Trail-a-Bike; Opinions?


Old 04-13-03, 01:17 AM
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Trail-a-Bike; Opinions?

We are thinking of purchasing a trail-a-bike or possibly a knock-off for my three year old; Essentially, it's a little, one-wheeled bike complete with handlebars, pedals and a chain that connects behind Dad's bike, "trailing" the kid along. Unfortunately, they are awfully expensive and actually cost more than if we were to simply buy her, her own bike; So, I thought I'd ask for some opinions, especially from anyone who may have experience with the product.

90% of it's use would be around town on paved streets; The other 10% would be on BLM or Forest Service roads which wouldn't be the best maintained, but better than offroad, nonetheless; Her own bike isn't really an option because though there's not a lot of traffic, she's not quite ready for solo-flying in town and our backroad adventures would most likely be too long for her to accomplish.

Previously, we had one of those baby seats where she sits up by the handlebars and we got slightly more than two years from that rig; We are hoping that we could get close to the same from this purchase; And finally, crime is a real problem in my community; We figured that if we supplied it with it's own lock, it should be OK; But if you've owned one, what do you think about it's ease of theft, if it were chained to Dad's which would be chained to a standard bike rack?

Any thoughts would be appreciated;
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Old 04-17-03, 11:19 PM
Brad L.
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There are many different manufacturers of the trail-a-bikes that you mentioned. Talk to someone at your local bike shop to see what they can order or, if that's not an option, search the internet for the various manufacturers (Trek, Adams, Burley, InSTEP, etc.). Another option is the Trail-Gator which is available from Nashbar for $80.00 (

My only concern is using these trailers on rough roads. It may not take much to bounce a three-year-old right off of the trailer.

Please make sure that you AND your child are wearing helmets. It's not so much the cars you must worry about but the innocent falls against curbs or rocks that can have devastating effects. I have (inadvertantly) crash tested several helmets and can swear by their effectiveness. You should wear one yourself as there could be no worse outcome than not being able to hug your child.

Old 04-18-03, 12:20 AM
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Thank you for your insights and yes, a helmet is a given...

We are actually leaning toward the InStep Pathfinder because it was the first that came to our attention and due to the price. I've seen the others online, but it's a 100+ miles to any kind of LBS, so we've stuck primarily to the catalogs and the net because it's easier, plus when you live in the places that I have lived, you just get used to doing things this way. (Though, we did stop into an REI and actually look at their floor model, though they'd really have to put their's on sale for it to be in the running, last time we were anywhere near one of their stores).

Primarily, it'll be used to take her to the playground and as a substitute for her Mom's jog; Plus, Dad figures he'll use it for a quick trip to the hardware store, or to the grocery to pick-up something for dinner. The offroading, of course wouldn't be at the start, but basically we're thinking of the equivilent of an unimproved Acadian Carriage Road, except in the desert southwest.

Also, I guess I should point-out that she's a big three year old and not only does she tower over the area six year olds, but she can outperform many of them on the playground equipment. Both, her and her Mom are vegetarians; Though of course, we will be careful...

Thanks again for your insights;
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Old 04-27-03, 08:44 AM
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There are 2 wheel sizes available, 24" and 20". If you plan to do any distance at all, go with the 24". The distance from the seat to the pedals does not change from the 2 different sizes. The only difference is that it will be a smoother ride on the 24" and more importantly, when your child is pedaling, he/she will max out rpm at around 7 mph on the 20". So I reccommend going with the 24"
Old 04-27-03, 08:56 AM
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Thanks a lot for the tip! My wife has actually been asking why I hadn't taken the five minutes to order the thing yet and your valuable FYI certainly makes it appear that we have profited from my laziness...

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