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Recently did a family mountain biking drip in the Methow Valley and wanted to report back on first use of the Tow Whee towing strap. Haven't seen many reviews out there. We ride with our 6 year old who is a pretty good rider but tends to tire around mile 5, 3 year old is on a balance bike (probably not for much longer) and hops on and off my Big Dummy on the trails.

Before this trip I was looking at options for emergency towing of the 6 year old when on my single bike. Found this bungee two strap https://www.tow-whee.com/

In short, it was pretty eye opening. Thought some practice would be needed to get used to it, but we simply attached it between my wife's saddle and headtube on the 6 year old's bike and off they went! The bungee really smooths things out. Our friends on the trip also used it easily with their 4 year old on a balance bike when he tired out. Didn't get to try it out on any steep, tight switchbacks where it might not work so well but I was impressed with how it worked on the relatively smooth singletrack we rode.

At $40 it's way more affordable than the bicycle bungee (Bicycle Bungee - Home of the Bike Bungee cord - making tandem cycling easier) that seems to have been reviewed more. I used some old climbing slings and carabiners as quick releases on both ends.

It now has a permanent home in my pack for those times when the kids tire out. Definitely eases any concern about tackling longer rides where you are not sure if the kids can make it.
 

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Bungee-in-webbing dog leashes have existed for years. I was using one to pull my kid uphill years ago (see post #9 http://forums.mtbr.com/families-riding-kids/tow-bike-options-958894.html). Not an original idea by any means besides the marketing angle, but the prices are in line with the dog leashes so they're not trying to gouge anyone.

It looks too long to me. The Ruffwear leash I used to use maxed out at 7 feet and switchbacks were barely doable at that length. It's like driving a trailer, the longer it is the more it crabs in around tight corners.
 

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Got one of these last week and used it for the first time yesterday. My ~7yo can ride around 15 miles on flat land very easily but climbing is an issue.

Used it a lot for short climbs that he could handle on his own, but not in continuous succession. At least not without a great deal of griping. Really modest stuff, like "climbing" ~200 feet over a half-mile.

I'm constantly trying to find the balance point between challenging him while keeping it fun for him, without him developing a sense of entitlement.

The TowWhee worked really well, in the sense of not jerking the trailing rider too much, or having too much of a rubberband slingshot effect.

Keeping it "permanently" attached to my saddle rails and stuffing it into my hip pack worked alright for stowage, but I ended up using it often enough that I ended up wearing it in a bandolier sort of way, later on.

One could obviously jury rig the same sort of thing pretty easily, for a fraction of the price. But at $40, there's not all that much padding in the price and I'd definitely rather spend $40 than have a free jury-rigged solution.
 

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rth009
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I got one recently as well to replace the old tube/webbing sling/static cord combination I had been using. It works a lot better for my 5.5 year old.
 

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Friendly Neighborhood MTBer
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Towhee worked out great for me as well. Went the Towhee route instead of the bike lightening route. Saved me some $$$ for sure.
 

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For those not willing to spend $40 on it, here's my setup that works wonderfully well:
- Keeper 48-in Carabiner Bungee Cord ($5 at home depot) plus 12" of shoelace tied in a loop, clipped to one end.
- The shoelace loop goes on the child's stem, the other end clips to the adult's seat rail

It's compact, easy to buy, and effective - I can even set it up to tow *while* we are both riding without stopping, as well as take it off without stopping. It's compact enough I hang it around my neck when climbing at times when my son wants to pedal on his own for a bit.

Note it's only 48" but it works great climbing up bumpy logging roads. I've been using it for a few years (many hours of climbing) and have two setups for towing two kids in tandem.

If the child falls, it releases instantly because it's simply looped over the handlebar onto the stem.

The compact size of this setup compared to a towhee or similar leads to many usability advantages.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Keeper-48-in-Carabiner-Bungee-Cord-47702/207097627

Sent from my EML-L09 using Tapatalk
 

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For those not willing to spend $40 on it, here's my setup that works wonderfully well:
- Keeper 48-in Carabiner Bungee Cord ($5 at home depot) plus 12" of shoelace tied in a loop, clipped to one end.
- The shoelace loop goes on the child's stem, the other end clips to the adult's seat rail

It's compact, easy to buy, and effective - I can even set it up to tow *while* we are both riding without stopping, as well as take it off without stopping. It's compact enough I hang it around my neck when climbing at times when my son wants to pedal on his own for a bit.

Note it's only 48" but it works great climbing up bumpy logging roads. I've been using it for a few years (many hours of climbing) and have two setups for towing two kids in tandem.

If the child falls, it releases instantly because it's simply looped over the handlebar onto the stem.

The compact size of this setup compared to a towhee or similar leads to many usability advantages.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Keeper-48-in-Carabiner-Bungee-Cord-47702/207097627

Sent from my EML-L09 using Tapatalk
How much separation do you have between your rear tire and your kids front tire when the bungee is stretched?
 

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How much separation do you have between your rear tire and your kids front tire when the bungee is stretched?
It's about 2 to 3 feet separation with this setup. I'm happy with this short distance since I chat with my son about the silliest things most of the way up, and when we turn corners it puts us on very similar (almost concentric) turn paths. We primarily ride up bumpy logging roads and it's been working out really well for the past 3 or 4 years (multiple kids) and many many hours of riding.

Sent from my EML-L09 using Tapatalk
 
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