Biking with baby … and toddler

Since our previous biking post, our primary mode of transportation has been the MEC single bike trailer (for biking and strolling), supplemented with car shares and transit when needed. But when the new baby came along, we had to take a break from biking. Before she could sit up on her own and support the weight of a bike helmet, we tried sticking both girls together in the MEC single for short strolling trips.

Cozy in Stanley Park

Understandably, toddler complained of being squished. Once baby was able to hold her head up with a helmet on (guess what she got for Christmas?!), we decided it was time to start our pedal adventures as an expanded family. That meant we needed to upgrade from the MEC single bike trailer.

Decision time

There’s much debate about bike trailer versus bakfiet versus bike seat. For us it was simple: we have limited space to store “baby gear”, so let’s just purchase one thing that works for most of our trips. In that department, a double bike trailer wins hands down.

After additional research into other comparable models, we settled on the Wike Premium Double.

MEC single on the left, Wike double on the right

At $500 (about $600 after tax and stroller kit), it was more expensive than the MEC double trailer, but there were a few key things in the Wike’s favour:

  • Lightweight. Lighter even than our MEC single (10.9 kg versus 12.2 kg). This was important for carrying up and down steps and biking up steep hills.
  • Narrow. The Wike double is 81.3 cm wide, the MEC double is 90 cm, and the MEC single is 75 cm. The Wike still fits through doors, which is key for grocery shopping or getting on transit.
  • Works well as a stroller. Our MEC single had a plastic front wheel that would often get caught, making it difficult to push, and the push bar height was not adjustable. The Wike front wheel is not plastic and works much better.
  • Easy transition between trailer/stroller. There are no parts to remove, unlike our MEC single. To transition between modes, you just adjust (using screws or hitch) the handle bar, front wheel, and/or tow bar. They all remain on the Wike for biking and strolling.
  • Spacious. Capacity is 100 lbs and inside height and length are 30 in. It should last a long time (i.e. plenty of room for larger kids).
  • Made in Canada. Chariot and MEC trailers are made in China.

Hands on experience

After five months of using the Wike, rain or shine, biking or strolling, we’re really happy with our purchase.

Strolling with the Wike

It does indeed fit through most single doors. The few exceptions were older shops where the doors didn’t open completely on the hinges. Even in those rare situations, I just popped off a wheel with the push of a button and strolled it through because it is still light enough to push with one hand and one back wheel.

The transition between stroller and trailer is as smooth as advertised. When the kids have fallen asleep, it is easy to switch modes and not wake them up. This just wasn’t possible with our MEC trailer where the tow bar had to be removed/attached by tilting the trailer backwards about 30 degrees and snapping it off/on.

Being able to quickly adjust the stroller handle bar is a huge benefit. Since there is such a height differential between David and me, this was always a point of frustration with the MEC stroller, which only has two “settings” and was tricky to align properly.

The Wike’s back storage compartment (i.e. trunk) is smaller than the MEC trailer, but the real space advantage is in the front with the kids. We can load up groceries in the front with them, without impacting leg room (obviously this will change as the kids grow).

A bonus feature is the mesh on the back of the trailer that allows air flow, but also allows us to see the kids inside while we are strolling. Yes, I do mean for monitoring behaviour.

What do the kids like about it? The seats are comfy and harnesses secure; they don’t seem to slouch as much as they did in the MEC trailer. They also don’t look as awkward with their helmets on inside. The side pockets are larger and store toys/snacks more securely. They can see outside a bit more due to the design of the windows and seats.

Room for improvement

We thought for a long time that the Wike (or our Wike) did not come with a mesh screen, but actually it was there all along: it rolls down from a concealed flap. Quite clever, really. That said, it would be nice if this were explained somewhere, like the manual. Speaking of which, the manual was annoyingly generic and did not cover the specifics of our model.

Locking up is tricky because most parts are removable. Our current strategy is to force a thin cable lock around the front frame, but it’s awkward and we end up leaving it there because it’s difficult to wedge in. Cable locks obviously aren’t very secure (especially in Vancouver), but locking up with anything else would be even trickier.

We found the Wike website to be confusing, especially regarding the differences between various models. But the service has been excellent. Most notably, the company replaced our trailer hitch for free when one of our bikes was stolen (hitch included).

In summary

As our primary “vehicle”, a lot was riding on this decision (David’s pun) but we feel that we made the right choice. We’ve been using the Wike almost daily and it’s wearing well. If you’re in the market for a bike trailer, a Wike is definitely worth considering.

3 thoughts on “Biking with baby … and toddler

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on Carjacked | Hirtopolis

  2. Pingback: Becoming a carless family – Hirtopolis

  3. Pingback: Biking with kids: e-bike library – Hirtopolis

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