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Commute by Tyke: Child Trailers

by Ted Johnson

Bike commuting is fine for you, but I have kids who I need to take to daycare every morning.

Oh Mama, are we ready with a comeback to that one.

Child bike trailers aren’t just for towing your spawn to the playground on weekends. Many owners of child trailers use them daily as parents drop their kids off at daycare, or kindergarten–even up to the first grade as long as you watch those trailer weight limits.

Chariot Cougar 2

Dad pulls a Chariot Cougar 2

Have I ever pulled a child trailer? No.

Am I shilling for my employer? Absolutely.

Chariot

Spawn of Megan in a Chariot Cougar 1

However, my co-worker, Megan, runs her daughter to childcare everyday–making her round-trip commute 20 miles instead of one mile.

The fact that Megan uses a Chariot Cougar 1 trailer tells me something.

The fact that this trailer has survived trips and tours to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Korea, and Japan tells me that it’s probably good enough for your kid’s commute to childcare.

Megan is in the industry, and knows child bike trailers. Furthermore, she has an uncanny eye for detail and quality.

Sometimes I hand her a product that I think I’ve gotten to know, and I ask her what she sees. Invariably she will point out refinements in the features, stitching, etc. that I never would have noticed.

Last year, at Interbike, the Bike industry’s annual North American mega trade show, we were still figuring out how to turn on our video camera. I handed her a microphone and had her run down a Croozer Kid For 2 trailer–a model she’d only seen for the first time minutes earlier.

Watch her go.

Below is Megan with her Chariot trailer on the kick-off ride for Bike to Work Week. She leaves the trailer at her childcare location, and picks it up at the end of the day.

Chariot Cougar 1

Megan about to pull her baby five miles in her Chariot Cougar 1

Alright, you’re thinking, So Megan is some kind of bike commuting superhero. You can’t expect a mere mortal to do what she does.

Next time you are passing by a daycare center during business hours, take a look around. You might see a child trailer locked up and waiting for some kid’s mom or dad to come pedaling up at the end of the day.

There can’t be that many superheros around. Commute by Tyke.

 
The Chariot Summer Sale - 2013

4 Responses to “Commute by Tyke: Child Trailers”

  1. Jeremy says:

    My wife an I quit smoking last year and as a reward I get her a bike, and I got us a cheap Instep trailer from a employee rewards store my previous employer used. One ride in bad weather and we ended up hacking a bunch of weather proofing into the Instep (In it’s defense it’s a $50 trailer and it did better than expected. The frame lives on as a cargo trailer.) Obviously, with your children involved quality is very important and we upgraded to a Burly Bee we’d found at the bike store (older model year) for a nice sale price and from May to December when we moved 1/2 across the country the car was never started. It’s not that difficult to pull a child trailer, once you’re used to the weight you almost have to work to remember it’s there. We were blessed by an easy 5 miles (Each way) route that was 90% bike lane and had a good day care close to our work. We could park the bikes inside, and the trailer, when collapsed fit in as well.

    This is an incredible way to get children who can’t yet handle long rides or traffic into cycling. My daughter LOVED her time in the trailer and would tell us the best stories about the things she’d seen on our trips. It also motivated her to become more skilled on her bike so that she could ride with us on store runs. Having her pushing us to take the bikes everywhere was the best thing for us while we were gaining our feet as new commuters and cyclists. Again, of course we want quality but there are MANY brands of cheap “fair weather” trailers you could test on park or trail rides to see if this is something for you so don’t let the perceived cost stop you from trying! Besides getting off my A$$ and on my bike it’s one of the best decision’s we’ve made. :)

  2. I was in France a month ago and came across a couple of bikes with touring bags and kid trailers (complete with disposable diapers in the back compartment of one). I found the riders (or course, they were within eyeshot of their bikes) and we had a nice chat. They had started touring when they met, and just kept adding trailers as the kids came along (they had three in tow). When you’re willing, there’s no need to stop your riding just ’cause kids enter the picture.

  3. BluesCat says:

    Last year I bought a Schwinn Scout trailer. It’s a re-branded InSTEP. I use it to haul groceries, and my granddaughter absolutely loves it: l Keira’s First Trailer Ride.

    It seems to have held up pretty well, but Keira doesn’t do a lot of bouncing around and kicking the sides, etc. Must be a girl trait.

    We’ll see how well it does when her little sister, Isabelle, is old enough to ride with her! Isabelle, at 6-months-old, is showing sure signs of Tom Boy. I may have to order a Croozer from Ted!

  4. Erik Mar says:

    I take my 4 year old son to and from preschool (7 miles each way) on a Torker Cargo T, which is based on a Dutch Workcycles design. It’s got all the cargo bike basics – a double kickstand, a locking front wheel, front and rear cargo racks, internal 3 gear hub, etc. I carry him on a Yepp Maxi, which is rated for up to 50 lbs., higher than the US-based child seats, at least when I was researching the alternatives. The bike can and has carried around 300 total pounds (including me). The full setup cost around $700. I prefer it to trailer solutions because it’s more compact, and therefore easier to maneuver through tight urban spaces, and through the various gates around the preschool. He’s closer, so we can talk whilst riding, and he can pass me snack bags, etc. when he’s done with them. It’s also easier to get up the few hills that we encounter about town than it would be with a trailer, which adds more weight, or with a bakfiets, which is also heavier and more ungainly.

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