Bicycling with children on a trailer bike


A trailer bike (trail-a-bike) is a great way to get kids out who are big enough to want to ride, but not ready to go on their own.

If you’ve been bicycling with your children in a trailer, and are wondering if she is big enough to graduate to a trailer bike, chances are – maybe. Everything depends on your child, but most children will be ready to move onto a trailer bike by about age 3 or 4, at least for short rides. Some kids at that age will be able to ride across the country on a trailer bike!

A trailer bike (tag-along, trail-a-bike) can make bicycling with children a delight for everyone involved. A one-wheeled machine that hooks on to your bike, a trailer bike is perfect for small kids who are big enough to reach the pedals. If she can ride it, she will love helping you pedal and being part of a team.

There are both pros and cons for the trailer bike. Consider them carefully:

Advantages of a trailer bike:

  • Your child will struggle and sweat right along with you as you climb hills together as a team. When you reach the top, she will rejoice in the success – she knows she is not dead weight.
  • She can pedal when she wants. On the trailer bike, her pedals are independent of yours, so your child can pedal when she wants and take a break when she’s tired.

Disadvantages of a trailer bike:

  • You will have to plan for rain or other inclement weather more carefully. In the trailer, it is easy to protect the child but is much more difficult on the trailer bike.
  • Just like being lulled to sleep in a car, your child can easily fall asleep on her trailer bike. If you feel a jerking on your bike – stop!
  • Cheaper trailer bikes do not come with gears, which means she will not be able to pedal going up hills. If you want to do any serious riding, you’ll need to get gears on the trailer bike and teach her to use them.

Most likely, your child will love cycling with you on her trailer bike. It’ll be a joy for both of you!

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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