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Also see:

The Dutch Bike Bits blog includes comparisons and reviews of cycling components.


The Hembrow Cycling Holidays blog has stories about cycle routes in Drenthe.


We organize Study Tours to show off the best cycling infrastructure in the world.

Home-made children's size recumbent bicycle

On a trip to the Netherlands in 2002 I noticed a very neat conversion of a child's bike into a child's size recumbent. I took some photos at the time:


So far as I could tell, no welds had been required to make this neat bike. A set of forks with bolts through the legs and the main tube of the bike together with a clamp on the steerer tube (with a cut to make it compressable) and a section of bike frame including a bottom bracket make the front boom. The clamp allows adjustment for leg length. The back of the seat is kept in place by a modified saddle frame.
It took a year before I got around to trying to make something similar for my children. Due to the children having both grown out of one of their 20" wheel bikes, I had a donor bike to hand. No particular "design" was involved. The bike was put together in one afternoon with just bolts and no need for welding - apart from the handlebars which with the small weld used to attach them were donated by a friend.

These two photos show the bike at a very early stage. Note the not terribly comfortable "nothing but a plank of wood" seat, which was later fitted with a few layers of camping mat. I rode it first, and found it very easy to ride, then my children both had a go and seemed to get the hang of it straight away with a little reminder of the principles of how a bicycle is balanced.

In contrast to the Dutch bike, this version has derailleur gears, which gave a little trouble with chain line and the chain hopping off. I ended up solving that problem by using some plastic tube as used on such as the Flevobike Oke-Ja.



At a BHPC event in Curborough on the 12th of September 2004. Note wicker chain ring guard.

Eliza raced a few more times, but after a while she was a little large for the bike and it fell into dis-use. It was given to a friend in Cambridge before we moved house.

This is perhaps not the most elegant way of making a recumbent bike. However it's very easy to do, and I found that it was rideable even by an adult (i.e. me), if a little too small the way I'd constructed it. It is quite possible that an adult bike can be made in a similar way, but of course what you do is at your own risk !

Video

We've one video of the bike in action, taken at the Eastway track in Lea Valley, London, on the 8th of May 2004:

race results

This was one of my personal favourite tracks in Britain. It had a sharp hairpin and also a couple of hills which made their presence known after a few laps. On this day, I crashed at the hairpin, which ended my chances in the race. Unfortunately it no longer exists, having been demolished to make way for the Olympic Games in London.

Eliza riding Banana Bike at Ford Castle

Commercial child's recumbents

There are not many commercial child size recumbent bikes and trikes.

One of the nicer models is the Altena Estrellita two wheeled recumbent. This is suitable for riding real distances and is reasonably priced (for a recumbent).

I also have some experience with the KMX kart. This offers a lot of fun without much expense. Otherwise, there is the front wheel drive & lean steer 'Banana Bike' as pictured left.

Both the KMX Kart and the Banana Bike are recumbent tricycles. Neither of these two seem to be intended for use beyond having fun (not that there's anything wrong with that).

There are also plans for a home made trike for sale here.


Products for cycling with children


Baby-seat support

Seat for older child

Front seat for
young child

Bike training
handle

Miffy (Nijntje)
bell

Buggy / pushchair
carrier for bike




For other bicycles, reviews, tour stories etc. look at my bicycles home page. There are reviews there of the Speed Ross and Pashley PDQ recumbents and you may also be interested in the trailerbikes or a family cycling holiday, or perhaps you might be interested in a way to teach children to ride a bike.

Our webshop has a special section with some of our favourite parts for recumbents, including tyres and lighting, and also a section with products for cycling with children.

Netherlands Cycling Holiday