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Bike trailer recommendations? Safety?

(11 Posts)
spewgloriousspew Wed 16-May-12 20:57:48

I currently have a weeride Kangaroo bike seat for my one year old, which I absolutely love. However, it does mean that I'm very limited with the amount of gubbins I can lug around (no baskets as he's on the front and wouldn't be able to get on bike with on the back, and not a fan of panniers).

So, I'm looking to get a trailer so that I can have a bit more flexibility.

However, I've always been a bit put off them, what with them being at car-wheel level and behind me, so I can't see my son. Could someone please reassure me about the safety aspect? I bike off-road when I can, but unfortunately (even here in Oxford) a lot of the bike lanes are on busy roads where buses hurtle along. There's also a very dubious bridge to negotiate...

I'd like a trailer that can also be used as a buggy and carries two children as we're planning on having a second quite soon.

Any recommendations?

UniS Wed 16-May-12 21:50:46

Chariot CTS trailers. with stroller wheels and bike hitch.

www.chariot.eu/sicherheit/

www.chariot.eu/modelle/cts-sets/

We had one for DS age 6months - 4 years. Was fantastic , best bit of kit we bought. Had lots of use, easy to ride with. The single child one fits through a single door. TEh stroller wheels are great as they travel bolted onto the trailer and a are very quick and easy to deploy before you unhitch from bike and walk away.

DS napped his way round Brittany in the trailer age 14 months on a camping trip , travelled to Childminders then nursery in it age 10m-2y, to preschool age 3 and in its last days it was our only pushchair. It went on to another family member and their DD loves it too and goes to nursery by trailer.

spewgloriousspew Thu 17-May-12 10:51:03

Thanks, but bloody hell those are pricey! Might have to have a peek on ebay and gumtree.

FredFredGeorge Thu 17-May-12 12:02:01

We spent awhile watching ebay etc. for them, and the price was generally very high - we were barely getting any discount on the new price for something that was often pretty used. So we ended up buying a Burley Bee - it only works as a trailer (the Honey Bee will take a Jogger kit but costs more) it was only 185 quid with various discounts on Wiggle, and even without the hassle of collection on ebay we couldn't go cheaper.

We don't walk with the trailer ever, it's just on the back of bikes, and have a seperate running buggy (Baby Jogger Performance) for when we want to do that. I'm very happy with the Bee. Cars give you a very wide berth with the trailer on the back, and I'm pretty happy and confident with DD in it - however we do only ride to the local park and ride around the road in there - which is very busy but only has a 20mph speed limit, although bikes tend to break that.

ragged Thu 17-May-12 12:16:53

If you're that keen a cyclist you'll get your money back on the investment, Wike, Burleigh, Dolphin, all sorts, that convert nicely to buggies. Definitely look on Ebay.

Conversion to buggy is never all that great, anyway, I found (we have a Chariot, btw).

Sorry to be graphic, but I had the same concerns 11 yrs ago & concluded all this:

Trailers are small & lightweight. Unless they are hit by something large with high ground clearance (think landrover with bullbars, or Artic) then upon impact they will fly up in the air. So what you want is that the trailer comes with a good belt system for restraint & is sound enough structurally to take being flung about a bit without collapsing in on itself (there's not much you can do about the damage from impact and being crushed under a high clearance/large truck, but that applies if you drive a micra or mini, too).

Most trailers will take the impact well enough, the lightweight ones (like Chariot) are engineered to be strong, and the heavy cheap ones are made of steel, plus they won't get flung that far. So the quality of belts is the main thing to examine, look for 5 point harness ideally.

The trailer manufacturers also advise that children wear helmets while riding inside the trailer itself, which I found impractical, but ymmv.

Of course best tactic is to have a big flag for visibility (I sometimes remember mine) & your wits around you so you avoid trouble in first place. Since the trailer is attached to your bike you'll get flung about, too, after possible impact.

You falling off while towing is only bad in that it's quite embarrassing, your kids will simply look on comfortably, probably in bemusement.

We've been towing trailers for over a decade, different parts of UK, & never had one even bumped by any motor vehicles (only fallen myself a handful of times, too, and never because of motor vehicles, either).

There are other guidelines, I wish we had gone for solid rather than fabric bottom, and better waterproofing.

BlueChampagne Thu 17-May-12 13:15:09

My bog standard Halfords double trailer did just over 1000 miles last summer. Didn't want to spend too much as DS1 will grow out of it by the end of this summer. Cycle training (try council, Outspoken or Sustrans) will give you useful tips and safety reassurance.

spewgloriousspew Thu 17-May-12 13:22:25

Thanks all.

ragged, that's all really useful information. Thank you so much for taking the time to write all that.

I've not heard of many brands, mainly the Chariots, so all these suggestions are great smile.

I would like to use it as a buggy when in town, so that's an important factor for me.

Thanks again.

UniS Thu 17-May-12 19:32:49

MY single child chariot did work well for me as a buggy- dreadful on the bus tho, so not practical as an ONLY buggy unless you never catch the bus.

We picked ours up on e-bay, 90 quid with jogger wheel, then bought the stroller wheels new for an additional 50 quid.

DH skidded his bike on black ice with trailer attached one day ( traffic free cycle path) trailer stayed upright, DH lost skin on elbow and knee.

Car drivers gave us a wider berth when I was towing the trailer than they do now when DS and I are on the tandem.

CardiCorgi Fri 18-May-12 09:25:37

We have a chariot. Expensive, yes, but we reckoned we would get a bit of the money back if we ebay it when we no longer need it. I like the jogger wheel as well - no storage space here for an extra jogger, we've also used it for inline skating and tried out the ski set.

One thing we were told is that we shouldn't use a helmet on a baby is it would put its head in an awkward position, but we do have the extra seat support which has a padded head rest. I'm not necessarily saying that no helmet is the way to go, but it's something else to think about.

spewgloriousspew Fri 18-May-12 12:31:05

I will probably get a Chariot. Is it easy enough to attach the wheels to turn it into a buggy?

I've also seen a Croozer, which looks quite good. Does anyone have one of those?

Good tip about the helmet, CardiCorgi. I would have automatically assumed that helmets were needed in a trailer, so will look into that further.

ragged Fri 18-May-12 13:44:50

Chariot attaches via a bracket on the quick release skewer; problem is getting hold of long enough skewer; Chariot gives you one but I am not sure if you can order them separately if you want spares or one buckles, etc. Not sure I'm explaining well; do look closely.

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