Trailer-Cycles are a great way to bring your child on your next bicycle ride. Not only do they help children improve their cycling skills, while getting exercise, they also allow children to contribute to the speed and fun of your family cycling adventures. Trailer-cycles are essentially the back-half of a bicycle, including the handlebars, the saddle, the pedals, and the rear wheel, and they mimic the position of a traditional bicycle designed for smaller riders, though without the front wheel. They typically mount onto a dedicated rear rack or the seat post of a towing bicycle, and they can be easily mounted and unmounted from the towing bicycle or transferred to another bike. So as your child outgrows his or her bike child trailer, balance bike, or bike child seat, you might want to consider a trailer-cycle to ease the transition to a regular bicycle.
Trailer-cycles allow you to increase the distance of your family cycling adventures without tiring out your child. On a trailer-cycle, your child is able to pedal along with you enabling him or her to ride farther than he or she might be able to on an independent bicycle. Additionally, your child still has the security of being under your control, since you are in charge of braking and steering. Unlike a tandem, your child can coast while riding on the trailer-cycle, and the two of you do not have to pedal in-sync with one another. At the same time, your child can develop a feel for riding a bicycle at a reasonable speed, which he or she can translate to his or her own bicycle when the time is right. Your child is also able to get some exercise and fresh air while riding on a trailer-cycle, as are you while towing one!
Trailer-cycle attachment systems make them very user-friendly and adaptable. Unlike a tandem, a trailer-cycle can be easily removed from a towing bicycle when it is not needed. On the same token, it can easily be transferred from one towing bike to another. Trailer cycles are typically mounted to a towing bicycle one of two ways: seat post or rack mounted. The most common attachment system is a seat post mounted system like those from Adam's Trail-A-Bike or Weehoo. Another, less common, system of attachment uses a dedicated rear rack that is attached to the rack eyelets on the towing bicycle and joins with the tow arm of the trailer-cycle. It should be noted that both systems will have an impact on your bicycle's handling characteristics. Since the trailer-cycle articulates from the towing bicycle, the weight can have varying push, pull, or sway effects. Single-wheel trailers like a trailer-cycle can often be felt swaying side-to-side slightly, which is perfectly normal but does take some getting used to. Also, the high mounting point of seat post or rack mounted systems above the axle of your rear wheel can increase the changes in bike handling, so it is important to get in some practice on the trailer-cycle before you head out for a long ride.
Much like a regular bicycle, trailer-cycles come in a variety of gearing options from single-speed trailer-cycles to geared trailer-cycles. Some trailer-cycles, like the Adams Folder 24 Trail-A-Bike, have larger wheels (ie. 24") to accommodate bigger riders. They are even available as tandem trailer-cycles for carrying two children. Most trailer-cycles can be folded down for easy transport and storage. As your child grows, you can make adjustments to the trailer-cycle in order to accommodate longer legs, arms, and torso by adjusting the seat post and saddle. Trailer-cycles typically do not have brakes, as the towing bicycle is in charge of braking. Additionally, it is often beneficial to add a set of toe-clips to the trailer-cycle pedals to help keep those little feet from flying off the pedals.
Adams Trail-A-Bikes: Since 1986, Adam's has been focused on developing great products that make family cycling a great experience for everyone. The Adam's Trail-A-Bike line has something for children of all sizes, and their great accessories will make your next family cycling trip fun, memorable, and repeatable!
Weehoo Trailers: Weehoo products are designed by parents, for parents (and children, of course)! The Weehoo iGo trailer-cycle is a unique trailer-cycle/ bike child trailer that allows your child to comfortably sit, pedal, and enjoy your ride together. Try a Weehoo for your next family cycling adventure!