It’s most certainly one of the most unusual products we have ever tested. And, to be honest, we were rather sceptical when the South African distributor contacted us to tell us about it. Turns out it’s one of those products that surprises you. Now it’s part of our regular ride gear. Here’s what we think of the TowWhee.

What is the TowWhee? If you break it right down, it’s a tow-rope for bicycles. But once you have used it, you realise it’s not that one-dimensional because while it may look like a simple towing device, it’s actually a bond building device that improves lives. Sounds quite grand and dramatic, but that’s the truth.

David George tows one of his sons up a long climb using the TowWhee.

If you go riding with children, the one place you have a major advantage over them is on climbs. Little legs turning proportionately difficult gears to get smaller wheels rolling only have limited leverage, strength and energy. As a result, rides with steep or lengthy gradient don’t last long with little ones. But with a TowWhee, you can extend their range – and yours.

“My wife started mountain biking and has become hooked on it. Our two young sons also like to ride but family rides were always a challenge. But with the TowWhee we are able to do longer rides with them. By towing them up the climbs we get a workout, they get to ride further and experience more and it’s a great way to spend time building bonds,” said David George, who does most of his rides with his sons on the slopes of Tokai in Cape Town.

“Another great thing is that they become better skilled riders because you can tow them to up climbs they would never normally ride. But they love the long descents and have become quite skilled as a result of being able to tackle long downhills more often,” added George.

The TowWhee is made from military grade bungee cord and webbing.

Our TREAD crew experience was somewhat different. Editor, Sean Badenhorst, riding an eBike, was able to tow his 15-year-old son, Cade, riding a regular bike, up climbs for more repeats of flowlines and jump lines. It was also a useful way to get Enduro event practice runs done for Cade without him becoming too weary from the repeated climbs.

The TowWhee is essentially a rubber bungee cord inside a climbing rope. So it’s a very high-quality material that is partially elasticated to allow for the small delayed movement forgiveness that comes for the rider being towed – the towee. It delivers a progressive tension so that the towee doesn’t have sudden movements and it also stays off the ground and away from the bicycles’ wheels of both tower and towee. It’s also long enough to allow the towee to see the trail and choose his/her lines appropriately.

One eBike, two happy climbers…

We didn’t use it for this, but according to the guy that designed it, he used it in reverse to help his son descend safely ahead of him. His son’s hands were tired from braking so he was able to moderate his son’s descending speed using the TowWhee from behind.

It’s a relatively simple device where you attach one end to the stem of the bike being towed and loop the other end over the saddle of the bike that’s towing. We were also sent a QuickLoop, which is an additional accessory that makes it easier to attach the TowWhee to the stem of the bicycle being towed.

The QuickLoop can stay on the trailing bike to allow for rapid attachment and detachment. But it also works fine without the QuickLoop, just takes a bit longer to attach and detach. It also allows you to carry the TowWhee over your shoulder when not in use.

It really is an impressive product. So simple, but so effective. By allowing two riders to be able to climb together, it really does help extend adventures and create bond-building and skill-improving opportunities. If you have small kids it’s highly recommended. Or, if you want to allow more than one rider the benefit of an eBike pedal assist on climbs.

What does it cost? For the TowWhee, it’s R965 and the QuickLoop is R449.

“That’s seems quite expensive for a simple tow rope,” someone said to Badenhorst, who he and Cade caught on a long climb during an Enduro practice session. “It’s a lot cheaper than eBike,” retorted Badenhorst as he rode away with an easy-breathing, grinning Cade in tow.

You can find out more or order via the South African distributor here.

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