**Updated as of 5/28/14- See Update below the original post
I have teased this review for a while now, and I just to get the wheels turning (no pun intended) on this one.
It’s been an insane snowy winter (currently the second snowiest winter ever recorded in the Philadelphia area), which unfortunately had not been condusive to my outdoor cycling, but now that the end is in sight I can finally get ready to use what is poised to be one of the coolest new pieces of fitness gear I have. I have been not all that patiently waiting to break this out as it’s something that will allow me to talk not only as a runner or triathlete in training, but as my most important role- that of a dad.
And with that, I am very happy to introduce you to the Weehoo Bicycle trailer. I have been provided an IGoPro trailer for me (well, if we’re being specific it’s really for me and Tessa) to use and review for you.
Ok, so what exactly is a Weehoo Bicycle Trailer?
The short answer is that It’s a recumbent bike seat/ trailer made specifically for kids that attaches to the back of your bike so you can bring them along for the ride. What really makes the Weehoo unique is the design. It’s not the “spaceship looking bubble pod” design that you’ve seen in the past. No, this is a real deal setup that is made to resemble a more real life bike experience. It’s a one wheeled, open air, (while still having a 5 point harness to strap them in securely) and it has pedals! So I can dress Tess up just like her daddy, complete with sunglasses and helmet. (yes, it’s a Disney princess helmet and pink sunglasses, but nothing else would do for the diva), strap her in the seat with me and she can pedal along with me as we go.
I am very interested in this product for many reasons, and have a lot of initial thoughts on it.
Below is why I am so anxious to try it out:
1) With my triathlon training ramping up I am getting more and more heavily into cycling as the weather gets warmer
2) I am looking to incorporate/involve my 3 year old daughter Tessa into my training for a multitude of reasons:
-I want to get her used to being outside and exercising (which the Weehoo uniquely helps with by allowing her to pedal along with me),
-I want to set the right example for her so she recognizes that she can have just as much fun on a bike as she can watching the tinkerbell movie or Frozen for the 35th time that week
-I want to have her look at workouts as fun and a regular part of life, not a punishment,
-I want to have some one on one time with my little one in a fitness setting. (With the addition our new 7 month old son AJ the attention has been divided between the 2 kids)
3) This brings with it the fantastic fringe benefit of allowing me to work out without the guilt of leaving my wife at home to take care of/entertain our Tessa as well as AJ all by herself. (So it can potentially instrumental in helping to keep me out of the doghouse as well)
4) I’m curious to see if my initial theory that this will bring to the table the added bonus of building additional strength? I have this attached to my Mountain bike and considering the heft of the bike itself, plus the added weight of the trailer itself and my daughter in tow, I am very curious to see how that translates into performance when I am solo on my road bike.
5) to bring it back to what’s really important, this is potentially a really big deal to me because It will allow me to combine one of the things I love (getting my workouts in) with one of the few things that is even more important than that (spending time with Tess, sharing a new experience with her and building that bond even further)
All that being said, I can give you the details of the trailer itself and then once the polar vortex/ this insane winter finally moves out and it’s warm enough to bring a toddler outside and get her moving at a decent clip on a bike I will come back and update the review based on my real life experiences.
But during all my initial research, here is what I have found that I am really looking forward to in the Weehoo iGo pro: there are a few specific points that stand out to me. Many of these are safety-related, which is a big deal because protecting that little diva sitting behind me on the bike could not be more important.
First up is the 5 point harness. I love the fact that even though the seat is “open air” as opposed to being totally encapsulated in a frame and mesh that there is a secure system of shoulder straps and lap belt to make sure that she’s secure in there.
The Covered chain means that if she starts waving her legs back and forth, all she’ll hit is the smooth plastic of the chain cover, not the greased up metal bike chain itself.
I am a huge fan of the fact that the addition of this trailer brings with it a ton of storage. Between 2 saddle bags, a big mesh pocket on the back of her seat and cup-sized mesh pockets on either side of her seat as well, I know I have places to cram all of the associated “stuff” that comes along with spending prolonged time with a toddler outside of the house.
One wheel design– I am of the belief that this will allow more stable and versatile ride, for both roads and off-road/less pavement. I have to imagine that with the “standard” two wheel design of other trailers that there is a much higher potential for an uneven, bumpy ride. Two wheels and a wide platform just feel like twice the opportunity to hit bumps and create an uneven ride for the kiddos back there.
Straps on pedals & handles to grab on to mean that her feet won’t fall off and then have to struggle to out them back on as we’re cruising along. The handles allow her somewhere to rest her hands that is just natural as she sits in the recumbent bike seat.
As with all products, it can’t always be a rose colored, puppies and rainbows outlook. There are some things I wonder about. Five things in particular that just give me a little pause and I will be paying close attention to for those first few times I go out with the trailer before I come back and update this review for you.
Balance? With the one wheel design that I just went on about being so advantageous, all the versatility and stability in the world mean nothing if she tips over while we’re riding.
Protection? Again, I am quick to cite the advantages of my little girl being open to the elements and not sitting in a tiny mesh cover capsule. The potential downside to that though, is that there is nothing around her to prevent the possible (inevitable) brushes, scrapes,etc. that can come from bushes, trees, rocks and the like. Be it from riding too close or from her just being curious and reaching out as we go.
Will she stay interested? At it’s core the opinion I walk away from this experience hinges on one thing: does that little girl in the seat like it or not. If things go the way I believe they will, she going to spend her time back there clapping, cheering, yelling at me to go faster, and generally loving life. If I have learned one thing as the father to a nearly 3 year old girl however, it’s to expect the unexpected. So through all the thought, planning, and effort that went into orchestrating all this for her, I have to at least accept the potential that a tantrum can blow it all to bits. (Either overall or on any given ride)
How many times am I going to have to stop and hop off to pick up something she threw overboard/ dropped? Self explanatory. A very real potential of Tess holding a doll, toy, figurine, etc that she HAS to bring with her and then drops as we’re cruising along a path somewhere when I have to stop, double back and pick up one (or a dozen) times.
Weight and Handling– I put these together as they are really tied to the actual size, weight, and heft of the unit. At over 4 feet long when attached and weighing in at 27.5 pounds, it’s bound to affect the dynamics and handling of the bike. I’m curious to see how this plays out
There is certainly a lot to see, and I’m anxious to see if his lives up to my very high expectations. More to come once I (we) have gotten some substantial miles logged on the road (and trails)
To update things on the Weehoo bike trailer:
After having spent a decent amount of time with the trailer and using it quite a bit, I’m happy to report that all of my initial good impressions have held up, and have even been reinforced and compounded. This thing is the real deal.
Let me start with the installation. The directions to assemble the trailer were very easy to follow (thanks to videos on YouTube) and within an hour I had everything together securely. When it came time to attach it to my bike, I did use the wrong spacer sleeve on my seatpost which did result in it being a very wobbly ride back there for test the first time out. But as soon as we got it home I replaced the smaller spacer with the correctly sized one (there are several included in the bikes packaging when it is shipped) and then it was totally smooth sailing.
As I said before, the 5 point harness on the child’s seat ensures that my little one is completely secure back there, there is ample storage and she absolutely loves going on bike rides for me. As a matter of fact, whenever I open the garage and she sees the bike and trailer in there, we have to go for a quick ride. Even if it’s just around the block I have to strap her in and go. So it’s becoming more and more a situation where daddy-daughter bike rides are becoming a close to every day occurrence. (Well, it was up until I had to have emergency surgery and have been sidelined for a month or two, but even then I am 100% positive it will pick right back up where we left off)
As for unforeseen issues that always seem to pop up when you are actually using the product, you were only three with this trailer, and each was very easily remedied. (But it does make sense to put it out there, in the interest of full disclosure)
1) when installing the mudflap on the center post, one of the brackets did snap off immediately. The other one was still good and held everything in place, and it’s nothing a little bit of electrical tape couldn’t fix. Really not a big deal at all.
2) Keeping my little ones attention and making sure she was content sitting in that seat for extended amount of time was a big concern of mine going into this. But between the scenery, her sitting back there and yelling “daddy go faster” and a little bit of preventative maintenance on my part by stashing a wireless Bluetooth speaker in one of the side cargo pockets before we set out on a ride all combine to totally do the trick and keep her happy as a clam back there. The Bluetooth speaker is small, so there is more than enough room for that, a soft cooler bag to hold some snacks and water bottles, a small foldable blanket, even a toy or two if I wanted so that she has something to play with if we want to stop and have a little picnic lunch. So I’ll stream some of her music from my cell phone mounted on the handlebars back to the speaker so she can hear it and boom, crisis averted.
3) my daughter was also not exactly thrilled about strapping her feet onto the pedals. Honestly, this just called for a little bit of tough love and creativity. I just had to make it understood that that was part of the package deal in going for the rides. If she wants to go, I need to make sure she’s safe and straps in all the way, that includes her feet. And once she did it correctly a couple times and I made a huge deal about her doing it correctly it’s stopped really being a concern.
As for my hopes that the trailer would enhance my performance: I have not had a chance to get an official time since I haven’t had any races yet, but I hooked the trailer up to my hybrid/mountain bike. I also have an older road bike that I use for racing/performance/generally going fast that I can use for comparisons sake. And let me tell you, Hell yes it makes a big difference. It’s when the combination of the heavier bike, the trailer, the added weight of my daughter and all of our associated “riding with a child” gear I have seen an average of 3 to 5 mph difference in my overall speed on similar courses and distances. I’m also confident that as I continue to train this way and get stronger that trend will continue or hopefully even improve even further.
Bottom line is this: based in all my experiences to date I can continue to strongly recommend this bike trailer. My initial concern still rings true, retailing at several hundred dollars it is one of the pricier items out there, but when the safety of my little one is concerned this is not where I’m looking to cut corners. Yes, I believe it has improved my performance on the road bike in a relatively small amount of time, but much more importantly it all boils down to this: Tessa freaking loves it. This affords me away to be able to work out and include my daughter at the same time. Give me a chance to spend some one-on-one time with her and teach her that she can have fun outside and exercising. And that to me is worth more than anything.
Thanks for reading, I hope this helps.
I am approaching this review from my standard viewpoint of what I believe the core interest of this blog really gets at: that is to say I am presenting my review by looking at this product from the perspective of a person who is relatively new to the running world, has some weight to lose and wants go about losing the weight by starting to incorporate a more active lifestyle and want to know how sift through the volumes of available gear/ equipment out there.
One of the great benefits to running a blog like this one is that it puts me in a position from time to time to receive various products to use and review for you. Oftentimes, these items are provided to me free of charge. This is the only type of compensation I have ever received, and my acceptance of these items in no way constitutes any obligation to provide an unwarranted positive review. My opinions on the products are unfiltered and 100% my own.
**This product was provided to me free of charge, but again, this does not influence my review or views on the product in any way**
Also please note that these are the personal opinions and experiences of one individual (me) on my personal blog, and intended to be taken as such. I personally, and The Running My Ass Off Blog do not accept any liability from the purchase or use of any products reviewed on this blog.
**Sorry, just have to cover my ass here. These are unbiased reviews, intended only to help. I’m not going to try and sell you anything, nor do I want you to take my opinions as the final word on any product. Let me help you figure out what you should check out, and then check the stuff out for yourself to see if you like it.**