Bring along the hesitant kid with a Trail-A-Bike
September 13, 2005
My daughter has not fully embraced bicycling. Sure, she can get around on her two-wheeler with training wheels. But as the summer season winds down, I can safely say she won’t be flying solo this year – possibly not next year either.
This is what makes our recent purchase of a Trail-A-Bike so worthwhile.Now 5 years old and in kindergarten, Hannah has long outgrown the Burley; she wants to pedal, too. But aside from a spin around the neighborhood or down a paved trail like the Rio Grande, she can’t really ride with us. Even with the training wheels, she’s been too slow, too wobbly, too scared to really get after it.
Not anymore.With the Adams Trail-A-Bike, Hannah literally rides along with us. You may have seen adult-kid duos whipping around town on these tandem-bike contraptions – a pint-sized, half-bike frame complete with handlebars, pedals and a rear tire that hooks onto the seatpost of the adult’s bike. It’s like a bike behind your bike, which allows your child to pedal (or not) so she gets the feel of biking without having to actually balance on two wheels or steer. (We think the not having to steer part is going to be especially important when our fearless and easily distracted toddler decides he’s ready to ride a big-boy bike.) Of course we bought the original one-speed model at an end-of-season sale at a local bike shop. And since Hannah weighs in at only 35 pounds soaking wet, it’s easy to tow her around (of course we’re not planning to ride up Independence Pass with her hanging on back there). It came with a nice orange flag and piercing bell – which she uses in a “go faster, Mommy” fashion – and a large, sturdy universal-joint hitch that doesn’t rely on the lead bike’s seatpost as a bearing surface, as many lesser imitations do.
But I see at trailabike.com that there are two other models to choose from: a seven-speeder “for those kids that want to be able to help their parents out on the hills,” and a seven-speed, aluminum frame model “for less weight and more fun.” (The former retails for $180 at rei.com.)Even more important for locals who have plenty of toys and nowhere to stash them, most Trail-A-Bike models easily fold down to fit in a storage closet or car trunk. Also of note, and perfect for growing families, Adams sells a babyseat attachment for little ones ages 1-3 and a backrest for unsteady 3-5 year olds. But don’t tell my son, or we’ll have to buy another Trail-A-Bike to tote him around, too!Jeanne McGovern’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org