19 July 2011

Hack request: Biking with baby

Family Biking: Cycle in with this gear (The Oregonian)

Torsten Kjellstrand/The Oregonian

Portland is a bike-ridin' town. Plenty of families use bicycles as their major source of transportation. But even if you're just a joyrider with your family -- around town, while traveling -- having the right gear on board makes the whole experience easier, safer, and more enjoyable for everyone.

On Twitter, @robust_ly recently asked:

Any hacks for biking with baby? Older than six months, younger than twelve.

Parenthackers on Twitter replied with enthusiasm, and I will be summarizing those replies in a separate post. But for now, I ask those of you who ride with your baby or toddler:

  • What's your favorite biking-with-baby gear (bike attachments, actual bikes, helmets, trailers, seats, etc.)?
  • What about clothing and outerwear?
  • Any tips for biking safely and comfortably?

Send your tips to hacks@parenthacks.com with the subject line BIKING WITH BABY and I will post forthwith!

Your comments

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I've seen in park slope separate stroller connection to a bike, that babies can lounge in as the parent is biking around. It's very cute!

I was under the impression that you are not supposed to put a child under the age of 12-months on any sort of bicycle. Their small bodies cannot handle all the bouncing and helmets for that size are hard (if not impossible) to find. A quick google search confirms this:


That link mentions that in some states it's even illegal to have a baby on a bicycle.

We have a Burley Bike trailer -- a double one called a d'lite -- that can carry two kids and up to 100 lbs in all. You don't have quite the same close connection with a trailer as with an on-bike seat, but the trailer is safer, in that it doesn't necessarily crash if/when the bike does. You just have to make sure to make it very visible (it comes with a bright orange flag), when riding in any traffic. We've used it really successfully and the kids seem to enjoy it -- and even fall asleep. Burley also offers conversion kits so it can be used as a jogging/walking stroller, as well, which makes it more useable. BTW, it's not that hard to haul, as, once you get some momentum up, it rolls along pretty well.

One of the high end bike trailer companies doesn't recommend biking with babies.


Get a Madsen! (http://madsencycles.com) Our kids are 2 and 4, so the seats and seatbelts work great, but I've seen someone hack it with a baby seat http://www.flickr.com/photos/totcycle/3692335943/in/photostream/

We put our 6-12 month old in an infant car seat (rear-facing) in our double Burley Honeybee trailer. I was incredibly nervous the first several times, but he seemed fine and would go to sleep immediately.

We also strapped our baby seat into our trailer with straps and bungy cords and did just fine. I would say taking this action that YOU accept the risk and act accordingly. We were very careful - this was only for rides on quiet streets, etc. I'm sure the manufacturer does not recommend it. Daughter is 3 now and still loves her nearly daily rides to the grocery and elsewhere in the trailer. I will say, we have tipped the trailer over on one occasion which was VERY scary, but no harm done to DD because of being securely strapped in.

dd2 just turned 1 and has been in the trailer since about 9 or 10 months. We got her a Nutcase helmet, specifically the "itty bitty", and I got one for myself also, then put the thickest foam from mine into hers (they use velcro yay!) and yes it's a little bit loose but she does ok with it. I'm confident in an accident it would do its job well. We also ride in a Burley D'Lite, very easy to pull even with 2 kids and a bunch of stuff (I call it my big purse lol). The manufacturer recommends a child be at least 12 mos, but in CA there's no legal minimum age and she's strong. We ride only on the trail gently and regularly have her checked by our chiropractor :)

Babies' skulls are too soft to handle the weight of a helmet, and it is irresponsible to risk a head injury in your child just to take them on a "fun" bike ride for you. Have some patience and wait until they are 12 months old and can safely wear a properly-fitted helmet.

bayan partner istanbul Babies' skulls are too soft to handle the weight of a helmet, and it is irresponsible to risk a head injury bayan partner istanbul in your child just to take them on a "fun" bike ride for you. Have some patience and wait bayan partner istanbul until they are 12 months old and can safely wear a properly-fitted helmet.

MG... I don't know how much patience you're talking about... I have two kids, two years apart. If we're talking no baby on a bike and no biking while pregnant, that's FOUR consecutive years not being able to use my bike.

Are cars really that much safer? Because not being able to bring my children by bike means that I am constantly driving even for short distances.

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