Kid-toting Bicycle Trailer Solution

We are in search of a cleaner, healthier, more entertaining and pleasant form of transportation. Over the past few years we have used a bicycle trailer setup, and it has worked well enough for occasional use.  

Our recent setup has been a simple aluminum frame Trek bicycle with a fairly heavy steel trailer.  For the most part, the trailer is a good size and relatively comfortable for our kids.

However, it has its pros and cons for daily use, in comparison to an automobile:

  • Trailer protects the kids in various weather situations, while still allowing them to “look around” a little.
  • More socially immersed and visible in the neighborhoods we ride through, in comparison to an automobile.
  • Smiles from other users of the rail trail and people on city streets who particularly enjoy seeing kids in a trailer.
  • More pleasant in nice weather situations
  • Enough room for two small kids plus gear.
  • More time with the kids in an outdoor environment.
  • Biking provides parents with good exercise and everyone with fresh air; when on the rail trail we are not behind other polluting vehicle fumes.
  • Easy to transport this solution with many vehicles, since trailer folds up nicely.
  • Saves money in gas, helps the environment by polluting less, using less oil/fuel.

  • It takes longer to get the kids to school than in a car.
  • Need to plan ahead and make time for the “special event” of riding to school in a trailer.
  • Not as pleasant in rainy weather, cold weather conditions or extreme heat
  • More difficult to interact with the kids.
  • Limited to two kids plus gear.
  • Kids are located behind the bike, which can shower them with sand and other “road exhaust” that is picked up from the back tire of the bicycle
  • Our bike trailer system with two kids in it lacks efficiency – less desirable to ride this daily, since after a while it seems to be a chore, particularly up hills.  An electric motor would help.
  • Trailer is low to the ground – kids do not see as much as they could if they were up in a bicycle seat or in a bucket.
  • Depending on where one rides it can be more or less dangerous than driving, but overall it is slightly more dangerous being in a bicycle “system” over a safe and relatively recent automobile with child car seats.  This is highly variable.
  • The tires on the bicycle that we use are fairly narrow, giving it less traction and making it less efficient when pulling the trailer.  Wider tires may provide more traction and an easier toting experience.
  • The riding position of our hybrid bike is not fully upright, which is less comfortable than other bicycles that are better made for cruising or pulling cargo.

The extra storage behind the kids’ seats is useful in hauling the kids’ lunches, extra clothes, groceries, and plenty more.  The rain canopy is nice and allows the kids to stay dry in rainy weather, while still allowing the kids some ventilation.  The kids do say that the trailer is a little bumpy.  My daughter has mentioned that her tummy didn’t feel that great after a long ride that had a lot of bumps going over rough sidewalks or the occasional curb hopping that was done.

Overall, this solution works but isn't the best for us for long-term use.  A lot of people use trailers, but frankly, it isn't as enjoyable or efficient as it could be.  Other solutions that cost more provide a significantly better experience.

Please feel free to leave a comment below.  Do you use a bike trailer, and if so, how do you use it?   Do you agree with our assessment of bike trailers?


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