Towing/carrying kids

Phil

Maximum Pace
#1
A questions for the parents obviously, but I'm wondering if any of you have any direct experiences towing/portaging kids on road bikes?

From cursory research there seem to be three styles options:

1. Attach kid seat via beam to seatpost
2. Towed trailer, attached via seatpost/brake bridge(?)
3. Fake "bike", with one wheel only, attached by bar to seatpost (for slightly older kids).

Are these all the possibilities? Any experiences, positive or negative, with any of these, specifically with respect to road bikes (no kickstand, horizontal TT, etc)? Availability in Japan?

Open ended questions I know, but not was just wandering about options...

Thanks in advance.
 
Oct 15, 2010
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#2
Haven't tried any of the above. Mama chari is the best option I reckon. My oldest is 6 and getting him a geared MTB for Christmas. Was temped to get him a 22'' or 24'' Fuji or Louis Garneau, but it was not meant to be.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
#4
I used to have a Rhodes Gear carrier that slid, snapped onto my old Blackburn rack on my MTB, worked really well.

I tow a trailer for my deliveries, it would be fine for a longer trip, but around town, no way, people here just do NOT see the trailer, I have people step on it, into it and crash into it all the time, not such a big deal with just cases of beer in the trailer, but with you kids in there, no thanks!

Cheers!
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#8
1) Tried this - but good only until kid was about 10kg max. unstable at best.
2) Couldn't find one in Japan, and afraid that the low profile would be 'Taxi Bait' at best.
3) Have this now - I call it the 'Buddy Bike' - at 3yrs old + pretty ok, except my kid tends to fall asleep at the wheel. Ugh!

When my daughter was newborn until appx 1yr I used to ride with her bundled up on my chest in a sling. That worked out fine until she was more mobile and heavier.

Then moved her to a front carry chair. Our mama-chari has front smaller wheel so its quite well balanced. The iBert seemed to me the best solution - and for our next one - this is what I'll get.

For higher performance rides - put her in a rear rack mounted chair on a Hybrid - and for some time on my fixed gear.

I also experimented with a top-tube saddle.Actually my daughter liked this the best. I saw this first in a pic of Eddy Merckx carrying his son like this. And in Italy they had these nifty top tube bolt on saddles just for kids. The kid hangs onto the bars and put their feet on the down tube - or a clamp-on foot rest there. As recently, I've carried my 5yo daughter like this on my carbon road bike. Just wrap a towel around the top tube and she is good for around 5-10km.

A questions for the parents obviously, but I'm wondering if any of you have any direct experiences towing/portaging kids on road bikes?

From cursory research there seem to be three styles options:

1. Attach kid seat via beam to seatpost
2. Towed trailer, attached via seatpost/brake bridge(?)
3. Fake "bike", with one wheel only, attached by bar to seatpost (for slightly older kids).

Are these all the possibilities? Any experiences, positive or negative, with any of these, specifically with respect to road bikes (no kickstand, horizontal TT, etc)? Availability in Japan?

Open ended questions I know, but not was just wandering about options...

Thanks in advance.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#9
I also experimented with a top-tube saddle.Actually my daughter liked this the best. I saw this first in a pic of Eddy Merckx carrying his son like this. And in Italy they had these nifty top tube bolt on saddles just for kids. The kid hangs onto the bars and put their feet on the down tube - or a clamp-on foot rest there. As recently, I've carried my 5yo daughter like this on my carbon road bike. Just wrap a towel around the top tube and she is good for around 5-10km.

Thats exactly how I take my boy to Kindergarten. I feel its the safest method as he is fully enclosed by me and if we crash or get hit my body is protecting him. Also the bike is more stable as the weight is pretty much over the BB exactly where you want it.

http://www.discountbicycles.co.uk/accessories/childseats/lecoseat.jpg
 
Dec 31, 2009
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Matsumoto
#10
I used the Burly Solo, great product~
I did notice my son fell asleep as soon as he was inside.
One person told me this is bad for them and could cause autism. ????
I dont believe this, but it made me wonder. Now my son is older and I think about how much I payed and how much I actually used it. You are better off getting a babysitter!
Plus I would not recommend a trailer for city use.
 

trad

Maximum Pace
Dec 4, 2006
393
30
48
Tokyo
#12
In the US, I used the Burley trailers or kids bike seat that attached to the rack when kids were young, and used a trail a bike when they were a bit older.

In Tokyo, I would not use the trailer. The orange flags are marginal at best - particulary in traffic.

Re trail a bike - i believe these are not legal in Japan except for Nagano pref. I was going to bring one of my tandems to Japan and researched this a bit, and learned that for some reason, tandems are not legal on the roads except for Nagano (ok in controlled areas - like koukyo on sundays).
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#13
For what it's worth. The local Koban guys just smile and say omoshiroii desyo! But, yes, there is some funky blue law about tandem bikes. Probably because the bike laws were written at the same time they forced the bikes ONTO the sidewalks! So to make it work, they just outlawed tandems as being too bulky. Same thing as always injapan. If they don't like it, they outlaw it.

FE , that's exactly the thing I was looking for! It would be great to have a softclamp version and maybe a little broader support along the tube. Hmmmm, carbon....
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#14
Thanks for all the interesting info guys. Never knew that top tube saddle thing existed; it looks like it might be perfect on the Aquila. Will definitely look into that option...

Lot of narrow, busy inaka roads where we are, so yeah, trailers and whatnot that are towed would be pretty limiting. It does look like just getting a "papa"-chari would be the easiest/cheapest option.

Anyone know if the seatposts in mama-charis are standard 27.2? If they are I'd have half a chance of getting one to fit.
 

Desune

Speeding Up
May 7, 2008
64
0
26
Tokyo
#17
The iBert seemed to me the best solution - and for our next one - this is what I'll get.
Being attached onto the back of the handlebars, doesn't that make turning and balancing more difficult? Also, doesn't the kid get in the way of pedaling?

The Lecoseat seat also looks like it might interfere with your knees.


Here's another variation: A bit more complicated; It attaches to a separate bar affixed between the head and seat tubes. This one is interesting in that it actually has a padded "platform" for your child to rest their cheek on when they fall asleep.
http://www.amazon.com/WeeRide-Kangaroo-Child-Bike-Seat/dp/B000FIH0EG



My brother back in the States had a trailer that attached to a part on the rear axle. I tried it once. It was fine for parks and cycling roads, but on Tokyo sidewalks, probably not mobile enough.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#19
Being attached onto the back of the handlebars, doesn't that make turning and balancing more difficult? Also, doesn't the kid get in the way of pedaling?.
The iBert does effect handling as all the weight is on the front wheel, not good!

Having the child on the top tube doesn't really get in the way of pedaling, my boy is four - he's pretty big and I do have to bow my legs a little. However this is because he is sitting directly on the top tube with his feet resting on the bottle cage on the down tube. With the childs seat I pictured installed he would be a lot more forward with his legs further up and would not get in the way.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
914
294
83
Tokyo
#20
I was going to bring one of my tandems to Japan and researched this a bit, and learned that for some reason, tandems are not legal on the roads except for Nagano (ok in controlled areas - like koukyo on sundays).
Just this afternoon I saw a Bike Friday tandem going along Nakahara kaidō (Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo), together with cars, motorbikes and the rest.

I hope for the sake of the riders that not many people stare at them and their tandem as I did, incredulously.