Hauling the laundry basket up and down stairs and chasing around a toddler-wannabe certainly qualify as exercise. Still, if you get the feeling it’s not enough, a bicycle trailer can help you cover some ground in the name of fitness and fresh air without having to hire a baby sitter.

Trailers have two bicycle-type wheels and a long hitching arm that fastens onto your bicycle. Some can carry two kids, and others are designed for children with disabilities. They’re promoted for towing a child big enough to sit up, usually starting at 6 months or so. But we think that’s too young. For one thing, children of that age may not be physically equipped to withstand the forces they’ll be exposed to in a trailer. For another, there are no helmets available at that age level – and a helmet is a necessity, in our view. If you want to use a trailer, our advice is to wait until your child is old enough to walk and can be properly fitted with a helmet.

Trailers give the impression of being safer than bicycle-mounted baby seats, since the passenger or passengers are seated, strapped in, and enclosed in a zippered compartment. Bicycle-mounted child seats can also make a bike unstable and hard to mount and dismount. As with trailers, they should not be used with very young children.

But trailers pose safety problems in their own right because their low profile makes them difficult for motorists to see, especially in limited light, especially in limited light, even if they’re brightly colored. And trailers can tip over if you turn abruptly or happen to turn when one wheel is going over a bump. As your bike speeds up, braking becomes harder, even more so on wet surfaces. Trailers may also become snagged on bushes or other objects.

Recommendation

For safety’s sake, consider trailers to be “off-road vehicles” and use them only in parks and on safe, smooth trails where there’s no risk of encounters with cars. Have your child wear a lightweight, well-fitting bike helmet, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendation regarding weight and size limitations. That’s typically 60 pounds for a one-passenger trailer and 100 pounds for a duo.

The better bicycle trailers have sturdy construction, tinted windows, a comfortable interior, and a wide wheel base. But before you decide to buy, ask yourself if you will use the trailer enough to justify the price. If you think you’ll be using it only occasionally, buy the most durable trailer you can that’s the priced at the low end. Also, consider how much weight you’ll tow. When the weight of the bicycle trailer plus the passenger or passengers exceeds 50 pounds, you may start to think of yourself as a beast of burden. At that point, maybe it’s time for riders to get their own bikes.


What’s Available

The Burley Kids Solo trailer is an exceptionally unique stroller that has support features that make it stand out. The buggy design offers a creative style for your baby’s traveling needs. The trailer has a suspension that is adjustable for a comfortable ride. There is plenty of space inside the trailer to accommodate your growing child’s body. Kids can easily be removed or strapped in the seat with little effort. It is made to keep the straps safely out of the way to ensure a tangle-free experience. It is water resistant and can be adjusted to allow your child to explore the sites with you. This advanced trailer construction can provide added support and convenience for parents who enjoy taking their child out for a stroll.

Price: $569.00

See in Amazon

The Pacific Cycle Schwinn Trailblazer is an innovative trailer that can be pulled behind a bicycle. It is a new way to take your child on a bike ride around the neighborhood. The trailer has aluminum rims and 20-inch size tires for easy pulling. It is made of a durable frame and is designed for lightweight performance. The trailer can be compacted for easy transport and storage. Parents can enjoy riding for miles and letting their child enjoy the fresh air. The sturdy and secure trailer will keep your child safe with every trip you make. There is an added bug screen protector with a canopy to protect your child from the weather and bug bites. The trailer wheels will securely stay in place with the easily adjustable brake. When you stop to look at the scenery, you can set the brake to keep your child safely parked. Parents can enjoy riding for hours with their child safely protected behind them. It is a nice way to get you and your child out of the house and exploring the outdoors.

Price: $199.99

See in Amazon

The Allen Sports Premier 1-Child Jogger combines efficiency, comfort and style to bring out a top of the line child jogger and bike trailer. It doubles up as both a fixed child jogger and bike trailer. It features two 16 inch front wheels and 12 inch rear wheels for reduced rolling resistance. Three windows at the front and sides ensure your child enjoys every moment of the ride. It also incorporates a foot bar for added protection, and a three season removable bug and rain cover. Storage and transportation options include detachable wheels and a foldable frame. Ignite the active parent in you and join hundreds of happy parents with the Allen Sports Premier 1, proven to offer the best I comfort, convenience and ultimate performance.

Price: $169.99

See in Amazon

You will no longer have to worry about stepping out in style with your little one. The InStep Sync Single bicycle trailer features a sporty 2 in 1 gray and green canopy, with a mash screen and a weather shield for an all-round child protection against adverse weather. It also features 16 inch pneumatic tires with molded rims for that smooth and comfortable experience. It is also super lightweight and incorporates a coupler designed to attach to any other bicycle. Storage options include removable wheels and a foldable frame designed to fit in the trunk of your car or closet. With a 40 pound capacity, your child will sit comfortably while you pedal. The InStep Sync Bicycle Trailer is a moms’ favorite owing to the convenience, performance and comfort it offers. It is also perfect for the physically active mum.

Price: $93.70

See in Amazon


Shopping Secrets

Take a trailer for a test ride

Put some weight in it, to find out if trailering is for you.

Avoid buying a used bicycle trailer

For safety’s sake, also avoid one you’re not able to examine carefully.


Features To Consider

Assembly

If you plan to put the bike trailer together yourself, you’ll want clear instructions because assembly can be a challenge. If you need help, call the company or consult your local bike shop.

Convertibility

Some manufacturers offer conversion kits that allow you to turn a trailer into a jogging stroller. That’s an attractive, expense-saving, two-for-one option. But we don’t recommend the opposite – using a conversion kit to rig your stroller to your bike.

Element defenses

Many trailers come with plastic wind and rain shields, which protect against sun, wind, and rain. A zippered front shield can keep spray from the bicycle tires or mud from splattering onto your baby. But if the shield encloses the entire cabin, make certain there’s some form of ventilation, such as breathable mesh windows. Your kids may appreciate tinted windows, which aren’t available on all models. They can also help keep the “cockpit” cool.

Folding mechanism

Some trailers feature quick-release wheels and fold easily for storage (even in a hall closet), which can be an advantage if your riding is seasonal.

Frame

Frames are generally made of steel, ,but more expensive models may be aluminum or alloy, which are lighter. The frame should be firmly welded or bolted. Better models offer a roll cage to protect passengers in the event of a rollover.

Harness

Look for a padded adjustable five-point harness (two straps over the shoulders, two for the thighs, and a crotch strap), much like a car seat’s.

Hitching arm

The hitching arm should have a backup to prevent the trailer from accidentally breaking loose. Check the wheel mounting to be sure that it will hold securely. Look for a universal hitch, which will accommodate almost any bicycle. Some hitching arms are designed to help keep the trailer upright even if your bike goes down.

Reflectors and safety flag

Most trailers have side reflective strips, which are good if you’re riding at twilight – although we don’t recommend it. A safety flag, consisting of a pennant on a whip tall enough to make it visible to drivers, is a must.

Seating

The interior of the trailer should offer comfortable seating for young passengers, with adequate legroom and good back support. Storage pockets for toys or snacks are a plus. At the higher end of the price range, you’ll find seats that recline, cushier padding, and on two-person trailers, a seat divider. The seat’s protective cavity should be free of protrusions.

Wheels

They’re typically made with rims of steel, which has the potential to rust, or aluminum, which doesn’t. Look for high-quality rubber tires.

Wheel guards

Wraparound wheel guards are another safety feature to look for. They can help protect your kids while you ride and reduce mud spatter as well.