Just because you're now a parent doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your active lifestyle. In fact, it is important that you stay active and exercise regularly so that you can maintain a healthy body because well, you now have kids to look after (or chase around when baby starts walking - trust us, you will need ALL the energy and stamina)!
One activity that we'd highly recommend doing is biking. Not only is it fun as you get to go outdoors, the best thing is you can do it together with your children! Yup, you can either cycle with your little one as s/he scoots around or teeters in their balance bike or tricycle, or you can go for longer rides/adventures together in a bike trailer.
1. What You Need To Know About Bike Trailer
A bike trailer is a wheeled frame encased in strong, durable fabric that has a zippered enclosure and attaches to the rear of your bicycle. Children can sit in it as you cycle in front and it is one of the best activity that parent and child can do and enjoy together.
Is bike trailer safe?
This is perhaps one of the biggest concerns that most of you would have and we don't blame you. Let us assure you, bike trailers are actually much safer than you think they are.
First of all, they are much lower to the ground compare to bike seats (another option for biking together) so in the event of any falls, the level of injuries is definitely much reduced.
Secondly, the encased compartment provides extra roll-cage like protection in that it remains sitting upright even if your bike goes down so that harm to children can be minimized, if not totally eliminated.
We recommend sticking to bike lanes or park paths when using a bike trailer, at the very least, you should steer away from busy city roads, keep a helmet on your child, and you (and your little one) would be fine.
When should you use a bike trailer?
There is no mandatory rule or law on this, but you should only let your child sit in a bike trailer when s/he can sit upright unassisted, and this is usually around the 1-year-old mark. This is because you will go through uneven terrains where bumping is unavoidable and that may cause damage to your little one's still developing brain. So wait until they are at least a year old when most will be able to hold their head up before seating them in a bike trailer.
2. Types of Bike Trailers
You may not know it, but there are actually a few different types of bike trailers that you can choose from, with some that can set you back as much as $1,000 so that is certainly a deciding factor in a lot of parents' decision-making.
A. Trailer Only
As its name indicates, this type is purely trailer only with no attachments available to make it into a stroller. Because of this, it is (usually) the cheapest compare to the other types. It usually comes in 2 sizes - single or double bike trailer. While double child bike trailer is usually more convenient in that even if it doesn't house two children, you can use the other space for storage. The downside is - it is harder to manoeuvre because it is wider than single trailer.
B. Trailer + Stroller/Jogger
This is the convertible type where you can switch it to stroller or jogger mode, though most will still use it primarily as a trailer. Some higher end trailers even provides a ski attachment to make going over ice or snow easier for parents. Likewise, there are usually two sizes - single or double.
C. Pedal Trailers
Pedal trailers are catered to older children who can pedal themselves. This allows you to cycle with your little one together, on the same bike, instead of him/her scooting next to you in another separate bike. It provides great bonding and fun for both adult and child, although we must say there is less protection for your little one in this type compare to regular trailers. Also, there's the age limitation with this one because younger children can only be placed in regular trailers since they are not able to pedal themselves yet.
Whichever type that you eventually choose, we recommend looking for brands/models that come with the ASTM sticker because it guarantees that safety standards have been met. It is not mandatory by law, but we'd highly recommend it because it means your trailer has undergone, and passed, rigorous safety tests and standards.