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Old 09-15-09, 05:10 AM   #1
ongej
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Kids in trailer during winter?

Hi all,
I am wondering if anyone has tried to cycle daily with their kids in a trailer during winter? About 4 months ago, I bought a trailer (trek bug, great trailer, sadly discontinued) to send my kids to nursery near my workplace everyday. The total distance is about 20miles round trip. This worked great during summer, however, now my wife thinks that we can't do this during winter, since she is afraid the kids will freeze in the trailer, even if they are well dressed. Is this true? It would be a pity to not be able to cycle to work with my kids because the temperature goes down.

Cheers all,
Jon
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Old 09-15-09, 08:13 AM   #2
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I applaud you & your wife.
My kids ride down to roughly 32F (0 Celcius) on a back seat or TAB, down to probably 25F (-4 C) on a trailer with the rain cover on (significantly reduces wind chill factor). I use full face balaclava and ski goggles on kids and many layers of clothing (double gloves for example) if they are on the seat/TAB,
but we don't need for so much clothing inside the trailer - they are quite toasty inside there, but they can't really hear me and they grow bored.
Also one thing to look for is that cover becomes brittle when it's really cold.
I'm really impressed you can keep yours happy for 10 miles - my 2.5 y.o. daughter can make 4 miles, but during 6 miles she wants to jump out of the trailer, even when supplied with toys and company.
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Old 09-15-09, 08:39 AM   #3
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It can be pretty comfy in the trailers when they are closed up.

I dress them for the weather and then have them sit on a blanket (including under calves and feet, the floors are thin and get cold) and throw a blanket and/or pillow on top. With a drink they are pretty well set for about an hour. I try to stay away from snacks because they will want to take their gloves off to get the food.

If you don't helmet in the trailer, hat selection is easy. If you do helmet, then you'll need to find a form fitting hat and make sure it works with the helmet. The smooth back helmets typically do not have size adjustments in them other than changing pad sizes.

As long as you keep them dry and out of the wind, you should be okay, even below freezing. I think the coldest we have done was 30 minutes at 30F. We could have gone longer and colder. I think I get the worst of it in those situations, but I don't do cold as well as most.
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Old 09-15-09, 09:07 AM   #4
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Portable DVD plyers work great for rides that last longer than about 30 minutes.
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Old 09-15-09, 10:04 AM   #5
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I haven't taken my kids in the trailer when it's cold yet, but I thought about it a few times last year.

My wife suggested, in addition to blankets, some sort of thermal mass. It's really easy to make a rice sock, and they stay warm for a while.
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Old 09-15-09, 11:05 AM   #6
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Ha, last time my kids were in the trailer was for a 8.5m ride. They slept half the time.........lil buggers.

If yours has the clear solid cover for the screen(s), I'd imagine it would stay toasty in there. Best way to find out is to keep riding until they get too cold.
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Old 09-15-09, 11:14 AM   #7
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They do fine in the trailer w/ warm clothes and blankets. Is road ice an issue? Even w/ studs on my bike tires, I really don't like having the trailer out on icy days.
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Old 09-15-09, 01:02 PM   #8
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We took our little one to the Obama Inauguration. About a 10-mile one-way ride once you include riding around all of the baracades and finding the bicycle valet. Our one-year-old baby was very happy in there.

We did use the screen covers to keep out the cold breeze.
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Old 09-16-09, 03:20 AM   #9
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Thank you all for your very helpful replies! We do have a rain cover so, that will pretty much block out all the wind, and reduce the drag of the trailer too. We live south of London in the UK, so not too much problems with below freezing, save for some rare occasions. I'm very lucky that both kids seem remarkably good in the trailer, although half the time, they are asleep. Other times, big sister seems to be very good at entertaining herself and her little brother. In fact, they are calmer in the trailer than when I take them in the car.
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Old 09-16-09, 05:16 AM   #10
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My general rule of thumb is that as long as we're appropriately dressed for the weather... then we can be outdoors in any weather condition.

That said... I don't want to settle an argument between you and your wife!
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Old 09-17-09, 06:02 AM   #11
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Did it all winter down to temps bellow freezing with a 3 and 5 year old in a trailer with rain guard. Bundle them up, load in blankets and take extra layers in case they feel a little chilly.

Good mittens, shoes, and hats are the key to them being comfortable, layering clothes takes care of the rest.

I like that portable DVD player idea, wish we had thought of that.
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Old 09-17-09, 06:24 AM   #12
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Nice thread!

I'll admit it ... I'm somewhat of a fair-weather cyclist. 40F + 12mph wind is my threshold. I move indoors after that. However, our bike trailer converts into neat little contraption on skis so I can pull him behind me either while cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, so we'll be out and about in much cooler temps than when we are on the road. I'll take some of your tips to help make my lil guy comfy back there! Thanks!
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Old 09-17-09, 10:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronniewo View Post
Portable DVD plyers work great for rides that last longer than about 30 minutes.
Yeah, we tried it too (we mostly use it on long distance car trips), but she is just not a movie/TV girl. Her older brother though is mesmerized, so it definitely works on some kids.
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Old 10-05-09, 10:00 AM   #14
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Mid '30's is about where I draw the line with the little guys. Kind of arbitrary, but part of it is that in colder weather, drivers are less likely to expect a cyclist, especially one with kids. So this is partially a concession to that fact.

Alone, I'm good down to 14F or so.
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Old 10-05-09, 09:00 PM   #15
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The OP asked this a while ago, but I'll add that keeping the kids warm in a fully-enclosed trailer is probably not too hard, with enough layers....but pulling a trailer 20 miles a day (our old daycare distance) in winter, when every variable slows you down, is going to be very tough.

We bailed to a (much) closer daycare last November.
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