Raising Bike Friendly Kids Part 2

Above: The Co-Motion Periscope Torpedo Tandem is a good solution for a variety sizes on the back.
Above: The Co-Motion Periscope Torpedo Tandem is a good solution for a variety sizes on the back.

By Ryan Barrett

In part one of this series, we discussed trailers, but what happens when your kids outgrow them — are you stuck, waiting for them to be able to keep up with you? Luckily not, there are a couple options to keep help them keep the pace.

The most common option is the Trail-a-Bike, which simply mounts to your seatpost and allows junior to pedal along behind you. As with the trailer, it’s well worth the extra money to buy quality if you plan to get some use out of it. They are foldable, so can be taken on trips and even the top end models are relatively inexpensive. The only real disadvantage of this set-up is that while the kid in the back is pedaling, it’s not really powering the bike. The flipside is that this allows the kid to coast while you pedal. Take that how you will!

If you are going all-in and plan on having loads of kids, like me, purchasing an adjustable tandem might be the way to go. With our Co-Motion Periscope Torpedo (pictured), I am able to adjust it to fit my six year old daughter at 4’1” and my wife at 5’3”, due to the telescoping seatpost and stem. There are two disadvantages to this bike- it’s really large and takes up a huge amount of space, and they ain’t cheap! From my vantage point, the money was pretty easy to justify with several more kids waiting to get big enough to ride the tandem. I can say that my daughter loves riding it and often asks me to take her for a ride.

From experience, riding the tandem feels far more connected than the Trail-a-Bike, but whether the monetary difference is worth that is up to the individual. Both are great options and will allow you a little more bike time, while not completely flaking on your familial duties. As with the trailer, the important part is to make it fun for the kids. Stopping at a park is mandatory on any of our longer, weekend rides, and I have found stopping to look at horses, wildlife, views, etc.

Weather is also a factor, dressing the kids appropriately can have a huge effect on on their (and therefore your) enjoyment of the ride- being hot always beats being cold!

Next time, we’ll discuss getting the kids out on their own bikes safely. Remember, having kids will change your training program, but it doesn’t mean you have to suck!

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