High Occupancy Vehicles
Daddy-O: a father carrying three kids on an Onderwaterfiets Tandemtransporter (Photo: the manufacturer)
Certainly, you could put a baby seat on a city bike, but as the child grows older or more than one child is to be carried, a purpose-built child transporter offers greater safety and convenience. Note: Some jurisdictions have laws requiring passengers on bicycles to be at least one year old.
As utility cycling becomes more commonplace the selection of high-quality, sturdy passenger-carrying bicycles and tricycles has grown. Several different designs are shown below.
Parents and guardians will appreciate designs that enable them to keep an eye on the child or children seated in front of them without being distracted from traffic.
The manufacturers of child-carrying bikes and trikes often offer a weather cover as an optional accessory to protect children against the elements including a hot sun, a strong wind, rain or snow.
Soccer Mom Redefined: a mother carrying three children and light cargo on Pack Max Duo bicycle (Photo: trekearth.com)
Called a moederfiets or 'motherbike' the Filiduo model is designed to transport two kids (9 months to 5 years) on the back. Like any other city bike, a child seat and porteur rack can be attached at front for additional load carrying capabilities.
The classic long john two-wheeled cargo bicycle has seen a slew of engineering efforts in just the last couple of years, resulting in updated designs that safely and securely accomodate a mix of both passengers and cargo.
This relatively recent design, when equipped with proper seating capabilities, is ideal for transporting young children or cargo or even combinations thereof. The bicycle's relatively long wheelbase is quickly mastered by any competent cyclist.
Tough Little Unit: the Joe Bike Ecospeed can move a mix of people and cargo (Photo: the manufacturer)
US-based Joe Bike has developed a bicycle with a modular Long John style platform providing a flexible range of passenger- and load-carrying options.
A bakfiets (plural: bakfietsen) means 'box-bike' in Dutch and traditionally refers to a cargo trike in a tapole layout (with two wheels at front) or, in recent years, to a two-wheeled cargo bike resembling a long john with an open cargo box, as pictured below.
Easy Riders: adults can keep both children in sight while riding a child transporter (Photo by the author)
Commercially successful, spawning several knockoffs, is the bakfiets-inspired two-wheeled box bike from (surprisingly enough) bakfiets.nl which some say resembles a wheelbarrow.
The plywood box on a two- or three-wheeled bakfiets can be built or customized to suit a special purpose or specific application. For example, the De Redding KDV can function as a school bus trike for cycle-friendly schools in villages, small towns and gated communities.
Mass Transit: the De Redding KDV-BSO triporteur can transport up to six toddlers (Photo: the manufacturer)
Christkindl: parent and child in a Christiania Bike in Kreuzberg, Germany (Photo: Johann C. Rocholl on flickr)
Taking its name from the car-free community in Copenhagen of the same name that developed on former military barrack grounds, Christiania bikes (actually trikes) are manufactured on the island of Bornholm.
With a slightly wider and deeper carrying box than a two- or three-wheeled bakfiets, the Christiania still provides the ability to carry children and cargo with a fold-down bench and seat belts.
Take Cover: a Christiania Bike with weather cover in Lisbon, Portugal (Photo: Cenas a Pedal on flickr)
Newer triporteur designs are modular, enabling the cyclist to choose the most appropriate setup depending on the day's requirements.
Transformer: the TrioBike provides bike-, stroller- and trike modes of operation (Image: the manufacturer)
Though heavier in the ride handling, the benefit offered by a bakfiets, Christiania or triporteur compared to a moederfiets or a city bike equipped with a child seat, is that grocery bags or a small amount of cargo, can be additionally be transported in the box alongside the child or larger cargo when not transporting passengers.
A child trailer provides an affordable alternative for adults looking to transport only one or two children by bike.
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