How do you carry two kids on a bike or why I love our Thule Courier Bike Trailer

The big question dawned on me, when I was pregnant with our second son:

How will we get around with the three of us once he is born?

We live in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Parking in the center of the town is a nightmare and it’s horrendously expensive. Biking is an essential part of the Dutch lifestyle. Life becomes limited without a reliable and safe bike.

I spent hours researching the topic. I can get a bit obsessive with these things. Hopefully this blogpost shortens your research time. I will tell you about all the options we looked at and our experiences with them. I review the Thule Courier and share our experience with bike trailers in general.

How do you carry two kids on a bike?

That was the question I was asking myself halfway through my pregnancy. Two kids and groceries and whatever else you need.

We got a bike seat on the back of my bike and a little basket in the front, when our first born was about 10 months old. It worked alright for us in the beginning. As you can see I had a light-weight hybrid bike – mix of a road bike and touring bike. The extra weight from the child seat destroyed the wheel bearings in the back within a year, halfway through my second pregnancy. We needed a new bike and a new solution.

This was our set-up with my first-born.
Our first bike trip – fresh from the bike shop

Here are the options we considered:

Bakfiets / Cargo bikes

Cargo bikes are very popular in the Netherlands. They do look super cute. My pregnant mom heart was already envisioning our little ones sitting in a bakfiets side by side their little heads bobbing around. Then we started measuring things up… Our shed turned out to be too small to store a bakfiets. We considered rebuilding our front garden but that seemed a bit outrageous considering the price of these bikes.

We were considering the Danish Nihola cargo bike. It’s one of the smallest cargo bikes on the market and has amazing reviews. We did a test ride on it at KidsCab in Hasselt in Belgium. It’s a half an hour drive from Maastricht. If you live in the area and you are looking for a cargo bike, it’s definitely worth a visit. They have any cargo bike you can think of and deliver them in the whole of Europe.

Nihola is a nice little cargo bike. Even the non-electric version goes pretty smooth. We decided against it in the end for a couple of reasons. It is expensieve as all cargo bikes are. The non-electric version costs 2700 euros. This price does not include accessories that you unavoidably need such as rain cover etc. My biggest problem with the Nihola was the very limited storage space. There is place only for a small bag in the front once the kids are strapped in.

Bike with child seat in front and back

Most bikes can’t handle the extra load of two child seats with children. I didn’t realize this until my old bike broke down. If you want to go with this option you need to buy a sufficiently sturdy bike or a mom bike (moederfiets in Dutch). Mommy bikes have extra space for the child seats, extra wide steering bars, extra stable bike stands and extra high price tags. We did a test ride with the Gazelle Bloom. It’s a lovely bike, but it didn’t feel right for us for a couple of reasons. Mom bikes are heavy. I couldn’t lift it up even without bike seats and children. There is probably a way to put bike bags on it besides the child seat, but it’s tricky. Our local bike shop was not recommending it.

Long-tail bikes

I didn’t test this option and we weren’t seriously considering it. As far as I could see they are quite pricey and have limited storage place.

Bike trailers

In the end our two-year old decided the big question. We got some books from my mom that coincidentally featured bike trailers. I was worried about making a switch from his bike seat, but the books made him enthusiastic about bike trailers.

The Thule Courier ticked all our boxes. These were the most important points for us:

  • Its luggage space behind the seats is bigger than in most bike trailers (I do everything with the bike, so I need space for groceries etc)
  • It can be easily transformed into a cargo bike trailer (what gives us some extra storage space during our camping trips)
  • It can be used as a double stroller (super important with a baby and two-year-old)
  • It doesn’t take up much space (we can easily fit it in our shed)

The decision was made. We are the happy owners of the Thule Courier Double bike trailer for 5 months now. We ordered our bike trailer from the Decathlon and bought a baby sling at our local bike shop. It was easy to assemble the Thule Courier. Putting in the baby sling was quite a challenge. I decided for a hybrid bike again from Gazelle. As for costs we are still way below the price of a cargo bike.

Thule courier attached to a bike on a bike ferry
Bike ferry with our bike trailer

Are bike trailers worth it?

YES, bike trailers are worth it! I don’t know, who came up with the brilliant idea of a bike trailer, but I want to give them a hug. It is so easy to carry so much with it. Buying our bike trailer set me free to do the things I enjoy with my children. I don’t have to think much about what we take with us because the Thule Courier has plenty of storage place in the back. I can put in a picknick blanket, food, toys, a baby carrier and all the other stuff we need for the day and go on fun adventures. I can easily detach the trailer from our bike and take it even on the train as a stroller.

Bag of Thule courier luggage compartment storage space
Our usual set-up: picknick blanket, nappy bag, bag full of outdoor toys, towel, groceries – there was even a huge slice of water melon in there, plus baby carrier on top (i took it out for the photo otherwise it covers it all up) – it fits all in the back of the Thule Courier.

It’s easy to store our Thule in our shed. You need quite a lot of muscle power to fold it in completely, so I normally don’t do it. But it’s nice to know that the option is there. We can easily take it with us on our camping holidays – something that we couldn’t do with a cargo bike. I love having a normal bike without a child seat when I cycle on my own. It’s easy to put extra bike bags on the bike, if you need even more storage place.

The only downside of a bike trailer is that your children are attached behind you. (That can be an advantage sometimes, when I need a break) It is not recommended to use a bike trailer in heavy traffic and I fully agree with that. I wouldn’t feel comfortable to cycle at the side of a busy road with our bike trailer. I understand why parents in Amsterdam choose a cargo bike, but a bike trailer works great in our relaxed Maastricht. It is rare that I need to cycle on an unprotected bike lane. Most drivers here are very careful, when they see you with a bike trailer.

I will answer a couple of commonly asked questions about bike trailers based on our experience.

Can you use a bike trailer as a stroller?

We use our Thule Courier bike trailer as our primary – actually one and only – stroller. It is easy to maneuver even small corners with it on the street. Inside in a small space the front wheel stalls a bit sometimes. It can be corrected with lifting up the front what is easily done. It is a bit bigger than a normal stroller. It is basically the size of a wheelchair, so all wheelchair accessible places work for us. It is super cute to see our boys sitting in the Thule side by side and it’s great for their bonding. Our two-year-old gave his baby brother a guided tour during one of our first trips in our neighborhood. Getting around with two small children can be challenging, but the Thule Courier made it a lot easier for us.

Thule Courier as a stroller
Library visit – we take our Thule Courier everywhere and it works great for us.

I have used the Thule Courier even on dirt roads in the forest, on the sand at the nearby lake. It’s doing well on all terrains. It feels more stable and can handle more than a regular stroller, because of its big wheels.

The Thule Courier is quite big even when it is fully folded up. If you want to transport it by car regularly, it’s probably not the most practical option.

Is it hard to bike with a bike trailer?

No, it is super easy to bike with a bike trailer. That is my experience at least with the Thule Courier. I’m an expat mom. I miss the natural cycling wizardry of Dutch moms, so I was worried about this. I barely notice that something is attached behind me on the bike. The bike trailer gives some extra resistance, like you are cycling on a less good bike. Going uphill with a bike trailer is easily doable even without an electric bike. It’s good to invest in a good and not too heavy bike. For my feeling it is harder to bike with a child seat on the back than cycling with a bike trailer. The bike feels a bit unstable with the child seat, especially when you are carrying some extra stuff.

What is safer a bike trailer or a seat?

It happened to me once that my bike fell over with my son in the child seat, while I was trying to lock our gate. My son was wearing a helmet and the bike seat kept him safe. It was scary, but okay. These things can happen with a bike seat.

We did have a little accident since we have our Thule Courier. We were cycling to the supermarket. My husband thought he was cycling to work. We bumped into each other and I had a small fall. The bike trailer remained nice and steady on the ground. The kids didn’t notice a thing. It would have been a different story with a normal bike or a cargo bike.

The children are nicely protected from sun and rain within a bike trailer, what is also a great plus point.

Thule Courier with rain cover at a lake on a rainy day
The plastic rain cover works great to keep our boys dry. It can get really quite warm in there when it’s closed. The mesh window works great with the sunny days to keep them cool.

When can I put my child in a bike trailer?

We have been cycling with our baby in the bike trailer since he was 6 months old. We are using the Thule baby sling. The official recommendation from producers is 12 months old. The recommendation from the Dutch Cycling Association (fietsersbond) is 3 months old. I personally find 12 months overcautious considering that the official recommendation for bike seats is 9 months. A bike trailer gives more support and shock demping than a regular bike seat.

Can kids sleep in a bike trailer?

Yes, they can sleep in a bike trailer. The children have a slightly reclined position so they sleep really well in the bike trailer. It is lovely for longer outings. The children can have a nice sleep, while mom and dad relaxes together. It gives lots of freedom that I know that I don’t have to worry about their sleep time.

Sometimes they even sleep hand in hand.

I hope this makes your choice easier. If you have any questions, just let me know.

Much love,


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