Trailer Trash

Excitement in the Townmouse household as I have a new trailer – or rather, the Bigtown Cycling Campaign has a new trailer which is temporarily in my custody. I had already towed it briefly through Newcastle for complicated logistical reasons which needn’t detain us here, but I’d not had a chance to use it properly until today when I was due to attend the local university Freshers’ Fair to promote our forthcoming bike breakfast.

bike trailer

It’s not the smallest of trailers (although it’s actually not any wider than my handlebars) and I’ve never really used one in anger before so I was a little anxious about how it would handle. On the whole, it was fine – quite lively on the way down (it was hard to tell without craning my neck round, but I got the distinct impression that it was getting air over some of the rougher patches of road) but crucially stoppable, and it does follow the bike faithfully, making negotiating even the narrowest of chicanes a doddle, or at least about as much of a doddle as negotiating them on my bike without it.

It also has a distinct presence on the road – I definitely got treated as something with actual width by the cars, as opposed to something that can be squeezed past with impunity. It was quite the novelty to be approaching a parked car and needing to pull out and hearing the car that had been gearing up to overtake behind me decide that actually wasn’t the time to be blasting past the cyclist after all. Of course it has its downsides too – it’s not brilliant for filtering through traffic, and when I stopped at the shop to pick up a paper, I realised I was going to have to take up a parking space rather than just hop up onto the pavement as I normally would. I should probably also apologise to the driver who very courteously left a gap in the backed-up traffic so that bikes could cross at the toucan crossing in the town centre – and then had to wait for me to finish crossing the other half of the road once the traffic had started moving again. Oops. No good deed goes unpunished indeed …

Stopping off on the way home to hand out flyers to commuting cyclists, I also discovered that the rain cover is waterproof in Scotland, or at least waterproof in Scotland on a day that was forecast for blazing sunshine for most of the day, which in practice meant just the one short torrential downpour.

waterproof_cover

Rain cover doing its thing. Why did I feel the need to use the rain cover on what was forecast to be a gloriously sunny day? Call it instinct…

And then I got to tow it back home. Fortunately, students have a keen eye for a freebie, so I was hauling rather less in the way of assorted bike crap than I’d taken down. But it was still a long old ride back and I don’t think I’ll be using the trailer for the weekly shop or bringing home heavy building materials any time soon. As the old proverb has it, cyclists who live in high houses, shouldn’t tow stones.*

Trailer in evening sunshine

* sorry, I had a long time to think up dreadful punchlines on the way home and I don’t see why I should be the only one to suffer.

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5 Responses to Trailer Trash

  1. stripymoggie says:

    We have one. It does hop about if not loaded heavily and its clamp comes loose if loaded too much. Eventually, over time the cover rips at the corners. Its place as the family mule got usurped by the Cargobike. There will come a day you’ll see a loaded Cargobike pulling the trailer.

  2. disgruntled says:

    That’s useful to know, thanks. TBH it’s unlikely to get heavy daily use but it will certainly come in handy.

  3. Gary Pearce says:

    Congrats on your acquisition.
    I love mine, pulled by my faithful brompton, I get waved in through at my local tip, have had quite a few trips to the local DIY store and hopefully will try a trip camping with it soon. However be aware you have just doubled your chance of puncture!

  4. velovoiceblogspot says:

    Trailers get regular use in our household, even having a cargobike. Adam’s is a child trailer he re-built & customised – super robust but with that fiddly chainstay clamp. Mine’s very Mule-like, bought super cheap off Ebay but built in Germany and designed with a proper rear axle hitch which is the best attachment system I’ve seen.

    Happy hauling!

  5. disgruntled says:

    Well the trailer is now in the custody of someone who lives a bit closer in & has no car, so it will be getting more use than I would be making of it…

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