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  1. #1
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    Anyone pull a kid behind them?

    My boy is 3 and has been on a push bike for a while. I just bought him a pedal bike last night. Looking at options for taking him on longer bike rides. I have a cart he use to ride in but I would like for him to get out of it this year.

    Looking at a tow bike or what ever you call them.

    Option 1: I like the idea of a bar that can be attached to his pedal bike so that when we ride (and it gets a little hard for him) I can attach it to my bike and pull him along.

    Option 2: Then there is the option to get one of those that attaches to an adult bike with no option to ride alone. The kind with just a back wheel, seat and bars.

    I know some of you have had to use both options what are the pros/cons of each? Any opinions out there?
    Last edited by wvmtb; 03-20-2015 at 08:57 AM.
    uʍop əpıs ɹəqqnɹ əɥʇ dəəʞ ɹəqɯəɯəɹ pəɥsɐɹɔ əʌɐɥ ʇɥƃıɯ noʎ sıɥʇ pɐəɹ uɐɔ noʎ ɟı

  2. #2
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    I can't talk about option 1 because we have not used one but we absolutely loved Option 2. We owned a Trail-a-bike... worth every penny especially if you can find one used on Craigslist.

    The only bad thing is how fast the kids outgrew it. My daughter was scared to ride her bike without training wheels. After a couple rides feeling how riding a two-wheeler is supposed to feel (leaning in rather than outside against the training wheels) she loved riding and asked me to teach her to ride. We only used the Trail-a-Bike for a couple months.

    One thing to keep in mind, make sure he is big enough to ride the bike. My daughter was 4 at the time and admittedly it was too big for her. Keep that in mind when you try one out...it might be terrifying flopping around on it until he gets a little bigger.
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  3. #3
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    We have one of these:

    Trail Gator Bicycle Tow Bar

    Trail Gator Australia - Home

    Not as good/stable as option 2 (which we also have), but it does work. Option 2 is better for commuting. The Trail-Gator is ideal for family outings, especially when the kid runs out of steam (which is happening less often...).

    It does not work well on singletrack, the front wheel touches down on whoop-t-doos, and causes the attachment to dislodge and twist (btdt) where as option 2 isn't too bad. But this work in your favour... "Sorry, you gotta ride the single track yourself, I'll tow you on the dobule track...".

  4. #4
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    I ordered a gator tow bar. For what I'm going to use it for I think it's the best option for me. I just hope we can get out and use it soon.
    uʍop əpıs ɹəqqnɹ əɥʇ dəəʞ ɹəqɯəɯəɹ pəɥsɐɹɔ əʌɐɥ ʇɥƃıɯ noʎ sıɥʇ pɐəɹ uɐɔ noʎ ɟı

  5. #5
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    Got the Gator and installed it this weekend. Online reviews were correct about the install. It wasn't a simple task. But if you have any mechanical skills at all it really want's all that hard. Just time consuming especially with a little boy anxious to get out on it.
    We took it for a 2.5 mile spin around the neighborhood and it worked like a charm. IMO it's a pretty neat setup and a great alternative to the trail-a-bike since it gives the little one an option to ride on his own.
    uʍop əpıs ɹəqqnɹ əɥʇ dəəʞ ɹəqɯəɯəɹ pəɥsɐɹɔ əʌɐɥ ʇɥƃıɯ noʎ sıɥʇ pɐəɹ uɐɔ noʎ ɟı

  6. #6
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    The big thing is getting the trailed bike's tire off the ground. Not sure I like the gator because it puts a lot of torque on the seat post if it's not super tight on the towed bike's steer tube. I have a tag-a-long bike, and even it's putting a lot of torque on my seat tube. I'll probably end up needing to get a new one when all is done. Neither one should be used with a carbon fiber seat tube.

    The thing I don't like about my tag along is the way it'll develop sway at all the connections. the QD at the seat post and the lockdown where the tow-bar bends for storage. Both have worn with time and need shim washers.

    How easy it it to get the gator bar off your kid's bike, and how is it stored when you ride disconnected?

  7. #7
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    I don't see the Gator putting any more stress on the seat post than what a tag-a-long would. And getting the wheel off the ground is simply achieved by installing the Gator correctly.

    I can tell he is back there but it's fairly rigid and doesn't sway much unless he leans to one side or the other. Even then it's not bad. But he's a small kid. I'm sure that would change with bike and kid size.

    The bar has a QR on both ends. If you take it off the trailed bike. The bar slides into it's self and there is a bracket installed on the tow bikes rear QR at the wheel. Once again I would never have it on during any trail runs but it's fine for where a kid that age will be riding.
    uʍop əpıs ɹəqqnɹ əɥʇ dəəʞ ɹəqɯəɯəɹ pəɥsɐɹɔ əʌɐɥ ʇɥƃıɯ noʎ sıɥʇ pɐəɹ uɐɔ noʎ ɟı

  8. #8
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    I have a Follow-me-Tandem and it works well, I was not a fan of the trail gator that I tried, I found it too shaky with a 4 year old.
    I also have a Burley Piccolo which is as good as it gets in terms of stability. I have taken it on singletrack bikepacking trips. I had a Trail-A-Bike but I found that it was too wobbly to ride effectively.

  9. #9
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    Bungee dog leashes (bungee cord inside of tubular webbing) FTW. This is a good one:

    Ruffwear Roamer? Leash Dog Leash | Hands-Free, Stretching Dog Leash Lets Dogs Roam

  10. #10
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    The Trail Gator, and trail-a-bikes / tag-alongs are relatively inexpensive, and as such have cheap universal joints/pivots which develop play (or like my Giant version, came with play) and are somewhat "shaky" especially when the kid gets bigger. More expensive versions like the Burley Piccolo and Tout-Terrain have bearings in the pivot which stay tight, and work much better. Shimming the cheap ones brings the performance up to par with the better ones.

    But nothing works as well as a Tandem with a Kiddie stocker crank.

  11. #11
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    I have the trail gator and we have ridden 4 miles on it with our kids.

    I got 2. One for my 5 year old daughter and one for my 3 year old son.

    They both ride 12" wheels. I ride a 29er (small frame) and my wife rides a 26er (with xs frame). fits fine

    They love it. They have always loved riding.

    Basically I started with an ibert seat when they were 1. Then progressed to a trailer, then a rear child carrier and then this trail gator.

    The best thing is when they outgrow their current bike, it will still work with bigger bikes.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails tow bike options-screen-shot-2015-07-02-3.48.25-am.jpg  


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsdoable View Post
    We have one of these:

    Trail Gator Bicycle Tow Bar

    Trail Gator Australia - Home

    Not as good/stable as option 2 (which we also have), but it does work. Option 2 is better for commuting. The Trail-Gator is ideal for family outings, especially when the kid runs out of steam (which is happening less often...).

    It does not work well on singletrack, the front wheel touches down on whoop-t-doos, and causes the attachment to dislodge and twist (btdt) where as option 2 isn't too bad. But this work in your favour... "Sorry, you gotta ride the single track yourself, I'll tow you on the dobule track...".
    Couldn't the tire touching in option one be remedied by taking the wheel off when it's in tow mode? That should at least give you another 5-6 inches of clearance, right?

    Not sure I'd want to have the front forks hang up at speed though...

  13. #13
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    i dont think these things are meant to be taken in the trails tho...
    Tapatalk on my Surface pro 3

  14. #14
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    Try the Weehoo

    I have a nearly-3 year-old, and we use the Weehoo which he loves. He's also just learning to ride a pedal bike, and gets really into being able to pedal along with his dad on the Weehoo. We use it around town as well as for easy mountain bike rides (something I dont think would work well with a tow-bar).

    I also recently wrote up our experience with it: Weehoo Trailer-Cycle Review (Part II) ? Rascal Rides

    tow bike options-img_3929.jpg
    Rascal Rides - Kids. Bikes. Family.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomson75 View Post
    Couldn't the tire touching in option one be remedied by taking the wheel off when it's in tow mode? That should at least give you another 5-6 inches of clearance, right?

    Not sure I'd want to have the front forks hang up at speed though...
    You'd still need to transport the front wheel with you, the whole point of the tow bar is that your kid can ride their own bike for part of the outing. And as previously mentioned, it was never really meant to do trails, works fine on road and bike paths.

    Our (cheap) kiddie bikes don't have front QR, so you'd also have to bring a wrench.

  16. #16
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    Been biking with my kids quite frequently these past weeks with an average of 7mph and max of 10mph without a problem. The kids love the rush. Just make sure they have their feet on the pedal as sometimes my kids like to put their foot down while going fast. But aside from that, it's been secure.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsdoable View Post
    You'd still need to transport the front wheel with you, the whole point of the tow bar is that your kid can ride their own bike for part of the outing. And as previously mentioned, it was never really meant to do trails, works fine on road and bike paths.

    Our (cheap) kiddie bikes don't have front QR, so you'd also have to bring a wrench.
    Right, I wouldn't want to do this without QR's either. I still don't see a problem with taking the wheel off (with QRs) to gain a little clearance for a slightly more aggressive trail. you'd obviously want to use caution in the bumpier stuff...but it's doable if you feel it's necessary.

  18. #18
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    I think aside from the clearance of the front wheel of the kids bike. You may want to look at the clearance of the bike bar from your rear wheel. I find that when I go up a half a foot of obstacle, the bar touches my rear wheel and that suddenly stops you and can be dangerous.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnj2803 View Post
    I think aside from the clearance of the front wheel of the kids bike. You may want to look at the clearance of the bike bar from your rear wheel. I find that when I go up a half a foot of obstacle, the bar touches my rear wheel and that suddenly stops you and can be dangerous.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk

    On second thought, after looking at the nature of the connection points, any upward movement of the front tire is going to dramatically drop the height of the kid's bike and put a great deal of stress on the seat post. It's probably not a good idea to take that on anything too dramatic, with or without a tire.

  20. #20
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    TowWhee

    Now there is a bike tow bungee like this but the bungee is in safety webbing so it can't get over stretched or break. www.towwhee.com

  21. #21
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    Heck, I need that so people can pull me up the hills. Luck has it that they do make and adult version. Wonder if I can find a sucker to pull me? lol.
    But in all seriousness. That looks cool and I/we could use something like that now that my boy is just about done with the Trail Gator. Only problem is that I'm skeptical on how well it works in real life. But for $40 I might give it a shot next spring. It could even be used for skiing. I might be sold as soon as the snow starts flying
    uʍop əpıs ɹəqqnɹ əɥʇ dəəʞ ɹəqɯəɯəɹ pəɥsɐɹɔ əʌɐɥ ʇɥƃıɯ noʎ sıɥʇ pɐəɹ uɐɔ noʎ ɟı

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by wvmtb View Post
    Only problem is that I'm skeptical on how well it works in real life.
    Towing works great. Bungee-in-webbing dog leashes have existed for years and I was using one to pull my kid uphill years ago (see post #9 tow bike options). We used to do 1,500+ foot climbs regularly. There is a little bit of a learning curve to make sure they don't let the line go slack and you have to watch out for things like short grade reversals. In general though, as long as the grade is positive it's really straightforward.

    That said, the TowWhee looks too long to me. The Ruffwear leash I used to use maxed out at 7 feet and switchbacks were barely doable at that length. It's like driving a trailer, the longer it is the more it crabs in around corners.

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