If you’re looking to tow your kids by bike, you have several different options, each suited for different purposes. The FollowMe Tandem is our favorite way to tow our kids on their own bikes on paved trails.
With a unique and stable coupling mechanism, the FollowMe tandem can quickly connect an adult bike to a kid’s bike. Because the process is fast, it can certainly be used mid-ride if a child gets tired. But because it’s so stable, it’s also a great option for parents who want to tow a child the entire way.
FollowMe Tandem Overview
BEST FOR: Families who want the option to tow their child’s bike on paved surfaces – short or long distances
CHILD BIKE COMPATIBILITY: 12″ to 20″ wheels. Works standard with front wheel with wheel nuts. Wheel bolts or QR skewer – request adapter.
ADULT BIKE COMPATIBLITY: Works standard with rear wheel with QR skewer. Wheel nuts, a hub gear, or a thru-axle – request adapter.
- High-quality design and durable build
- Incredibly secure connection points on both bikes
- Very smooth, stable ride
- Can tow a wide variety of kids bikes – 12″ – 20″
- Stores on adult bike when not in use – can use for “just in case” scenarios
- Connecting mid-ride requires several steps, but still manageable
FollowMe Tandem – Results of our Test Rides
We’ve tested over 300 bike products. Sometimes we’re underwhelmed, sometimes we’re just “whelmed”, and other times we’re pretty impressed. Then there are those more rare times where we find a product completely delightful. The FollowMe Tandem is one of those rare birds.
I absolutely love using the FollowMe. Its high-quality design and construction allow it to accomplish exactly what it was designed for, without falling short of its mark. Whether you’re looking for a bike towing device for commutes or just for fun, the FollowMe Tandem is a blast to use because it’s easy to connect and the resulting ride is as stable as they come. It’s pretty much the party bike train at our house.
Our almost-3-year-old has just learned to pedal a bike and thinks the FollowMe is the best thing since… Baby Shark? She gabs and sings while she rides her pedal bike along with Mommy. Bike family life at its finest.
How Does the FollowMe Tandem Work?
The FollowMe Tandem looks like quite the contraption! But once installed it’s really not that complicated! When not in use, the FollowMe collapses and folds up towards the adult bike. It’s held in place by attaching the rope and carabiner to a rear rack or to the saddle rails.
When it’s Tow Time, the FollowMe is lowered to the ground, locked in place, and attached to the child’s bike via two points of contact – protruding front axle adapters, and a bracket on the down tube. It can be attached to kids’ bikes with wheels sizes from 12″ to 20″.
If you prefer to remove the FollowMe Tandem from your bike, it easily pops off the mounting system you installed on your rear axle.
Riding with the FollowMe
The FollowMe Tandem is one of the most expensive towing options, but for good reason. Riding with the FollowMe is a much more stable and carefree experience than other options like the Trail Gator tow arm or even a traditional trailer cycle.
Tag along bikes and towing options are well-known for their “wobble factor”. Attached to the seat post (or a rack) of the adult bike with a telescoping arm, any movements made by the child cause both the child and adult to wobble. This can range from slightly annoying to quite stressful if you’re trying to navigate on a busy street or when passing other cyclists on a single path.
In the last year, we’ve tested the entry-level Weeride Co-Pilot tag along bike, the high-end Burley Kazoo tag along bike, and the Trail Gator Tow Bar. While not 100% wobble-free, the FollowMe Tandem is the most stable and most natural ride of all the tag along style towing options. If you will be doing a significant amount of child towing, we highly recommend investing the extra money and getting a FollowMe.
Also be aware that heavier kids cause more wobble, so while the FollowMe Tandem can accommodate 12″ to 20″ bikes, any wobble felt would be more drastic on a 20″ bike than a 12″ bike.
Connect or Disconnect in Just a Few Minutes
If you’re going to the trouble of towing your child on their own bike (vs a “half” tag along bike), it better be easy to allow them to ride solo, or hook them up for that “just in case” scenario. The FollowMe Tandem can connect or disconnect in just a few minutes, but does have quite a few steps you’ll need to memorize before your first ride.
Lowering from Adult Bike
- Disconnect carabiner from your saddle rails or rack and lower the coupling device to the ground.
- Hook the carabiner back on your saddle rails
- Remove the safety pin from the side of the clamping plate
- Extend the strut and attach it to the stub, locking it with the safety pin
- Swing down the telescopic arm
- Loosen the black knobs on both sides of the arm
Attaching the Child Bike
- Roll the front wheel into the telescopic arm, keeping it flat on the ground
- Place the axle extensions in the notches in the clamping plates
- Lift the front wheel and the wheel tray off the ground and insert the balled end of the wheel tray into the clamp on the child’s down tube.
- Tighten the bolt on the clamp
- Tighten the black knobs on both sides of the telescopic arm
I know. That’s a lot of steps! The first several times I did this, it was a little daunting. I had to refer back to the instruction manual to make sure I didn’t miss anything. You get used to it over time though.
There are five major steps in the assembly process: (1) Replace adult bike axle with FollowMe axle attachment, (2) Add the spindle extensions to the child bike’s front axle, (3) Adjust the FollowMe clamping plate to the wheel size of the child’s bike, and (4) Attach clamp to child’s down tube.
The 5th step is the easiest – attaching the FollowMe Tandem to the rear axle adapters. Simply pop the side arms of the FollowMe onto the axle adapters, insert and tighten the black knobs, and put the axle safety pins in place.
Each of these steps is pretty detailed, and total assembly will take over an hour. The instruction booklet has nice imagery that certainly helps, although there are a few steps that you’ll kind of have to figure out on your own.
The standard FollowMe works with an adult bike with a quick release skewer. If your bike has wheel nuts, a hub gear, or a thru-axle, you can still install the FollowMe but you will need to request the appropriate adapter kit.
For the child bike, the standard FollowMe is compatible with a front wheel with wheel nuts. If your child bike has wheel bolts (i.e. woom 2 or 3), or a quick-release skewer (i.e. woom 4), you will need to request an adapter kit. For all bikes, the FollowMe must be adjusted to that the child’s front wheel is lifted off the ground with 6-8 cm of ground clearance.
In image 4 above, you’ll see that there is a black strip underneath the metal clamp. This is a piece of Velcro that protects the frame from potential scratches from the clamp. After recently testing the Trail Gator that scratched up our bike’s frame pretty badly, we really appreciated this small attention to detail.
If you want to use the FollowMe with multiple adult or children’s bikes, you will need to buy adapter kits, but it’s not cheap. The Child Adapter kit is $75, while another standard adult QR skewer is $50.
Storage and Transportation
While the FollowMe Tandem can be stored on the adult bike when not in use, it can also be removed entirely. There are two quick release pins on either side of the adult bike’s axle. Remove the pins, un-tighten the black knobs, and pop the Follow-Me off. (It’s pressure-set on the axle, so it doesn’t just slide right off.)
It takes under 30 seconds, so if you’ll be riding solo, there’s really no reason to keep it on! Additionally, if you’re loading up bikes on the rack to drive to your family biking destination, this quick un-install and re-install make getting on the trail easy. While you technically could keep it attached to your bike while on your rack, we recommend taking it off just in case. It’s really that fast, so it won’t slow you down but for a few minutes.
One thing to note about those two quick release pins… when you take them off, you could easily lose them. Sometimes we screw them back into the axle adapters on the bike, but we don’t like having them on the bike all the time just in case they come loose or get damaged. So make sure to find a secure place where you’ll store those quick release pins when you’re not using the FollowMe!
What’s the Bottom Line?
The FollowMe Tandem is worth the investment. So fun. So easy. So much more stable than other bike towing options. If you’re a bike parent in search of a practical but memory-making tow device, the FollowMe will meet (and likely exceed) your expectations. We love ours. 5 stars from Mama and Baby Girl.