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9.9 Bicycle Trailers




Description

This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.

9.9 Bicycle Trailers

As requested:

Here is a summary file on bicycle trailers. I've appended two files
that I recieved, there may be some duplication. (Sorry, no time to
edit....:() As Tom Arneberg (first file) mentions, printing it out
then highlighting things was the route that I took as well. The
first file discusses different options, costs, tests ect. The second
file gets into trailer vs. bike mounted carrier. It is an interesting
discussion from someone who has used both.... Also, there are alot
of suggestions as to riding with kids.

Overall, I think that the Burley/Equinox is the better trailer, though
my boss swears by the Cannondale Bugger.. :-) This is a HUGE summary,
thanks to those that kept it, and passed it on, the credit goes to you!

Good luck

Mary Jo

***********************************************************************


Brian
I posted the same question last fall, and received
quite a few replies, and some summarys from other people.
If you are interested in them, let me know. It will
probably take to seperate letters to send them, due to
the size.
I have a 1 week old son now, so it will be a few months
before I buy a trailer. I plan on buying a Burley with
most of the options - alloy wheels, side windows, rain
cover, etc. I like the Burley, since I can see into the
trailer while I'm pedaling. As far as rocks being thrown
into the trailer, everyone I've talked to said they didn't
have any problems. I also like the way that the Burley
attaches to the bike. I attaches to the left chainstay
with a simple clamp. The connection point is a large
spring, and this absorbs most of the trailer movement.

Good luck,
Michael Tanner




Saturday the weather in my part of Colorado was good enough that my
wife and I were able to drag the family out for the first major bike
ride of the year. We're using a Burley trailer to haul the offspring
(one three years old and the other 11 months) and following are some
hints on "trailering technique" that I thought I'd pass on:

- This is the first season that we're hauling both girls in
the trailer, and a short test ride showed that the sling seat
tends to take on a 'V' shape and mash the girls together in the
middle. I cut a 9"x20" piece of 1/4" tempered pressboard and
tied that on to the top of the seat. The pressboard is stiff
enough to keep the seat pretty much flat but still has enough
give to be comfortable.

- Things went along pretty smoothly til my older daughter went to
sleep and fell over onto her little sister. Short of tying her
to the side of the trailer there was no way to keep her upright,
so we unhooked the top of the seatback and let her lie back into
the cargo compartment. Rearranging the jackets/blankets/etc
made a pretty good bed, allowing both to sleep on the way home.

- We've got the "sun-shade" for the trailer, but it's more for
keeping the kids in than the sun out. We bring along a receiving
blanket to slip in under the sun-shade for additional protection.
It's a bit of a pain in that we have to stop and readjust it
periodically, but it does keep the kids from getting fried.

- Last summer our younger daughter was too small to sit up, so
we picked up a second infant seat (rear facing) and lashed it
to the floor of the trailer. The combination of the seat and
the trailer kept her well supported and protected and made a
summer of biking possible for the rest of the family.

If anyone else has any hints for trailering/touring with a family I'd be
interested in hearing them. We're semi-seriously considering a three week
tour of France next spring and plan on doing some local touring this summer
in preparation. Thanks.
--
Ronald C. Hood U S WEST Advanced Technologies
hood@uswest.com Englewood, Colorado
{boulder,sunpeaks,amdahl}!uswat!hood


*************************************************************************


We've owned a Burley Light now for a couple of months. Here
in Roseville (near Sacramento, Ca), we can use it almost
year-round! My wife and I are NOT serious bicyclists; we
just use the trailer for putzing around the neighborhood.
We pull it with a tandem, by the way, and the hitch mechanism
works without modification.

We've got 1-year old twins, and we've had problems with them
falling together in a heap when they fall asleep. The basic
problem is that the V shoulder belt isn't worth a damn for
two kids. The Burley propoganda says to put it over each
kid's inside shoulder. Don't believe it.

We bought a "double crotch kit" (you'd think they'd come up
with a better name...) from Burley for ~$9.00. This didn't
help much, but we managed to use the parts from this kit
to make a pretty nifty strap setup that has double crotch
belts and double V shoulder straps, all coming together at
the lap belt. All that's required (besides the kit) is a
few feet of extra strapping. Best of all - NO SEWING!!!
The setup looks like this:


    *            | C          *
     \ A         O           / A
     \-\        / \        /-/
       \     B /   \       /
        \     /     \     /
         \   /       \   /
          \ /         \ /
  -------- O --------- O --------D
           |F          |F
          |X|         |X|
           |           |
           | E         | E
           |           |


A: Existing V belt anchors
B: New V belt (we used anchor belt from kit plus a piece
of the old V belt)
C: New loop anchored to center of roll bar with #6 screw
D: Existing lap belt
E: Crotch straps from kit
F: Crotch strap mating loops from kit (the ones that go over
the lap belt when kit is installed acc'ing to instructions).

Note: The anchor belt for the crotch straps is not shown (it's hard
enough to do 2D!)

We're considering trying to add some sort of handle to the roll bar
or rear frame so that we can use the trailer as a stroller (albeit
a crude one). Has anyone tried this?

Does anyone know if there's some trick to working the buckles
so that you don't need Arnold Schwartenegger to open them?

The pressboard "bench seat" idea sounds like a good one.
Maybe we'll try that.

I have an Equinox. It is very simular to the Burley. They both fasten
to the back wheel. (The original design was done be the same person.)
They are both made in Cottage Grove, OR.

I got it because I could pick my two children up at the sitters. I liked
the design that fastened at the wheel. You can turn the bike over without
dumping the trailer. I think it would be more stable breaking on a down
hill. (I haven't tried one that mounts at the seat, so I can't say for
sure.) I have used it for picking up children and carring groceries.
It has held up fine. (Oh, yea) It also has a rain cover that can be used
when the children are riding in it (very important in OR in the winter).

I picked the Equinox over the Burley because one of the dealers had it
in stock when I finally made the decision to buy. Both have been refined
since I bought. (Both my children are too big to ride in there now. We
have loaned it to some friends.) But, I feel the basic design is good.

I will check to see if I still have the address somewhere. But, it's a
small town, information should have no problem locating it.


*************************************************************************


I didn't think the Bugger provided much more protection than the jump seat.
The way it was fastened (this could of been fixed since I looked) it
would have tipped if the bike did. The children weren't enclosed so hands
and heads could be outside the protected area.

Here is the check list I used when I selected a trailer. (The Burley
and Equinox are the same basic design, so I grouped them together. I'm
sure someone from Burley or Equinox wouldn't.)

                Burley/Equinox          Blue Sky        Bugger
                ---------------         -------------   ---------
Children's area         yes             yes             no
enclosed
  
Carry children          yes             yes             no
& stuff
 
Carry children          yes             yes             no
with rain cover on
 
Where fasten to         near wheel      near seat       near seat
bike
 
Would laying the        no              yes             yes
bike down tip the
trailer

The Blue Sky would carry the most weight. But, I don't remember the
figures now.

Disclamers: I don't work for any of the above companies. Designs are
always being improved, so some of the limitations may have changed.
But, the changes are easy to check. These are opinions are my fault, so
don't blame anyone else for them.
----
--
Rick Clements (RickC@pogo.WV.TEK.COM)


*************************************************************************

As an owner of a Bugger, I have to disagree about several of the
specifications listed:

1) It will allow the bike to lay down while remaining upright.
2) The rain cover works quite well with children.


I have been happy with it, but have not looked seriously at other
brands.


------

I don't know if Ilya was the original poster, my apologies if this is
wrongly attibuted.

I have a Burley trailer and recommend it strongly. My son is 31 pounds
and I cannot _STAND_ the feeling his weight makes in a child seat. It is
too dangerous and unstable. The trailer is a feeling like going up a
very slight uphill, and it feels stable. I am able to reach about 21 MPH
on the flat with it, and able to maintain 13 - 14 MPH for distances.

I know there are slightly cheaper trailers but I believe Burley is the
most highly recommended by others.

I've seen others touring with the Burley trailer and I _guess_ (don't
know from experience) that it would be nicer than touring with panniers.
I've put on a few thousand miles heavy touring (cooking & tent camping)
and sometimes the sluggish feel of the bike is really a drag. I know the
trailer would handle better than the bags. So, there are uses for the
trailer beyond just carrying you child. You can use the trailer up to a
weight limit of 65 pounds or something like that. I've also seen
no-car-people (yes, there are some, even in California) use the Burley
for groceries.



*************************************************************************

We found that the Burley worked VERY well. It also will accomodate many
infant car seats (we used the Dynomite). Good luck!

A couple of updates:

After 6 months of nearly daily usage (often twice a day), this
strap arrangement is still working fine. We did eventually
tie the two middle sections of the v's together to lower the
anchor point and make it more comfortable for our (small)
children.

The godzilla-buckles have mellowed with age. I can now work
them easily, my wife with a little more difficulty, the
kids not at all (that's probably the reason they make 'em so
stiff).

The boys LOVE to go bicycling. I take them out almost every
night, and we end up at the park. I've even figured out how
to strap a couple of lawn chairs onto the thing, so I don't
have to sit in the sand.

Paul (another happy Burley owner) Zimmer

*************************************************************************

We have the "Bugger 4" by Cannondale. We purchased it last summer when
we only had one tyke to contend with; we've since added a second, and BOTH
love it! The eldest will walk over to it, ask us whether we can have a
bike ride (at n pm at night, natch) and strap himself in...gets quite incensed
when we insist it's too late...
We had a choice between the Burley and the Cannondale. The difference
was about $200 CDN, the Cannondale being the cheaper. The differences:
-the Burley is a bit lighter
- the children ride facing forward in the Burley, backward in the
Cannondale. I liked the rear-facing Cannondale; the children
(IMHO) are better protected, esp. our 8-month-old, as any forces
are distributed over his back rather than in folding him over
the straps. As well, they get to see the panorama of where they've
been (and Mom), rather than Dad's posterior (not that I haven't got
a nice posterior, nnatch )
- one concern I had was about crash safety: the Burley has a special
fitting which attaches to the chainstay, and is a spring fitting
which permits the cart to stay upright if the bike should fall.
From personal experience, the Cannondale's fitting (which attaches
to the seat post) is quite flexible; I can lay my bicycle flat
on the ground (ouch!) without affecting the balance or stance
of the Cannondale.
- the Cannondale seems to me to be able to carry more n addition
to the kids; we've gone shopping with the family before, and
carted the stuff home on the floor of the Cannondale.

*************************************************************************

With so many readers apparently using trailers now I thought I'd pass
on a safety-type observation. This is a "wow I didn't realize that
would happen" warning rather than a fanatical "if you ever do this
you'll surely die" type of thing.

My Burley is tremendously stable. Initially after buying it it felt
more stable than I'd expected (after, of course, having used a rear
kiddie seat) and so I did some testing. I put about 40 lbs of weight
in it and tried doing tight, fast turns; the wheels never lifted.
I also purposefully rode one trailer wheel over a 2 X 4 and some other
stuff like that. Never a problem.

I hadn't thought of S turns. Four years ago I was going through a
parking lot and linked a pair of 90 degree turns, I wasn't going very
fast, just fast enough to where the turn was kind of fun (15 mph?).
The trailer rolled (the good part is that my daughter wasn't hurt in
the least) and I drug it for maybe 15 feet before we stopped.

Partially I thought I this had been a freak occurance; wrong way banking,
braking, 90 degree turns, etc. and didn't worry _that_ much about it.
I have been more careful though.

This past year I've been pulling the trailer a lot again (time off
between trailerable kids) and last week I almost dumped the trailer
again. Pretty much the same story but I was going slower (I mean
I already knew S turns were tricky). This time I did some investigation.

My findings are not strictly scientific mostly because I was unwilling
to actully dump the trailer a bunch of times (it tends to rip the
nylon) and couldn't think of an accurate (and easy) method to record
the angle of lean. Instead my neighbor made subjective judgements of
lean angle. I do have a cateye (for velocity) and we would drew various
"curves" or paths on the street with chalk that I would then attempt
to follow. I used a 40 lb bag of dogfood (hey, it was handy) to simulate
a child.

Basically we discovered that the trailer rolls to the outside of the
first turn - no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get it to roll on
the second turn. And the most critical factors are how quickly you
change the lean of your bike and how "stressful" the first turn was.
By stressful I mean a combination how tight, fast, and long (swept
angle) the turn is. I found that I could take almost any turn as fast
as I wanted as long as I didn't abruptly pitch the bike over the other
way, and I could then pitch the bike back (to complete the S turn) if
I waited until the trailer had "come out of" the first turn.

We were surprised at how slow I could go and still raise a wheel if
I really went from turn to turn quickly. I thought the problem
might be related to the spring which is part of the hitch and thus
left-right S turns would be worse than right-left ones. This didn't
appear to be true. (this doesn't rule out the spring interaction
but does say I didn't theorize correctly) My current theory for the
whole effect is that the trailer trails (amazing, huh?) the bike
throught the turn and thus "feels" the centrifugal effects later
in time. While the trailer is still "leaning" out you change the
balance of the situation by changing the angle of lean of the bicycle.
trailers), I thought I would share my experiences with the
'Kiddie Kart', a low cost trailer.

The trailer is called the 'Kiddie Kart', and is available from
Bike Nashbar. You can call 1-800-NASHBAR to get their latest
catalog. The price is $159.95 for the cart, and my latest catalog
shows accessories now. The Sun canopy for $34.95 and a seat pad
for $22.50. I have also seen it in some bike shops for about $200.

The trailer comes with safety belts for two kids, and has a maximum
load of 100 lbs. (my two kids total about 50 lbs, so I'm safe for
a while). The wheels are 14", which is small, but it seems to ride fine.

I placed my order on May 2nd, 1989 and finally
received a trailer I could try June 5, 1989. The first trailer to
arrive was returned, because UPS damaged it in transit. That was
my first opinion, the box had a large rip in it and parts were
missing, now that I've seen the second one, it really looks like
the manufacturer forgot to pack the missing parts.

It took me about an hour to put the trailer together.
I needed 2 adjustable wrenches, and straight and philips head
screwdrivers. One screw came cross threaded, including an extra
one would have been nice. I had to find one of my own that would
fit. The two wheels had different size nuts on them, and the inner tubes
were 16", not 14" like the tires and wheels, but everything seemed
to fit together well.

I then took the two kids for a short ride around the block. The youngest
loved it (3 1/2), the older was scared, but I think she's not used
to it yet. She didn't mind the bike seat.

The overall quality is not as good as the $300-$400 ones, which was no
surprise. The first real problem was with the attachment to the bike via the
seat post. You can't lie your bike down or fall down with the trailer
attached. If I did fall over, the trailer hitch would bend or it could
possibly tip the trailer. I consider this a serious problem.

There is a good freedom of movement, but it's not a ball
joint. There is a large (approx 3" rubber ring that goes around
the seatpost, and the trailer hitch clamps around this with bolts
and hand nuts (big nuts with plastic handles?). The rubber is
thinner in the middle so the bike can tilt in all directions.
The diagram should give a better idea of the connection.


                   !!!
                   !!!
                   !!!
             |--\  !!!  /--|
     XXXXXXXX|   \ !!! /   |XXXXXXXXXXXX
    X   N   X|    \!!!/    |X    N      X
    X  NNN  X|    |!!!|    |X   NNN      XXXXXXX => to trailer
    X   N   X|    /!!!\    |X    N      X
     XXXXXXXX|   / !!! \   |XXXXXXXXXXXX
             |--/  !!!  \--|
                   !!!
                   !!!
                   !!!

!!! = seat post
XXX = metal trailer clamp
NNN = are the bolts
the rest is the rubber gasket


I was intending to use the trailer with my Trek 520 touring bike
which comes with a Blackburn rear rack. The trailer arms do not
sufficiently clear the rack, brushing it as I turned the bike. I
doubt that I could also put on my panniers for long trips. And,
any irregularities in the road would have the hitch arms hitting the rack.

I finally decided to return the trailer. I had hoped to get much
use of it over the summer with my two children, but I did not feel
that the product was suitable for my use due to the reasons stated
above.

I do wish to say that the remainder of my order arrived quickly and
in perfect shape and that all my previous business with Bike Nashbar
has also been satisfactory.

*************************************************************************


In response I offer a review of the Burley trailer.

We purchased our trailer to haul both our children around with the
tandem I built this summer. The children are both large for their
ages but fit the trailer with a minimum of fuss. Jessica is five,
and Sarah is two. They are a little cramped but seem to enjoy the
ride enough to make up for it. We have hauled the kids, by tandem,
on a forty mile hilly ride. I have hauled them both behind my Bianchi
Axis and Denise's Specialized RockCombo. The trailer tracks well,
doesn't seem to effect handling or steering, and is very visible
to drivers. We have had very good experiences with motorists
while hauling the Burley. No close calls, plenty of road sharing,
and a lot of questions and positive comments. Here is a rundown
of the pros and cons.

Pros.

1) Nice construction and workmanship overall. Wheels came true
out of the box. All bearings were adjusted properly. The sewing
on the fabric seems topnotch. It easly holds over 100 pounds of
kids and stuff.

2) Took about 1 hour to assemble. Instructions were very helpful.

3) Stable handling, on a tandem, up to 50 mph on descents.

4) It's big inside and out. Very visible and roomy. Especially for
one child.

5) Has an excellent retention system (seatbelts and shoulder belts).


Cons:

1) Cost! About $300.00 out the door.

2) Climbing is tougher.

3) Barely fits on a roof rack with one bicycle.

4) It's big! Tough to store in a small place.

Reccommendations that cost extra:

1) Aluminum wheels:  $30.00
2) side windows:     $20.00
3) Sunscreen:        $25.00
4) Rainscreen:       $25.00  ( offerred but I make do with a sheet
                               of plastic under the sunscreen)

There you go. That's about as much as I can think of right now.
Questions? Call me or e-mail.

Donn F Pedro ....................a.k.a. donn@n7kbt.COM
---------------------------------------------------------
"The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades."

Home: 206-271-9340 Work: 800-445-5514


*************************************************************************

With all the very informantive, as well as intelligent, chest bashing going on
in this newsgroup about cars, bikes, and assholes (give it a rest people,
PLEASE!), I thought I would try a novel approach and talk about a subject
that gets very little coverage here, I am, of course, talking about bike
riding, push biking or whatever vernacular you subscribe to. More specificly,
riding with ones family.

We recently purchased a Burley kid trailer to haul our 1 year old twin daughtersaround (yes, they are cute). We debated over kid seats and trailers, with
safety being the number one concern. The relative safety of these two items
have be discussed before here, and need not be repeated. I BELEIVE that a
trailer IS the safest way to carry kids.

We looked at Buggers and Burleys, and chose the Burley based on our impression
of safety, the Burley has a roll bar even though I have not been able to roll
if over yet. In the Burley, the kids face forward. This has several
advantages: 1 - We found in the car, that the kids lasted longer between
initial strap in and all out blood curdling screaming boredom when they faced
forward. (those of you with small kids KNOW this is important). 2 - The kids
are sitting at a level with a direct forward view of the drivetrain. This
should teach them good cadence habits, as well as the importance of not having
to double shift (sorry Fish :-)). 3 - The kids get to view the better side of
Mom and Dad. This should either excite them or make them depressed when they
realize that they are related :-).

The trailer attaches with a very simple, and very innovative coupler at the
meeting of the seat stay, chain stay and rear dropout (was the last one
redundant?). This hitch tightens with a knob requiring no tools and is very
easily installed and removed. No pieces are required to remain on the bike
making the use of the trailer on any bike a snap. The hitch attaches to the
yoke (really only half a yoke) with a heavy duty spring. There is a safety
strap that attaches to the yoke and the hitch. You feed this strap around the
chain stay and it hooks back at the yoke. The spring allows the bike to pivot
as you turn, and you can lay the bike down on the ground (or fall) without
tipping the trailer. The trailer does not restrict your turning radius.

Construction is based on heavy duty aluminum tubing and bright yellow canvans.
There is a trunk in the back that will hold a couple sacks of groceries, or
a "six packer" cooler, blanket, diaper bag, etc. A six foot fiberglass pole
with a bright orange flag is standard. Wheels are 20 inch just like to old
stingrays with banna seats and sissy bars came with. (any body know if you
can get 20 inch tubes with presta stems?)

The harness is made up of a single strap that connects in the upper coners
and snaps at the crotch in the center. This only works for a single kid
sitting in the middle. They do sell a two kid option that provides a lap
belt with two crotch straps.

Options include:
Alloy wheels
Screen cover as opposed to clear plastic
side windows
roof rack carring straps
two kid option

We have all except the roof rack straps and paid approx. $300.

The quality of construction is execelent in my opinion. The only trouble we
had was one of the wheels was slightly out of round. My dealer exchanged
it for another.

We have had it for about 3 weeks and have logged about 125 miles on it. It
tows very easily, suprising so in my opinion. My girls are a little over 20
lbs each and the trailer weighs 13.5 lbs. It has a load capacity of 100 lbs.
I notice it the most going up hills and when ever there is a head wind. Going
downhill does not have much impact although you need a little longer to stop.
Tail winds are great! I use a 42/52 13/32 gearing (the 13/32 I purchased just
for the Hilly Hundred). I use the 32 quite often on hills. Not many hills here
in Illinausea, but a few of them are on my regular kid route. I have found that
I use the lower gears more and as of yet, never made it to the 52 (although
I must be honest and say that I haven't figured out if the 52 will give me
additional gears in the range I use with the Burley).

Most important is that the KIDS LOVE IT! They only complain about their
helmets (Little Bell Shell II's) when they are not in it. What we did discover
is that the kids tend to slide into each other in the middle of the seat
because the seat is canvas (i.e. slick) and attached at the sides. We were
getting territorial squirmishes and solved the problem by taking a bath towel,
rolling it up and placing it between them on the seat. This keeps them about
a couple of inches apart and gives them their own space. A couple of stuffed
animals goes a long way to pacify them.

I have found that drivers are very cautous when passing. Everyone has always
waited until it was clear and have passed with plenty of room. No-one has
honked or passed with very little clearance and I am not saying what I do at
stop signs or lights but I do realize that my cargo is far more precious than
any right of way or interpretation of the law is worth. We get a lot of stares,
comments, and questions (you get used to it with twins anyway). Oh yeah, the
longest ride we have done with it is 20 miles. I felt like I had riden about
35 miles so you can use that to judge.

All in all we have been totally please with it. I like it A LOT, because I
can go for a ride after work and take the kids (READ - I GET TO GO FOR A
RIDE AFTER WORK), My wife likes it because I take the kids off her hands
for a while which gives her a rest (READ - SHE GETS A REST AND I GET TO GO
FOR A RIDE), and we both like it because the family can ride together without
daddy being threatened with a divorce because he is riding way to fast (READ
- MOMMY AND DADDY CAN GO FOR A BIKE RIDE WITHOUT A MAJOR ARGUMENT). My wife
has used it, and comments how easy it is to pull, however, she only has about
50 miles in this year and needs to up that a bit (which she is doing).

I hope this somewhat long article has been informative and a pleasent diversion
from other topics du-jour. I am very interested in hearing any comments from
other people with trailers, both positive and negative. Did anyone chose
a Bugger over a Burley, and why? Anyone in the area want to get together
and do some family riding?

I have not seen the Burley advertized anywhere, however, REI carries an EQUINOX
which appears by the picture to be the same design as the Burley (even the
kid in the picture looks the same), however, the canvas on the EQUINOX appears
lose, whereas the Burley fits taught.

See you down the road!



*************************************************************************


I concur with Bob that child seats are unsafe. There is one more reason
why a kiddie seat is unsafe...the bike is harder to handle.

I am 6'4" and I ride a 65 cm Columbus road frame. I bought a (random
oriental manufacture) baby seat that my favourite bike shop thought was
pretty good and the troubles started when I tried to mount it.

My seat stays had too small a diameter and I couldn't grip them well
(besides I happen to like my stays present profile)

the mouning system was too short to fit a 65cm frameset so it
got reengineered.

Then I put my 2-1/2 year old 35 lb baby gorilla in it rode up the nearest hill
with the following results:

I found it was hard to hold it up and get on due to the added weight
and the high centre of gravity.

It was hard to get on without kicking my son's head off - that would
have irritated my son no end.

At any reasonably sudden stop my son put teeth marks in my carefully
maintained Brooks saddle

The clamps on the seat stays slowly slid down and tried to rape my
Campagnolo rear deraillieur.

I found I no longer knew how to ride a bicycle at all.

I used a roll of foam packing to protect my seat or my son's teeth (depending
on how selfish I felt at the time) and rebuilt the seat so that it was solid
and reliable but that doesn't make it safe too ride. My wife (a very novice
cyclist) wanted me to put it on her bike when I took it off mine - NO WAY!

I think a seat would be safer on a less vertical frame like a clunker or
a mountain bike but I still don't like them. I don't think that the handling
is really the fault of my frame - it isn't very radical.

I have an anecdote in favour of trailers but not in favour of the guy who
owned it. My wife and I were looking trailers in a bike shop (I don't shop
there much because they don't carry tubulars or Campy). The manager said he
was going down a mountain with his two children in a Burley trailer (with
helmets) and he lost control and dumped the trailer into very deep ditch -
upside down. The children were totally unharmed but totally upset.

I do not feel that you should leave your children at home because cycling
is dangerous - a competent cyclist has the statistics in his favour. I
leave mine at home because I don't have $1000.00 to shell out for two
trailers.

The biggest portable child killer is and will remain mom and dad's car.


*************************************************************************

About 10 years ago, we bought one of the original Cannondale Buggers. We
used it for about 6 or 7 years and sold it a few years ago. The more modern
trailers that are now available are much better than the original. Problems
with the Bugger I are:

1. It is "tippy." I cut a corner too tightly and the inside wheel went off
the road pavement and bumped down and then set up an oscillation that
finally tipped the trailer over.

2. The seat post attachment was too solid. My brother-in-law wanted to see
how easy it was to pull and he rode my bike around the block with my son
in the trailer. He pulled into the driveway and cut the corner too short
and tipped the trailer over. The tipped trailer placed a lot of torque on
the seat post and pretzeled my new rear wheel, a Weinman A-129. :-(

3. The wheels were exposed. My kids liked to "feel" the turning wheels. We,
naturally, were concerned but we never had a real problem.

4. The original seatback was too low. The kids would fall asleep and their
heads would be flopping all over the place. We attached a cushioned,
plywood board above the top of the seat. This made it more comfortable.

5. While touring in a rainstorm, the seat would fill up with water. I drilled
a few 1/4" holes in the plastic shell to act as drain holes.

The original Bugger was heavier, about 20#, but much cheaper, about $100.
I pulled one of our sons on three cross state bike tours when he was 5, 6 and
7. The overall weight with him was about 75#. I was carrying lots of tools
under the bike seat. My slightly older son, who was riding his own bike, would
draft right behind the Bugger. He would "bump" into the Bugger on ocassion but
he never went down. A few of my friends let me sit in their draft on one day
when we were going 80 miles into a 30 mile per hour headwind. Otherwise, the
trailer would act like a sail. The solid seat-post attachment was nice in one
respect; I could very easily ride no-handed with the trailer holding me up.
This was a very appreciated change of pace on a long tour. I had friends call-
ing me a show off because I was riding this way while going up hill.

I am a daily commuter and put on about 8000 miles per year so I am in
pretty good shape. I never modified my bike very much when I pulled the
Bugger on a tour. I think I was using a 52-40 front chainwheel and a 14-24
rear gear set. I rode SAAGBRAW South this way, (LaCrosse to Milwaukee through
the hilly southwest part of Wisconsin) and didn't walk any hills. (I know, its'
macho - In the end, I wrecked my Windsor - It was the Competition model with
Columbus tubing and the seat tube broke almost in half right below the seat
post. The right side rear dropout also cracked in half.) Now when I tour, I
put my 28 on my triple front and go down to my 28-24 combination. I'm not pull-
the trailer at this time, but then again I am 48 and it may be getting time to
take it easy.

Ron Friedel
Geosciences - UWM



*************************************************************************



To answer your questions. The only time I can tell that they are moving
around is when they are doing it while I am stopped. I have been very
impressed at how little impact the burley has to stability and handling.
Sometimes you won't realize it is there. It will slow you down on hills
and head winds, but in no way will seriously impact stability. As for
loading, the most I beleive that I have loaded in it was about 60Lbs.
The rig has the majority of the weight centered over the wheels (as it
should be) and I have not experienced any loading variences. I grew up
with a father who traded travel trailers as some people do cars, and am
fairly familiar with what it means to tow a trailer as far as weight of
the tow vehicle in relation to the trailer, the need and effects of sway
control in the hitch and the effects of severe side wind. I have never
experienced any fishtailing what so ever and have riden this thing at
over 25Mph (Down hill, of course). I notice my rear commuter pack that I
carry my clothes to work in more than the Burley. In my opinion, if you
like to take the kids, you won't go wrong with the burley.

Boy, it sure sounds like you will have to pay through the nose for it in
Canada. I do not have a list of Burley dealers. I got mine locally.
I don't have any documentation on it here at work, however, I would suggest
that you contact Burley directly for a list of dealers. They are located
in Oregon, Portland I beleive. I would guess that they only deal with
dealers in order to promote the distribution system. If you need contact
information, let me know and I will bring the stuff in. Have you considered
mail order? I am sure there are dealers out there with a good price that
would ship you one, however, I am not sure of the tarrif implications of
our two countries.

I hope I have answered your questions. Let me, or the net know, what you
end up doing. By the way, we searched extensively locally for a used one.
All we found were a bunch of people doing the same!

Good luck,

Brad Grande WB0OYX
Another bike riding, beer brewing, amateur radio operator who likes CD's
AT&T-L
Naperville Ill.
ihnp4!ihlpe!grande

*************************************************************************

There has been a recursion of discussion on bike trailers recently. This is
a fairly long article that presents my views on the subject.

After having ridden with a jump seat for three years and thousands
of miles, I recently made the move to a trailer. I like the trailer
a lot and would recommend it overall. There are some differences
though, that I feel should be mentioned:

1. Safety:

Seat: I had the seat mounted on a blackburn type rear rack, it
was very sturdy. Bronwyn always wears a helmet that is in good
repair. The seat was first mounted on my RACING bike, then, later
on my 18 speed touring machine.

1. I do not feel that the seat performed differently on either bike.
2. The most dangerous part is stopping at traffic lights, you have to
be wide awake so that the front wheel doesn't come off the ground
when you lean the bike slightly - just like riding with rear bags
only. I usually put on a handlebar bag with some tools to balance
things.
3. Cars on't care about bikes, and are oblivious to the fact that
you have a car seat.

Trailer: Burley light, alloy wheels, rain cover etc. and half of my life
savings.

1. Bronwyn is not strapped in nearly as well, I think that she would
get tossed around quite a bit in a spill.
2. The trailer is incredibly stable, I can fly down hills and around
corners with no problems at all. It takes small curbs well, and I
suspect that the trailer would fare better than the bike if we ever
had to bail out over a curb.
3. The Burley has an integral roll bar which would come in handy in
extreme situations.
4. The Burley presents the biggest warning sign I have ever seen on
the back of a bike - about 9 sqaure feet of bright yellow, with a
little pennant on the top. I find that I now get respect. I mean it,
honest, people in cars now slow down and slowly pass me - usually with
smiles. I'm still really cautious in traffic (which I avoid at most
costs) but feel pretty comfortable with the trailer.
5. The trailer does not affect the handling of the bike in any way when
I'm going slower than about 15 mph. You can occasionally feel a tug
that is out of phase with your pedalling rhythm when accelerating or
climbing, it is minimal and not a hazard.
6. If I go down, the trailer will stay up.
7. The trailer is a hazard when riding in a group, you become an
extremely long bike, with HUGE blindspots. People get in your way, you
get in peoples way - don't attempt much group riding until you've
figured out just how long you really are.

CONVENIENCE

TRAILER: I keep it in my van, it hooks on in less than one minute and will
attach to any bike I please - including my wifes. The neutral performance
allows my wife to take it out - she would have never ever ridden with a
jump seat. I do find that riding long rides (>25 miles) is a bit of a
problem. With the seat I could tickle Bron, give her food, drink, toys etc.
all on the fly (remember that we spent about 5 hours a day together for a
month last year). With the trailer she is much more alone. We can hold a
conversation, but just barely. I have to look around MORE with the trailer
to see how she is doing, but I'm getting good at tossing little bits of
chocolate etc into her lap! The trailer also has a lot more space for the
child, so it is now possible to bring along Bill Bunny, Chocolate Bear,
Arizona Grizzly and the rest of the menagery. Also, there is room for
touring gear in the trailer.

SEAT: The seat was easy to use, but I sure didn't like having it attached
to my racing bike. Although I had tried to design a `quick release' setup,
it was never quick enough- the seat stayed on one bike for a long time.

PERFORMANCE

SEAT: I hardly noticed the seat at all, once I got used to the very low
speed problem, which is not unlike riding with a loaded touring bike. With
the seat I could still catch most racing lokking types on hills and had no
trouble leaving the touring crowd behnind naytime I liked. Touring with
the seat was hard, since all the gear for three people had to go in what
would normally be the baggage of 1.5 people. Consequently I had to ride
with a set of moderately LARGE panniers on the front. This had a real
impact on the handling of the bike.

TRAILER: At speeds below 15 mph I don't really notice the trailer. IT is
always there, but not a problem. At very slow speeds it is a dream come
true, since it is entirelyl neutral and allows you to handle like a normal
bike. For instance, I can do a track stand with the trailer attached,
something that I could never quite manage with the seat. Also, try stopping
a loaded touring bike going up a BIG hill, now start pedalling and do a
figure 8 (watch out for cars) hard, isn't it? no problem with the trailer.
Also. when the trailer is removed the dynamics of the bike don't change, so
you don't feel that `wobbly' stuff that is inevitable when you take the
panniers off.
At speeds above 15 mph the trailer acts like one big drag chute. Honest, it
seems that the harder I pedal, the slower I go. I think that there is a
terminal velocity for this thing - about 20 mph which is not too fast to
me. Down hills are fun, but require concentration, up hills require
concentration, but of a very different kind, as do headwinds. The trailer
has equalized my wife and I - she can now take me on the flats, but I still
leave her behind on hills. I no longer try to embarrass the fast boys.
For heavy touring, though, the trailer is great. We recently went to
Upstate New York (finger lakes) with it, I packed the child, toys, tent,
three sleeping bags, raing gear, stove, all food and cooking gear and tools
into the burley, it wasn't full! The penalty of the trailer is primarily
due to wind resistance, so the added weight was NOT a problem, the bike
still handled like my unloaded bike. I had NO TROUBLE keeping or even
setting the pace of the tour group - it seems that the added wieght of
those panniers really slowed them down.

CONCLUSION:

The seat was good, but Bronwyn grew out of it. It was marginally safe, but
then again we were fortunate in that not once in about 3000 miles did we
take a spill.
The trailer is great, its flexible, reliable and seems to be safe. I don't
think that I will ever tour with panniers again, after Bron has grown up I
will convert the trailer to a pure touring model.

I strongly recommend the trailer. I hope that the listing isn't too long,
but that it answers some questions for netlanders about the pros and cons
of the two alternatives. Stay tuned, in another few years I'll be posting
articles on `tandems and kids'!

Ged McLean, Systems Design Eng. University of Waterloo


*************************************************************************

I don't know much about the Cannondale. It has been several years since I
looked. I have the Equinox (simualar to the Burley). One thing I like is
about it is I can turn the bike upside down without dumping the trailer. It
also mounts near the center of the back wheel, so there is less affect on
the handling of the bike. (-: You will notice two childern and three bags of
groceries if you going up a 30% hill. Daddy, why are you standing up? :-)

Besides saftey, I found the following advantages:
o It will carry 2 children & three bags of groceries.
o It has a rain cover.
o The children can take toys and play in the trailer (When they dropped
them you didn't have to go back for the toys; it was still in the
trailer.)
o I could get medium sized car parts when the car needed repair.

The disadvantage is bike paths are not built for them. (There is some
question if bike paths are built for bikes.) You often can't pass an other
bike on the path. If the path has poles to keep out motorized vechiles, the
poles will keep you out too.

When I got the trailer, I was commuting (Mommy's car and Daddy's bike). The
trailer gave me more cargo capability. I got my money's worth out of the
trailer.

*************************************************************************


We have done extensive trailering with two kids, and this last summer with
three kids (borrowed a second burley). Here are my additions and comments to
Ron Hood's article.

In article <1719@uswat.UUCP>, hood@uswat.UUCP (Ron Hood) writes:
> the trailer, and a short test ride showed that the sling seat
> tends to take on a 'V' shape and mash the girls together in the
> middle. I cut a 9"x20" piece of 1/4" tempered pressboard and

We have not had this kind of a problem. I usually have to tighten up the
seat before a ride to prevent excess sagging, but in general it has not been
a big deal.

> - Things went along pretty smoothly til my older daughter went to
> sleep and fell over onto her little sister. Short of tying her
> to the side of the trailer there was no way to keep her upright,
> so we unhooked the top of the seatback and let her lie back into
> the cargo compartment. Rearranging the jackets/blankets/etc
> made a pretty good bed, allowing both to sleep on the way home.

Our kids fall asleep all the time. If they are both asleep it is not a
problem. We sometimes tilt a kid over into his/her own corner to prevent
leaning on the other, but it has not been a big deal. I usually put down the
screen cover when they are sleeping, or when I expect them to fall asleep, and
they often lean their helmets against the front screen when sleeping. I have
always half-kidded about putting velcro on the backs of their helmets and on
the trailer to hold heads in place.


> - Last summer our younger daughter was too small to sit up, so
> we picked up a second infant seat (rear facing) and lashed it
> to the floor of the trailer. The combination of the seat and
> the trailer kept her well supported and protected and made a
> summer of biking possible for the rest of the family.

I cut the top off an on-the-counter type of infant seat and strapped it into
the burley. It can be strapped to the side of the trailer, and usually needs a
towel or something under the inside edge to keep it upright. The infant seat
includes a seat-belt, which is more to keep the infant from sliding down, than
for safety. The normal seat belt goes around the whole seat/kid combination.
The top is cut off to prevent interference with the baby-bell helmet. We have
done this with both daughters as infants, the second one starting rides at 3
months. This also allows big brother/sister to be in the same trailer and help
entertain, push the helmet back up, wipe noses etc.

>If anyone else has any hints for trailering/touring with a family I'd be
>interested in hearing them. We're semi-seriously considering a three week
>tour of France next spring and plan on doing some local touring this summer
>in preparation. Thanks.

Some of our rules of thumb.

We figure on 5 mph for the whole day, including breaks for the kids and for
lunch. They need to get out and run around occasionally to maintain sanity.
We really avoid forcing them to stay in for a long time, because we want to
keep the whole experience a good one, so we can keep doing it.

We always look for interesting places to stop. We got to see a baby cow, only
5 hours old, a small working sawmill in Vermont, wineries, cheese factories,
fire trucks, lots of animals (both wild and domestic), sail planes, etc.

We typically stay in country inns. Our routine is to shower up and get the
kids down to dinner by 6:30. We sit with the kids and have a drink while they
get dinner. Then we get them in bed by 8:00 or 8:30, take the nursery monitor,
and go down for dinner. It makes for a much more relaxing evening, if you can
keep awake long enough to eat your own dinner after a day of pulling a 100 lb
trailer.

Any one have suggestions on what to do with the oldest when he gets too big for
the trailer but is too small to ride on his own? I think we are OK this
summer, but by next he could be a problem ...

John Bartlett UUCP: {necntc,talcott,bu-cs,decvax}!encore!bartlett
Encore Computer Corp. Internet: bartlett@encore.ARPA
257 Ceder Hill Street
Marlboro, Mass. 01752 N.E.Telephone (508) 460-0500

Opinions are not necessarily those of Encore Computer Corp.

**************************************************************



Thanks to all who responded to my recent inquiry on bicycle trailers.

Especially, thanks to Liz who sent me the archive of the rec.bicycle
discussions on trailers. (My E-mail thank you bounced ).

I bought an Equinox from a net.offer. It is exactly what I wanted.

The consensus seems to be: Equinox or Burley (designed by the same person).

The Equinox is just slightly heavier but, it comes with anodized frame and
tougher 'canvass.'

I ordered the rain cover for it from Equinox, and I made one modification:
I added a tail-light, running wires for power & ground a quick-connect
connector to allow me to unplug my generator driven tail-light on the bike
and plug in the trailer-light.

When looking for trailers, I found one model not mentioned in the archives.
I forgot the name but, it is a Tiawan made clone of the Burley. It was being
distributed in Oregon by the same distributer that handles the Burley. It was
about $30-50.00 less than a Burley. I never actually saw one (The dealer had
pictures), but I would be very suprised if it were the same quality.

Anyway, the Equinox was my first choice and that's what I got. I'm sure I
would have been happy with a Burley as well. Thanks to all who responded, I
tried to E-mail a thanks to each of you but some of my responses bounced.

--

Robert Grove Arnav Systems, Portland, OR
tektronix.tek.com!reed!arnav!rgrove



THE LATEST INFO ON BIKE TRAILERS
--------------------------------
Having recently gone through the process, here's how we decided on which
trailer to buy. It's easy to narrow the choices down to Burley or Equinox
(see the E-mail summary for myriad reasons). From here, the choice gets
more difficult, and we went back and forth a few times. The "old" Burley
did not come apart at all, so we originally decided to go with the Equinox,
since you can undo several wing nuts to take the thing apart.

To us it was essential to be able to take it apart...when we go on a
weekend (or longer) tour, we'll have to be able to haul both bikes and
trailer in our compact car. The ten minutes or so it takes to dimantle the
Equinox was okay for this purpose, but would have made it a hassle to
haul bikes and trailer a few miles out for shorter rides. Plus, to add
quick-release wheels would have cost about $50.

Just before I plunked down the cash for Eq, Burley changed the game
by offering a COLLAPSABLE! This thing is great -- pull one cotter pin, whip
off the quick-release wheels, and the thing squashes down to about 8 inches!!
It takes literally seconds. I had to have this one, and my guess is that
the "old" Burley will be phased out, this one is such an improvement.

Buying new is a little spendy -- the whole thing (alloy quick-release
wheels, rain cover, and sun screen) came to nearly $400. But we figure we'll
be amortizing it over many years of kids, and it appears that the used
market is good so we'll get some money out of it when we're done.

We're hoping to go on a real tour this summer (few hundred miles) in Oregon...
wouldn't be possible without the quality of these trailers. Hope you find
one!

*************************************************************************


I don't know much about the Cannondale. It has been several years since I
looked. I have the Equinox (simualar to the Burley). One thing I like is
about it is I can turn the bike upside down without dumping the trailer. It
also mounts near the center of the back wheel, so there is less affect on
the handling of the bike. (-: You will notice two childern and three bags of
groceries if you going up a 30% hill. Daddy, why are you standing up? :-)

Besides saftey, I found the following advantages:
o It will carry 2 children & three bags of groceries.
o It has a rain cover.
o The children can take toys and play in the trailer (When they dropped
them you didn't have to go back for the toys; it was still in the
trailer.)
o I could get medium sized car parts when the car needed repair.

The disadvantage is bike paths are not built for them. (There is some
question if bike paths are built for bikes.) You often can't pass an other
bike on the path. If the path has poles to keep out motorized vechiles, the
poles will keep you out too.

When I got the trailer, I was commuting (Mommy's car and Daddy's bike). The
trailer gave me more cargo capability. I got my money's worth out of the
trailer.

*******************************************

Just thought I'd intercede...

I have a Burley. I have had it for 3 years now. Until last week, we have never
had to test the "anti-roll" feature of the trailer.

Guess what??? I was on a bike trail, here in sunny San Jose, and I swerved to
avoid something in the road (It was a shadow!). I crashed. Damaged myself, but
both my kids were FINE. No damage to them or the Burley. It stayed upright,
just the way it is supposed to! I am permanently sold on the Burley trailers!

Renee Roberts
Renee@portal.cup.com
GEnie: cyclist
Portal: bhjf24a



***************************************************************


In response I offer a review of the Burley trailer.

We purchased our trailer to haul both our children around with the
tandem I built this summer. The children are both large for their
ages but fit the trailer with a minimum of fuss. Jessica is five,
and Sarah is two. They are a little cramped but seem to enjoy the
ride enough to make up for it. We have hauled the kids, by tandem,
on a forty mile hilly ride. I have hauled them both behind my Bianchi
Axis and Denise's Specialized RockCombo. The trailer tracks well,
doesn't seem to effect handling or steering, and is very visible
to drivers. We have had very good experiences with motorists
while hauling the Burley. No close calls, plenty of road sharing,
and a lot of questions and positive comments. Here is a rundown
of the pros and cons.

Pros.

1) Nice construction and workmanship overall. Wheels came true
out of the box. All bearings were adjusted properly. The sewing
on the fabric seems topnotch. It easly holds over 100 pounds of
kids and stuff.

2) Took about 1 hour to assemble. Instructions were very helpful.

3) Stable handling, on a tandem, up to 50 mph on descents.

4) It's big inside and out. Very visible and roomy. Especially for
one child.

5) Has an excellent retention system (seatbelts and shoulder belts).


Cons:

1) Cost! About $300.00 out the door.

2) Climbing is tougher.

3) Barely fits on a roof rack with one bicycle.

4) It's big! Tough to store in a small place.

Reccommendations that cost extra:

1) Aluminum wheels: $30.00
2) side windows: $20.00
3) Sunscreen: $25.00
4) Rainscreen: $25.00 ( offerred but I make do with a sheet
of plastic under the sunscreen)

There you go. That's about as much as I can think of right now.
Questions? Call me or e-mail.

Donn F Pedro ....................a.k.a. donn@n7kbt.COM
---------------------------------------------------------
"The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades."

Home: 206-271-9340 Work: 800-445-5514

*****************************************************************

It really depends. Rocks can be shot out from a car tire close to
perpendicular to the car. In this case, it would depend on the trajectory
of the stone and the way the kids were facing. Another way rocks can be
thrown from a car is for it to bounce up under the wheels and bounce and roll
forward in the direction that the car was traveling (or dropped from the back
of a forward moving dump truck. In these cases your kid is at a disadvantage
if he/she/they are rear facing. I have been hit in the back by rocks thrown
up several times, and never had one that shot out of the side hit me.

I own a Burley which is forward facing and fully enclosed. You can get a
clear plastic front window, or a fiberglass screen front window. Either
will keep all but largest of boulders from hitting your kid. We have the
screen front and have noticed that after considerable dry periods dust
can be thrown up into our kids eyes. It has not be a problem, we just notice
red eyes and they have never complained about it. They are getting old
enough now to start wearing sunglasses so the issue is solved.

>
> On a related note, are there other criteria for choosing between these
> features (such as ease of entertaining the kids, etc)

We found that when the kids were rear facing in their car seats (in the car)
they would get board real quick. When we turned them around, it made a
big difference in the start of trip to blood curddling screaming period.
We used that experience as part of our criteria for a trailer. It is a lot
easiler for entertainment sake to have different toys for the kid to play
with. When they get board and fussy, we would exchange the old toys for
new ones and just rotated them as the kids demanded. The Burley has a
rear storage compartment that makes this easier. I don't recall if the
bugger has this and I don't think that the kiddie cart does either.

I don't work for Burley, I just think it is the best concieved trailer for
the price.


Brad Grande WB0OYX
Another bike riding, beer brewing, kite flying, amateur radio operator who
still likes CD's.

AT&T Bell Labs
Naperville Ill.
312-979-7853
att!ihlpe!grande

**************************************************************


With so many readers apparently using trailers now I thought I'd pass
on a safety-type observation. This is a "wow I didn't realize that
would happen" warning rather than a fanatical "if you ever do this
you'll surely die" type of thing.

My Burley is tremendously stable. Initially after buying it it felt
more stable than I'd expected (after, of course, having used a rear
kiddie seat) and so I did some testing. I put about 40 lbs of weight
in it and tried doing tight, fast turns; the wheels never lifted.
I also purposefully rode one trailer wheel over a 2 X 4 and some other
stuff like that. Never a problem.

I hadn't thought of S turns. Four years ago I was going through a
parking lot and linked a pair of 90 degree turns, I wasn't going very
fast, just fast enough to where the turn was kind of fun (15 mph?).
The trailer rolled (the good part is that my daughter wasn't hurt in
the least) and I drug it for maybe 15 feet before we stopped.

Partially I thought I this had been a freak occurance; wrong way banking,
braking, 90 degree turns, etc. and didn't worry _that_ much about it.
I have been more careful though.

This past year I've been pulling the trailer a lot again (time off
between trailerable kids) and last week I almost dumped the trailer
again. Pretty much the same story but I was going slower (I mean
I already knew S turns were tricky). This time I did some investigation.

My findings are not strictly scientific mostly because I was unwilling
to actully dump the trailer a bunch of times (it tends to rip the
nylon) and couldn't think of an accurate (and easy) method to record
the angle of lean. Instead my neighbor made subjective judgements of
lean angle. I do have a cateye (for velocity) and we would drew various
"curves" or paths on the street with chalk that I would then attempt
to follow. I used a 40 lb bag of dogfood (hey, it was handy) to simulate
a child.

Basically we discovered that the trailer rolls to the outside of the
first turn - no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get it to roll on
the second turn. And the most critical factors are how quickly you
change the lean of your bike and how "stressful" the first turn was.
By stressful I mean a combination how tight, fast, and long (swept
angle) the turn is. I found that I could take almost any turn as fast
as I wanted as long as I didn't abruptly pitch the bike over the other
way, and I could then pitch the bike back (to complete the S turn) if
I waited until the trailer had "come out of" the first turn.

We were surprised at how slow I could go and still raise a wheel if
I really went from turn to turn quickly. I thought the problem
might be related to the spring which is part of the hitch and thus
left-right S turns would be worse than right-left ones. This didn't
appear to be true. (this doesn't rule out the spring interaction
but does say I didn't theorize correctly) My current theory for the
whole effect is that the trailer trails (amazing, huh?) the bike
throught the turn and thus "feels" the centrifugal effects later
in time. While the trailer is still "leaning" out you change the
balance of the situation by changing the angle of lean of the bicycle.

Peter B

******************************************************************

First of all, my wife and I have been towing our children around
the countryside for three years now and have probably put on around 2000
miles in that time. We've mainly ridden around our home in the Puget Sound
area of Washington State (terrific biking areas if you don't mind hills) and
have experienced alot of the "joys" of biking with children! We've evolved
our biking from day trips to week-end trips, to a 10 day tour (of the Puget
Sound, Olympic Peninsula, Vancouver Island, and San Juan Islands), to finally,
a 3 week excursion last fall around the Chesapeake Bay region.

As far as I am concerned, if you want to bike with your children and they
are too young to ride, a bike cart is the only way to go. I agree with
everything that Tom Reingold says about safety except one thing; you CAN
flip a child-cart over if the conditions are right. I've had it happen
twice in all the miles that we've ridden; but even then, my son was
wearing a helmet and his seat belt and was not injured. (real quickly, the
first time was when I mis-judged how close I was to a traffic island and
rode his left wheel up over the curb; the second was when he and I were
screwing around in a parking lot, swerving back and forth until it flipped.
I know, I know...not smart...But luckily he didn't get hurt and I was
reminded that helmets are a MUST. The only reason I'm baring my soul is so
that others can at least learn from my mistakes).

Here's some answers to some of your questions:

AGE: We have some friends that rigged up a baby's car seat in the cart and
took their infant out without any troubles (naturally, they strapped the
seat in to the cart). Burley (the maker of our cart) recommends that a
child must be able to support their head before riding, but the car seat
solves that problem nicely when they are very young.

ROOM ON THE ROAD: My guess is that they about double the width of a normal
bike. It IS a big issue when you are on narrow, winding roads with impatient
drivers (we learned that when we were riding into the Washington D.C. area).
You are much easier to see, but not as easy to be passed. Most of the time,
I've found people to be wonderful when they see us riding with our children.
They've stopped us, gushed over us, taken pictures of us, and naturally,
asked tons of questions.

Some adaptations that we've had to make when hauling the kids:
1. Reduce the mileage expectations. For us, 10mph riding is good time and
30 miles per day an average day. The kids can take about an hour straight,
but need to get out and run around. After taking potty breaks, snack
breaks, and run-around breaks, as well as the normal picture, tour, and
lunch breaks, the days go quickly.
2. If there are ANY hills in your plans, convert your bike to a triple crank
with an impressive granny gear. I don't remember the numbers, but my lowest
gear (which I use alot around here) has a ratio less than 1:1. (I can pedal
one revolution before the wheel turns once) You have got to protect your
knees from the torqueing that you would see if you had to power up in the
normal gear sets.
3. Unless you are "hardy", aim your touring more towards staying overnight
at B&B's instead of camping. When you consider that you must haul a tent,
stove, and sleeping bags, in addition to everything else you need for kids
(diapers, toys, teddy bears (a MUST), extra clothes, etc), you are really
hauling the weight. We tried it once when we were young and "hardy"; an
hour later, we were neither.
4. Buy the cart that provides a means of sheltering the kids when it's rainy
or cold. Burley has both the mesh for sunny, buggy days, and the clear
mylar for the cold/rainy days. It works so well in the bad weather that
they are far more comfortable and dry than us and don't want to get out when
we want to stop for hot chocolate!
5. Bring lots of entertainment that's easily accessible. After a while the
carts look like little play rooms. They got their books, their drink (or
bottle, depending on the age), the cars, dolls, dinosaurs, and teddy bear.
Another toy that they loved was a pin-wheel. As we ride along, they really
get a kick out of making it spin.

Despite all these grim descriptions, we really love riding together as a
family, and more importantly, our kids do, too. If you can accept the slower
riding pace, then the togetherness that you will see makes it definitely worth
it. Good luck!!

*****************************************************

Have Mike Iglesias, the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) compiler, send you
the trailer summary. In it are pages and pages of reasons to use a trailer
rather than a child seat. It also gives comparisons of various trailer.
Unfortunately it does not mention the Winchester trailer. After a recent
inquiry I found that no one in netland had experience with the Winchester but
several people expressed interest.

There are secondary (after safety) reasons why a trailer is nice:

1) Who wants to mount a childseat on a halfway nice bike?
2) It would be difficult to carry two children in a child seat.
3) If you ride faster than your wife a trailer is a great equalizer!
4) Traveling with kids often means food, diaper bag, etc. A
trailer has plenty of room for that stuff.


A local shop had a Winchester trailer for a pretty good price so I bought it.
What follows is a preliminary comparison of the Winchester trailer to the
popular Burley D'Light. I can't be complete because my info on the Burley is
through netter comments, salesmen, and brochures. Also it has been too cold
for a long ride in our trailer so I haven't given it much riding (pulling)
time. But for those of you preparing for spring and ready for the plunge
here goes:

Design - Both are foldable with quick release wheels. Both attach to the
chainstay rather than the seatpost. Burley has alloy wheels, Winch. has
steel wheels with Schrader valves. Winch. wheels are cantilevered for even
more stability. Wheels wobble a little bit. Looks like hub hole is just a
bit too big for axle. Maybe that is so the wheels will detach easily.

Canopy - Winchester is a bubble shape. It comes standard with screens and
plastic windows which unroll and velcro to the sides to completely enclose
the trailer. Nice design. Burley cover and screens are optional. Material
is very sturdy and well sewn. Should last a long time.

Insides - In the Burley, both kids face forward. In the Winch., one is
forward, on backward. Two kid harness standard on Winch., optional
on Burley. Harness was easy to use but we had trouble getting the
seat to support our boy - he kept sliding down. A folded towel
under the seat seemed to solve the problem. There is room in
both trailer to hold two kids and extra stuff. Pulling all
that stuff is a different story!

Price - The main difference in the trailers is the price. The Burley D'Light
cost $360 plus $20-30 each for the rain cover and windscreen. I believe the
extra child harness is another $8-10. The Winchester costs $259 + shipping
from Colorado Cyclist and I got mine locally for $250 with tax. Pretty big
difference in price.


The only real difference between the two trailer is that the Burley has alloy
wheels and the Winchester has steel. I don't know if that is significant or
not. Hope this helps. E-mail if you would like more info. Highly
recommend the FAQ pages.


--
Jim Pierce - Lisp Support
CAEN - University of Michigan



I'm an admitted "Burley Bigot", so I won't claim that my opinions on this
subject are unbiased, but at the same time, I'll try and avoid any blatant
slams against the Equinox. Here's some of my thoughts on the relative
merits of the two trailers (opposing opinions are, of course, welcome):

Background:

I've owned a Burley Lite for over three years and a Burley D'Lite (the folding
model) for a little over a year. My kids are ages 3 and 5 and each weigh
in the neighborhood of 40 pounds. We've used the trailers for a lot of local
recreational rides (10 to 25 miles) and a couple extended tours (camping with
the family, from two to seven days, and between 100 and 300 miles).

My exposure to the Equinox is much more limited. I've seen a number of them
on the bike paths, I've gone on a one week tour with a family that used one,
and this morning I pulled one to work.

The Hitch:

This is probably my single biggest gripe about the Equinox. The Burley
hitch is a clean plastic design that clamps onto the bike with a single
wing-nut. It's simple, fast, and easy. The Equinox hitch is a Rube
Goldberg abomination made from rubber-coated metal, ropes, and clamps that
gloms onto the side of the bike and looks like a rolling rats nest. It took
me almost 10 minutes to get the hitch adjusted and clamped onto the bike. To
be fair, both hitches are solid and safe (they both have safety straps), but
the Equinox hitch is awkward and ugly and as a finicky engineer I find it
offensive.

The Tongue:

The tongue of the Burley comes off of one side of the trailer, curves in
toward the middle, and is coupled to the hitch by a shock-absorbing spring.
The Equinox tongue is hinged off of the middle of the front of the trailer,
curves around to one side (to make room for the bike's rear tire during turns),
and is coupled to the hitch by a metal ball-joint. Both of these designs
provide a flexible joint between the bike and the trailer and both allow
adequate room for the bike tire during turns. The major difference is in the
way they provide "give" when starting and stopping. The Burley uses the
spring to act as a shock absorber, and any relative movement between the bike
and trailer is in line with the direction of travel (i.e., front to back).
The Equinox uses the hinge at the front of the trailer for the shock
absorber and the relative movement is across the direction of travel (i.e.,
the nose of the trailer wags back and forth). Again, this seems like a kludge.

Stability:

Although I'm aware that the trailer manufacturers impose a 15 or 20 mph speed
limit on their product, I've had my Burleys up to 35 with no problems at all.
The morning when I was pulling the Equinox (empty), however, I found that
when I approached 30 mph it started to wobble back and forth. I think this
is probably due to slop in the tongue (specifically the hinge) and it may
be possible to tighten it up a little.

Frame Finish:

Both the Burley and Equinox use aluminum frames, but the Burley is silver
and the Equinox looks like an anodized blue. I like the look of the blue
better and it is also "cleaner" -- you can sometimes pick up gray aluminum
oxide off of the Burley.

Frame:

Both trailers enclose the passenger compartment in a solid frame, and both
frames appear to be well built. The Equinox, however, has an additional
member running across the floor of the trailer just behind the seat. This
may provide some additional strength and give something to attach the seat
to, but I also tend to think that it would get in the way. When my kids were
little we'd remove the trailer seat and tie a car-seat onto the floor of the
trailer, and I suspect that the additional frame member would make this
difficult or impossible. Also, when the kids get tired we drop the seat-back
and allow them to lie into the cargo compartment and sleep -- again, I think
this would be hard to do in the Equinox (or at least it would be
uncomfortable).

Sun Screen:

The Equinox sun screen is this itty-bitty square of mesh that is pasted to
the front of the trailer, while the Burley sun screen is larger and encloses
the trailer from the front to the back. I prefer the Burley design (you're
probably getting tired of hearing this...).

Rain Cover:

Both rain covers enclose the entire trailer, but I think the Burley has a
bigger window. Also, I've noticed that the Equinox is more likely to allow
spray to slip in under the front of the rain cover.

Fit:

The Equinox reminds me of a fat person who lost a lot of weight, but who's
skin never quite snapped back -- sorta loose and baggy all over. The Burley
is very tight and taut, which is a pain when you're assembling it but looks
a lot nicer in the long run.

Cost:

I don't have any specifics on Equinox prices, but I suspect that they are
in the neighborhood of $300 to $400 (same as the Burley). I would like to
think that the Equinox is just a little less expensive than the Burley.

History:

I've heard that the Equinox and Burley have a common origin, and that one
group split off from the other. Given the large-scale similarities between
the trailers I think this is a real possibility, but if in fact there was a
split I would venture to guess that the better designers went (or stayed)
with Burley. Both trailers are a good idea, but the Burley is a *much* better
implementation (OK, I'm through plugging the Burley).

Bottom Line:

Both trailers are solid and well built and offer a much safer (and more fun)
alternative to bike-mounted kid seats. The downside is that either trailer
will set you back over $300, but my experience has been that this is cheap
admission to hours of family fun and exercise. Buy a trailer -- you won't be
disappointed.

Ron
--
Ronald C. Hood U S WEST Advanced Technologies
hood@uswest.com Boulder, Colorado
{boulder,sunpeaks,amdahl}!uswat!hood


 

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