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7 Best Bike Tow Bars And Tow Ropes To Help Your Kids

Biking with kids when they are young is (relatively) easy.  Put them in a trailer or bike seat and ride away.  A bigger challenge happens when your children are old enough to want — or insist upon — riding their own bike, but still too slow or weak to ride long distances quickly. 

In these instances, we like using a tow rope or tow bar to help assist our little riders.  Here are some of the best options for bike towing.


Tow Whee


The Tow Whee offers the best bang for your buck.  This bicycle tow rope lacks the ease of use of a retractable rope like the BicycleBungee (you have to connect and disconnect the rope each time and figure out a way to carry it), but for the price, it can’t be beaten. 

It works well for mountain biking and for bike path riding.  Thanks to the Tow Whee we’ve been able to tackle big mountain bike rides with our son that would have been impossible without it. 

We also like the fact that it can be used with carbon seatposts and dropper posts.

Read Our Review: Tow Whee

Price: $39.99 (Last updated: 2024-06-29 at 18:07 – More Info)

Kids Ride Shotgun Tow Rope

krs tow rope

The Kids Ride Shotgun tow rope is very similar to the Tow Whee (listed above), but has a flatter profile making it a bit easier to roll and store. They also offer a kids fanny pack that works well for transporting the tow rope when it’s not in use.

It’s compatible with carbon seat posts and droppers, and works great for mountain biking as well as city riding.

Read Our Review: Kids Ride Shotgun Tow Rope

Price: $60 (tow rope only), $90 (tow rope/hip pack combo)

FollowMe Tandem

follow me tandem
Photo credit: Umberto Brayj

Ideal for families who are looking for a way to safely tow their children in heavy traffic, the Follow-Me-Tandem actually lifts the child’s front wheel off the ground to pull them behind. 

It does not allow the child to steer and gain bike handling skills in the same way that the BicycleBungee and Tow Whee do, but has the added benefit of keeping young children stable and safely tucked behind you. 

It is also the only option we know of that will work with a rear child seat or a long-tail cargo bike.

Read Our Review: FollowMe Tandem

Price: $349.00 (Last updated: 2024-06-30 at 14:23 – More Info)


BicycleBungee Bike Tow Rope

The BicycleBungee is an easy-to-use bungee cord that attaches to the adult’s seatpost and quickly hooks onto your child’s handlebars or stem.  When not in use, the cord retracts back into its case that bolts onto the adult’s seatpost for easy transportation and storage. 

This is the first tow setup that our family used with our son when he was young, and we highly recommend it to other families–both for around town and trail riding.  The only things we don’t like about the BicycleBungee is the high price, and the fact that you can’t use it with a carbon fiber or dropper seatpost.

Read Our Review: BicycleBungee


Trail Gator Child Bike Tow Bar

trail gator
Photo Credit: Trail Gator

While the Trail Gator isn’t our favorite system, we are including it here as one of the only viable child bike tow bar options.   If you prefer the idea of a bar to a tow rope, then you might want to take a look.

Price: $79.99 (Last updated: 2024-06-30 at 14:23 – More Info)

Trax (Trax MTB, Trax Pro, & Trax Flex)

towing a kid with the trax mtb

Trax offers three different tow rope options: the Trax MTB, Trax Pro, and Trax Flex.

The Trax MTB and Trax Pro are retractable Kevlar tow ropes that attach to the adult’s bike. Because they stow on the bike, they are super easy to use. You don’t have to worry about carrying or storing the tow rope when not in use, and it’s incredibly fast to pull out and attach to your child.

The Trax Flex is more similar to the Tow Whee or Kids Ride Shotgun ropes with one very noteable exception: it’s tiny! It can fit easily fit in a jersey pocket, for example.

Because it’s not as stretchy and doesn’t have as high of a weight rating, it’s not the rope I would use for frequent towing. But as a tow rope that you pull out for the occasional tow, it’s incredibly convenient.

Read Our Review: Trax

Price: 29.95 € – 49.95 €

DIY Options

If you don’t want to spend the money on a ready-made product, or just prefer to DIY stuff, we’ve seen a couple of creative solutions.  We can’t vouch for the safety of using any of thse setups, but thought we’d share them as well.

Julie from Young Riders in Park City, UT recommends using a retractable dog leash for hauling kids.  She shared this idea with us:

 I have created an excellent and cheap design.  I bought a retractable dog leash for 40-50lbs and then cut the rope down to a little smaller length and then tied a bungee cord on the end to create a loop (taped it on to secure a little more).  This loop fits around the kids top stem.  The retractable unit gets zip tied underneath the adults seat and seat post.  The pros: it retracts when the kid pops it off with one hand from his stem, so neither parent or child needs to stop biking to unhook. I made a few of these to have on each parents bike so who ever is close can hook up very fast.  We leave the leash on the parents bike all summer and doesn’t interfere with our riding.  But zip ties are cheap if anyone wants it off for adult rides.

Another option is to repurpose old bike tubes.  We found this idea on an MTBR forum thread.  Writes @benjaminj:

Here’s a picture – one tube is looped around my seatpost, then two other tubes are folded in half, lopped through the full length tube and then connected on each side of his handbars.

bike tube towing system

Comparison Chart: Bike Towing Systems

tow whee krs and trax compared
Tow Whee, Kids Ride Shotgun rope, and Trax Flex
5 oz
Bungee cord with two end loops
Kids Ride Shotgun9 ozBungee cord with two end loops
Trax Flex1.8 ozBungee cord with two end loops
FollowMe Tandem12 lbsCoupling device that attaches to the adult’s rear axle
1 lb
Retractable bungee cord with mount and hook
Trax MTB / Trax Pro3.5 oz / 5 ozRetractable bungee cord with mount and loop
2 lbs
Detachable tow bar

More Options For Hauling Kids

Not sure a tow rope or tow bar is the best option for your family? Here are plenty of other ways you can haul your kiddos by bike.

About Us

The Rascals are a family of three. Kristen (mom), Blair (dad), and Parker (kiddo). We started Rascal Rides when Parker was born and we didn’t want to give up our passion for biking. As we learned, we shared. Over the years, we’ve tested hundreds of kids bikes, helmets, bike trailers, and more.

Kristen is a USA Cycling certified coach and loves to share her passion for biking with other families. Blair is a bike geek, mechanic, and mountain bike junkie. Parker is our resident tester and inspiration.

If you see us out on the trail, make sure to say hi!

18 thoughts on “7 Best Bike Tow Bars And Tow Ropes To Help Your Kids”

  1. I’ve used the dog leash method, but with surgical tubing instead of tire tubes or bungee. I like how much it stretches and gives a really gentle pull to avoid scaring the child with a sudden start. My kayaking rescue bungee also works, but more expensively and not as well.

  2. Was looking for some type of tow bar options. Think I would be down for the DIY method, I’d use climbing rope along with a tire tube instead.

  3. We actually like the trail gator but I think the key is actually using a torque wrench and tightening it to the Newton settings. We’ve also used our skijor leash!

    • Absolutely! Although if it’s a really long trip and you think your child might want to rest/nap/etc then I’d look at an option like the Weehoo trailer-cycle instead.

  4. Wonder how well this works when you need to brake, does the rope then not hit the ground ? Does it not create a dangerous situation there? Did you test the followme in offroad conditions? txs

    • On the towwhee, traxmtb, etc the rope is short enough that it does not hit the group. As for the follow-me tandem, its not for use offroad (except perhaps so very mellow, smooth rail trail type conditions).

  5. Rope is a disaster idea when you don’t have a paying attention child! If you stop your child does not see you stop the child will crash into you. Or if child decides to make a turn when you don’t…what the f….! I ABSOLUTELY SEE NOTHING good about the rope AT ALL! I prefer the tow bar so you can control your child’s bike fully, period.

    • Depends on the kid, I guess. We’ve had to have some practice but my 7 yo has been using a tow rope in the city and on single track for 3 years without a problem. Sometimes control is an illusion…I don’t like relying on systems that make me feel like I’m in complete control because I know myself, and if I think I’m in control my kiddo may not be learning the skills that will keep her safe when those systems breakdown.

      • Totally agree with Kelsey. Kid won’t pay attention because it’s used not to pay attention, his senses are numb, you’ve been controlling him all the time. You give him leverage and he takes the responsibility with the tow and he will be alert.

    • I can see your point… My kid has special needs, so I’m looking at the bungee-type options pretty dubiously… I like the idea of him having some control and learning skills, but I can see things going horribly wrong! Might have to start with a bar, even though it seems pretty limiting 😕

  6. We have used a long loop of bungee for years. 4-6mm bungee made into a loop about 2.5m long. It slips over seat post on front bike and then under bar and over steerer tube on towed bike. We have used this to tow kids, adults adventure racing etc. Yes the towed person has to pay attention, but the bungee stops them being yanked around. It lives in my hip pack/back pack and takes all of 10s to pull out and hook up. By about 8 my kids could hook up while riding along. But until about that age we had to stop and set up. Typical issues seen are 29er to 16” kids bike, you need a high tow point to clear the 29er wheel. This is where using saddle/saddle rail as tow point has merit, and a longer tow rope. If the bungee isn’t stretchy enough for the kids weight it is problematic as little bumps etc create sudden jerks that yank the kids front around (or stalls you as they bump over the tree root). Too stretchy and it loses it’s usefulness. I would suggest different thicknesses. We used 4mm when they were young, now 6mm. I tow a 12 year old 1500 (five 300m climbs) vertical metres regularly, she does quite a bit of work, but we always arrive at the top together…..I get a work out too! Cost is about $10. I think we were using this from about age 4. Earlier than that and I think chance of lack of attention quite high…..

  7. I guess I’m not sure which one you think would be best for a 7 or 8-year-old who just needs help getting up a single track trail, but can do the downhill part fine. Sounds like maybe towhee?

  8. When i was younger I used a long a rope to tow my brother on his bike. Worked well except when he got distracted and decided to go straight on after I had turned, as the rope tightened it whipped the fron tof the bike from under him and he face planted the ground. Knocked him out andafterwards he was fine.

    I cant imagine using a rope being that safe, currently looking for a bar mounted option for my daughter. Like on a 4 wheel trailer on a car the fron wheel will turn with the bad making sure it follows the bike in front.


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