By Stephen Haynes
I love to ride bicycles. I also love my 8-year-old daughter Darby. She, however, doesn’t yet share my love of all things bike. How do I go about getting my mildly interested youngin’ into riding? After several misadventures cramming Darby and her younger brother into a buggy-type trailer, my wife Trina took a look at trailer bikes. When the Adams Trail-A- Bike (TAB) Folder 24 came across my radar, I jumped at the opportunity to get Darby on it.
One of the coolest things about the TAB Folder is that it folds up! A pivot point just in front of the TAB’s seat tube allows the whole contraption to fold back on itself, helping to keep the overall length manage- able when you want to stow or transport it. That said, the overall bulk of the thing, even folded, may be a bit cumbersome for small car owners.
The TAB is connected to a lead bike via a two-part hitch system. A receiving end is attached to the lead bike’s seat post—included shims make fit- ting easy. A universal joint on the front of the TAB slides into the receiving end and is secured with a hitch pin; this hitch pin also secures the bike in its folded state. A protective sleeve slides over the whole assembly to keep little fingers from getting pinched.
A 24” wheel on the TAB means a little smoother ride than trailers using a 20” wheel, plus the ability to accommodate larger riders (up to 85lbs.). The 7-speed drivetrain has been a good way to teach Darby about using gears. She says, “If it’s in number 6 or 7, it’s really hard, but if it’s in number 1, it’s really easy.” The higher gear range is nice for the lead rider, too. Both Trina and I can feel a boost when Darby shifts up into higher gears.
A higher-quality shifter on the TAB would be welcome; despite her claims that “shifting was easy,” I found it difficult and saw her using both hands at times to change gears. For an up-charge, your local bike shop could swap it out for something a little more user-friendly. Either way, the shifting lesson is there to be learned.
As an inexperienced rider, Darby occasionally leans in opposition to the lead rider, leaving the lead rider fighting the weight until the TAB falls back in line. Trina feels that the shift “can be a little overwhelming” and I tend to agree. We’re hoping that with more practice, and a little less looking everywhere but forward, Darby will learn better balance and keep the jarring to a minimum.
We’ve ridden the 27lb. steel TAB on rail- trails, city bike paths, and to and from the store. Darby has seen many interesting things on our ad- ventures but “the daddy long legs in the grass and the crazy caterpillar on the rail-trail” stand out as most memorable. Trina and I both agree that it’s a lot of fun, and having the ability to do longer rides is nice as well, though Darby says, “Long rides hurt my bum.” Perhaps a plusher seat?
At $290, the Adams Trail-A-Bike Folder 24 is a bit of an investment for something that isn’t a stand-alone bike, though families like ours can use it again with a younger child, as we plan to. Modest componentry like the shifters, seat, one-piece crank, and cup-and-cone bottom bracket leaves something to be desired, but all of these are upgradable if the need should arise. Despite this, Darby, Trina and I agree that the TAB is a great way to get out and spend time together as a family. Made in China. www.trail-a-bike.com