So all the discussion of biking with kids has given me some exciting new options to consider. Right now, I have a two-seater Burley trailer that I use almost every day to haul my kids around, and a tag-along tandem attachement for Rio. I think these two things will get us through the summer. But then what? I doubt that Rio, at 6, will be able to bike independently for long rides, and Serena at 3 will probably not be *quite* ready for the trail-a-bike.

Some cool options I’ve encountered:

  • The Xtracycle, which is an add-on kit to transform your regular bike into a cargo bike, or a “family van” with two kids’ seats on the back. Very cool, cheap as these things go, and apparently available locally. The link above is to a blog written by a Cambridge couple who use one with their kids, and they give much more detail about it than I could. One clear advantage to this is that you get to keep riding your own bike, which you presumably like.
  • Dutch Cargo Bicycles, which allow you to carry some large number of kids, grocery bags or circus animals in their amazing and sturdy construction. These things cost more than my car, but are apparently a dream to ride and very sturdy.
  • MADSEN Cargo Bikes, might be my favorite of the batch. They put the cargo bucket behind the adult rider instead of in front the way the Dutch bikes do. They look like they can hold a fair amount of cargo, and provide a pleasant ride for the adults as well.

A couple of people mentioned that bikes built from the ground up to be cargo bikes might be safer and more durable than a standard bike that you adapt with a kit, because they were designed to hold the weight of three people. That might be true. On the other hand, I’m fairly small. My kids and I together weigh just a little more than my (very tall-n-skinny) spouse, and he rides a bike every day. I doubt the weight of me+kids or me+cargo is really going to strain the brakes or wheels on my bike to the breaking point.