SM Dad writer: “Over the years, and with three kids, we have gone through literally hundreds of buggies. Mentioning no names but – you know – this one is good for this, this one is good for that, this one wins a prize if I can figure out how the heck it folds… But in honesty, as a Dad, when nipping to the shops etc I really don’t want to be pushing a buggy. I want to be on my bike.
For a while, I had a bike with a child seat fitted. This was OK, but not without a couple of issues. Firstly my middle child would – without fail – fall asleep in the seat. Which *is* safe, but does make you cycle a bit warily. Secondly, cycling to somewhere I’d need to leave my bike outside, such as the supermarket (or – ok – I admit – the pub) meant that I was left carrying a child. Thirdly, when you set off on an outing you invariably need to put all the nappies and bottles and fuzzy duckies and whatnot in a rucksack, which can offset your balance a bit.
Women* love buggies because they are glorified handbags. Show me a woman whose buggy isn’t laden down with cardigans and multi-buy bags of rice cakes and fourteen Lamaze toys they think will turn their pre-schooler into Steve Jobs. And once one’s toddler decides they don’t fancy scooting or cycling, the buggy then becomes a transporter for another vehicle too.
So – let me tell you a few things about the Thule Multisport Chariot:
- It attaches and detaches to your bike really easily.
- For a child, the ride is safe, comfy (and can be really cosy if they fancy a nap).
- It converts to a robust but super-light-to-push buggy at literally the flick of the front wheels.
- You could jog with it in buggy mode.
- You could even ski with it…
- The storage capacity would rival Santa’s sleigh.
- I love it.
Oh – but isn’t it huge? I hear you cry. Well – no – not really. OK, it’s not tiny, but it will fit in my car boot and down the aisle of most shops and also, because it’s an engineered bit of kit, if for any reason it didn’t fit somewhere, you could just take the back wheels off.
My other half said (jokingly) ‘It’s a bit like a wheelbarrow for kids, isn’t it?’. Yes – it is – but in a good way – they can load up all their bears and dinosaurs into the roomy ‘cabin’ area and you can zip the flyscreen down to ensure none of them bounces out onto the street.
I wouldn’t ride with this on a really busy road, but it does feel a lot safer than a child seat on a bike. For starters, because the kids can’t reach ANYTHING they could tamper with and because the internal harness is not only wriggle proof but it cleverly fastens in two halves (rather than that fiddly thing where you have to line up both bits at the right angle, whilst your toddler kicks you…)
My tip if you are getting one of these would be to get the crank attachment fitted by a bike shop (and checked regularly). And then to expand your horizons taking your kids through marshy fields, up and down hills, along towpaths, over sandy beaches or through the snow. Basically, everywhere you’d find yourself struggling with a buggy.
Oh – and the other thing: prepare yourself to be high-fived by every other dad on the school run for your excellent choice!”
Check out the range of Multi-Sport chariots at www.thule.com
(* I’m generalising, of course…)