Bicycle Travel > Youth Bicyle Travel

Can I Tour with a Trail-a-bike?

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Family tours using tandems are common, but can it work with a 5-year old who doesn't pedal much on a trail-a-bike?

The concept is fine, but use a Burley Piccolo if you can find one.  The design is way, way better than that of the Adams Trail-a-Bike.  The problem I read many times on the T@H tandem forum when I was on it a few years ago is that the Trail-a-Bike's joint where it connects to the pulling bike's seat post quickly develops slop and makes it harder to manage the bike.  The Burley Piccolo OTOH has something like a headset on a rack that is mounted to the pulling bike, and it does not have the problem.

+1 for the Piccolo as a trail-a-bike. More $$ than the average trail-behind, but a MUCH better design. Because it clamps firmly to the included Burley "Moose" rack, it tracks much better, doesn't lean to the side like most trail-a-bikes, etc. You can put panniers on the Burley rack on the front bicycle, and even add a rack to the Piccolo, too, for additional pannier carrying capacity.

You can occasionally find the Piccolos used. Try for a wider-range search. A few on there when I just checked. Or, if you buy new, they  hold their value very well when resold.

A tandem set up for a child stoker is a much better bet than a trail-behind, but is a bigger $$ investment. I have a five-year-old son who rides with me using bot a child stoker setup (raised crankset) on our triplet bike and occasionally behind me on my single using a Burley Piccolo. On the triplet he "pedals" all the time since he can't coast; I'd say he's putting effort in to some degree most of the time, and whe we ask for a "turbo boost" up hills he really pours it on. On the Piccolo 95% of the time he is coasting, and even when I ask for help sometimes he won't. On the triplet we've ridden up to 35 miles in one shot with him, and he's still happy after the ride, so obviously the lack of freewheeling doesn't bother him. For more info, read this article written by the owner of Santana Tandems, Bill McCready. Obviously he wants to sell tandems/triplets, but his conclusions are 100% right from my experience.

Thanks for the good advice.

I just bought a used Burley Piccolo via CraigsList. What a difference! The Burley is noticeably lighter than the Adams, and my bike handles much better with the rack-mounted trailer. My son is excited about the 5-speed shifting too.

Glad to hear it!


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