tips for using a cycle trailer on the road

Firstly, when using a cycle trailer on the road you will be wider than a bike, so other vehicles really have no other option than to give you enough space.  To begin with this can feel like a huge leap of faith, especially as you’re carrying the most precious load in the world. However, trailer users generally report that other road users are very considerate when they see a trailer.

getting started

If you can, practice on off road paths and tracks before using a cycle trailer on the road, so you get used to pulling the additional weight and start to get a feel for the width of the trailer.

Remember a trailer is heavy, so make sure you’ve got the physical strength to pull it, and the stamina to complete your return journey. This is particularly important if you’re recovering from pregnancy and childbirth, or haven’t taken regular exercise for a long while.

If you’re new to cycling yourself, or haven’t cycled in traffic for a long time, then do consider a cycle training session before heading out with the trailer.

using a cycle trailer on the road

Cycle trailer on the road - family outing with trailerOnce you’re ready to start riding on the road, try and practice at a quiet time, rather than venturing out at rush hour. Load the trailer up with potatoes and get used to your positioning on the road.

The width of a trailer means you must cycle further out in the road to avoid the trailer wheels colliding with the curb. If you tend to be a curb hugger by nature this can take some getting used to, but you’ll soon learn to appreciate not constantly riding over drain covers and potholes.

Other vehicles may have to wait to overtake you and it can be hard to ignore an impatient driver revving their engine behind as you struggle to get up a hill.  Remember you have as much right as anyone else to be on the road, but if you’re really struggling, or causing considerable tailbacks, consider pulling over to let the traffic past.

Most trailers come with a flag – always position this on the side traffic is passing on and ensure the trailer is illuminated at night.

Mirrors can be useful, so you can see what is coming up behind.

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