Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cargo bikes, trikes... Why not a trailer?


I’m a medical student, about to be a doctor. I move house annually, I don't have a spare £1000 and have no garage – so a dedicated cargo bike or trike is out of the question.

Last summer, I remember being asked, by a local cyclist of a certain age, “what’s a student doing with a bike trailer”?

However, a simple trailer (one of those £80 “avenir mule” jobs) works fantastically for me. At the risk of sounding clich├ęd, it just fits into my lifestyle.

It cost the same as filling a 4×4’s tank, but it’s lasted me 3 years now, and still going strong.

I do the weekly shop with it. I’ve moved furniture (a butcher’s block) with it. I’ve transported nearly 40kg of commercial espresso machine and grinder with it. I’ve shifted gym weights with it. When my partner arranged a medical student event in Oxford and needed to transport refreshments (crisps, snacks, fruit, and at least 20l of drinks), she took the trailer.

When it’s not being used, it folds up and lives on top of the big freezer in our utility room.

I find it’s quite welcome on the roads – maybe Oxford’s drivers are used to this sort of thing, or maybe the yellow tarp over the top is a help. People tend to give me plenty of room! There’s the odd cycle path that clearly hasn’t thought about people with more than two wheels, but you can manage.

My point is – doing this is entirely normal, not extraordinary. I don’t have room for a car, nor do I feel like spending thousands of pounds, just to move me and my stuff around.

For exactly those same reasons – space, and a lack of a few thousand quid or so – I don’t have a cargo bike (or trike). It’s just not practical.

But a trailer – now that just does the job, and tidies away when it’s not needed. So, why wouldn’t I have one?

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