Tips: Recumbents and Trailers
BicyleR Evolution – The Shopper
There are times when you need to tote more than you can comfortably carry on your bicycle, even a long wheel base recumbent designed for self contained touring. That is when you need a trailer.
I used a trailer for all of my European Tours and for Newfoundland and Labrador. I didn’t use one for any of my trips in the South, the West or Quebec because I have trimmed down the size and weight of what I carry when Touring. However, I will be using my trailer again for grocery runs now that the weather is better.
Let’s discuss when to use a trailer and what types of trailers work best for touring:
Here are some examples of when I use a Trailer now:
1. Self Contained Touring with my wife. She likes to camp and bike but doesn’t like hills or heavy loads, perfect application for a trailer. The trailer stays in the campground when we are doing day rides and keeps everything in it dry and easy to get at. Taking gear out of a trailer is a lot easier than getting gear out of a pannier.
The Shopper Full of Groceries
2. When you need to carry more than two bags of groceries (see
Jandd Grocery Panniers if you only need to carry those 2 bags or less). Of course groceries could be anything that is heavy and bulky.
3. For longer self contained tours or when the weight of gear you are carrying overloads your rear wheel or hurts bike handling too much. This is usually Touring in cooler weather or in places with bad weather and few bike shops.
The Shopper Disassembled and In Case
Trailers reduce the load on the rear wheel and really do make it much easier to carry heavy loads on the flats. With a trailer and a heavy load your bike will still handle well, you won’t be worrying about unplanned trips into the brush.
Trailers are also much easier to load and unload usually allowing more storage room than panniers. This is a blessing and a curse. If you are like me and only trim back what you are bringing with when you run out of space, bigger is not always better.
Plus the good trailers really are rain proof and keep your gear dry.
Parts of The Shopper
The downside of trailers is they make you really, really long and do add another 15 pounds or so to carry up hills. Long is not a real problem riding on the road unless you need to make sharp turns or get your bike and trailer into a Motel room. But additional weight on the hills can be an issue particularly if you brought things you didn’t need because you have extra space.
There are two basic types of trailers, those with in line wheels and those with parallel wheels. Trailers with inline wheels are great for single track riding and when you need to make sharp turns. But they are not so good on the road if you have steep descents; they have a tendency to come around and pull on your bike at the worst possible times.
BicycleR Revolution Pneumatic Coupler
I don’t recommend trailers with in line wheels for most bicycle tourist unless you plan to be riding on dirt roads a lot.
Close up of BicycleR Evolution Coupler
- They are very stable and predictable when pulling. No surprises on steep descents of if you hit a hole.
- They are quite sturdy.
- Easy to mount and remove from your bike. The use a pneumatic coupling that is sturdy but easy to attach and detach.
- The mount low and by the rear wheel.
- They use pretty good bearing and are easy to pull.
- They are waterproof.
- Easy to disassemble for shipping and when disassembled all of the parts fit if in the case.
- The body of the trailer is a standard Rubber Maid case that can be replaced at WalMart if you do something stupid.
Heavy Duty Trailer from BicycleR Evolution
Trailers aren’t for everyone but when you need them they really make your life easier. Take a look at BicycleR Evolution Trailers if you think you need a trailer, they have larger ones than The Shopper that can carry heavier loads and they have trailer kits if you want to build your own.
Just remember when you go to buy a trailer and that bigger trailer looks better, that you will be pulling the trailer and all that you have loaded into it. Although that additional mass is easy to handle on the flats, it is extra weight on the hills. The bigger the trailer the more you will be temped to carry.