Cycling is an excellent way to enjoy family time, even with your small child. Kids predominately enjoy cycling, after all, it's time spent with you. If your child is too small to learn to cycle on his own, carrying them with you in a bicycle trailer is a great option.
If you have already chosen to use a bike trailer because of its many benefits (greater safety, visibility, weather-protection, capacity, age-range and overall niftiness), there are a couple of things you should consider before you start, to ensure an enjoyable ride for yourself and your child.
After making sure the technical aspects are in order, a little practice and some practical child-in-trailer tips, you’ll be ready to enjoy the great outdoors and start cycling as a family.
Using A Bike Trailer
- If there is one drawback to using a trailer, it’s that they are heavier than seats. Going up even a small hill will be more taxing on your physical condition than a seat. So, unless you are super fit, make sure your bicycle has a good range of gears.
- Although trailers won’t give you same balance problems as seats, they do have some control issues you need to be aware of. Because the trailer is attached to your bicycle with an articulated arm, you’ll be making a much wider circle when turning corners. Make sure you practice turning corners before putting your child in.
- Remember that the trailer and your child will add a lot of pulling weight to your bicycle. It's recommended that the weight of the trailer (with child) is no more than half your and your bike's weight. So, opt for a heavier bicycle.
- The amount of pulling you're going to do dictates the size of the tires. You'll need a bike with wider tires that offer a good grip on the road if you want to avoid spinning wheels while simultaneously getting nowhere.
- Last but not least: check your brakes! Regularly.
On The Road With Your Trailer And Child
- Keep in mind you’re pulling a trailer and your child behind you. That might seem obvious, but it means you need to be more conscious of your position on the road. Cycling UK instructor Julie Rand offers some cycling advice: "You will need to ride even further out from the curb as you are a wider load. Also ride at least a meter away from car doors too.”
- On longer rides, make sure you schedule regular stops to check on the mood and energy levels in your trailer. Trailers ensure safety for your child, but make it harder for you to hear when your child is having a "moment."
- Most trailers have pockets on the inside, so keep your child's favorite stuffed animal a pillow and a blanket within easy reach for a comfortable snuggle and snooze.
- Under no circumstances are you to leave your child with chocolate, yogurt or felt tipped pens, unless you intend to wash your kid and trailer upon reaching your destination.