Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Advice needed for hitching/unhitching trailer solo

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Advice needed for hitching/unhitching trailer solo

Old 03-22-17, 06:57 PM
  #1  
SkiAddict1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Advice needed for hitching/unhitching trailer solo

Hello everyone,

I'm new here so apologise if this has been covered before, but searching for "hitching trailer" only turned up hits about trailer hitches. I really need some tips/advice on how to hitch and unhitch a single-wheel trailer on my own.

I'll be doing a 5-day cycle tour in about 3 weeks time; I've been training for it with my final weight (25kg -- 55lbs) and that's going fine. The trailer is essentially a copy of the Bob Yak/Ibex (not clear from looking quickly at their site what is the difference). My problem is when I need to hitch the trailer to -- or unhitch it from -- the bike. The bike's front wheel often turns to the side and then the bike rolls sideways. Since I'm standing behind the bike at the time, it's very hard for me to control the front wheel and I usually end up in disaster with the trailer jack-knifed. Recovering from that requires the help of a second person, but on my tour I'll be alone so I'm starting to worry.

It hadn't occurred to me that this might be my major problem for this trip! Before I started training for it, I'd never used a trailer before and I really don't know what to do to solve it. I've lengthened my bikestand hoping that a more upright bike would prevent it, but it doesn't seem to make much difference and in any case you can't have a completely upright bike so the problem would still persist. I've also thought of tying my handlebars back to the seat post so that they can't move, but I wonder if that would simply shift the problem to somewhere else in the ensemble which might be even harder for me to control. I know that making sure the ensemble is completely in-line makes a huge difference, but that's not always possible. I've also thought of adding a stand to the trailer, but the ones I've seen are too tall for it.

How do folks here deal with (un)hitching their single-wheel trailers? Is there a magic method that prevents the problems I'm encountering?

Grateful TIA from a touring newbie who's starting to panic!

Last edited by SkiAddict1; 03-22-17 at 07:01 PM.
SkiAddict1 is offline  
Old 03-22-17, 07:08 PM
  #2  
mrveloman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Tucker, GA USA
Posts: 133
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If your problem is just the front wheel turning, why not get some two sided velcro (called OneWrap) and wrap it around the wheel and the down tube immobilizing the wheel.

mike
mrveloman is offline  
Old 03-22-17, 07:43 PM
  #3  
SkiAddict1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by mrveloman View Post
If your problem is just the front wheel turning, why not get some two sided velcro (called OneWrap) and wrap it around the wheel and the down tube immobilizing the wheel.

mike
I'll have to look into that, hadn't thought of velcro. Certainly bungees don't work -- I just tried it. And you'd need to do each side separately, that much was clear from my test. Thanks Mike.
SkiAddict1 is offline  
Old 03-22-17, 09:49 PM
  #4  
mibike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 192
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I have a BOB and always hook it to the bike before loading it with gear.

I put a kickstand on the BOB. I had to cut it with a hack saw to make it the correct height. I wouldn't use a stand on the bike without also having one on the trailer.
mibike is offline  
Old 03-22-17, 10:00 PM
  #5  
SkiAddict1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by mibike View Post
I have a BOB and always hook it to the bike before loading it with gear.

I put a kickstand on the BOB. I had to cut it with a hack saw to make it the correct height. I wouldn't use a stand on the bike without also having one on the trailer.
<sinking feeling> Oh dear! Thanks mibike
SkiAddict1 is offline  
Old 03-23-17, 12:56 AM
  #6  
Rowan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 16,750
Mentioned: 124 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1434 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 16 Posts
Lean the bike up against a wall, fence, railing? It's the method I use.

Clamp on the front brakes with a tight rubber band so the bike doesn't move away? Can be used in conjunction with leaning the bike against a wall.
Rowan is offline  
Old 03-23-17, 01:45 AM
  #7  
SkiAddict1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Lean the bike up against a wall, fence, railing? It's the method I use.

Clamp on the front brakes with a tight rubber band so the bike doesn't move away? Can be used in conjunction with leaning the bike against a wall.
Ah! That sounds good; all except my first night I'll have something I can lean it against. I'll try the rubber band idea tomorrow. Thanks much Rowan
SkiAddict1 is offline  
Old 03-23-17, 09:13 AM
  #8  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 21,459

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, an orange one and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 96 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2602 Post(s)
Liked 159 Times in 116 Posts
Originally Posted by SkiAddict1 View Post
Ah! That sounds good; all except my first night I'll have something I can lean it against. I'll try the rubber band idea tomorrow. Thanks much Rowan
There's always something to lean a bike against. A tree



a bus



a random National Monument



a signpost



1838 state line markers



I bet I could even find something to lean a bike against here.



It might be really poky but I could still lean it against something
__________________
Stuart Black
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 03-23-17, 10:13 AM
  #9  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,396

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6908 Post(s)
Liked 240 Times in 198 Posts
The Click Stand (tm) is a folding aluminum prop with a U on the top , that cradles the top tube..

As a support, its higher on the bike than a regular kickstand..

you do use a strap or the elastic bands to hold the brakes on, so the wheel does not roll.




...
fietsbob is offline  
Old 03-23-17, 01:14 PM
  #10  
SkiAddict1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
There's always something to lean a bike against. [...]
Your final image is kinda what my first night's site is like, but perhaps I can find something. I also had a thought overnight, to make a little block of wood that would serve as a stand for the trailer. With some little hooks to hold onto the mesh of the trailerbed, it should work for the time I need it to.
SkiAddict1 is offline  
Old 03-23-17, 02:13 PM
  #11  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 5,928

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1317 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 30 Times in 26 Posts
The elastic bands that women use for their hair, I use that as a parking brake sometimes. It has to be doubled.

I have also used double sided velcro as in the photo.

The elastic or velcro is stored on the bar ready to deploy.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
20IMGP2935.jpg (97.3 KB, 89 views)
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 03-23-17, 03:45 PM
  #12  
Rob_E
Senior Member
 
Rob_E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 2,626

Bikes: Downtube 8H, Surly Troll

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 279 Post(s)
Liked 12 Times in 11 Posts
I used to have a Clickstand, and it had its uses, but I lost it, and never really missed it enough to replace it. The thing that came with the Clickstand that I continue to use is the elastic bands that you use to "lock" the brakes, so the bike doesn't roll away from the stand. Those are really handy for leaning the bike on something and not having it roll.

So, yeah, just a little bit of something to hold your brake lever down may solve all of your problems.
Rob_E is offline  
Old 03-23-17, 04:16 PM
  #13  
SkiAddict1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Way cool guys, this is sounding simple and effective! Will get a pack of those hair bands and make myself some "double-sided" velcro. Feeling much less panicked
SkiAddict1 is offline  
Old 03-23-17, 06:11 PM
  #14  
Doug64
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 5,506
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 778 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 31 Times in 19 Posts
Originally Posted by SkiAddict1 View Post
Way cool guys, this is sounding simple and effective! Will get a pack of those hair bands and make myself some "double-sided" velcro. Feeling much less panicked
Using velcro as a parking brake, rather than rubber bands or hair "scrunchies," allows more force to be applied to the brake lever.


We also carry "ferry straps", a 3' piece of 1/2" tubular webbing with a sidelock buckle. This piece of equipment meets our multiple use philosophy, and would be a good way of securing your front wheel to the downtube. It also works for securing the bike on ferries and trains, an extra strap if need, and I've also used mine as a belt.

This is my daughter's bike secured on a sloping ferry ramp. Notice the red velcro securing the brake lever, and the blue "ferry strap" securing the bike to the ramp's rail. Easy to make, and webbing and buckles are available at larger outdoor supply stores.

Last edited by Doug64; 03-23-17 at 06:48 PM.
Doug64 is offline  
Old 03-23-17, 08:20 PM
  #15  
SkiAddict1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Ah, those red ones are just like the straps I use in winter to keep my skis together. Feeling silly I hadn't thought of those...
SkiAddict1 is offline  
Old 03-24-17, 07:13 AM
  #16  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 21,459

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, an orange one and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 96 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2602 Post(s)
Liked 159 Times in 116 Posts
Originally Posted by SkiAddict1 View Post
Your final image is kinda what my first night's site is like, but perhaps I can find something. I also had a thought overnight, to make a little block of wood that would serve as a stand for the trailer. With some little hooks to hold onto the mesh of the trailerbed, it should work for the time I need it to.
Honestly, when I use my trailer, I lean the bike up against me as I reach down and pull the tongue off the quick release. It's not the difficult. On the other hand, if you turn the bike and trailer just right, the trailer will hold the bike up.
__________________
Stuart Black
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 03-24-17, 07:18 AM
  #17  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 23,203
Mentioned: 172 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9066 Post(s)
Liked 692 Times in 427 Posts
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
On the other hand, if you turn the bike and trailer just right, the trailer will hold the bike up.
I was waiting to see how long it would take for someone to mention this.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 03-24-17, 12:27 PM
  #18  
SkiAddict1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Honestly, when I use my trailer, I lean the bike up against me as I reach down and pull the tongue off the quick release. It's not the difficult. On the other hand, if you turn the bike and trailer just right, the trailer will hold the bike up.
My trailer is attached on both sides to the axle skewer, so I have to be behind it and take them off both at once (that is, if I understand what you're saying -- I don't understand what the tongue is, to be honest). I saw the "jack-knife" method of parking the Bob the other day, and yes I can always use that if I have to, but (a) I have RSI in my wrists and pulling it out of that on a smooth surface was not remotely easy (and I'll be on gravel) and (b) I'd rather not damage the trailer!

EDIT: with "tongue", are you saying that you pull the axle skewer all the way out and simply let the trailer fall to the ground??? In which case how do you hitch it up? I'm looking for both how to unhitch and hitch.
SkiAddict1 is offline  
Old 03-24-17, 12:33 PM
  #19  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 23,203
Mentioned: 172 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9066 Post(s)
Liked 692 Times in 427 Posts
How in the world did the 4 people who used B.O.B.s during my '99 x-country tour manage to deal with this issue with no problems before the day and age of Internet forums?
indyfabz is offline  
Old 03-24-17, 01:02 PM
  #20  
SkiAddict1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
How in the world did the 4 people who used B.O.B.s during my '99 x-country tour manage to deal with this issue with no problems before the day and age of Internet forums?
I don't know -- how did they? That's what I'm here asking, in effect. I'm a lone cyclist -- don't know any other cyclists, have never done any cycle touring, won't have anyone with me to help. I've come here for help because I know I need it. Other people are kind enough to share the benefit of their experience with me.
SkiAddict1 is offline  
Old 03-24-17, 05:51 PM
  #21  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 21,459

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, an orange one and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 96 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2602 Post(s)
Liked 159 Times in 116 Posts
Originally Posted by SkiAddict1 View Post
My trailer is attached on both sides to the axle skewer, so I have to be behind it and take them off both at once (that is, if I understand what you're saying -- I don't understand what the tongue is, to be honest). I saw the "jack-knife" method of parking the Bob the other day, and yes I can always use that if I have to, but (a) I have RSI in my wrists and pulling it out of that on a smooth surface was not remotely easy (and I'll be on gravel) and (b) I'd rather not damage the trailer!

EDIT: with "tongue", are you saying that you pull the axle skewer all the way out and simply let the trailer fall to the ground??? In which case how do you hitch it up? I'm looking for both how to unhitch and hitch.
The "tongue" of a trailer is the bit that attaches to the towing vehicle. In the case of single wheel bicycle trailers it's more of a "yoke" (although BOB calls it a "fork). Whatever you call it, it's the bit that attaches the trailer to the bike...but it isn't the quick release skewer.

My trailer is a Yakima which is a copy of the Bob. It has a slightly different attachment but it's very similar to the BOB. To attach it, I pull the trailer up close to the bike. I then lean the bike against me and, while facing back towards the trailer, I drop the "yoke" (tongue, fork, whatever) onto the skewer. I have hairpin cotter pins to keep it from bouncing off.

To remove the trailer, I remove the cotter pins, lean the bike up against me again, reach down and pull the trailer "fork" up off the skewer. It's easy peasy. Just like when you lean the bike up against something.

Go practice it without a load. You'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
__________________
Stuart Black
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 03-24-17, 11:23 PM
  #22  
SkiAddict1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The "tongue" of a trailer is the bit that attaches to the towing vehicle. In the case of single wheel bicycle trailers it's more of a "yoke" (although BOB calls it a "fork). Whatever you call it, it's the bit that attaches the trailer to the bike...but it isn't the quick release skewer.

My trailer is a Yakima which is a copy of the Bob. It has a slightly different attachment but it's very similar to the BOB. To attach it, I pull the trailer up close to the bike. I then lean the bike against me and, while facing back towards the trailer, I drop the "yoke" (tongue, fork, whatever) onto the skewer. I have hairpin cotter pins to keep it from bouncing off.

To remove the trailer, I remove the cotter pins, lean the bike up against me again, reach down and pull the trailer "fork" up off the skewer. It's easy peasy. Just like when you lean the bike up against something.

Go practice it without a load. You'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Thanks for the explanation, but I don't think I can do this with my trailer. I have to remove both "forks" at the same time or the second one becomes impossible to remove if the trailer is loaded -- all the weight hanging on it makes it act as if it's glued to the skewer. The angles are just all wrong. But with a bodged-up trailer "stand", plus immobilising the front wheel, I should be OK.
SkiAddict1 is offline  
Old 03-25-17, 09:27 AM
  #23  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 21,459

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, an orange one and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 96 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2602 Post(s)
Liked 159 Times in 116 Posts
Originally Posted by SkiAddict1 View Post
Thanks for the explanation, but I don't think I can do this with my trailer. I have to remove both "forks" at the same time or the second one becomes impossible to remove if the trailer is loaded -- all the weight hanging on it makes it act as if it's glued to the skewer. The angles are just all wrong. But with a bodged-up trailer "stand", plus immobilising the front wheel, I should be OK.
My trailer is no different from yours. It has two fork tips and both have to come off. Don't try to remove one and then the other...you wouldn't do that to take a wheel out of the bicycle fork would you? Pull up as straight as possible. Yes, the trailer is heavy and cumbersome but, with practice, it becomes easier.
__________________
Stuart Black
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 03-25-17, 01:12 PM
  #24  
SkiAddict1
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
My trailer is no different from yours. It has two fork tips and both have to come off. Don't try to remove one and then the other...you wouldn't do that to take a wheel out of the bicycle fork would you? Pull up as straight as possible. Yes, the trailer is heavy and cumbersome but, with practice, it becomes easier.
But I have to have my hands on the fork tips to move them outwards over the "bubbles" at the ends of the skewer (see attached photo). If I'm on one side of the bike then I can't do that???
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
IMG_8637.jpg (93.2 KB, 39 views)
SkiAddict1 is offline  
Old 03-25-17, 01:42 PM
  #25  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,396

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6908 Post(s)
Liked 240 Times in 198 Posts
BoB trailers have 2 cotter pins to pull out, before you lift it dropout off its dropouts onto its custom QR.


You doubt your capabilities, so I guess Ill agree with you.





Last edited by fietsbob; 03-25-17 at 01:45 PM.
fietsbob is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.