Touring with a Tailer

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by rkokish, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. rkokish

    rkokish New Member

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    My wife and I are planning to ride the Calfornia Coast from north of Eureka (where we live) to San Diego. We've previously toured distances of up 1500 miles carrying everything including camping gear in front and read paniers, but this time we're going credit-card style sans camping gear and I want to carry all the luggage to even out the discrepency in our riding strengths, so I'll probably want to tow a trailer.

    We both have new Surly Long-Haul Tuckers and I'm wondering about which trailer to buy. I've hear good things about the Bob, but am wondering if it will hold as much gear as a two-wheel model and and also how easy it is to balance, considering that it has a single wheel? Does anyone have experience towing a fairly heavily loaded Bob (say 40 lbs?) over several weeks?
     
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  2. philso

    philso New Member

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    personally, i wouldn't want to be hauling a trailer with all those logging trucks zooming by inches away. i used to live in arcata and eureka, and have done probably most of the route you are planning on. on most of it, a trailer would be fine ( i used one on a 2 week tour in new england long ago, but gave it up because of the extra weight & space, parking and backing up problems, etc. ). however, there are some scary sections with no shoulders to speak of both above and below eureka and also along the coast. further south there aren't many logging trucks, but winnebagoes aplenty. if you go with a trailer, i'd recommend a narrow profile.
     
  3. rkokish

    rkokish New Member

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    I ride Humboldt's narrow roads daily and see your point about width. Logging truckers are skillful and courteous, but RV drivers and young men in pickup-trucks can be dangerous. However, a Bob trailer is around 20 inches wide (outside dimension). My handle bars (a bit wider than most) are 18 inches. Do you think the extra inch sticking towards the road will pose a significant additional risk?

     
  4. geoffs

    geoffs New Member

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    I know that you have just bought the truckers but a tandem is the best way to go IMHO. You both get there at the same time, don't get lost in traffic and its easy to have a nice chat along the way.
    If you like descending fast I have heard that trailers can wobble a bit if not perfectly loaded.
    A trailer is an invitation to carry to much gear as you will fill whatever space there is :eek:) When we credit card tour, we carry our 2 rear panniers and that enough. No jeans or hair driers allowed! Our two panniers weighed in at 14kg which included some nice clothes to go out in.
    Here's a photo of our old bike when we were doing a CC tour of the south island of NZ. on Tour We have now changed to Ortleib panniers and have a new Co-motiom Mocha Co-pilot.

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  5. Magictofu

    Magictofu New Member

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    So... you are going on a credit card tour... you already have panniers... own good touring bikes (LHTs)... AND want to use a trailer?!?! Maybe I should mind my own business... but don't you think using panniers makes more sense here? I mean trailers do have their own advantages, especially when carrying a lot of gear or when using a non-touring bike, but they also have their lot of inconveniences.
     
  6. shillito

    shillito New Member

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    Hi,

    The old panniers vs bike trailer argument is still alive and kicking, it seems.

    I use both choices and find as long as you load the BoB correctly there is not too much hassle, plus from experience belting down single track or even road touring the BoB works well. Yes you can feel it on a climb but a good rider should have control when standing on the pedals for hard inclines anyway.
    It is good for bike control to have the weight off the back wheel ie: single wheel takes a fair percentage of that, I have found it tracks very well.
    I do use low rider front panniers with the BoB to balance out the load.
    As for finding it hard to park or back, commonsense and experience goes a long way in fixing those problems, just use the brain you are equipped with and it's not hard to find a solution!
    When I have been out and about with the trailer, I find motorists take MORE notice of it because it is so different, plus the bright yellow bag and flag are very visible.
    Lastly, I don't mean to cause more argument here, but I have been approached by a number of PANNIER only tourers, who are seriously considering a BoB. One Dutch friend in particular who has many years of pannier touring and dare I say ridden more than.............
    Keep an OPEN mind, try both, then decide.

    Regards
    Steve
     
  7. Magictofu

    Magictofu New Member

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    I did not want to start a pannier vs trailer war... BUT, it seems the OP already has panniers and touring bikes... I just don't understand the rationale of buying a trailer in these circumstances, especially since he and his wife are planing a credit card tour.
     
  8. shillito

    shillito New Member

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    Hi,

    No problems, I agree, like I said , at least we are the type of people who actually get off our....... :D and do it, who cares whether it's pannier or trailer as long as we are? Whatever works for you is all I'm saying.

    regards
    Steve
     
  9. philso

    philso New Member

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    well, i doubt that i've ever actually had a truck or an rv come within an inch, although there have been many times i'd of sworn so at the moment. the gust they can generate will have you white knuckled enough trying to stay between the gravel or aluminum rail fence and the traffic in a few sections.

    personally, i'd say hauling a trailer defeats the purpose of going light. the weight of the trailer is probably more than your tent, sleeping bags and pads, and very unaerodynamic. get a trailer when you need one for what they are for, hauling a big load. they are unsurpassed when you want to bring all the comforts of home.
     
  10. shillito

    shillito New Member

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    Hi,

    Not wanting to sound like a trailer trog, but after discussions with 'pannier only' tourers and their negative opinions on handling characteristics when carrying heavy loads I'll stay with the BoB. As for LIGHT loads, remember the 3rd wheel is rolling and aiding the rider by carrying a % of the load, and as for being 'not aerodynamic', the low ride behind the rider ensures it is aero......., unless you weigh 50kg and look like a rake, truly I hardly know it's there, unlike panniers which still catch wind resistance even when lightly loaded.
    Remember, 'who cares?, at least we're out there doing it"

    But I think the original point was if they already had panniers why buy a trailer?
    I agree, save the money, but try a trailer without buying if you can.
     
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