FollowMe Tandem Review
We’ve all been there – geared up for a bike ride with the kids (they can finally pedal! wahoo!) and a mile into it the kiddo says they’re done. Too tired, or there’s a hill, or wind, or…the list goes on. They’re getting too big for the trailer, and want to pedal on their own, but lack the stamina. As a parent, sometimes going one mile just isn’t enough. Maybe you actually need to get to a destination.
For parents looking for a way to tow younger kids and grade-schoolers safely by bicycle, the Follow Me Tandem might work for you. We originally found this as a way to bikepack/tour with our younger boys before they could make long distance bike rides themselves. What is it exactly, you ask?
A Safer Way to Tow Kid Bikes
A Follow Me Tandem is a coupling device that hooks your child’s bike up to yours, allowing you to essentially turn your bikes into a tandem pair. It’s ideal for longer rides (like bike tours!) where little ones may get tired, or on long commutes/urban riding where you are worried they’ll veer out into traffic or an unsafe situation. It’s compatible with most adult bikes, including cargo bikes.
How Does the FollowMe Tandem Work?
It works by hooking onto the back of your bike via your rear axle, extending to lift the front wheel of your child’s bike. The contact points for the child’s bike are the front axle and down tube. Once hooked up, the child rides on their bike; they can pedal if they wish, or just rest. It really is a pretty novel idea!
When your child is not connected to it, you can fold it up and secure it on the back of your bike, leaving both bicycles ride-able on their own. You can also just tow the kids bike, as in a school or daycare drop-off situation, where the kid might only ride one way.
We’ve tested it on long distance bike packing trips, rides around our valley, and city street riding; although a bit complicated, heavy, and requiring some practice, we haven’t found another product that provides the same service. It feels very secure, stable and does it’s job well.
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FollowMe Specifications to be aware of
- Fits kids wheel sizes 12-20 inches
- Fits adult wheel sizes 26-29 inches
- Requires a specific follow-me axle fitted for the adult bike
- Requires a semi permanent bracket installed on the downtube of kids bike
- If using a higher end kids bike, requires ordering a special axle that fits with the product.
- Basic cost is $349
- Product weight: 12 lbs
- 99 lb towing weight limit (child and bike combined)
A Stable Option for Towing
As far as towing and transporting kids by bike, there are many options. There’s the Trail Gator, Trail-a-Bike, Wee-Hoo, and Tow-Whee just to name a few. All these options have their place, but one thing is for sure- the FollowMe feels the most stable and secure of all the ones we’ve tried.
With the FollowMe there’s no sway, wobble, or play in the coupling because the attachment point is through the axle, creating a lower center of gravity. You can even have a child bike seat or rear rack attached at the same time.
Although probably not recommended by the manufacturer, we’ve even used this device on rocky double track trails that felt pretty close to mountain biking during a recent bike packing trip. It stayed solid and kept our 4 year old safe and smiling.
Build a Party Bike
The Follow Me Tandem is really fun to use! It feels a bit like a party bike or parade when everyone can be attached and riding together. Imagine us rolling through town: Dad on his bike, with the toddler in a rear child seat, the kiddo on the Follow Me, and the Chariot hooked up to pull the baby! We’ve done it, and it works. Obviously a heavy load for dad, but a fun way to cruise around town!
What We Don’t Love About the Follow Me Tandem
Complicated to set up
I will admit, the first time we used the Follow-Me, it was complicated to figure out. We had to order some extra parts to make it work for our bikes, which was on top of the already high price tag. We had to watch several you tube videos to figure out how it worked (my husband joked it was like some kind of Erector set!), and practice a few times to work out the kinks. Initial installation took close to an hour.
However, once you get it installed, it does hook on and off the bikes in just a few minutes.
At $350, it’s the most expensive option besides a trailer for towing a child. But there really is nothing else that works quite as well. Looking for used might save you some money, although it might be tough to find a used one.
It was heavier than we would have liked, since we were planning on using it for a long distance bike tour where every ounce counts. I wish there was a lighter weight alternative, but it really is the best option for the use. If you’re not adding it to an already loaded bike, the weight probably won’t be a big deal to you.
If you are staying on rail trails, single track, or bike path, a great easy and lightweight alternative is the Tow-Whee, a bungee tow rope. But if you’re worried about a kid swerving into traffic, the Follow Me is really helpful, and requires less rider skills from the child.
Very specific and semi permanent hardware
The Follow Me Tandem also requires specific hardware on your bike and your kid’s bike, including special skewers and a bracket installed on the down tube of the kid’s bike. Some parts can be lost easily, so make sure you are very intentional about where and how you store them.
If you are having a hard time making it work with your bike axel, or have lost parts/need extras (for instance- to swap it with more than one bike), we have found this site very helpful: The Robert Axel Project. You type in what you need to attach and they’ll help you find it or make it.
It’s a Swiss made product, and the North American distributor is Trucavelo. Contact them with questions on compatibility before ordering, or to order specific or extra parts.
What We Do Love About the Follow Me
Peace of mind
However, once we were on the road, it was so nice to just be hooked up to the kids and not have to worry about it. Once it is set up, attaching and disconnecting the bikes is pretty quick, usually done in 30-60 seconds. The peace of mind it brought to riding busy roads with kids was worth the hassle.
Smooth and safe ride
It’s a really smooth ride, the kids can even ride no-handed (for short stints), or drink and snack while riding, since the front of their bike is stabilized. There is very little wobble while riding (more with heavier kids, but still not bad). Just train them to pay attention to upcoming obstacles. Teach them to stand on their pedals for bumps, etc.
It tracks really well behind an adult bike, and turns tighter than you’d expect. And when not in use, it folds up nicely and clips to either your seat post or rear rack.
Durable, quality construction
This thing is made of durable chromoly steel, and seems very strong. We’ve used it on two long bike tours with kids and multiple day rides, and it’s held up great. I’m sure we can even re-sell it for a decent price once our kids grow out of it.
Shared biking experience
Riding with our four year old on the Follow Me is a pretty entertaining experience; the constant dialogue and window into his little brain keeps us laughing. It’s a fun way to bond with your kids and turn a bike ride into a shared experience.
The Follow Me generally fits kids aged 4-8, depending on the size and ability of the kiddo. Our four year old loves it but on long rides we have to make sure he doesn’t doze off mid ride. Our older kids love riding it as well, begging to take turns. It’s handy to have an extra set of hardware so you can switch bikes if you have two very different sized kids (like ours, 4 & 8).
Builds biking skills
I also love that it’s a great way to help kids gain endurance and biking independence. They can start out riding independently, and when they need a break, you can hook them up. After they’ve had a break, detatch them and let them ride again. It solves the problem of that awkward spot during a longer ride when kids decide they’re done, so you can both finish the ride smiling.
I also feel like it has helped our timid rider to get more comfortable on his bike, pedaling and cruising at speed.
In general, it feels pretty safe for us to use. As long as you double check that everything is set up safely and securely, it is very durable. It is important to take some practices rides with your kids to learn to ride together. Talk about what communication style you will use, so they can be prepared for stops, bumps, turns, and getting going.
Make sure you can hear each other (maybe no headphones!) and pay attention to needs. Also be aware that when you’re coupled together, you’re a bit longer than normal and need to take that into account when timing street crossings or tight turns.
Ensure that your child is mature enough to sit/ride independently behind your bike, so they don’t fall off. And always wear helmets of course! If you’re needing some helmet recommendations, check out our article, Best bike helmets for kids!
Overall, would definitely recommend
Even though it has some drawbacks, for many situations, this is a great product. We’ve literally put hundreds of miles on ours and been very happy with it’s usefulness. The more we use it, the more we recommend it! And it’s a total head turner. Every time we have it out, people are pointing and waving, smiling and loving it. And stopping to ask about it.
It’s enabled us to go so many places, and do so many rides we otherwise would not have been able to accomplish with our young kids. Hopefully, it can take you places too!
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