Preparation no image

Published on April 30th, 2010 | by Matt

7

The search for a bicycle child trailer

A tandem pulling a child trailer

A tandem bicycle pulling a child trailer

I thought my search for a children’s bike trailer would take a few weeks at most yet here we are several months later with the beautiful spring sunshine upon us and I am still without a bicycle trailer for my child.
The real problem of course is that I don’t really want to spend hundreds of pounds, with top models costing just that. The bike I’ll be using to pull the child trailer was itself an eBay bargain, an almost brand new revolution courier race for £160. Thats around half RRP, and I want the same deal on a child trailer!

I’ve been searching eBay most days for child trailers and I have seen the occasional bargain go, but the seller has always been hundreds of miles away and accepting collection only. At this rate the summer will be over by the time I find a good deal.

Judging from the eBay auctions ive seen, top of the range trailers tend to hold their value even after 3-4 years use. Taking that into account I could just buy a top of the range burley, trek, croozer or chariot. However, the initial cost is smearing this otherwise relatively sensible option. Alternatively, I could just buy a cheaper model new, and indeed I had gone along to Costco early on in my search to pickup a Costco child trailer for £75, only to discover they’d ran out of stock a day earlier and wouldn’t be getting any more in. Talk about bad luck. The final option would be to keep waiting for a suitable eBay auction to spring up on my door step, but that’s time consuming and down to pot luck more than anything else, and as we get further into the summer I’m thinking the competition on such auctions will increase and the chance of finding a bargain will be very unlikely.

So what am i looking for? I’ve got a dream of cycling the world at the forefront of my mind, and whilst it’s still very much just a grand idea at this stage it would make financial sense to purchase a child trailer designed for touring and heavy usage now. Failing that, I could buy a midrange model which would see us through our easy going bike rides over the summer. The reviews of some mid-range trailers aren’t great, with suggestions that your child will end up sat in a puddle of water should it rain, but then i wouldnt intentionally set out with the child trailer if I thought it might hammer down. So my decision? Well, probably to buy a mid range trailer new and get some use out of it. So, I think I’ve made up my mind. Now i just have to wait until payday and hope my 8 gear revolution courier race will pull the damn thing! Hmmm, do I need a new bike as well?

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7 Responses to The search for a bicycle child trailer

  1. ZJV says:

    Hey Matt

    I have some advice for you regarding bike trailers for kids. We are big fans and have tried out numerous models; they are sooooooooooo popular over here in Canada particularly in our beautiful home district of Barrhaven. Everybody here has loads of kids and they are by far an extemely popular way to transport little ones!

    At first we got an older model; can’t remember the make off hand but it was actually kindly donated to us by a neighbour. We used it religiously the first summer we spent here; it was a 2 seater so there was plenty of room for Sasha who was then 2 and a half and Lily who was 8 months at the time. Then later that year we upgraded…we got a Chariot Cougar…this is a 2 seater and slightly more expensive but you can get singles. Chariots retail for around $600 CDN for the basic kit…that’s just the stroller part basically! You have to pay extra for the attachments and jogging wheels. However they are widely regarded as the best and safest model in North America, and we have found it totally worth the extra money (altho we got it for half price cos Doug has connections with where we got it from :D ) – the stroller itself is incredibly nifty…I take it cross country jogging! And it protects perfectly from our lovely Ottawa winters!!! And it has something like a lifetime guarantee! And holds its value. So it ticks all boxes really. These things really are so great, they get 2 very enthusiastic thumbs up from a mama who takes her lil ones everywhere in it!

    Do they sell them in UK??? Guess they would in slightly higher end stores. OR you could get a bargain on EBay I guess. Def the Chariot gets my vote but then again they don’t come cheap brand new. I’m sure in Europe they have cheaper versions that are just as reliable.

    When we finally are set for heading back out West, I’m going to bike across Canada, I’ve decided! Shouldn’t be too much of a stretch…it’s pancake flat until you hit Alberta and the rockies hehe! Er…guess I could be needing a bigger trailer by then lol

    Hope this helps! Take it easy

    Zoe

  2. Thomas Arbs says:

    Do consider buying good stuff and being happy with it. We have a Burley running its 5th season now, and with the tarp replaced once on guarantee terms it’s actually as good as new. When the kids will grow out of it now it might even still bring back some of the admittedly hefty price it once cost. But we do use it as a workhorse every day, to the kindergarten and back, carrying the groceries and the beer crate – we do live a life of bliss without a car, so sure as hell we do ride it in the rain, too! And in snow. And up and down a mountain. Gravel road. Four countries. The better part of 10,000 kms.

    Somehow I doubt a 75-quid trailer can do the same. But then who knows… Over here a test magazine ran a test on trailers good and cheap across. They all tested at least fairly in safety aspects, one cheap model indeed poorly in rainproofness – but almost all failed in terms of materials emitting dangerous chemicals! Only the Chariot came out overall good, even the Croozers didn’t (a Burley wasn’t running this time).

  3. Matt says:

    Thanks for taking the time to provide your views. I only know one couple in the UK with a child trailer so it’s hard to get good advice. I know they got stuck several miles from home with a flat tyre and no puncture repair kit but that goes without saying really!

    Zoe, the Chariots do look awesome and if I manage to get a couple more ad/sponsorship placements on this blog I might splash out :) Chariots are available over here, although the Cougar model goes for £670. At the current exchange rate that works out at $1000 CAD. Ouch.

    Thomas, a Burley Bee looks to be a good option and they go for £250 new and seem to be a nice mid range trailer. I believe these are bottom of the range as far as Burleys go, but I imagine you’d still get the same Burley build quality of the more expensive models. Quite envious of you not having a car, although I’m hopeful I’ll be in a position where I can live like that one day.

    In summer 2011 I’m hoping to cycle across part of Canada with a view to ending up or starting in Seattle so we can visit family. I’ve started scoping out routes which begin in the Saskatchewan area or perhaps Edmonton. It all depends how much money/time I’m able to set aside really. A full year would be amazing. For that I’d need a hard wearing trailer which can carry a child and cargo ideally. Best of luck if you manage to pull the bike trip together, you’ll have to start a blog :) For inspiration visit: http://familyonbikes.org/blog/

    Bye for now :)

  4. Nina says:

    Hi Matt, just wondering if you have considered getting a tandem bike for you and your son to ride around the world together, rather than putting him in a trailer? I understand that a child can join in the pedalling from about 2.5-3 years of age. I’m interested in this as my husband, our daughter and I hope to try this next year.

  5. Matt says:

    Hi Nina. It’s something I had thought about, but it seems to make more sense to me to use a trailer so that we can use it for cargo space as well. I really suppose it depends on your trip and how many miles you need to cover each day. I can’t see my little boy being happy about being in the saddle for hours on end, especially if its cold, windy or raining!

    I’m planning on doing the cycling trip with my fiance and our son, and I pictured 2 bikes each pulling a trailer. One child trailer with space for cargo, and an actual cargo trailer for the rest of our stuff. Of course, at this stage I’ve no idea how much stuff we’ll need to carry. We could perhaps get away with just panniers on one of the bikes, or even a tandem with panniers pulling a child trailer behind (A bit like the picture above). Lots to think about!

    I’d love to hear all about your plans :) I actually bought a child trailer last weekend and our little boy loves it, I’ll try and provide an update on this soon.

  6. Eryn says:

    Hi Matt! It’s been a year since you last discussed child trailers, and so I assume you’ve taken your trip? How long was it, how far did you go, etc etc… Please share all the challenges/exciting aspects with me!!! My daughter, Sydney, is 18 months old. We just bought her a nice mid-range 2-seater (extra roomy) trailer, by Schwinn. Also my husband and I each have a new bicycle, nothing super-fancy, but with full-suspensions and fully ‘pimped’ (baskets, panniers, etc, all made myself)
    We are intermediate cyclers, and I would really like to spend a lot of time outdoors this summer with Sydney. My plans are to take day-trips every weekend, and perhaps convince my husband to take an early autumn holiday so we can take a week-long cycling/camping trip with or daughter, who will be nearly two by then.
    My husband is NOT enthusiastic about this. He thinks it’s a crazy idea to take a toddler along on extended cycling trips, longer than 1 day.
    Before I try to convince him otherwise, I’d love to hear how it went for you, and others! I guess I should make certain I’m really NOT being insane about the idea. LOL.
    Do tell!

    • Matt says:

      Hi Eryn,

      Head on over to toddlerontour.com! We decided to make a dedicated blog :) We’re 3 weeks into our big trip, currently in Vancouver :)

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