Author Topic: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer  (Read 2776 times)

Britan

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Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« on: January 13, 2020, 12:37:09 PM »
So I recently had a baby, who is 6 months old now. I recently became enamored with the idea of getting a bike trailer for a few reasons (below), but holy schmoley the cost!!! I like the Burley bee that transforms into a stroller because we actually donít own a stroller yet and hey 2 for 1 right? But they are $400! And the D-lite is... over $800?!? And unfortunately I havenít seen any in the used market in my area and all my friends who have them are going to be using them for the next 4+ years...

Reasons for:
- I need to exercise more... and I donít run (metal in my toes!) so biking on the paved trails in the park next to my house is something Iíd want to start
- We only own one car, which DH uses to drive to work, so this would mean we wouldnít need another car to reach > walking distance places such as pediatrician, grocery store, library, etc. (Iím a bit wary of using a trailer on the roads around here though, with baby in it. Drivers suck at stop signs so Iíd rather have him in a bike seat when heís old enough, which I also donít have, and put things like groceries in the trailer)
- We donít own a stroller and will probably eventually want one... right? I mean Iím pretty good with the Ergo but... heís gonna get bigger one day.
- I have $300 in gift cards to REÕ so I could cover all But $100 of the honey bee trailer/stroller
- We have loads of money left over each month so we could easily buy one in cash without cutting into anything else in the budget including monthly savings.

Reasons not to:
- Thatís, like, a lot of money, dude.

I know yíall like being frugal. And yíall also like your bikes. So what say you. Is it a sound idea or am I falling into the ďspend all the money on all the baby thingsĒ trap?

DadJokes

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2020, 12:52:27 PM »
Bike trailers don't have to cost $400. I got one at a yard sale for (I think) $40. It's awesome, and I love taking my baby for rides around the neighborhood.

If not for a bike trailer, would you ever spend the REÕ gift card? If the answer to that question is no, then $100 is not an awful price to pay for a bike trailer. If the answer is yes, then maybe you can try to find a better deal. Amazon sells the same model I have for about $200, or you can periodically check Facebook Marketplace & Craigslist.

chemistk

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2020, 01:24:04 PM »
Second the cheap trailer.

We got ours a couple years ago off Nashbar, since MMM sings its praises in the blog. Nashbar was bought by a larger company and now currently doesn't offer the one we bought. It isn't the nicest trailer but it does a good job and offered the option of a stroller set-up.

We had to make some modifications to make the stroller wheel more robust but for an all-in price of under $100, it was a great move. The kids love it when we take it out.

I can also attest to the pure utility of the thing. I biked two bags of mulch home in it, and have done the obligatory grocery runs. It also saved me one day a couple months ago when my wife took the keys to the van with her and our son needed to be picked up from Preschool. I threw a ton of blankets in there for him and we made it back without incurring late charges!

I will say one thing - a bike trailer is not a good substitute for a stroller. Your wife will likely feel even more strongly about this. It's okay if you're going on a long walk but if you need to take it somewhere there's going to be lots of people, or to go in and out of places, forget it. 

Britan

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2020, 01:25:52 PM »
Bike trailers don't have to cost $400. I got one at a yard sale for (I think) $40. It's awesome, and I love taking my baby for rides around the neighborhood.

If not for a bike trailer, would you ever spend the REÕ gift card? If the answer to that question is no, then $100 is not an awful price to pay for a bike trailer. If the answer is yes, then maybe you can try to find a better deal. Amazon sells the same model I have for about $200, or you can periodically check Facebook Marketplace & Craigslist.
Which one do you have?

Haaaah. The gift cards are from 2017... Iím sure I could find something else to use them on but probably nothing Iíd use like I would s trailer /stroller

DadJokes

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2020, 01:37:17 PM »
Bike trailers don't have to cost $400. I got one at a yard sale for (I think) $40. It's awesome, and I love taking my baby for rides around the neighborhood.

If not for a bike trailer, would you ever spend the REÕ gift card? If the answer to that question is no, then $100 is not an awful price to pay for a bike trailer. If the answer is yes, then maybe you can try to find a better deal. Amazon sells the same model I have for about $200, or you can periodically check Facebook Marketplace & Craigslist.
Which one do you have?

Haaaah. The gift cards are from 2017... Iím sure I could find something else to use them on but probably nothing Iíd use like I would s trailer /stroller

I think this is the newer model version of what we have.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002QAVQ5A/ref=twister_B06XC5DQRZ?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

ericbonabike

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2020, 06:40:10 AM »
We bought a lightly used thule chariot for $250.
It came with:  Jogging attachement, and bicycle trailer attachment. 

We have also bought the infant sling (allowed us to start biking with a 3 month old).
and we bought front wheels which make it better for "just walking around".
Those cost $50 and $99 respectively.

Our son is now approaching two years old.  It's a hoss of a trailer.  We biked across georgia with it.  We are planning a month long european bikepacking adventure for this summer. 
Literally, the best money I've spent in terms of maintaining our ability to do the things we love while also spending quality time with our son.

bogart

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2020, 12:03:41 PM »
Hunh.  When my son was that age we got what I'm pretty sure was this trailer -- https://www.walmart.com/ip/InStep-Sync-Single-Child-Bike-Trailer-Green-Grey/13969565 -- new from Walmart for roughly the same $99 it's listed for there.  We got good mileage out of it, using it around town, and were very happy to have it.  Eventually we handed it down, as he grew to the point where he was riding his own bike. 

We also walked the wheels off of (well, wore the tires off the wheels on) an inexpensive Graco stroller, and used a lightweight Ergo-style carrier (but without the padding and without the snaps -- tie-on) when he was small, then a peanut shell sling carrier through about age 3.  Each (bike trailer, stroller, carriers) definitely had their place in our lives, and none was a good replacement for any other.

spartana

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2020, 12:55:02 PM »
I had a couple of different bike trailers I used for my dogs (both when biking, including some bike touring,  and walking as they could convert to use as "baby buggies" to push them on longer walks as they aged or became disabled).  Both were under $150 new and carried 2 kids (or dogs). One I bought at Costco and it was really nice. The other from Wal-Mart. It wasn't as nice but I used it everyday for over 10 years for my disabled dog and it held up well with a 55 lb dog. Burleys are nice but check out the cheap ones first. You can also buy lightly used ones in Craigslist or a place like "Play It Again Sports" that sells used equipment of all kinds.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 01:08:41 PM by spartana »

Sanitary Engineer

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2020, 01:47:55 PM »
We got a used Burly D'Lite with attachments for bike and ski.  We haven't used it biking yet, but use it as a stroller and for taking the kids skiing/snow shoeing.  I think we paid $350 for it.  It is definitely worth it.  The D'Lite is a smallish and lite double stroller and has jogging attachments, stroller attachments, biking and skiing.  I plan to use it to do some winter backpacking, if I am lucky this winter, but eventually for sure.  We go grocery shopping with it also.

ysette9

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2020, 02:15:24 PM »
Our first bike trailer wasnít the highest quality but worked just fine. It was free ok FB marketplace. I just got lucky.

Our current one is much nicer but was also free. A neighbor had set it out in front of their house because the straps had all broken. It appeared to have been left out in the sun for too long and the material turned to dust. So I bought new strap material and buckles on amazon and screwed up my thumb shoving thick upholstery thread through strap material to replace all of the buckles. Now we have a great trailer that I use pretty much every day to take my kid to school. I love it and highly recommend.

kpd905

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2020, 05:56:30 PM »
We grabbed this 2 kid trailer on Amazon for $100: https://amzn.to/386a6GU

Getting a $100 trailer and a separate stroller will be way cheaper than buying this crazy Burley combo.  Look on Facebook marketplace for both and you can probably spend $100 total for both.  We got a jogging stroller for $50 from someone who said they only used it 2-3 times.  We use it everyday from about May-Oct or so.

Mountainbug

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2020, 08:07:00 AM »
I bought the Burley from REI and have never regretted it for a second. Pulls like a dream even with two kids, the ski attachment is awesome if you love somewhere with snow, and I use it as a stroller almost daily as well.
I used my dividend + 20% off coupon and therefor only paid about $300 but if you find you donít think itís worth it REI has an awesome return policy and will take it back. I think the quality is well worth the price.

GreenQueen

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2020, 08:29:12 AM »
I'm finding this really helpful as my 3-year-old will have outgrown the front bike seat we used and loved for over 2 years, and I'm having our second in March.

That said, this seat works up to 38 lbs and with one kid is a good alternative to a trailer for a few years (unless you have an older kid already).

In terms of a stroller we really didn't use one until about 18 months. Unless you're off-road a lot, you can get a really simple stroller. Our baby carrier allowed for front facing, which was great after 8 months or so when kiddo gets squirmy and wants to see everything.

https://www.amazon.com/iBert-Front-Mount-Bicycle-Child/dp/B000H4E7EO/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=ibert+bike+seat&qid=1579188406&sr=8-2
« Last Edit: January 16, 2020, 08:30:50 AM by GreenQueen »

Hadilly

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2020, 09:10:51 AM »
I love having a bike trailer. Ours was free, neighbors were moving as we moved in. But I still use it 1-2 times a week even though the kids can all bike themselves now.



Hibernaculum

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2020, 02:30:40 PM »
We've had great luck with our Burleys. We got a single one on Craigslist for something like $140, then sold it for around the same price when kid #2 came around and we wanted a double Burley. The kids have now outgrown it, but I still use it for cargo from time to time. Keep looking on craigslist. Or, look in nearby areas and offer to drive to pick it up.

We didn't find all the attachments- the wheel that converts it into a stroller and the bar that allows you to run behind it- at all useful.

We got one of the jogging strollers (the big-name brand, forget what it's called) also used on craigslist and used that for our main stroller, and did the same one with that- bought a single, then sold it and got a double. So, that covered us for a main stroller. And then for a take-along stroller, we found that a cheap "umbrella" stroller worked the best, by far. I see people with these super-tanker-sized do-everything strollers on airplane flights and I just shudder. Umbrella stroller, baby.

Anyway, the trailer is great. You WILL get a workout, especially if it is at all hilly where you are. And the kids love to ride in it. The also like to sleep in it, which is another nice bonus.

FINate

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2020, 02:45:16 PM »
We had the D-Lite before my kids outgrew it and upgraded to a cargo bike. The D-Lite is a great trailer. Tows well. Super configurable. Very well made. It has adjustable suspension, which may seem like fancy pants nonsense, but it did make for a much nicer ride for my kids. I pulled them on a number of dirt/rocky roads on my mountain bike, they thought it was great.

In my area there are very few D-Lites for sale used, even the very old ones sell for around $250. Seems like you could buy it, use it a number of years, and it would still have decent resale value.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2020, 03:18:08 PM »
If  you don't have another great use for the gift cards, I say go for it. I mean, you're going to be spending at least a hundred dollars, why not get the newest/best you can for that amount? The balance is much better than with a bike seat and you can haul so many groceries. We used to have only one car when my kids were very little so the bike trailer was how I got them around all the time.

I always had used Burleys from Craigslist, so I can't really comment on the merits of cheaper ones.

But +1 that it's not a stroller substitute. I never tried to use mine as a stroller but they are pretty big and heavy. I think the stroller thing is more so you can bike someplace but still have a stroller with you, as opposed to the trailer being your only/daily stroller. That said, some people almost never use a stroller. YMMV.

Proud Foot

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2020, 11:56:48 AM »
A bike trailer is totally worth it. We got this one a few years ago from Amazon. Super easy to put together and folds pretty compact for storage. I agree with what others have said about not getting the stroller/trailer combo. The only reason I would get a combo is if I wanted to run with it and then would get the appropriate combo.

damyst

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2020, 12:20:44 AM »
Our bike trailer is almost a member of the family now, 4 years after we bought it.
It's a Thule Chariot, cost about $400 used(!), but it has paid itself back long ago just in avoided bus fare.
(if you're hesitant to use the trailer for commuting and other errands, however, the cost/benefit analysis is quite different).

We used the trailer for cycling trips in Europe and Asia. Pro tip: airlines treat the trailer as a baby stroller, meaning you can fold it down and gate-check it for free, unlike e.g. bicycles.

The Thule Chariot is a rugged piece of kit - it's holding up fine after years of abuse, and the full suspension and large wheels make for a comfortable ride for the little one. I wonder if the cheaper lighter models would be as versatile.

Originally I had assumed that we'd sell the trailer and recoup some of the cost as soon as kiddo outgrows it... But then how would I do my Costco runs? :-)

mschaus

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2020, 10:10:10 PM »
Unfortunately Americans have not figured out how to ride a bike with children under 12mo as they have in other countries ó there is almost no guidance out there for solutions, so Iíll start here. Even for the Thule infant sling mentioned above, the manual clearly states ďDo not use the Infant Sling for cycling [blah blah blah] deathĒ. I was not able to find any laws or other guidance, so it seems that it is up to the discretion of the parent.

So I chose a trailer for my infant and if you have space for it in your garage, itís awesome. Can carry tons of groceries and no risk of it falling over. To carry my infant who was too small to fit well in the regular trailer seat, I just strapped into it her infant car seat! Worked great even after she ďoutgrewĒ it in terms of riding legally in a 75mph car. Facing forward it fit great in the trailer and at 15mph was incredibly safe.

Regarding REI ó the Burleys are definitely great and you should consider waiting for the next sale (early Feb) or the next 20% off coupon which will be in late March when members get dividends.

Iím excited for you to get out there riding! A life on a bike is life well-lived, and the exercise, fresh air, sunshine, and community you get will be worth 10x even a fancy trailer. Thatís being a mustachian.

tyrannostache

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2020, 10:26:49 AM »
We bought the cheapest and smallest Burley--the minnow?--a year or two ago with some REI gift cards and a discount, and we haven't regretted it for a second. It pulls beautifully, and it's easy to clip on and off. Our big kid was well onto her own bike by that time, so we just needed it for the toddler. We have taken it on some very long rides, and it works really well. Better suspension would be nice, but the kid doesn't seem to mind.  We almost never used a stroller with kid #2, so we don't miss the ability to convert to a stroller.

I fully expect to use it for another 2 years, then sell it.

Edit: If we didn't have the gift cards, we would have bought a used Chariot off Craigslist/FB marketplace. I see these things around town, and they just keep going and going for years.

Luap595

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2020, 12:24:52 PM »
Got a used Schwinn bike trailer off craigslist about 6 years ago. It kicks ass and only cost around $40. Besides getting kids around, it's been a great way to pick up groceries and other stuff - one less excuse to drive. Overall, I think it's saved me lots of money. I'd definitely go used. Seems like a lot of people buy these with the ambition to use them, and never actually do it.

jpdx

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Re: Talk me out of (or into?) a bike trailer
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2020, 11:20:14 PM »
Love my Burley Solo trailer, especially since it keeps the little one warm and dry in the wet months. I can also use it to transport bulky items that donít fit on my bike. Drivers are extra considerate when they see you pulling a trailer with a red flag on it.

Itís not a good substitute for a stroller. Thatís a separate tool for a separate job. I love strolling to stores or restaurants then taking the stroller inside ó the trailer is too cumbersome to maneuver inside.

As with most things for kids, buy these used and save your money. Then sell the items when youíve outgrown it and your cost is negligible. Have fun!
« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 02:39:28 PM by jpdx »