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Old 10-30-08, 10:25 AM   #1
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Pulling kids in a trailer??

I have a nephew and 2 nieces that I babysit/ have fun with. I want to get them out biking more. one of my sisters has the trailer, just never uses it. I was wondering how hard it is and what should I expect. I want to make a practice run first and see how it does. Any tips would be great.

Also my nephew (who is still too little for this) when is a good time to start with the young ones?
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Old 10-30-08, 10:48 AM   #2
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You might try over in the Family and Recreation section of the forum. I suspect you'll find a lot more people looking there that have experience with trailers and taking little ones along for rides. Just a thought.
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Old 10-30-08, 10:49 AM   #3
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When I first got my trailer (which is now converted to a cargo trailer, but that's beside the point), I took it for a few test runs by filling it with textbooks and other heavy things. If you don't have any experience pulling a trailer on a bike, its definitely a good idea. I'd much rather risk some books and random other things than my son.

One thing I found when pulling a kiddie trailer (regardless of what's in it, if anything) is that cars will give you a lot more space.

I believe the general rule for when kids are ready is based mostly on neck muscle development. I got into riding after my son was already old enough, so I couldn't accurately give an age estimate.

For a while (4-6 months) I almost always rode while pulling the trailer and my son. On the occasion where I went riding without him, I felt like I had afterburners or something. No one we rode with could keep up when I was without trailer.
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Old 10-30-08, 11:19 AM   #4
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You can start when the child can hold him/herself up on his/her own with a helmet on. Start with short rides at first. Keep the trailer tires inflated to the maximum pressure to keep rolling resistance down. If you are adapt at fixing flats on the road, carry a spare tube for the trailer as well.

Parents in Georgia have to wait until their children are one year old before the child can be on a bicycle or any bicycle attachment.
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Old 10-30-08, 11:49 AM   #5
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+1 on keeping the trailer tires inflated near the high-end of the pressure range - it does make a difference.
Pulling the trailer does slow me down about 2-3 MPH compared to riding without, - and they do drag more on windy days. I took my 4 year old out a couple of times a week all summer. I picked out a few playgrounds, several miles away. We would pick one for the day, and ride there, once there, he would get out to use up his stored energy, and I would sit down to recover mine, and then we would head home (take snacks and water for them, and an energy bar and more water for you).
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Old 10-30-08, 12:55 PM   #6
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Thanks!! I was figuring around one year of age for my nephew, but with the nieces on just got her first bike and has training wheels and the other I can tow in the trailer. Guess it's time for practice.
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Old 10-30-08, 01:00 PM   #7
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Don't know about Colorado, but in California even kids in trailers are required to wear helmets.
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Old 10-30-08, 02:01 PM   #8
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Make damn sure the kids are belted in!! First thing a kid will do is try to stand up
while you're moving and you don't even want that to happen!!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-30-08, 05:53 PM   #9
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There's really nothing special to towing a trailer. Keep in mind that you're wider with a trailer on. Also braking distance may increase a little, especially under wet conditions. It may be a little harder to get moving, but once you're up and rolling there's nothing to it.
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Old 10-30-08, 06:04 PM   #10
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When my youngest was a bit younger, me too, I would drag him in the trailer, buckled in to the area school. There we would play and on occasion he would ride his bike around and around the twin outdoor basketball courts. After that fun fest, we would pack-up, he in the trailer and his bike strapped on the handle-bar of the trailer. I keep the tires pumped up as hard as they could safely be pumped. We did a few long distance rides, 20+ miles in this fashion, but seemed as it took forever in many days doing those rides. I have no regrets to the suffering that I experienced. Almost ready to purchase another trailer for my two grandchildren. I have a trailer-bike that I will be using as a "trailer" for camping purposes so I can disconnect my OCR2 from it during the evening snoring activities.
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Old 10-30-08, 06:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
There's really nothing special to towing a trailer. Keep in mind that you're wider with a trailer on. Also braking distance may increase a little, especially under wet conditions. It may be a little harder to get moving, but once you're up and rolling there's nothing to it.
That's not always the case. Depending on your setup, many trailers are no wider then your handlebars.
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Old 10-30-08, 07:51 PM   #12
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I pulled my 25-year-old son in a trailer quite a bit ..........when he was 2 or 3. Most trailers were heavier then. Pulling him with a mountain bike provided a good workout, if I remember correctly.
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Old 10-30-08, 10:45 PM   #13
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I pulled my daughter around in a trailer for several years from 1 year old on. She had a ball and I did too. It was quite easy to pull the trailer and child...don't forget juice box, snacks, stuffed animals. My daughter used to fall asleep in the trailer. She loved it.
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Old 10-31-08, 01:34 PM   #14
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I pull my 4 year old son around in a trailer and he feels like I am pulling 2 cinder blocks in the back. The important factor is the terrain. I can pull him for 10+ miles on a flat trail no problem. Riding in my hilly neighborhood is not so much fun.....
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Old 10-31-08, 01:35 PM   #15
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On windy days it can feel like you're pulling a parachute. On steep hills... like pulling a big heavy boulder!

But it's doable. And like most things you get used to it.

My advice is to make sure you have something that can block the sun if the trailer doens't have some sort of shade already. Mine doesn't so I've had to use my jacket to make a shade of sorts to block the direct sunlight.

I always make sure my daughter has things to occupy her time with in the trailer. (ie - toys, Nintendo DS, digi camera, etc. They'll get bored real fast on long rides. Also, bring snacks and water for them.

We did a 26 mile ride and she was bored out of her mind on the second half of the ride.

And we're going to wait until my 9mo is 1yo before we let her ride in the trailer with her sister.

For the most part, when we pull out the trailer it's on flat, smooth Multi Use Paths (MUP's). But once you get going it really isn't that bad. Just be careful when you take turns and stuff. It's like driving a larger car or a truck with a trailer. You have to account for the added length and maybe width too.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 10-31-08, 11:23 PM   #16
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Great stuff, thanks. As far as the helmet and the belts go..... I won't move the bike until both are done, safety is really important to me!
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Old 11-02-08, 06:32 PM   #17
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The helmet: out a towel behind the child's back to keep the helmet on his/her head and not on the face!
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Old 11-02-08, 10:15 PM   #18
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I pull my sons ( 3 and 5 ) in the trailer behind my fixed gear bikes all the time. They love it and I get a great workout. Together, they weigh about 70 pounds and the trailer and all their ancilliary gear comes in close to a hundred.

Generally, cars will give you more room when you've got the trailer behind you, but I've still encountered some ****** bags out there that crowded us.

Braking distances will be affected by the extra weight as well as acceleration speeds. Keep in mind that your right hand turns will have to be wider in order to keep from clipping curbs.
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Old 11-03-08, 01:49 AM   #19
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About the very wee ones: I started towing around my kids when they were well under a year old, and I did it by strapping their car seat into the trailer (a Burley D'light). Figuring out the straps took a bit of thinking, but it worked fine.
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Old 11-03-08, 05:30 AM   #20
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HI there, I tow my 3yr old twin girls in a trailer nearly every weekend, with my 4 yr old daughter in a childseat behind me too. All this on a steel mountainbike. With them and the gear and the drink bottles and... whatever else, it adds up to over 120lbs extra on a 30lb bike.

Here's a few things that I have noticed over the past year of towing that you might find helpful.

The first thing you notice is that small rises become big hills so you need to use your gears a lot more, the granny cogs are your friend when hill climbing. Standing in the saddle doesn't work as well, so keep up the cadence and use those gears.

The next thing you notice is that stopping is harder, give it plenty of time and slow down when you get to little old ladies walking their white fluffy things on the MUP. In my case I now have to stop about 350 lbs with 4 little pieces of rubber.

Watch gates and gutters, you are now a lot wider and it's all too easy to put the inside tyre over the gutter or come to a very sudden stop in a gate..

Watch out for glass on the path, you now have four wheels to get through the mess.

Always carry a repair kit with you, it isn't just you and a bike that have to walk home if you can't avoid the glass and get a flat.

Oh.. cornering is different, as the kids get older they can lean into the corner but little ones lean with the corner... this can be bad news if you're going too fast, so slow it down.

Keep all your tyres inflated to the maximum recommended. Less resistance means more power actually going into forward momentum.

If you ride with the plastic cover up and you hit a head wind then you are now towing a parachute. If it's windy then the cover should come down.

Remember too, that you're pedalling and getting hot. They aren't and the weather affects them more. So that nice cool breeze thats cooling you down after 10 miles could be the onset of infant pneumonia. Ok so that may be a bit extreme but be aware, we carry a polar fleece blanket, warm but light.

But most of all, protect them too, helmets are a must. Have fun and talk to them as you go. It's a great way to get them interested in cycling. You'll get lots of comments from passers by too, I get mine to wave as we go past to be friendly.

Last edited by fatherofmany; 11-03-08 at 05:36 AM.
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Old 11-03-08, 12:38 PM   #21
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Also beware of puddles. I took my son on a longer MUP ride after it rained the day before. I was not exactly Dad of the year after going through a puddle without the plastic cover on..... I sure heard about that one, but he quickly forgot when we got to the lake.
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Old 11-03-08, 06:35 PM   #22
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yeah, forgot about the rain and puddles. The water resistant - NOT WATERPROOF - material that they are made of slowly soaks up water, this leaves your children sitting on a wet seat. OK if they are adventurous and can have a good laugh about it but not so otherwise. And puddles for me are ok with two in the trailer, the spray goes right down the middle of them and they laugh. But like Joe's one in the middle of the trailer, well they might not appreciate it quite as much. Best bet, use the plastic wet weather shield.
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Old 11-03-08, 06:50 PM   #23
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Thanks for all of the tips!
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