Motherhood

Riding Bikes with Babies

Many readers have asked how to ride a bike with a baby. We started when Toby turned one, and I’d love to share what we’ve learned…

We’ve had the loveliest breezy rides with Toby in the early mornings and evenings–down the Hudson River, around Central Park, across the Brooklyn Bridge. I’ve found it really freeing to be able to ride a bike together, instead of having to always lug around the stroller. Biking with a little one is totally invigorating!

As for the seat, Alex and I are huge fans of the front bike seat. When the seat’s in front, you can keep a close eye on your baby, which feels safe and secure; plus, you can chat and sing and feed them crackers:) And what a thrill for the babies! Seriously, it must feel like a roller coaster!

So, which brand of front bike seat? We’ve tried two…

1. The first seat we tried was the WeeRide Kangaroo, $48 (above). Pros: Our friends Kendra and Seth had highly recommended it (here’s a cute photo of Kendra riding with their daughter). It’s affordable, and you can order it easily from Amazon. Cons: Because of the seat’s position, you have to ride with your knees slightly out to the side. (Nerds.)

Then that seat got stolen. (Curses, NYC!)

2. The second seat we got was the Bobike Mini, $140 (below). (We would have ordered the WeeRide again, but didn’t want to wait for Amazon shipping.) Pros: This Dutch seat is designed beautifully and feels streamlined. You can take the seat on and off easily (so, if you’re not riding with your child, you can remove it in two seconds). Cons: It’s three times more expensive than the WeeRide. Also, the seat attaches to your stem (think: the handlebar rod), which can feel wobbly when you’re getting on and off the bike.

Overall: I’d highly recommend either of these seats (and polka-dot Nutcase helmet!).

Do you ride bikes with your kids? Would you want to try it out? Where do you live? Do you have any bike gear that you’d recommend?

P.S. Toby’s first “ride.” :)

(Photos by Laura Ratliff and Jamie Beck for Cup of Jo. My helmet by Bern, and Toby’s helmet by Nutcase)

  1. Gabrielle says...

    Now this post is like 5 years old, but I was re-reading some old motherhood posts and couldn’t not comment when I saw this photo- Toby’s helmet is not protecting his head AT ALL in these photos. Helmets should hit just above the eyebrows, otherwise they’re not really doing anything except making you sweat. If you and Toby and Anton still take bike rides together, please look up correct helmet fit so that they’re fully protected!

  2. I also have the wee ride! and my one and a half year old absolutely loves feeling like she’s steering while making her version of a car noise lol we actually just rode for almost five miles and she especially loves the front that protects them in case of a fall the poor sweetheart gets so tired she uses it as a head rest lol.

  3. Hi Jo, I know this is an old post now but I was wondering if the wee ride makes it difficult to mount / dismount from the bike? Thank you so much & for all the great mummy tips!

  4. Angie says...

    Joanna- I am moving back to the states from Amsterdam, and looking for a good replacement to my mamabike here. Question, in your bike search, did you find anything roomy, like they have here in Holland, that is, a long bike, with ample space for seat and you without feeling like you’re very on top of baby? I’m totally unsatisfied with the search in the US! :(

  5. We live in a small New Mexican town where sidewalks are rare and stickers abound. Bikes still get pulled from our dungeon {garage}, however, and helmets still get put on. We love our Amsterdam bikes, and we use the iBert.

  6. Anonymous says...

    Really great photos, but I wanted to point out that the helmet on your son is being worn incorrectly and by wearing it so high on his head he is in danger of a serious head trauma if an accident occurs. Please reread the instructions on the Nutcase website for more info, but in short the helmet should come just above his brow ridge. Wearing the helmet as you have it on your son and yourself, exposes your forehead and that is actually wear you need the most protection. I applaud you for putting a helmet on your son, I see so many who don’t, but the way he is wearing it in the photos is pretty much like him wearing no helmet at all.

  7. This blog have very interesting information for us. I really appreciate your blog. Very good work

  8. Hi Jo! I am Canadian but live just outside of Amsterdam. Bike everywhere – Have had kids in front, in back – some of the first kids in Amsterdam with mandatory helmut policy (mine). When my second was born I bought a “bakfiets” which is translated: a box bike – It has a box in front that seats 4 (and for a while a baby car seat and 2 kids) and a seat on the back for a bigger kid. So all in all – a bicycle built for 6 that I power with my own legs. I can also get a weeks worth of groceries in there! but can still take it out for a long bike ride! Love my bike!!!! Great to see you biking in NYC!

  9. Those photos are really adorable. With my kids, though, I haven’t gone the bike seat route, but I’m still able to get in a good bit of transportation cycling in. Say I’m dropping them off at daycare. I can’t take them there on my bike, so we go in the car, but I actually leave my car in the daycare parking lot, and then ride to work on my folding bike. It fits right in my trunk, and it’s so easy to just unfold and ride. So while I’m still driving with the kids, I’m still getting in a good bit of riding, saving money and the planet, and my kids see me riding, so hopefully it’s something they’ll want to do too, when they’re a little older.

  10. what happy photos! thank you for your awesome and inspiring blog.. i cant wait to have kids <3

  11. My fav topic, I have the Bobike seat too but I find it challenging to get on the bike, I cannot wear jeans with back pockets. It must be my Dutch bike. Anyway,lovely pictures and happy baby biking!

  12. Stacy E. says...

    I love that picture of Toby laughing! Thank you for sharing your family with us!

  13. Anonymous says...

    Hi Jo, I LOVE your floral shirt! Where is it from? You and the bub look so fresh and sweet. Must be the toothy (Toby) smiles! x Jo

  14. I’ve been waiting for this post! Started biking with my baby a couple months ago with seat on back and love it. Sadly my bike was stolen too! I feel ur pain. But luckily I brought the seat in the house. Good to hear you like the front seat. I kind of wanted one too, but none of the bike shops in the east bay stock them… Love Toby’s helmet and your bikes!

  15. I want one, but can they be used on a road bike? We have hills here in Seattle and we can’t really use cruisers :( Thanks!

  16. Laura says...

    Hi Joanna – great, glad to hear you both will be safer out on the streets! :) now please do a post for all of us (with babies now or in the future) so we can get it right the first time :)

    (p.s. i dont think it is fair to compare NYC drivers to those in Holland or Amsterdam! the number of cars/ their size / speed make a huge difference…. plus, in any case, a fall could happen anywhere, even on an empty sidewalk. better safe, than sorry – right? :)

    Laura

  17. laura, thanks for your comment! i actually was THRILLED that people told me how to wear helmets the correct way — i was actually just talking to my dad on the phone about that tonight and saying that i was so happy that people corrected us. we’ve already adjusted our helmets. if you look, you’ll see my comment above the says, “Giulia and Lissa, thank you for the tip!!!!!” which is about their helmet pointers. xoxo

  18. i hope the person who stole the baby bike seat really needed it, and now a person who needs to use their bike a lot and has a baby has a safe way to transport baby.

    also- major props on the helmet. so so so many people don’t wear helmets riding. and i agree with kathcasey. often i see parents riding without helmets. what if something happened (god forbid) and the parent wasn’t conscious to help baby?! ugh! i can’t even think about it.

  19. Thank you thank you thank you for wearing a helmet with your child! I see so many parents riding with their children – the kid has a helmet and the parent doesn’t. I think it’s such a bad example! I want to see helmets go trendy!

  20. simone says...

    NO FEAR!! Reading some of the comments I would like to let you know that riding a bike with your child is not dangerous and especially with a front seat it’s a great experience. Being (another) Dutchie I can know. I have a 5-year old and a 7-year old and I used a Bobike mini and maxi and i was very pleased with them. You can actually attach a small lock to it so they can’t take it out. My children now ride their own bikes to school but I can still transport them on my bike with a special saddle on the front of the bike. So enjoy cycling with your child: it’s a lot better for them to be on a bike than in the back seat of a car!