(Above, Alton munches a snack in his seat - Spring 2012)
It was time to take the big little guy to the next level. When your ride is an Xtracycle, the progression for a kiddo who has outgrown the buckles 'n straps is a set of "stoker" bars! Stoker is the term used to describe the person who rides on the rear seat of a tandem bike, behind the "captain" who steers. Although longtail bikes are not true tandems (because the rear rider does not have pedals), you can still anchor a set of handlebars behind the saddle to allow a stoker to take a ride on that sturdy deck. Xtracycle (the maker of my longtail) also designed an attractive set of wooden platforms to give your kiddo a footrest. Last weekend, we hit our favorite local bike shop, Clever Cycles, for a set of those footrests, and a craigslist "stem" component and salvaged set of handlebars saw our son in a whole new riding position!
Bundled up for a chilly Sunday grocery store run, we swung by the home of our blog co-author, Fabi, to ask her to take our picture. You can see his booted feet on those wooden platforms, and his hands are wrapped securely around the new red grips he picked out. This seat behind the parent is meant for a child rider who has the capability and understanding to sit and balance upright with handlebars, but might not be riding his/her own bike because of speed or distance of the ride, or lack of visibility and safety on the road.