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Tag-a-long or own bike or both? Cyclists with toddlers come and give me your opinions!

(13 Posts)
Piffpaffpoff Thu 03-Sep-09 20:57:52

I'm looking for some opinions/advice/experiences about cycling with a young family.

I have two DCs, a 3yr old and a 1 yr old. DH and I are keen cyclists and so are keen to find the best way for us get out cycling together as a family.

My 3 yr old has just got his first proper bike with pedals (had a no-pedals Islabike Rothan for last 9 months which he loves, and goes far too fast ongrin) and he is doing really well riding it without stablisers. However, he is not that interested/confident in going very far at the moment and I don't want to push him too much in case I put him off.

He's getting too big and heavy for our trailer so I'm thinking about getting a tag-a-long so that we can all go out for longer rides together with the 1 yr old in a seat or trailer. In my head I have the notion that for longer rides he would sit on the tag-a-long but would go on his own bike for shorter trips to the park or nursery. However I'm not sure if this is good idea as he might get too used to being pulled along and then will never want to go on his own bike.

I don't particularly want to splash out on yet another thing that will never get used, but I'm desperate to get out riding together as a family. I don't want to get one of those bars that hooks a normal bike on -is it a Trailgator? - as I know from past experience with the Rothan and a trailer that he will just want on/off/on/off every 100m. Anyone got any experiences they can share? I don't mind if you tell me I'm wanting too much too soon!

blametheparents Fri 04-Sep-09 07:45:11

We have a trailgator for our DD. We have had it since she was 3, and she is 4 now. She loves it, and we always use it for longer rides, but it def does not stop her wanting to use her own bike 'all by myself'!
I think children have quite a strong sense of independence, and your DS will not want to be being pulled along by you forever.
As soon as we get to a destination, DD is off on her bike on her own, but she does relly enjoy being pulled along by Daddy when she is tired.

FWIW - I would not use a trailgator on the roads. I don't hitnk it is safe enough. We tend to use ours at parks, cycle routes etc. I don't think drivers look out enought for bikes, never mind bikes with a little person behind that is slightly out of the driver's line of sight, and not what they are expecting.

fartmeistergeneral Fri 04-Sep-09 08:21:01

My children are a bit older than yours (10 and 8) and we are keen cyclists too.

To be honest, we've never used any kind of trailgator (don't even know what it is, but can imagine). We just went on short journeys but frequently, until they were old enough to do longer ones.

I think you probably are wanting too much too soon, but we are all guilty of that! I think you can imagine the time when you all ride off together on a fab long journey - and that time will come!

Piffpaffpoff Fri 04-Sep-09 08:56:05

Thanks for your replies. I think I knew I wanted too much too soon! We'll perservere with his own bike then and see how that goes. Fortunately where we live we are on a great network of off-road paths and trails so I'll just take him out for short trips and see how we get on.

EleanoraBuntingCupcake Fri 04-Sep-09 09:04:56

we have a tag-a-long which is more stable that the trailgator. i use it on roads quite merrily. it takes a while for them to build up the stamina for long rides.

mimsum Fri 04-Sep-09 18:51:20

islabikes do a great tagalong - we had a tagalong for dd when she was 3 and have only recently stopped using it completely (she's now 6)

It was great when we wanted to go on a longer ride as when she got tired she could have a rest - it's amazing the difference it made when she pedalled too though! It also got her used to riding on the road. We did the London Skyride last year and although she's a very confident cyclist (riding without stabilisers since she was 3) there's no way she could have gone all that way (and back home again) under her own steam without flagging

I really wouldn't recommend a trailgator - not at all stable for either of you

bidibidi Fri 04-Sep-09 18:58:46

Childback Tandem. Blows every other option away. We have a Thorn one off Ebay.

Don't dismiss trailer so early, I still bung my 7 yo in trailer occasionally for short trips.

If tandem not an option, TRailgator worked ok 4 us (on roads, too) but proper trailer bike would be better.

littlemisschatalot Sat 05-Sep-09 18:18:11

we are a cycling family and have 2 ds. 3 and 5. they have both had rothans and rode bikes without stablilzers from 2.8mths. (islabikes again!) we use trailgators for big rides although the 3 yr old can do about 6 miles without as long as its fairly smooth forest track. the 5 yr old has a beinnn20 islabikes so now too big to trailgator. he can do about 12 miles of off road mountain biking on his own. the trailgaotors have been fab and we have really pushed them to their limit in terms of the type of tracks we ahve used them on....very bumpy red runs at forest cycling centres/fast downhills. i would recommend definatly. as for wanting to be on/off the trailgaotor, this was never really an issue. hth

bigTillyMint Sat 05-Sep-09 18:21:03

My friends used a special attachment pole for their child's bike - you could join it onto a normal childs bike and then put it on your crossbar when they didn't need it - it seemed to work really well.

Anifrangapani Sat 05-Sep-09 18:21:09

We have a tagalong for longer rides and a small bike for the park/ garden/ leaving in the laundry to trip over. DS loves both.

isittooearlyforgin Sat 05-Sep-09 18:24:53

my dh has a tagalong for dd and she is very much the driving force - she powers him along and he says he feels the difference - she is very independent though!

Wallace Sun 13-Sep-09 20:06:53

I have just bought a trailgator for my 3 year old ds.

I am fed up of sprinting along behind him while he cycles.

I reckon it will be good for riding to school (2 min ride) and riding to the woods then letting him go!

I have been struggling to attach it though...

inVlanderen Wed 16-Sep-09 18:49:48

Piffpaff, if you get a tag-on bike you eldest can easily use that for longer journies for another 2 years or longer, at which point he will be hopefully old enough to bike on his own and the little one will take over it. For the moment you can put your youngest on a front mounted child seat (so you can fit the tag-on on the same bike at the same time).

This worked for me.

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