The summer sun is here and it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine as a family. What better way to do that than get out on your bike with the children. As an avid cyclist I love getting out on my bike but until now I hadn’t found a bike seat that I could have both children on the bike with me.
I could have gone with a trailer solution but I always worry about cars not seeing the trailer even with the flag. I would much rather have them close and as safe as possible. So when Urban Iki invited me out to see their bike seats I jumped at the chance. I was expecting something a bit like the Hamax so lots of plastic and not very pretty but what I was met with was stunningly beautiful stylish and incredibly well thought out.
The amount of thought that had gone into the designs of these seats was really something unique and different. At the centre of the design was that it was a single parent managing the bike, seat and the child/ children. As you can imagine two young children, one bike and lots of straps and clips could be a recipe for disaster with a bike. Just getting the children in a bike seat filled me with dread. But I need not have worried. The boys were curious and cautious. However once they had their helmets on and could see that they got to go on “mummy’s big bike” they were up for the challenge.
My youngest was really up for this and was no trouble to get strapped in and comfortable. The older one is more reserved and cautious but explaining to him that it is like his car seat with similar buckles and designs soon got him over that. The similarities in the strap system really helped here. He wasn’t too sure about the foot straps at first but when I pretended to get it wrong he quickly said no mummy not like that… As if he knew just what to do.
Once they were both strapped in we were off. A little wobbly at first with the difference in weight to usual but within 30 seconds or so I soon got the hang of it and we were zipping around the park. By the end of our time with the bike my littlest had already learnt how to change the gears and pretended to use the brakes! Our front seat didn’t have the handle for the child but it is an option and probably a sensible one if you don’t want them changing gears on you just as you go up a hill.
On the flat it was easy going with two children on a city style bike. The ride positioning being more upright took a bit of getting used to as I am usually out on my road bike. The benefit of the low step over city bikes and hybrid bikes really made it easy to get on and off the bike safely with both boys still strapped in. This way I could get one off the bike at the front. Lift them down. Turn round on the bike and unstrap the second child and still keep the bike stable. You can’t rely on the bike stands as they lean too far with the weight of a child.
I did also try the bike seats out on my road bike at home. Fitting the seat was relatively pain free and simple. However you can’t fit a front seat to a road bike due to the ride position. You can with the rear seat although I would definitely not advise it. I gave it a go but my carbon road bike is very light weight so adding a child to the back made it very rear heavy and unstable. The thin road tires added to the instability and I certainly wouldn’t want to be clipped in with cleats.
Giving that a test run made it very clear how much easier it is to have children on a city bike, but for real ease with two children especially on the hills you could do with an electric bike. And just in time for the summer Raleigh released the Motus which I am hoping to try out. This would be the ideal bike for two children on these sort of bike seats especially if like me you live in a reasonably hilly part of the country.
Going back to the Urban Iki bike seats and their design and cost. I was amazed at the price point of these seats as they look like they would be really expensive, especially the front one with the windshield. Here’s the breakdown of costs:
- Front Seat: £43
- Rear Seat: £52
- Windshield: £24.20
- Styling Kit: £10.55
- Handle Bar: £8.79
I looked at the cost of each seat in comparison to the cost of the boys balance bikes and trikes. There wasn’t much difference but it does get us out more often. I can take them out to the shops on the bike (The seats are secure on the bike but can be removed with the quick release system so come with a combination lock so that someone can’t just remove them without permission). Cycle to the park and not have to worry about them not wanting to walk back. Honestly it changes the way you get around and use your time. You spend less time stressing and more time having fun together.
Urban Iki are not just changing how I look at bike seats but also how I spend time as a family.