Author Topic: Bike advice - what is best for use with a trailer on flat land (Texas?)  (Read 4401 times)

Lavender

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The husband and I want to (finally) buy bikes, and I'd like to be able to use them with a bike trailer. Found this on our local craigslist today.

http://houston.craigslist.org/bik/3079134312.html

We will be mostly using the bikes for school drop-offs, grocery runs etc, and trips to the park/pool. Completely FLAT landscape. Will these work, or should we be looking for something different? Also, what bike trailer do y'all recommend? We have two kids, 4 and 3, but they ride their own bikes already, so the trailer will be mostly used for hauling stuff, and for the kids in too-hot or rainy weather.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

Matt K

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Don't get beach cruisers like those. Personal opinion, but you asked for opinions.

Even on flat ground they weigh a lot (and I mean a lot), they are tiring to push down the road. Is it bad ass and going to get you in shape? Maybe, or it could hurt your knees and make you think of biking as too much work to bother with.

While you may not be contending with hills, wind can be every bit as bad or worse. The ability to change gears, especially when towing a trailer, is very nice to have.

Also, those particular bikes lack real brakes. They have a coaster break in the rear wheel, but a rear brake can only provide 40% of your total stopping power. Not an issue on a leisurely stroll, but a big issue if you need to stop in a hurry (ie in traffic) while pulling a trailer.

Some (very biased) people call bikes "the most efficient machines ever made"; this is only true when you ride a bike designed with efficiency and practicality in mind - as the vast majority of bikes available from a local bike shop are. Beach Cruisers, in my experience, are almost entirely designed for "the look", and just like their motorcycle counter-parts the Choppers (ie Orange County Choppers), lack any semblance of practicalilty. I will also add in, that most bikes built and sold for bike box stores don't have efficiency as a design criteria. Their sole criterias are "inexpensive to manufacture" and "easy to sell quickly". The first means that durability, dependablity, and rideablilty are all sacrificed at the alter of 'cheap to make', and they tend to make a passing visual resemblance of what is currently happening in the higher end bike world (to fool people into thinking they are getting something better than they are).

Keep an eye out for an old mountain bike or hybrid in your size, plenty show up on craigslist for under $100.

My 2 cents,
Matt

Lavender

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Hmm - thanks for the input! Will keep my eyes open...I really liked these as both me and my husband are tall and have lower back problems, and prefer an upright bike to a bike that requires one to lean over. Plus, we both grew up biking on single speed bikes and never saw/rode any geared bikes, so I really don't know anything about those. But your points seem very valid, so will keep looking!

grantmeaname

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The reason being bent over hurts is because haven't trained your back muscles to hold your weight in that position yet, not because it's fundamentally bad for your back or something. I wouldn't totally rule out riding in a bent-over position-- it's ergonomically optimal for producing power and it's way, way more aerodynamic.

Bakari

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Advice I wrote on finding a good, used, practical commuter bike:
http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/01/buying-bikes-from-craigslist.html

Most bikes can accept a trailer.
One wheel trailer is thinner for wind resistance and fitting in tight traffic, two wheels is more stable and can potentially be bigger.
Lots and lots and lots of options in size, cost, hitch design.  Plenty of DIY ones too.

Your height is irrelevant to the angle, as long as you get a bike that actually fits properly.
Any bike can be upright, it just requires a higher stem and/or handle bar.
If you get an adjustable stem, you can lower it gradually as you get used to riding, and decide you don't want the major speed penalty and extra effort of wind resistance - also, riding upright will tend to make you more sore where the butt meets the saddle, because none of your body weight is distributed to your arms.

Lavender

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Thank you all for the great advice! Found two almost-brand-new mountain bikes on Craigslist today, perfect condition, adjustable handlebars and seats, $100 for the pair, plus a 4-year old almost-never-used kiddie trailer for $50. Gotta love CL! Thanks again for all the great tips.