If, like many people in the UK, you have a love of cycling and would like to take your bike out all day, then you will no doubt be considering your options for carrying drinks, lunch, bike spares and other equipment that you might need during the day. Some riders are comfortable using panniers or a large rucksack, but for the optimum in comfort and space, a cycle trailer might be just the thing.
Bike trailers are much more efficient than rucksacks or panniers, as the load is carried separately, isolating your bike (and your legs) from the effort of moving the load. Unlike loading the bike or your back with the weight, it is distributed on its own set of wheels behind the bike, meaning the bike feels ‘normal’ and handles as you would expect it to. Another positive benefit is that with the load behind the bike, a cycle trailer can be used with lightweight or suspended bikes whereas panniers require a sturdy framed bike to take the weight and avoid damage to the frame.
If making an overnight stop, a bike trailer is ideal for carrying camping gear as they have huge capacity, up to 300 litres for most brands. Once at the campsite you will find the trailer is lightweight and easy to move independently of the bike, making it easy to set up pitch and access equipment. If you need to transport the trailer in the car to get to the start of the trip, most bike trailers easily collapse down and are space and weight friendly to fit in most boots.
Families may want to consider a bike trailer with harnesses to carry a child or children too, as an alternative to using a child seat in front or behind the rider. Child seats are OK while the children are small, light and fairly immobile but once they become heavier, it can be really hard work to balance them on a bike. Children tend to throw their weight around at the most inopportune moments too, making the ride unpredictable and more prone to accidents.
For those hoping to adopt a more carbon friendly lifestyle and give themselves more choices than using a car, a cycle trailer opens up a world of possibilities. The huge storage capacity of some trailers, coupled with the ease of moving them around, means the weekly family shop need not be done in the car every time. Other equipment heavy journeys such as getting to sporting activities, music lessons or transporting documents to work will also be opened up to the possibility of taking the environmentally friendly and healthy option instead of relying on cars and public transport.
Trailers are available in both single wheel and two wheel designs. Although single wheel types take up less width on the road, the two wheeled types are far more balanced and easy to move. Choices for the interior design of the trailer can be made based upon what you think you will be mainly using the trailer for, for example child passengers, general cargo, disabled passengers, canoe or kayak and pets. Often it’s possible to buy a basic trailer frame and then purchase add-ons to allow different loads to be carried.