Biking is a healthy way to stay fit, and with the help of a child bike seat, you can bring your little one along for the ride. Biking together will help instill healthy habits and maybe even get your child interested in biking when she’s older.
But in order to bike safely with your child, you need to install the right type of bike seat.
Types of Baby Bike Seats
There are three main types of baby and child bike seats. The right one for you will depend on your individual preference and needs.
Rear Frame-Mounted Seats
A rear frame-mounted seat attaches to the bike’s seat tube or directly to the frame. These seats often come equipped with essential safety features, such as foot guards and a harness system. The popular brand Thule offers many rear frame-mounted seats.
The great thing about rear frame-mounted seats is that they offer higher weight limits. They’re better suited for larger toddlers.
Some parents find it easier to control the bike with a rear frame-mounted seat compared to a front-mounted seat. You don’t need an additional rack for mounting either.
The frame mounting also gives the seat a little suspension to ease bumps.
Of course, these seats aren’t perfect. You’ll have to turn around to talk to and see your child. There may be compatibility issues if the cyclist’s seat is too close to the frame. These types of seats are not suitable for bikes with seat tube cables.
Just as the name suggests, front-mounted bike seats are positioned at the front of the bike – between the cyclist at the handlebars.
Many young children prefer front-mounted seats because the cyclist’s arms wrap around both sides of the seat. For children who are nervous about biking, this position may make them feel more secure.
One of the main advantages of a front-mounted seat is that your child is in your sight at all times. You can easily talk to your child while biking, and your little one also enjoys a better view of the road and scenery.
There are some caveats to using a front-mounted seat. Some cyclists have a harder time controlling the bike with a front baby seat.
Another problem is that children outgrow these seats pretty quickly. Front-mounted seats can’t accommodate older toddlers, and may not be suitable for children who are particularly tall.
Bike compatibility may also be an issue.
Rear Rack-Mounted Seats
One of the more innovative seats for cycling with a baby, rear rack-mounted seats attach to a rack at the rear of the bicycle.
If you already have a rack on your bike, you’ll need to check to make sure that it can accommodate your seat and child. If you don’t have a rack, you’ll need to buy one.
High-end models actually have suspension systems, comfort lining and even reclining seats. Kids tend to like these seats because they’re comfortable and still provide a great view of the scenery. Plus, the reclining feature allows toddlers to comfortably take a nap during the ride.
Rear rack-mounted seats are ideal for larger children, and they’re also the easiest option if you already have a rack on your bike.
The only drawback is that these seats tend to be more expensive than others. Your bike will also have to meet certain requirements in order to be compatible with this type of seat. Bikes must have eyelets in order to mount the rack, and if you have disc brakes, you’ll be limited to only certain models.
When choosing a baby bike seat, keep safety in mind at all times. Choose a model and a type that is compatible with your bike and comfortable for your child.