Old 07-29-08, 10:10 PM
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA
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I have an Xtracycle and a Wike trailer and it works out great. We use it instead of the minivan for about 95% of our weekend trips around town.

The trailer has an orange flag and a Planet Bike Superflash going at all times.

I take the lane when necessary (we have a lot of sub-standard width roads with parked cars on either side and only one lane of traffic each direction), and use bike lanes (and routes with them) when practical, though I don't go out of my way. I'm lucky, however, that most of these are decidedly urban/residential streets where average traffic speeds are around 20-30mph. If I was in the 'burbs it might be a different story and I might be looking for bike paths / MUPs / etc. to avoid high speed traffic (45mph+). But I bailed on the 'burb scene a long time ago and I'm not going back, so it's a non-issue for the most part.

I do not fear cars, but I do expect them to do stupid things all the time, and I'm rarely disappointed. However, learning to control the lane is often the safest thing you can do, because the surely well-meaning but often misguided car drivers will often make a poor decision if you give them half an opportunity to do so. You have to think for them as they are busy talking on their mobiles / sipping a latte / surfing the web on their iPhones / switching songs on their iPods / texting their friends / whatever. You know, anything and everything except driving and thinking about being safe.

A cycling safety program (if available in your area) would probably help you get a lot more comfortable. Also, i recommend spending some time riding around solo (if you can get someone to help watch the kids) so you can build up your confidence and bike handling skills prior to taking on the trailer. Riding with a trailer is not hard, but as with most things, "baby steps" is a good way to ease into things.

Hope it helps, we love riding with our kids and the Xtracycle/trailer combo truly is a minivan replacement. You can do it!

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