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Cycling with toddler

(32 Posts)
Spudlet Tue 30-May-17 10:25:28

Apologies if there are typos, my hands are still shaking...

Up until today I used a wee ride front seat for DS. However, this wasn't ideal as my knees kept hitting it and DS was getting too wriggly. So picked up a Hamax Siesta this weekend and have just fitted it. And well. Fucking hell. The bike started fish tailing straight off and I only just stayed upright, and we turned around and hadn't to walk home blushsad

So. Any tips on using a rear seat safely please?!

Spudlet Tue 30-May-17 11:32:29

Anyone...?

So I've pulled the seat as far forward as it will go on the rack and have just made it to the shop and back minus DS. Carried 8 pints of milk, a loaf of bread and a tin of beans in the seat on the return journey and was generally ok, there was some fishtailing but it was v minor. However DS is a lot heavier than all that lot so I'm feeling pretty scared about getting him back on there right now, to be honest! Not really sure what to do for the best. sad

FlaviaAlbia Thu 01-Jun-17 05:53:09

That sounds scary spudlet flowers I'm not sure I'm much help as I don't get on with a rear seat on my normal bike. DS is three and is too heavy for me and the bike is tippy.
I've got a long tail with a double kickstand that I can carry him on a rear rack. It's a beast of a bike but more stable.

Spudlet Thu 01-Jun-17 08:25:31

Thank you, moral support is also always welcome!

I've given up on the rear seat - I tried it on my step through and the frame flexed too much. I tried it on my other bike, which is a bloke's frame, and it sat too far behind the rear axle for stability - plus I struggled to get my leg over the top tube (fnarr fnarr).

So now I've put the front seat onto the step through, which still makes my knees stick out but it's less bothersome on there. It sits a bit lower too so is even more stable. So I'm going to see if I can get used to it. We're going to try the rear seat on DHs bike, which might cope better as it's a fair bit bigger than mine, and if that fails - eBay it again.

If I can't manage the wee ride on this bike I might have to get a trailer, or even a long tail bike although that would mean selling my own two. Which would be sad as the step through was my 21st birthday present.

Kids! Who'd have them? Bloody expensive little buggers, and they send your bike wobbly and scare the bejaysus out of you grin

drspouse Thu 01-Jun-17 10:09:04

There must be something wrong with the way it's attached - my Hamax Sleepy only wobbles when DD makes it wobble!

I'm just bumping my other thread on a similar topic and I'll attach a photo.

FlaviaAlbia Thu 01-Jun-17 10:33:47

It was my step through I was using it on too, the front was too articulated and I hated it with the seat on, it felt so unsafe.

I had the same problem as you with straight frames, I can't support the bikes weight with DS in and get my leg over the bar at the same time.

We've got a trailer too and it's brilliant, I thought it would feel more unsafe before I tried them but it really doesn't. Plus it rains so much here it's handy!

MarvinKMooney Thu 01-Jun-17 10:40:29

A bike definitely handles differently with a child seat on the back. I remember it feeling very strange to begin with - lots of fishtailing when pushing off! But I soon got used to it and had no problems and used it for nearly 4 years (had a hamax kiss). Perhaps persevere for a bit and see if it improves?

I had a weeride for precisely one week: kept catching the inside of my knees on the seat and had bruises to die for! Couldn't get a position where it worked for me so I sold it and went for a rear seat instead.

drspouse Thu 01-Jun-17 10:41:13

Some of the other nursery parents use trailers but I'm always worried about traffic - we do have to go along a main road briefly and cross one as well. I just worry that DD wouldn't be seen in a trailer.

Spudlet Thu 01-Jun-17 11:01:04

Thanks all, and thanks for bumping that thread!

I think the problem is with my bike. It's just not strong enough and the frame flexes. The wee ride kind of obscures it, but it's a real step through frame, the kind you could ride in a long skirt (I have!) so it's just not braced enough, I think. The wee ride isn't too bad on it though - it was on my other bike as the step through was on an extended holiday with my mum, so I hadn't tried it on this one before now.

It's annoying but short of replacing a bike - which I'd rather not do - I think the wee ride is my best solution for now. That said, my BiL is going to lend us his old seat (not sure what the make is) so we'll give that a try in a couple of weeks when we see them next.

GwendolynMary Thu 01-Jun-17 11:13:06

Would a luggage rack on the back (under the seat) help distribute the weight better?

We have Yepp seats, and they seem to work better with the luggage rack option on my bike than the seat post one for our other child on DH's bike. Feels less like the seat will snap off, if nothing else!

Spudlet Thu 01-Jun-17 11:22:55

The seat sits on a rack, in fact I'm just about to pop out and put the old rack back onto my step through and the seat rack onto DHs bike (I'm going to be ready to set up as a bike mechanic at this rate!). I just think it's too heavy for the frame to take, it's a really heavy bit of kit and DS weighs 13kg on top of that. The only thing that helped a bit was sticking four pints of milk in the basket but it didn't feel good even with that.

Sorry if I'm sounding really negative, I do appreciate everyone taking the time to post!

drspouse Thu 01-Jun-17 11:23:17

Oh gosh, you don't have a back luggage rack. I didn't realise. You'll see mine has. I do think that would help as Gwendolyn says.

BikeRunSki Thu 01-Jun-17 11:35:11

This sounds very odd. How old/heavy is your DS? I cycled with DS in a Hamax Sleepy on a hardtail mountain bike (men's style frame) until he was about 3, when he got too heavy, which made the seat bounce.

Are you using the proper Hamax attachment?

BikeRunSki Thu 01-Jun-17 11:37:46

Sorry, I see you've posted your DS's weight. What's the weight limit on the seat?

drspouse Thu 01-Jun-17 11:41:50

The Siesta is 22kg but she hasn't used it with her DS yet.

Spudlet Thu 01-Jun-17 11:52:34

I do have the proper Hamax rack, and I did attach it properly. It's not on the bike at present as I've taken it back off.

It wasn't too bad, in the end, with the seat pulled right forward on the rack and a counter weight in the basket, but it still didn't feel safe at all. We have a fair bit of heavy agricultural traffic on our route - enough that I don't want to be wobbling along with DS. And although it felt better (this was with DS on board) it wasn't so good that I felt confident enough to try a hill - and although we're in Norfolk, we have a couple of little ones around here. So all in all, I just can't see it working on my bike - I don't think it's going to be stable enough. However, I'll give BiLs a go as a different make might work better, perhaps?

VeryPunny Thu 01-Jun-17 12:02:47

I have a Hamas Kiss, I think, which attaches to the down tube (well, the bit that the saddle post goes into....). DD was fine on it at 3 and a bit, and she's quite sturdy. Is it worth getting another pair of eyes to check the installation? This is on a Dawes Horizon, so a tourer type geometry

That said, I preferred taking my two in the trailer as the whole rig seemed more stable (the trailer stayed upright when I fell off after clipping one of those dividing lane bollards in the middle of th cycle path). I would stick a bazillion and one flags and blinkenlighten on the trailer if you are worried about visibility. I've used mine all around Cambridge and it's fine, but people are more used to them here.

My two are too heavy for me to tow them in the double trailer for any distance now but have bought a Followme and hope to use that plus the Hamax to get both of them around.

wheresthel1ght Thu 01-Jun-17 12:09:05

We have a hama seat on dps bike, I simply can't hold the bike with dd on it as I am not strong enough. Ours has a mount on the upright saddle part and then 2 long metal poles that lock in, the seat sort of floats rather than sitting on a luggage rack (sorry I am not a cyclist). Dp did say it meant he had to alter his normal riding position and it is on his roughty toughty mountain bike but they managed very well around our local mountain bike trail place at the weekend.

Is it definitely mounted correctly? It sounds like either you are not strong enough to manage the extra weight or it is the wrong sort for your bike. Do you have somewhere like Evans Cycles near you as we have found them excellent for advice

drspouse Thu 01-Jun-17 12:29:52

I am pretty pathetic and unsporty and I don't find the Hamax unwieldy. DD is about 12 kg. I have a Trek hybrid. The only issue is when she decides to liven things up by swaying from side to side!

1981trouble Thu 01-Jun-17 12:54:51

The yepp seats are excellent - I think there is one that goes in front of the handlebars too (I might be imagining that).

Otherwise, the trailers are worth their money if you do a lot of pottering around.

NorthernLurker Thu 01-Jun-17 12:55:44

Is that a Dawes red feather? It is a very light frame. I used to have one. The seat I used was a Dutch one on my gazelle, rack mounted. I used that till dd3 was 7! I think you've got the wrong seat for your bike. I would go to a shop that specialises in family cycling and see what they say. Trailers are actually safer than seats, they can be seen and you don't have the same distance to Fall, that you do for kids in seats,

FlaviaAlbia Thu 01-Jun-17 12:56:14

I've got the flag and I use see sense lights on the back dr but I don't go along main roads, there's cycle routes from my house to most places we'd go thankfully.

Spudlet Thu 01-Jun-17 17:26:28

Do you know Northern, I've just been into my local bike shop and had just that conversation about the Red Feather! I agree, I think it's just too weedy for that seat.

So, I'm going to stick with the wee ride for now. If DH works from home tomorrow, we'll take it for a longer ride and see how we go. Hopefully it will do us a bit longer, then I'll think about a different seat / different bike / both!

DHs bike is much sturdier than mine so I reckon the Hamax will have to be a Daddy seat 😕

Spudlet Fri 02-Jun-17 11:47:37

Ooookay. One last update and a thank you, then I'll bugger off and stop boring everyone grin

Did an experimental ride with the set up in the pic. The various tracking apps on my phone disagree as to the length (🙄) - Strava reckons 8 miles rack way, health app reckons 9.5 miles total. Either way - further than normal and far enough to challenge unfit me! It was... ok. The bandy legged thing was no bother, I wasn't wearing shorts so my legs weren't being bruised. The only two issues were than when we went through a cloud of flies, poor DS got a face full shock and did not like it (fair enough!). And towards the end, when he got tired, he was grabbing at my arms and hands which made steering fun. But all in all, I'd call it a success so the plan is, stick with the Wee Ride for now and save up for a sturdier bike that can take a rear seat for when he's bigger. And teach him to ride his own bike asap grin

Thank you from me and DS (who does like his front seat, flies notwithstanding!) and if you see a wobbly woman with big old panniers on the bike and a smiley boy in front, give us a wave cos it's megrin

drspouse Fri 02-Jun-17 11:58:24

I find that DD says "IT'S REALLY WINDY MUMMY" even when on the back, and yesterday on the way home from nursery she fell asleep sideways which didn't make for great balance...

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