Author Topic: Need advice on bike and kid carrier for work commute  (Read 2063 times)

ysette9

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Need advice on bike and kid carrier for work commute
« on: January 30, 2017, 03:51:16 PM »
Hi all! My husband just started a new, seemingly great job. One of the fantastic things about it is that his new office is only 5 miles from home. He is talking seriously about getting a bike to bike to work every day. I need to pick your smart brains for some collective recommendations. 

  • What is a good type of bike for commuting reasonable distances? I'm thinking a hybrid would be good. I have an old road bike I got long ago when I would do a 13-mile-each-way commute to work and it just isn't practical for anything else. Personally I'd like something that is more upright, with straight handlebars, and more versatility.
  • What recommendations do you have for a kid carrier for the bike? Our toddler is 2.5 and daycare is about a mile from home. We want something that is large enough for her to grow in but not too big that it would encumber the commute sans-baby.
  • What recommendations do you have for being safe on the road with a kid on the bike? The route is all neighborhood streets, but there is no bike lane and my husband says people on the road can be aggressive in the morning.

Mostly unrelated: this talk of him biking has me day dreaming about how cool it would be for me to do the same. My work is more like 15 miles though, some of that on gravel paths. It seems like an electric bike might do the trick, but that seems like a steep investment. Any thoughts?

waltworks

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Re: Need advice on bike and kid carrier for work commute
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2017, 08:00:17 PM »
1. Whatever bike fits/is comfortable and can be equipped with basic fenders/racks. This probably means a mountain bike or hybrid rather than a road bike. $50 worth of tires will turn any bike into a pretty decent townie.

2. Get a trailer. Burly, Chariot, etc. They are all pretty equivalent (go Chariot if you're trying to use the trailer as a stroller/ski trailer/etc). These show up on CL/used all the time as kids outgrow them, but they are well worth retail price if you are committed to using the trailer for a few years. Kid will outgrow at 5 or so, and you will have to rethink your strategy.

Oh, and get a double, even if you don't want another kid. You can fit a lot of groceries in there!

3. WIND SOCK! Seriously, get the biggest, most gaudy windy sock/flags/goofy shit you can find and attach them to the trailer. Drivers are better behaved around a kid trailer (and your neighbors will recognize you after a few weeks) but it doesn't hurt to be visible AND goofy/funny so they're smiling while they give you plenty of room.

Do it!

-W

damyst

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Re: Need advice on bike and kid carrier for work commute
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2017, 10:55:08 PM »
We want something that is large enough for her to grow in but not too big that it would encumber the commute sans-baby.
Can you clarify the encumbrance part - could you just leave the trailer at the daycare and continue without it? That's what we do. Or are you considering a different type of carrier, one that doesn't easily detach?

jac941

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Re: Need advice on bike and kid carrier for work commute
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2017, 11:38:11 PM »
1. A hybrid or mountain bike with slick tires. Add fenders, racks, and lights and you're in business.

2. A trailer you can leave at school is easy. Chariot double or Burley D'Lite (this is the most high end Burley) will last you a while - both have suspension and fit 2 average size 5 year olds. The Burley D'Lite has more space and the seats collapse to make a large cargo area; the Chariot has a nicer easier to use hitch and is easier to find used. You need a safe storage place though -- trailers are impossible to lock securely without disassembling them.

If a trailer doesn't suit you, a Yepp or BoBike baby seat will work for a while and when your kid is older you can switch to a junior seat, a trailer bike, or your kid riding her own bike (my 4 year old rides a mile in about 10-15 min).

3. Flags and lights. Don't skimp. I have a flag, some battery operated waterproof LED Christmas lights all over the trailer, monkey lights on the wheels, and 2 cygolight flashers on the handlebar. The thing is lit up -- I get comments all the time on how well lit it is. It's so outlandish, it makes people smile, so they're less aggressive and don't try to kill me (and my kids) as much.

Sounds like you need an electric mountain bike too ;-)

ysette9

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Re: Need advice on bike and kid carrier for work commute
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2017, 04:08:19 PM »
Thanks, all, for the replies! I'm passing them on to my husband.

Quote
Can you clarify the encumbrance part - could you just leave the trailer at the daycare and continue without it? That's what we do. Or are you considering a different type of carrier, one that doesn't easily detach?

I had envisioned some kind of plastic seat that would attach to either the front or back of the bike. The reason a trailer wouldn't work is that my husband does drop-off and I do pick-up. That would me he tow the trailer around behind him to and from work (daycare is only about a mile from home) which seems inefficient. There wouldn't be a way for me to get the trailer home again from daycare if he dropped it off there. At least with an attached seat he could ride his bike with it empty (preferable), or if it was light and easily snapped on and off, I could throw it in the trunk in the afternoon when I pick the kid up.

An idea world would have us get a trailer and both bike, but that isn't likely to happen on my end for some time to come.

waltworks

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Re: Need advice on bike and kid carrier for work commute
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2017, 06:02:58 PM »
Chariot can be converted to a stroller in about 45 seconds. He could drop it off, then you could pick up and walk home in stroller mode.

-W

jac941

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Re: Need advice on bike and kid carrier for work commute
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2017, 08:26:45 PM »
The Yepp seat is easy on easy off. It would do what you're looking for.

powersuitrecall

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Re: Need advice on bike and kid carrier for work commute
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2017, 02:06:28 PM »
We are in a similar situation (daycare/school is within a mile and work is within 5 miles) and here's what we do.  I drop off the kids on our family bike (which is a mountain bike + chariot in the winter, Yuba Mundo cargo bike in the spring/summer/fall) and return it back home.  I then get on my commuter bike and head into work.  DW comes home from work, then uses the family bike to retrieve the kids.  The added step of returning the family bike barely makes a dent in my commute in the morning.  Plus, it's extra exercise which is good!

ysette9

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Re: Need advice on bike and kid carrier for work commute
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2017, 03:15:27 PM »
Quote
The Yepp seat is easy on easy off. It would do what you're looking for.

Thanks for the recommendation; we'll check this out. ....~navigating over to craigslist~

mskyle

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Re: Need advice on bike and kid carrier for work commute
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2017, 08:40:52 AM »
Thanks, all, for the replies! I'm passing them on to my husband.

Quote
Can you clarify the encumbrance part - could you just leave the trailer at the daycare and continue without it? That's what we do. Or are you considering a different type of carrier, one that doesn't easily detach?

I had envisioned some kind of plastic seat that would attach to either the front or back of the bike. The reason a trailer wouldn't work is that my husband does drop-off and I do pick-up. That would me he tow the trailer around behind him to and from work (daycare is only about a mile from home) which seems inefficient. There wouldn't be a way for me to get the trailer home again from daycare if he dropped it off there. At least with an attached seat he could ride his bike with it empty (preferable), or if it was light and easily snapped on and off, I could throw it in the trunk in the afternoon when I pick the kid up.

An idea world would have us get a trailer and both bike, but that isn't likely to happen on my end for some time to come.

Are you walking to pick up the kiddo? A combo stroller/trailer might be a good option. Your husband uses it as a trailer on his way to daycare, and you use it as a stroller on your way home (or dump it in the trunk). I don't have a specific one to recommend but I know Burley makes one.

ysette9

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Re: Need advice on bike and kid carrier for work commute
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2017, 09:13:53 AM »
No, I do not walk to pick up the kiddo. I swing by her daycare on my way home from work. That leaves us time to go to the park once we get home, which she prefers to being stuck in a stroller, though I would prefer the exercise myself. :)