I carry 35kg+ on my tour bike commute (child & baggage)

a ryder

New Member
Location
Sheffield
I have not talked to many cyclists in my area, and just wondering how everyone feels when carrying such loads- i usually carry my child on my rear rack (she is around 30kg) with a cushioned seat and a small backpack/ lunchbag and locks, water, etc.

how do you find the experience?

i have alot of steep hills to climb, and city bustle to navigate.

Things i find challenging are the weight distribution and the effects of that and how it feels to lug that weight.

my speed is fairly alright, but can be challenging up hill but not impossible.

Things i do like is the general ride, my child enjoys it and it is the best way to cut costs and the fastest way to get to school and work(its very down hill so my child riding up and down is difficult atm).

looking for some advice on anything to improve the experience.
 
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ManiaMuse

Veteran
My only experience with someone on the back of my bike was in Bangkok with an elderly Thai lady sat on the bare pannier rack...

It was quite unnerving at first how it affected the handling of the bike and made the front wheel feel really light (especially on a bike with wide, Dutch style handlebars) but I got used to it eventually.

How old is she though? 30kg seems quite heavy for a kid in a seat. Most of them seem to be rated for less than that weight from a quick Google.

How about getting a tagolong bike instead? Probably a more stable set up and she can contribute a bit to the effort when she feels like it which you might appreciate.
 
30Kg of child on the back in Sheffield? My, you must have legs the size of Meadowhall! I gave up when mine got to 20Kg. He has his own bike now, but this part of Birmingham is much, much flatter than Sheffield.

The only thing I would suggest would be an e-bike for either or both of you.
 

CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
My only experience with someone on the back of my bike was in Bangkok with an elderly Thai lady sat on the bare pannier rack...

.....but I got used to it eventually.
Eventually? This was quite an extended relationship then? I'm just imagining that!
"Have you met my bike lady?" ^_^

I've no answer to this unfortunately, 30 kilos is a lot to be that high up and children don't get any lighter.

I tried a tag along for a little while and I hated it. Although that was a trail gator and they don't seem to be well liked anyway, hopefully others are better. I've had to wait until my daughter was old enough to ride her own bike, then I got her a new bike with gearing that can cope with a hill.
 

cheys03

Senior Member
Would a tandem work better? Easy to pilot, just remember the extra length and turning circle. A few commands learnt for communication between you on pedal position at lights, gear changes etc and good to go. Made for this purpose and can be had at quite reasonable cost second hand
 

CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
Hang on, I just looked up average weights for children, at 30 kilos an average child is 9 to 10 years old. Is that about the age range we're talking?

At that age we're definitely in "own steam" territory. I gave up carting my daughter around at about 5-6, she just got too heavy to be on my bike. It can vary wildly what age they're ready to ride alone, but my daughter was what most people regard as fairly late. She had a go at about age 7 and found it frustrating, giving up due to falls and if I'm honest probably poor teaching on my part. By age 8 though she became very keen again all of a sudden - and enthusiasm really helps. With the help of some scooting practice and a good video on YouTube (Isla Rowntree's Bike Radar video) she learned fast.... 2 sessions fast, from scooting, to confident and controlled bike riding in under 2 hours.

if your child is 9 or thereabouts I'd say it's time to ask if they would like to learn.
 

Twilkes

Veteran
18kg of 2¾ old boy, not noticeably difficult although obviously there's a difference on hills, just feels like pushing a full touring load. This is on a Weeride seat though which has him sitting over the top tube in front of me. Handling once above 5ish mph is fine, although he had a phase of shaking side to side which led to some emergency stops and short but firm 'discussions'!

He's almost a metre tall so once he gets too big for the mid seat I'm not sure what I'll do, not a fan of rear seats, or trailers on the road, will just have to try one and see. He could scoot but it would take forever.

As an aside, I once saw a FOUR-SEATER 'tandem' bike with a mother and her three children down near the Sidmouth Folk Festival in 2000, never seen anything like it before or since. No idea how adjustable it was for varying child sizes but it must have been silly expensive...
 
My touring rack is rated to 25kg, I'd be very worried that 30kg was stressing some bolts and risked shearing your child loose. Definitely double check the max weights!

As for solutions, e-cargo bikes seem expensive, but compared witha car, still chump change, they will move just about anything, many come readily customisable with bucket seats and safety belts etc. There are some really cool bikes coming out of NL and DK.

The E-Bullitt is a great example. I've seen other brands using the latest Bosch cargo motors too, but don't recall the names of any particular model name, I'm sure you can find them if you do digging. Of course, there are unassisted cargo bikes to consider too, but given the frames heft and as kids don't get lighter, the assistance becomes necessary at some point, especially in hilly areas.

Personally, I don't have the bottle to take my daughter out in the road, not sure I could live with myself if the worst happened. I've had too many close calls to put her at the mercy of the idiots out there. If things were different infrastructure wise, I'd sell all my bikes in a heart beat and get one of those cargo bikes with seats out in front, of course they can do double duty for shopping runs etc.

I have carried about 15kg of beer on a front rack which is very unnerving. Twitchy steering, but do you get used to it apparently. Of course, I don't make a habit of carrying beer, it was more of a test scenario. These days I'm happy to stick to more frequent trips for 4 x 330ml cans in a backpack. Don't ask me about child placement though. :laugh:
 
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