Hybrid for commuting with significant hill with toddler

Annioq

New Member
Hi all, I'm trying to buy a bike having not cycled regularly for 15 years. I can't spend a huge amount but could use Cycle to Work and maybe spend a bit more. I thought I'd just buy a £350 Carrera from Halfords, but researching has got me confused.

Basically I'd like to fair weather commute about 5-6 miles with toddler. Part of the commute (the last stretch home) has a significant hill which I'll probably have to push the bike up at the start.

How many gears am I likely to need? Any tips for carrying a child and work bag? Any suggestions for bikes or stores? Do I need a significantly more expensive bike to make that hill manageable? Do I need a woman's bike if carrying a child on the back? (I'm looking at 18"/19" frames)

My LBS seems to stock bikes over £500 only and doesn't accept Cycle to Work vouchers at the moment which is a bit of a pain. I'm near an Evans as well but no Decathlon that I know of - although they don't have anything in stock as far as I can see.

I have looked at some secondhand options, but I'm quite worried about getting a dud or a stolen bike. There's a Ridgeback Meteor that's about 7 years old quite cheap available, but I'm not sure whether it's sensible to spend £170 as they're asking on a bike that old?

Thank you for any help in advance.
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
re hills, it's not the number of gears, but how low the bottom gear is. I just went and had a look at £350 Carrera on the Halfords website and I saw it had a 32 tooth smallest chainring (cogs at the front) and a 32 tooth largest sprocket (cogs at the back). That's a respectably low gear. Whether it's low enough for you on your hill with your child I have no idea.

Do you need a woman's bike for child carrying? No, but - and I do not speak from experience here, just from reading - if you can't step through the frame and have to hoik your leg over the saddle, you run a high risk of kung-fu kicking your child, sitting in a child seat, in the face. So bear that in mind.

If you have a local Decathlon have a look there. They have a good reputation - probably better than Halfords. (Duh, no. I missed that bit)

My personal view is that, if you're completely inexperienced with bikes then having the support of a shop + guarantee, even one with a less than stellar rep for customer service, is probably a good idea. At £350 you aren't going to get the best components, but then your journey only a few miles, so you aren't going to be running the bike into the ground.
 

BoldonLad

Veteran
Location
South Tyneside
My Wife has a Liv Alight 3 City, it is a bit more than your budget, but, not a lot. Wife is very happy with her Liv. Long past carrying a child on the back (wife is 74), but, she does manage to get up most hills, with, 48/38/28 at front and 14-34 at the back. There are models with disc-brakes and without rear rack etc, if required.
 
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Bonefish Blues

Banging donk
Location
52 Festive Road

Cycleops

Legendary Member
Location
Accra, Ghana
I’d concur with the above. Spending a little more will pay dividends in all areas.
The Lithium 3 would be a good choice, you have the assurance of better and more controlled braking plus it comes with decent Continental tyres which offer reasonable puncture resistance (rated at 4/7) which you don’t often find on bikes at this price point. You don’t want to be mending puncture with a child in tow. There’s a good spread of gears as well as low end ones. Weight is reasonable which is something that you might be glad of on the hills.
Evans own brand Lithium models are well regardEd on here with many running them.
 

battered

Über Member
The Lithium would be a good choice. If it comes on CycleScheme then better again. Those gears are low enough to lug a child and you up any hill this side of Mont Ventoux, so I wouldn't worry unless you live in the Alps, Hebden Bridge or Ramsbottom, Lancs, and need to cycle up 1 in 3 gradients every day. Jenkins Road, Sheffield, might be a challenge but the TdF prima donnas did it and none of them were seen at the side of the road, crying.
A child seat is easy to fit. Just check that you can get your leg over the bike when the child is on board.

BTW you don't need suspension, either F or R, on a road bike. It's unnecessary weight, cost and complexity. The tyres on the lithium are quite chunky, that will soak up any bumps. Make sure you set aside money in the budget for helmet(s), decent clothing for when it rains, and a decent lock to keep the scumbags off it. If you want to fit panniers for lugging gear about, then check (ask the shop) if they will fit. This is the advantage of buying in a shop, that's what you pay for, so use it.
 
OP
A

Annioq

New Member
Thank you for all your thoughtful replies! Really helpful, I'll have a look at the suggestions and see if I can get to an Evans. Although the Liv 3 looks brilliant, there doesn't seem to be anyone who sells them nearby.

I certainly don't want to be booting toddler in the face!
 

Bonefish Blues

Banging donk
Location
52 Festive Road
For every upside there can be a downside - that type of open 'ladies' frame is not quite as stiff as the other models that have been linked, so depending on your toddler's size, it can make things feel a bit wobbly, which can be slightly disconcerting for all concerned. Just (yet!) another thing to consider ^_^
 

Cycleops

Legendary Member
Location
Accra, Ghana
For every upside there can be a downside - that type of open 'ladies' frame is not quite as stiff as the other models that have been linked, so depending on your toddler's size, it can make things feel a bit wobbly, which can be slightly disconcerting for all concerned. Just (yet!) another thing to consider ^_^
I think you may be overstating it a little, we’re not talking Mark Cavendish here, even a step through frame should have more than adequate stiffness for this type of cycling :smile:
 

Bonefish Blues

Banging donk
Location
52 Festive Road
I think you may be overstating it a little, we’re not talking Mark Cavendish here, even a step through frame should have more than adequate stiffness for this type of cycling :smile:
I said "not quite as stiff" and "a factor to consider" so I don't think that's too terrible an overstatement? From experience, a larger toddler up high behind can make things feel rather wobbly, so stiffness of frame is a factor, but I'm sure OP will be OK with an open frame.
 

Bonefish Blues

Banging donk
Location
52 Festive Road
I said "not quite as stiff" and "a factor to consider" so I don't think that's too terrible an overstatement? From experience, a larger toddler up high behind can make things feel rather wobbly, so stiffness of frame is a factor, but I'm sure OP will be OK with an open frame.
ETA
And distinctly understated when compared to "a high risk of kung-fu kicking your child in the face" from another contributor :laugh:

Yours in moderation, as always ^_^
 
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