On my bike in the middle of the day, I see a lot of moms on the streets pushing strollers, and I always ponder that some of them might be happier and get more done on a bike. However, I know the hurdles to biking with babies, and there's an awkward in-between time when babies get too big (and also too heavy) for bike seats and trailers but they may not be quite ready to consistently hold on to the handlebars of a trailer bike. That's why Dutch Taga created its three-wheeler tricycle that converts to a baby stroller in just 20 seconds. Tagas are on their way to the U.S., with the first shipment arriving April 15.
Pay close attention to this video - this mom is riding in a very low-density town with wide, lovely paths, extremely low car traffic, and on a beautiful sunny day - all of these things make it impossible to imagine any mishap in which mother and child get dumped off the bike stroller and onto the road. Real-life conditions in many U.S. cities undoubtedly vary! Taga says the bike is great for city environments, and while I can see it in my neighborhood, I have a harder time imagining it on the crowded sidewalks of San Francisco or New York.
Still, the Taga has a number of things going for it. Having a child for most urban cycling parents is somewhat problematic, and life becomes a little more difficult to maintain without a vehicle of some sort. Just going to doctor's appointments in the first six months puts a lot of miles on a mom or dad. The Taga could help delay or even avoid purchasing a first or second car. Most of the errands that can be accompolished easily with a child - some grocery and other shopping, post office, bank, and nearby appointments - could be facilitated by the Taga's switch from a bike to a wide-angled stroller. It diminishes the problem of how to transport kids when you start with a bike but are at the mercy of grocery or other carts at your destination. Taga's huge advantage is that in one-child mode if your baby or child falls asleep while in one mode, you can lift off the seat and set it down (gingerly, of course) and let the nap continue while you convert to the other mode.
Brian Kincaid, Taga's U.S. product manager, said the company was careful to make the Taga able to fit through standard doorways (it is 28.5 inches wide). He said the easiest way to visualize it is to think of Taga as similar in size to a jogging stroller. Bike lanes are typically four feet wide if following the American Association of State Highway and
Transportation Officials guidelines.
And the Taga can accomodate two children, one sitting in the front and the other in the back, though the knee room for the rider does appear crampingly narrow when both child seats are installed. Taga also has rain gear for both stroller mode and trike mode. It includes easy to operate parking brakes for both modes, a five-point harness for the stroller seat, and the company says it has used extra-thick aluminum alloy tubes for the frame to handle heavy loads. The design of the trike-stroller allows it to fit folded in a fairly small car trunk.
And then, there's the price. Taga will retail in the U.S. for $1,495. That's not a high price for city mobility. And have you seen the price of lux strollers these days? As Americans, though, we aren't used to putting more than $1,000 dollars into a form of transport that might by some to be considered a novelty.
Taga hopes people will consider the "continuity" aspect of owning one of the bikes, as it allows users to do more with their children over the course of a day, and definitely helps bridge the gap before a child is able to ride a trailer or go solo. Kincaid says there's a chair insert to help younger babies, too (the company recommends the trike for infants 6 months and older.)
Read more at TreeHugger about tikes on bikes:
When Should Tikes Be on Bikes?
Five Cool Cargo Bikes and the Return of the Long John
Nobel Laureate: Car Drivers Set Bad Example for Kids