Info on bike trailers (for kids)
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  1. #1
    pmf
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    Info on bike trailers (for kids)

    I've been experiencing the joys of fatherhood for the last nine months. Its taken a big bite out of my riding time (and my sleeping time, and my sex life, and ...). I'm considering a bike trailer. The boy is 9 months, so he'll be ready for one by the time the weather warms up.

    The Burley Delite is the model I'm considering. A bit expensive, but I hear its nice. With the 20% off sale at Performance this weekend, now seems like the time. Any comments on trailers? Do they take all the fun out of riding (i.e., are they worth buying)? Even though I have one kid, I've heard that the two kid models are better.

    Any opinions are appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Burley

    1st off congrats, pops! I have 2 little boys (17m & 3 1/2) & it's the best. Don't feel bad about missing rides, they are only young once.

    For trailers:
    My buddies swore by the Burley - they both even put them on their respective roofs with no damage to the kids inside. I've towed them as well and it's a good workout - doesn't take the fun out of it or anything.

    I considered Cycletote (I think that was it) but my wife said "no way, no how" to the whole trailer issue, but she's the protective sort & we live & ride in one of the most densley populated areas of the country.

    For a few years there, my riding was nearly exclusively night mtn bike rides. That's how I managed it during the early years. Now I commute 50 mi to work 1 day/week & MAYBE get out for 4 hours on the weekend.

    N joy

    - Chris

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf
    I've been experiencing the joys of fatherhood for the last nine months. Its taken a big bite out of my riding time (and my sleeping time, and my sex life, and ...). I'm considering a bike trailer. The boy is 9 months, so he'll be ready for one by the time the weather warms up.

    The Burley Delite is the model I'm considering. A bit expensive, but I hear its nice. With the 20% off sale at Performance this weekend, now seems like the time. Any comments on trailers? Do they take all the fun out of riding (i.e., are they worth buying)? Even though I have one kid, I've heard that the two kid models are better.

    Any opinions are appreciated. Thanks.
    I have an older Burly model and it's great. It's much safer than a seat mounted on the bike and much more comfortable for the kid. On the other hand, it acts like a big parachute behind you so don't expect to get your speed up too high. They are expensive so before buying a new one, I'd check the local classifieds. Here in Southern California, there are always several available on recycler.com for a fraction of their cost new. I got mine for under a hundred.

  4. #4
    Cipo's long lost cousin
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    Trailers are fine....

    I have an older Burley Bravo and enjoy towing the kid around. I used to work part time in a shop and, of the units I dealt with, Burley and Yakima seemed to be the best designed.

    You probably won't spend much time in the big ring with a trailer but given a choice of cycling with the kid or watching "Finding Nemo" for the Zillionth time they are a good thing to have.... I usually load up the kid and the diaper bag and ride to a nearby park. The kid hits the playground and I enjoy a Powerbar. I've even had +30 mile days towing the trailer. Sometimes my daughter just falls asleep so I keep on riding...

    Here she is wondering why Dad didn't go Campy on the cross bike...
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  5. #5
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    Question How soon...

    ...did you guys feel comfortable with towing your kid's around. My son just turned 2 months yesterday (too soon, I know), but I'm anxious as all hell to get back on the saddle. I can't wait to combine my two "loves".

  6. #6
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    You should check...

    ...two sources. First, check your state's law on this as some states have a law on when a child can be "towed." Second, check with your pediatrician. Personally, my son just turned 2-years-old and I will be getting a trailer soon. I have not felt comfortable up to this point as there are a number of variables to take into account, especially the "rattling" around that can occur over a 20-30 mile ride and the weight of the helmet.

  7. #7
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    They have pros and cons...

    Quote Originally Posted by pmf

    The Burley Delite is the model I'm considering. A bit expensive, but I hear its nice. With the 20% off sale at Performance this weekend, now seems like the time. Any comments on trailers? Do they take all the fun out of riding (i.e., are they worth buying)? Even though I have one kid, I've heard that the two kid models are better.
    I've done a couple ride reports involving my trailer. Earlier this week: http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=3277

    They are nice to have but are also super expensive. I have the Burley Solo. I haven't used mine nearly as much as I thought I would. It is top notch in features and construction. My only complaint involves the seat belts. Although they hold the child safely, they don't offer much support. Even my 20 month old slumps into a strange position within minutes.

    I use mine only for dedicated trips with the kids. The idea of taking your kids with you on a training ride isn't gonna work. The attention span of a small child is so short you will need something to break up any trip. I take them for ice cream, lunch, or to the park. We go to watch the Mem. Day Parade with it every year.

    Unfortunately, mine has collected more dust than miles. In hindsight, I probably would have spent the money elsewhere. I have two kids 4.5 and 1.5 yo and I've only used the trailer 20 or so times. I'm already contemplating a trail-a-bike for my older one. She's getting ready to move on.
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  8. #8
    djg
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    Trailers are good, once the child is old enough.

    We've gotten very good use out of an inexpensive Bell trailer that we bought at costco. It's extremely similar to some of the Burleys that I checked out. 9 months seems pretty young to me, but once the child is big enough and the pediatrician gives a thumbs up, it's a nice way to get out and do something and get some miles. A couple of caveats:

    1) I was never comfortable riding in traffic with a trailer--cars have a hard enough time seeing bicycles, let alone low-to-the-ground bike trailers so we've strictly done bike trail/muts use.

    2) Most kids don't really want to sit in there all day--it's' a nice way to spend an hour and yes, you can do a bit of work if there are hills in there, but I wouldn't look for any epic rides.

    3) Finding Nemo isn't so bad--certainly not compared to some of the options.

  9. #9
    pmf
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    Thanks for the replies. I was thinking of doing it this summer when he's a year or more (He's a year on June 24). At his present age, I don't think he'd like it unless it put him to sleep. I've got a paved bike trail one mile from my house (live in the VA suburbs of DC).

    Looking for a used one might not be a bad idea. There's so much junk you buy for a kid and only about half of it ends up getting any use.

    Maybe the money would be better spent on a babysitter. My wife and I used to ride together all the time. We did the Reston century the day before we got married and then did a bike tour in Tuscany for our honeymoon. I kinda miss it.

  10. #10
    djg
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    Same burbs, same MUTS.

    Our Costco Bell came from the Pentagon City costco. Whether you'd be better off with a sitter depends on what you're looking for. If you want to do really long rides or hard core training, the trailer is very unlikely to fit the bill. You either need a sitter or--more economically still--an agreement about taking turns. OTOH, riding with the kid and the trailer is a nice thing to do outside with the child for a few years and it does give you extra opportunities to get out and turn the pedals without a sitter. Our trailer--with decent spoked wheels, a wrap-around al frame, twin 5-point harnesses, decent ventillation, and a good clamp (works well, doesn't mar the frame) cost about 150 bucks. That's much cheaper than some and not all that much sitter time. You can also check out bulletin boards around town, Potomac Pedalers newsletter, etc.--these things are offered for sale used all the time.

    I wasn't trying to be discouraging. I'm really glad we bought our trailer. It has been up and down the W&OD, Capital Crescent, and Mt. Vernon trails many times and we and our (now eldest rather than only) daughter have had a lot of fun with it. Whether it fits your bill just depends on your expectations.

  11. #11
    Cipo's long lost cousin
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    One other thought

    Quote Originally Posted by pmf
    Thanks for the replies. I was thinking of doing it this summer when he's a year or more (He's a year on June 24). At his present age, I don't think he'd like it unless it put him to sleep. I've got a paved bike trail one mile from my house (live in the VA suburbs of DC).

    Looking for a used one might not be a bad idea. There's so much junk you buy for a kid and only about half of it ends up getting any use.

    Maybe the money would be better spent on a babysitter. My wife and I used to ride together all the time. We did the Reston century the day before we got married and then did a bike tour in Tuscany for our honeymoon. I kinda miss it.
    I'm not sure what kind of bike you plan on using with the Burley but that should also be considered. I don't think you'd want to pull a trailer with a carbon-stayed frame or any super-lightweight bike. My new Ti road bike has some pretty big chainstays compared to my old steel frame bike and the Burley can be really tough to take on and off...
    "Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand." -- Jim Burlant

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf
    Maybe the money would be better spent on a babysitter. My wife and I used to ride together all the time. I kinda miss it.
    But then your kid would miss out on getting some fresh air and (hopefully) developing some enthusiasm for two-wheeled riding. There's no reason that you and your wife can't ride together if your son is in the trailer.

    Just bring lots of snacks and plan for frequent breaks, unless you get lucky and your son happens to fall asleep in the trailer that day.

    I too am pretty wary of riding with a bike trailer in traffic. I mostly ride on bike paths, closed roads or side roads when I have my younger daughter in tow. Another advantage of having your wide ride with you is that she can take up the rear and watch for any traffic, which might broaden your horizons as far as where you can ride.

  13. #13
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    Lightbulb Good points

    I thought about the helmet weight, but didn't think about the rattling.

    Thanks.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by wongsifu_mk
    ...did you guys feel comfortable with towing your kid's around. My son just turned 2 months yesterday (too soon, I know), but I'm anxious as all hell to get back on the saddle. I can't wait to combine my two "loves".
    That's the one drawback of a trailer: the seat's not contoured to hold the kid upright like a back-of-the-bike seat is. With a very small child, you need to worry about them falling over to the side (especially on turns) and being able to keep his or her head up while wearing a helmet. I started my boy at about 16 months but his older sister (5yo) was in the trailer to help him. Now he's 22 months and he's fine by himself. (The five year old is getting a trail-gator.)

  15. #15
    Striker
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    Consider a baby seat instead?

    I opted for the Topeak babyseat on my hardtail mountain bike. It was cheaper than a trailer and seems easier to use. I put my daughter in it on her first birthday and have been riding regularly with her since. She absolutely loves it even now at age 3. I've never used a trailer, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. But my decision to use a baby seat was based on:

    Pros:
    seat is cheaper
    easier to transport in the car
    I wanted her to feel like riding and see more (my friend has a trailer and his kid is always asking to see)
    She pats my back and yells' "faster daddy!".

    Cons:
    Doesn't fit my carbon Look
    can't haul as much stuff
    can be a little tipsy trying to dismount and mount the bicycle. We have fallen once. She cried but I quickly demonstrated that falling was COOL.

    It takes some getting used to with the extra weight out back, but with the seat on my old hardtail MTB, I can take her almost anywhere and routinely do 15-20 mile loops through neighborhoods. She has even fallen asleep in it!

    I suspect I will only get another 7-8 months out of it before she grows out of it for good. At that point, I'm considering a trail-along type bike that hitchs to my seatpost.

    Whatever you decide, you are in for some of the best riding in your life.

    Good luck,

    Tim
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  16. #16
    Striker
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    another

    can't resist posting another one, sorry
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  17. #17
    Nat
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    Tipping over

    Our daughter also used to tip over in the back of our Burley D'Lite. We used pillows on either side to bolster her up, which worked out lnicely when she fell asleep.

    Quote Originally Posted by lc21998
    That's the one drawback of a trailer: the seat's not contoured to hold the kid upright like a back-of-the-bike seat is. With a very small child, you need to worry about them falling over to the side (especially on turns) and being able to keep his or her head up while wearing a helmet. I started my boy at about 16 months but his older sister (5yo) was in the trailer to help him. Now he's 22 months and he's fine by himself. (The five year old is getting a trail-gator.)

  18. #18
    pmf
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve-O
    I'm not sure what kind of bike you plan on using with the Burley but that should also be considered. I don't think you'd want to pull a trailer with a carbon-stayed frame or any super-lightweight bike. My new Ti road bike has some pretty big chainstays compared to my old steel frame bike and the Burley can be really tough to take on and off...
    It would go on my Litespeed Ultimate. Its an all titanium version with curved seat stays. My other two bikes are carbon fiber. Then again, this could be a good excuse to buy a cross bike. If I had any money that is. We're shucking out $2,000 a month on daycare.

  19. #19
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    Bike Trailers

    My wife and I used our Burley starting at about 7 months. Short rides on the Chicago Lakeshore bicycle path were a great start. I feel that your kid's development will decide how soon they can use a trailer. We would use pillows on each side of my son while he was in the trailer and have experienced absolutely no problems. He certainly dug the lakefront path in Toronto when we were in Canada for the World's in October. Head control and neck strength are certainly the key but usually that's a parent's call. I'd rate myself about a 9.0 on the uptight parent scale and the Burley gave me no worries.
    The wheels are nice and easy to remove, the construction seems very tight and the hitch onto the bike has eased my fears of the bike falling over. Perhaps they are not for everyone but my wife and I are very glad we have one.

  20. #20
    In Blue America
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    Handles like a Winnebago

    It's a different kind of riding, that's for sure. I live on a hill, so when I ride home and stand to climb I get a rythmic, bouncing feeling from the Burley behind me. The trailer has warnings all over it about not going over 14 mph or something. I'm not trying to burn up the road out there, but on a downhill I do get a bit nervous at anything higher than 20 mph. No reason to be nervous, but I just am.

    My daughter loves it, and it's a good way to spend some time with my kid and get exercise, but not a way to train.
    Have fun!

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