If you have been researching ways to take your child with you on bike rides, specifically when they are unable to ride a bike themselves, you may have been confronted with two options: the bike trailer and the bike seat.
But which one is better? What’s the difference, and what will work best for you? This article will help you make an informed decision when it comes to bringing your little ones with you on your weekend bike rides.
What are bike trailers and bike seats?
When it comes to taking kids along on bike rides, there are two main types of seats that can be used: trailers and seats. A bike seat is designed to hold a child in place either on the front or back of the bike.
They tend to come with padded backrests and a secure seatbelt. The seat also has a footrest so that the rider doesn’t fall off during the ride.
On the other hand, a bike trailer is a type of bicycle attachment that holds a child in place while being towed behind the cyclist. It is a frame attached to a wheeled base. Both serve different purposes and can be used in different situations.
Bike Trailers For Infants And Toddlers
There are bike trailers available in an assortment of shapes, sizes, and weights, with some capable of hauling up to 125 pounds.
There are a few different types of bike trailers including double-seated trailers, trailers that double as a pushchair, and the single-seated mesh top trailer. Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of using a bike trailer.
- Easy to use – Unlike a bike seat, a bike trailer is easy to attach to the bike. When purchasing a bike trailer it comes with all the necessary attachments needed to attach it to your bike. Once the attachment is installed it is easy to take the trailer on and off the back of the bike meaning you can still ride without the trailer.
- Comfortable – Bike trailers provide comfort and protection for children as well as allowing parents to enjoy their bike rides more. With the added safety and security provided by a bike trailer, riding becomes safer for both the parent and child.
- Can carry multiple children – Some bike trailers allow riders to carry multiple children at once. This makes them ideal for families who want to go out on group bike rides together or if you plan on going on trips where you want to bring the whole family.
- Safe – All bike trailers are equipped with safety features such as brakes and locks. These prevent any accidents from happening.
- Convenient – You don’t need to worry about providing extra bags and storage, most trailers come with places to store water bottles and snacks. Just grab your bike and head out!
- Costly – Compared to a bike seat, many bike trailers cost between $200-$400 making them quite expensive. However, this does not mean that they aren’t worth the money. Many people do find that they are worth every penny spent.
- Limited space – Most bike trailers are only suitable for small children, however, some are able to accommodate larger children too. If you have a big kid then you may want to consider getting a bigger trailer.
We talk more about the safe age limit for using a bike trailer over here.
Bike Seats For Infants &And Toddlers
A bike seat is a great way to transport your child when cycling because it provides safety and comfort for the child. There are two types of bike seats, these are front-mounted seats and rear-mounted seats. We’re going to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both.
These front-mounted seats or commonly called “shotgun bike seats” are designed to fit over the handlebars so that the rider sits directly behind the child. These are suitable for children aged between 9 months and 2 years and can only hold a weight of up to 30 pounds.
- Best for younger kids – Front-mounted seats are best suited for smaller kids who weigh less than 30 pounds. They also offer a lot of stability which means there is less chance of falling off and injuring themselves.
- Easy to attach & remove – Attaching and removing a front-mounted seat is very simple. The seat attaches to the bars via straps. Once attached simply slide the seat onto the bars and tighten the straps. It’s as easy as that!
- Children can be seen – Because these seats are installed at the front of the bike in front of the rider, you can keep an eye on children for the whole journey without any worry about what may be happening behind you.
- Views – Sitting at the front of the bike has other advantages. Your child will be able to see the amazing views whilst on your bike ride.
- Not suitable for older kids – Front-mounted bikes seats are only suitable for children under 3 years old. Older children may struggle to sit still long enough for the seat to stay put. Also, the lack of a backrest may make it hard for older kids to rest comfortably.
These are designed to sit at the back of the bike resting on the rack above the back wheel so that the rider sits slightly in front of the child. These are better suited to older kids who weigh up to 70 pounds.
- Suitable for older kids – Rear-mounted seats are more suitable for older kids. With a weight allowance of up to 70 pounds, rear-mounted seats can hold children of up to around 5 years old.
- Safety – Rear-mounted seats provide greater protection for the child by preventing them from falling backward. In addition, they prevent the child from being thrown forwards if they fall off.
- Comfort – A rear-mounted seat offers more support for the child. This makes it easier for them to sit still for longer periods of time.
- Views – As with front-mounted seats, sitting at the back of the bicycle gives children a clear view of the scenery.
- Difficult to install – Installing and removing a rear-mount seat requires a bit of effort. Not ideal if you don’t have much experience or confidence with DIY.
Both types of bike seats have their pros and cons and both are suitable for different age groups. We hope you are able to use this guide to identify whether a bike seat or bike trailer would be more suitable for your child.
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