Imagine a world where the whole family goes mountain biking together and it all just works – minimal compromise, minimal tantrums, minimal frustration and maximum fun family time out on the trail. Not possible? Well think again. Co-editor Nicola Iseard discovered this promise land earlier this summer when the Weehoo bike trailer came into her life.
Over to you Nicky….
“Somebody’s already thought of that, it’s nice and narrow, because it only has one wheel! You have to check it out, I think it’s called Yippee or Weehoo or something…”. This was what a friend touted in response to my complaints about the majority of child trailers I had seen on the market being too wide and cumbersome for bike trails. Little did I know at the time, but the secret was out about a small company that was started by a bike-loving father in Colorado: Weehoo. A quick look on their webpage revealed that they had a much simpler and considered design compared with most other options out there.
Living in a mountain village near Morzine, my husband and I have enjoyed sharing our passion for cycling with our kids of two and five years. They have progressed on their own, from balance bikes to pedals, but some rides are too much for their little legs, and towing them behind in a trailer when we want to go further afield is the obvious choice.
It is hard to describe all the cool innovative features the Weehoo has without just writing a list of them – there are just so many. Let’s start with the obvious: the single wheel. The benefits are immediate: the narrower profile of the Weehoo means you can thread down single track – yes off-road – with no hang ups. It also means the trailer is more packable in the car, and the feel for the passenger is more akin to how a bike tips into turns too.
Next big plus? Compatibility. The Weehoo attaches to a seat post of any diameter. Shims are provided to match your model. This was critical for us, running full suspension carbon bikes with dropper posts. It is a simple bracket that can remain neatly positioned on the seat post when not in use, so the transition between towing and riding alone is seamless – this is key for me since I use the bike in question for bike park days and commuting besides towing my kids.
The next plus is manoeuvrability. You can do a U-turn when towing the trailer of the same diameter that it takes to turn your own bike around. Some trailers are restricted from sharp turns, which obviously makes them harder work in the tight spots.
OK, so far all I have done is explain why I find the trailer so practical, but let’s look at what the kids are experiencing in the seat. First off, the seat itself is not a basic bicycle seat like some of the tow bike options, but a chair, with a proper back, so they are free to totally relax (or even sleep) – unlike when perched on a bike saddle.
But, on the Turbo model, which has pedals rather than just foot rests, the kids still have the option to fully engage with the ride. We found our five-year-old especially loved the idea of teamwork, helping us to pedal to get up a hill. The retention on the pedals includes a double velcro strap over the instep and a bungee looping on the heel which prevents the child’s foot from dropping off the back no matter how bumpy it gets. There is no risk of any soft fleshy bits getting caught in the chain because Weehoo has encased it in protective tubing. There can be a little noise from the plastic but it well worth the protection to provides.
The kids also get shoulder straps and a chest buckle, like a car seat, to keep them from falling out. The buckles are easy to use, but loading the child into the seat can be challenging the first few times, since there is only a single wheel; it does help to have a wall to balance the bike’s handlebars against. It improves with practice but it is not the Weehoo’s strongpoint. There is an optional kickstand accessory, and we are a little undecided on its effectiveness. The stand will not support the child and bike when loaded so it is more for loading other items into the storage panniers or for simply keeping the empty bike and trailer upright for a pause.
Regarding the panniers, we find them adequate for all but overnight rides. If you were going to bring a tent etc., then there is a Venture model which includes more rack space and bigger bags. For the time being though, there is plenty of space for extra layers, a picnic… there is even a neat water bottle holder next to the kids’ handlebar so they can hydrate on the fly.
One thing kids might experience back there is a little dust or a few mud spatters, depending on the state of your trails/roads. I would say that a pair of sunglasses is mandatory for them; given how stoney some of our trails are, I am going to make goggles part of the dress code. There is a small mud guard included, situated on the main tube ahead of the passenger, and this could be easily upgraded for better protection. Of course, it depends how fast you ride and on what kind of trails. Which brings us on to…
WHERE CAN YOU TAKE THE WEEHOO?
I have already described how their width allows for access to single track, and this naturally means we are talking off-road. I think all riders will be surprise by quite how ‘normal’ their bike feels while towing, and also how well the Weehoo single wheel tracks over small roots and stones. I found just having an ongoing conversation with my five-year-old as the speed and track got more intense was a good way of judging how it was for him. I was surprised where we went in the end! The next upgrade might be an extra cushion for his seat. The current foam is good but for very bumpy trails, a thin extra layer could help.
Truth be told, we use the Weehoo behind an e-bike, so we aren’t the best to comment on the weight and the strain on the legs on hills when pulling behind a standard bike. But, being that there is some pedal assist from your passenger, and the weight is a respectable 12kg, we can imagine that if you live somewhere relatively flat, versus the Alps, then it is not different to any other trailer on the market and there is no need for motor assist.
Suitable for ages 2-9.
RRP: £399. The Venture model is £429.
Verdict: Wooded single tracks, on your holidays or simply for the school run – it’s the perfect way to share your love of biking with your kids. Our boys are fighting over whose turn it is to ride in it to extent that I think we shall purchase a second one!