Towing another bike?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Erik Freitag, Apr 13, 2003.

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  1. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    I pick up my daughter at soccer practice, a round-trip by car of around 5 miles. Round-trip by bike
    is around 4 miles. One of the other parents picks her up at school and drops her off at the practice
    field, by car. Is there any technique or hardware component that would let me tow her bike to the
    practice field with my bike, so we could ride back together?
     
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  2. Erik Freitag wrote:
    >
    > I pick up my daughter at soccer practice, a round-trip by car of around 5 miles. Round-trip by
    > bike is around 4 miles. One of the other parents picks her up at school and drops her off at the
    > practice field, by car. Is there any technique or hardware component that would let me tow her
    > bike to the practice field with my bike, so we could ride back together?

    a) Perhaps a "Trail-Gator" is what you want. Bike Nashbar sells them.

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?category=&subcategory=&brand=&sku=3254&storetype=&estoreid=

    b) I've found it pretty easy to ride one bike while I steered another bike alongside. I kept my hand
    on the other bike's handlebar stem. However, I think I'd try this only if the ride was smooth and
    traffic-free.

    c) Sounds like you've got a good excuse to buy a tandem!

    --
    Frank Krygowski [email protected]
     
  3. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Erik Freitag writes:

    > I pick up my daughter at soccer practice, a round-trip by car of around 5 miles. Round-trip by
    > bike is around 4 miles. One of the other parents picks her up at school and drops her off at the
    > practice field, by car. Is there any technique or hardware component that would let me tow her
    > bike to the practice field with my bike, so we could ride back together?

    Yes, let her ride her bicycle to and from practice. Otherwise I don't understand the problem.

    Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
     
  4. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    In <[email protected]> [email protected] org wrote:
    > Erik Freitag writes:
    >
    >> I pick up my daughter at soccer practice, a round-trip by car of around 5 miles. Round-trip by
    >> bike is around 4 miles. One of the other parents picks her up at school and drops her off at the
    >> practice field, by car. Is there any technique or hardware component that would let me tow her
    >> bike to the practice field with my bike, so we could ride back together?
    >
    > Yes, let her ride her bicycle to and from practice. Otherwise I don't understand the problem.
    >
    > Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
    >

    I probably gave an incomplete explanation - it is difficult to convey the complexity of a pre-teen's
    life in a short post.

    She is dropped off at the practice field by car from school - too far to ride her bike from school
    to practice in the time available. Home to practice field: 4-5 miles; school to practice field: 15
    miles; home to school: also 15 miles.

    Just to fuel the fire, I should mention that she is afraid to ride her bike the 15 miles to school
    because she is afraid of traffic, which in my opinion, is pretty benign on her route. I'd be
    interested in hearing suggestions to help her to get her more comfortable with traffic, but I don't
    expect any progress until she gets to high school, which is a little closer to home.
     
  5. In article <[email protected]>, Erik Freitag <[email protected]> wrote:

    > In <[email protected]> [email protected] org wrote:
    > > Erik Freitag writes:

    > I probably gave an incomplete explanation - it is difficult to convey the complexity of a
    > pre-teen's life in a short post.
    >
    > She is dropped off at the practice field by car from school - too far to ride her bike from school
    > to practice in the time available. Home to practice field: 4-5 miles; school to practice field: 15
    > miles; home to school: also 15 miles.
    >
    > Just to fuel the fire, I should mention that she is afraid to ride her bike the 15 miles to school
    > because she is afraid of traffic, which in my opinion, is pretty benign on her route. I'd be
    > interested in hearing suggestions to help her to get her more comfortable with traffic, but I
    > don't expect any progress until she gets to high school, which is a little closer to home.

    15 miles for a pre-teen? I don't think traffic levels would be my first concern. How fast can she
    ride, anyways?

    15 miles would take me an hour, maybe 45 minutes under ideal circumstances, and I fancy my self a
    reasonably fast rider for a commuter.

    --
    Ryan Cousineau, [email protected] http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club
     
  6. Drifter

    Drifter Guest

    Found an old rusty bike in a dumpster and tried to tow it home using duct tape to afix (tow it) to
    my bike. A great failure.

    To my surprise, I was able to balance the bike from the cross-bar on (my right) handlebar just
    inside of the grip as I recall. I travelled a distance of about 5 miles fairly flat. I balanced the
    bike at an angle so it was off and away from the operation of my bike. I had to make sure the pedal
    on the inside was at a correct position so in the event of an occasional swaying motion it would not
    intefere with my operation. I believe the pedal was kept high. Of course, it is/was all about
    balance, but just a normal grip was all that was necessary. It was kind of fun and not really a
    problem. Hope I have described it well enough.

    Erik Freitag wrote:
    >
    > I pick up my daughter at soccer practice, a round-trip by car of around 5 miles. Round-trip by
    > bike is around 4 miles. One of the other parents picks her up at school and drops her off at the
    > practice field, by car. Is there any technique or hardware component that would let me tow her
    > bike to the practice field with my bike, so we could ride back together?
     
  7. Mark

    Mark Guest

    "Erik Freitag" wrote
    > >
    > >> I pick up my daughter at soccer practice, a round-trip by car of around 5 miles. Round-trip by
    > >> bike is around 4 miles. One of the other parents picks her up at school and drops her off at
    > >> the practice field, by car. Is there any technique or hardware component that would let me tow
    > >> her bike to the practice field with my bike, so we could ride back together?
    >
    > She is dropped off at the practice field by car from school - too far to ride her bike from school
    > to practice in the time available. Home to practice field: 4-5 miles; school to practice field: 15
    > miles; home to school: also 15 miles.
    >
    > Just to fuel the fire, I should mention that she is afraid to ride her bike the 15 miles to school
    > because she is afraid of traffic, which in my opinion, is pretty benign on her route. I'd be
    > interested in hearing suggestions to help her to get her more comfortable with traffic, but I
    > don't expect any progress until she gets to high school, which is a little closer to home.

    Get a tandem. Get some exercise, bond with your daughter, help her gain more confidence in traffic.
    Trail-a-bikes are nice, but they might strike a pre-teen as a bit juvenile.

    --
    mark
     
  8. Bill Putnam

    Bill Putnam Guest

    Frank Krygowski <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Erik Freitag wrote:
    > >
    > > I pick up my daughter at soccer practice, a round-trip by car of around 5 miles. Round-trip by
    > > bike is around 4 miles. One of the other parents picks her up at school and drops her off at the
    > > practice field, by car. Is there any technique or hardware component that would let me tow her
    > > bike to the practice field with my bike, so we could ride back together?
    >
    > b) I've found it pretty easy to ride one bike while I steered another bike alongside. I kept my
    > hand on the other bike's handlebar stem. However, I think I'd try this only if the ride was
    > smooth and traffic-free.
    >
    > c) Sounds like you've got a good excuse to buy a tandem!

    Here's another vote for a tandem, they can be ridden by a single rider and can be a lot of fun for a
    parent & child. Sheldon Brown has a nice write up on tandems and kids
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tandkids.html Although a good quality used tandem is not cheap, they
    hold their value well which helps make this a reasonable cost option.

    We have a ca. early 80's Santana tandem with kid back to ride with our 5 year old and a Burley
    Piccolo half bike to ride with our 3 year old. The half bike works well but it's not as efficient as
    the tandem (I see many cheap non-Burley half bikes in our area that do not have a good connection
    between the half bike and adult bike and those do not appear to be a good solution). A direct quote
    from my 5 year old yesterday "tandems are the best, we're much faster on a tandem". This as she and
    my wife zoomed by on the tandem while I struggled to keep up pulling the Piccolo and a trailer
    behind my single.

    Although I've pulled many single bikes riding my single using one hand on the stem I would not
    recommend this on a regular basis.

    Bill "tandems are the best" Putnam
     
  9. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Erik Freitag writes:

    >>> I pick up my daughter at soccer practice, a round-trip by car of around 5 miles. Round-trip by
    >>> bike is around 4 miles. One of the other parents picks her up at school and drops her off at the
    >>> practice field, by car. Is there any technique or hardware component that would let me tow her
    >>> bike to the practice field with my bike, so we could ride back together?

    >> Yes, let her ride her bicycle to and from practice. Otherwise I don't understand the problem.

    > I probably gave an incomplete explanation - it is difficult to convey the complexity of a
    > pre-teen's life in a short post.

    > She is dropped off at the practice field by car from school - too far to ride her bike from school
    > to practice in the time available. Home to practice field: 4-5 miles; school to practice field: 15
    > miles; home to school: also 15 miles.

    Is this really necessary? It sounds like a lot of travel. Maybe she should get on the school soccer
    team so practice is at a reasonable distance. I don't know when school is out but riding 15 miles
    doesn't sound bad to me. It probably does more for fitness than playing soccer.

    > Just to fuel the fire, I should mention that she is afraid to ride her bike the 15 miles to school
    > because she is afraid of traffic, which in my opinion, is pretty benign on her route. I'd be
    > interested in hearing suggestions to help her to get her more comfortable with traffic, but I
    > don't expect any progress until she gets to high school, which is a little closer to home.

    That's another problem entirely. I see many high school youths who are afraid of many things that
    they should be able to handle had they not led such a sheltered early youth, a time for adjusting to
    the world and its problems. Around here there are huge traffic jams of SUV's at schools. Even at
    neighborhood school bus-stop, parents deliver children and wait reading newspapers until they are
    SAFELY on the bus.

    Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
     
  10. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Bill Putnam" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Frank Krygowski <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > > Erik Freitag wrote:
    > > >
    > > > I pick up my daughter at soccer practice, a round-trip
    by car of around
    > > > 5 miles. Round-trip by bike is around 4 miles. One of
    the other parents
    > > > picks her up at school and drops her off at the
    practice field, by car.
    > > > Is there any technique or hardware component that
    would let me tow her
    > > > bike to the practice field with my bike, so we could
    ride back together?
    > >
    > > b) I've found it pretty easy to ride one bike while I
    steered another
    > > bike alongside. I kept my hand on the other bike's
    handlebar stem.
    > > However, I think I'd try this only if the ride was
    smooth and
    > > traffic-free.
    > >
    > > c) Sounds like you've got a good excuse to buy a tandem!
    >
    > Here's another vote for a tandem, they can be ridden by a
    single rider
    > and can be a lot of fun for a parent & child. Sheldon
    Brown has a nice
    > write up on tandems and kids
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tandkids.html
    > Although a good quality used tandem is not cheap, they
    hold their
    > value well which helps make this a reasonable cost option.
    >
    > We have a ca. early 80's Santana tandem with kid back to
    ride with our
    > 5 year old and a Burley Piccolo half bike to ride with our
    3 year old.
    > The half bike works well but it's not as efficient as the
    tandem (I
    > see many cheap non-Burley half bikes in our area that do
    not have a
    > good connection between the half bike and adult bike and
    those do not
    > appear to be a good solution). A direct quote from my 5
    year old
    > yesterday "tandems are the best, we're much faster on a
    tandem". This
    > as she and my wife zoomed by on the tandem while I
    struggled to keep
    > up pulling the Piccolo and a trailer behind my single.
    >
    > Although I've pulled many single bikes riding my single
    using one hand
    > on the stem I would not recommend this on a regular basis.

    I'll third the motion for the tandem. If you don't want to spring for a new one, used ones are
    always available somewhere. Because of the good resale (compared to other bikes) you can probably
    unload it if/when you're done, for about what you paid for it. The downsides are the cost, the cost
    of shipping, and storage -- they take up a lot of space.

    Tandems are always appealing. Your daughter will probably think it's cool, and so so will her
    friends. We have one sitting in the garage that's been in the family for years. It's a cheapo
    coaster brake beach cruiser type, not workable for hills, but great fun for beach areas. Every time
    it gets taken out, someone approaches with an offer to buy it.

    Note to Drill Sgt. Jobst -- 15 miles is a pretty healthy ride for a young teenager, and probably not
    doable at all in conjunction with other athletics. Even healthy teenagers rarely have that kind of
    energy, let alone the time. I'd want to be sure they could stay awake to get their homework done.

    Matt O.
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Guest

    When we were kids, we weren't afraid at all to ride in traffic. As a result, several of us got hit.
    I learned how to ride in the street after watching my friend's little brother knocked clean off his
    bike by a car.

    I'd look for a used trail gator, or something like that. It sounds like you just need to tow an
    empty bike, and you might even be able to tow an adult bike (without rider) with it.

    I just try to ride with my kids as much as I can, and I try to put them in front as much as
    possible. This way they can make mistakes and I can yell at them before they get into real trouble.
    It's also a little less intimidating riding with an adult. My daughter is very cautious, but my son
    would cross the autobahn if there was an ice cream truck on the other side. Cautious is better.

    Steve.

    P.S.Send your kids on a 15 mile ride to reduce the SUV traffic at the school parking lot? That's the
    stupidest thing I've heard all day, and I work with a bunch of engineers, so I hear a lot of
    stupid things.

    [email protected] wrote:
    > Erik Freitag writes:
    >
    > ...
    >>Just to fuel the fire, I should mention that she is afraid to ride her bike the 15 miles to school
    >>because she is afraid of traffic, which in my opinion, is pretty benign on her route. I'd be
    >>interested in hearing suggestions to help her to get her more comfortable with traffic, but I
    >>don't expect any progress until she gets to high school, which is a little closer to home.
    >
    >
    > That's another problem entirely. I see many high school youths who are afraid of many things that
    > they should be able to handle had they not led such a sheltered early youth, a time for adjusting
    > to the world and its problems. Around here there are huge traffic jams of SUV's at schools. Even
    > at neighborhood school bus-stop, parents deliver children and wait reading newspapers until they
    > are SAFELY on the bus.
    >
    > Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
     
  12. Keven Ruf

    Keven Ruf Guest

    Erik Freitag <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I pick up my daughter at soccer practice, a round-trip by car of around 5 miles. Round-trip by
    > bike is around 4 miles. One of the other parents picks her up at school and drops her off at the
    > practice field, by car. Is there any technique or hardware component that would let me tow her
    > bike to the practice field with my bike, so we could ride back together?

    I have an idea:

    Take an old front hub, tape it or somehow attach it to a rack on the back of your bike Duct tape,
    zip tie, etc.). Remove the front wheel from your daughter's bike and attach that somehow to her
    bike-- use a bungy and strap it to the side of the bike. Then mount her bike's front forks onto the
    old hub you fastened to your bike and use a quick release to hold it on. Does that make sense?

    I came up with this solution so I could ride the bike I have my son's child seat attached to with my
    race bike towed behind. That way I can go to races that are close by with my son and leave him in
    the care of a team mate who races some other category while I ride.

    Jobst, does that fit your vision of how children should be raised?

    --Keven.
     
  13. Fritz M

    Fritz M Guest

    Erik Freitag <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I'd be interested in hearing suggestions to help her to get her more comfortable with traffic....

    I've recently started taking my seven-year-old son on short (< 5 mile) rides to nearby parks, the
    grocery store, etc. in order to get him acclimated to riding in traffic. I'm teaching him the rules
    of the road, traffic safety, and cycling safety things like making eye contact and so forth.
    Basically I'm indoctrinating him with Forester's Effective Cycling material :), pointing out things
    to watch for as we encounter them.

    I plan on building up his exposure to traffic, staying in our low-traffic residential area, then
    gradually moving up from there when I feel he's ready for it. I envision this process taking a
    few years.

    Saturday I was in Colorado Springs and I talked with a dad and his two sons who were riding some
    *nice* road bikes. The kids -- ages 10 and 11 IIRC -- were on custom 47 cm frames. They were riding
    in an area with narrow roads and moderate traffic and the kids seemed to handle their bikes and the
    traffic just fine.

    RFM
     
  14. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    In <[email protected]> drifter wrote:
    > Found an old rusty bike in a dumpster and tried to tow it home using duct tape to afix (tow it) to
    > my bike. A great failure.
    >
    > To my surprise, I was able to balance the bike from the cross-bar on ( my right) handlebar just
    > inside of the grip as I recall. I travelled a distance of about 5 miles fairly flat. I balanced
    > the bike at an angle so it was off and away from the operation of my bike. I had to make sure the
    > pedal on the inside was at a correct position so in the event of an occasional swaying motion it
    > would not intefere with my operation. I believe the pedal was kept high. Of course, it is/was all
    > about balance, but just a normal grip was all that was necessary. It was kind of fun and not
    > really a problem. Hope I have described it well enough.

    That's clear, thanks. I'll give it a try.
     
  15. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    In <[email protected]> Keven Ruf wrote:
    > I have an idea:
    >
    > Take an old front hub, tape it or somehow attach it to a rack on the back of your bike Duct tape,
    > zip tie, etc.). Remove the front wheel from your daughter's bike and attach that somehow to her
    > bike-- use a bungy and strap it to the side of the bike. Then mount her bike's front forks onto
    > the old hub you fastened to your bike and use a quick release to hold it on. Does that make sense?
    >
    > I came up with this solution so I could ride the bike I have my son's child seat attached to with
    > my race bike towed behind. That way I can go to races that are close by with my son and leave him
    > in the care of a team mate who races some other category while I ride.
    >
    > Jobst, does that fit your vision of how children should be raised?
    >
    > --Keven.
    >

    I like this a lot. I was trying to think of a way to put the front wheel in some kind of mount on
    the rack, this might be easier. Thanks.
     
  16. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    In <[email protected]> Ryan Cousineau wrote:
    > In article <[email protected]>, Erik Freitag
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > 15 miles for a pre-teen? I don't think traffic levels would be my first concern. How fast can she
    > ride, anyways?
    >

    Not very fast this trip would probably take her 70 minutes. I was trying to explain why it won't
    really work to have her ride her bike to school, then to practice.
     
  17. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    In <[email protected]> [email protected] org wrote:
    > Erik Freitag writes:
    >
    >>>> I pick up my daughter at soccer practice, a round-trip by car of
    >
    > Is this really necessary? It sounds like a lot of travel. Maybe she should get on the school
    > soccer team so practice is at a reasonable distance. I don't know when school is out but riding 15
    > miles doesn't sound bad to me. It probably does more for fitness than playing soccer.
    >

    It is a lot of travel. 15 miles is around 70 minutes (each way) by bike for her, even if she would
    do it. The school doesn't have a soccer team, and she doesn't play soccer for fitness. I'm guessing
    from your suggestions that you might not have kids her age.

    >> Just to fuel the fire, I should mention that she is afraid to ride
    >
    > That's another problem entirely. I see many high school youths who are afraid of many things that
    > they should be able to handle had they not led such a sheltered early youth, a time for adjusting
    > to the world and its problems. Around here there are huge traffic jams of SUV's at schools. Even
    > at neighborhood school bus-stop, parents deliver children and wait reading newspapers until they
    > are SAFELY on the bus.
    >

    Alas, yes. Kids! What's the matter with kids these days? ... Why can't they be like we were, perfect
    in every way? ...
     
  18. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    In <[email protected]> Fritz M wrote:
    > Erik Freitag <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> I'd be interested in hearing suggestions to help her to get her more comfortable with traffic....
    >
    > I've recently started taking my seven-year-old son on short (< 5 mile) rides to nearby parks, the
    > grocery store, etc. in order to get him acclimated to riding in traffic. I'm teaching him the
    > rules of the road, traffic safety, and cycling safety things like making eye contact and so forth.
    > Basically I'm indoctrinating him with Forester's Effective Cycling material :), pointing out
    > things to watch for as we encounter them.
    >
    > I plan on building up his exposure to traffic, staying in our low-traffic residential area, then
    > gradually moving up from there when I feel he's ready for it. I envision this process taking a
    > few years.
    >
    > Saturday I was in Colorado Springs and I talked with a dad and his two sons who were riding some
    > *nice* road bikes. The kids -- ages 10 and 11 IIRC -- were on custom 47 cm frames. They were
    > riding in an area with narrow roads and moderate traffic and the kids seemed to handle their bikes
    > and the traffic just fine.
    >
    > RFM
    >

    This is kind of my approach as well. There are several problems.

    (1) As Mr. Brandt pointed out above, kids are lazy slugs, and will do anything to get out of any
    activity that smells like work. They also don't have the drive to stay with it until it is not
    so much effort.

    I know of two very pretty "easy" rides around here - CaƱada Road on Sunday and the Nimitz Way path
    to Inspiration Point in Tilden Park. Both of these are "too hilly" for my kids. I think anyone who
    reads this newsgroup would have a hard time recalling a hill on either of these rides. After riding
    3 miles into Nimitz Way and back, my youngest claims she will never ride a bike again - I'm sure
    this isn't true, but now I'm in for a lot of convincing ...

    (2) Opposite other suggestions in this thread that kids might think some kinds of bikes are cool,
    all kids that I know think that bikes are for geeks and really don't want to be seen riding one,
    especially with old dad. Bog forbid there should be a flat.

    I'm trying to point out the freedom being able to ride a bike effectively will give them - they
    could easily get to a friend's house, the ice cream store, or the mall by riding their bikes. Much
    easier than wheedling a ride from the 'rents.
     
  19. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    In <[email protected]> mark wrote:
    >
    > Get a tandem. Get some exercise, bond with your daughter, help her gain more confidence in
    > traffic. Trail-a-bikes are nice, but they might strike a pre-teen as a bit juvenile.

    Well, yeah - I kind of wanted to bond with her without pulling her. Don't really have a place to
    keep a tandem anyway.
     
  20. Erik Freitag

    Erik Freitag Guest

    In <[email protected]> Steve wrote:
    >
    > When we were kids, we weren't afraid at all to ride in traffic. As a result, several of us got
    > hit. I learned how to ride in the street after watching my friend's little brother knocked clean
    > off his bike by a car.
    >
    > I'd look for a used trail gator, or something like that. It sounds like you just need to tow an
    > empty bike, and you might even be able to tow an adult bike (without rider) with it.
    >
    > I just try to ride with my kids as much as I can ...

    .. me too. drifter had a good idea, above, which I'll try, and I'm really liking Keven's concept.
     
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