One of the things I’ve always loved most about cycling is that pretty unbeatable feeling of happiness as you pedal along with the wind in your hair, regardless of whether the sun is shining or the rain is hammering down.
And then my wife told me she was pregnant.
It’s been quite a long time since my last post on London Cyclist (yes, I’ve missed you all!), and it’s fair to say a lot’s happened in that time – two children and two house moves, to be precise, as well as one bike sold due to exhaustion of sleepless nights and the guilt I felt for leaving the bike at home each day when I decided, more often than not, that I was too tired to commute by bike.
While I still feel the guilt for selling my second love, I did fairly recently replace it and it’s with great delight that I find myself back on the saddle. Commuting aside, though, I often find myself with a friend behind me, which makes cycling a much different experience – one which I’ll admit I was dreading slightly.
I never liked the idea of having a child’s seat attached to my rear rack, even when the child’s not in it (as I often see on other people’s bikes), so it was with great delight that I discovered the Topeak Babyseat II.
Quick to attach, quick to remove
As I say, I never wanted to find myself riding along with an empty child carrier attached to my bike just because it was a pain to remove, so the fact that one of the Topeak Babyseat II carrier’s key selling points is the fact that you can fix it to the rack, and take it off again, in a matter of seconds.
I looked at many different child carriers when I was shopping – including the WeeRide front seat and the Raleigh Avenir. The former seems a great shout for a baby and is obviously great to be able to keep an eye on them while you’re riding. But kids grow up fast! The Raleigh Avenir was fairly generic, it didn’t have the USPs of the Topeak model, and I’ll admit I was a bit scared off by the price (does too cheap usually mean not secure enough? It does when it comes to bike locks…)
So what does the Topeak Babyseat II carrier offer then? Other than the gloriously quick installation and detachment, the Topeak Babyseat II carrier – available from £107.99 at Evans Cycles (seat only) or for £127.49 including the rack – offers an innovative suspension system, which means nippers are cushioned even on the most potholed of roads.
Topeak describe the seat as a “virtual cocoon of protection” thanks to the wrap-around structure, with a shoulder harness that is adjustable to multiple height settings. While a “virtual cocoon” is a bit of an overstatement, the seat is reassuringly sturdy, with footrests, and foot-straps, also meaning that playsome toddlers can’t accidentally (or deliberately!) kick the bike’s pedals or the legs of the rider in front of them.
What’s the downside?
Aside from the cost (the Babyseat II is certainly at the higher end of the market), arguably the downside is that to be able to use the Babyseat II, you need to have the compatible Topeak rack (though I did find the seat and rack can be bought together from Tredz for £127.49).
This obviously adds to the cost and many may see it as a put-off, but it’s worth remembering that the rack can be used with other Topeak items, such as the Topeak MTX Trunkbag DX, which is a great luggage option for commuters.
There’s a reason for the cost, and it’s not simply the ease of attaching and detaching the seat to your rack. The Babyseat II is compliant with all of the strict security regulations, notably European rules, CPSIA and Proposition 65 safety standards – so you can pedal along in confidence that, provided you ride sensibly, your child will be safe.
There are fewer more serious purchases that a cycling parent will come when it comes to their bicycling spend, so it is of course a purchase that needs to be given some proper thought. I did just that – I ummed and ahhed for a while before eventually clicking on the order button – but I’ve got to say I’m glad I made the purchase I did. It’s one thing knowing your child is comfortable on the bike, and the padded seat and suspension system ensure that is the case – my daughter even managed to have a snooze last weekend while I pedalled along – but it’s another knowing that the seat is stable and your child will be safe.
The Topeak Babyseat II ensures just that.
Reasons to buy
- Easy to put on, easy to take off
- Innovative design and comfortable for the passenger
- Easily-adjustable straps for growing kids