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  1. #1
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    A trailer Q that nobody asked yet...

    How comfortable are you riding on streets?
    I live in the country with lots of blind hills, sharp blind turns, and lots of fast cars.
    Doesn’t the trailer add lots of width, putting you further into the road?
    My son is 3 months now and I can’t wait to buy a trailer and take him for a ride.
    But my fear is that I won’t use it due to traffic and it will sit in my basement.

    Let me know how you deal with traffic..

    Thanks

    P.S. I have read almost all the forums and am most likely going to wait until after winter when he is about 10 or 11 months. It seems that nobody says anything bad about any trailers but suggests the one that they bought. So, based on that I will probably go with a lower priced unit.
    Last edited by hero419; 09-05-07 at 11:20 AM.

  2. #2
    GATC
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    Our trailer is ~the width of a bike lane, and I don't like that margin of error, so I am most comfortable riding on roads where I can take the lane w/ clear conscience (speed limit ~25 mph). Faster roads, I pretty much avoid unless there is a shoulder or whatever that gives me an extra ~18" (say, though I've heard 3' as a figure; I am never specifically measuring anyway...) cushion between the trailer and the white line.

  3. #3
    The Zookeeper mtcougar832's Avatar
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    I avoid faster roads when I have the trailer, not a problem as usually we are going fishing or to the park. I have 1 hill that I walk the bike/trailer up on the sidewalk, it is pretty steep and I would have to ride in the middle of the road on a semi-blind corner due to a large pothole. I don't ride on roads over 25-35mph, or high-traffic roads. Timing your trips when there is less traffic helps as well.

    The trailer adds some width, but in my case (tandem bike + trailer) the bigger issue is turns - I might get a "wide right turn" sign like on trucks, since I swing to the center of the lane to turn into some places.

    People give me a lot of room when passing if I have the trailer too.

    I had a cheap (InStep) trailer and now have an expensive Trek GoBug. I upgraded because the InStep hitch didn't work with the rear rack on my bike (long story). I think both were adequate, but the Trek is excellent. It converts to a USABLE jogging stroller, has a better harness & seat for the kids - with padding. The kids can see out better due to its shape too. It is very sturdy with a roll cage (the InStep had a lot of cloth, small screws and plastic). If you ever plan to use it as a stroller, get a good (Trek / Chariot / etc.) trailer. Otherwise get what you can afford. I turned the old trailer into a cargo trailer, so it didn't go to waste. I just regret the money I wasted on the "stroller" attachment.
    2007 Trek 4300 ~ 2007 Trek T900 Tandem ~ 1980 Schwinn Le Tour ~ older Gary Fisher Xtracycle

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtcougar832 View Post
    I think both were adequate, but the Trek is excellent. It converts to a USABLE jogging stroller, has a better harness & seat for the kids - with padding.
    Yeah our Burley is a better stroller than our purpose-built jog-stroller! 20" wheels are great. Better hubs too? Don't understand why those wheels still spin so well after a lot of use in bad weather. Tried a Dept Store trailer w/ 12" wheels but just returned it in a day and went the higher-rent route. Whatever works, though...

  5. #5
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    I wouldn't even think of trying to pull a trailer on the roads around my house. I've come way too close to dying just trying to ride on my own. So yes, it means a half hour setup to load everything in/on the cars just to go for a fun ride.

  6. #6
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    When we first got our trailer, I thought it would be rather scary. After I started using it, it seemed pretty safe. I used the flag and I certainly didn't use it on our busier roads. Ours is a cheaper one, quite old now. It's not very wide (really not wide enough for two toddlers, although it is supposed to be). I still use it a lot for groceries, library books, other shopping, so now I use it on busy roads without the kids. Every once in a while, I catch a curb with a tire. No catastrophes yet.

    It's been a long time since my kids fit in it!

    Sharon

  7. #7
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    Nope

    Honestly, I do not trust our three-year old's well-being to the people I would be sharing the road with. I've had enough close calls on my own to think that the added width of the trailer won't be a hazard in on a reasonably trafficked public road.

    With the trailer, I stick to the neighborhood or the rail trails.

  8. #8
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    I use a kid trailer to both pull my niece around AND tour with as a cargo trailer. I get lots of space from the cars, regardless of the road I'm on, even on tour. They have no idea I don't have a kid in there, so they give me lots of room.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  9. #9
    Trying to keep up ericcox's Avatar
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    I ride with a Trek trailer designed for two kids -- my 3.5 year old and 2 year old fit with plenty of room. The trailer does not impede me in the least in terms of width. I can still make all the entrances on our local MUP with a little room to spare (some of the entrances have a barrier to prevent anything much wider than a stroller from passing).

    I ride on some of the local roads with it and have found that cars give me wide berth. While some cars do not like cyclists, they usually like kids. Then again, I am near a very popular bike route that lends credence to the theory that familiarity breeds acceptance, not contempt. I've lived here from 3 years and, knock on wood, have never had even a sort of close call with a car. Many of the local roads have designated bike route signs (though no lanes) and passing room, so that helps.

  10. #10
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    I use the same road position, with or without a trailer.

    I, too, have found that I am given more room when being passed, when I'm towing a trailer.

  11. #11
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    Well, I picked up a trailer over the weekend and he loved it! Now I have other problems....
    Some family members (In-Laws) have a problem with me taking my son for a ride. It's strange how people that never tried something can make a quick judgment based on some "research" they did on the internet. I have done all of my own "research" for over a week and believe I am able to make the best judgment for my son. Now, how the heck do I deal with these people other than the "thanks for your interest and opinion" statement?
    Yes he is only 4 months old, but he is in his car carrier with his head supported. There is absolutely no relation between shaken baby syndrome and taking a kid for a bike ride. It's not as if I am picking him up by his waist and shaking and thrashing him around violently. Over perfective people who are afraid to do anything themselves seem to be the biggest nay sayers.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hero419
    Some family members (In-Laws) have a problem with me taking my son for a ride....and believe I am able to make the best judgment for my son. Now, how the heck do I deal with these people other than the "thanks for your interest and opinion" statement?
    I am nice as long as I can be. After the 2nd, 3rd or maybe the 4th. I politely remind them that they are not the parents. Something like "I understand your concern but I am the parent, not you". Persistence receives a warning that the topic is not appropriate. Persistence receives a no visitation (except holidays) until they can apologize and acknowledge my ultimate say in decisions as the parent. It's bad when it is your in-laws, even worse when it is your own parents .

    Good Luck. Do what is right for your kid and stick to your guns with your relatives. You'll respect yourself more and so will your in-laws, eventually.

  13. #13
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    It looks as though my new trailer will sit in the basement until next May when my son turns one year.
    My wife’s family got to my wife and it is all over. Oh well, guess he will just have to sit home now...
    I don't think a Bjorn chest carrier is safe either all that bouncing while I walk, the possibility of falling on him if I trip, maybe I should wait until a year to use that, but then again you never see a web site deterring us from using one of those due to shaking baby syndrome.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Chicagoan's Avatar
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    I have used two trailers and ahve been okay in traffic. I rehabbed a cheap kid trailer into a cargo trailer and broke it after a couple of months(carrying 300 pounds). Now I use a Burley Flatbed that I am much easier on. It is only slightly wider than my handlebars and I have used it in heavy Chicago traffic with two bike frames on top of it.

  15. #15
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Tell em to snack on brown organic matter
    Quote Originally Posted by hero419 View Post
    Well, I picked up a trailer over the weekend and he loved it! Now I have other problems....
    Some family members (In-Laws) have a problem with me taking my son for a ride. It's strange how people that never tried something can make a quick judgment based on some "research" they did on the internet. I have done all of my own "research" for over a week and believe I am able to make the best judgment for my son. Now, how the heck do I deal with these people other than the "thanks for your interest and opinion" statement?
    Yes he is only 4 months old, but he is in his car carrier with his head supported. There is absolutely no relation between shaken baby syndrome and taking a kid for a bike ride. It's not as if I am picking him up by his waist and shaking and thrashing him around violently. Over perfective people who are afraid to do anything themselves seem to be the biggest nay sayers.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  16. #16
    Senior Member piper_chuck's Avatar
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    In laws, ain't they great? My mother in law arrived about a month before my second daughter was born and stayed until she was 5 months old. There was a constant battle between her trying to over protect the baby and me wanting to ensure the kid started acclimating to the world.

    Anyway, my daughter is now a bit more than 6 months old. She was probably about 1 month old when I took her for the first walk in the Baby Bjorn carrier. In the last couple weeks she got her first trip (walking) in the woods in the stroller/trailer. This past Sunday was the first time she got to ride it while being towed behind a bike. We were at the beach where traffic is very light and limited to 35 mph speed limits. She did great and we could tell from her reactions that she enjoyed it.

    I have no hesitation taking her on smooth paths at 6 months. I probably would have done the same at 4 months as long as the road/path was very smooth and had no traffic. I won't even consider taking the trailer on the country roads where we live, they are as you describe, narrow, lots of turns, and 55 mph speed limits. When she gets a bit older I'll do as I did with her older sister and start pushing the stroller/trailer while I run on the paths in the woods.

    So, as has been suggested, remind the inlawa that he is YOUR child and that while their input is certainly appreciated, you and your wife will decide what is right and wrong for your child. Also have some talks with your wife about the dangers of over protecting children, which can actually slow their development. And then pull the trailer behind your bike to show her that it's not doing any crazy bouncing that would endanger your child.

  17. #17
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    There are some trailers that are made just for 1 kid. Burley and Charriot both make them I believe. These are much narrower than the standard trailer. They are more expensive as you are looking at spending over $300 for either of them new. This is why even though I wanted one of them, I got the Trek unit that I got on Craigs List for a song, in like new condition. Still would have prefered the single kid unit, but this way my son has tons of room for his toys or snacks.
    2005 Orbea Onix - Chorus
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  18. #18
    Hybrid Fan yatesd's Avatar
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    I bought a discontinued Schwinn trailer last year on a whim for vacation and have been very happy with it. The larger wheels and all aluminum body give it a quality feel.

    Anyway, I would also be nervous about using the trailer on main roads. Ours primarily sees use around our development and on the boardwalk at Ocean City,MD where we have vacationed the last two years.

    Now that I just upgraded my bike, I would also like to take my daughter on some rail trails.
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  19. #19
    Sneaky Fast....
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    We have 2 of the Schwinn models from Target, bought about 3 yrs. ago now I think. They have 20" wheels, & the aluminum frame goes around the wheels, so if you get to close to something, there is the chance the bar will "scoot" the trailer over instead of the tire catching square & stopping you.

    We have been VERY happy with the trailers, & our Twin Boys have always enjoyed them as well.

    Have fun, & enjoy the extra workout it gives you!

    Chris

  20. #20
    Conservative Hippie
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    I think I would choose one time a year that the in-laws could visit without my protesting, and it would not be Christmas. As for me going over there, again, once a year, maybe. Other than that, sorry my child and I are busy.

    They want to dictate how a child is raised? Then they need to have another of their own.

    If the wife asked why I was being difficult, and I would be, the answer would be, "Because I don't have to put up with people who are ignorant and have control issues."

    Yeah, I ran into this type of thing once before, but not with the in-laws. It was one of my parents. It's not a problem, now.
    Last edited by CommuterRun; 10-20-07 at 05:47 AM.

  21. #21
    Trike newbie
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    when my kiddo's dad bought a bike trailer, I test rode in it (i'm under the weight limit). we had a couple on purpose crashes on empty roads and one real crash down a ditch.
    the trailer did tip once, and had I been strapped in, it would have been merely scary.
    I was a bit disturbed at how close traffic would come so we slapped safety orange paint and two ugly, obvious pennant flags angled out (think curb feelers).

    It worked.

    now that baby bjorn? ditch it for a backpack asap.

    and stay on low speed/low traffic roads for a good while.


    are you planning on a bike seat later? or keep the trailer?

  22. #22
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    just got the back pack...
    that thing is the cat's meow

  23. #23
    Trike newbie
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    aren't they? I had two, one set for me and one set for the dad.
    I wound up using it as a "highchair."
    I'd sit on the floor eye level with Kiddo and we'd fling brown rice paste...er...eat lunch together.
    Love the avatar.

  24. #24
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    I just folded the laundry with him in it two days ago.
    Its a good way to let him see things at our eye level.

  25. #25
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    Before my daughter was in day-care near my office I commuted every day by bike. I now take her with me in the trailer 2-3 times a week, she is 6 mos old. She rides in a carrier with good head protection and we go slow (about half the speed of bike alone). She likes it but usually falls asleep. We ride on residential streets and a mup. The cars give you a lot more room with the trailer which is nice. My biggest complaint is that some other bike commuters on the mup get annoyed that we slow way down at bumps and since the trailer is as wide as the mup lane it's harder to pass also. The one way trip is about 7 miles.

    I'm surprised at the negative reactions other people receive. My day care center has been very supportive and provide a place to park the trailer. Personally, I feel safe taking the trailer anywhere that I feel safe riding myself. A child lives in the same world you do and I believe that it's best for them to experience the world with you to learn about it, starting from an early age.

    I think a lot of the fear stems from the fact that the trailer is behind you. Many people have the same fear of being hit in the rear while riding a bike. A good mirror lets you watch what's going on.

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