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Using a kids trailer?

Old 03-18-08, 02:37 PM
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Using a kids trailer?

Most of you on here know I'm an avid road cyclist. I've already done the STP a couple years ago (206mi in one day), and I'm getting a little adventurous for this summer. I'm contemplating about a 400mi tour this summer, from Western Washington (Kitsap) along the northern part of the state to Sandpoint Idaho.

I haven't totally mapped out the route yet, but I figure lots of northern state roads through the forested areas. Maybe a stop in Republic WA along the way. Not sure yet.


Anyway, my best steel bike is my old Centurion that I rebuilt a couple years ago, and have set up as my commuter. However, it has no eyelets for serious rack installation and weight bearing ability. My lightweight rack with P-clips just isn't strong enough for touring. I'm considering stripping it down and getting rid of the rack and trunk bag, and pulling a small trailer with all my gear.




PROBLEM?

I have a double kids trailer from Nashbar. Quite the reliable rig. It's very lightweight with a 100lb capacity. I was thinking of using it to stow all my gear. Tent, sleeping bag, clothes, spare tires/tubes for both trailer and bike, tools, food, a little water, etc. My plan is to do about 60mi a day of easy riding for a week.

Has anyone on here used a kids trailer for a tour like this? Would you recommend it, considering I don't have the capitol right now for any serious randoneurring investment?
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Old 03-18-08, 02:52 PM
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It seems feasable to me
Just pack some tubes for the rig and you sould be fine
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Old 03-18-08, 03:41 PM
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There are a few issues with the trailer :

– With : could be problematic if you go onto bike and multi-use trails, which are safe... until you get to those posts, gates and bollards with limited with.

– Three trails vs one : mostly a problem off-road. For on-road cycling, the trailer with is only slightly wider than your own width, so you won't take too much extra room on the road. But off road, in sand or on a rocky trail, manoeuvring is trickier.

– Visibility : actually the trailer might be slightly better, because that's an unusual object on the road. However, if your trailer has a grey or dark beige rear end, I would recommend sewing a few reflectors, adding reflective tape, sewing a safety vest, etc. to make it more visible. Ditto for taillights at night.

– Weight : a bit of a problem, although a trailer is not much heavier than two racks and four panniers. But with so much room, one would be very tempted to carry the kitchen sink... which is great until you get to climb hills.

– Wind resistance : I had a Chariot 2-kid trailer which is a great trailer except it's not only wide but also very high and has a full frame. It means that even if I carried a smaller load, I had the full parachute effect. Great if you have the wind at your back, but not so good otherwise. If you only use the trailer for cargo, seriously look at how you can modify it to decrease its wind resistance, as it would be the most serious issue you're faced with in your trip. Trailers such as the Burley Nomad or BOB have a lot less frontal area.
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Old 03-18-08, 04:47 PM
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I use a kid trailer touring, and it's correct that you can easily overload yourself. On flat ground, you can pull a heck of a load and not notice, but a little hill and you learn why Semi Trucks crawl up a mountain That said, it's very doable and the wind resistance really isn't as much as you'd think. On a steep down hill mine was also rock steady at speeds approaching 45 MPH.







There is also a nice psychological effect with the drivers of motor vehicles.....they give you more room pulling a kid trailer. They don't know there aren't any kids.
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Old 03-18-08, 07:26 PM
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We used a two-wheeled trailer at the beginning of our last trip. While it wasn't set up for kids, it is a kid's trailer without the kid stuff. I really like the two-wheeled nature of it because it is stable by itself - I could disconnect it from the bike and it would stay upright. The only downside was when we rode on roads with a rumblestrip - John (with his BOB) could ride in the narrow strip between the rumble strip and the edge of the highway. I had to be out in the road or else I had one tire bouncing along.

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Old 03-18-08, 08:14 PM
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Tom,

I should point out that your Schwinn trailer seems more streamlined than my old Chariot trailer. The Chariot (vintage 2000) was about 4 inches taller and had a flatter front end. This allowed my oldest one to ride with her sister when she was 6 or 7 (not often, but typically when tired or sick)... but it also meant good wind resistance.

As a fender user, one thing I don't like about all current two-wheel trailers is the lack of fenders. Droplets fly in the rain, and especially in the snow.
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Old 03-18-08, 09:54 PM
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Both good points. With the outboard frame design on my Schwinn Trailer, it wouldn't be that difficult to rig fenders though. I guess the point is that your mileage may vary....

As to the width issue: I pulled it across fireroads and firetrails on the UP of Michigan last June, and as long as I remembered the width, there weren't issues. It also stabilized the bike in loose conditions a bit with a slight rearward drag. I did this with a road touring bike and aired the tire pressurte down to 70 PSI on the softer offroad conditions and went back to 100 PSI on pavement.

Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon
Tom,

I should point out that your Schwinn trailer seems more streamlined than my old Chariot trailer. The Chariot (vintage 2000) was about 4 inches taller and had a flatter front end. This allowed my oldest one to ride with her sister when she was 6 or 7 (not often, but typically when tired or sick)... but it also meant good wind resistance.

As a fender user, one thing I don't like about all current two-wheel trailers is the lack of fenders. Droplets fly in the rain, and especially in the snow.
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