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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 04-25-12, 08:21 PM   #1
redeyedtreefr0g
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Question Can my trailer haul an adult?

Hi there. While I suppose people-hauling would also go in the Recreation & Family section, I thought Utility was a better place.

I have an InStep Journey (2-seater) children's bike trailer. Most trailers say not to have a kid more than 100lbs or two at 50lbs ride in it. But is that just for safety reasons? Or structural?

Could I build some sort of seat supported by the frame that would allow an adult to ride in the trailer? I'm sure the fabric wouldn't hold them, but I figured a removeable contraption could balance weight on the frame or something... I'm not an engineering type, or very brave to risk ruining my perfectly good trailer by experimenting.

I wondered if someone had any ideas or had done that before. Ideally, I'd want to haul up to 300lbs. (not saying I could physically do that- geez a lawnmower was kind of hard, and laundry!)

Just wondering

(My mom-in-law would not ride a bike with us ever. She says she feels perched up high on display where the world could stare at her. I wondered if she might like to be towed instead [nevermind that that would attract more looks])

Last edited by redeyedtreefr0g; 04-25-12 at 08:23 PM. Reason: add link
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Old 04-25-12, 08:30 PM   #2
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Let me get this straight, you want to haul your 300 pound mother-in-law around behind you in a children's bike trailer...

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Old 04-25-12, 08:36 PM   #3
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No. I'm asking IF I could

And if I do haul people, I don't just want to take my 115lb sister with me and say no to others, I figured a safe max would be around 300lbs.
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Old 04-25-12, 09:52 PM   #4
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If it was me I would just throw 200ish lbs of sand in the trailer and see how it handles. If your mom in law is that worried about people looking at her I would first suggest getting her to a therapist as she has some serious anxiety or personality disorders and second if she doesn't like being up high you can suggest a recumbent although even though much lower to the ground they attract more looks as it is not something people see everyday.
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Old 04-25-12, 10:01 PM   #5
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Yes she does, but that is not relevant. The question was regarding trailer capability or modification.
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Old 04-26-12, 08:49 AM   #6
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I wouldn't trust that trailer for much more than the rated weight limit.

You can get something specifically made for adults, but it'll cost more:
http://www.wicycle.com/special_needs...le_trailer.php
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Old 04-26-12, 09:02 AM   #7
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Yes she does, but that is not relevant. The question was regarding trailer capability or modification.
It is not but I did offer up what I would do in your situation. Many of those load limits are set by lawyers and not engineers so many times you can go well above the "rated" load, especially if not done on a regular basis. Like I said, if it was me I would just put 200ish lbs of non precious cargo in there and see how it handles. Many of the trailers are designed around smaller kids so an adult might not be very comfortable in there unless she is very short.

You can also consider something like the Xtracycle or the Yuba and just let her ride on the back, I did that with my grandma when she saw the bike and thought it was really cool. She had a blast.
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Old 04-26-12, 10:52 AM   #8
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This trailer will haul up to 400#+ if you change the framing material to solid oak.
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It...e-Trailer.aspx

http://www.motherearthnews.com/multi...id=67956&seq=1

I built one years ago and till use if today.
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Old 04-26-12, 11:10 AM   #9
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A bit OT, but is that a lawnmower handle attached to your trailer? Is that a franken-jogging trailer design? How is it?
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Old 04-26-12, 12:04 PM   #10
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My guess is that if your mother in law is not comfortable being on a bike, she would not be comfortable being in a trailer, especially a kiddy trailer jury rigged, as that is a far more unusual and therefore noticable situation. This is not the answer to the your question, but it is the root problem. It is revelant because most likely no matter what you do with a trailer it won't solve the underlying issue.

beyond that a trailer like this would haul the weight you are talking http://www.bikesatwork.com/bike-trai...bike-cart.html
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Old 04-26-12, 12:12 PM   #11
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If the trailer is able to handle the desired weights you want to carry that is only the first step as the bike you use to tow the trailer and hitch must also be able to support this weight without damaging the hitch, frame, or rear wheel of the bicycle and the brakes but be up to the task of stopping the bike, trailer, and multiple passengers.
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Old 04-26-12, 12:17 PM   #12
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The lawnmower was being hauled, hehe.

I did get the stroller kit for that trailer, though, so it has an attachable handle if I feel like putting the front wheel on and pushing it around. I really just like the brake the most. Makes loading and unloading easier.

Thanks for the advice and suggestions!
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Old 04-26-12, 03:22 PM   #13
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The lawnmower was being hauled, hehe.

I did get the stroller kit for that trailer, though, so it has an attachable handle if I feel like putting the front wheel on and pushing it around. I really just like the brake the most. Makes loading and unloading easier.

Thanks for the advice and suggestions!
Oh, ha! That makes a lot more sense. I totally didn't notice what was inside the trailer. For your MIL, what about a recumbant? Lower down, not as much on display. Weirder looking to the average Joe though...
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Old 04-26-12, 11:50 PM   #14
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My experience with an older Bell child trailer has been that I can comfortably haul about twice the suggested weight, or around 200 pounds. I've replaced the hitch with the Burley hitch - it is more than capable of holding that kind of weight.

That being said, I would never put 300 pounds on it. The Bikes at Work trailers are much better suited for anything over 200 pounds.

You need to be sure you have a bike and brakes that can handle the weight. I'd suggest a quality rigid MTB with hydraulic disc brakes. That's what I use (05 Kona Caldera w/Surly rigid fork), and it has been working fine for total load weights of up to ~570 pounds (cargo weight + the weight of two trailers towed in tandem). The bike could probably handle more, but at that point I'm the weak link.
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Old 04-27-12, 10:59 AM   #15
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Nightdiver, I'm so excited that you mentioned that!

Last night my husband lost his wallet, and was pretty certain it was at the college 4 miles away. Since his mom won't ride a bike (we don't have enough working at the moment anyway) we all walked it. During the walk, bikes came up because it was freezing cold and we could have been home by then if we'd had wheels. She said that she didn't think she'd mind riding in the trailer, and if it had pedals she'd even help make us go. That led into the question of why she didn't ride- her son hadn't heard her reasons yet. So then a recumbent bike came up, and she was very interested in that.

So eventually, she may get a recumbent! She wouldn't look for one, but if I find one for her, that makes me very hopeful. My own mother also likely needs a recumbent to be able to cycle, because she has back troubles. The moms could both go 'bent!

As I haul more stuff and people are seeing the versatility of the trailer, I may work up to heavy loads and see what the trailer is capable of, but maybe not for people-hauling. Least not now
The recumbent idea is suddenly so much more attractive. I just don't know if I'll ever be able to find one for her.
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Old 04-27-12, 03:09 PM   #16
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Isnt there a recumbent forum here?
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Old 04-27-12, 09:16 PM   #17
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Yes. But you'd have to have money or something valuable to trade for one, and I have neither. But I can lurk there and learn about them.
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Old 04-28-12, 04:47 AM   #18
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Old 04-29-12, 01:45 PM   #19
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Assuming the company has used proper design philosophies, the trailer will be designed for various scenarios. It would be designed by fatigue analysis at normal loads, impact loading to ensure it won't fall apart if you go off a curb or hit a pothole, etc. The designer should also use a conservative approach using a reasonable safety factor when determining maximum allowable stresses in the frame.

Will the trailer carry more than 100 lbs ... likely. However I wouldn't want to hit a curb or pothole while carrying your 300 lb MIL
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Old 04-29-12, 08:29 PM   #20
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Go ahead, haul your mother-in-law on a bike trailer. Sounds like a great idea. Hauling an older woman on a bike trailer made for kids just for the thrill of it....genius, sheer genius.

You might as well light a firecracker and hold it in your hands. See how that works for 'ya.
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Old 04-30-12, 10:05 AM   #21
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Just wondering
MadCityCyclist, I'd rather see you do that.
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Old 05-15-12, 11:18 AM   #22
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Equinox trailers produced several thousand Tourlite trailers for child carrying in the 1980's and 1990's. Our customers have often requested information on carrying mobility impaired larger passengers. We have responded by adding a kit to enlarge the child carrier and by making a larger version of the passenger trailer. See: http://www.equinoxtrailers.com/store/item/19 .
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Old 05-15-12, 11:47 AM   #23
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Equinox trailers produced several thousand Tourlite trailers for child carrying in the 1980's and 1990's. Our customers have often requested information on carrying mobility impaired larger passengers. We have responded by adding a kit to enlarge the child carrier and by making a larger version of the passenger trailer. See: http://www.equinoxtrailers.com/store/item/19 .
Wow, excellent!
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