It is a beautiful day and time for a family bike ride, but how do you ride a bike with 3 kids? There are a few arrangements you can try so that nobody gets left behind.
Family bike rides are a great way to have fun together, but not every family member may be big enough to ride their own bike. To make sure everyone is included, there are several different ways you can bring all the kids along. 3 kids can ride on a bike with you thanks to different seating arrangements or additions to the bike.
With the right arrangement or addition to your bike you can easily take 3 kids along for the ride. There are several possible combinations of seating so you can find what works best for your bike and your kids.
Bike seats as well as trailers, or add-ons all make it possible to ride with 3 kids. This guide will help you find the right configuration for your family so you can hit the road for family fun.
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Bike Trailer For 3 Kids
Strapping on a bike trailer to the back of your bike is a way to bring 3 kids along for the family bike ride. Bike trailers typically come with weight limits, so this is a preferred option for smaller kids.
The average weight range for bike trailers is between 80 and 100 pounds. You’ll want to make sure you do not exceed this, as it will interfere with your control and steering. A trailer for 3 kids is best when used for 3 smaller children.
Bike trailers are great for small children because they are safer than bike seats. As long as each of the 3 kids are secured in the trailer, they are better protected than if they were in a bike seat. A bike can tip over without the trailer having to tip too. One major downside is that because the trailer is behind you, it is challenging to see how the kids are doing. This can be worrisome for especially small children.
Most bike trailers hold only 2 kids and not 3. I recommend getting this adjustable shoulder & waist strap that you can loop around the 2 built in straps on the trailer in order to safely secure your 3rd child.
This is a great option for smaller kids and if you live in places where the weather can be unpredictable. The protection from the elements is always a priority for parents. Bike trailers are also safe, keeping children close to the ground and reducing injury should the bike fall over.
The bike trailer that I recommend is the Burley Bee Child Trailer on Amazon because it has good visibility, it folds flat for easy transportation, it comes with rear cargo space and is easy to install.
Touring bicycles are the best for attaching a bike trailer. They have lower centers of gravity as compared to other bikes so will be more stable. When you purchase the bike trailer it should come with all the necessary components to attach it to your bike.
Front Child Seat With Bike Trailer
When you have one child that is younger than the other two, it is possible to keep them in a front child seat while the other two ride in an attached bike trailer. A touring bike will be the best suited for this arrangement. Child seats can be easily fixed to the front of the bike and this bike is more stable for adding a trailer.
The main benefit to this arrangement is that you can keep the younger child in sight. However, if the bike tips they are more at risk than the kids in the trailer. A bike that falls over will not necessarily make the trailer fall too. If you already have a bike seat attached to the bike, then this option is the most financially suitable. You will only need to get a trailer.
Many prefer the addition of a bike trailer as it is a safer option. A bike trailer will not necessarily tip over if the bike goes down for any reason. Additionally, a bike trailer can be added to a bike without custom built parts or big changes to the bike.
Installing a bike trailer to the back of a bike is much easier than adding an Xtracycle kit, but it can be more expensive. Trailers are also comfortable and allow kids to have toys or snacks with them.
They also sit closer to the ground and are protected from the elements. The drawback is that you cannot easily see the kids at the back of the bike. You can also put a car seat in a trailer for a younger child.
Touring bikes are the best for bike trailers as they have a low center of gravity, so you stay balanced and stable as you ride. It is also relatively easy to attach and the only tools you need are a good wrench set.
The best hitch system to use is a universal Bicycle Trailer Coupler Attachment Hitch which consists of a hitch arm and hitch connector that easily installs without any tools. This universal attachment works with quick release and nutted axel wheels.
Get An Xtracycle
Xtracycles are specialized bikes that can carry heavy loads or extra passengers. There are three specific models that work for riding with 3 kids. The Leap, Swoop, Classic and Stoker models are perfect for 3 kids, but the children need to be out of car seats. This is not ideal for younger children.
You simply need to purchase the kit from the manufacturer to lengthen the wheelbase on your bike. You will need one of these larger models to accommodate three children. If any of your kids are in car seats, then the Xtracycle kits can still be used, but you will not be able to hold 3 kids because of the extra space the seat will take up.
The kits are recommended because they are attached in a way that provides balance for the bike, so despite the additional weight, you can still control and steer the bike. If you do not have a bike that can accommodate the longer wheelbase, then Xtracycle also makes bikes with the additional cargo space already in place.
Front Child Seat With Xtracycle Conversion
To create this seating arrangement, you will need a child seat at the front of the bike and an extension kit from Xtracycle. This kit will lengthen your existing wheelbase and provide two additional seats for kids.
Ideally, you will want the youngest child to be in the front child seat. Just be sure that the combined weights of the kids sitting at the back does not exceed the max weight limit for the Xtracycle cargo seats.
Children ages 5 and up can fit on the back safely or one child and a child seat. You will need to make sure your bike can support the extra weight by having a custom-built rear wheel. The additional weight also means you want to upgrade the brakes. Invest in “roller” or disc brakes.
This arrangement will also work better for touring bikes or cruiser/hybrid bikes. With the right attachment at the back and a wheel that can support the weight, this arrangement is easy to ride with and the weight will be balanced evenly for you to maintain control of the bike.
Front Child Seat And Tandem Bike
Tandem bikes are specifically designed to accommodate more than one person. Often you can find tandem bikes with an additional seat and pedals and a space for a rear child seat behind that.
All you have to do is attach a front child seat and you are good to go for a bike ride with 3 kids. This arrangement is best if one of your children is old enough to ride a bike. They can help you pedal while the younger kids just hang out and enjoy the view.
This may be the most expensive option as you will need to buy a new tandem bike. There are no ways to make additions to an existing bike. You will also need to have appropriate child seats, one for the front and one for the back.
It is, however, a great way to bike with the kids when you have an older child that likes to pedal. It keeps them with you and safe from riding off on their own and is a great way to introduce them to just how fun cycling can be.
Helpful Tips To Know How To Ride A Bike With 3 Kids
Bringing the kids along for the family bike ride is easier than you may think. Even with 3 kids. You just need to figure out the right seating arrangement. To help you decide which of the above methods will work best for you, there are a few helpful tips to consider.
- Type of bike: Not every type of bike can have attachments
- Age of children: Some kids need to be in seats, and these can limit the space available
- Safety: You want arrangements that keep children protected
- Attachments: If you need attachments, make sure you get one that is compatible with the bike you have
For your next family outing you now know how to ride a bike with 3 kids. With a few tweaks or additions to the bike you can make sure everyone has a seat. If you are serious about family bike rides, you can even invest in tandem cycles. With any of the configurations mentioned here, one thing is certain. Everybody can tag along and enjoy the ride.