Parenthood doesn't have to mean the end of cycling. Once
your youngster is old enough you can take him or her along with you on a
set on your bike or a trailer behind. Here's what to look for.
To take a young child along on your bike you have three main options: a
seat behind your saddle; a seat on the top tube; or a trailer.
The classic behind-the-saddle child seat either sits on a rack or has its
own mounting system to attach it to the bike. It will usually cradle your
kid, with a high back and sides so they can fall asleep without falling
out, leg guards and a harness. It should be designed so that your sprog
shouldn't be able to get their feet or fingers into the spokes.
Once a child gets a bit bigger and heavier, they can make a bike with a
rear-mounted child seat a bit top-heavy, and affect the handling.
Your child needs to be able to hold their head up on their own to be
comfortable in a child seat.
The front-mounted seat, that sits on the top tube so the child is between
your arms, is the least common option in the UK, but more often seen in
Europe. It has the advantage that your child is very close to you, so
communication is easy, and kids enjoy being able to see where they're
A trailer can accommodate very young children, as they can just lie down
and doze off. Your child sits in their own little carriage behind the
bike, which is very comfortable, but you may worry that you're a bit out
of touch with the child.
Junior probably won't be very bothered as they're enclosed in a spacious
bubble and protected from the elements. If you need to transport a child
by bike all year round, this is the way to go.
Trailers are the most expensive option, but they hold decent resale
values if looked after and you can use them for much more than just
carrying children; a trailer is perhaps the best way of carrying shopping
This well-reviewed child seat has its own mount that clamps the seat
tube, so you don't need anything else, and is considered a bit of a
Amazon reviewer C. Isherwood said: "My son was very comfortable and very
safe and we have had so much fun with this now that the weather is getting
better. I can't praise this enough. Don't pay a fortune for a child bike
seat. This is brilliant and does everything you need."
Suitable for children older than 9 months and up to 22kg, this seat can
be tilted back 20° so that Junior can have a nap, hence the name Siesta.
It has a tall back and high sides with double buckle system means you can
strap your child in quickly and securely.
The latest front-mounted childseat from WeeRide follows on from the
company's Kangaroo, which is very highly regarded on Mumsnet. It has its
own mounting bar that fits between the seatpost and handlebar stem, so
once it's set up the seat itself can be removed quickly.
For year-round kid-carrying, WeeRide also make a windscreen to keep the
weather off your young 'un. It might make your bike look like a moped, but
a happy passenger is worth looking a bit daft.
The deluxe model in Hamax's extensive range, the Caress also has a
sleeping position, plus redesigned footrest and harness systems and rear
reflectives for visibility. It'll fit bikes with or without existing
With room for two kids, this classic trailer has additional storage space
for all their bits and pieces and is reported to be very stable and easy
Wiggle reviewer NewDadExperiencedRider says: "The Bee is very stable and
it gives the impression that the cargo (my daughter) is very secure. It
tows easily and is very light, the weight is comparable to a light road
bike. It is a well engineered piece of kit and attaching both the trailer
and connecting bracket to the bike is less than a 5 minute job. Once the
bracket is on your bike you simply clip in and out in seconds."
Babies don't come cheap, and forking out £600 on a bike trailer may not
be your number one priority, but the Thule Chariot Lite looks like a wise
investment. Suitable for children up to about 30kg (roughly 6 months to
around 5 years), and even younger with the Infant Sling (around £70)
designed for babies 1 to 10 months, this trailer is robust and nimble
enough for both town and track, making it ideal for keeping the family
mobile when there is a little one in tow.
Thanks to our readers in the comments for these tip-offs.
DaveE128 says: "I would recommend (from experience) both the Topeak
Babysitter II and the Copilot Limo. [The Limo seems to be no longer
available in the UK - Ed]
"Both mount onto a rack. My preference between the two is the Topeak.
This can be easily fitted to bikes with disk brakes, and although it
doesn't have an adjustable recline feature, this isn't great on the
"I would warn that when towards the upper end of the weight range though,
that with a lighter weight frame (eg my CX/adventure cross/coummuter
Pinnacle Arkose Two) you don't want to stand up, as it makes the frame
flex scarily. It's much better on a mountain bike.
"For either seat, you can keep the rack on the bike and use it for
commuting with panniers, or in the case of the Topeak, a rack top back and
a rack-mounted rear light/reflector."
KiwiMike says: "I'm amazed that the Yepp Mini isn't there. It fits onto
both quill and Aheadset-style bikes, fits with one hand - we sometimes
took it on/off with a sleeping child still strapped in. It also locks, has
the sleep mat, windscrean, your knees are safe and it weighs bugger all.
When it's removed the bike is almost totally normal, unlike the WeeRide
that still has a stupid heavy steel girder in place.
"Seriously guys, put the Yepp Mini in there. You're doing parents a
disservice by omitting it."
Username says: "We upgraded to this when our girl exceeded the weight for
"I must say I had my doubts because it was already a handful riding with
her bouncing around in Hamax, upsetting the bike's balance, which meant
one had to be a very confident cyclist to cope with it but the Bobike
Junior is a revelation because it doesn't bounce.
"It is fixed firmly and despite the fact she is now a few years older,
taller, heavier, than before the Bobike makes it easy to cope with her on
"It's rated to 35 kgs, or roughly aged 10, and I can see us still using
it for quite a while.
This is the Rolls Royce of Thule's Chariot range of child carriers. With
a lightweight aluminium alloy frame, it'll take up to 34kg of kid and kit.
At heart, the CX 1 is a stroller on steroids, and comes with the bike
attachment it's shown with above. It can be converted into a three-wheeled
jogging stroller, a round-town four-wheeler and even a ski trailer.
There's also a two-child version, the CX 2 for £1,099.99, and there's a
vast range of accessories.
Reader wstephenson describes this as "the only trailer that doesn't feel
like you're hauling a wheelbarrow full of bricks using a bungee cord as
soon as you put the power on, and it's great with a road bike or MTB. Has
lots of happy daddy daughter miles with ours."
With a chromoly steel frame and just one wheel, it's light at a claimed
9.5kg and a built-in air shock helps keep Junior comfortable if you want
to take it off road.
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Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.