I bought a bicycle trailer! Let me tell you all about this majestic addition to the urban homestead. Here we are on the trial run this morning, with a light test load:
Let’s be honest: I’ve done well enough over the years carrying silly things (small appliances, rugs) on my motorcycle and more sensible things (groceries, furniture) in my partner’s car. My bicycle has a front rack and small panniers, and that box of apples that I hauled last week didn’t fall off, so you could say that I don’t really need a trailer.
Once I had the idea in the back on my mind, though, I kept seeing moments where a trailer would make all the difference, allowing me to run errands, stretch my legs, and be out in the sunshine. Hauling wood to build planters, or hauling tools to help a neighbour build their garden? Hmmm… a bike trailer would be excellent. Ferrying plants from my balcony to be transplanted in my community garden plot? From experience, the small, bouncy, windblown front rack is a rough experience for the plants, but an encloseable trailer could be much more pleasant (and I could carry more than three plants). Carrying too many groceries to walk, but I’m only a few blocks from the store so the motorbike seems wasteful? You guessed it – bike trailer!
Know what convinced me, though? The steps that I’ve been taking to reduce my impact and make daily choices to live a human-scale, community-scale life. Buying a trailer that was made in another country and shipped from the retailer to me clearly isn’t community-scale …but what if I buy this and pay off the ecological expense by reducing my impact in the years to come? What if I leave my motorcycle behind more often? What if I use this for my eventual dream permaculture business, helping folks to heal the land that they steward through rich soil and clean waterways? What if I buy a trailer that I can repair in the future and use for the rest of my life? I started to research.
The market is full of designs, and from my perspective they can be grouped as follows:
I realized that I was getting a little obsessed, so I took a break and observed real life for a while. This is what they say, right? That you put out your intention, then sit back and wait for the right thing/person/opportunity to arrive? One day, by luck or fate, I stumbled across a new trailer and it had all of the features and specifications that I was hoping for: Everyday Bicycles Cargo Trailer. (This blog isn’t sponsored: I’m just sharing my experience.) It has a couple of cons which I’ll identify, but I ordered it and am overall quite pleased. I took the majestic bike-and-trailer combo for its first 44km ride this morning and will be taking it to its first fruit-sorting event with LifeCycles later this week.
You know what, though? I’m down with this trailer. I’m going to use the heck out of it, and it’s going to last a lifetime, even if I have to get a little creative in a few years to replace the cloth part. I’m okay with creative, and honestly, learning from a designer’s best guess is a great place to start. Let the adventures begin!
Update: I took the majestic trailer out today for a 52km ride, and it performed admirably! Hauled many pounds of squooshed fruit (for homebrewing fruit wine: it would have been composted otherwise) from the LifeCycles fruit sorting extravaganza, and two things were immediately apparent: I couldn’t have hauled this home without the bike trailer (there was too much and it was too juicy) and the rubberized bottom on the trailer is a total win! Kept the juice contained so I didn’t leave a leaky trail through the hallway of my apartment building when I wheeled the sodden, delicious-smelling load up to my apartment. There was even room for a harvest from the community garden, which I visited on my way home. Rad! Mmmm, now to get some brews going…