#30DaysOfBiking 2012: Long Long Haul Trucker

Today is day #18 of the 2012 30 Days Of Biking challenge:

My Surly Long Haul Trucker can handle quite a load, but sometimes it needs a little help for particularly large, heavy, or awkward items. For that, I use a bicycle trailer.

In this case, I was making a dual-purpose trip — taking the gas can into town to fill it up for the lawn mower, and also to retrieve some bigger-than-normal things from the store. I probably ended up with 25 pounds of stuff in the trailer. That’s not a particularly heavy load by any means, but some of the things were too large to securely lash to the bicycle’s rear rack, but the trailer handled them just fine.

The trailer I use is a Nashbar Cargo Trailer, a single-wheel design that is rated for up to 45 pounds. The trailer connects to the bicycle’s rear axle by replacing the standard quick-release wheel skewer with a special skewer that allows for attachment of the trailer arms.

The trailer tracks the bike very well, but I’ve found that it tends to affect handling more than I’d like. Even with the trailer empty, it seems to make the bike feel more “tippy”. Usually, I prefer to use panniers if at all possible. Even though panniers put the load directly on the bicycle frame, it doesn’t feel as awkward as the trailer, in my experience.

I have not tried a two-wheel trailer; perhaps that type is more stable…

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web's premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

5 responses to “#30DaysOfBiking 2012: Long Long Haul Trucker”

  1. Brian L. says:

    Great, informative post! Have you ever tried a Bob? They’re supposed to track pretty well, but I’ve never tried one (or any trailer for that matter).

  2. Randy Rasa says:

    I haven’t tried a Bob (http://www.bobgear.com/). The one I have is essentially a knockoff of the Bob Yak, as I understand it.

    The one I actually would like to try is the Extrawheel (http://www.extrawheel.com/), though it’s more for touring than for things like hauling groceries. As a true utility trailer, Bill The Trailer (http://surlybikes.com/bikes/bill_trailer) from Surly seems pretty awesome.

  3. Paul Johnson says:

    The Oregon crowd would be complaining about the gravel road! Refreshing to see someone who isn’t a wuss about it.

  4. Randy Rasa says:

    I’m fortunate in that, even though I live in a somewhat rural area, I’m approximately equidistant (about 5-6 miles) from three retail/grocery options, and I can choose to take either gravel routes or paved routes. I most often choose gravel. The roads are rough in places, and I may get doused in dust, but there’s almost no traffic most days.

  5. Josh P says:

    I have a Burley Tail Wagon (two wheels) that’s designed to carry pets (hence the clever name) but functions well for any cargo. I’ve carried about 70 pounds with it and had no stability issues at all. I obviously notice the weight on climbs, and if it’s a dog that moves around, I feel some push/pulling, but nothing that might cause an accident. I did turn it over once by taking a turn way too fast while descending, but that was my own recklessness.

    I’ve definitely noticed stability issues with single-wheel contraptions – specifically, a trail-a-bike with my wobbly nephew on it.

    Thanks for the blog – it’s always helpful and entertaining to read other cyclists’ experiences!