Bike Trailer or Kids Bike seat or Cargo Bike? In Part One of this series, we explored a general overview of traveling with children by bike, some general considerations that will help you select a suitable bike for the job, and the benefits and challenges of choosing the bike over the car. In this post (Part Two) of this series, we will examine some of the different types of bikes available to carry kids, such as a child bike seat, bike trailer, and cargo bikes. We conclude this series in Part Three with some rider profiles and other resources to help you decide how to travel with children by bike.
(Note: While we are endeavoring to give a comprehensive overview, we can not possibly discuss all available options here. We hope to give you a good amount of information to make an informed decision, or a good starting point should you decide to do more research. Please send us feedback to info at yubabikes dot com.)
What are the options for traveling by bicycle with children?
There are various types of bicycles and accessories that are suited to carrying your kids and gear by bike. The best solution for you will be a decision based on your individual riding needs, personal preference, and available budget (as discussed in Part One of this series). This post (Part Two) will give an overview of the various types of bikes available, some of the pros and cons of each style, and then explore some of the brands and products in each type.
Periodically we barrow a bit of content from the blogosphere. This is a post from Tiny Helmets Big Bikes about how to install a sunshade on the Peanut Shell from Yuba rindin’ momma, Elle B.
First ride of the day, Little Brother got to pretend to be Big Brother. He loved the change of scenery.
Keep my kiddos fed (constantly) and I can ride forever.
Naptime. Note the drool.
I wish I could take all the credit for this idea but, alas, I stole it from another blog. Since I couldn’t get my first attempt at sun protection to work, I scrapped that idea and stumbled upon a different version. After looking for the covers at REI and finding them out of stock, I searched the Great Internet to find them on sale at Rocky Mountain Trail for just $15 a piece. The blog had only shown them on a PeaPod (similar to a Peanut Shell) so I knew that Big Brother’s seat was going to be a cinch but I took a gamble at trying to rig one for Little Brother’s and bought two, just in case. Litte Brother was the one I worried about most as he is up front and more exposed to the elements. We had started using the Yepp Windshield again since I found a stick (yes, a stick) in the little guy’s eye.
It turned out to be incredibly simple for both seats to become covered. I tried out the Yepp’s cover this morning by zip tying the back poles to the seat and then tucking it over the windshield. We rode around like that all day without much of a problem. I was worried that it would impair my vision of the road in front but it didn’t. When I got home this evening, I secured the front pegs with some stick on outdoor velcro and it was good to go. The back poles will slide in and out easily for quick mounting and dismounting of the wee one.
The Peanut Shell’s cover followed the same instructions as Everyday Adventure‘s. I drilled in two 1/4″ holes at the top of the seat and two more along the sides of the cross bar. My grommets were too loose so I used electrical tape to secure them. I didn’t want the poles in the front of the bar because my big guy already gets stuck getting in and out from under it and I didn’t want them poking him in the legs. I can’t wait to give them both a go tomorrow. The weather is heating up and I think this will make them both more comfortable and willing to ride longer distances in less than perfect weather. Also, if I need extra protection from the rain or sun, I now have a support to add on the stroller shades/rain covers as needed.
Little Brother wasn’t so sure of this new cave at first.
Recently, many of our customers have been asking how the Peanut Shell compares to other bicycle child seat options, such as the Yepp Maxi.
Upon inspecting both child seat options, it was clear that the designers were focused on the child’s safety. Both seats fit children up to 48 lbs (22kg) and featured a five point harness system to secure the wee one to the bike, as well as foot straps to hold the child’s feet in. In my opinion as a Dad I like that the Peanut Shell is a much safer seat. The following are the reasons why I consider the Peanut Shell a safer and more comfortable seat for the little ones:
• More of a protective shell. Which means more head support when the child falls asleep (the head stays up-right). And very importantly complete shoulder protection. If the bike were to tip over the child is much more protected in the Peanut Shell.
• The cross-bar, kids like holding on to it and it is also an added safety feature.
• More padding in the seat.
• A lower of center of gravity, which means riding the bike is easier and safer.
The manufacturers of both child seats claim they are a breeze to install. Watching the installation videos for each seat, neither seems particularly daunting, but the Yepp install does seem like it would require a bit more dexterity.
Ease of Use
The Yepp Maxi has a neat feature where with the press of a button the seat can be removed, leaving behind the mounting clamp. Apparently it is designed this way to facilitate swapping the seat between bikes. I understand that it can be easy to remove from the structure, but then what can one carry on the metal structure when the seat is removed. Passengers can’t seat on top of the rack nor it is really possible to carry cargo.
The Peanut Shell requires about one minute of time and a 10mm torque wrench to completely remove it from the bike. There is no mounting plate or bracket left behind, meaning the entire utility deck is left clear for other cargo or passengers. It takes only about two minutes to reinstall. With practice and the right tool it is extremely easy.
Peanut Shell Child Seat
Yepp Maxi Child Seat
$180 for seat + $40 for mounting bracket
up to 48 lbs (22kg)
up to 48 lbs (22kg)
5 point harness
5 point harness
~15 min (first install)
In a nutshell
offers more protection to the child.
can fit two seats on a Mundo.
comes in five fun colors.
has modern aesthetics.
can be swapped between two compatible bikes.
looks very utilitarian.
requires tools to remove from bike after initial install.
child rides extremely close to rider.
not as much shoulder and head protection in the event of a fall.
Lindsey of the You Ain’t Got Jack blog is a pretty crafty lady. She has figured out how to provide sun, wind, rain, snow and sleet protection to a child sitting in a Peanut Shell. The coolest part about it, is that the sun shield snaps off and snaps right onto a foldable stroller. The best part about it, is that the whole solution costs less that $20!