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Kids trailers and solo trips

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Kids trailers and solo trips

Old 08-24-14, 04:44 PM
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Kids trailers and solo trips

Hey, I am taking a trip from Phoenix to Portland around this time in September, and through telling people my plans I've heard a lot of questions, one being is it possible to use a kids trailer in replacement of panniers. I thought it was a brilliant idea since classified bike trailers are like 300 bucks, and evveryone sells kids trailers when they're offspring grow up, so there would be a lot of used ones floating around on craigslist. Has anyone heard of someone doing this, maybe with a waterproof tarp covering it or something? I'm intrigued by this idea. The second thing I want to bring up is the safety factor of riding solo. I am going to be at least for the majority of my trip going solo, and fully expect to be able to do this with enough preparation and tools. It is a bit bold though, but I am a bold person as I'm convinced everyone here is too~!
Also, if anyone here has interest in joining me for a leg of the trip, I would really be excited to have you come along!
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Old 08-24-14, 05:10 PM
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I think it is a great use of a kid trailer if you already have one or expect to have kids at some point. But there are trailers for packs which are smaller and seem easier to ride with.
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Old 08-24-14, 05:40 PM
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Huge mistake IMHO. Either buy a proper trailer or buy panniers and a rack.

Kid's trailers are not designed for carrying gear. While others will tell you they have used them with great success, I can tell you I have seen more than one fail. and that is something that you don't want mid tour.

IMHO, in general, trailers can be a real pain to manage. Unless you are overweight or carrying a lot of gear or have a bike that simply won't handle much weight at all then I would go with racks an panniers.
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Old 08-24-14, 07:05 PM
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I notice when I carry my Burley two seat trailer around, it almost acts like a sail anchor in the wind, really dragging behind me... and that's not just due to the 70+ pounds of kids and stuff in the trailer, but to the shape that the trailer presents to the wind.
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Old 08-25-14, 04:02 AM
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Your idea for a converted kiddee trailer is a good idea and lots of people have done it. Go to this thread in the utility cycling section for ideas.


The easiest way is to just convert a kiddee trailer to a flatbed and install a tupperware or other plastic container on the trailer or put your stuff in waterproof bags and just strap them on. You can usually put one together for less than $50.

Here's one I put together for a total investment of maybe $35. It weighs about 18 pounds.
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flatbed2.jpg (100.8 KB, 13 views)

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Old 08-25-14, 05:27 PM
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If you're touring on a very small budget and/or your bike doesn't have braze-ons for racks, the kid trailer is a good idea. It's not the best solution, but it will work, especially if you're willing to scale back your daily mileage goals.

I've used a 1-wheel trailer (Bob Ibex), a 2-wheel trailer (Burley Flatbed), and panniers at various points, and for touring, I much prefer the panniers. The reasons are:
- panniers are modular (i.e. you can use 1, 2, or 4 depending on how much stuff you need to carry)
- If you have to open one pannier in the rain, the rest of your stuff doesn't get wet
- Panniers are typically a little bit lighter than trailers
- It's easier to carry/walk a bike with panniers than it is with a trailer
- If you're touring in areas where bears are a concern, one of your panniers can become a food bag that you hang from a tree

An additional concern for a 2-wheel trailer is that rumble strips and potholes are very difficult to avoid.

So I guess to sum up, I'd recommend panniers over the trailer, but if you do decide to go with the trailer, a kid trailer is a cost-effective choice.
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