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Old 05-14-10, 06:25 PM   #1
konakola
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Touring with a trailer.

I would like to ask the people who have toured with a trailer if they would use a trailer again or use panniers. Likes and dislikes with trailer.
Thank You
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Old 05-15-10, 09:00 AM   #2
BigBlueToe
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This has been discussed many times by many, myself included. Here's my short take. Both are fine, but I prefer panniers. While I haven't weighed my stuff, I think the panniers and racks weigh less than my Bob and its big yellow bag. I think the 3rd wheel adds some rolling resistance. The smaller wheel necessitates bringing a different sized spare tube (and tire if you carry those) and it's got Schrader valves, so you have to fiddle with your pump when you pump up the tires in the morning (unless you have Schrader on your touring bike.)

Having said all that, a trailer is an excellent way to carry gear on a bike that isn't ideal for touring. Also, since the trailer's wheel takes some of the weight off the bike, you're a bit less likely to break spokes.
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Old 05-15-10, 09:15 AM   #3
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I use both. Front panniers and trailer balances the bike very nicely, and is very stable. I can carry as much or as little as I want/need to, and if it is a lot of weight for some reason I don't have to worry about breaking spokes or pinch flatting tires.



The only downsides are more resistance in constant headwinds and finding a place to park - especially in smaller, older, historic towns.
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Old 05-15-10, 09:53 AM   #4
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I wrote a blog post about that issue a while ago: http://familyonbikes.org/blog/?p=207

I typically prefer the feel of just the bike and panniers - a nice, tight package. Right now, we need the capacity of trailers, so I haul one - it's not a bad thing, but not ideal for me.
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Old 05-15-10, 02:33 PM   #5
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Done both, hate the trailer, love the panniers.
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Old 05-16-10, 05:14 AM   #6
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I have done both, too. Just did some cycling in Cuba with a front rack/panniers and the BOB at the back. I know the trailer adds more weight, but what I have found through a number of tours, is that for a short trip, the PITA factor of the trailer on airlines, on buses, escalators, staircases and storage of the bike at night can make panniers-only look quite attractive. And maybe I am a slow learner, but I finally tried rear AND front panniers a few short years ago to find, to my amazement, that the bike is very stable and nicely balanced compared with rear-only panniers. So, after rambling back-and-forth with my opinion here, I can see drifting to four panniers for touring, and BOB trailer for local running around in town at home.

B
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Old 05-16-10, 07:31 AM   #7
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Have done both.. trailers are for going to the grocery store.
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Old 05-16-10, 10:27 AM   #8
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Panniers or Trailer (or both) ...

We tour on a tandem - so we need to carry enough for two people - with the same number of racks as a single. If we are not camping (but using B&Bs, hotels, etc.) we use front and rear panniers only. If we camp - we add the BOB trailer to carry tent, pads, sleeping bags, stove, etc.

On flat trips I believe that the BOB adds no more than a negligable amount of extra resistance (only due to its own weight). Any load in the BOB adds to the rolling resitance of the BOB wheel/tire - but reduces the rolling resistance that the same load would have contributed to the wheels/tires of the bicycle. Arguably the smaller diameter wheel does not roll quite as well as the larger bicycle wheels. But from a physics stanpoint we don't believe the BOB requires more than a tiny bit of extra effort.

So, if we are on a flat tour where we'll be camping we'll use the BOB. If we are on a tour where a lot of effort is expended for lifting the total load through vertical changes (hills) we'll try to leave some things out and use only panniers - just to avoid lifting the wieght of the trailer itself up the hills. On a long hilly day the mental thought of 'dragging' the trailer up the hill can play into how you view it at the time.

Steve & Linda
Dayton, OH
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Old 05-16-10, 11:30 AM   #9
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I have done short (3 to 7 day tours) with both. I don't notice a big difference on pavement.
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Old 05-16-10, 02:14 PM   #10
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the best thing about a trailer is that it comes off.

panniers are ok

even better are no panniers

in as much as so many ways...
hauling around your "stuff"
vs
necessity

often comes down to what you have to cram it into

if you have a Big Dummy, there may end up being a situation when you're hauling firewood, while on tour...
a hatchet
a solar panel
a lap top
a 4 man tipi
clothing
7 days of food
etc, ad nauseam

if you have panniers
you may simply cram those

in a way
either you choose your bags, then cram them

or
you pick your gear
and find the bags to suit

in so many ways...
the route
the conditions
budget
may dictate

the combo/packing method is as variable as the touring

I'll add this last quip
weight = comfort
if you carry a bunch of stuff, its more than likely going to = comfort in camp
if you carry as little as possible its more than likely going to = comfort while pedaling

so you could possibly stop to think about this.
are you going to spend 8hrs a day on the bike
or
8hrs a night in camp?
is that 4" thick memory foam mattress significant enough to carry?

http://www.AsanaCycles.com
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