And now for something completely different. The Tyke Toter is a seat + handlebar that attaches to an adult’s bike seatpost, allowing your toddler to go along for the ride. My daughter and I have been testing the Tyke Toter for several weeks now and we both love it. We even rode a little singletrack together – just don’t tell her Mom.
Construction & Design
The Tyke Toter features a fairly simple design with a seat, handlebar, and a footrest. The seat and handlebar assembly attaches to a seatpost using a quick release clamp, making it quick and easy to attach to most bikes. The company doesn’t recommend attaching the clamp to a carbon seatpost for obvious reasons.
The plastic footrest attaches to the downtube using velcro so you can adjust as necessary. I found the velcro needs to be very tight to avoid slippage; fortunately my bottle cage is at just the right position to keep the footrest from sliding down too far.
The overall construction is super durable and sturdy – it’s basically just a single curved alloy bar with a plastic seat attached. The handlebar is covered with grippy rubber and feels super solid. Even the seat has a thin layer of foam for cushioning (at a glance I assumed it was hard plastic).
Installing the Tyke Toter on the bike is fairly straightforward using the quick release seatpost clamp. It’s important to get the clamp super tight so the Tyke Toter doesn’t rotate around the seatpost (always verify before you install your kid). I also found I needed to drop my seatpost a lot to make this work. Mounting the bike from the front is nearly impossible with the Tyke Toter over your top tube so you need the seat low to get on and off the bike. Install the footrest on your downtube, making sure it’s tight, and you’re all set!
On the Bike
Initially it took a little coaxing to get my two-year-old on the Tyke Toter but one purple lollipop later and we were off! On our first ride I must’ve said “hold onto the handlebars!” a million times but she really didn’t need my coaching – it was almost natural for her to balance and secure herself. After just a few rides she was taking her hands off the bars to point at things and showing off by ringing the bell on MY handlebars.
Overall the bike feels very stable with the Tyke Toter on board and it’s great having my daughter up front so I can keep an eye on her. She loves it because she can actually see where we’re going so it’s a win-win. Riding with the seat down low is a little uncomfortable – I end up riding bow-legged just to clear her seat – so I’ve been sticking to mostly short rides to the playground. Riding for more than 30 minutes at a time would get uncomfortable for us both.
Ok, so this is a mountain biking website – what about singletrack? Keeping in mind all the potential ways you could injure yourself or your child while using this product, Tyke Toter presents this warning:
do not brake hard or fast, ride on rough terrain or in hazardous conditions, ride at high speeds, race, go off-road, or ride where there is high traffic
That’s good advice – but I still had to take the Tyke Toter off road for my daughter’s first singletrack experience! We found a fairly short, flat path in a local park to experiment and I’m happy to say riding singletrack with the Tyke Toter is entirely doable. Keep in mind, however, the child’s seat isn’t very comfortable so you’ll want to keep the bumps to a minimum (my FS bike gave a MUCH smoother ride than my hardtail). Also, because the footrest is only secured with velcro it doesn’t provide a lot of stability for the child to stand up to take weight off the seat (as if he or she would even think to do that on the trail). That’s not to say my daughter didn’t stand up during any of our rides, though each time she did I told her to sit down and stop showing off.
Whenever I rode with the Tyke Toter around town I got a ton of looks and comments – and I’m pretty sure they were all positive (no one accused me of endangering my child so that’s good). In fact, at the town square a guy asked to take a cellphone pic of the Tyke Toter because he wanted to get one for his kid. Always make sure your child wears a helmet on the Tyke Toter and wear one yourself to set a good example.
If you’re looking for a way to take your toddler along for a ride, check out the Tyke Toter. You won’t be shredding singletrack with your kid yet but it’s a great way to get around town – and to sneak onto the dirt every now and then.