Below are cycling child carrying options from child seats to cargo bicycles; you may also want to read our feature where parents give their experience of cycling children to school in Ireland or another feature where we talk to Dublin-based cargo bike cycling parents.
Child seats that attach onto conventional bicycles are the most popular method of carrying children and babies on bicycles. These seats can be mounted to the bar under the saddle of most types of bicycles. They can be picked up in nearly all bicycle shops and range in price from €40 to around €150. Standard seats carry up to 5-6yrs or 22kg, although there are Dutch models that can last a child up to 10 years of age.
Front-mounted seats put the child between their parent and the handlebars. While some types are mounted to the crossbar making them unsuitable for ladies’ bikes, there are models which can be mounted under the handlebars of most bicycles. The setup may sound awkward but users swear by them. Some Dutch models come with a windshield.
A trailer bicycle has its own saddle and usually has one wheel – it attaches to a parent’s bike and acts like a trailer with the added bonus that your child can peddle. Depending on the model they are generally built for children between 3-10 years old. They sell from around €100 to above €200, and are widely available.
Child trailers for bicycles – especially when used in traffic – seem to attract the most controversy of all bicycle child carrying methods. The fear is mostly based on the low position of the trailer, but manufactures say trailers are rigorously tested and independent trials by an Allianz test centre in Germany found that trailers are safer than child seats. Trailers start from around €150.
Two and three wheeled cargo bicycles are longer than normal bikes and usually come with child and cargo holding boxes between the handlebars and front wheel. Most start in the €1,500 range, so while they’re not a cheap option, when partly or fully used as a car replacement they’re well worth the price tag. In Dublin, Greenaer stock the Bakfiets.nl bikes, the Dutchbikeshop.ie sell the Babboe range, the Nihola brand is held in Fairview’s Littlesport and Danish-built Bullit bikes are sold by On Track Dublin. The Gazelle Cabby offers a more foldable front, but it comes at a premium and we could not find an Irish stockist.
Longtails are a type of cargo bike without the large box. They have a longer than average frame with the rear wheel set back further allowing for a long rear carrier rack. The main brands are Yuba, Xtracycle and Surly’s Big Dummy – CycleBike in Dublin city centre stock the latter, while the others don’t seem to have official dealers in Ireland, bicycle shops may order them in. Xtracycle’s big seller is not just full bicycles but also conversion kits that they claim can turn 99% of bikes into a longtail. The kits cost under €400 and require some bicycle mechanic skills.
Bicycles with rear and front baby seats, bike trailers, are available to rent at different locations around the country. Cargo bicycle retailers will usually have options to try before you buy or rental which can come off the cost of the bicycle if you go ahead with buying one.