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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 09-19-06, 12:55 PM   #1
JudyO
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Thinking about a trailer

I've been thinking about building/buying a bike trailer for transporting groceries and/or my dog. I don't really need a trailer - I've got along for the last 8 years with no car, no bike and no trailer. In the past I've always walked/bussed to get groceries. Right now when I stop on my commute home I can't get very much because I don't have much room on my bike. With a trailer I could get groceries in the evenings or on the weekend. But I can do that using the bus now. I don't really "need" a trailer for my dog either since the park we go to is only a few blocks away, but it would be nice to have a bike transport option for him if I ever need it. When we first got him the vet was only a few blocks away, but they've since moved several km away. But we can usually get a ride to the vet with a friend if I need to make an appointment for him.

I don't really know anything about bike trailers, and I've never towed anything using a bike.

I found a used 2 seated Burly trailer on my local Craig's List for $60. It's 10 years old, but in good shape, with a new (3 month old) hitch. It's been converted for cargo only (no seatbelts). Is it worth that? Apparently "the tires would need to be replaced before next season" - I'm not sure if that means I would have to replace them now, or just that they will eventually need to be replaced.

If I buy it but then decide I really don't want/need it I can probably trade it in at my local used bike place for credit towards another bike (hopefully I wouldn't loose too much money on it).

My husband thinks it's a waste of money. As I outlined above we've gotten along thus far without a trailer, so we don't really need one. He thinks we should buy a nice (read new) one later when we have more money. I look at it more along the lines of having one for realatively cheep now so I can see if I like using it, and then I'll have it for spare parts if I decide to build one.

Opinions? Ideas? Comments?
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Old 09-19-06, 01:07 PM   #2
Philatio
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I'd probably buy it, and I'm in virtually the same position you are as far as wanting a trailer. Keep in mind you should be able to get him to come down to at least $50, 40-45 if you're clever.
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Old 09-19-06, 01:20 PM   #3
tuolumne
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Offhand I would say to buy it most definately. I got a used 10+ years old burley at a tag sale for $50 and it has been worth every penny. We've put over a thousand miles on the trailer in the past few years including some rough trails etc. Always has 2 kids and a lot of gear. We bought a new burley d'lite last summer because we couldn't afford to wait and find a used one at the time. Our family has grown pretty fast! Anyway, I still like the old one better. Good find.

Edit: Regarding new tires, go to the dump or look along the sides of the road. 16" tires are a common throw-away tire size the way kids outgrow bikes. There is also a bin-o-tires at our local hardware store that usually go for a few dollars apiece. Good luck.
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Old 09-19-06, 02:41 PM   #4
becnal
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Trailers are fab! They add a whole new dimension to those of us who are carfree. 60 bucks sounds like a steal!
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Old 09-19-06, 03:21 PM   #5
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yeah, $60 sounds good, especially if it is already converted, has a hard floor, and still has side and cover. I clip the dog in w/ a strap.
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Old 09-19-06, 08:52 PM   #6
cerewa
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In the U.S., you'll have a hard time building a usable trailer for much cheaper than $60. You'll have to obtain usable wheels and tires as well as other things. (I think my trailer cost me about $46 or $50 to build.)

Trailers are awfully useful if you're car free. (and xtracycle free- those things are pretty good as a trailer alternative) You'll have the option to transport lots of things without a car- small furniture, groceries, stuff from a hardware store or department store. I like that i can carry triple (or more) the amount of groceries i could with just a rear rack and backpack.

It's possible to have a very high carrying capacity without a trailer, but it's hard to beat a used trailer for being cheap and easy carrying capacity.
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Old 09-19-06, 10:24 PM   #7
Michel Gagnon
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I'd suggest you check it first, then go for it.

If your bike needs an alternative hitch, I would suggest you visit Wikes and get their own version of the alternative hitch.

Then check the wheel bearings to see if the wheels turn freely. If not, bearings may need to be replaced (30-40 $, including labour). As for tires, I would not worry, because the 16" or 20" tires you need are about 10 $ each. When will you need tires? It depends. But trailer tires wear even slower than the front wheel of your bike because there is so little weight on each wheel.

One caveat. The older models of Burley children trailers did not fold. If you have a storage problem, it might be an issue worth considering.
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Old 09-20-06, 11:01 AM   #8
Nightshade
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Bike trailers simply offer you choices you can't have any other way.

That said, why not??
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Old 09-20-06, 08:12 PM   #9
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Hello, i just bought a trailer at amazon for 69.00 shipped NEW! its a instep..the cheapest one they make, but so far great..loaded up to about 70 pounds and doesnt drag or anything..with heavy water bottles..
The only thing is I like to get a hard floor put in to it..it is very easy to set up...though It took me awhile to make space in my small apt. Oh, it folds very flat..overall its been great now to do laundry..
I also use grocery panniers, which are great too for longer runs..this trailer is wide and will take up street space!
go for it..get a trailer!
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Old 09-21-06, 06:33 AM   #10
JudyO
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Thanks for all the input everyone! I emailed the seller about the trailer on Tuesday morning (before I posted asking for comments). I wanted it, but I needed to convince my husband it was a good deal. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get it, as long as everything looks ok when I see it; we're still arranging a time to meet. I bargained him down to $40. Now I'm excited about being able to bike to new places with my dog, and about all the stuff that I can haul home with it. Not that I ever haul much stuff, but it has to be easier to load groceries into a trailer than trying to lug them home on the bus.
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