I had so many questions about our bike setup after I posted the video of Marin on her new bike seat. I thought it would be helpful to put everything in a blog post. There has been a huge uptick in bike sales since the pandemic started (honestly lots of gear and bikes are completely sold out). And I love seeing how many people are getting outdoors and having fun on bikes. Craig is a VERY avid biker. He has a collection of mountain bikes and a dirt bike that are his absolute pride and joy. Biking is hands down his number one hobby.
I keep saying I am going to get into mountain biking but it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe this fall. I feel like I have enough hobbies already. That said, we love to ride bikes, especially in the summer when it’s CRAZY here. And it’s such a fun (and eco-friendly!) way to get around without having to get in the car.
Our E-Bike and Child Bike Seat Gear
Two summers ago we got our first e-bike and last summer I got another one. And it’s a total game changer. We bought the Burley Minnow for Marin (more on that below) and we almost never took our car to the beach. I wish we hadn’t spent the money on a beach sticker because we probably used it twice. If it’s helpful, I can do a separate post on our beach gear (we have it down to a science-I think) and manage to fit everything we need without having a car.
I never know if I’m the only one who likes to nerd out over gear (which would be understandable). Let me know in the comments if it’s something I should share. Anyhoo, I’m going to share all the info about our e-bikes and gear that we use for biking with Marin. It’s such a great activity to do with little ones. She absolutely LOVES it.
P.S. We try to shop local whenever possible. I’ve linked to a lot of this stuff on Amazon because it’s an easy place to find everything. And I wanted to make it simple to get information about the products. Many local bike shops will have this gear. And I have heard lots of success stories from Facebook Marketplace as well.
RadRover Electric Fat Bike
We bought our RadRover Electric Fat Bike a few years ago after my Dad bought one and WOULD NOT STOP talking about it. For an electric fat bike it is a good e-bike for the price. From an assembly perspective Craig said “it couldn’t be easier” to put together. If you can put anything from IKEA together you can assemble a RadRover. That said, you can typically find someone locally if you want some help (I’ve heard good things about Velotooler).
In terms of the actual bike, it’s a comfortable ride but may feel too big if you are petite (they have a great chart with info on what bikes will work best depending on your leg length). They have a step through version that’s a good option. It’s on the heavier side so if you were to run out of power (which has never happened to us) it would be a tough ride home. If you live somewhere you’d need to carry the bike up stairs it would not be fun. We have a shed with a ramp that makes it easy to store. The nice thing about the RadRover bikes is that they all have a throttle. It can be a little jumpy but it’s nice to have the option of using the throttle (vs pedal assist only) especially if you’re towing something or going uphill.
This fat bike needs an adaptor to work with the Thule bike seat which is not expensive and easy to install (we got an extra for my Dad’s bike so he can take Marin too). You do have to remove the handlebars to install the adaptor. The good thing is once the adaptor is on the bike it’s really easy to take the seat on and off (and switch between bikes).
In terms of battery life it really depends.
The website says up to 45 miles per charge, but if you were doing a really hilly bike ride and towing something that would definitely not be the case, especially if you were using the throttle a lot. I would say we probably get around 20 (towing the chariot and doing hills). It’s really easy to charge the bikes so we just typically do it after each ride. The RadRover also has a display showing your speed and an odometer.
Schwinn EC1 Electric Cruiser
I got the Schwinn EC1 Electric Cruiser bike last summer and it was a complete and total game changer. The ride to the beach from our house is pretty hilly and after a few hours in the sun, it’s not that fun on the way home. Having an e-bike made it so much easier and fun, especially when pulling a trailer. It doesn’t look like they make the EC1 anymore, but the Mendocino Adult Hybrid Cruiser looks very similar. Again, it’s another e-bike that for the price is a great value. I really like that it’s a 6-speed too which gives a lot of control for hilly areas, basically you can make it as easy or as challenging as you want.
The rear rack is super convenient for strapping extra cargo (I’m thinking about getting some pannier bags). Last year I just used a metal basket which wasn’t ideal but it worked. This bike is definitely much lighter than the RadRover and smaller in size so more comfortable for me to ride. It’s kind of a cruiser/commuter bike, not quite rugged, but definitely good for around town, trips to the beach, etc (not for riding on sand). This bike works with the attachment that comes with the Thule Yepp Mini Bike seat.
I couldn’t find any battery information for the Schwinn but I actually think it lasts longer than the RadRover (but it doesn’t have a throttle and Craig is usually the one with the cargo). It definitely lasts a few rides but we just always charge after every ride. The bike does not have a display.
Toddler Bike Seat and Bike Trailer
Thule Yepp Mini Bike Seat
Craig did a lot of research on child bike seats. He was looking at them when I was still pregnant so by the time we were ready to purchase he knew exactly what to get. Ultimately it was between the Hamax Observer and the Thule Yepp Mini, we decided on the Thule because with Marin’s height we were afraid she’d grow out of the Hamax too quickly (that said it would be a great option for petite parents/kids). This blog has a ton of helpful information. A lot of you asked about why we chose a front bike seat, the main reason was personal preference.
There’s no additional safety benefits with the front seat (from what we’ve read), it just depends on what you want and what you think your child will enjoy. As they get older and bigger the front seat can become too small, but for most kids it’s ideal from around 9 months to 2.5/3 years old. Being able to see everything is also fun for the child, Marin babbles and giggles the entire time. One thing to keep in mind with front mounted is that they will eventually grow out of it, so a rear mounted seat will last longer if you plan to use it past the weight limit for front seats (33 lbs).
The Thule Yepp Mini is well ventilated and ideal for hot climates. The handlebar is nice for little ones to hold on to (with an option to add padding-see below). The harness is very easy to use and adjust. The foot rests and straps are fully adjustable to accommodate a growing child.
We got the Burley Minnow last summer and it was perfect to use with Marin when she was still really little. We had her in it at 6 months with the infant insert which was great because it held her in snuggly but because of the material it was hot in the summer. There’s a lot to like about the Minnow which it now seems is being replaced by the Bee, BUT if I had to do it all over again I’d probably go with another option.
Last summer we were looking for a quick and easy solution to get Marin down to the beach and the Minnow was a good and affordable option for a single child chariot (and honestly one of the only things available), but seeing how much we do with her and what we need, I wish I had spent more up front for something more multi-purpose.
I think this Thule Chariot Cross Multisport makes the most sense because it’s a convertible stroller, jogger, bike trailer and ski chariot (with the attachment kit).
If I add up how much I’ve spent on our jogging stroller and the burley minnow alone it’s the same cost, and we don’t have the ability to convert the minnow for cross country skiing. We were outside ALL winter and it would have been great to bring Marin cross country skiing in a chariot. Something to consider if you have a little one and think you’ll be doing lots of outdoor activities. All that said, I know we will use the Burley Minnow again this summer, because even if we bike to the beach with Marin in her bike seat, I’ll pull the trailer with our beach stuff, and it gives the option for us to put her in the chariot if she’s super tired or needs shade from the sun for the ride home.
I ended up buying this handlebar padding because I think it will be helpful when we go on longer rides. If Marin gets tired she can rest her head on the padding. This is definitely not an essential, more of a “nice to have” if you think you’ll be going on longer bike rides.
Thule T2 Classic 2 Bike Hitch Rack
This is a classic example of you get what you pay for. It was IMPOSSIBLE to find bike racks a few months ago so we purchased a cheaper, no name bike rack because it was available right away. It broke the second time we used it. Craig ordered this Thule Bike Rack and forgot because it was backordered, so when it arrived it was quite the surprise but a good one. This is a super easy to use, and easy to install bike rack. It fits two bikes (they make a variety of models to fit more bikes) and can accommodate up to 5 inch tires. It fits Craig’s mountain bikes no problem.
Craig has a Pro-Tec helmet that I’m pretty sure he got 20 years ago but it still works and he’s not one to replace something unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. I got this helmet which is nothing fancy but it’s comfortable, affordable, and adjustable. For Marin I got this cute little Schwinn panda helmet because I honestly could not resist. It’s also adjustable which is great because it should fit for a while.
I’m hoping this covers everything but if you have any other questions please let me know in the comments!
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