Training and Trailer question
Hi! I have been reading entries on this site for about a year and i think it is a wonderful way to fain knolwedge. I am about to attempt my first multi-day bike tour and have two questions. First, my bike: I only have a 04 Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike set up with kevlar 1.5 slicks and a 8-speed rear cluster with a 11T-30T setup. I regulary commute (12 miles round trip) to work every day accumalating approx. 60 miles a week, More if I can get a extra ride in somewere. I want to attemp to tour from Fort Wayne, IN to Dayton, Ohio (my brother's house) this summer. This will be approx. 150-180 miles one way. My questions are (1) will my weekly commuting mileage prepare me to average approx. 50-60 miles a day? And (2) have any of you ever used a children's bicycle trailer as a touring trailer? will it slow you down to much? Should I by some cheap panniers instead? The trailer says not to use going faster than 10 MPH, is that just for safety of child? Could I go faster If I am just carrying luggage? Any suggestions would be great. I am really excited about my first attempt at a solo tour. I know it is a relatively short distance for alot of you; however, it will be my first attempt at a short adventure. Thanks
The 10 mph speed limit is mainly for the safety of the child, but at higher speeds there is some risk of the trailer overturning in turns, which could bring down your bike as well. I've pulled a trailer at up to 20 mph with no issues, but rarely have done > 14-15 in turns. A trailer adds quite a bit of weight, wind, and rolling resistance, so if you can get by with panniers, you're probably better off that way.
Mad bike riding scientist
Actuallythe 10 mph speed limit is a CYA for the trailer company. I've pulled Burley trailers up to 45 mph without any problems on curvey mountain roads. Rolling the trailer over is a possibility but only if you hit a curb.
Originally Posted by Dr. Moto
A trailer will work if you are just starting out and don't want to invest in new equipment. Put all of your touring gear in the trailer and go ride around with it. See how it handles and then decide. If you go with panniers you'll need a rack or two (bikes handle better when the load is split between the front and rear) and, depending on the bike, this can be a problem. If you have a shock, the front rack can be expensive and if you don't have eyelets on the rear, the rear rack can also be expensive.
Try the trailer first and then, if the touring bug bites, look into other equipment, like a touring bike and all the other gear. Bicycle ownership can be almost as much fun as boat ownership...and about as expensive
Yes, I have found bicycling to be a wonderful hobby (logged 2500 miles last year); however It does take money to tweak the bike and purchase the equipment I want. I brought a hardtail mountain bike so that it could verstile. I am finding out that verstile means money. For my birthday, My wife and kids brought me an extra set of wheels w/casestte so I can easily switch between knobby tires for trails and slick tires for commuting/touring. I love it! In reference to the trailer or pannier question, I have neither yet. However, we were wanting to purchase a trailer for my 2 1/2 handicapp daughter so she can experience the same joy of bicycling as her brothers. So, I do not think my wife will allow the purchase of an expensive trailer and panniers after the expensive set of tires she just brought me. As you said cyccommute, a bicycle is as fun as a boat and can be just as expensive.
A used Burley Solo might be just the ticket. These are single child trailers and tow easier than the bigger ones but have plenty of room to carry gear. The older models didn't fold up as conveniently but that may not be an issue for you.
The Burley's hold up very well.
Mad bike riding scientist
Go with the trailer then. Look for a Burley as they are the best trailers out there by far for kid carrying. That should be your primary concern. It will work quite well for hauling gear too. Just make sure you put all of your gear in stuff sacks to keep it from wearing out the bottom of the trailer and put all of your clothes in ziplocks to keep them dry. Then, go ride.
Originally Posted by spigot
p.s. If you use the logic of "But I need it for the kids!", you can get your wife to agree to a lot more bike stuff. That doesn't work for boats.
This is only a two or three day trip. Panniers are a better idea than a trailer not designed for touring. A child trailer probably weighs close to 20 pounds and can easily degrade handling.
I don't know about the 20 lbs, probably closer to 15, but certainly heavier than a rack and panniers. I've never noticed any change in handling though. Even on my "hell bent for leather" bike. When my wife was working nights (almost a year) the little trailer accompanied me on all my evening training rides. Other than adding some time to the clock the bike handled great. Of course, once the little bugger woke up about 15 miles out and started crying. I hadn't brought the bottle and she screamed all the way home. Very motivational.
Originally Posted by rd5590
It's been a long time since I loaded a bike up with panniers but it seems like the handling became rather truckulent when fully loaded. There's a kit for the solo to convert it for touring. I think mostly it loses the seat.
Experiment with that trailer. Maybe you can remove or lower the sides for less wind resistance. Make sure the wheel bearings are clean & greesed if you can, load the weight low & keep it on the light side too. Load it and go for a Saturday run, maybe 40 miles or so. I'm kinda a stickler for proper braking power, so check it out.
With that many commuting miles your legs should be in real good shape for 60 miles.
Once your on the road stop every ten miles or so not only for the rest & stretching but to check over the equipment, mainly the trailer hitch.
You need a new bike
If you plan to ride 60 miles per day but are only currently doing 12 miles per day, then you may need to do some longer distance training. I would start doing longer rides on weekends. Remember that towing a trailer (or carrying panniers) is going to significantly increase the weaight you are lugging up the hills.
I would pick a cargo option as soon as possible and get the required equipment. Then, fiigure out what you are going to take on the trip and get an estimate of the weight. Load down the trailer accordingly and go look for some hills. This should give you a good idea where you stand training wise. Then it's a matter of building up endurance by doing increasingly longer rides. Try to work in some long rides with the trailer (or panniers) near your departure date.
Good luck with the tour. Let us know how it works out.