My kids have graduated to their own bikes this past year, but before they got their own two wheels, they traveled next to me in a Chariot SideCarrier. Most bicycle child carriers put your kid behind you, subject to tires kicking up water, sand and gravel – not to mention a constant view of your backside. And this is bonding time?
I found the SideCarrier at my local bike shop and fell in love. I’d turned over a lot of miles before we had our kids, but time constraints had kept me out of the saddle during their first couple of years. This was a chance to get back to turning the cranks and spending some time with the kids at the same time.
The great thing about the SideCarrier was that it attached to the side (more on that in a second) and put the child on the business side of the bike. I felt more comfortable with my kid where I could see him/her and it made the bike no less maneuverable in most situations. It allowed us to make eye contact and talk while whistling down the avenue. I was able to experience their thrills rolling down hills … and be encouraged by their cheers heading back up the other side.
The carrier attaches to a hitch, which is mounted in front of the bike’s bottom bracket. (See photo for detail.) The hitch has certain space requirements, which prevent it from being used on certain brands and types of bikes. There is a short list of incompatible bikes on their site.
A three-point harness keeps your loved one safe and there is also a full-time screen (and fold-away clear rain guard) to keep the elements at bay. Though not included, there is a sleeve for a safety flag.
I really enjoyed the SideCarrier for carting my kids around town. It provided a unique experience for both of us. They still beg for rides in the sidecar, but they’ve grown too heavy for my tired legs.