The BabyBjörn Carrier certainly offered some instant freedom of movement. And the off-road-ready Bob Gear seems to make a similar revelation: having your baby with you doesn’t completely limit your outdoor adventures. but for Active new dadNo other parenting product has delivered the same hype for the money, and the combined joy of being used for a minute as the Mac Ride baby bike seat.
Every place I’ve biked with my daughter’s Mac Ride—whether it’s a park or a trail where another parent knows how to ride a bike—results in an instant exclamation: Huh, that’s genius. How did no one think of this type of bike seat sooner? Who makes this thing? Made in Canada, eh? The quick conversations add, as I’m not sure there’s a major product I’ve been asked about and recommended more.
What is that
The Mac Ride is a saddle that fits on nearly every bike and expands to grow with your child, starting once you feel safe with them sitting upright, sticking to the directions and taking them (called age 2) until they reach 60lbs. The saddle is positioned so that your child is riding just like you, right in front of your seat, feet in stirrups and hands on your handlebars, just inside your handles. Meaning your baby rides safely in your arms without crowding or obstructing pedal strokes. Your child’s weight is centered on the bike, and is distributed just like your weight – between the front fork and seat post – where the bar that runs under the saddle is attached.
Setup requires the initial installation hurdle of having to remove your handlebar and then replace the headphone spacer in your steering tube with an inline modified spacer. Tighten the front clamp on the splitter with an Allen wrench bolt, attach the rear three-point clamp to the seat post, adjust the stirrups to your child’s leg height, and you’re ready to ride. There are additional replacement spacers so you can remove and move the simple stirrup system from one bike to another in your fleet, and transition from a city cruiser or e-bike to your mountain bike. Yes, a mountain bike. The whole idea of Mac Ride is that your child participates in the ride the same way you see the road ahead, absorbs shocks the same way, in your arms and not sleeps in a bucket behind you.
Why do we love it
I can remember (albeit very blurryly) riding in one of those plastic buckets, staring at my dad’s sweaty back, and trying to yell at him with things he wouldn’t hear. Mac Ride gives you an assistant. You see the ride through their eyes. Suddenly you’re playing “I Spy,” you hear them screaming in horror and joy while racing over the big hills, and my favorite, hitting extra speed as you blow over steep hill sections where the sound rests under belts, “Go dad! Go dad, go!”
Interaction is one of the main components. The versatility of the Mac Ride is another matter. The seat is easy to remove and move from one bike to another. Adjusting the saddle as your child’s legs grow is not so easy. But it’s easy enough: We’re talking about some twist of the Allen hex wrench (the same for rotating the stirrup position forward, so your child’s toes don’t hit the front wheel during turns). The stirrup height is adjusted by means of a thumb button, and the rubber straps with different holes pull the feet down for different shoe/foot widths. After a trip or two using this simple, elegant and effective tool to raise your child in a way that is as comfortable and safe as it is attractive, other ways to carry baby on a bike trip seem less and less logical. (paying off #mcreadymore For more evidence.)
Other than making minimal use of your brain for the initial install, it’s hard to find many bugs in the design. The foot straps seem to need a hole one more degree for tightness/adjustability, and it also seems that the holes can give way if stretched too much (although I haven’t had issues so far). But again, the idea is that you want your child to be able to break free from the bike with you, in your arms in case of an accident, and not lock him up on the bike anyway. You may also need an adapter if the included spacer replacement doesn’t quite fit.
However, the only problem with this seat is the attachment issue. This means that your child, if anything like me, might end up liking using the Mac Ride seat on your bike more than his chair or training wheels, causing some educational setbacks to get him off you and ride.
If that means an extra year of getting that extra go-daddy-go gear, I’ll take it.
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