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how much weight do you carry or tow?

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how much weight do you carry or tow?

Old 12-08-10, 06:21 PM
  #1  
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Thumbs up how much weight do you carry or tow?

I think I've been towing up to about 50 pounds going to the supermarket or pet shop.

I'm currently using a kiddie trailer because the price was right. It works for me very well, except when my loads are large, such as bicycles. I've taken up to two bikes in the trailer, but most of the weight ends up outside the trailer, so it generates a pushing and pulling oscillation. Maybe one day I'll buy or build a flatbed trailer.

I'm really impressed with how easy it is to tow a trailer. I barely feel any increased effort. I live on the top of a hill, and my bike doesn't have very low gears. The lowest gear is a 42t chainring and a 32t sprocket. I have 27" wheels, so that works out to a 35" gear.

I saw the debate in the thread about CETMA, and I can't imagine how a bike with cargo on it would handle any better than a bike with a trailer. I'm not saying a cargo bike is a mistake! I'm saying that no one solution is perfect for everyone.

I hope qmsdc51 responds, because I see him pulling some pretty big loads!
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Old 12-08-10, 06:30 PM
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Hey Tom,
What kind of kiddie trailer do you have ? I was also thinking of buying a kiddie trailer for my laundry and grocery runs.
Can you post any pictures thanks and have a happy.
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Old 12-08-10, 07:22 PM
  #3  
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For transporting my 18' (and ~100 lb) boat I definitely prefer a trailer instead of a cargo bike. And I like the fact that the bike is light and unencumbered when the trailer is removed. OTOH, that means I sometimes don't have the trailer along when I might have a use for it.
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Old 12-08-10, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I saw the debate in the thread about CETMA, and I can't imagine how a bike with cargo on it would handle any better than a bike with a trailer. I'm not saying a cargo bike is a mistake! I'm saying that no one solution is perfect for everyone.
I can see some specific loads I would want a trailer for, but having owned two I didn't enjoy using them as much as a cargo bikes. First my "load" is often a 120-180lbs of person so that is a lot easier to manage on a cargo bike then trying to stuff them into a kiddie trailer or strap a chair to a flat deck trailer. The trailer + bike is longer and more cumbersome to deal with then my cargo bikes.

When empty my Big Dummy rides just like a normal bike so I use it around town for transport, but at the drop of a hat I can carry a passenger or a mini-fridge and a 3 drawer file cabinet. To me that flexibility is priceless.

Having said all that if I woke up tomorrow without any cargo bikes and was the owner of a Surly Troll and their new cargo trailer I would use 'em and get on with my day.
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Old 12-08-10, 09:07 PM
  #5  
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vik, I guess your Big Dummy is versatile because it's light enough to use as a regular bike. I can't imagine using a Cetma or Worksman when I didn't have cargo. You'll find me mostly in the C&V section of bikeforums. I have a fleet of bikes so big that I don't know how many I have. I plan to declare my bike expenses and revenue this tax year because it's taken a lot of my time this year. Some people ask themselves what colors to wear in the morning. I ask myself what bike to ride.

It's smart to use a Big Dummy as your only bike if it's going to be your only bike. It's not that expensive. On the other hand, consider motor vehicles. People like SUV's because they can two half a soccer team or take the family on vacation or carry sheet rock home. But most of the time, people don't do these things, and they tow around all that weight and consuming fuel not because they need to but as the price to pay for the POTENTIAL to do useful things. As I said, it makes sense with a Big Dummy because it doesn't cause you to consume a whole lot more fuel than on another bike. But in the interest of matching the bike to the job, a regular street bike suits me well. I add a trailer when I need to.

Uh oh, I just noticed we're having the trailer vs cargo bike debate again. And that's not what I wanted to get into.

ezdoesit, I use a Burley trailer. I'll check tomorrow. I might have pictures, and I can take some. I got it on craigslist for about $40. It probably sold for $400 originally, and the owner didn't seem to know or care.

Long ago, I towed my kids in an Equinox trailer. I gave it away, stupidly, when the girls got too big. They're 22 and 19 years old now. I remember I once towed them when they were just a bit too big for it, along with their luggage. I think I towed 180 pounds (82 kg) that day.

vik, how big are you? I'm 180 lbs. I wonder what the practical limit for balancing two wheels is.
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Old 12-08-10, 09:15 PM
  #6  
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I use my Xtra for most little jobs (remodel) but when I need the compressor and/or tablesaw, I hook up the Bikes at Work trailer. I used a trailer before I got my Xtracycle but if I didn't bring the trailer, I couldn't pick up stuff I found on the way home. The trailer was fine when I had a plan but I love the Xtra because I don't need a plan to haul stuff. So the trailer is great and so is the Xtra, use whichever fits your circumstances.
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Old 12-08-10, 11:15 PM
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i have hauled about 400 pound on my trailer once. i figure as long as it fit in my box it is ok.
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Old 12-09-10, 01:00 AM
  #8  
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My regular load is around 80 pounds (2 kids) I frequently add another 50 pound ("can I bring my friend, dad?") kid or 150 pounds of beer or several hundred pounds of rocks or groceries.
I can manage hauling the kids in the trailer (although they are pretty squished) but the CETMA is easier and about 20% faster uphill and a lot faster downhill.
I would avoid carrying more than about 150 pounds in my trailer - even though I could probably manage.
I have also carried things like lumber on the CETMA which don't fit on my trailer.
I will sometimes ride the CETMA when I don't have cargo, but I never haul a trailer if I am not using it.
Like Vik, I would figure out how to live if my cargo bike ceased to exist.
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Old 12-09-10, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
vik, I guess your Big Dummy is versatile because it's light enough to use as a regular bike. I can't imagine using a Cetma or Worksman when I didn't have cargo.

vik, how big are you? I'm 180 lbs. I wonder what the practical limit for balancing two wheels is.
Ya the CETMA is a full on cargo rig that I wouldn't ride just for laughs - although it rides fine, but I have other lighter more nimble bikes if I am out for just a light commute or social ride.

Even with the Big Dummy I wouldn't do a 160km ride with it just in case I decided mid-ride to grab some cat litter on the way home.

When I only had a trailer I didn't ride with it empty just in case either. I ride my Dummy empty quite a lot by comparison for in town rides.

I weigh 165-175lbs depending what's been going on.
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Old 12-09-10, 09:33 AM
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One reason why I keep a trailer is that I can turn my GF's bike or a friend's bike into a hauler easily if needed. OTOH I've had that idea for 5 years and the occasion has never materialized. It's usually just easier for me to pile everything on my cargo bike and carry for the group...better exercise as well!
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Old 12-09-10, 11:41 AM
  #11  
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If I am allowed to count my gut: I'm carrying waaaaaay too much weight with my bicycle.
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Old 12-09-10, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I think I've been towing up to about 50 pounds going to the supermarket or pet shop.

I'm currently using a kiddie trailer because the price was right. It works for me very well, except when my loads are large, such as bicycles. I've taken up to two bikes in the trailer, but most of the weight ends up outside the trailer, so it generates a pushing and pulling oscillation. Maybe one day I'll buy or build a flatbed trailer.

I'm really impressed with how easy it is to tow a trailer. I barely feel any increased effort. I live on the top of a hill, and my bike doesn't have very low gears. The lowest gear is a 42t chainring and a 32t sprocket. I have 27" wheels, so that works out to a 35" gear.

I saw the debate in the thread about CETMA, and I can't imagine how a bike with cargo on it would handle any better than a bike with a trailer. I'm not saying a cargo bike is a mistake! I'm saying that no one solution is perfect for everyone.

I hope qmsdc51 responds, because I see him pulling some pretty big loads!
I have had that 'push/pull' thing with my cargo trailer, which uses a flexible 'sidewinder' hitch connection. My touring trailer with a seat post mount has no such 'issues'. Have not done any hard-core hauling, but expect to carry in the range of 50-60 pounds of gear on long self-contained tours. With me/bike/trailer/gear, that will be about 300# total.
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Old 12-09-10, 06:49 PM
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I don't have pictures, but I have taken my mom shopping twice, at a local store. She hopped on the back of the extracycle, I pedaled about 2 miles to the store. Bought two full bags oh' groceries, including a 6 pack oh' beer, half gallon of milk and fruits. She is about 140lbs, a wild guess at the grocery weight would be 35lbs, maybe 40lbs.

So I had up to 180lbs in cargo on the Trekxtracycle. I'm 185lbs.

I have also done a few 'move by bike' moves with this bike.




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Old 12-09-10, 11:38 PM
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I've now carried 110lbs on my Globe Live - 45 in the front basket, 65 on the rear rack. That's up near capacity, but the rear rack could carry another 25lbs. The Live is a normal bicycle for the most part. It has a dedicated heavier duty front basket and is geometry adjusted for a front load, but it isn't a serious "cargo bike"

Most days, the load is simply food, a lock, some gloves and a few fire spinning toys. I keep one very small pannier on the rear rack, and have an extra long strap woven over the basket. The weight on the bike is very low, but its ready to carry quite a bit.

Had an Xtracycle in the past:



At the start of this 2 month tour, I ended up taking my own gear, most of someone else's, and this trailer loaded with food and cooking gear for a dozen people. Both the Xtracycle and the trailer were slightly beyond max. capacity

Aside from that, I would rarely *fully* utilize the Xtracycle in a way that I couldn't use my current lighter, smaller bike. There was the odd run to pick up some big items like a pair of Raleigh 20s or a lawnmower, but it was a rare event.

Personally, I've found my happy place - a bike that has a high capacity rear rack and a large front platform can carry most any day to day item you could want, and is barely any bigger or heavier than a normal bike.

I did love the Xtracycle though, it was fun to ride and served as the bike of choice 90% of the time - no planning needed. Ride it for fun, and if you need the cargo space, it's there!

We had a trailer for a year. I think someone used it once? It mostly sat around getting rusty. It was one of those single wheeled Bob trailers. I didn't like having to plan around it, and in an apartment now it would totally suck to deal with getting it up and down the elevators and out the double doors.
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Old 12-10-10, 12:13 AM
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I carried a box today that weighed about three pounds. When I picked it up the receptionist said with an icy edge to her voice "I told them it was a box!" I assured her that I specialized in oversized loads and everything would be fine!

Most of my loads could be carried on a rear rack.
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Old 12-10-10, 01:28 PM
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I think my heaviest loads have been around 250 lbs on an Xtracycle, though that has never been a common occurrence. My biggest loads have been multiple bikes: [IMG]file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/vkleitz/My%20Documents/My%[/IMG] My man Aaron has me beat, though he does use electric assist. Most recently, he put a pasenger on top of firewood: That is nowhere near his heaviest load, but it was fun.
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Old 12-10-10, 05:26 PM
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My biggest load today was seven boxes, about 250 lbs.
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Old 12-10-10, 10:07 PM
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On my homemade longtail, the two biggest loads so far were about 300 lbs of scrap metal for bike building and about 200 lbs of compost (topsoil) from a dig-it-yourself sale. On my trailer this past summer, maybe 400-450 lbs of metal pipe from the scrap dealer for building an 8-seat recumbent power generator. My last trailer load was about 150 lbs of recumbent bikes and tools for a community fair display.

:)ensen.
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Old 12-11-10, 03:33 AM
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My heaviest loads so far have been in the 200 lbs range. Usually anything I haul on my trailer is limited to 80 lbs for being able to navigate the many steep hills in my area. Our city is comparable to San Fran for being on a hill (just smaller in scale).

In this paticular load I had an extra bale of papers in my pannier to help counter balance the effects of the tow arm. For the ride to the recycle center, I can appreciate why B@W trailers have such beefy tow arms. The flex was brutal on bumps.
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Old 12-11-10, 08:02 AM
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Interesting idea to counterbalance the weight at the hitch with a full pannier on the other side. Ideally the load should be balanced over the trailer axle, but that is not always possible. You could probably extend the bed of your trailer fairly easily by replacing the wooden floor with a bigger piece of wood.
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Old 12-12-10, 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by qmsdc15 View Post
Interesting idea to counterbalance the weight at the hitch with a full pannier on the other side. Ideally the load should be balanced over the trailer axle, but that is not always possible. You could probably extend the bed of your trailer fairly easily by replacing the wooden floor with a bigger piece of wood.
That's something I've had in mind later on when the finished maple deck that came with the trailer wears down. The trailer is a Carry Freedom Large Y-frame.
The counter balance was more for the reason that 80% of my trip was downhill so the load would have been shifted more to the bike than normal. I do try to balance it the best I can when loading.

Edit* Eventually I'm hoping to get a B@W trailer for the really big loads. My current trailer feels like the tow arm flex's quite a bit when it's heavily loaded.

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Old 12-16-10, 09:59 AM
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Well, I've learned a lot here. I got answers to questions I didn't know I had. Thanks!
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Old 12-16-10, 10:05 AM
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While on tour.. About 35 pounds.. When on trips to the grocery store- usually about 20 pounds.
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Old 12-16-10, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Well, I've learned a lot here. I got answers to questions I didn't know I had. Thanks!
I forgot to answer your question, although you specifically asked me to reply. Sorry. BikesAtWork trailers are rated for 300 lbs. The heaviest load I've pulled exceeded that by about 100 lbs. 10 blocks, level ground.

I really felt the push/pull you mentioned when I went over little dips and rises hauling that big load. It's not because your load extended beyond your trailer that you felt it, it's the weight that causes that.

Going over little dips and rises in the road causes your bike to lag and surge even without a trailer attached, but you don't notice because you are used to it and anticipate it.
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Old 12-16-10, 07:36 PM
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Right, but with most of the weight outside and behind the trailer, it acts as a lever on the trailer, exerting more force than it would exert if it were right over the axle.
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