Last month, we bought a WeeRide.
It wasn’t quite as simple as that – I looked around on the Internet, read countless reviews, asked people I knew personally, compared prices, made mental pro and con lists, had a look at any place that sold bikes and eventually had to get my sister to buy it from a shop in her city – but yes, we bought a WeeRide.
The WeeRide is a centre-mounted bike seat for kids from about 12 months up to 18kg.
Devin is almost 23 months and about 13kg… Despite the fairly high weight limit, I think we’ll probably have to retire it by the end of the year because he will just be too tall – the footrests are already extended as far as they’ll go. I’m kicking myself a bit that I didn’t get one of these earlier, but I do plan on having more kids, so hopefully we’ll get more use out of it eventually.
I decided on a centre-mounted bike for a couple of reasons – one, I can see what Devin is doing. He has a habit of kicking/pulling off his shoes in the car, and I didn’t want him to be leaving a trail of footwear in our wake while I obliviously pedalled along.
Two, I can talk to him. On our first ride out I pointed out a paddock of cows, and he mooed at them until they were well out of sight. There’s also a lot of new house being built around our area, which means lots of trucks and utes and other heavy machinery. It’s great watching him point to it all and squeal excitedly.
Three, since the seat is mounted to the centre of the bike (via a sturdy bar that connects directly to the frame), it doesn’t affect my overall balance. This was especially good considering I hadn’t been on a bike in eight years.
The only thing that I worried about, like many people who buy the seat, was having to ride with my knees out to accommodate the seat. And honestly? It’s not a big deal. I’m neither tall nor particularly short (5’4″) and it actually feels kind of comfy and secure. Sometimes I have moments of self-consciousness, wondering if I look silly to cars approaching from behind, and getting up hills is a bit of work because you have to use different leg muscles (not to mention the extra load you’re pushing), but it’s not really an issue.
I think the two other main things that people cite against this seat is that the child can grab the handlebars, and that if you were to have a spill over the handlebars, the child would land first. Devin does like to hold the handlebars when he first gets on, but I just point to the headrest thing and say, “this is where your hands go, please”, and he keeps them there.
As for falling, well, we haven’t had one yet (touch wood), but I imagine the worst kind of fall would happen if I were to suddenly slam on the front brakes only – and I like to think that I’m not that silly. I am much more aware of the surface I’m riding on and I’m constantly looking ahead for hazards. I really don’t see this as any more dangerous than a rear-mounted seat – you’re taking a risk any time you go out on a bike, and you just have to be aware of your surroundings. (My mum asked about it at one of the two bike shops here, and she was met with a short, “No, I don’t stock that, I don’t like the idea.” She didn’t hang around to listen to why, but judging by his use of the word ‘idea’, I’m pretty sure at that stage I knew much more about the WeeRide than he did.)
There is one other thing – the strap from my helmet occasionally gets stuck in the vents in Devin’s helmet. I only have to pull it out, but I think it could be prevented by a bit of forward thinking from me…
We haven’t yet strayed from the quiet streets of our neighbourhood and the dirt path that runs along the creek… I don’t trust drivers at the best of times, let alone drivers in this city. There is a fairly long bike track on the other side of town, though, not to mention the circuit at the (expensive) zoo, so I’m hoping to do both of those eventually. Reminds me to try and get the bike rack on my car…
The seat was a pretty big expense, even just the standard model. Including Devin’s helmet, we were down $200 by the time we were ready to ride. And I’m looking at getting an extra bar mount so we can easily move the seat from my bike to Jene’s. But it was money well spent, in my opinion. We’re outside, I’m exercising, Devin is seeing things from a different perspective… All wins. Now I just need to get motivated to go more often, and reach a point of fitness where I don’t feel like dying when I’m riding up an incline. Maybe I should just keep looking at this photo to remind myself how much fun it is.