Friday, October 28, 2011

Testing the locally-made child seat for a Brompton

The other day I posted about the Brom-upuan, the locally-made prototype child bike seat for my Brompton. I finally got to test it with my 20-month old daughter, Bea.
First things first, I did not have a hard time convincing my toddler to sit on the saddle. Not at all. She actually rode Brom-upuan like it was made for her (it was, actually, but don't tell her that). Anyway, Bea instinctively placed her feet on the footrest, held on to my bike's handlebar grips, and then we biked around our village.
I think Bea enjoyed the ride on the Brom-upuan. She was always pointing at something. She pointed at the cars. She pointed at the dog. And she pointed at the cat. Which brings me to my first concern. The Bromp-upuan does not have its own handlebar for the child rider. The child has to hold on to the adult biker's handlebar, which could be dangerous, especially during sudden turns. But this isn't the sole problem of the Bromp-upuan, as the IT Chair--the product it was based on, also does not provide for a separate handlebar.

My second concern is also on safety. Unlike the iBert Child Bike Seat where the child rider is cocooned in a protective shell and strapped in seatbelts, the child rider on the Brom-upuan is left out in the open. I worried that my daughter could easily slip off the seat at each stroke of the pedal. I had to remind her to stay on the seat and to hold on to the handlebar.

My third concern is again on safety. I don't feel the Brom-upuan is securely fastened to the Brompton. Sure, there's a clamp on the seatpost, but the clamp on the toptube is unsecured. I worry that if I hit a bump on the road, the clamp would come loose and send my daughter hurling to the pavement. This lower clamp thing really should be addressed in the future.

After having said that, I still like the Bromp-upuan. Hey, my daughter enjoys riding on it so I'm happy. I would not, however, use it outside the village and faster than 12 kph. I don't think it's safe and stable enough. At least for a 2 year old who can easily fall off the seat. Maybe I'd use it in a CMR or outside the village when Bea is older, like 3 or something. As for now, it'll be leisurely rides around our street.

Thanks again to Ariel and his welders for fabricating this father-daughter bonding contraption. Cheers, guys!

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