Best seating options for cycling with toddlers and preschoolers

Getting out on your bike is invigorating and a lifestyle you should be able to enjoy with your entire family. While getting outdoors can be tricky with smaller children, it is far from impossible.

There are many options out there to not only keep you cycling but allowing you to cycle with the littlest members of your family. Whether the option works for your needs will depend on the ages and size of your children, as well as upon the terrain you intend to be cycling.

Front T-seat

CicLAvia – Author: waltarrrrr – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
CicLAvia – Author: waltarrrrr – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A t-seat mounts on the front of the bicycle, allowing the child to have the front-row seat for the ride. This seat is good for ages from 1 to 4, or up to 38 pounds. There also is the issue that a long-legged child would outgrow the seat quicker and may not make it to the weight limit. Some people put their Baby inies in these seats before the age of 1, if they have good sitting strength and strong head control. But officially, the recommended age of this is 12 months.

The seat is easy to install and remove as needed, but the simplicity also brings a question of stability. It also does not have the most secure harness out there.

Rear bike seat

Baby in a rear bike seat
Baby in a rear bike seat

Similar to the t-seat, your child will need to be at least one year old to ride in a rear seat. These are also usually easy to install and have your child sitting securely behind you on your next cycling adventure. However, this will make steering more challenging. This seat also sits over the rear axle, meaning every bump you hit, will make your child feel it more.

One trick to help with this is to be sure that the tires are adequately inflated before setting out, helping cushion any sudden jolt your little one may feel. The biggest risk with this one is throwing you off balance.

Bike trailers

Bicycle with a trailer
Bicycle with a trailer

For a more gentle and comfortable ride for your children, there is the bike trailer. You attach this one to the rear of your bicycle and tow it along. They typically have a swivel in the attachment, which allows the trailer to stay upright even if the bicycle goes down. They can also accommodate more than one child, something that neither the mounted front nor back seats can do. This allows you to bring more than one child with you or even just gives one kid more room.

The children can sleep easier in these as well, allowing them to have a solid nap while you get in your workout. These are good up to age 6. Another good thing about trailers is that they’re great for shopping and carrying things even if the kids aren’t in it!

Despite the perks, there are some disadvantages to the trailer. For starters, the children can get jostled around quite a bit in the back of the trailer. That can be helped with some padding. Additionally, the trailer sits low to the ground, making it harder to be seen, especially by cars, although you can put flags on the trailers to make them more visible.

Trailer bike

Half Wheeler “is a kids bike that hooks up to an adult bike to help teach kids to balance” – San Francisco – Golden Gate Bridge – Author: PRA – CC BY-SA 3.0
Half Wheeler “is a kids bike that hooks up to an adult bike to help teach kids to balance” – San Francisco – Golden Gate Bridge – Author: PRA – CC BY-SA 3.0

This attaches to the back of the bike and allows your children to pedal along with you as you ride. These are ideal for 4- to 7-year-olds, allowing them to get a real taste of cycling with you before they have the stamina to make a long journey on a bike of their own. It will help your child learn how to cycle while getting your balance and support to keep them going. This is really ideal for kids learning to cycle and is an excellent option.

Before deciding on what seat is right for you, make sure you do some more research. Take into account your type of bicycle as well as the size and age of your child. Also, make sure you read the installation instructions well for safety reasons. Once you get your seat installed, take your child and get out there and have fun.

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marion-fernandez is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival