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  1. #1
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    Trailer: Tanden vs. single bike

    Woo Hoo! My baby just turned one and got a brand new Burley Solo trailer for her birthday. We are now once again a mobile biking family (as opposed to Mom stuck in the basement with her bike on a trainer pedalling madly to Spinervals tapes!)

    Anyway, my husband and I are having a discussion about the best way to pull our baby's new chariot. Our choices are:

    1. Tandem -- husband is concerned that footprint might be too large and that the whole train might be too difficult to steer. I like this idea because we call can ride together and tandem is big and heavy already (uphill) so trailer wouldn't make any difference.

    2. Mountain bike with slicks (his)

    3. Touring road bike (mine with granny gear his without)

    I bike a lot more than my husband but he is still faster because he is skinny and I'm still trying to take off those pesky baby pounds...

    Any thoughts? Any experience pulling a trailer on a tandem.

    -Meredith

  2. #2
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    MTB with slicks IMO is your best choice. You may want to just try the tandem in a low traffic area.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  3. #3
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    I vote for the tandem. Your daughter is small now, but as she grows, there will come a time when she will want to pedal too. That time is probably sooner rather than later. In my experience that age came when my kids were between 4 and 5 years old. Your choices at that time are as follows:
    1. Tandem with a kidback kit
    2. Trailer Bike
    3. Bike of her own

    I would dismiss #3 out of hand because for years your bike trips would be limited to your street. #2 is a feasiible solution. #2 is feasible, and a good choice to make at that time, but it won;t help you today. That leaves the tandem. You and your husband could ride the tandem for at least the next couple of years, until your daughter is old enough and has the desire to pedal along with Mom and Dad. Then you could fit a kidback attachment to the tandem, and one of you could ride that with her, while the other rides solo. At some point you may also have another child. If you choose the tandem now, you won't have to make any changes to the bike lineup until the second child is ready to start pedalling.

    Pulling a trailer with a tandem is actually easier than pulling one on a single, because there are two people helping to pull. With a single, you always know the trailer is there. With the tandem, even with a 9 year old stoker, it's easy to forget the trailer is attached. The turning radius with a tandem is more than a bike, but it actually helps you manage the trailer better. I've pulled the trailer over a few curbs by cornering too tightly with a single, but I've never done it with the tandem because of the larger turning radius.

    Mark Stoughton
    BikingWithKids.NET


    Quote Originally Posted by meredithva
    Woo Hoo! My baby just turned one and got a brand new Burley Solo trailer for her birthday. We are now once again a mobile biking family (as opposed to Mom stuck in the basement with her bike on a trainer pedalling madly to Spinervals tapes!)

    Anyway, my husband and I are having a discussion about the best way to pull our baby's new chariot. Our choices are:

    1. Tandem -- husband is concerned that footprint might be too large and that the whole train might be too difficult to steer. I like this idea because we call can ride together and tandem is big and heavy already (uphill) so trailer wouldn't make any difference.

    2. Mountain bike with slicks (his)

    3. Touring road bike (mine with granny gear his without)

    I bike a lot more than my husband but he is still faster because he is skinny and I'm still trying to take off those pesky baby pounds...

    Any thoughts? Any experience pulling a trailer on a tandem.

    -Meredith

  4. #4
    Year-round cyclist
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    Quite a few people use a tandem with a single-wheel or dual-wheel trailer, either for cargo or for a child, so it can definitely be done.

    I, for one, have used a single bike with trailercycle and child trailer (yes, both together), and a tandem bike (with child stoker) with either the trailer for cargo or the trailercycle (for a second child), and I have used the tandem 2-3 times with trailercycle AND child trailer (for cargo).

    It works quite well, but there are a few things to note:

    1. Get low gears. On most bikes, it's fairly easy to replace the granny by a smaller one, to get more aptitude in hills.

    2. The 2-wheel trailer is very stable, so pulling it with the tandem (or any other bike) won't make it less stable.

    3. By itself, a tandem isn't too suited to very tight turns. There is something in the design/geometry/stability that doesn't seem to work great for u-turns on a dime. Adding a trailer (or a trailercycle) won't change that too much.

    4. If you like to ride tight trails or bike/multiple-use paths that seem to have been designed by someone who never cycled, then the pulling the trailer through those oblstacle courses will be a challenge in itself, and even more on a tandem. On the other hand, I have no problem at all in the street, neither in dealing with traffic nor in dealing with intersections.

    5. The child trailer may be moved easily from one bike to another.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Stor Mand's Avatar
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    I use a mountain bike with a one-wheel, 8-speed trailer-bike (or tag-along or whatever you like to call it.) We're pretty long but it pivots where it attaches under my seat and handles pretty well (sort of). We use a big orange flag and flashing tail-light to be noticed when we're on the road.

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