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Bicycles trailers, baskets, and kiddie haulers add extra cargo- or child-carrying space.


Trailers - cargo or children
Baskets - front, rear, and handlebar
Kiddie Haulers - child seats, trailers, trailercycles, and tandem links
Dog Haulers - take along man's best friend
Do-It-Yourself - trailers on the cheap



Cargo Trailers (Click for child/adult trailers.)

BicycleR Evolution cargo trailers are rugged, lockable, and waterproof 2-wheel containers that carry up to 100 pounds, hitch to any bike in one second, and become handcarts when off the bike. 1-866-821-9535 (toll free) , www.bikerev.com.

BicycleR Evolution "Shopper" trailer is a simple 2-wheel T-frame with a waterproof cam-lock Rubbermaid ActionPacker container. Capacity is 100 pounds, and the standard container is big enough for 4-6 standard bags of groceries. Also, you can easily remove 3 wingnuts and replace the container with your own or with a flatbed - I once converted mine to flatbed to haul a big microwave oven home from the store. The very simple hitch mounts in seconds over the left-side axle nut or quick-release, and the trailer hitches and unhitches in 1 second. Additional hitches cost little so you can equip several bikes (one hitch comes with each trailer). The trailer's rear-mounted axle enables it to become a handcart when off the bike.

Bikes at Work trailers (pictured on the right) are built to carry containers that are completely waterproof. All of the containers can be removed in a few seconds by removing a few bungee cords and lifting them out. With all of the containers removed, you have a flat area anywhere from 32" to 8' long (depending on the trailer), which allows you to carry long items like lumber, pipe,ladders, garden tools, etc. Simply secure your load with bungee cords, and you are ready to go. Or, you can replace your containers with a piece of plywood, and you have a flatbed trailer. Trailer lengths vary from 32" to 96". http://www.bikesatwork.com/
[Editor's Note: I've got the 64" model that is currently rigged to haul two grandchildren.]

Burley offers a series of bicycle trailers well known for their quality and safety. Burley Design Cooperative, 4020 Stewart Road, Eugene Oregon 97402, 866-248-5634 http://burley.com/products/adventure/nomad.cfm

B. O. B. Trailers - one-wheel trailers; solid and popular: http://www.bobgear.com/trailers/
The BOB is a single wheeled unit. It tracks with the bike in a remarkable way. At any speed, other than slow-speed maneuvering in a parking lot, it hardly pivots at all. It's just like the front wheel in turns. When a person rounds a corner, most of the turning is done through leaning, with minimal turning of the front forks. The BOB tracks that way. It leans with you. When I first bought it, I had to keep looking back to see if it was still there - because BOB's effect on bike handling is so little.

The BOB doesn't carry as much as you want, but you still want a single-wheel trailer? The Kool Stop offers two center-pull trailers. The Kool Mule carries up to 100 pounds in six panniers for easy compartmentalization of your gear. http://www.koolstop.com/

Blue Sky Trailers are full on cargo trailers, not touring carts like the BOB. Here is a 'thumbs-up' review by a user: http://blueskycyclecarts.com/BlueSkyReview.htm

CROOZER offers trailers designed for kids, cargo and dogs. http://www.croozerdesigns.com

Quik-Pak bicycle cargo trailers; built for the serious cyclist. Larger and lighter than a B.O.B. or Burley, "Simply the Best." Custom colors and configurations. Cycle Tectonics, LLC, www.quik-pak.com

EQUINOX Tourlite Bicycle Trailers, Strollers, Ski Sleds & More
http://trailers.equinoxtrailers.com/pedal_powered/cargo_carriers/

CycleTote, "The Lexus of Bicycle Trailers" offers trailers for cargo, dogs, kids, adults, and special needs folks. www.cycletote.com

The Xtracycle is a retrofit attachment that transforms a regular bicycle into an all-purpose cargo carrier. It's essentially a bicycle frame extender that maintains the simple, efficient beauty of the bicycle while radically increasing its usefulness. A modular plug-in rack system makes the Xtracycle configurable for hauling loads that were previously considered too long, heavy, bulky, squirmy, fragile, perishable, or important to be transported by bicycle. Xtracycle, LLC, 10136 Birchville Road, Nevada City, CA 95959, (tel)530/470-2388, (fax)419/735-1427, http://www.xtracycle.com

Yuba Mundo looks like a bike manufactured with an Xtracycle built in. Instead of a trailer, how about a hitch-less trailer -- a trailer built into the bike? Haul yourself and 440 lbs of your stuff. http://www.cycle9.com/Products/LoadCarryingBicycles.html

Bakfiets Cargobike can haul cargo, kids and dogs up front. Get the rain cover to handle inclement weather. (Bakfiets is pronounced "Bach-feets".)Bakfiets Cargobike A similar bike is the Gazelle Cabby.
[Editor's Note: We don't suggest putting the Stokemonkey or other motor kit on Bakfiets because the high-speed downhill braking dynamics of those bikes are a little scary. If a rider can't pedal up the hill, perhaps they shouldn't be coming down the backside either.]

Traileron is a bicycle trailer hitch that enables your bike to transport a multi-wheeled pull cart or wagon. This includes "Radio Flyer" wagons, golf pull carts, portable folding carts, market carts, garden carts, and dollies. It works with both open-handled and closed-handled carts. http://www.traileron.com

Find great information and images covering a wide range of trailers and their features at: http://www.bikeroute.com/WhyTrailer.htm
A thorough list of manufacturers of work vehicles (including trailers) are listed at: http://www.workbike.org/makers/index.html

Trailer Comparison Chart - http://www.bikeroute.com/TrailerMatrix.htm

Click here for DIY (Do It Yourself) Trailers


Baskets

Standard metal baskets, folding baskets (Wald), and paniers can be found at bike shops and catalog companies. Wald folding baskets hold paper grocery bags perfectly and fold up out of the way when not in use. They mount on an existing rear rack. (See photos.)

The Cargo Cache is a hard-sided and lockable trunk that attaches to all standard rear racks. It's both weather proof and aerodynamic. [Editor's Note: Although "common sense" says that the small end should point forward, aerodynamic studies show that the "suck" from behind slows riders even more than pushing air out of the way in front.] Costs about $100. Learn more at http://www.otivia.com/products.htm

However, if you're looking for some really cool willow bicycle baskets, check this. Baskets from Cynthia's Twigs have hooks that fit right over the handle bars as well as handles which make it possible to pull the basket off and use it for shopping, picnicing etc. The most popular use is carrying dogs. Extremely well made. http://www.cynthiastwigs.com

The Nantucket Bike Basket Company specializes in unique, hand-crafted baskets for your bicycle. Made from high-quality materials using durable weaving techniques, Nantucket Bike Baskets are made to last, while giving your bike a classic look. Purchase an individual bike basket through stores that currently carry their baskets.

The Peterboro Basket Company offers 100% American Made Bike baskets since 1854. Made of Appalachian white ash in Peterborough, NH. Their bicycle baskets hold up to 70 pounds. Includes 8-oz. shoulder leather straps, with zinc-coated buckles.

A low center of gravity, heavy-duty construction, and practical design make CETMAracks an ideal alternative to the popular standard of top-heavy handlebar baskets and inferior rear-mounted racks. http://cetmaracks.com/

An alternative to baskets or briefcases is a courier/messenger bag. Crumpler Bags (http://www.crumplerusa.com/) offers a line of messenger-style courier, laptop, shoulder, and camera bags. Timbuk2 offers high-quality messenger bags. Here's a mini-review:

The courier bags I'd mentioned are made by Timbuk2 designs - www.timbuk2.com. I pack for all weather contingencies, carry shoes, breakfast, lunch, shower supplies and all manner of other junk that no other sane commuter would carry, and I just throw it all in there willy-nilly. There are 3 sizes - in my opinion only the largest (think it's the ''Dee Dog'') is the real article. Even fully loaded up, it rides well. [Editor's note: I got one and love it. It was also Bicycling Magazine's Editor's Choice for July 2000.]
Two other messenger bag companies are Reload and Chrome


Kiddie Haulers: child seats, trailers, trailercycles, and tandem links

Child Seats

Due to safety concerns, child seats on bikes are losing their popularity to trailers. For rough terrain, trailercycles are better still.

One father wrote:

Years ago, I read a pamphlet at a bike store that was put out by a pediatric society or agency. I don't have it, but I specifically remember two important points:
  1. they did not recommend biking with a child until the child's neck was strong enough for it to hold its head up while wearing an approved helmet. At 14 mo. your daughter should be OK on that point.
  2. although they gave pros and cons on various bike seats, they would not recommend any. The only child carrier this agency would endorse as safe was a trailer.
Based on this we did purchase a trailer, but I also bought a bike seat and used it often as well. However there is no comparison, a trailer is by far more secure and pleasant for the child. If you'll be switching it often between your bikes, ease of attaching and detaching the trailer is something you should spend time comparing between brands.
Want a child seat for a bike? Consider what this bike shop fellow says:

"The best seat I have seen is from Rhode Gear. They make two different ones. They attach quite nicely to a Rhode Gear rack, so the seat is easily interchangeable between your bike or your wife's if you both have the rack. At our shop, though, we refer to child seats of any kind as "baby killers", and always try to get customers to buy Burley or Trek trailers. Although they are quite a bit more expensive, they are infinitely safer (the MAIN POINT!), have a GREAT resale value, and are easier to change from bike to bike. If you can muster the money, I would strongly recommend a Burley Cub or Solo (depending on the # of kids you plan). I guarantee you will be able to resell the thing a few years from now for almost what you paid for it..."

Cautionary Notes:
-- I've certainly seen parents riding irresponsibly with their children in a bike seat. One of the worst was watching a mom stand and blast over a speed bump, and seeing how hard it shook her toddler on the back. If he weren't belted in, he would have gone flying. When I rode with a child seat, I'd try to stay seated over bumps, to insure I wasn't jarring my child too much.
-- In addition to the rear rack-mounted child seat, another type places the child on a seat in front of the parent. This style affords better visibility, a safer position for the child, and it keeps the weight distribution in the center of the bike where it belongs. .

Trailers When hauling children, parents often carry extra stuff for the kid (lunch, coat, snacks, toys, stuffed animals). A trailer gives you a place to stash it all. When your child falls asleep, he/she will be more secure in a trailer, especially when you are mounting or dismounting. Users seem to prefer trailers like the Burley where the child faces forward; it makes it easier to keep track of what's happening, plus the kid can see where they're going. The bike handling is easier. And it's a lot safer because drivers see you much better and give you a lot more respect.

Trailers have two disadvantages: 1) they're rather expensive compared to a seat, and 2) they take a lot of space to store (suggestion: find some place to hang them or look for one that collapses).

Here's some advice from a trailer fan:
I've used a Burley trailer (the double-wide D'Lite) for a couple of years with my son, and love it. He just turned four and still rides in it, although this is probably the last year. The original poster has a 4yr old, which is sort of in the no-mans land between totally passive (trailer, child seat), and a trailercycle (my son, at 4, is too small and uncoordinated yet for a trailer bike).
I think a trailer is great for little kids (4 and under) and should be considered, especially if you have other young kids that will be using it.
Advantages of a trailer:
  1. Kid is enclosed, road pebbles, sticks and bugs stay out
  2. Kid is enclosed, toys, food, juice cups stay in.
  3. Kid can take a friend (Daddy really gets a workout).
  4. Kid stays dry if it rains, stays much warmer in the cooler weather (have riden down to 20 deg.F, bundle 'em up and close up the plastic shield and trailer becomes a mini-greenhouse on a sunny day).
  5. Kid may actually take a nap (mine does all the time).

Disadvantages:

  1. Kid isn't close enough to pilot to carry on conversation without lots of repeating.
  2. A wider profile (although not much wider than shoulder/elbow width)

Burley trailers for children are highly rated, safe, and versitile. Models include one- and two-child units with good shading and ventilation to handle weather conditions well. The hitch hooks up easily. www.burley.com

CROOZER offers trailers designed for kids, cargo and dogs. http://www.croozerdesigns.com

Trailers for adults are also available:
  1. Equinox offers trailers for children, cargo, pets and adults (as pictured to the right), http://trailers.equinoxtrailers.com/pedal_powered/adult_carriers/
  2. CycleTote, "The Lexus of Bicycle Trailers" offers trailers for cargo, dogs, kids, adults, and special needs folks. www.cycletote.com


TrailercyclesTrailercycles are "half-bicycle" child bikes without the front wheel. Instead, the front attaches to the parent's bike to make a passable tandem. Check the Adams Trail-A-Bike models

Comments from a trailercycle user:
Trailerscycles (IMO the Burley Piccolo is the best) are better than trailers for cycling with a child along a bumpy road. Since they're riding, they can stand for bumps just like you, so they get jostled much less than in a trailer or a back-of-the-bike child seat.

The Burley Piccolo is a high-quality 7-speed trailercycle. Their Kazoo is a single speed. www.burley.com

Another trailercycle fan: I started my daughter on one at 4 1/2, and we have done hundreds of miles together over the past two years, most of it off-road, with plenty of very rocky, narrow, steep trails. It's been a whole lot of fun for both of us. I've seen people try to use trailers on uneven surfaces, and the ride gets pretty bad. With the trailer-bike, the kid's wheel tracks behind yours, so if you are careful, the obstacles you avoid will also avoid their wheel; this is very hard to do with a 2-wheeled trailer.

Something to keep in mind: In 1998, Steve Burd, 45, of Yorba Linda, CA dreaded huffing and puffing up inclines every time he went riding with his 7-year-old daughter. She rode a single-wheeled trailer bike attached to the seat post of his mountain bike so that, in theory, the pair could pedal as a team. On hills, however, Burd found himself doing most of the work. Burd resolved the problem by mounting an electric drive kit on his bike.

Tandem Links

Tandem Links are devices that link complete bikes (1 adult and 1 child's) together to create a tandem bike for riding together.

  • Trail Gator lifts the front wheel of your child's bike off the ground. Ride attatched or separately on the same ride. Front wheel stays on childs bike. Telescoping tow bar can be easily stored on adult bike. Fits 16 and 20 in. wheel childs bike. Weight limit 70 lbs.
Tandem bicycles carry two people (or, with a kiddie seat, three).

To create an adult/child tandem using your current bike, consider an Xtracycle which extends the rear of the bike. This dad has his daughter and groceries behind.
Click here for photos of a mom with two children behind.

For articles on Family Cycling, see http://sheldonbrown.com/family


Dog Haulers

Use a standard trailer or try one of these ideas:

"As a responsible pet owner, safety for _you_ should come first, then safety for your pet. I would hesitate to carry a dog directly on my bike simply because it is a distraction and the animal can be unpredictable. I suggest a used child trailer. Buy cheap because the dog will likely scratch it up. With a full nylon cover and screened front window he can enjoy the ride and not be a problem. The very safest way for him would to transport him inside his carry case inside the trailer."

"I have a good friend who has towed his dog on a homemade trailer for years and years, on rides up to 25 miles or so (at least). I'd guess the dog weighs roughly 40 pounds. The trailer is essentially a flat bed, and he's never had a need to trap the dog in a cage of any kind. In fact, the major benefit of having it open is that on steep hills, he tells the dog to get off he climbs the hill without the extra weight while the dog trots alongside."

"Years ago I knew a couple who did self-contained tours on a tandem with their dog riding on the top of the rear rack. They attached a wide carpet covered platform to the top of the rear rack. Using its claws, the dog could hold on to the carpet."

KidzTandems offer options including a large basket that will hold a dog (or groceries). The adult controls - steering, braking, gearing - are in the back, allowing the dog to enjoy viewing everything that's coming up. This also allows you to see what the dog is doing. Other replacement options for the front include Quick-change child seat, a kid's recumbent seat, and traditional bike seat for youngster 4-7 yrs old. Brown Cycles, 549 Main Street, Grand Junction CO 81501, 970-245-7939, http://kidztandem.com/tandems.htm

Here is a trailer for hauling a dog (e.g. border collie) around town. This model which will accomodate a medium sized dog travel crate. http://www.cycletote.com/models.html (see Cycletote Frame)"

Equinox offers trailers for children, cargo, pets and adults, http://trailers.equinoxtrailers.com/pedal_powered/pet_carriers/

CROOZER offers trailers designed for kids, cargo and dogs. http://www.croozerdesigns.com

Bakfiets Cargobike can haul cargo, kids and dogs up front. Get the rain cover to handle inclement weather. (Bakfiets is pronounced "Bach-feets".)Bakfiets Cargobike
[Editor's Note: We don't suggest putting the Stokemonkey or other motor kit on Bakfietsen because the high-speed downhill braking dynamics of those bikes are a little scary. If a rider can't pedal up the hill, perhaps they shouldn't be coming down the backside either.]


Want to go across the country with two Russell terriers? Hank Raines covered over 3000 miles in the Fall of 2004 with his two dogs. After adding an Xytacycle to his bike, he mounted a dog carrier to it. The top can be flipped upside down and fits within the bottom for an open-air ride. Learn more at Hank's journal: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journal/?handle=agape





DIY (Do It Yourself) Trailers

Perhaps the easiest DIY trailer is to order the Kit Trailer from BicycleR Evolution. With their parts and instructions, you can make a custom trailer for your needs. http://www.bikerev.com/pg6.cfm

TRAILERON® is a bicycle trailer hitch that enables your bike to transport a multi-wheeled pull cart or wagon such as "Radio Flyer®" style wagons, BagBoy® golf pull carts, dollies, etc. http://traileron.com/

Step-by-step instructions for building a cargo hauling trailer. The IBF Trailer is designed for loads up to 140kg (300 pounds) and speeds up to 30km per hour (20 mph). The weakest element is usually the wheels. www.ibike.org/economics/trailer.htm

Here's a source of trailer hitches: http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/adams-trail-a-bike.html

Here's a fellow who built a surfboard carrier of PVC pipe. http://www.rodndtube.com/surf/info/surf_racks/BicycleSurfboardRack.shtml

Now out of business, the folks at Cobb Works once offered a set of waterproof panniers called Oyster Buckets, truly a "Volkspannier". They started with a pair of square plastic buckets (old cat litter containers?), added inverted J hooks (to hang from a standard rear rack), short shanks of bungee cord (to attach to rack hook), and carrying handles.

Got an old lawn chair and a couple of bike wheels? Build a trailer using these directions: http://otivia.com/lawnchair.htm

Salvage a worn-out trailer by replacing the cargo bin with:

  • a fiberglass motorcycle trunk purchased used from a motorcycle wrecking yard. They often come with integral locks and running lights;
  • a plastic storage bin (20 - 30 gal. size) such as the Rubbermaid "Action Packer Storage" or "Tote Locker" series of containers; [Editor's Note: Rubbermaid Deep Tote Locker (2458), Action Packer Storage (1172-04-38), and 18-gallon Roughtote are possibilities.]
  • a large toolbox.

For more trailer info, see www.ibike.org/economics/trailer.htm

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