Why Use a Child Trailer?
Using a bike trailer may seem intimidating at first, but in reality, bike trailers can really make your life a whole lot easier as a parent. Here are just a few reasons why you should use a bike trailer:
- Using a bike trailer is built-in exercise. We all need this because, as you know, there always seems to be very few precious hours of free time during the week, so why not build exercise into your schedule?
- Bike trailers are a great way to get your kids to and from daycare/pre-school, sometimes eliminating the need for a second vehicle.
- Bike trailers have built-in cargo space, which is perfect for picking up groceries and errands, for toting picnic supplies and for storing kids backpacks and essentials.
- You're automatically being a role model for having an active lifestyle and kids pick up on this from a very young age.
Child Trailers: Getting Started
Bike trailers are a wonderful accessory that allow you to take your kids with you on your biking adventures until your kids are ready for their own 2-wheeler. Using a bike trailer might entail a trip to the supermarket or ride through your favourite forrest trails, the possibilities are endless. I know a family who took an overseas biking trip to Scotland with their one year old. They navigated the Scottish coastline with their bikes, with their toddler safely secured in their bike trailer (which also contained most of their camping gear). You don't have to be a professional athlete to own and use a bike trailer for your kids. A bicycle trailer is attached to the bike's rear axle or frame and can carry children ages 1 to 6. Some bike trailers carry one child and some carry two.
It should be noted that your child must be wearing a bicycle helmet when riding in a bike trailer and children under one aren't ready for a helmet yet. To ride in a bike trailer behind a bicycle, the industry standard is to wait until the child is one year old.
I'm going to discuss the ins and outs of finding the best and safest bike trailers and how to set them up. I'll also some kids trailer bike reviews, reviewing some of the most popular child trailer brands like Burley, Chariot and Kid a Rooz.
The Safest Child Trailers for Kids
While diving into the world of bicycle trailers is a great experience for adults and kids alike, there are some guidelines that should be followed in order to maintain safety and security. First off, children under the age of one should not be riding in a bike trailer that is mounted behind a bike. Although this is the industry standard for bike riding, some bicycle companies such as Burley and Chariot Bike Trailers have an infant sling, geared toward 0-12 month olds that allow your young child's head and body to be firmly supported in the trailer. The companies that make the infant sling are intending it to be used when the trailer is set to jogging mode, not in biking mode.
Secondly, it's important to note that bike trailers can accommodate children ages 1 to 6 and the weight limit is 85 to 125 lbs. Exceeding the weight limit can compromise the structure of the bike trailer.
Because children riding in bike trailers are sitting in self-contained structures low to the ground, that means visibility to traffic is limited and a safety flag measuring 3 1/2 feet to 7 feet off high should be fastened to the outside of the bike trailer.
Bike trailers can handle bumps and turns quite well and most are equipped with suspension; however, bikers should have limited contact with vehicles on the road (choose a designated bike path or lane, if possible). Also, bikers using bike trailers for kids should avoid winding and bumpy off road trails. Most bike trailer models have a hitching device that will keep the trailer steady if the bike tips over. The Chariot Bike Trailer Hitch Arm Lollipop is one example. Be sure to research child trailer bike reviews specifically for safety standards. There are many brands of child trailers out there and you have to know what you're looking for before you start looking.
Child Trailer Bike Reviews: Choosing a Bike Trailer
The first thing you'll want do when thinking about buying a child trailer is to make sure you have a bike that can physically handle the weight and pull of a bike trailer. The bike tires you use should have some traction, which rules out standard road bike tires. Mountain bike and Cyclocross tires are good options for pulling weight. Cyclocross bicycles are ideal for pulling weight and cargo because the bike itself is light and sturdy and can handle both roads and trails. Mountain bikes won't have any issues with the way the tires handle and they are more than capable of pulling heavy loads, but mountain bikes will only add to the weight that you're already carrying. I pull about an extra 100 lbs with my one year old and my 4 year old in the bike trailer and I've found the lightness of my Cyclocross frame to balance out the weight of the trailer significantly.
Next, when picking out your bike trailer, it's important to note that some brands, such as Chariot bike trailers, In Step bike trailers and Burley bike trailers have the capability to turn your bike trailer into a jogging stroller by offering an additional kit for purchase.
It's also important to note that some bike trailers fold up, which is great if you're in a pinch for space and others don't.
How to Set Up your Child Trailer
Here's what you'll need, in addition to your bicycle and your bike trailer:
- Axle mount-you attach this hardware onto your bike's rear axle by using your bike's quick release function or you can mount the piece right onto your bike. Simply attach your bike trailer's receiver into the hitch post and insert the pin through the hole and fasten the clip.
- Bike trailer hitch-arm lollipop-keeps your bike trailer steady should your bike topple over while you're riding it.
- Safety flag-insert the flag onto the side of the bike trailer (find the designated sleeve) and make sure the flag is 3 1/2 feet to 7 feet off the ground.
How to Attach Your Child Trailer to Your Bike
Chariot Cougar 2 Carrier
Kids Trailer Bike Reviews| 2015
When it comes to choosing a high quality bike trailer brand, Chariot bike trailers, (A Canadian company), have been around the longest-for over 17 years. The benefits of owning a Chariot bike trailer are all in design perks:
- One-click buggy wheels that mount upside down for storage.
- Click n’ store brackets to hold a tow arm or jogging arms.
- Jogging brake kits that fold away under the trailer when in bike mode.
- a small velcro tab above each harness to hold the harness up while you put your children in the carrier.
- Tinted windows to keep the UV rays out.
- Superior and durable fabric.
- Reflective fabric (great safety feature).
Thule Chariot CX2 are another trusted bike trailer brand with great features:
- Extra leg room
- Wider cockpit
- Fleece-lined interior
- Padded seat and harnesses
- Zip-off side windows
- Adjustable suspension
- Small collapsed size
- Weather-tight cover system
Burley bike trailers are known for their quality and their affordability:
- The nylon canvas is thick and well stitched
- UV blocking side windows are top quality
- Hitching system is simple to use
Kid A Rooz Bike Trailer Reviews: Best and Cheapest
Kid A Rooz Bike Reviews
I own and use a Kid A Rooz Bike trailer on a weekly basis and this model is one I highly recommend. It's cheaper than all of the top brands of child trailers but it still has all the safety features and stability.
Kid A Rooz Bike Review Specs:
- Easily converts from a pull behind bicycle trailer to a double stroller, using an ultra-quick folding system.
- Includes an easy pivoting stroller wheel and sturdy trailer arm with quick attach mechanism, plus it has an extra safe low center of gravity.
- Clear roll up front window, tinted side windows. Inside space is big enough for 1 or 2 children with padded head rest above the helmet space, the shoulder straps are padded.
- LxWxH measures 42x33x32
- Weight 33lbs, will carry 100 lbs.