Biking is one of my favorite activities (honestly probably my favorite outdoor activity after hiking) and I’m so excited that I get to share my love of biking with my son. But believe it or not, E hasn’t ridden a bike until now! Last summer he was too young to bike until the very end of the summer, and I didn’t have a trailer or bike seat to take him out anyways. I purchased a very used Chariot bike trailer in the fall but I’ve only used it for skiing so far. I’ve been eyeing front and rear bike seats, but wasn’t sure what would work with the exact model and size of my bike. And then something totally magical happened: someone in my local Buy Nothing group (check it out on Facebook if you’re not in one yet!) posted a Yepp Mini bike seat and some adapters for free and I GOT IT! I went and picked it up immediately and within an hour it was on my bike. I was so excited to take E out for his first bike ride!
The Thule Yepp Mini bike seat is a small seat that mounts onto the front of your bike. It feels very lightweight (7.7 pounds) and can hold a child up to 33 pounds. The seat is a soft rubbery material and looks pretty comfortable for my child and the footrests help keep his feet strapped in safely. It also has holes in the back of the seat to help with airflow on hot days and the seat looks like it can handle a bit of rain/mud and will be easy to clean.
Installing it on my bike was a bit harder than I thought, but it’s mostly because I couldn’t find good instructions online! I first had to determine which adapter would work on my bike. It took me about 2 seconds to see that the Ahead adapter (which is sold separately) was going to work. The way to tell what adapter you’d need is by looking at the stem (the area where your handlebars attach to your bike) to see how much room there is for attaching a bike seat. My bike is a mountain bike so it doesn’t have much room to attach anything beneath the handlebars, but this adapter is super thin and was able to fit. I had to remove the handlebars, remove a spacer, and then slide the adapter onto the bike before putting everything back on again and tightening it all up. The hardest part honestly was attaching the large U-shaped metal piece to the bike to keep the bike seat sturdy. I didn’t have the right tools to do it so it took forever, but at long last it was finally on my bike and I was ready to attach the seat. Attaching the seat to the adapter is super easy – you press two buttons and slide it onto the adapter. That’s it! I can take the bike seat off whenever I’m riding alone and the adapter stays on my bike.
After excitedly showing E the bike seat, we took him outside and told him we were going to go on his very first bike ride. He loved looking at the wheels on the bike so we felt good about putting him on there while he was in an excited mood. Strapping him into the seat was easy, and he fit really well and looked comfortable. I will admit that putting him in the bike seat the first time was scary because I don’t have a kickstand and I was nervous about the bike falling over with 25 pounds of toddler on the front! After making a few adjustments to my seat, I was ready to roll out with E for the first time. I took a deep breath, started to pedal up and down our street, and…HE LOVED IT! I almost wouldn’t have believed it until I saw the pictures that Andrew took!
E is a really cautious child and isn’t usually a fan of going fast (watch the videos I took of his first sled ride on my Instagram for proof of that!), so we were nervous he would hate being on the front of my bike. But he had so much fun that I decided to ride down to a nearby park and back. As we rode along the quiet streets I could hear him making excited noises and see him pointing at cars and dogs. We rode for a mile or two, and when I pulled up at home he started crying and had a full blown tantrum in our driveway because he wanted to keep going! I honestly think that being right in between my arms makes him feel safe and he loved exploring the neighborhood.
Since then, E and I have taken a lot of bike rides together! I absolutely love being able to hear him talk about the things he’s seeing and tell him about everything we are riding by. He has so much fun that if I don’t ride for at least an hour he’s probably going to cry because it wasn’t long enough for him. It is quickly becoming my favorite way to spend outdoor time with E, and it’s great training for me to be able to ride with extra weight on the bike! Although the first time strapping him in there was scary, I’ve gotten used to loading/unloading him alone without a kickstand and now we’re a lot faster at getting on the trail.
Pros of the Yepp Mini seat:
- The bike seat is easy to take on and off once the adapter is installed.
- The seat seems to be comfortable for my toddler and is easy to put him in/take him out.
- It’s so much fun getting to ride next to my son!
Cons of the Yepp Mini seat:
- There are different types of adapters so you need to understand what type you’ll need for your bike.
- The bike seat does take up a lot of my room on the bike. Sometimes I hit my knees on the bottom of the bike seat and I definitely have gotten some bruises from repeatedly hitting the seat in the same spot!
- I don’t think it will work for my tall son for very long. He’s so tall that his helmet is right under my chin. I know it will last through the summer but he’ll probably need to go in the bike trailer after that.
Overall, the biggest pro is that I get to spent hours biking with my son and hearing his excitement over being outdoors, and that is worth all the bruised knees and missing space on the bike! I’m so excited that I get to ride with him for the rest of the summer!
Do you have a front bike seat for your baby/toddler? What’s your favorite way to ride with young kids?