly toy, snack and iPod/headphones for listening to stories.) I find drivers here are incredibly nice about bikes and trailers - I've not once felt spooked by a thoughtless driver, they all hang back until it's super safe to pass then give you acres of space as they overtake.

I can't see why our seat system won't work for years yet, as my then 9 yr old was riding around in it last year. He was a bit hunched up because the pegs and so on weren't sized for him, but it would be a simple matter to find new places to bolt them to as her legs grew, ending up with them being on the wheel like BMX stunt pegs. And it's a real conversation piece! Total strangers regularly stop me outside shops and ask where I 'bought' it.

Good luck finding a solution that works well.

kodokan
kodokan,
Love your solution! my daughter might not be ready for that yet - or not reliably so - but I like the idea.
my daughter, who is actually turning 4 next month, has her first big girl bike, but we're from a colder climate and she has not had much practice yet. (I was smitten with a cargo bike as well, but there are limits to the number of bikes I want to own as a family.)
for now I'll see what the local shops have and encourage my spouse to take a look at your adaptations. he's a mechanical engineer - maybe he can design something?
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Old 25.03.2010, 14:14
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Re: Child bike seat recommendations please

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If you can cope with the German, there was a test in the magazine Ktipp this week. Also comments about the better safety in a 'trailer'. Buy a copy Fr.3.50 at a kiosk.
We've got an OK Baby one. It came mid-range in the Ktipp tests at an overall rating of sufficient.

If you haven't used a bike seat before then you might find it a bit unnerving as it raises the centre of gravity and makes the whole riding experience a little wobbly. (If you have then you'll know what I mean )
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Old 25.03.2010, 14:23
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Re: Child bike seat recommendations please

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We've got an OK Baby one. It came mid-range in the Ktipp tests at an overall rating of sufficient.

If you haven't used a bike seat before then you might find it a bit unnerving as it raises the centre of gravity and makes the whole riding experience a little wobbly. (If you have then you'll know what I mean )
I have not used a bike seat for years, but I think I remember the sensation! it certainly will take some getting used to.
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Old 25.03.2010, 14:26
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Re: Child bike seat recommendations please

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these seats are awesome - and meet safety standards
http://www.britax-roemer.de/fahrrad-kindersitze

available all over the place here - but you might have luck getting one on ricardo.ch (swiss ebay - well more popular here)

e.g. ricardo link 1

or
ricardo link 2
Thanks very much!
I'll look out for a britax.
(I really want to handle one a bit before I commit.)
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Old 25.03.2010, 15:27
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Re: Child bike seat recommendations please

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I read a great travel article once where a family had taken their 8yr old and 6 yr old twins on a cycling touring holiday, doing 40-50km+ each day. It was in Holland, mind you...
I read something similar, did you see it in the Velo Vision magazine - a great publication on practical cycling and types of bikes that get ignored by the mainstream bike press. I think they'd be very interested in a write-up about your frankenbike version of an xtracycle. I'd also love a cargo bike or to convert my commuter using the xtracycle kit, but I just haven't been able to justify it to myself let alone my wife yet.

As for problems with loading a child of that size into a regular kid's bike seat then you can get super heavy-duty kick stands with two legs that could support the whole weight of the bike and child, giving you two hands with which to do the task instead of having to hold onto the bike with one.
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Old 02.08.2011, 22:58
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Re: Child bike seat recommendations please

I am interested in any recent thoughts on this?

Are there rules about min age for going on child seat or trailer in Switzerland?

Do anyone use those trailers like this;

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Adventure-Ch...317853&sr=1-37

I will have a 9month year old by the time we are out there and it warms up again. Are these trailers common and is it worth getting in UK first?

Thanks
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