View Full Version : Kids and the "trail a bike"

08-28-2008, 10:14 PM
I purchased a used trail a bike for my 4 year old son to use on bike rides on our local MUT. It is a foldable single speed freewheel model. I plan to attach it to a GT Avalanche sloping mountain bike.

Does anyone have any experience with the trail a bike? Any advice for a novice father and son in using this contraption?

08-29-2008, 07:09 AM
I had a different model many moons ago, just as these things were beginning to hit the bike paths. I don't think we ever got through a ride without someone asking about ours. The model was something "Cat" or other. I think the mounting bracket is different between the two models.

Anyway, we had a blast with ours. I exchanged the seat bolt for a quick release so my two kids of different sizes could jump on board easily. There's not much more to add. Keep in mind that your bike has been turned into an 18 wheeler so you'll have to take your tight turns wide. Besides that...I took that thing on trails on my mtb, the kid's face was covered in mud, we had a blast.

I think parents expect a bit much for little kids to ride 1 or 2 miles with even the smallest elevation. Too often I see little ones crying on the side of the path, frustrated, tired or bored (Reminds me of Sandy.). These things take that all away.


08-29-2008, 08:30 AM
Let the fun factor be driven by your child, & if they're having fun, keep on doing whatever it is! The kid should be the boss, & let them fall in love w/it at their pace. You know what I mean?
If they love the bike(s), you'll have a killer riding partner b4 you know it.

08-29-2008, 08:57 AM
I used one. it was pretty neat. my now 8 yo would hammer on the pedals for a bit which would throw my bike around noticably. then he would take a break.

08-29-2008, 09:48 AM
I have Trek version. Three pieces of advice come to mind:

-- Start out by doing expanding loops on roads near your house so you can end the early sessions quickly. It was remarkable to me how quickly (sometimes like a light switch) fun can change to "I want to go home." If it takes a half hour to get there, it leaves a bad taste in your son's and your mouth.

-- The previously mentioned trailer phenomena is very real.

-- If your son is like mine, be alert for your bike to be jerked around a lot as he pedals or cranes his neck to look at all manner of cool stuff: birds, bugs, animals, funny shaped rocks, anything that draws his attention.

08-29-2008, 09:56 PM
Thanks for the feedback. My boy saw it in the garage this morning and asked when he could ride it. Tomorrow is set for the maiden voyage.

08-29-2008, 10:15 PM
Yeah, make sure your little stoker actually pedals!

08-30-2008, 12:26 AM
We moved from the trailer to a trike, to a Trail-a-Bike to a 20", then 24" mtb and now 26" road bike. It's all good and they get the sense of what it's like to ride in traffic and be comfortable. My daughter at 11yo rides everywhere now.


08-30-2008, 05:57 AM
Trail-a-bikes are great. I'm convinced that, when my older daughter was younger, riding tandem helped give her a sense of balance so that when she went without training wheels for the first time, it wasn't such a big deal. I was lucky enough to catch it on video--while I was helping my younger daughter to get her helmet on, etc., the older one just got on her bike and started pedaling away.

I realize that some of you already have one, but for those who don't here's my 2: I have rented various models on vacations, but of those I have tried I ended up buying the Burley Piccolo (http://www.burley.com/products/child/piccolo.cfm). Burley discontinued it for a while, but it appears that it's back in production. The advantage of the Piccolo is that the attachment point is lower and is centered over the rear wheel, so weight shifts aren't as dramatic, especially when turning. It does require a bike with rack mounts, though.

08-30-2008, 09:40 AM
My son is already riding a 16" trek with training wheels, but he has a hard time getting up the hills. The trail a bike will help us ride together over longer distances, and give him a sense of balance.

08-30-2008, 10:17 AM
If you keep the thing clean and well-kept, the resale is very good on them is very good. I spent over $200 and sold it 4 years later for something like $150-175.

michael white
08-30-2008, 10:43 AM
I use ours almost daily. . . I pick up my daughter from school on it (2 mi) and use it for a lot of other practical stuff. One of the best things I've bought.

my favorite part is pulling up in front of the school amongst all the SUV's and dinging the bell. hers too.