Bicycle Built for Half

A Trailer Bike Lets Your Family Cycle Farther and Faster
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Little do new parents realize how easy they have it when kids are mere babies. Who cares about lost sleep? The payback is that adventuring is relatively easy at this stage. Riding in a backpack or a bike trailer, babies go anywhere you go. It's your stamina, not theirs, that usually dictates how far and where the adventure will take you.

And then the baby turns into a kid. She's got her own ideas about what constitutes fun. The only problem is that her fantasy the notion that she can scale great heights on her bike with the banana seat and twenty-inch wheels is a far cry from reality. Your child has entered the realm of the"tweenager" life between toddlerhood and adolescence. Suddenly, getting anywhere is transformed into a challenge of creativity, bribes, and mechanical ingenuity.

The first time I saw a trailer bike, my curiosity and enthusiasm were both piqued. This was a half-bike for half-adults: the kid rides on what looks and feels like a two-wheeler, but is in fact an appendage of your own bicycle. It's a poor parent's tandem bike. Here was a device that promised to bridge the awkward and daunting divide between the days when I could pull my daughter in a bike trailer, and her fanciful image of herself peddling for miles on her little pink bike.

Trailer bikes are a fairly new item on the kid gear landscape. They became popular in Europe before they appeared in the U.S. The American-made Adams Trail-A-Bike came out about five years ago. From these humble beginnings, there are now a number of manufacturers that make the bikes. Ask any bike rental shop owner about trailer bikes, and they will probably wax poetic. The folks at A.J.'s, a busy bike shop in Stowe, Vermont, have a fleet of a half-dozen Burley Piccolo Trailer Cycles, all of which are rented by mid-morning on a typical summer weekend day.

The appeal of a trailer bike is simple: suddenly, you can cover ground. You are freed from the limitations imposed by your kid's small muscles and can once again undertake some of your favorite half-day (or longer) rides. The bikes are intended for kids aged four to ten, and can carry kids weighing up to 85 pounds.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 4 Dec 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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