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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 01-22-12, 06:11 PM   #1
himespau 
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Trailer/jogger for a daily commute?

(Crossposted in Recreational and Family cycling as I figured they might have experience with trailers. Sorry if you see this twice.)

When the weather's nice (mainly May-September/October), I like to commute by bicycle 2-3 days a week. Our day care is about a mile from my house and ~25 minutes by bike (vs 45 minutes by public transit - we are car free) from my work. It's about half a mile from my wife's work. I drop my almost 1 year old off in the morning and my wife picks her up at night (our schedules are staggered to take into account the day care is open fewer ours than we work.

On days when I commute by bike, I push the stroller in one hand and my bike with the other for the mile to the day care and then ride the rest of the way in. Doing the two handed thing over curbs and what not for a mile can be a pain, so I was thinking of getting a trailer so I could just ride with my daughter to her day care (and take her on longer weekend rides).

I've seen several trailers that claim to have a quick release from the bike and easily switch to jogger/stroller mode to be pushed home. Most of the reviews I've seen say the stroller type wheels aren't good for pushing very far, but some say the jogger wheels are ok. I'm interested in this because I could ride in to the day care, take the trailer off and switch down the wheel to jogger mode and my wife could push it home.

Anybody use one of these? Do they switch easily enough for that to be practical? Are there any that would stand up to daily use?

Is there one that anyone would recommend?

I see some like the Instep Sierra and Rocket that can be found in the $150 range. Then there's the burleys that you have to buy the jogger kit separately and total in at ~$600-700 when the jogger kit is included. And the Chariot runs even more.

I know InStep is owned by Pacific Bicycles who make schwinns these days so I sort of don't trust them, but, for being a quarter or less the price, I've seen several good reviews. Are they poor enough quality that they wouldn't hold up? Or are they worth trying?

I don't have a huge budget, but I don't want to drop $200 on an InStep or something similar only to have it break easily and have to drop the cash on a burley later anyway?

Anybody have one they like?

We only have one kid now, but might have a second and I like the idea of using it for groceries when the daughter outgrows it if we still have it.
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Old 01-22-12, 06:22 PM   #2
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I used an InStep Turbo Trailer for many years, until our daughter outgrew it. Nothing ever broke on it in thousands of miles of year-round use. It was about a ten mile round trip to school and back. There was a jogger push handle and front wheel, but I never used them. Our daughter absolutely loved it, was disappointed when I came to pick her up in one of the cars, and told all her friends about it. Once she was old enough for a Trail-A-Bike, she spurned it instantly after one ride. It's now a grocery getter, which is good because parking is tight at one of the local markets I like.

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Old 01-22-12, 07:27 PM   #3
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I'd like to know about these strollers too. Next summer I want to get one for my dog. The dog will ride in it while I push from behind with roller skates providing my propulsion. Keeping my dog happy and sane by taking her out, and skating for fitness sounds like it will be fun for both of us.
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Old 01-22-12, 07:42 PM   #4
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http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-Sp...ainer/16652485

Don't be too afraid of the big-box Schwinn/Pacific stuff, it's not all horrible. This will serve, unless your child is an oversized mutant. (like my sister's 1st grandchild -- 2-y-o, was too big for our child trailer, she rode in our 'antique' open trailer after that ONE ride.)
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Old 01-22-12, 07:46 PM   #5
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Mutant grandchildren and dogs on roller skates!
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Old 01-22-12, 08:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-Sp...ainer/16652485

Don't be too afraid of the big-box Schwinn/Pacific stuff, it's not all horrible. This will serve, unless your child is an oversized mutant. (like my sister's 1st grandchild -- 2-y-o, was too big for our child trailer, she rode in our 'antique' open trailer after that ONE ride.)
I don't know that she's a mutant, but when we went in to the doctor for her 9 month checkup (1 year is in two weeks) she was in the 100th percentile for height and 70th for weight. Both her mother and I are 6' or over, so I expect her to be a bit larger than the average bear.

Will give that a look though.
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Old 01-22-12, 09:00 PM   #7
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I was also liking the looks of the croozer kid for 2, but at $400 or more, it's a bit pricey. Looks like it might be a bit sturdier/roomier than lower end stuff, but not sure if it has a metal roll cage frame like the burleys. I guess I've got plenty of time, but was just figuring now would be the cheapest time to be looking.
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Old 01-23-12, 12:43 AM   #8
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We have a Chariot Cougar 2 that regularly gets used as a stroller and a trailer. The kids love it because it's nice and bouncy due to the suspension. My other half uses it primarily as a trailer for preschool drop-off, and I use it primarily as a stroller. We also use it for towing non-child things, like groceries and such. For us, it's been really great. Sure, there was the initial sticker shock...but we use it everyday. We are not totally car-free, but we definitely use the car sparingly and only because we have this nifty convertible trailer/stroller/jack-of-all-trades thing. It has earned its place in our household.

I could be wrong, since it's been so long since I looked into trailers, but I think the Croozer was based on the Chariot. It's like a lower end version of the Chariot. In my area, the Burley (no direct experience with this brand though) and the Chariot are the popular choices.
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Old 01-23-12, 01:10 AM   #9
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Check the spreadsheet at the bottom of this page for many Trailer options: https://sites.google.com/site/bicycletrain/trailers
I would get one with more legroom if your daughter is tall. She will be more comfortable. I have a Kidarooz (same as Croozer) and it would work fine for what you need.
Here's a couple of local used options for you to try it out:
$45 I also have a mastercycle. This is lower end but works well. offer $35: http://boston.craigslist.org/bmw/bik/2805461487.html
$300 Cougar chariot ( I have the trek version), nice. offer $250 : http://worcester.craigslist.org/bab/2792606602.html
$125 Kidarooz (same as croozer 525) sold at costco for $164 in 2009. offer $100 :http://boston.craigslist.org/nwb/bab/2801880395.html

Some things to think about:
Tire size, 20in is better
Space for the helmet so it doesn't get pushed forward.
Height of handlebar (you mentioned you are tall)
Jogger could mean front wheel only goes straight,
Stroller wheels will turn.
Bright color fabric is better for visibility
Parking Brake/ or jogging break? Walking down a steep hill with two children would need a brake.

Most of the trailers are a breeze to take on and off. (10 seconds) And the stroller/jogger connection should take a minute. Also most trailers fold really flat in a few seconds.

Last edited by Bicycletrain; 01-23-12 at 01:42 AM.
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Old 01-23-12, 09:36 AM   #10
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Thanks for the suggestions. I'd seen a couple of those on Craigslist, but at 20-40 miles away they're a bit out of my reach without a car. I suppose if the chariot is in good enough shape, it might be worth renting a zipcar to go get it as that's a pretty decent price for all the add ons. Might try asking him if he still has it and if he's got pictures.
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Old 01-24-12, 06:02 AM   #11
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Been a day and I haven't heard back about the Chariot. Guess he sold it and didn't take down his ad. I definitely appreciate that spreadsheet you made. I'll keep looking.
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Old 01-24-12, 11:35 PM   #12
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I love Burley!! I don't work for them or anything , but I could as I'm always telling people how great they are We've had our Burley http://www.burley.com/home/bur/listi...omparison.html for over 17 years. It's been our child carrier for our 4 kids, 7 foster kids, paper route vehicle, groceries (think I've gotten 8 full bags of them in it). I have walked miles strolling two full-sized toddlers in it (where their weight has overweighed mine ) It's gone over all sorts of terrain, inside stores, in all weather, slush, flooded roads. The kids have been warm & comfy enough that they've steamed up the windows, while I've been a drenched rat. There's a roll bar and I've tipped it once when I was bicycling and hit the curb wrong... I threw down my bike to check on my daughter and she was still napping (helmet on, thumb in mouth, tucked under blanket with the trailer on its side) --yikes, didn't win the mom-of-the-year award, but she was safe.

There were time, I've had to call their company to get replacement snaps for the covers and they've mailed them to me free, every time.

Switching it from stroller to bike trailer takes less than 5 minutes and I've used it on a variety of bikes with no problem.

Now flash forward 17 years, my daughter's graduating from high school and we're still using the Burley. I put my dog in it and use the built in hooks on the dog's harness to keep her in. I also do the Costco grocery shopping in it.

I love Burley products so much that we've also invested in their new Travoy for doing lighter errands and the convenience of going into the stores, library, etc. I them!! Many wonderful memories built into it. Best wishes on finding the right trailer to transport your daughter and building happy memories together.
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Old 01-25-12, 10:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-Sp...ainer/16652485

Don't be too afraid of the big-box Schwinn/Pacific stuff, it's not all horrible. This will serve, unless your child is an oversized mutant. (like my sister's 1st grandchild -- 2-y-o, was too big for our child trailer, she rode in our 'antique' open trailer after that ONE ride.)
Only thing I don't like about these is the hitch. And I do like the Burley hitch. You can put your bike on the ground without tipping the trailer.

That's why I got a Burley hitch for my Instep trailer.

I also suspect that the rest of a Burley might be superior to box store trailers... but I have no empirical evidence of such.
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Old 01-29-12, 08:45 AM   #14
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well, I ended up with the winning bid on a Croozer Kid for 2 trailer on fleabay that the seller claims is brand new, but has a damaged box that doesn't affect the stroller for ~$120 shipped. If that turns out to be the case when it arrives, I think that'll turn out to be a really good deal of a higher end trailer for the price of an instep. We'll see.
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Old 02-04-12, 10:23 PM   #15
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Cool,
Thanks for the update. It'll be fun.
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Old 02-05-12, 06:42 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
I'd like to know about these strollers too. Next summer I want to get one for my dog. The dog will ride in it while I push from behind with roller skates providing my propulsion. Keeping my dog happy and sane by taking her out, and skating for fitness sounds like it will be fun for both of us.
I have 2 tiny dogs that travel in a doggieride (www.doggieride.com ) it also has a stroller handle so it can transform into a stroller when needed. When I only take one of the dogs I use a handlebar carrier. The dogs love it & l love the verstlity since I can also use the trailer for shopping!
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Old 02-19-12, 10:19 AM   #17
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Took the daughter in my croozer kid for 2 yesterday for the first time. She hated the helmet (and eventually found a way to get it off - need to fix that), but overall seemed to have a good time. Only went 3-4 miles though, just to get her used to it. It definitely affects handling and I'll be shifting a lot more for sure.
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Old 02-27-12, 06:52 PM   #18
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I used an instep Duo-Cruiser for several years with no problems what ever. I used it every day for cargo, and put well over 5,000 miles on it.
I'm presently running an older Instep on my full suspension mountain bike (bolted to the drop-out) and a Winchester Originals on my hard tail. Trailers are so handy I never leave home without one.
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Old 03-05-12, 12:29 PM   #19
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The helmet becomes easier. My daughter will grab it and want it on now. Make sure to have a space for the back of the helmet. A small foam came with my Kidarooz that goes behind the child's back and creates room for the helmet. Also some helmets have smaller backs.
It get's easier with the helmet so just keep with it in small increments. Also I wear a helmet as a good example.
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Old 03-05-12, 12:54 PM   #20
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Ah, so that's what that pillow thing is for. I couldn't figure that out as if I put it behind her head it made her lean even more forward. Unfortunately, she's still a little short for that, but I'll definitely keep at it. Might try taking her on the commute this week if it warms up as much as expected.
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