ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tips for buying a bicycle trailer

Updated on March 8, 2011

Roger Smith of Vancouver has been towing children, weekly groceries and even lumber in a Burley trailer for more than a dozen years. He uses the trailer like a car.

"The trailer makes my bike into a station wagon," said Smith, a 49 year old videographer who has 4 children and has never owned a car. "I've been lugging kids around the city for more than a dozen years in a bicycle trailer. I've moved furniture, lumber, and literally tons of groceries over the years. Here are some tips he shared on what you should look for in a trailer.

"The first trailer I bought was basically a red, plastic bucket on two wheels. The sides of the trailer only went up to my child's shoulder. It was a terrible design because if it ever rolls, your child head isn't protected. It didn't have any pockets for storage. There was no protection from the sun or rain and it hitched to the seat-post on my bike. It was basically the worst possible trailer." He quickly replaced it with a bargain enclosed trailer. He wore the trailer out in 6 months. He then got a Burley trailer from Mountain Equipment Coop in Vancouver which has lasted more than a dozen years and is still going strong.

The frame of the trailer should completely enclose the children. The frame provides a shell to protect the children if the trailer every rolls over.

Look carefully at the restraint system. You want both a lap belt and a 3-point shoulder restraint system. The restraint system keeps the children from rolling around inside their shell. The restraint system also helps to keep the centre of balance of the trailer low to avoid tip-overs.

You want a trailer roomy enough to carry one or two kids with enough squirm and leg room for them to be comfortable. Be sure to have your kids sit in the trailer to ensure they have enough squirm and leg room. You need at least a couple of big pockets along the inside of the trailer for holding a thermos, sun-screen, snacks and a couple of toys.

Of course the trailer should be light but strong. Look for aluminum tubing. The trailer hitch is important. Look for a trailer that connects to the bicycle at the rear axle. The hitch should be easy and fast to connect. It also needs to be flexible so it doesn't interfere with the bike's ability to lean in corners. If the connection is too rigid it will make the bike hard to control. The first trailer I bought was rigidly connected to the seat-post on my bike so whenever I had to lean into a corner the bike is basically trying to lift the entire trailer into the turn.

Look carefully at the trailer wheels. They are the major source of repair issues. Since the trailer is wider than the bike it's easy to whack the wheels when threading your way through narrow spaces. You want quality, alloy wheels. A well-designed trailer will have some sort of bumper bar to protect the wheels. On the best trailers the aluminum tube frame actually encloses the wheels. I've never had to replace the wheels on my Burley.

The trailer needs to have a cover to keep out the sun and rain. The cover is also important to prevent your children from getting cold. The Burley trailer I have now has a system with a clear plastic cover and bug screen.

It's convenient if the trailer has a separate storage area to hold groceries. When hauling groceries be sure to balance the load and place the heavy stuff low in the trailer to keep the the center of gravity low and prevent tip-overs.

My absolute first choice among bike trailers are those made by the Burley Coop of Eugene, Oregon. They meet all the requirements I stated above. They are designed well and made to last a life-time. I've talked to people who are still using their trailers after 20 years. Craigslist is a good place to pick up a second hand Burley at a good price. If you're patient you should be able to get a used one for about $150. They're so well built that a second hand trailer makes a lot of sense.

My second choice is a Canadian company that is starting to give Burley some real competition; Chariot Carriers from Calgary, Alberta.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)