Biking with kids: e-bike library

We have gone from biking with baby to biking with baby and a toddler to now. Now looks like me, huffing with every ounce of power to push my bike, trailer connected with the two kids inside, up the hill. I can no longer bike them home (or to some destinations in the city) because the trailer plus the kids’ weight is more than my own. Plus, our eldest is starting to complain that the trailer is cramping her style legs. A friend told me that she gave up at this stage and just used transit until her kids could ride with her on the streets. But, I desperately want to keep biking with them. (To be clear, our eldest is not ready to bike on her own on the streets.) So, how am I going to make this happen?

Cue Momentum Mag’s E-bike library!

For the past few months, David and I have been making a spreadsheet (that’s how we roll these days for decision making) to aid in our next purchase(s). We have a few scenarios that the new purchase(s) needs to satisfy: David+kids, Lacey+kids, and each parent+one kid. It would also be great if this next purchase(s) could be used until both kids can bike on the street with us (i.e. in 5 years). We keep coming back to electric assist, mostly because of the scenario where I bike with both kids. We just weren’t sure where to begin.

Then, a friend told me about Momentum Mag’s e-bike library. He showed me a picture of him with his two kids (just a bit older than our kids) on a Yuba Spicy Curry. (We know a family who bought a Yuba to transport their three kids around the city.) Now, I definitely wanted to give the e-bike library a try and really test the Yuba. Could it work for us?

Well, I was overly optimistic that I could ride immediately with the kids. I did try, but quickly realized it wasn’t going to be safe for any of us. Having the weight of both kids on the back of the bike made it unstable for me. Thus, I didn’t venture far from home with them.

David, on the other hand, had much more success riding with them immediately. He has more mass than me and still weighs more than they do (for now). He took them about 6 km on our first day.

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He took them for another 6 km ride on day 2. The only mishap was he kicked our daughter hard in the head while dismounting, forgetting about the step-through. Fortunately she had a helmet on!

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David’s main complaints were that the e-assist was engaging at stops (problematic when someone is in front of you), it was difficult getting in his office (long enough not to fit in the elevator and not designed to stand vertically) and storing it in general, and the lack of stability. The girls could tip it when they climbed on. Perhaps a dual kickstand would help?

By day 5, I was determined to ride with one kid. We did 7 km with very little wobbling. I definitely felt like I was getting used to the e-assist, but I also found the jumpiness annoying at stops. I did, however, love the assistance for gaining the 50 m elevation needed on our trip!

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That trip gave me the confidence to keep trying with the youngest on the back.

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After 12 days, I finally felt confident having them both on the back. We traveled 14 km. We were still wobbly, but it did not feel as unstable as on day one. I was surprised that it was still quite difficult to have a conversation; I thought having the kids within arm’s reach would make it easier to converse compared to having them in the trailer.

The girls’ biggest complaint was little leg room. We packed the panniers for each trip, which resulted in the footboards being blocked. Even if we hadn’t, the panniers aren’t easy to remove.

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We put the Yuba through the paces of our everyday activities. Will we buy one? No. The lack of stability for me is the deal breaker. This has led me to believe that I will need a trike. Also, having kids behind you, whether in a trailer or on the same bike, means conversing (and mediating) is challenging. Another reason we will consider a front loading trike.

We send a HUGE thank you to Momentum Mag for their e-bike library. It really helped us narrow our search for the next purchase(s) for our family. I might just book an e-bike to make trips with our Wike trailer more enjoyable for me (and the kids) until we make that next purchase.

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4 thoughts on “Biking with kids: e-bike library

  1. Lacey

    We thought about trying the Bike Friday Haul-a-day, but the one that Momentum Mag has only has one set of handlebars behind the bike seat; it isn’t set up for two kids. I definitely think our kids needed the bars (like on the Yuba) wrapping around to keep them both onboard.

    I test-biked David sister-in-law’s Taga 1.0 (they have two kids’ seats on it) last week with the kids. I am very interested in the Taga 2.0. It would be nice to test it before purchasing though.

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