Trailers, longtails, and iBerts, oh my!

Last week, I shared some green baby strategies, one of which was, “Wait on it.”  While I’ve done a good job on that in general, there are a few things that I wish I had waited on, one of those being the bicycle trailer.

Despite the fact that we’ve had it for over eight months now, I can still count our “biking with baby” trips using my my hands.  I need both hands, not just one, but still.

Sure, there have been mitigating factors: waiting until Sir was a bit older and had decent head/neck control, ordering the baby supporter accessory, winter weather, carrying the trailer in and out of the basement because we have no garage . . . but enough with the excuses!  An average use of once a month at most?  Not good!

Given that we found a high quality, good condition, used trailer for a reasonable price, I’m not sure it was a bad purchase, at this point it just does not seem like a good purchase, either.

Ever since I saw this post on the Momentum magazine blog, I’ve been thinking about options that don’t involve a trailer.  A longtail bicycle, like the Yuba Mondo featured in that post (and here, as well), seems like a great option.

In my excitement, I dug a little deeper into the world of longtails, and found some reviews and comparisons of various bikes including the Yuba Mondo, Surly Big Dummy, and the XtraCycle Radish.*  Based on our initial research, we lean toward the Yuba for it’s combination of features that meet our needs and being a good value.

A couple weeks after my longtail excitement, I read S’s post on front-mounted seats on Simply Bike.  While I like the idea of a longtail, I’m less excited about the price tag — far more affordable than a car up front and down the road, but still overwhelming to my frugal sensibilities.

With a front-mounted seat, you don’t sacrifice the cargo room on the rear rack as you would with a rear-mounted seat, and you don’t have to deal with the weight and bulk of a longtail (especially a factor in our case, with carrying it up and down stairs).

Also, your little one is right up front, experiencing the ride with you, which appeals to me.  While Sir does not seem to mind riding in the trailer, he doesn’t seem particularly excited about it either, and I can’t really blame him.

When thinking about biking with baby options, front-mount seats were not even on my radar, but based on the post I mentioned above, the main contenders are the Yepp Mini, the iBert, and the Bobike Mini.**

Immediately after reading about front-mount seats, I saw an iBert on Craigslist.  For better or worse, I didn’t feel ready to grab it up without more research on the various options, including which seat styles work with which bicycles, and that seat is now gone.

For now, we’ll continue using the trailer, if less often than I would like.  And I’ll be dreaming about front-mount seats and longtails.

*For more info, check out these resources:
Heavyweight Showdown: Big Dummy vs Yuba Mundo
Cargo Bikes in Momemtum Magazine
Beautiful Bicycles: Yuba Monda Cargo Bike
The Best Cargo Carrying Bikes Of 2012: A Review

**See comments to S’s post for feedback on front-mount seats:
Front mounted bike seat for a child: what are your favorite options?

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7 Responses to Trailers, longtails, and iBerts, oh my!

  1. Tracy says:

    I share so much of your feelings here. We own a rear mounted kid seat and a bike trailer. We were disappointed with the rear mounted seat due to concerns with the attachment and getting used to rebalancing ourselves. We definitely bike less often, which makes me sad. On the other hand we LOVE our stroller and I have gotten back into running instead. I hope we get more chances to try out our bike trailer this Summer. It is amazing how expensive this equipment can be, even used.

  2. EcoCatLady says:

    You know, my philosophy on this sort of stuff is that you just need to let it flow in and out of your life as it makes sense – making sure that you let go of what doesn’t work is the key. I mean, it would be nice if we could always predict what will and won’t work for us, but sometimes you just have to try it out and see for yourself. I’d grab the next front-mount seat that you can find on Craigslist… you can always re-sell it, same as you can with the trailer.

    • Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      Just saw a WeeRide front seat on CL. Not my first choice, but I’m getting more info from the seller anyway. We shall see.

  3. Hey- always exciting to hear of someone new checking out long-tails! We really love our Peanut Shell on my Yuba Mundo- it’s so well fitted to the bike that you could pick the whole bike up by the seat and it wouldn’t budge a 1/4 of an inch.
    If you contact Yuba they may be able to tell you of people who own a Mundo in your area and we are always happy to share our bikes for test rides! Don’t be intimidated by their immense size- when you get on with your bike all loaded up you won’t believe how stable it is!
    The chatting and singing, reciting of the alphabet, giggling and general fun times you will enjoy having your child close when you bike will feel like a blessing every time you ride.
    Oh I can’t say enough!!!! Shall stop before bore you to death!
    If you have any questions feel free to ask me and I’m glad you liked my post in Momentum;) All the best, Lindsay (& Jack)

    • Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      Hi Lindsay, thanks for visiting. I tried to leave a comment on your Momemtum post when I first saw it, but it doesn’t look like it posted. Anyway, I found your story and example very inspirational.

      How is it on hills? Not sure if your area is relatively flat or hilly, but I’m curious about that.

      Contacting Yuba is a good idea. It looks like the closest cycle shop that carries them is about 2 hours away (none in St. Louis, where I live, unfortunately), but there still might be a local owner.

      • Yes, I think I actually know someone in St. Louis with one- would you like me to check? Also don’t go by me in regards to hills lol- I’m carrying a lot of extra weight- I know other Yuba Mummas who have numerous kids and still cover major miles!

      • Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

        That would be great if you have a contact here.

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