If you are fond of riding your bike, go on bike camping trips, or simply are fond of doing leisurely rides in the countryside, then having a bike trailer around is perfect for you.
Why? Because you will never know if you would need something to carry all your gear, or if you just want to bring your kid around for a ride.
What are bike trailers?
Bike trailers are wheeled frames with no motors that come with something that is called a hitch system. Trailers are then clamped or “hitched” to your bike’s frame and will then be towed by the rider towards their destination.
Normally bike trailers have a capacity in the volume of around 3 cubic meters and are used to haul cargos or anything that you would need on your biking adventure.
You can also use bike trailers that are specifically built to carry children and pets. This way, trailers would keep most of the weight of the cargo off the rider’s back and would allow for a more pleasurable bike ride.
Different Types of Bike Trailers
Bike trailers for cargo come in different designs. Some are simple flatbeds that are designed to carry heavier loads, while some are built to carry camping equipment or anything that you would need on outdoor trips.
Kid’s bike trailer
These trailers are specifically designed to carry kids. They come either as a single or double seater and are equipped with a 5 point harness system that would ensure to keep your kids safe and in place.
These types of trailers are also reinforced with roll cages, which adds more protection to the passengers and would make the bike frame more sturdy.
These trailers are also equipped with hoods that would protect the passengers from harmful UV rays, rain, and bugs. There is also allotted space for essential cargo on these types of trailers. Also, make sure that your child wears the right protective gear to avoid injuries when riding on child bike seats or on a rear-mounted seat cargo trailer.
Pet’s bike trailers
These are the same as a kid’s bike trailer but there are no seats. But instead, there is a leash that would aid to keep your pet in place.
How do you attach your trailer to your bike?
To better understand how bike trailers work, let us first dwell on the process of attaching the trailer to the bike. When you choose your first bike trailer, make sure you consider how you plan to mount it to your frame.
There is a trailer hitch that would mount to the bike seat post, some would mount to the frame or the rear axle. Examine your frame and bike seats and choose the right hitch that would fit perfectly for your bike.
Once you have determined the right hitch, mount it to the preferred part on your bike’s frame. Each hitch has different locking mechanisms, you can refer to your trailer’s manual for the exact instructions.
Once the trailer is attached and secured to your trailer bike, give it a gentle tug to make sure that it is in place. You can now start loading your trailer.
After everything is loaded up and secured, give a final tug on the trailer and if everything is okay, then you are set to go biking.
Related: How to Hook Up a Bike Trailer
Are bicycle trailers bad for bikes?
So the question arises, are trailers bad for bikes? It depends on the situation. For the most part, the most damage a trailer can do to your bike is to scratch the paint job.
But there are certain situations wherein trailers may cause you harm. There are situations that the hitch will dislodge and will end up between your spokes causing damage.
There are also situations wherein the trailer is loaded beyond its specified load limit. This can cause damage to your bike frame and the hitch. Although it will not likely cause bends on your frame, there might be collateral damage if you are pulling an overloaded bike trailer.
That means, while your cargo bike frame may remain intact, other parts might be affected due to the added weight.
Disadvantages of Using a Trailer
While bike trailers may have a lot of advantages in terms of convenience, pulling a bike trailer is not an easy task. For one, it will take longer for you to reach a destination since you are pulling additional weight.
It is also best if you stay off the main highways and roads for safety reasons. But if you do take trail routes and alternate routes, it will take longer to reach your destination.
Most bike trailers are also low to the ground. This is good in case the trailer topples over. And the lower ground clearance also means that it has a lower center of gravity.
The downside is that cars can barely see the trailer or their vision may be obstructed enough not to see the trailer that you are pulling. You might also feel discomfort on the mounted bike seats because of the added weight from the bicycle trailer
This is the same for road bikes or mountain bike trailers. Your bike’s handling will be affected, in turn, it would require wider turns. Overtaking is also an issue especially with a road bike and you have to be mindful of the traffic around especially when you are on a common biking and hiking trail.
Bike trailers are not necessarily bad. They contribute more than the negative aspects of having one.
One thing a rider must be wary of is having safety precautions when using a trailer. Especially when you are hauling your kids, you must plan everything including your biking route.
This way, if in case, a problem arises, you would have a backup plan for any problem that might occur. Planning also keeps you and your cargo safe. Knowing the routes, the obstacles, and how high you have to pedal if there are uphill sections would be great as well.
Your bike is generally safe from using a trailer as long as you use the trailer within its means. Going beyond its limits would compromise your and your cargo’s safety and will most likely damage your bike as well.