Recreational & Family - safety question re: tagalong and trailer
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06-21-05, 04:02 PM
Is it safe to hook a trailer (like a Burley d'lite) onto a tagalong (like a trek mt. train 201) onto the seat post of an adult bike? I saw two different people doing this in a space of 15 minutes in my town, and it really made me wonder. I have a 5 yo and a 21 month yo and am looking into buying both types of devices, and I never considered that it COULD be safe to hook them together - is this a great idea or a terrible idea? It seems like there should be some issue with weight and stress on the hitch & seatpost, and also balance and steering issues.
BTW, this forum has been a great place for me to search for lots of great info - thank you!
06-21-05, 04:57 PM
Considering your handle ...Dr. Plasma... I wouldn't advise it.
Headline: 5 yo falls off tagalong and gets run over by burley trailer.
06-21-05, 07:57 PM
OK, that was one scenario that hadn't occurred to me. I guess my question was about technical safety, rather than operational error - although that certainly will be taken into account.
BTW, I'm not a (medical) doctor, and I don't play one on TV ;)
06-21-05, 08:13 PM
Burley specifically says not to do it with their tagalong and theirs is arguably the best and strongest. Don't know how much of that statement is lawyer and how much is engineer though. It's something my kids would be the right ages for next year.
06-21-05, 08:20 PM
I've only done this with a dog in the trailer. It is dangerous, as tight turns are impossible.
06-21-05, 08:38 PM
I have done it often for about 2 years and 3000-4000 km. However, the trailercycle was a Burley Piccolo rather than an Addams Trail-a-Bike. The Piccolo hangs on the rear rack and is more stable than a standard Trail-a-Bike, but I have done it once or twice with an Addams Trail-a-Bike and a child trailer. Now that the children have grown up a bit, out typical rig is a tandem + Piccolo trailercycle. I have towed the child trailer behind all that a couple of times for cargo.
Any issues ?
The two-wheel trailer at the back seems to stabilise the whole thing.
Highway and street curves and intersections are NOT a problem. You just need to stay away from the curb. After all, the bicycle + trailercycle + child trailer still needs a smaller turning radius than a car.
Make sure you have plenty of low gears. Hills are tough, and I remember cycling in Oka with a headwind and hearing my little one say "Faster, Dad, You can do it!"
I avoided any kind of daredevil riding, but had no problems braking with v-brakes and Kool Stop pads. I even had to do a few emergency swerves and brakings – more often because of unruly cyclists rather than unruly car drivers – and had no problems doing so.
I have full fenders and mudflaps to my bicycle and to the trailercycle. Mudflaps keep the person behind clean, even in Winter.
Below the standard reflective stuff, I added a full row of amber and another full row of red SEA reflectors, plus taillights on all vehicles.
There definitely is a learning curve, but it's not a steep one. I would suggest that you ride the contraption a few times by itself.
06-21-05, 08:41 PM
Tractor trailer trucks have brakes on the trailer so that when the cab or tractor slams on the brakes it will not jackknife or have the trailer keep going past the cab and spin it around. So do campers etc. The brakes on the trailer help keep things from going out of control. Since you don't even have brakes on the tagalong I believe a panic stop is a disaster waiting to happen. If you stop the bike in a skid the whole trailing mess is going to go flying by you on one side or the other pulling the bike sideways, good luck. It's bad enough in a four wheel vehicle that you don't have to balance.
06-21-05, 10:01 PM
I've pulled a trailer behind a Burley Piccolo and didn't seem particularly unstable; like Michel I felt the trailer added to the stability of the entire rig.
The problem with pulling any kind of trailered load is braking. If it ever happens that rear wheel on the bike loses traction, the bike will quite quickly pivot around the headset and the trailer hitch and turn sideways. I've had this happen going down not-too-steep hills at moderate speed with just a trailer. This is a risk with any trailered load, but the more weight you have in the trailer the more of a danger it is.
The reason the trailer gives a feeling of stability is that most of the time it provides drag that helps keep the whole rig pointed in a straight line. However, going down a hill it tends to push you and destabilize things.
06-22-05, 12:17 PM
Thank you all, especially Michel and DCCommuter, for input and first hand experiences.
It sounds like something that I won't be trying anytime soon, since I'm still nervous about taking either one by themselves. I guess I'll have to DH a bike so he can tow one and I can tow the other!
06-22-05, 07:28 PM
...The problem with pulling any kind of trailered load is braking. If it ever happens that rear wheel on the bike loses traction, the bike will quite quickly pivot around the headset and the trailer hitch and turn sideways. I've had this happen going down not-too-steep hills at moderate speed with just a trailer. This is a risk with any trailered load, but the more weight you have in the trailer the more of a danger it is....
It seems counter-intuitive, but the solution is to brake only with the front wheel. Especially when braking hard.
Use the rear brake only when you need to slow down in a hill.
06-27-05, 03:08 PM
Interesting stuff. I also pull my Burley Solo from the Piccalo even though it's not advised in the Piccalo manual. Mostly around the neighborhood, but have done it on trails as well. It's really fun, and the kids enjoy it. I'll probably not do any steep climbs or downhills.
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