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How to Commute by Bicycle with Kids in Tow

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April 24, 2012

Commuting by bike is a wonderful way to get active, keep green, and enjoy the great outdoors.  If you live in an area where the weather is acceptable, commuting by bike can be incredibly liberating.  The best types of bikes for commuting are an upscaled version of a beach cruiser with gears. All you need is a pair of bloomers (that can be worn under your street clothes), a stylish cup holder, and a basket. That’s it  As long as the bike commute is under 10 miles each way, you should be good to go.

But what if you’re a mom trying to get around on a bike? It’s actually easy to take the baby, with many options starting at six months of age.  The general rule of thumb is that your child needs to be able to hold his own head up and preferably be able to wear a helmet. Then just pick the best option that suits you:

Front Mount

The first option for carrying your child is a front mounted child carrier.  These bike seats attach to your handlebars and can carry a child up to 38 pounds.  Essentially, the seat can keep your child happy up until age 3 or 4 depending on the size of your child.  They truly love that style of riding because they can see everything from a high viewpoint.

Rear Mount

Another option is for a similar attachment to the back of the bike.  These rear attaching bicycle seats work in the same fashion as the front, and are good for children up to 40 pounds.


My favorite option is the “Burley” style of bike carrier.  These child carriers work both as a jogging trailer as well as bicycle carrier.  They are a bit pricier in the $300 dollar range, but are well worth their money in child comfort and in longevity.  These carriers, if you buy a double, can last multiple years.  It’s likely that older children can ride in it until they are at least seven years old.  It can also double as a grocery carrier with one child, if mom was up for a workout.  The trailer plus a child can range up to 50-100 pounds, which may limit how far you choose to travel.  H


When your child can ride their own bike, they would be ready for a tag-a-long attachment.  These are fun, but, will require more skill of the driver.  If the child is at all wobbly, it takes a bit of practice to control the bicycle.  In addition, tag-a-longs work great when there are multiple children on a ride.  The oldest child gets the tag-along and the younger one can sit in a different seat.

The best part of bike riding with your kids is the message you are sending to them.  If they grow up watching you be active, it is highly likely that they will want to be active as well.

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