Hello everyone, this is curious dada’s first blog. I am a cycling hobbyist, and I want to give my honest review on two of the most popular bicycle child seats in the marketplace. In some ways, this review also provides a comparison between the rear mount style child seat VS trailer style child seat. If you are looking to ride your bike with a little one, I hope this review helps you to see the pros and cons between the two products (or styles).
To provide you with some background, I am a cyclist who bikes for exercise and commuting. I have used the Schwinn child carrier intensively for the past 2.5 years until my son reached the weight limit. I have since replaced the Schwinn with the Thule Cadence and have been using it for the past six months.
Schwinn Child Bike Carrier:
- Space is the biggest pro, in my opinion, whereas the trailer is very cumbersome to bring your bike to the train, bus rack or park inside our single-car garage.
- Your toddler is right behind you. You are physically very close to your kid, so you can hear them cry.
- Very easy to put your kid on the seat and buckle it (you don’t need to bend down compared to the trailer)
- Fairly seat to mount on my bikes (I mounted it on my road bike and then switched it over to my eBike)
- It’s also very durable. This was a hand-me-down from a good friend. It was approximately 5/6 yrs old when I got it. I used it extensively for 2.5 years without any issues.
- The centre of gravity is very off (your bike becomes very top-heavy), especially on a lighter bike like a road bike. Make sure you practice to get the hang of it before you start riding with your kid.
- Your kid is completely exposed to the environment (strong wind, rain or snow), so make sure you dress your kid according to the weather (the Thule trailer comes with a cover to provide some protection against the elements)
- The mounting area scratched the bike frame, although I used the rubber to protect against it.
- Potential danger: The kid seats are approximately three times higher than the Thule trail. This could be fatal during a bike crash where you and the bike fall. Therefore you should always ride with extra caution. (Some rear mount child seat comes with suspension to provide a softer ride, but that means the kid seats even higher and, therefore, even more, dangerous in the event of a fall)
- The Schwinn bike trailer also adds more weight to your rear tire, so make sure you bring some tools with you in case of a flat tire.
Thule Cadence 2 Seat Bike Trailer
- Safety: I feel trailer-style bike seats are overall safer in comparison to mount-on-frame bike seats due to the flexibility of the hitch (how the trailer connects with the bike, please see the picture below), where the trailer would still stand if you and the bike fell. However, the trailer could potentially flip over if you go over a big bump too fast. During the trial run, before putting my son in the trailer, I flipped the trailer over by going over the street curve too fast. Make sure you practice towing the trailer before you put your kid in it. Put like a big of rice in there to help you to get the hang of it.
- Protection against environmental elements: The Thule trailer comes with two covers, one plastic cover to protect your kid from rain or snow, and then a mesh net style cover underneath to keep bugs away. I usually put both covers down during colder weather and also include a blanket to keep the little one nice a toasty.
- The centre of gravity is unchanged compared to the Schwinn, but you will notice you are pulling a little human in the trailer.
- The Thule trailer provides you with a lot of space. You can fit your kid’s accessories or toys in the trunk.
- It looks relatively well-built and looks easy to fold and unfold for transportation. However, I rarely transport the trailer, as I usually bike to the parks/playgrounds directly from my home.
- My kid enjoys the trailer. It looks comfortable enough for him.
- The trailer takes up a lot of space. I can either have my car in the garage or my bike with the trailer attached. The trailer is wider than my bike, and it’s not very easy to back out too.
- Same as above, it’s a pain to bring this to the subway/metro and impossible to put your bike on the bus rack.
- Safety: Be very careful because your bike is a lot less agile with the trailer attached. It can potentially be very dangerous if your trailer catches something, so always be mindful about the turning radius and leave yourself ample room for turns and lane changes…etc.
I hope my review provides some useful information for you regarding what’s the best child bike seat. I fully acknowledge this review is not comprehensive. It’s entirely based on my personal experience with my toddler. The definition of the best trailer should be based on your unique situation, such as the type of housing, style of your bike, weather, distance to the park and your kid’s preferences. The two trailers provided me with many priceless memories with my kid, and it’s a great hack to combine exercise and parenting in a fun way. As always, make sure you prepare for flat tires or other mechanical issues.
Here are my tips to prepare for emergency situations:
- Share your phone location with someone, and let them know where you are going.
- Bring two tire levers, one spare tube and a pump with you (or those CO2 quick inflators), especially if you have the trailer.
- Bring cash for a bus ride home if you have the Schwinn because you should easily mount your bike on the bus rack like the one below.
4. Practice changing your tire if you are not used to it. You really don’t have to Youtube “how to change a bike tire” on the roadside.
Leave us a comment below if you have any questions. Stay safe and happy riding.