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New here - trailer help please?

Old 02-22-06, 11:26 AM
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vetmommy
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New here - trailer help please?

I stumbled across this site doing research and y'all seem to be the ones to ask.

I have a 4yr old and a 2 yr old. Our current bike trailer is by Bell and is too narrow (19.5" at hip) and the fabric is breaking down. My kids don't like biking anymore because they are sitting on one another! Can anyone recommend a trailer (preferably that converts to a jogger) that will accommodate my kids? I'm guessing at best I'll get another 18 months of use, so I'd prefer not to spend more than a couple hundred dollars if possible.

Or is there a better option than a new trailer?

Thank you for all your help!
Tara
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Old 02-22-06, 03:34 PM
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fishdr
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There's another thread that just started right behind this one, so check it out, too. I replied there, but will reply here, too. I also have a 4yr and nearly 2 yr old. They've been quite happy in the Instep Ride-n-Stride trailer. They ask to go in ALL the time! It gives them plenty of room with a place for snacks and juice to be stored. There's even enough room in the back to put a few groceries or bread for the ducks... We purchased it for around $100 on sale at Sports Authority. It does convert to a jogging stroller, but I honestly have not tried it out. Jogging kills my knees.
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Old 02-22-06, 03:43 PM
  #3  
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I currently own a Burley trailer, and I suspect that you will hear Burley and Chariot mentioned quite often when people discuss higher end units.

If you check the Burley site (www.burley.com), click on the top left (trailers), then download the .pdf spec sheet (right side of the page). Listed are the models, interior width, weight and number of kids capacity, conversion to jogger options, etc.

I have their low end unit, the Bee. At 22" it is larger than your Bell, but has no stroller option. I paid $179 last summer, and am reasonably happy with it. The D'lite is plenty wide at 27", comes very well equipped plus has jogger/stroller options, but will set you back $400+.

Steve
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Old 02-22-06, 03:46 PM
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I would look for a used trailer to save the money. Burleys will be the most prevalent but I personally had fabric problems with mine. Many others have not. I think the trailers are generally in that size range however. The Burley d'Lite advertises 27" interior width. I do not know if they have modified their line at all...meaning, if you do go the used route, make sure of the measurements that will be acceptable beforehand if you cannot see the item.

You might be able to get 3 years of use out of it. I personally will be pulling 2 five year olds on 50 mile ride this Spring (one of my kids and a friend of theirs).

All of the major brands I have seen do convert to joggers (Burley, Trek, Chariot, Cycletote). I have seen alot of votes for the Chariot series lately. Their website is slick also. Burley has apparently upgraded their fabric but that sounded recent from the discussion, i.e. it will be harder to find a used version.
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Old 02-22-06, 05:35 PM
  #5  
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When looking for a used trailer, don't limit yourself just to bike shops, classified ads, and eBay. I scored a really nice Burley trailer at a used baby equipment store.
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Old 02-22-06, 06:08 PM
  #6  
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I realize on a budget is on a budget, but I'll just throw this for in on both these threads. Take it for what it's worth to you.

I have a Burley Flatbed Utility Trailer that I pull to work and back almost daily. I also have a Burley Solo to pull our, now, 5 yr. old daughter around. I doubt if the solo would work for more than one kid, but the point is, what I have found is that a child trailer makes a real good covered utility trailer. If you can get a good one now, you'll see many years of use as a utility trailer after the kids have out grown it.
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Old 02-22-06, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by vetmommy
I stumbled across this site doing research and y'all seem to be the ones to ask.

I have a 4yr old and a 2 yr old. Our current bike trailer is by Bell and is too narrow (19.5" at hip) and the fabric is breaking down. My kids don't like biking anymore because they are sitting on one another! Can anyone recommend a trailer (preferably that converts to a jogger) that will accommodate my kids? I'm guessing at best I'll get another 18 months of use, so I'd prefer not to spend more than a couple hundred dollars if possible.

Or is there a better option than a new trailer?

Thank you for all your help!
Tara
We also have the Bell, and are finding it too small. My son is racing up on 5, and he's tall for his age, so I'm trying to find a sloution for getting them both (2 yo sister) to school and back in reasonable comfort. The Burley Delight and Wike trailers (http://www.wicycle.com/bdt.htm) are spendy, but I'm beginning to think they're worth it. I spoken with a couple of folks who have the Delight trailer, and they didn't seem to have the sapce issues we have. I did try an Instep trailer owned by a firend and it was way, way too small for my kids.

Good luck!
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Old 02-22-06, 10:03 PM
  #8  
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We had a cheapie trailer (Bell also) and the fabric did break down, so we got a Burley Cub. My now 4 year old is very large for his age and has plenty of room in there. A huge plus for me with the Cub is the hard plastic bottom. Sure, it makes the trailer heavier, but it is practically indestructible. I can also load it up with up to 100 lb of anything and haul it around (I've gone on BIG shopping trips and loaded the trailer without trouble). So, if you spend for a good one, you could conceivably use it (as the posted mentioned above) for years and really get your $$$ worth.
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Old 02-23-06, 11:38 AM
  #9  
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For a really big trailer, take a look at the new Trek Doodlebugs. They look huge to me. Even in a Burley d'Lite, my kids (2 and 4) are pretty close, but it's a good sized trailer and my personal favorite. Burley and Chariot seem to be the most popular and hold resale better. They both have good product support and can provide replacement parts and shells.

For a budget version, Schwinn puts their name on a China made trailer that can be found at stores like Target for about $130-$150 that seems pretty decent and has a heavier fabric, which you might check out.
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Old 02-23-06, 06:41 PM
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Thank you all for your advice! I'm checking into several right now, and the Trek Doodlebug was actually one of them. According to the rep, they have a 22.5" hip width and 25" at the shoulder. I'm also checking out the Burley and Chariot, but so far they seem even more expensive than the Trek. Any other suggestions are welcomed.

BTW, is anyone familiar w/ the trailer/jogger by BeBeLove? I keep seeing them on ebay and they advertise 11" seats. As much as I'd like to save money, I'd rather spend a little more to get something w/ good reviews....

Thanks again!
Tara
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Old 02-24-06, 11:22 AM
  #11  
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What about graduating the older child to a Trail-A-Bike and keeping the tiny tot in the trailer?

4yrs old is high time for learning that you have to pedal your way in this world; you can't relax in the trailer forever...
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Old 02-24-06, 12:09 PM
  #12  
legot73
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Originally Posted by Phantoj
What about graduating the older child to a Trail-A-Bike and keeping the tiny tot in the trailer?

4yrs old is high time for learning that you have to pedal your way in this world; you can't relax in the trailer forever...
As much as I like a good trailer, that's a good point. I'm looking at Trail-A-Bike's as well, and nice ones can be found for about $130, much less that a good trailer. Then you could build the "family caravan" by attaching the trailer to the Trail-A-Bike like my neighbor does, not very practical, but kind of fun. If you have two "mules", it makes even more sense and you'll get more years out of it.
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Old 02-24-06, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by legot73
As much as I like a good trailer, that's a good point. I'm looking at Trail-A-Bike's as well, and nice ones can be found for about $130, much less that a good trailer. Then you could build the "family caravan" by attaching the trailer to the Trail-A-Bike like my neighbor does, not very practical, but kind of fun. If you have two "mules", it makes even more sense and you'll get more years out of it.

Except that you are then pulling a looonnngggggg train. I've been turned into more than once while at intersections. I'm hoping to limit our exposure by offering the smallest possible broadside to asleep-at-the-wheel suburban traffic.

That said, right now it's the only solution I know that will last us more than one season.
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Old 02-24-06, 01:55 PM
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I built this trailer 20yrs ago and use it yet today. All of
the materials were salvaged from jobs here at home.
Even buying new materials the cost wouldn't be that
bad for a really robust durable bike trailer. My cost
20 yrs ago was $20 today might be about $80 with new
wood.

The plans call for 27" wheels but I used 20" wheels from
an old kids bike to be more stable and extended the neck
up a bit to compensate the difference. I strongly suggest
that you find and use an old OAK shipping skid for the frame
to pickup the strength of seasoned oak instead of plywood.

Enjoy!!


http://www.motherearthnews.com/libr...Bicycle_Trailer

*
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Old 02-24-06, 09:21 PM
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Michel Gagnon
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I was to suggest the "road train", but Phantoj bet me at that.

My daughters are three years apart. For 3 years, I have cycled with my single bike + oldest daughter on trailercycle + youngest one in the trailer. We cycled approximately 1500-2000 km per year. Now that they are older, they have graduated to the tandem + trailercycle... which is now used by the youngest one. I have even towed a few times a real road train made of the tandem + trailercycle + child trailer (for cargo). Never had any problems with the cars. Just with pseudo-"cyclists".
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Old 03-01-06, 03:24 PM
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In case anyone's curious, here are the results of our trailer shopping.

I sat my children (4.5yr 39lb and 2.5yr/28lb, both slender) in a Burley D'Lite and a Trek Deluxe Doodlebug. While the Trek seat (22.5") is wider than the Burley (21-21.5"), my kids were still hip-to-hip. They also felt more cramped in the Trek because of the "dome" front. So since I doubt I could pull a trail a bike and a trailer, we're down to 2 options.

(1) A trail a bike for my 4yr old, though I doubt he would last for the ride - he gets impatient in the trailer- with a Chariot Sidecarrier for my daughter, though I've been told these are rather narrow and might be quickly outgrown.
(2) An Instep Ride N Run Trailer/Jogger. This is not the kind of trailer I was hoping for, but my kids have 2-3 inches between their hips in it. It has a plastic bottom and back, doesn't fold up very well, small wheels, no storage, and nothing behind the kids' heads.

I have found that trailers, high end or not, are simply not wide enough for use by kids even close to the weight limits. Thank you all for your help and advice!
Tara
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Old 03-01-06, 07:42 PM
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Yes, spacious SUV's they are not. It is a shame if your kids would not be able to adjust to the trailer. Riding in one and sitting in one may be very different experiences for your kids. See if there is one you can borrow, I have lent mine out before. My first 2 were right about the same age spread as yours and a little heavier at those ages(~35 & ~28). I thought I had some great riding experiences in my life racing, club and social before the kids, but those moments are much more frequent with the kids along. I think those moments are from the enjoyment I see them experience on the rides.

Even if the trailering/riding does not work out for you now, I hope you can find another activity that all of you look forward to and can participate in at least once a month.
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Old 03-02-06, 01:37 PM
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legot73-
I found a trail-a-bike for $69 at Walmart. I think it's called the Wee Co-Pilot.
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Old 03-02-06, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by vetmommy
In case anyone's curious, here are the results of our trailer shopping.

I sat my children (4.5yr 39lb and 2.5yr/28lb, both slender) in a Burley D'Lite and a Trek Deluxe Doodlebug. While the Trek seat (22.5") is wider than the Burley (21-21.5"), my kids were still hip-to-hip. ...
I have found that trailers, high end or not, are simply not wide enough for use by kids even close to the weight limits.
Mine is an older one, but I think the Chariot carrier is 1-2 inches wider than the Burley. But you are definitely close to the top age. In other words, you will be able to squeeze them in this year, but not next year.

Even though it is well thought of and well made, the design of the SideCarrier does not appeal to me. Even though the "bike width" is close to that of a trailer, I think that the "cycling width", i.e. the width of your vehicle + arms and shoulders + whatever free space you need to cycle is more than the cycling width of a single bike + trailer. And if you also attach a trailer behind your bicycle, you need even a wider cycling width. Or to put it bluntly, if you cycle on narrow trails, on trails that have dangerous posts at entrances or intersections, you won't be able to go through them without a major dismount.

As for your 4 year old child, if he is anything like my daughters, he will be much happier cycling on a trailercycle than sitting in a trailer. At that age, the only times I could keep my oldest kid in the trailer was when she was sick or overly tired, or when it was -20°C. The major difference is that cycling on a trailercycle keeps him busy and part of the action, whereas sitting in the trailer is passive.

As for pulling a trailercycle and a child trailer, I suggest you try it. Once you get over the first initial "cycling shock" – zigzagging around potholes takes a bit more planning –, I would say that pulling such a road train is actually easier than pulling just the trailer with both kids. The start ups will take more time – always start in first gear – but at speed, the oldest child will contribute towards your top speed.

At 4, Ève did not pull her own weight but she pulled the trailercycle (i.e. I could ride faster pulling her on the trailercycle and pulling an empty trailer to get groceries than I could ride with her in the trailer), and at 5, she actually was a net contributor to our speed. Obviously, that's a different story when climbing a 17% grade on a loaded bike...
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